Lost Season Six Episode Sixteen, "What They Died For"
This was not the episode I was expecting. I hoped the title meant some back-story-rich flashbacks with now-dead characters (Faraday in Ann Arbor, bitches!), not another reiteration of how important it is to stop Smokey blah blah blah. But I didn’t kick it out of bed, as it was pretty straight dope. The body count-o-meter went up a few more notches, the plots advanced on the island and in the sideways world, and the previous episode tied into things, with Jack’s coronation as Jacob 2.0.
Early in the season, we started speculating that the presence of this mysterious alternaverse gave the writers license to destroy one world or another, as they’d always have the other one left over. Seeing as every in-the-know character keeps on telling us that the Man in Black wants to destroy everything (often “everyone you care about”), they may well pull the trigger on the island world right quick, meaning that the locus of action will switch to the sideways world, and Desmond will have to rouse the remaining sleeper characters right quick. To what purpose, of course no one can know – if the sideways world becomes the real world, can they do something to flip back to island reality? What’s so wrong with the sideways world that a character who lives in it would want to go to a world in which they are dead?
As these episodes progress, there’s less fuel for speculation, really, and more a sense of resignation. Not in a bad way, but I’m just eager to watch the series play itself out. That, and I’m thinking a lot about what this series signifies. For me it has been an exceptional ride, quite possibly the most enjoyable show by virtue of the room for speculation and nerd-out sessions that the series’ many mysteries and lacunae have provided. It’s been the most complex narrative I’ve ever been exposed to – Lost needed to be tackled in a group in order to have a remote chance of appreciating it. It’s been the most interactive narrative experience I’ve had outside of a video game, and even if the finale winds up sucking and everything was a dream and none of the various hanging narrative threads are tied together, it won’t change how gol-durned awesome the past six years of Lost viewerhood have been.
So with that, I’ll cut short any further speculation, and begin the prep work on the Dharma Mai Tais, Otherton Cave Light Beers, Smokey Soul Tobacco and cans of fucking peaches (oh wait, wrong show) that we’ll need for the finale, which for once may turn out to be the TV Event the promos always promise. See you after that.
AV Club writeup
Lost in Lost’s critical culture
PS no way Alpert is dead.