Before we go further, I'm a spoiler whore. If you haven't seen Lost's finale yet (or the House finale, or are in general not caught up on your tv viewing) please stop reading, go do that, and come back. Consider this your spoilage warning blurb thingy. I'd also like to remind those who have been here before, and caution newcomers, I tend to use profanity on occasion. I do not believe I do so to extremes, but those easily offended should be forewarned. I don't see a reason for the Seven Words You Can't Say On The Radio to go unused. They exist for a reason and deserve their day in the sun. 'Nuff said.
I spent last night Tweeting while watching the Lost season five finale and wow was that fun! Why? Because hundreds if not thousands of others were doing the same thing. It was like hearing people all over the country screaming at their TVs simultaneously. I was going to put a link here to capture for all posterity what was essentially about the closest to IRC chat that Twitter can get but I haven't figured out how to link to a search for a particular time (i.e., last night) so you'll just have to take my word for it - it was a virtual party. Now occasionally, there'd be some wet blanket on the west coast complaining that we were spoiling it for them, but most people realized if you don't wanna be spoiled, then don't go to Twitter and run a search for tweets with the "#Lost" tag in it before you see the darn thing. Or better yet, don't tweet at all until you have seen it. It's not gonna kill ya. Being a spoiler whore myself I really don't care if I'm spoiled or not. Knowing the last five minutes of a show doesn't usually bother me. In fact, I usually prefer it.
What concerns me now is the fact that we have to wait another eight or nine months before the questions raised in this season's finale are answered. With only one season left to go in what many critics are saying (with few dissenting opinions at least publically) is among the best television programs ever in the history of television, we should be getting more answers at this point than questions. However, that's not quite how things wrapped up last night.
How DID they wrap up? Not very clean, as you might imagine. I'd equate it more to how a patient must feel after a Doctor Jack strung out on hydrocodone and vicadin sews the patient back up leaving his wristwatch inside accidentally. In the first of the three hour Lost Extravaganza we were treated to an hour long "Previously On Lost" rehash of the past season, hosted by Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse, the two guys who (sink or swim) take the lion's share of blame and responsibility for where the show has been going and where it'll end up. These two guys have been entertaining the more diehard of Lostie fans via audio and video podcasts available over at the official Lost website. In the past, the hour long clip shows have been skippable, unless you were too busy or lazy to watch the series up to that point in the first place. Those shows are largely intended by network executives to encourage newcomers to hop on board the Lost Train. Admittedly, joining the series halfway through is daunting and a lot of people who haven't started watching it by now will just decide to wait until DVD or skip it entirely, which is a shame for them, but if you don't know what you're missing then it won't hurt you. This time around, even though the clip show didn't reveal much that we didn't already know, it did try to describe things in a slightly more linear fashion, so diehard fans could watch the latest clip show, be entertained by Damon & Carlton (tho they weren't being as lighthearted and funloving as they often are on the audio podcast) and smile and nod to themselves that they've been right about X & Y all along, whatever X & Y is for whoever's watching.
Rather than go into detail about the actual episode in question: The Incident Parts 1 & 2, I'm going to assume you already saw it and will instead focus on where it left us. To wit: What The Fuck??! Damon & Carlton are in what they call "radio silence." They will not be addressing questions and concerns about the season finale, and will probably not even bother writing about season six until some time after Comic Con - at least not officially. The last season will not broadcast until late winter of 2010; roughly eight or nine months from now. This means they may not actually begin production until mid fall of this year, and so writing will start in earnest in late summer. Damon & Carlton theoretically know where they are going with the show, but how they're going to get to the final title card is anyone's guess.
Whatever Happened Happened
Jack bought into Daniel Faraday's supposition that it is possible to change the future. This is, by the way, something Daniel had not been saying until his return to the Island on the sub from his three year sabbatical to Ann Arbor Michigan. We don't know what happened to Daniel to make him change his mind, but needless to say he was wrong, and at the end of the episode called "The Variable" his own mother shot him dead, underlining just how wrong he was. Later we find out she was actually pregnant at the time with who we are to assume is the very person she just killed. Isn't time travel fun? Of course, Jack's not quite as smart as Faraday. Jack's a brain surgeon, but as we've come to understand by now, he's not a very smart brain surgeon. Let's just say I wouldn't lay any money on him if he were making an appearance on Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? But I digress.
Jack is smart enough to aquiesce; Faraday's a particle physicist and if he says destiny is mutable, then who is a brain surgeon to question that logic? So Jack and Sayid go with Eloise & Richard to get an H-bomb they just happen to have lying around (long story) and Jack intends to use it on The Hatch. Why? Cuz it hasn't been invented yet, but if they can blow it up before "The Incident" occurs, Faraday believes that will dramatically affect the timeline so much, it'll jostle everybody out of the temporal loop they were in, and give them all a second chance. In other words, whatever happened these past five seasons? None of it will have happened. That's the theory. Of course, setting off a plutonium bomb in the middle of the Island has the unsatisfactory drawback of destroying the Island, or at least a chunk of it would become inhospitable for about twenty years or more, but if the Hatch is never built, then Desmond would never be sitting there pushing a button and then go off to accidently kill Kelvin which mean he was inadvertently neglecting to push a button when the Oceanic Six plane happened by, causing it to crash on the Island instead of landing in the Los Angeles Airport (LAX).
Did that happen? Well, yes and no, and I don't know. Jack drops the bomb into the hole as The Incident was already happening anyway. The damage had already been done. Razinsky had insisted on drilling too close to the electromagnetic anomaly that Chang already knew was there. So far as we know, that was going to happen whether our Losties were there or not. The Incident is essentially opening a hole in that anomaly, which causes anything metallic to rush towards the center of the anomaly. This would no doubt piss off anyone who had taken the trouble to build a metallic structure over the electromagnetic anomaly. Whoops.
Faraday, and by proxy Jack's, plan was this: take the nuke and set it off on top of the electromagnetic anomaly. This was supposed to reset time, because surely something as big as that would get God's attention so he would glance over, stroke his beard, poke at a few dimensions with a stick, and everything would be right as rain. This is not unlike studying the gestation period of African honeybees by walking up to the hive and swinging a baseball bat. This is not unlike studying history by setting a library on fire. This is not unlike a first date where you immediately take your face and stick it between her breasts at your first opportunity. Either the ending will be catastrophic, or irrelevant, or both, or neither. Don't you love that?
So Jack throws the 'device' into the hole. This 'device' by the way is a hastily constructed bomb, made by a less than stable urban assasin and ex-Communications officer in the Iraqi Republican Guard using parts from a thirty year old American military H-bomb that had been languishing in the catacombs of an underground temple leaking off radioactivity. This hastily constructed device was then carried on Sayid's back until he was shot in the gut by Roger Linus, at which point Sayid fell back on top of the bomb without accidently setting it off. Jack then began carrying it with him, during a bumpy ride in a van with Hurley driving, while Jack hurriedly and vainly tried to put Sayid's blood & guts back inside his skin.
Then he takes the bomb, straps it to his back, and gets into a gunfight with members of the Dharma Initiative, while his Lostie friends intervene and fight alongside him. All this is very exciting by the way. I know my description of it doesn't do it all justice but my point is this: a modern day Ipod wouldn't easily survive being treated that malevolently, and the bomb Sayid made for Jack looked more delicate than your average common run of the mill modern day Ipod. The fact it didn't go off on impact as Sayid had claimed it would, is not surprising. Add to that the fact that Sayid was never really on board this whole idea of blowing up the Island anyway. He may have just made a convincing dud, because it was easier to make a fake bomb than try to convince Jack not to do it. Like I said, Jack's not the brightest of brain surgeons, and he had no way of knowing if the bomb was real or not.
This would also explain to me why Richard & Eloise were being so uncharacteristically helpful. We're led to believe Eloise is on board because she figured out she inadvertently killed her own son. However, Richard Alpert has no such motivation. He just seems to be going along out of peer pressure than anything else. If Sayid had somehow been able to convey to Richard & Eloise without Jack knowing, that the bomb was never going to work, then it would dismiss a major question I have about that part of the storytelling: why the hell would Richard sign off to the idea of having a nuclear bomb detonated on HIS Island?
So the bomb falls into the hole, but it doesn't go off. The Incident with metals flying towards the hole continues to happen, and Juliet gets wrapped around chains as she tries to escape and of course they're metal chains so she ends up in the hole, but not after a melodramatic moment where Sawyer tells her to hang on and Kate completely fails to save Juliet's ass. So Juliet falls into the hole, and happens to end up right next to the worthless piece of crap bomb, which looks back at her and says, "How You Doin'?" Juliet responds to the worthless piece of crap bomb by picking up a nearby rock and pounding the shit out of it. She does this several times, which reinforces my belief that it's a worthless piece of crap bomb that was never going to go off.
But then, we get what appears to be an explosion on first sight. Everything goes white with a peculiar sound effect and we have the end of the episode. For the first time the word "LOST" appears on screen in black letters with a white background. For those who don't know, it's always been the opposite for five seasons. At first I looked at that and thought nuclear explosion, but then I thought a second time and realized if that nuclear bomb was going to explode, it would have done so when Roger Linus shot Sayid in the kidney, and Sayid fell on top of the bomb. It didn't go off then, so Juliet pounding on it with a rock was not going to suddenly make it work. So the white flash wasn't a bomb. It was something else. What something else could it possibly be? Earlier in the season we saw several times when a blinding white flash would occur. It was a precursor and a harbinger of temporal instability - time hopping.
So this brings us to the dilemma of the next eight months, where Lost Fans will argue and debate this over beers in bars and food in restaurants at length. From a writing standpoint there's essentially three possibilities:
- Juliet set us up dah bomb: Despite my detailed explanatiion to the contrary, it turns out I'm wrong and Juliet managed to set off the nuke after dropping it into the cavernous hole didn't. This means Faraday was right. Time was altered. When we return to Lost in season six, Oceanic 815 will have never crashed and will instead have landed in LAX. Locke will continue to be crippled. Jack will continue to be an ass to his mother. Kate will continue to jail without passing go or collecting $200. Hurley will continue to be fat (some things never change). None of what we've seen thus far will ever have happened. Needless to say I'm not putting my money on this particular hand.
- Time hop to the past: Many Lost Fans think that there's one place the Losties have not traveled in time which they still need to go. That is back to the ancient past where the statue is more than just an ankle with issues, and presumably all the answers to everything is, including Jacob and Essau themselves which apparently after seeing the season finale is the lynchpin of this whole fiasco. However we actually HAVE gone back this far in time once, however briefly, and let's face it. Tho this show's a cult hit, its ratings haven't been all that spectacular. The producers couldn't afford to send the Losties that far back in time for more than thirty seconds. I think it's a union thing. Besides, this is sort of a combination of Wishful Thinking and Be Careful What You Ask For on the part of fans. I don't see how there'd be an awful lot of things to do in the distant past beyond just looking up at a computer generated image of an Egyptian statue and going ooh and ahh until a commercial break, which by the way we've already done twice this season, once when looking at the statue's butt, and once when looking at the statue's side. We've seen it. It's Sobek. Let's move on.
- Time hop to the now: Lindeloff and Cuse are already on record saying that this fifth season is essentially the end of the time traveling. Though tight lipped on what to expect in season six, they have pointed out what not to expect: it won't involve a lot of hopping around in time. So the most probable of these three possibilities is that Jack, Jin, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Sayid, Juliet, and Miles will find themselves on the Island in 2007 just in time to find out that Ben killed Jacob, Locke is both dead and alive, and Richard Alpert still looks like he uses eyeliner. Oh, and that Sun is a hot MILF. This will put all the major players in the same place at the same time so wrapping up the last season will be slightly less daunting.
I don't know, and we will not know until around February of 2010. Which sucks, but look on the bright side. By this time next year, we will pretty much know everything there is to know about Lost. It'll finally be over once and for all. And we'll be able to look back fondly on it as a great entertainment, much like today we look back fondly on The Fugitive, MASH, Happy Days, and the original Star Trek series. Twenty years from now, someone will come up with the idea of doing a remake motion picture of it, and hopefully Sayid will materialize out of nowhere and shoot that bastard in the head.
Oh well. At the very least, we now know who "Adam and Eve" in the cave were/are/will be: Rose & Bernard. That's so sweet I could almost cry.