Why did Kate have to show up on the sub and mess up Sawyer and Juliet’s happily-ever-after? How annoying! Sorry, I just had to start with that because of all the developments in this week’s episode, that was the one that stuck with me the most. This will be a scattered post because I don’t have the benefit of my Tivo to review the episode (I’m in a DVR-less hotel room in Los Angeles).
This episode’s dominant theme was leadership, thus the title “Follow the Leader.” The question is, who is the rightful leader, and who’s leading who? We have Locke as the new leader of the Others, with Ben as his sidekick and Richard as his advisor. Then there’s Jack unofficially declaring himself leader of the 1970s gang, while Sawyer throws in the towel to run off into the sunset with Juliet. There is also tension between Eloise Hawking and Charles Widmore in the ’70s, as they argue over what’s best for their people. And perhaps most intriguing, Locke has positioned himself to challenge the ultimate island leader: Jacob.
A Role Reversal:
- In the past, it has always been Jack who made rational decisions and seemed to act in the best interest of everyone on the island, while Locke was the one putting too much trust in the Island’s mystical forces, relying on faith rather than reality to guide him. In this episode, however, their leadership roles are shifting. Kate even told Jack that he was beginning to sound like Locke, when he told her his plan to detonate the bomb to change the timeline of island events. Has life really been so miserable for Jack that he’s willing to risk everything to reverse all the events they’ve been through? I must say that I agreed with Kate when she said it hasn’t all been bad. Regardless of his motivation, Jack is now looking crazy-eyed, as he swims through underwater tunnels to what appears to be the same subterranean passages in which Ben was confronted by the Smoke Monster. Eloise said that the bomb was located right under the Dharma camp, so I’m guessing that the pool of water under Ben’s house drains to that area.
- While Jack is talking crazy and hypothetically, Locke is suddenly Mr. Straightforward. He somehow knows exactly when to lead Richard to the old crashed plane (from season one – the one that was Boone’s deathtrap), so that Richard can treat other Locke’s gunshot wound and tell him that he has to die to save everyone. (I was glad they explained that encounter that we only had half the story of before now – interesting that it was in the future). Then he demands that Richard take him to Jacob without delay. Not only that, but he takes the entire camp of Others with him, and tells Ben that he plans to kill Jacob! Some of this is crazy talk, but Locke is certainly taking matters into his own hands and seems more grounded in reality than in the past.
I Wash My Hands of It:
- I thought it was realistic that Sawyer was ready to be rid of the island, when it became a choice of protecting the whereabouts of Jack, Kate, and Daniel, or preventing Radzinsky from torturing Juliet. He made a reasonable decision to tell Radzinsky what he wanted to know so that he and Juliet could go back to living a life of domestic bliss. After all, he has nothing to go back to in 2009, but has a woman who loves and respects him in their 1970s present. It seems like Juliet would want to make it back “home” to see her sister and her sister’s child, but perhaps at this point she cares more about just getting off the island.
- Of course, all of these plans for happiness and freedom are moot, since Kate shows up just before the sub leaves the island. Boo! Based on the preview for the season finale, it looks like she’ll convince Sawyer and Juliet to go back to the island to rescue everyone from Jack’s crazy plan.
A Happy Answer to a Lifelong Question:
- One bright spot in this episode was Miles’ semi-resolution with his father. Dr. Chang basically interrogates Hurley about current events until he caves and admits they are, indeed, from the future. This frees up Miles to admit to Chang that he’s his son. And then later on, in an even better moment, he watches from afar as Chang verbally assaults (in a display of impressive theatrics)Miles’ mother as she waits to board the sub. Miles realizes at that moment that Dr. Chang wasn’t really a deadbeat, uncaring dad. He cared for Miles and his mother so much that he did what was necessary to make her leave the island, so she wouldn’t be in danger. It’s really sad that she lived the rest of her life thinking that Chang didn’t love her and didn’t want to be a part of their family, but at least now Miles knows that the truth is more complicated, and that Chang was a decent man.
Crossing Over to the Dark Side:
- Sayid made his first appearance (that I can remember) since shooting Ben. It is appropriate that he is dressed in black, as he seems to have resumed his remorseless, amoral attitude. He has no qualms about killing two of the Others (albeit to protect Kate), and he sounds similar to Jack in his belief that he has already changed things by (as far as he knows) killing Ben. Kate broke the news to him that he didn’t succeed. So now Sayid is willing to ally himself with Jack, most likely for another chance to reunite with Nadia, no matter how small the likelihood of success is. I can’t blame Sayid for his willingness to destroy the island. It’s been nothing but bad news for him, as I discussed in my review of this season’s episode “He’s Our You.”
The Mysterious Mr. Alpert:
- When the episode opened with Richard working on a model of a ship, I was momentarily excited, thinking that maybe we would finally get a Richard-centric episode! I am dying to know his back story. We got a couple more hints in this episode. One is the fact that he has a ship in a bottle that resembles the Black Rock. This reminds me of the episode a couple seasons ago when young Ben encountered Richard in the jungle. At that time, Richard looked very old school, with longer hair and a ruffly Pirate-esque shirt (reminsicent of Seinfeld’s puffy shirt, actually). Could it be that Richard arrived on the island via the Black Rock, when it wrecked years ago? Ben did say that Richard has had the role of island advisor for a very long time. Hmmm…
- There seem to be four paths headed toward one another as we come to the season finale: Jack and the Others who are trying to detonate the bomb, Radzinsky and the Dharma-ites who are trying to apprehend them, Locke and the modern Others who are going to confront Jacob, and newcomers Ilana and Bram (with Frank as their captive) who are seeking what lies in the shadow of the statue. The variables in this recipe for trouble are Sawyer, Kate, and Juliet; Hurley, Miles, and Jin; and to a certain extent, Ben, since he probably wants to do anything in his power to prevent Locke from gaining even more power. Will Rose and Bernard play a role somehow? And will Claire reappear? So many questions, so little time for answers!
I look forward to next week’s season finale, but at the same time I know that it will leave me with tons of questions that I’ll have to wait months and months to have answered! Thank goodness I have five seasons to enjoy rewatching until next January.