01 June, 2008

Frozen donkey wheel

So here's the thing.

I was wrong about the season finale of Lost. Or at least, I'm pretty sure I was wrong - there certainly wasn't the big three-year jump I was expecting. Oh well.

Still, I have spent all that time the past few weeks thinking about the term "frozen donkey wheel", wondering where it had come from, what it could mean. And yet at no point did it occur to me that there might be an actual literal frozen donkey wheel in the episode - not in the actual scene that had the FDW codename (that would be the final revelation of who was in the coffin), but there was one pivotal scene of someone turning a frozen donkey wheel. And I never saw that coming.

I had thought about writing this post in the way Alan Sepinwall writes the posts on his blog, with brief introductory comments, and then full comments with spoilers on the main post page, so anyone that hadn't seen the episode would not be spoiled. But I spent a couple of hours last night working on trying to figure out how to do it, and I have no idea - the instructions on this site are impenetrable. So I'll just put the text here on the main page in a white font, and if you want to read my comments on the Lost season finale, just highlight the text. Sorry about the inconvenience. (I'll have a couple of non-spoiler comments down the bottom that you should be able to read without highlighting.)

[highlight from here] Okay, so there wasn't a big 3 year leap in time - if only because we learned in the final scene that a lot of bad stuff happened after the Oceanic 6 left the island. But there definitely was room for the island to have moved forward in time a shorter period - and the most likely candidate is 10 months, since Ben's flashforward in The Shape Of Things To Come, where he arrived in the Sahara in late 2005 with a bloodied arm and wearing a Dharma parka, clearly followed on immediately from the point where he used the frozen donkey wheel to move the island. If that's where he went to, it's very possible the island also moved to that point in time as well

So Locke was in the coffin. Not a big surprise - he was one of the most popular guesses - but it does raise interesting questions. What happened on the island once they moved it? What exactly did they move it to? How did he die? (There was a reference to suicide - did he really kill himself, if so why, if he was murdered, by who and why?) Why do the Lostees refer to him as Bentham, even when they're in conversation among themselves - preserving the lie, or somethign else? What was Locke doing off the island? And while I know there were definitely problems between the Oceanic 6 and Locke, why did no-one, not even Hurley or now-appropriately-aged Walt (man has he grown up) go to his funeral to say goodbye to someone who was once a friend? Plus, he's now the leader of the Others, which should be a good opportunity to get further insight into the island residents, especially mysterious unaging Richard Alpert.

But more interestingly the fact that Locke is dead is a possible move towards the popular theory that Locke is actually Jacob. After all, he is dead in 2007 and will need to be taken to the island in that coffin. This obviously has strong echoes of Christian, who also arrived on the island in a coffin, and is now Jacob's mouthpiece. And, if we assume that the 50-year-old Adam-and-Eve skeletons they found in the Rape Caves back in season 1 actually do have some significance to the story (and
Lindelof and Cuse have said they do), then there has surely got to be some point where characters actually travel back to the past. And if it happens, why couldn't the characters, trying to return to the island, accidentally travel into the past. Locke's body is therefore on the island back in the 1950s, where he is brought back by the island and becomes Jacob. So that's my new theory - I wasn't fully on board with the Locke/Jacob theory, but now I am, and that's how I think it will work out.

One of the things I love about the show is that the showrunners are totally commited to the show and its world, but they never lose sight of the fact that it's rather absurd. Witness the laught-out-loud exchange between Locke and Ben, "Is he talking about what I'm thinking about?" "If it's time travelling bunnies, then yes." In fact, that whole scene was pure gold, with Locke watching the video, then getting nervous about Ben loading the machine with metal just as the orientation video explicitly states "no metal in the machine".

The scene of the Oceanic 6 in the raft was surprisingly intense, as the showmakers played on our memory of the Others taking Walt in the season 1 finale. When the boat appeared in the distance, we knew the Oceanic 6 would be safe, but there was also Desmond and Lapidus also on the raft, and we didn't know what would happen to them. So there was real fear for those guys. Are these bad guys in the boat? Will they kidnap Lapidus or Desmond (who had only just survived drowning)? And then the most unexpected moment of the finale happened - Penny appeared. The Desmond/Penny is easily the best love story in the show, and their reunion was every bit as emotional and powerful as I had hoped. I was looking forward to their ultimate reunion, but was certainly not expecting it this early. But it makes sense - especially since Ben promised Widmore (in The Shape Of Things To Come) that he would kill Penny. What would happen if he tried to send Sayid, who was rescued by Penny and who will now know that this was actually Desmond's Penny. Watching that whole story play out should be fun.

I've long believed that Claire is actually dead, died in the house explosion (again, in The Shape Of Things To Come), and the Claire we've been watching is an island manifestation like Christian Shepherd. And her creepy appearance in Kate's dream seemed to me to be one further confirmation of that idea.

Yay for creepy appearances by undead Christian, this time to let redemption-seeking Michael know he could go, about a second before he died. (Interestingly, Walt doesn't seem to know his father is dead.) Also Yay for Hurley playing chess with undead invisible Mr Eko.

The revelation that Charlotte may have had some connection to the island was interesting - partly because it had me (in my trying-to-keep-on-top-of-possible-revelations mode) realising I couldn't remember what happened to Ben's girlfriend Annie. And when I went back and checked, it seems we never found out - she was just gone by the time of the purge. Now, it's not her, but for a moment I thought it might be, before I realised Charlotte is too young to be Annie. I've seen some people suggest she might be Ben and Annie's daughter, and that is an interesting idea. At the very least, even if she has nothing to do with Ben or Annie, she has some connection to the island, and just what that will be should be interesting to discover.

One final note. I did love the opening - the way the "Previouslies" end on Jack's "We have to go back" scene from last season's finale, then the episode proper picks up immediately from that point. I never saw that coming, but it was perfectly executed.

[stop highlighting]

The main thing was, it was an exceptional episode. There were no big game-changing shocks in the way the last two season finales had (the Portuguese monitoring station offering us a glimpse of the outside world, or the flash-forward revelation), but since we already knew how a lot of the story was going to end (with the Oceanic 6) or where they were heading towards, it was fascinating watching everything play out. Some exceptionally tense moments, a few nice character beats, genuine laughs, leaving us with a headful of questions to think about over the oh-so-long eight month wait until season 5 starts next year.

And by the way, while we now know who it was in the coffin, two alternate endings were recorded. In one, James"Sawyer" Ford is in the coffin, in the other, it was Desmond Hume. The two other endings (along with the real ending, so don't watch if you haven't seen the episode)were on Good Morning America, and can be seen on YouTube. (Man, I hate the Good Morning America hosts - they are astonishingly annoying, even in this small clip. Imagine how awful it would be to watch an entire programme with them.)

No comments: