Now that was a download.
After what felt like a slow episode with fewer revelations than met the eye last week, an otherwise stellar final season of Lost returned to form in a big bad way with Episode 610, The Package.
It hit me so hard, in fact, that my decision to forgo early reaction mania--after finding myself flip-flopping ceaselessly over last week's episode--and not do an instant recap again this week has magically evaporated into the ether.
Lemmmee see---nope, no hesitation anywhere to be found.
For anyone else who missed Sun and Jin, it was gratifying to see them center stage in what felt like the smoothest example of the blending-through-the-years style of storytelling Lost has been employing so far this season. The call backs were legion, yet they were smooth as silk. And each one of those callbacks provided either relevant information or, in the case of Sun's garden, relevant and poetic location.
And the revelations came fast and furious tonight, blowing the cork-in-a-bottle metaphor out of the water when it comes to clearing things up for us. Last week's beach blanket bingo between Jacob and Richard now feels more like an intermission compared to the way the mythology kicked into high gear tonight. So much came clear that any potential to keep looking for head-fakes was sliced to the bone. I never felt misled or confused at any time; rather I just felt like everything was sliding into place, with the emotional character stories and the action/adventure tale of mystery just dovetailing right into sublime perfection.
So, let's make a quick list of what the heck just happened: (just click "read more" below) . . .
1. The Sideways World is coming after they leave the Island. It's the same Universe, only it's what happens after Smokey gets off the Island and "everything changes." That was an early theory that has always felt right, and Widmore and Smokey both confirmed it for us. Leave the Island and everything changes. Leave the Island and you end up in Sideways World. Charles flat out said it, and Smokey seemed to be thinking it in every exchange he had with a Lostie.
2. Widmore is a good guy; or at least a Team Jacob guy. There is no love lost between old Smokey and Charles. In the end, Widmore is standing by his commitments to the Island and Jacob. I don't see any way now not to understand that he is an ally of the Island, first and foremost. Maybe he wants to control it in the end--although I don't believe that--but he wants to save it before everything else.
3. Jack seems to be slipping into the Jacob role very smoothly. The transition has been building the past few episodes, but tonight seemed to confirm that he is indeed the top candidate to be the next Man With The Plan on Craphole Island. Another hoped for--but never quite believed--theory bites the dust, as far I am concerned. I had really thought they might go for Sawyer as the next Jacob. Sawyer has always been the long range thinker on the show, and I was hoping they would find a way to pull off Jack as the surprise next Man in Black.
I never really believed that, however, and I was merely hoping that maybe that switch-a-roo between our two Alpah males was coming in the end. But I am sure glad to be wrong, because--and this cannot be said loudly enough--Lost is almost always best when I am flat out wrong and they leave me gobsmacked. I was just knocked out of my socks by Jack and Sun's seaside chat, when Jack just really had his Jacob vibe going on for him, girlfriend! He pulled that tomato out and I nearly plotzed. Was that tomato really there in the garden, or has Jack actually tapped into some Jacob-like powers? Exactly what has happened to Jack since he sat on that cliff next to the lighthouse? He's definitely and believably channeling Jacob's personality, but might he be channeling more than that?
This is why I watch Lost, in order to be surprised and delighted by something I never saw coming. I never saw Jack transitioning this quickly and convincingly by this point in the season. Hell, I still was not certain that he really was going to be the next Jacob, despite his leading man status, until his cliff notes chat with Sun turned me into true Jack/Jacob believer. It snapped me to attention, as for the first time I could see the end game coming.
4. Damn. Lost is ending.
5. The Sideways World is screwed. There are some good times for some (or so it seems), but overall it's a bad place for our Losties. Can't get anymore straight with that notion than by seeing that Jin was targeted for assassination and Sun was left gut shot right in her baby bump. And if the Sideways World is screwed, then that just may mean we are watching only the First War of the Island. I don't see the series ending in the Sideways World, so therefore that means our Losties are going to have to go back. "We have to go back, Kate!"
6. Smokey ain't no good guy. (Damn. I buried the lead.) Old Smokey, all covered with crags, may be a mixed up baddie--and one who was possibly shanghaied into service, either by hook or by crook--but he's not a good guy. He's out for Smokey, consequences be damned. And who cares if a thousand Jacob-is-the-Devil paragraphs go up in a puff of black smoke, because I got to watch Terry Q'Quinn and Alan Dale give each other the stink eye while explaining a whole hell of a lot about our story with just a few looks.
7. Widmore may have been a real jackass at one time, but he's mellowed now. This really does explain the anomalous scene in The Constant, when Widmore gave Penny's address to Desmond. That always itched and itched at me. It made me wonder if secretly Widmore was working on the right side all along; or at least on the Island's side.
8. "We have to go back, Kate!" I wonder if when the story shifts to the Sideways Losties having to get back to the Island and fix whatever went wrong (or do whatever they have to do in the Sideways world in order to reverse things), if they will then simply move full time into the Sideways World? Will the Sideways World then become the focus fior a number of episodes? Because the current Island story seems to be ending just as the Sideways tale is amping up to 11?
9. This story has just gone to 11.
I'm so there now, in a visceral way that even my joy over Dr. Linus and The Substitute didn't stimulate--although I bet when I watch those episodes again now, even those instant classics may just ramp up another notch. I'll bet I see a lot of stuff I simply did not have the eyes to see without being able to incorporate what was revealed tonight--both in terms of character and plot.
Man, think of those two episodes actually being even better. The mind boggles.
They hide it all in plain sight, Darlton does. That is what makes them Darlton.
(And I did not just use the oxymoronic phrase "instant classic." You did not read that.)
10. If there is to be a new MiB, will it be Sun?
Let's take a quick second with this last one. If someone has to be the MiB, then someone's getting screwed. The MiB looks to have the crappiest job in the Universe. That still seems pretty clear. Good or evil--or anything in between--it's all relative if the guy got stuck wreaking Jacob's vengeance against his will for all Eternity. Who the hell would want that job?
But it seems to me that they have made a case that the job is necessary; the Yin to Jacob's Yang. And if Jacob can die, can't the MiB die, too? And wouldn't that mean he would need to be replaced, too?
If that is so, then to me this episode was setting up Sun to be that candidate, which would make a lot of sense as to why Sun and Jin have had to spend so much of this season on the sidelines. Such a development would move them front and center at the end, which would be both ironic and poetic as hell. And heartbreaking. Really, really heartbreaking. But I have to believe that there will be heartbreak coming. I'll believe in happily ever after for everyone when you pry it out of my cold dead hands. (Hey, a mixed metaphor. I got one in.) And Keamy did say, "Some people just aren't supposed to be together." I don't think that line was simply referring to Sideways Sun and Jin, but to ever incarnation of Sun and Jin. From Season One through to tonight, something has always happened to split Sun and Jun asunder. Sometimes that thing was emotional, sometimes it was a thing entirely out of their control. What if, in the end, they are simply cosmically not meant to be together, because Sun is meant to be the next Man in Black, or the first Women in Black?
And what if Jack is meant to betray the promise he made to her tonight, just as Jacob apparently "betrayed" the Man in Black--all in the name of the greater good?
A lot of "ifs" in those last few rambling paragraphs (such is the instant recap), but that's only one point out of ten with a lot of "ifs" in it. Otherwise, seems like they gobsmacked us with a whole hell of a lot of Answers (with a capital A-N-S-W-E-R), and they did it while telling exactly the sort of moving and powerful character story that made me fall in love with this show in the first place. And a whole lot of characters got a piece of the development action, too, with Jack and Widmore and Sayid and Smokey and Claire all given big heaping doses of character clarification, expansion and/or change.
But it was our sweet subtitled spouses of yore who ended up providing the biggest and most emotional moments. And they were some of the best moments of the entire series, as far as my instant reaction ass is concerned. This Sideways Sun and Jin story touched my heart in the same surprising way their stories always seemed to do during the character heavy first two seasons. Every time I started to forget about them back then, a Sun or Jin (or both) story would come on and make me fall in love with them all over again.
It was so nice to have that feeling back again. And it was so appropriate that just as everyone was wondering whatever happened to them--BANG--here comes a fabulous old fashioned Sun and Jin tale wrapped in a final season, mythology flavored slice of bacon.
And that's an instant recap.
Yeah, it only took two hours. It was instant.