Lost recap: Five days before The End, the new Jacob arises
Starting with that amazing first camera shot, trained closely on conflicted hero Jack Shephard's blinking eye, Lost has focused much of its topsy turvy storylines on the evolution of Matthew Fox's aptly-named lostie leader.
And in Tuesday's episode, "What They Died For," we finally saw all of that degradation, redemption and resignation pay off, as Shephard moved from being a candidate to replace island caretaker Jacob, to taking over the big job.
Along the way, we got another one of those moments I like to call Lost's "Patented Plot Download," where one character sits down with a bunch of other characters and explains whole hunks of backstory and mystery in one swoop.
Stuff like this is usually the kiss of death for good TV and films, because it's the embodiment of the most boring thing you can do in either medium: Telling the audience something instead of showing it to them.
Even for Lost, which depends on such moments to explain all the plot twists and mythology, the download segments can be tiresome (a shining exception this season: anytime our smoke Monster Known As John Locke opens his mouth, the coolest stuff falls out, leaving me begging for more)
On Tuesday, we got the mother of all downloads, from the Man in White himself -- confirming that Jacob chose our lostie candidates because, in different ways, they all needed redemption from flawed lives.
"I chose you because you were like me -- you were all alone," said Mark Pellegrino's Jacob, in his final appearance from beyond the grave (Why will he disappear once his ashes are burned up in a fire? That's one Lost mystery I'm confident we'll never see solved.) "You were looking for something you couldn't find out there. I chose you because you needed this place as much as it needed you."
For fans who have been paying attention, this was no news flash. And no castaway has made a longer, bumpier journey than Jack Shephard, who came to the island as a hard-drinking, self-pitying man of science, became a full-on man of faith and later learned to reconcile the two. Like Jacob, he's convinced his fellow man is worth saving and feels compelled to take on the job.
Which completes half of what fans expected -- most Lost prediuction centered on Jack becoming the new Jacob. But who will be the new Man in Black once our castaways take the current one out?
-- Interesting to see Desmond marshalling the castaways in the sideways world and pushing them to sense the other reality (really cool to see Michelle Rodriguez's Ana Lucia make an appearance as a bribe-taking cop; just hope she had a driver to take her to the set). I'm convinced now more than ever that the finale will involve our losties choosing between the sideways world and our core reality in some way.
-- Charles Widmore's hapless scientist sidekick Zoe -- a friend calls her "Castaway Tina Fey" -- joins the long line of Lost characters killed in an almost arbitrary manner after a significant showcase. She was a beautiful, frazzled distraction unfortunately discarded as a way to reinforce Smokey's brutal disregard for human life.
-- Who got Desmond out of the well while our castaways were getting their plot download from Jacob?
-- Sad as it was to see Richard Alpert taken out in such a pointless manner, you knew once he offered to go out and speak to Smokey that he was going to die. It was like watching a pretty girl jump in the shower at the start of a Halloween movie.
-- I love how Jacob shrugged off the fact that Kate's name was crossed out from the list of potential candidates -- a fact which has kept Lost fans unhealthily occupied for weeks -- by saying he disregarded her because she was a mom. "It's just a line of chalk in a cave," he said, causing legions of fans to swat their foreheads in disbelief. Dude, on Lost, its NEVER just a line of chalk in a cave!
-- Was it me, or were Ben Linus' eyes crossed all the way through that last scene with Smokey Locke?
And now that the easy questions are out of the way -- yes, Ben Linus is still a revenge-seeking toad, yes, Jack is the new Jacob -- we can start debating the real question.
How in the world is all of this going to end Sunday?