Lost season 6 episode 16 review

It's a bit more of a straight-down-the-line Lost episode this week, and James reckons more people will warm to it as a result...

6.16 What They Died For

It’s fair to say that anyone who was disappointed with last week’s episode of Lost will probably be more than happy with this one. Personally, I enjoyed the all-Jacob flashback, which draped its answers in implication and subtext, but if you’d rather just get things straight, well, you can’t beat the scene in this episode where everyone sits around a fire getting their questions answered. Part of me expects that some people would be happy for the entire finale to just be that.

Personally, I prefer things to be a little less direct. That scene in particular was nothing but completely unrefined exposition. Not very imaginative, but if it pleases you, well, even I have to agree that we’re more than overdue a little straight talking. Whether the answers are satisfying, though, depends on what you were expecting.

Unusually for Lost, this episode included almost every active character in roughly equal measure. It was good to see Miles, Ben and Richard again, even if it seems like they didn’t have much to do. We already knew their plan to blow up the plane was barking up the wrong tree already. As Widmore put it, it’s been wired up since they got here.

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This plot thread did, however, give us some amusing Ben moments, and managed to dispatch Widmore, Zoe and possibly Richard, so it has served some purpose in the plot. Though I have to say, if that was Richard’s death scene, I’m disappointed by it, and along with Frank, he’s a prime candidate for ‘appeared to be killed but wasn’t really’. Although I did find it funny that his earlier insistence that he could talk to Smokey turned out to be, well, misjudged.

All things considered, I am slightly concerned by some of the sidestepping that’s been going on in Lost‘s mythos recently. Ben’s realisation that he wasn’t summoning the monster at all, and Jacob telling Kate that the candidate eliminations weren’t actually so important could both be either a brilliantly executed twist, or a frantic back-pedal, and the fact that I’m unsure which they are makes me suspect the latter. The problem with having so many threads is that sometimes you have to just cut them off rather than tie them up.

Furthermore, some of the bigger plot twists of this episode seemed to rely on viewers being incredibly naïve, something six years of Lost has trained us not to be.

It seems highly unlikely that Ben’s defection is genuine, and similarly, when Jack has so openly accepted the role of being the new Jacob, we can pretty much guarantee he’s not going to be the man doing the job for long, either because he’ll die or because he’s not going to be needed. And let’s face it, it was always going to be Jack who got the job, wasn’t it?

The episode did have its high points, too. Sawyer’s belief that he killed Sun and Jin was both incredibly well acted and a strong pointer to Sawyer’s final redemption. I can see him dying in the finale now, if not replacing Jack.

In the sideways universe, Rousseau’s appearance was a fun one, showing us what she might be like had she not been stuck on the island for a couple of decades, and who here doesn’t enjoy watching Ben get punched in the face? Especially by Desmond.

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As for the mystery of Jack’s estranged wife in the alterna-verse, it’s surely going to be Juliet. Who else could it be, at this point?

At this point, though, the nagging mystery of the flash-sideways crew is how, exactly, they fit into all this. We had a bit of a clue with the news that Desmond is Jacob’s “failsafe”, but what does that really mean?

Perhaps the end of the sideways-verse plot will merely be the return of everyone’s ‘real’ memories and the knowledge that, even though the island’s influence ruined their lives in the real timeline, they do get a second chance. And if that’s the case, I’m not sure how I feel about it.

One thing this episode did hammer home is that the finale is within spitting distance. It’s all coming together – in both universes – and right now, it’s anyone’s guess how it ends.

The only question I want to know the answer to is whether the final episode is going to be good enough to make the whole endeavour worth it. And, of course, let’s hope they explain where the polar bear came from for people who stopped watching halfway through season 1 and only came back for the finale. That’s an answer I’d like to see given.

Check out our review of episode 15 here.

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