Quick Hits: LOST S6, E13 — “The Last Recruit”
This is going to be a relatively quick Quick Hits, as I’m swamped with work and it’s late, but I wanted to get some of my thoughts down on paper… err… keyboard and pixels. Anyways, this was the type of episode that I gather a bunch of the action starved folk were hoping for. A lot happened and there wasn’t really a whole lot of tangential bits; provided, however, there was a distinct focus on bringing Claire back into the fold.
As I’ve noted in the past, I’m not a big fan of the rejuvenated, Rousseauian Claire. Emilie de Raven may be one heck of a looker, but she’s no Charlize Theron and she can’t pull off acting while not being attractive. It didn’t help that her character has been in limbo more than Michael, et al. They at least gave her something to work with in this episode, putting a concerted focus on her relationship with Jack. Both in the sideways universe and on Island, we see Jack and Claire meeting for the first time as knowing-brother and sister.
This character rehabilitation did some good, making her slightly more useful than Zombie Sayid; however, they’re still stretching and trying to make the Kate-Claire tension work. Unless they end up wrestling in baby-oil, it’s just not going to be all that great a television. In fact, the best part of the Kate-Claire interaction was Sawyer emphatically insisting that Claire be left behind and explaining that she isn’t the same woman they left on the Island. Again, this was a bit of the producers speaking the minds of the audience, but it also served an important part of the plot line… at least I hope. I do hold out some belief that the producers have good reason to keep Claire and Sayid in tow.
More Quick Hits, after the jump.
- The title of the episode is “The Last Recruit” and I come back to my general suspicion that all is not as it seems with Jacob. I hate to play up the #TeamSmokeMonster card, but there’s little reason to believe Jacob has told the truth other than the fact that we were given his story first and presented with bias to believe he truly is good. Again, in the MIB and FLocke, we’re granted certain instances of brutal honesty from FLocke. In this episode, he speaks frankly with several characters, but most notably with Jack. His candor is something that does seem to resonate with Jack to a degree. Especially when he admits he was the apparition of Christian Sheppard. His rationale — that he needed to lead Jack to water — was both compelling and also a little bit short of convincing. The MIB seems always to be just a little less than wholly on the level.
- What the MIB told Jack next, though, was stunning in its simplicity and its truthiness. The MIB laid out a perfectly rational explanation of why he chose Locke and overtly and plainly expressed Locke’s frailties. I particularly found the explanation powerful in its focus on deriding Locke’s status as the Man of Faith. FLocke mocked Locke as a sucker who fell for the Island, but notably he said he chose Locke because Jack brought him back and presented the body to him in a box. Notably, this played on Jack’s sense of guilt and on his beliefs of superiority as a man of reason over faith. It also left open the implication that it was Jacob who was the puppet master pulling the strings… a belief Jack has entertained for weeks.
- And that brings me back to this… Jack is the Last Recruit, I think. Except it is not the recruit as Candidate (the title of the next episode). The “Recruit” is that of the MIB. Is is possible that Jack is the replacement for the MIB and not Jacob? Now, I know this doesn’t necessarily play with our belief system that the MIB wants to leave the Island. In fact, both Ying and Yang have alleged FLocke’s intention is to leave behind the Island and doing so by leaving with the Candidates (of whom Jack is one). But what if, as so many suspect, we are left back in a parallel balance with two players, sitting on an Island with one turning to the other and expressing how bad he wants to kill the other. For a long time the idea was entertained that Jack might be one of those characters. Most put him on the side of Jacob; however, when one thinks about it, Jacob was the man of the temple and the MIB was the man of the jungle proper… darkened without the light of faith. Are we so sure that Jack is not actually the replacement for Smokey?
- Regardless of whether or not Jack represents a potential replacement, it’s quite clear that Locke has placed an emphasis on, and at least temporarily succeeded in, earning Jack’s loyalty as against Sawyer and crew. It was interesting to see Jack truly defect. He’s been in a non-leadership role since Juliet’s death, but to see him abandon his fellow survivors and jump from Elizabeth while claiming “The Island is not done with us yet” and doing so without a fight was really quite a change in character. That he did so with a simple apology for getting Juliet killed was even more dramatic.
- This actually seemed to be an episode that truly was without a focal character. Instead, we saw flash sideways for several of the core characters (Claire, Jack, Jin, Locke, Sawyer, Sayid and Sun). For some, the flashbacks were really pretty solid — notably, Sawyer saw some significant action for the first time in weeks.
- The scene towards the end featuring artillery fire and the assault on Jack and Locke was actually pretty cool. Even if no beach warfare scene can be done without drawing comparisons to Saving Private Ryan.
- Zombie Sayid had his big wishing well showdown with Desmond. To noone’s surprise, they neither a) showed what Sayid actually did, nor b) followed through on the implied gunshot shown unconvincingly in the episode previews from the end of “Everyone Loves Hugo“. My verdict: Zombie Sayid should be left behind just as Sawyer suggested. In fact, the best thing to happen to Zombie Sayid is Sawyer actually calling him a zombie. That said, the scene with Desmond itself wasn’t such a bad thing. If nothing else, it reminded us that LOST is a bit of a love story (as almost always happens when Des is in the picture). That Des convinced Sayid that he had to choose to not kill him because he otherwise would have to admit to Nadia that he was an evil man who had killed to get her back. This actually is a landmark moment in trying to revive Sayid (they haven’t markedly shown that said resurrection has occurred). Sayid noted to Benjamin and Locke that he no longer felt anything. Presumably, he chooses to let Desmond live (or even free him) and he does so specifically because he still feels. One has to wonder, though, why Sayid says he doesn’t feel when he contradicts that by saying that he’s acting in the hope of getting Nadia back.
- The first coincidence that I really, truly liked in the Sideways universe was Sun and Locke being rolled into the emergency room — each undergoing a near-death experience — and Sun screaming out to Jin that “[Locke] is him!” in a panicked terror. It’s a reminder that Junjin Kim can really bring it as an actress.
- The show finally delivered on the somewhat drawn out reunion storyline for Jin and Sun. I admit, I felt pretty good about it. Maybe not quite as solid as some of the prior reunions on the Island (see, e.g., Rose and Bernard), but it was heartwarming and only slightly ruined by Lapidus noting that Sun’s ability to speak English had been restored.
- Zoe continues to be a puzzling character. Why is a conglomerate executive like Widmore — a man with a military background and a history including leadership of the Island — entrusting a geophysicist to lead raids, interrogate and nurse prisoners and now interact with FLocke-MIB? It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The producers at least acknowledged this with the reference back on her introduction of Zoe saying that perhaps Widmore should have tapped to lead a raid a mercenary instead of a geophysicist. Given the actress’ comments that she’s a key player in the remainder of the season, I couldn’t hope more than she meets a Nicki and Paolo ending.
As a final side note, does James Cameron really think Avatar is going to be a hit on DVD? If it is, I will shake folks who buy it and make them understand it was the IMAX 3D talking. The movie itself was not good enough to buy. The multiple DVD release commercials were a bit surprising. Especially since it still plays two shows a weekend in my local IMAX.