MAY 30, 2008By Joe Diliberto Posted: May 30, 2008
"It's not an island. It's a place where miracles happen." That's what John Locke said when trying to convince Jack not to leave, but that might also serve as the mantra of fans as the long-awaited finale to Season 4 of LOST unspooled. Let the mind-frakking begin!
Transition was the big theme of the episode: The Oceanic 6 returned to the outside world and John assumed the mantle of leadership on the island.
We began in the past — if returning to a previously seen future can be considered "the past." Last season ended with the flash-forward of Jack and Kate, this episode picks up with Jack wailing about needing to go back to the island. Only now we see that Kate stops her car, backs up and lays a smackdown on Jack for suggesting they return. We also finally learn whose corpse was in that coffin: "Jeremy Bentham." Who? Precisely. Like the show, I'll save that tidbit for the end.
This was a jam-packed finale, filled with deaths, emotion and explosions, answers and questions — and another "white event."
We got some answers, like how Ben came to be wearing Dr. Halliwax's parka in the Sahara, and why no one from the freighter has busted the Oceanic 6 for lying. But we also got an unsatisfying answer to why the Oceanic 6 are lying about the circumstances of the crash of Oceanic 815. At John's suggestion, Jack convinced the others to lie to protect those left behind — but how would telling the truth endanger those people? As was pointed out, they traveled 3,000 miles to another island to fake their boat story, so it's not like anyone is going to search the area, but far more importantly, the island was moved! Even if Jack had provided exact latitude and longitude, the island isn't there anymore. Perhaps pretending that everyone else died will spare the families more grief, and keep rescuers from risking their lives searching the high seas — but neither of those rationales was put forward.
I also have some... "issues" with the freighter blowing up. Recall that Frank had trouble finding the Kahana while flying out from the island. Then Hugo spotted it — behind them. I think this is significant, because the fuel-starved helo probably did not take the same vector out from the Island that it followed in, so might the Kahana (or the helo) have shifted in time? Perhaps the freighter exploded at some point in the future relative to the Island, so Jin might still be alive — again, relative to time on the island. However, I believe Michael is truly dead. That's because, after keeping him alive for months, the Island finally gave him permission to die. Just before the bomb detonated, Christian Shephard appeared and told Michael, "You can go now." The Island decided he had completed his penance, sent its avatar, Christian, to release him from this world just as the C-4 exploded in his face. Sawyer's sacrifice for Kate (leaping from the copter), while noble, set up probably the hiatus' most maddening question: What did he whisper to her before plunging overboard? We know from the fastforwards that it was some kind of vow that she would do something for him.
Some really brilliant performances were on display last night. At the top of that heap was Yunjin Kim's Sun losing her mind when the freighter exploded with Jin trapped on the deck. More than just mere wailing, her frantic gestures and the agony on her face made Sun's pain palpable. Michael Emerson is always top-notch as the reptilian Ben, but he added a little something extra — a dash of regret that Ben was leaving the island, but importantly, surrendering leadership to John.
This was also one of the more action-packed episodes, with the brutal Sayid/Keamy throw-down being a highlight. At the time it happened I shouted at my TV: "Keamy's wearing body armor!" But that set up the much more satisfying moment when Ben got revenge for his daughter's murder.
One of my favorite parts of the night had to be the touching reunion of Desmond and Penny. He was filled with such joy and love at seeing her, while she was dumbfounded to have plucked him out of the middle of the sea.
Also way up there on the mystery list is how/why Locke left the island, and why he was calling himself "Jeremy Bentham." Yes, the very last shot of the season revealed that "Jeremy Bentham" was an alias used by Locke, who returned to civilization under unknown circumstances. There was a real-world Bentham, so I looked him up: Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) was an English philosopher and great liberal thinker who advocated, among other things, animal rights, equal rights for women and the decriminalization of homosexuality. I also found some references about him dabbling in time-travel theory. Bentham had his body preserved under glass when he died, and his corpse is still on display at University College in London. Even more interesting, Bentham was greatly influenced by an earlier thinker: one John Locke, the English philosopher whose most famous theory, "tabula rasa," held that humans are born without innate ideas. All of this provides clues as to why Locke would become known as Bentham. Do you get the impression that character names are not random on this show?
Raise your hand if you think you'll have trouble waiting until January to find out what happens in Season 5, wherein Jack must convince the uniformly unwilling Oceanic 6 to return to the island. And here's one more question to ponder until 2009: Why did Ben tell Jack that he return John's body to the island when he wasn't part of the Oceanic 6?