They gaveth, but mostly they tooketh away. The writers of tonight's fourth-season finale of “Lost” delivered enough information to keep us giddy with conjecture until next year, when the series returns for its penultimate round. But, of course, they also handed us a bunch of new little questions about, oh, life, death, ghosts, time, space, Walt, Christian Shephard, Claire, and, most of all, John Locke.
The two-hour episode culminated in a fairly awesome reveal (spoiler alert -- continue after the break)...
...when we learned the identity of “Jeremy Bentham,“ the supposed suicide in the casket. The dead man was Locke, looking eerily embalmed, his head as smooth and round and baby-like as ever. Locke had come back and seen Jack, Kate, and Walt. “He told me that after I left the island, some very bad things happened,” Jack said to Ben, standing over Locke at the funeral home. What bad things happened after the Oceanic 6 and Desmond left, after the island was moved and disappeared like a stone falling into the ocean, after Locke took his place as the new leader of Richard Alpert’s Others?
Sorry folks. See you next year.
The episode was dynamic and busy enough as it relied heavily on action- adventure, including the explosion of the bomb on the freighter and a major smackdown with loud punch audio between Martin Keamy -- the head Rambo dude -- and Sayid. There was an awful lot of running around the island, and an awful lot of flying above the island in the helicopter. Sawyer made his selfless leap to the ocean to keep the helicopter light enough to fly, planting a classic action-hero kiss on Kate‘s mouth before jumping out. We also were treated to a majestic and satisfying reunion between Penny and Desmond, like the climax of an old big-screen romance.
But the finale wasn’t as mind-bending as last season’s farewell, during which we received the show’s first flash-forward. It wasn’t a game-changer, so much as a new shovel load of clues. We still didn’t learn much about the magical properties of the island, or Widmore’s motivation. The overall message was something we already knew -- that while Jack succeeded in getting the Oceanic 6 off the island, he had also come to realize that he shouldn’t have, that Locke, the man of faith, was right all along. The direction for next season seems fairly clear: Jack needs to find and return to the island, to assuage his guilt, and he must return with all of the Oceanic 6 as well as Locke’s body.
Why does he have to bring everyone, as Ben says? Surely it has something to do with a time-travel rule about not changing the future, or not changing the past.
That Jack will most likely bring Locke’s body back to the island raises interesting questions about the original flight 815. Jack’s father’s body was on that plane -- was he being returned to the island in the same way Locke must be returned? Is some kind of history repeating itself now, as Jack tries to get back to the island with Locke‘s body? Is Charlotte -- with her ever piercing, ever withholding eyes -- like Jack, desperate to be back on the island?
Questions, always questions. We took one step forward, for sure, but we also took two steps back. And that’s exactly how we like it.