Last night's LOST kind of threw me for a loop with all the ends met by various folks. I felt it was a good episode all-around with some action, intrigue, and tender moments as well. But for all that, I still have my reservations.
Sayid takes one for the team here. Good on him. But wasn't he this soulless automaton raised from the dead at Esau's beck and call? I presume that Desmond's pleading from the bottom of his heart and that well must have made Sayid actually feel something. I hate to see him go. He was a great character because he was the most conflicted and, to my mind, the most in need of redemption. Sayid could alternately be exceedingly cruel and then kind. But I guess he was never fully purged of his tortuous past – there was still malevolence inside of him – and so his candidacy had to end. Presumably his soul or whatever there is left of him is now stuck in the Island version of purgatory and we will hear him in the whispers.
The Kwons are also dead. I didn't find their reunion last episode to be particularly moving but their demises brought out some of the sentimental me. However, I found it odd that they spent so much of their last moments together chatting in English when you'd think it would have been in their native tongue. While I didn't dislike Jin and Sun, I felt the mystery behind these characters dissipated a couple seasons ago and their Odysseus/Penelope situation just never carried the emotional heft that Desmond/Penny's did. We saw their relationship progress and they mature as people, but their story fell into an orbit around the main conflicts and mythology of the Island and never played a central part.
Lastly we bid farewell to Lapidus who took a mighty blow from a hatch on the submarine. The pilot was an eminently likeable guy who was unfortunately relegated to standing around looking flummoxed most of the time. Sure, he had his moments in season 4 but, after that, he was wallpaper. Too bad.
With the show near its terminus, I look back and think that the show's producers kind of screwed the pooch by going with 18 show seasons. I'm not sure why they did this exactly but I sure hope it wasn't because of pressure from fans who had nothing better to do than whine about some reruns. I have enjoyed every season of the show but lots of characters got short-changed, not the least of which were the freighter people. I mean, Miles can speak with the dead yet his claim to fame is being Sawyer's right-hand man when they are stuck with the Dharma Initiative. You'd think his supernatural power could have been used a bit more than it was. Charlotte was underutilized as well. She grew up on the Island so you'd think that she could have been a good source of DI history but she got the nosebleeds and was gone all too soon. Bernard and Rose are probably the poster children for characters that get precious little screen time. Even if they weren't candidates and were meant to be peripheral, an older couple in a good, loving relationship made for such a nice contrast to just about everyone else in the show. It's what no one else on the Island can have. They are strong and inspirational so why keep them in the dark so often?
Moving on from the characters, we saw the Esau Stratagem prove only partially successful last night. He managed to off a couple of the candidates but now Jack is fully cognizant of the erstwhile smoke cloud's limitations. He knows that Esau's M.O. is the long con and that he cannot directly kill any of the candidates. But the remaining Losties are powerless to stop him. Sawyer knows he cannot cross water while in his smokey incarnation but, since Jack was able to shove Esau into the water at the dock last night, it seems more likely that Esau's ability to go to the Hydra island was impeded not by water per se but rather by the fact that the ocean provided a circular barrier. The monster cannot cross rings of ashes nor circular sonic fences.
In addition to circlephobia, Esau cannot kill his jailer nor candidates for that job, and, according to Illana, he is no longer able to take the form of anyone but Locke. He also seems to have the ability to peer into people's memories and perhaps their minds generally. Plus he likes to kill indiscriminately. Why immediately kill everyone aboard the Black Rock except Richard? Why kill the pilot of Oceanic 815? Why kill Rousseau's shipmates? Conversely, why let Kate and Juliet go after a simple flashbulb mind reading?
Presumably we'll find out more next week because "Across the Sea" looks to be the episode where we find out the history of Jacob and Esau. In the present, we're down to three candidates - Jack, Sawyer, and Hurley – and Kate. Widmore's gang is still hanging in there but I think it's going to come down to Desmond. His ability to withstand electromagnetism of various stripes will no doubt be handy for someone down the line. I presume he's still alive, anyway. Surely the sacrificial Sayid saw the light and spared him. This must have thrown a spanner in Esau's works too.
I haven't talked much about the flash-sideways because there were only a couple bits, namely Locke's semi-conscious ramblings about button pushing, that indicated that the two worlds were bleeding into one another. Eloise Hawking has some explaining to do.