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Thoughts on ‘Lost’ Episode 16 “What They Died For”

This penultimate episode of the “Lost” series, entitled “What They Died For” was probably everything that last week’s episode was not for “Lost” fans. It was exciting, fast-paced and gave us the return of arguably the series’ greatest villain. Ben Linus.

Desmond is the fail safe key defender of the island, Jack is now its protector and more death and destruction befell our characters. RIP Charles Widmore and Richard too? Maybe. Oh and Zoe. Wait, who’s Zoe? Ugly Tina Fey. Oh right.

The episode started in sideways world and there’s a lot to talk about there. But let’s begin on the island.

It picked up where “The Candidate” left off. The remaining candidates are back on the beach seeming more broken then ever. Kate has a bullet wound and Jack has to stitch her up. Pale-faced and worn, she recounts the deaths of Jin, Sun and Sayid and tells Jack “Locke” is responsible for this. We have to kill him. Kate has not had much of a role this season other than standing around and having occasional conversations with people. So, it was nice to see her back and personally I thought this was one of the better acting performances from Evangeline Lilly.

Before our quartet leave the beach and head into the jungle to find Desmond, a touching moment as they stare off at the waves crashing on to the shore. A final goodbye to Jin, Sun and Sayid.

Ben, Miles and Richard return after what seems like ten episodes, but it has only been four. They took off for Dharmaville and dynamite at the end of “Everybody Loves Hugo.” As they find themselves treading across the village where they once lived. Miles hears the dead speaking to him. Richard tells Miles they were standing over the makeshift grave of Ben’s daughter Alex. Richard buried her after she was shot and killed by Martin Keamy.

This essentially re-introduced one of the themes of the episode. Ben is still upset at the island about losing his daughter. Despite his apparent redemption in “Dr. Linus”, it appears Ben is hell-bent on revenge once again.

Back at Ben’s house, the trio is preparing to grab some C4 to blow up the Ajira plane, but then Zoe and Charles Widmore show up. They know Smocke is coming and want to hide in Ben’s safe room, but Ben has other ideas. He wants to confront Smocke. Richard believing that the Smoke Monster is after him also goes outside. Bad move.

Smokey goes all ‘click, click, whoosh, bang’ on the ageless Mr. Alpert sending him flying into the woods. On the surface it would seem Richard is a goner, but if that’s the case it was a pretty harsh way to ditch this character that’s been on the show since Season 3. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see Richard come back in some form. Perhaps, Smokey was just getting him out of the way so he could manipulate Ben.

Or is Ben manipulating Smokey? As we’ve known throughout the series, Mr. Linus always has a plan. Smocke wants Ben to kill some “people” for him and he offers the island in return. Ben willingly agrees. He also rats out Widmore and Zoe who are hiding in his closet panic room. Smocke makes short work of Zoe, slitting her throat. Then MIB confronts Widmore. He threatens the business tycoon and tells him, “the first thing I’m going to do when I get off this island is kill your daughter.” Unless…you whisper in my ear why Desmond is important.

Desmond is important because of his unique resistance to electromagnetism. Which just so happens to be the light at the center of the island that may or may not control the fate of man. So yeah, Desmond pretty, pretty important. Desmond is also apparently a fail safe for Jacob or the current island protector. More on that in a second. Widmore said Jacob had come to him and told him to bring Desmond back. So, that’s been Widmore’s mission the entire time? Or was he really up to something else? We may never know.

Ben doesn’t like secrets he doesn’t know and shoots Widmore. This death reminded me of Ben killing Jacob at the end of last season. The MIB finally got revenge on his archenemy in that moment and Ben did the same in this one.

After this murder, Ben asks Smocke “did you say there were some other people to kill?” As I said, I kind of saw Ben’s return to deceit and destruction coming, but to be on the brink of redemption and to turn so mightily speaks to how complex a character Ben Linus has become.

Once they reach the well to check on Mr. Hume, Smocke and Ben see that he has escaped. Some dropped a rope down to him. Sayid told Jack he was still in the well, so it would seem strange that is was him. And Jack and friends were busy with Jacob all night, so did they sneak in before Ben and Smocke arrived? Or is there someone else who helped him out?

This is when Smocke reveals what Widmore whispered to him. Desmond is a fail safe for the island because of his ability to withstand electromagnetic energy. But instead of helping protect it, Smocke believes Desmond can help him destroy it. How can Desmond be able to protect the island and have the ability to destroy it? Not sure. But to me, this almost ensures that Desmond is going to die in the finale. At least in our regular time line. His fail safe quality is similar to the fail safe at the end of Season 2. Desmond turned the key in the Swan station, releasing the pocket of energy and saving the island.

Back to our other losties. While the foursome is trekking in the jungle to find Desmond, Hurley sees young ghost Jacob. The specter demands Hugo give him his ashes. Why? So, he can burn them and appear to everyone in human form. Can’t you do that with any dead person’s ashes? Sheesh.

Jacob invites everyone around his burning ashes for a nice fireside chat of “What they died for.” Our island entity tells Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sawyer that Jin, Sun and Sayid all died to protect the island. All of the candidates were brought to the island because they were all flawed and looking for something they could only find on the island. Redemption.

In this scene, we also find out that Kate’s name was crossed out because she was a mom. I found this to be a lame answer as to why her name was crossed out. And frankly, I didn’t even need to know why her name was crossed out. I mean, Sun was a mom. Ji Yeon’s at home going “seriously Jacob, did you ever think of that?” In Korean, of course. And Sawyer is a dad and Jin was a dad.

At any rate, Jacob needs a replacement and he is going to give the losties “something he never had, a choice?” This line was very vampire Lestat for me from “Interview with a Vampire.” Made me think of a creepy, long-haired Tom Cruise. Just saying.


As suspected, Jack is ready for his destiny. Doc Shephard volunteers to become the new island steward. Jacob takes him to the river and reenacts last week’s scene that Jacob shared with his mom. Jack drinks the latin-blessed water/wine and becomes the new Jacob. “You are like me now,” Jacob tells him. The same line island mother used on Jacob.

This episode was also very intriguing off the island, but I am running out of time. This whole “job” thing is seriously getting in the way of my “Lost” analysis. So, I’ll sum of quickly and honestly if you’re reading this you already watched the episode and don’t need a half-assed blow by blow retelling from me.

One thing you need to know. There’s a concert. Really? Yup. And everyone is going to be there. It’s the must-attend event of the year for anyone who flew on Oceanic 815. If you can’t make it you better be dead. Or in jail. And if you’re in jail. Break out!

Desmond the fail safe is on a mission to reunite everyone in “Lost” lore at a concert. To do this, he turns himself into police and then prompts a prison break. He busts out Kate, Sayid and himself with the help of (I’m still a corrupt cop in sideways land) Ana Lucia. Hurley pays her a hefty fee of $125 thousand to pull off the escape. Hugo takes Sayid and Desmond goes with Kate, who has to wear this dress. Why? The concert. How many times do I have to say it? We’re going to a concert.

Jack’s son: “Dad, are you coming to the concert tonight?”

Jack: “Yes. Will your mom be there? And is she going to be Juliet or Sarah”

Jack’s son: “I can’t tell you. That would ruin the surprise.”

In between all this, Desmond gives Ben a beat down to help him “let go” and awaken him to his island self. This leads to Ben questioning Desmond’s motives and possibly awakening Locke to his sideways history. We haven’t seen Locke and Jack get the “flash” of memory yet, but with Locke going in for surgery on his back. It can’t be far off. Especially since the finale is just days away.

Can’t wait. And did you hear? There’s a concert?

A few quick hits.

1. When Jack wakes up he finds another bleeding cut on his neck. His this his island self “bleeding” through into his sideways self? That body reflects the punishment he is taking on the island? First with the nuclear bomb and then the sub crash. I can’t see it being taken any other way than that.

2. Has the missing coffin of Christian Shephard really been located? What was the point of Desmond making that phone call to Jack? Perhaps that’s where Sayid and Hurley are headed to pretend they have the coffin and meet up with Jack.

3. Although, he’s an evil character, is was sad to see Ben’s sideways character interact with his daughter probably now knowing that he got her killed. Also, was it just me or were Ben and Rousseau one dish wash away from making out? That mental picture’s not doing me any favors.

4. With the return of island consciousness, may come the return of our man of faith. Locke repeating his often spoken line to Jack “Maybe this is all happening for a reason.”

5. Best line of the night Hurley: “You didn’t tell me Ana Lucia was going to be here.”

6. Second best line of the night Ben to Smocke: “Want some lemonade?”

7. Is Ben really going to betray everyone? Or is this part of a long con on Smokey?

8. So, does this mean that the sideways world is indeed the work of Smokey? If the island is at the bottom of the ocean and destroyed. It would seem that way. Perhaps, Desmond is getting everyone together to reboot time once again and reverse it all.

9. Better ending? Jack and Locke sitting on the island with Locke telling Jack how much he wants to kill him. Or…a final shot of Locke in the sideways universe with the audience not knowing if it was Locke or MIB?

What do you think? What’s the best way for it all to end? Does MIB win and then lose when Desmond gets everyone to “let go?”

And get to that concert! Okay, just don’t tell me what I can’t do.


I’ll be back with one last recap next Monday.

Until next time “Lost” fans.

posted by Seth Szilagyi in Lost and have No Comments

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