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And All the Pieces Matter

By Daniel Carlson | Lost Recaps | May 19, 2009 |


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No sense wasting time. This is a long one, and a big episode. Let's get right back into it.

The first half of the episode ended with Ben reconsidering the life he'd given serving Jacob, and Jack and Sawyer preparing to face off in a battle of wills about whether to nuke the island. This installment begins in 2007 with Richard, Locke, Ben, Sun, and the Others resuming their trek to see Jacob. Richard's at the head of the group, and he beings them to a halt at a certain point on the beach. When Locke asks why they're stopped, Richard says, "You'll see," leading them to a clearing on the shore revealed to be the location of the remains of the giant four-toed statue: Nothing but the right foot, stopping in the calf. Locke smugly says it's a "wonderful foot" but wants to know what it has to do with Jacob, and Richard replies that that's where he lives. Locke darts his eyes over to Richard and back to the statue, saying nothing as Richard leads them down to the shore.

Out in the jungle in 1977, Juliet, Sawyer, and Kate are still standing in the road, blocking the van carrying Hurley, Miles, Jack, and the wounded Sayid. Jack steps out, looking bloody and sweaty and just tired as hell, and he and Sawyer engage in a tense back and forth that ends with Jack agreeing to hear Sawyer out for five minutes. "You owe me that much, Jack," Sawyer says, making his urgency felt by the fact that he uses Jack's actual name and not a nickname.

Flashback: Jack's in the operating room, working on a patient and surrounded by a team of other doctors, including his father. After making a particular cut, his face blanches as he says, "The dural sac. I cut it." This is the moment he told Kate about when she was stitching him up in the pilot episode, the time he learned to count to five and control his fear, and sure enough, that's what happens. But it turns out that Christian was the one who taught Jack the technique, and though it works, Jack doesn't look happy about taking orders from his father, even when they're needed in a crisis. A little later, Jack's at the vending machine trying to buy an Apollo bar -- one of the series' fictional creations that have popped up from time to time -- but it gets stuck. First he nearly paralyzes a girl, now no chocolate! Walking down the hall, Christian approaches and tells Jack the patient is responding to stimulus below the waist and doesn't show any signs of paralysis or damage, but Jack doesn't want to hear it. He tells Christian it was embarrassing to be "put in a timeout" during surgery, especially given how hard Jack has already worked to prove to his colleagues that he got his job on merit and not just because he's the son of the chief of surgery. As Christian walks away, Jacob shows up at the vending machine around the corner, holding up two Apollo bars and asking if one is Jack's. Jack walks over to take the candy, his hand brushing Jacob's as he does so, and then they go their separate ways. End of intervention.

Back in 1977, Jack and Sawyer walk a ways into the woods before settling in to talk, because apparently they were subconsciously preparing for the beatdown that's coming and they wanted some privacy. After convincing Jack to sit, Sawyer tells him how his folks died when he was only 8, and how a con man ripped off his parents, leading to Sawyer's dad killing his mom before committing suicide. Sawyer even tells Jack that he was under the bed the whole time, watching it go down. But he gets to his point by saying that happened only a year ago, in 1976, and if Sawyer had wanted to he could have hopped on the sub to the mainland and prevented the sorry thing from ever happening. He didn't do it, though, because "what's done is done." Jack says it doesn't have to be that way, which annoys Sawyer, who takes a different tack and asks what it is Jack "screwed up so badly" that he's willing to destroy everything just for a second chance. Jack counters that he's doing it because three years earlier, Locke told him it was his destiny, and that things happen for a reason. "A man does what he does because he wants something for himself," Sawyer replies, which gets to the heart of what so many of the exchanges in the season finale are about. The characters are finally forced to admit to themselves and each other why they're doing whatever they're doing, instead of just chalking it up to fate or destiny or not having anything better to do. So Jack comes clean: "I had her. I had her, and I lost her." Sawyer, stunned that this whole thing can be boiled down to Kate once again messing up a man's head, tells Jack she's just on the other side of the trees and he can go ask her to give it another shot. Jack shakes it off and says it's too late, then stands to leave. Sawyer tells him that if the plan works, Kate will go back to being under arrest, and she won't know Jack from anyone. Jack, taking a page from Crazy Bernard's Guide to Logic in Relationships and Metaphysics, says, "If it's meant to be, it's meant to be." Good?

Out of options, Sawyer resorts to the tried and true method of physical combat, slugging Jack across the face, and the two men proceed to beat the crap out of each other in the woods while Sayid bleeds out in the van and a pocket of electromagnetic energy continues to threaten to burst nearby. Dudes, prioritize! Jack gets in a few good hits, but it's pretty much locked for Sawyer when he kicks the doc in the nuts, smacks him in the face with a log, then straddles his body and begins to choke him. Sawyer keeps pounding on him until Juliet appears and shouts for him to stop, telling him that Jack's right about what has to happen. Sawyer, understandably confused and angry, says Juliet was the one who told him to take Jack out and stop him in the first place. She replies, "I changed my mind." Sawyer's shocked look says this is clearly his first long-term relationship, but the moment's also a good one in that it offers a classic "Lost" reversal.

Flashback: Two little girls, half in tears, are sitting on a couch opposite their parents in a nicely furnished living room. The little blonde girl is easily recognizable as Juliet, since she's got the same hair, her top is the same color as the one Juliet's wearing in 1977, and let's face it usually these are pretty easy to guess. The mom tells the girls that she and their father are getting divorced, but it's important to remember that they still love each other. "Just because two people love each other doesn't always mean they're supposed to be together," she says, which is a good lesson to eventually learn but kind of radically simplified in this context and will probably wind up scarring the girls emotionally for life. (Which it does.) Juliet asks repeatedly how her mom can know she and her father aren't meant to be together, but mom just says, "We just know. And when you're a grown-up, you'll understand." Juliet runs out of the room, and it's sad to see her dragged that much further into a premature adulthood, though it is kind of funny watching her run away and yell "I don't wanna understand!"

In 1977, Juliet's walking away from Sawyer in the same way, striding quickly through the woods back to the road as he follows her and asks what's gotten into her. He manages to physically stop her and ask where "all this is coming from," saying he has a right to know why she changed her mind. Juliet thinks and says, "I changed my mind when I saw you look at her." The way Sawyer frustratedly scrambles for a way to reiterate his commitment to Juliet is revealing, and though he tells her he's with her no matter who he looked at, she shakes it off. Starting to cry a little, she says Sawyer would stay with Juliet forever if she let him, and she'll always love him for that, but then she repeats her mom's old line about how even though they love each other, it was only for a little while. It's touching watching Sawyer try to figure out how to stop this from crumbling apart in his hands, especially when he realizes he can't. Sawyer again asks her why she's doing this -- the episode is all about the whys, and it has to be -- and she can barely get through the line, "If I never meet you, then I never have to lose you." She pushes past him, crying, but he just stands there, beginning to absorb the loss. It's a killer to see them finally break up, but happiness is not something the castaways ever find for long.

Out at the Swan site, Chang shouts over to Radzinsky to tell him the drill's gauss readings are off the charts -- I Googled it, and it's about magnetics, and maths, and yada yada yada -- but that just fires up the nutball even more. In the middle of geeking out over the explosion he's about to cause, Radzinsky gets a radio call from Phil that "that Hostile who shot the kid" came back and attacked them before escaping in a van with some of the other new recruits, and that he apparently had a bomb. Radzinsky, who looks like he's beginning to regret ever hiring Phil, tells him to show some initiative and round up some dudes with guns and hurry over to the Swan to set up a defensive perimeter.

At the top of the ridge next to the site, Jack is watching all this go down when Kate shows up, and he tells her his talk with Sawyer "didn't go so good." Wiping the blood from his temple, she reminds him of the time she sewed him up on the beach after the initial crash, and it's the emotionally vulnerable moment Jack was looking for. He asks Kate why she made Jack promise not to ask about Aaron, and she says she did it because she was angry with Jack for making her come back. (Even though it was Kate's idea to go so she could help return Aaron to Claire, which she then tells Jack was her real reason for coming. This girl is nuts.) Jack says his plan will reunite mother and son, and when Kate says Claire was going to give up her son for adoption, Jack says they can't know what would have happened, and it would have been ultimately up to Claire to decide Aaron's fate. "Nothing in my life has ever felt so right" as his current plan, Jack says to Kate, "and I just need you to believe that." Just then, there's a crash down the hill as the drill approaches the end of its life, and Jack and Kate stand to watch, knowing that whatever's going to happen is coming up soon. Jack asks Kate one final time for her support, and after a moment, she gives it.

Flashback: Hurley is in prison, getting released. The discharge officer lays out Hurley's possessions: one wallet, $227 cash, one unused prophylactic, one soiled, one ballpoint pen, and one Fruit Roll-Up. I'm really glad Hurley couldn't even go to prison without a snack on him. Who needs to develop the character when he can just be The Fat Guy Who Always Has A Treat On His Person, No Seriously, It's Not Just A Gimmick Any More. Hurley tries to tell the officer that his release is a mistake, but because he's a moron, he just babbles about men with tranquilizer guns trying to kidnap him. The officer dismisses him out of hand. Hurley heads outside and finds a cab, but Jacob's already in the backseat, sitting next to a guitar case. (This guy is really, really good.) Jacob offers to split the cab with Hurley, so off they go, and it's not four seconds before Hurley rips into his Fruit Roll-Up, even offering to share with Jacob. This guy was on the inside for like two days, tops. Hurley assumes Jacob was at the cabstand outside the prison because he was also in jail, but Jacob says he was there waiting for Hurley, and he addresses him as Hugo. Hurley, who apparently is way beyond caring what people think of him, says Jacob must be dead, but Jacob assures him that's not the case. Jacob asks why Hurley won't go back to the island -- every character here is forced, either in flashback or the main story, to reveal their motivations -- and Hurley says it's because he's "cursed." He blames himself for everything from the crash of Oceanic 815 to the deaths of Libby and Charlie, but Jacob tells him to think of himself as blessed instead of cursed: He gets to talk to the people he's lost. Hurley, closing the barn door long after the horse has turned to glue, asks, "Who are you, dude?" Jacob ignores him and has the cabbie pull over, then turns and tells Hurley that all he has to be is be on Ajira Flight 316 the next day out of LAX, touching him on the chest as he says, "It's your choice, Hugo. You don't have to do anything you don't want to." As Jacob steps out, Hurley calls after him that he forgot the guitar, but Jacob says it isn't his. He shuts the door, and the cab drives away.

Out in the jungle in 1977, Sayid is sitting slumped against the side of the van as Hurley gives him water and makes a poor attempts to comfort him. It's clear he still hasn't figured out personal vs. global time, but whatever. Jack and Kate come bounding over the hill, and Jack's moving pretty quick for a guy who's survived two firefights and an all-out brawl in the past 12 hours. He retrieves the bomb from the van and secures it in the knapsack while Sayid reminds him it's rigged to blow on impact, a line that guarantees (a) it will indeed detonate when it touches down, or (b) it won't, thus upping the tension even more. It's a win-win for the story. Jack tells Sayid his plan will save him, but Sayid responds, "Nothing can save me." If Sayid could walk a little, he could totally be the Miles Bennett Dyson of this whole op and run a suicide mission into the Swan site, but it's not meant to be. Jack straps on the knapsack, grabs his gun, and steps to Kate almost like he's going to kiss her, but he just gives her a long and not uncrazy stare of confidence before darting off. She almost stops him to say something, but it's too late. He scrambles up the ridge and crosses paths with Juliet and Sawyer, fresh off their DTR, and as Jack walks by, he just says, "See you in Los Angeles."

In 2007, night has fallen on the beach, and Locke is staring at the giant stone foot with a fearful calm. Richard walks up and doesn't attempt to hide he's pissed, telling Locke that Jacob would've eventually come to him if he'd waited. "I'm tired of waiting," Locke says. A little ways down the beach, Ben is once more staring out at the water, as if it holds answers. Sun sits next to him and makes small talk about the statue, but Ben says it was like that when he got to the island. "Do you expect me to believe that?" Sun asks, and man oh man, Ben gets even more pitiful and worn down when he shrugs and admits, "Not really." Locke and Richard swing by to pick up Ben for their journey inside the statue, but Richard turns and stops when he sees that Ben has come along for the ride. Richard, as close to anger as he's ever been, tells Locke that "only our leader can request an audience with Jacob, and there can only be one leader on the island at a time." Locke calls shenanigans on the rules and says he's taking Ben with him whether Richard likes it or not. Richard grits his teeth and leads them up the short hill to the base of the foot. He examines the wall and then pushes part of it inward, revealing a moveable slab. Taking his torch back from Locke, he heads back down to the beach. It's the same thing he did 30 years earlier: Find a door for someone, then leave to let them walk through it alone. Locke pushes the slab in and enters a small antechamber, Ben right on his heels like a whipped dog. Ben looks a little awestruck as they edge toward a doorway lit by a fire in the main room. Locke checks to make sure Ben will be able to carry out his errand, saying, "I know it won't be easy, but things will change once he's gone." He holds up a knife, and Ben doesn't wait too long to pull it from its sheath as they begin moving once more toward the central room.

Back in 1977, Jin is frantically ripping up shirts and trying to keep Sayid's gut bandaged up, while everyone else stands around and mopes. Miles pipes up: "Has it occurred to any of you that your buddy's actually gonna cause the thing he says he's trying to prevent?" He knows from their frozen expressions that they've never for a moment wondered whether the incident was always created by Jack's attempting to stop said incident, and that the best way to stop it would have been to do nothing. "I'm glad you all thought this through," he says. Just then they all spot a jeep full of DHARMA guys --Phil's crew -- down the hill on the road to the Swan site. Sawyer turns to Juliet to ask what she wants to do, and after a beat, she says, "Live together, die alone."

Down at the Swan location, Phil and his truck of nameless extras pull up with a skid on the gravel. Radzinsky has Phil start setting up a perimeter while Chang berates Radzinsky for bringing more people to a danger zone that should be evacuated. Around the corner, Jack begins his approach, but he doesn't get too far around the rim of the site before Phil spots him and the whole team starts firing. Unslinging the bomb from his back --probably a good idea -- Jack cocks his pistol, darts in, and drops a guy from at least 50 feet. Phil orders his men to flank, but just then Sawyer and the rest of the gang come barreling by in the blue van, firing from the windows and doing some serious damage to the bad guys in what's easily the most exciting firefight of the series. The group empties from the van and starts to converge on the drill, and while Jack takes cover behind some bags of cement, Sawyer knocks down Radzinsky and gets a drop on Phil as Chang picks up a gun and holds it on Radzinsky. Sawyer gets Phil to order a ceasefire, and then he gruffly summons for Jack to come out and "do your business." Chang tries to kill the drill, but it won't shut off: It's being pulled down by the ruptured pocket of electromagnetic energy. Jack walks to the edge of the drill hole and holds the bomb over it, but looks to Kate before dropping it, and she nods. Sawyer tosses Phil aside and turns to just look at Juliet, and she can't help but smile through the tears at the sign of his unending commitment. Everyone closes their eyes as Jack drops the bomb, waiting for the blast, but it never comes. There's a moment of pure confusion as no one knows what to do, and Sawyer growls, "This don't look like LAX."

Just then a weird warble begins to emit from the hole in the ground as the drill scaffold shakes and metallic objects begin flying toward the opening. The frame buckles and crashes, pinning Chang's left hand against a console, and Miles, in a sweet burst of filial affection, shouts "Dad!" and runs to help. Then the dominoes really start to fall. Jack gets knocked out by a flying toolbox, so Kate jumps to the rescue, and Miles frees Chang and tells him to get as far from the site as possible. Radzinsky tries to drive off, but the growing magnetic disruption flips the jeep and yanks it toward the hole. Phil tries to shoot Sawyer but is finally, awesomely impaled by rebar through the chest, and he dies instantly. But then it's Juliet's turn to get hit, and she gets tangled up in a length of chain that starts dragging her with it toward the pit. Kate grabs the chain and slows the fall, but Juliet's already in the opening and clinging desperately to the scaffolding fallen across the hole by the time Sawyer gets there. He grabs her arms just as she starts to fall, but the chains keep pulling her down, and Kate can't reach them to begin to set Juliet free. They're trapped, hanging, horrible, and Sawyer begs Juliet to stay strong and hang on. Juliet sees the frame Sawyer's lying on begin to buckle, and she knows what she has to do. Sawyer feels her grip loosen, and he pleads with her, "Don't you leave me. Don't you leave me." She tells him it's okay, and that she loves him, and lets herself fall. She screams as she goes, and Sawyer's heart shatters. He can't even move, he just hangs there, weeping. It's devastating.

Back on the beach in 2007, Richard waits with Sun, both wishing they had something harder to drink than water. But things are about to get crazy even without liquor: Richard looks up and sees Ilana, Frank, Bram, and the others approaching, still carrying their silver crate. The Others slap leather right away, but Ilana tells them everything is okay, dropping her rifle. "Which one of you is Ricardus?" she asks. Richard steps forward to hear her out as she asks her shibboleth: "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" Richard gives her a hard look before answering in Latin, "Ille qui nos omnes servabit," which translates as, "He who will protect us all." Ilana and Bram look relieved to hear this, and she tells Richard she has something he needs to see. The Others again try to get trigger-happy, but Richard tells them to stand down. The men pop the crate's lid, then turn the box and dump their cargo onto the sand. Ilana says it was in the cargo hold of Ajira 316. As Richard walks around, the camera switches to his POV and makes a sweet little arc over the box as its contents are finally revealed:

The dead body of John Locke.

Meanwhile, in the statue, Ben and the phony Locke make their way into the large central room Jacob was seen weaving in at the beginning of the episode's first half. The reveal that Locke is still really dead came at the right time, too, allowing the viewer to hang in the tension as Ben serenely acts as if the man he's talking to is the man he knows. Ben and Fake Locke look up to see a hole in the roof, through which the statue's remaining leg casts its shadow into the room. Ben examines Jacob's tapestry, now completed and hanging on the wall, and then Jacob himself speaks up. He's sitting in a rocking chair in the far corner of the room, and Fake Locke turns to look at him cautiously. "Hello, Jacob," he says, and Jacob looks heartbroken and defeated as he says, "You found your loophole." Fake Locke, an embodiment of the enemy last seen appearing as the gray-haired man in the time of the Black Rock, says, "You have no idea what I've gone through to get here." Ben, who's just now beginning to piece together that something is up, asks if the men have met before, but the Enemy only says, "In a manner of speaking." The Enemy tells Ben to do what he asked, but Jacob addresses Ben directly and says, "Whatever he's told you, I want you to understand one thing: You have a choice. ... You can do what he asks, or you can go and leave us to discuss our issues." Ben, finally face to face with the mysterious force he's served his whole life, isn't going anywhere. He says he never questioned when Richard brought down Jacob's orders or lists, but he doesn't understand why he was told to be patient when seeking an audience with Jacob while (the being pretending to be) Locke was "marched straight up here as if he was Moses." Ben moves closer and asks Jacob what was so wrong with him. "What about me?" Ben beseeches the man he used to call master, but Jacob just replies, "What about you?" It sounds like a cold dismissal, but it's not delivered as such. It's a firm but not uncaring request for Ben to really examine himself, but Ben doesn't -- can't -- hear it like that. He raises the knife and stabs Jacob in the heart, twice, and Jacob quickly falls to his knees, spitting blood. "They're coming," Jacob says through the pain, and the Enemy's eyes go wide with what looks like fear. He kicks Jacob's body onto the fire, and he and Ben watch the man burn.

Back in 1977, things at the Swan site are still pretty crazy. Jack regains consciousness to see Kate pulling Sawyer away from the drill hole, and he helps yank Sawyer to safety as the scaffolding and all manner of metallic debris rush into the gap and hurtle toward the bottom. They land with a crash near the body of Juliet, who horribly managed to survive the fall, though she's still hurt and dying. She gets swallowed in panic before she breaks down and weeps, but she turns her head to see the bomb nearby, seemingly intact. Rolling onto her side, she gathers what little strength she has left, picks up a rock, and begins slowly beating it against the bomb. She cries and curses, but on the eighth (of course) blow, it goes off, engulfing everything in a flash of white light. And it's onto this dazzling screen that the series title displays with its signature drum crack, and the fifth and penultimate season comes to a close.

So.

It was a great, fun, exciting, tragic, revelatory episode, full of the typical promise of a "Lost" season finale. It was also skillful in the deliberate way it recalled every previous season closer: for some of just many examples, the bomb and vertically drilled tunnel mirrored the hatch detonation of Season One; Juliet's advice to Sawyer -- "Live together, die alone" -- was the title of Season Two's finale; Hurley piloted the van to the rescue like he did at the end of Season Three; and the shot revealing Locke's dead body (and the fact that it was, well, Locke's dead body) was just like the one that closed Season Four. It's as if, like the characters that went sailing through time, the series doubled back on itself and began to echo past and future storylines.

It was also fantastic to get to meet Jacob, who began the episode seeming cold and aloof but through the course of just a handful of interactions became empathetic. There's no telling how long he's been at war with the Enemy, the dark opposing force on the island, but even in the time of the Black Rock, their battle seemed old. I'm not at all one to reduce the show to a simple biblical allegory, positing that Jacob is God or his representative while the Enemy is Satan or a similar employee thereof. The series has always been smarter than that, and though it takes a page from the Bible for some of its themes and struggles -- Ben's reference to Moses, the temple-like rules about who can see Jacob, the vague parallels between the first half's opening sequence with the book of Job -- the story of "Lost" is more than that; it's its own thing, and it needs to be respected as such. Jacob and his Enemy are in a supernatural battle, but a unique one.

As for the nature of that Enemy, and the reveal that John Locke really is dead, here's what I wrote in the recap for April's "Dead Is Dead":

Ben was right when he said dead is dead, and that you don't come back, meaning Locke is really dead. The resurrections seen so far have been projections of real people, known to be deceased, whose bodies have disappeared; and they also know a lot about the island and are in tune with its desires and secrets. Alex knew Ben should follow Locke; Christian knew a lot, like how to save the island; Locke knew to go under the temple instead of through it. Locke's line about being "the same man" he always was could be a hint that he's anything but, and though he seems to be himself, he is in fact nothing but a living-dead projection manifested by the island.

The Enemy takes its shape as the smoke monster or as physical projections of dead people on the island. It seems to have access to their memories when it does this; Fake Locke knew everything that had happened to the real one, just as the projections of Christian and Alex reasonably appeared to be themselves. But the Enemy is just that, a thing of darkness that's directly opposed to Jacob, though for reasons still unknown, it couldn't kill him on its own but needed to persuade a third party to do the deed. Thinking about the level of machinations required in multiple timelines just to engineer the murder of someone from the island who would then be returned to the island, allowing the Enemy to in a sense become the dead person and thus have a pretty much unstoppable bit of emotional leverage against the killer -- well, it's head-spinning, in a great way.

It was also nice to see Ben admit to so much pretending when it came to his ties to Jacob. Ben, it's important to remember, was saved by the Others in the Temple as a boy, which could very well mean he's infected to a certain degree by the smoke monster and, thus, the Enemy. When Ben became leader, that early interaction with the Enemy would prevent him from ever being as close to Jacob as he'd want to be. Maybe that's what Jacob meant when he said to Ben, "What about you?" Ben could never have had all that his heart desires, the phrase woven into Jacob's sad tapestry.

In fact, the whole thrust of the episode seems to be that no one will have what their heart desires: Sawyer loses Juliet, and Jack gives up on getting Kate back. (I think the Jack-Kate-Sawyer triangle should resolve itself like the one in "Broadcast News." It'd be cleaner.) Ben murders the one person he worshipped. Even Locke becomes a more pitiable figure than before. He never made it back alive at all, since his murder was long in the making by the Enemy just to find a tool to use against Jacob. Dead is dead, and Locke is gone.

My head's still swimming with theories, and I have no hope of getting them all down now. Half of the fun of this show is chewing over it all summer, and I might even dip my toes into the murky waters of the comment thread to get my fix. (Be gentle; I'm a marshmallow.) But as for the biggest mystery -- what the hell happens after the bomb goes off -- I think it's important to look at what we know. The electromagnetic pockets allow for time travel, like the one at the Orchid; the time shifts always came with a warbling and flash of white light; and the season ended with text on that white background, not the typical white on black. It seems possible, even likely, that Juliet's detonating the bomb blew the Oceanic Six and Miles back to the future. Jacob did say "they" were coming, and it scared his Enemy, so he might have meant the arrival of Jack et al., who are somehow the only ones who can take down the Enemy now that Jacob is gone. Miles was probably also right when he reminded the gang -- again -- about personal versus global time, since maybe Jack always had thrown the bomb down the hole, and that always caused the incident that would lead to the crash, and that they would need the incident to blast themselves home.

But what happens to Sayid? (I'm pretty sure Juliet's dead, since Elizabeth Mitchell is cast on ABC's "V" for the fall.) When did Ilana and Bram join whatever group they're in, and how long have they known Jacob? Did Jacob makes his visits, seen in the episode's flashbacks, knowing those people would come to the island, or did he call them specifically to come? Did Jacob know what Locke would become? How many cycles of Others have there been? They had new recruits in the 2000s, the 1970s, the 1950s; how long has Richard been on that island working with people in that manner? Who came before? How and why did Jacob make Richard ageless? Like I said, I have too many questions, questions that I will no doubt enjoy discussing over the long eight months until the series' final season. There are only 17 hours of the show left, and though I'm certain some things will be labeled red herrings or left unexplained entirely, I know that last season will be a big one, and full of good things. I'm signing off on these recaps until then, but I look forward to January 2010, when everything starts to come together for one last round.

I'll see you on the beach.

Daniel Carlson is the managing editor of Pajiba and a TV critic for The Hollywood Reporter. He feels reasonably certain that he is, in fact, himself, and not a corporeal projection of a malevolent spirit. You can visit his blog, Slowly Going Bald.



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