Lost review: ‘The Candidate’
Spoilers for Tuesday’s eventful episode of Lost are contained in this post after the fifth paragraph. Do not read beyond the fifth paragraph (not counting this one) if you do not want to be spoiled on major events of Lost. You have been warned.
I had hoped last week to write a non-spoiler missive on my adoration for Lost, a series I came to late (having watched all the DVDs last year, and only now watching the show unfold week to week) after having studiously avoided spoilers for five seasons. But that missive hasn’t happened yet, and I’ve been involved in a yard landscaping project that has pretty much monopolized my time for the past week.
If you, like me, somehow remained spoiler-free on Lost all these years and are not currently watching, I highly recommend you stay that way, avoid all news items about Lost, then get all the DVDs (or preferably Blu-ray discs, if you have the money to spare; the series looks fantastic on Blu-ray, but still very good on DVD), start at the beginning, and watch the entire series. It’s a big time commitment with a massive number of episodes, and it requires patience at times, but it’s well worth it if you like well-made, character-driven, serial television.
But what I want to do now is open discussion up on these final episodes of Lost, so let’s talk a bit about Tuesday’s episode, “The Candidate.”
Note: I am not “formally” reviewing these episodes in depth; more like blogged shallow reviews to serve as a discussion starting point. I do not have the time or inclination to tackle Lost full-on, and there are so many other Lost reviewers out there who have been doing it forever and do a wonderful job. Lost fans already know who they are, or who I like to read regularly (Alan Sepinwall, Maureen Ryan, etc.), so you can seek them out for more in-depth discussion.
Okay, spoilers ahead! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
So here’s the milder, censored version of my thoughts of the last two acts of “The Candidate”:
Holy [freaking] [crap].
I know we’re getting down to the wire on Lost here, but if you had told me yesterday that no less than FOUR characters who appear as regulars in the opening credits would perish in the course of a single act of this episode, I’d have said you were crazy.
Lost is taking no prisoners, it would seem.
Sayid: Blowed up. (Or as Jack put it, “There IS no Sayid!”)
Lapidus: Knocked down by an exploding hatch and apparently drowned.
And Sun and Jin: Drowned in one of those heartbreakingly awful moments of choice that must be made as the water flows slowly but steadily up, like that scene in The Abyss. (Although I found myself wondering why Sun wouldn’t appeal to Jin to save himself on the account of their now-to-be-orphaned daughter.)
All of this done with great excitement and suspense and emotion, I must mention.
Meanwhile, in the sideways timeline/universe, we have Jack being Jack — unable to let anything go if he can possibly “fix” it. This time it’s John Locke, whom Jack calls a candidate for an operation that could reverse his paralysis. There is a strange crossover awareness that some of these characters vaguely have of the “real” universe, and I like how Lost subtly establishes those connections with lines like “I wish you had believed me” or “What happened, happened.” The tapestry of Lost is so massive and complex that this sort of shorthand is not only a nod to the audience’s memory, but necessary as a matter of storytelling economy.
Meanwhile, the ever-shifting faux loyalties and gamesmanship prove both intriguing and frustrating. No one trusts Smokey, and yet they all get manipulated into the submarine death trap anyway. And no one trusts Widmore, but it seems like he knows better what he’s dealing with than anyone else. As per the usual Lost requirement, Widmore vaguely explains that he’s the best bet for everyone being safe, but doesn’t explain WHY.
That’s one of those things (characters hinting at their reasons to other characters without ever explaining them, when they clearly should) you just kind of have to go with on Lost, and I’m more than willing to, hoping the solutions and motivations will all make sense before it’s all over. Meanwhile, Smokey is an SOB, but I for one still have no idea what to make of his goals or methods. He’s clearly a bad guy, but I would hardly call Jacob or Widmore the good guy who serves as is his opposite. Jacob all but kidnapped everyone to the island while Widmore sent a ship full of mercenaries to it to kill everyone. I guess it’s all shades of gray.
After this season has spent its time setting up all the pieces, the endgame has sort of crept up on us here, and with “The Candidate” we have moved into a furious pace of casualties and consequences, and all hell seems ready to break loose. I should amend that: All hell seems ready to CONTINUE to break loose. With countless dead among Widmore’s team, and four major characters dead, I’d say the breaking loose has already begun in earnest.
So what did everybody else think? Has Lost gone suddenly bloodthirsty, and did you see it coming?