The Overthinking Lost Open Thread: “The Candidate”

Your comments and discussion on the most recent episode of Lost: “The Candidate.”

And we’re back!  Wow, that episode was fun.  I haven’t felt so close to the edge of my seat during a Lost episode since… actually, I can’t remember when.  Lost, you’re back, baby!  I’m sorry I ever doubted you.

And now it’s question time.

This episode focused a lot on the idea of “fixing” people.  We recently learned that Real-Jack has given up trying to fix the world, yet Alt-Jack works the whole episode to convince Alt-Locke to let him fix him.

Question 1: Is there any chance that Real-Jack can fix Fake Locke in the Island Universe (whatever you interpret the word “fix” to mean)?  If so, how?

While Alt-Jack is working to fix Alt-Locke, Real-Jack is stuck on a submarine with all of his friends and a ticking time bomb.  Jack realizes that fixing this bomb isn’t going to work–the best thing to do is let the bomb run out on its own.

Question 2: Is it possible that the moral of this entire story isn’t just “whatever happened, happened,” but “whatever happens, happens”?  After all is said and done, is Lost just a story meant to teach us to “go with the flow, man”?  (If so, what do we make of the character of Jacob, who liked to think of himself as a “hands-off” guy but is clearly more “hands-on” than any other character in the show?)

Hmm, what else happened in this episode?  Oh, yeah.  Three major characters DIED.  (And one more maybe-died, but let’s save Lapidus-talk until we know his true fate.)

Question 3: True or false: In the end, Lost will turn out to be a “Ten Little Indians” plot.  In other words, do we expect everyone except Jack (and perhaps Kate) to die on the Island, whereupon Jack somehow uses his Jacob powers to make the Sideways Universe real?  (Whereupon Jack and Kate become the Adam and Eve in the caves?)

And… Question 4: What did you think of these deaths, anyway?  The first death I felt nothing, and the second two kinda-sorta made me feel bad.  Personally, I felt much sadder while watching the final Alt-Jack/Alt-Locke scene.  Matthew Fox and Terry O’Quinn acted the hell outta that.  To me, the emotions in that scene felt realer and more earned than the somewhat forced melodrama in any of the death scenes.

Or maybe I’m just sad that they killed off one of my favorite female characters after giving her nothing to do for two seasons.

Welp, see you next time!

15 Comments on “The Overthinking Lost Open Thread: “The Candidate””

  1. Nateiums #

    The largest nugget of character development I gained through this episode is that Lost is a tale of fixing Jack to take over a insurmountably important role.

    Although whether fixing or manipulating is the right term for it will remain another LOST mystery unanswered through the ages.


  2. Gab #

    1) No.

    Although, and I realize this is totally not OVERthinking, interesting choice to have what took Locke’s legs be a bonding trip on a plane with his dad instead of his dad throwing him out of a window- and how it was a plane crash that “fixed” him in the original timeline. Still, I don’t see Jack “fixing” Lockelganger because IT IS NOT LOCKE. Lockelganger is SMOKEY. Maybe if the real Locke was somehow walking around, Jack would fix *him*, but if Jack somehow redeems or heals Smokey, I’ll eat my hat. And that would hurt, because the only hat I own is a pirate one with pointy feathers.

    Of course, I’m already thinking of a scenario in which Jack does, indeed, help Smokey out… In which Jacob starts taking things way too far and Smokey decides he’d rather let everybody live. Smokey would fight for the Losties’ freedom, and Jack would either forgive him as he’s dying or reeeally hurt or maybe step in on Smokey’s behalf and deflect some or all of Jacob’s rage.

    Parallelism: Alt-Locke’s, “Trust me,” v. Lostie Jack’s. Both ended in tears. (And I knew Sawyer wouldn’t listen because of what happened last time he did. Makes you wonder what would have happened if he had this time, of course.)

    2) Perhaps, but that would be kind of anti-climactic.

    3) See above. Plus it would make me bloody angry. Kate deserves to be alone because all she does is hurt people. Jack is getting better in my eyes, but she still has never really done anything to make her seem like a worth-while person for me.

    4) Sayid’s was unexpected and jarring for me, personally. I thought he’d last longer. But he went out well, I think, in terms of what for- and I knew he was never *really* bad. I was sad, but there was so much going on I didn’t get time to freak out too much over him- immediately after he blew up, everybody else starts (potentially) dying as the sub fills with water, and the question of who will swim to safety was too prevalent for me to think too much about Sayid. I don’t know if that was on purpose or not, but I’m sure I would have cried more if his death had been built up a bit more or the END of an action/dramatic sequence instead of the beginning.

    And Sayid and Sun… Honestly, I don’t understand the point. They found each other, but was the sole purpose of their deaths to show they’d “never leave” one another again? Perhaps my maternal instinct is too vicarious, but what about their daughter? I was expecting Sun to order him to leave for their daughter’s sake. That kind of killed (hah!) it for me a little. They *had* a chance at a real life off the Island, and they *had* “redeemed” themselves. So I’m kind of perturbed.

    I know you said we’d talk about Frank when we know for certain if he’s alive, but may I say he’s totally awesome? “I’m not gonna wait.” Etc. Yeah.

    And… BERNARD!! Although I couldn’t help thinking the whole time Jack was doing his little investigation, “ILLEGAL!! HIPPA!! ILLEGAL!!” and Bernard was kind of shady, which surprised me.


  3. Gab #

    Oh yeah… Where was Miles?


  4. Kevin #

    First up, the BIGGEST news: the Lost series finale… will now be 2.5 hours! So be sure to get some sleep Saturday night — it will now run from 9 to 11:30 PM on Sunday the 23rd.

    @Gab: remember, Miles left the main group along with Ben and Richard, to look for more explosives back in Dharmaville.

    Which brings up BIG QUESTION ONE: I understand why Locke would think it was Widmore who loaded the plane with C4… but could it have been Ben/Richard/Miles? Could they be on Hydra Island? (I think the answer is “no”, because they would have just blown up the plane right then and there so as not to risk the lives of their friends… but what if Widmore got to them before they could hit the trigger?)

    Having said that: anyone else disappointed that we’re coming down to the big FINAL BATTLE, the WAR… and yet everything is happening on Hydra Island? Can we *please* get back to the important island ASAP? (You know… the one where Desmond is lying at the bottom of the well?)

    Also, anyone else disappointed that we didn’t get a scene of Smokey and Sayid firing at the “other” outrigger (from Season 5’s time-traveling) when they paddled over to Hydra Island?

    And just what is Desmond supposed to bring to said final battle?

    Aw, hell, I’ll just ask BIG QUESTION TWO now instead of waiting: wasn’t it odd that, when Jack went to visit Bernard and asked if he remembered who Anthony Cooper was… Bernard made the unusual reply “Of course I do, Jack!” Sure, maybe it was a totally memorable accident — guy crashes his plane and makes his beloved father a vegetable — but wasn’t there something more to Bernard’s answer? As if he knows more than he’s letting on?

    Okay, to answer mlawski now:

    #1 – Yes, he can fix Locke in the Island universe… I imagine he’d have to do it first in the operation in the Sideways universe — assuming Locke allows it — then, when the universes “merge” (if that is to happen), Smokey’s Locke form gets replaced by Sideways Locke somehow. Or else if the Sideways characters are able to “return” to the universe in which they belong… same thing happens. Walking, Sideways Locke takes over Island “Locke” (Smokey’s) presence.

    #2 – I don’t like to think of Lost as having a “moral”… if anything, I’d say more than “go with the flow” it’s “trust in the universe around you.” Similar, but not identical, I guess.

    And come on… Lapidus is dead. D-E-A-D *dead*. Mourn him, miss him, but the dude ain’t comin’ back! (And why else would they make the very, very important reveal that Sideways Locke also happens to be… a pilot? Because they’re still getting off on the Ajira plane!)

    #3 – False. We won’t know WHAT kind of story it is until the two universes reconcile. (See yet another point/complaint below)

    #4 – Sayid’s death I expected; Sun and Jin surprised me. But I admired that the writers had the guts to do it. (I was less emotional in their drowning scene than in Hurley’s tearful response. THAT got me.)

    Now, as for my “complaint” — personally, I find it hard to get involved in Lost episodes now because I keep waiting to see how things are going to shake out. It’s the writer in me. But I feel like until certain events/explanations happen, we’re still sort of treading water. (One: how the universes relate and will be reconciled; Two: the whole fertility thing; etc)

    That’s not a problem with the show, it’s MY problem — and yet it’s still one I can’t get over. There’s four hours of Lost left — well, 4.5 now — and yet I still feel like we’re so, SO far away from the finish line. I spend most of my time figuring out how the puzzle pieces will fall into place, and what the timing will be.

    Anyway, great, shocking episode. And next week’s (no spoilers) looks pretty stellar from the preview… sure to answer a bunch of questions.


  5. Bob #

    Okay – I honestly have no thoughts on the ‘Overall’ mystery of LOST yet. I’m just eating this episode and not considering what the calories will do to my waist.

    However there were things that happened in this episode that are taking my thoughts. Sayid dying – I agree with @Gab because everyone else was in danger right away. I also think it was because until this episode, Sayid was acting like a Zombie this whole season, so it was no big deal. Frankly, I was more surprised at his human turn then I was at his death.

    Lepidus dying hit home more for me. Poor guy. But at least he went out in a semi-decent way.

    Jin and Sun was, as they intended, heartbreaking to watch. But again I agree with @Gab – Sun should have said “Take care of our daughter” and Jin would have left. Simple as that. I was actually taken out of the moment because of this. I just kept of thinking of poor Ji Yeon, never meeting her father, her mother running off to find her ‘dead’ father and not returning. Poor kid.

    Also @Gab – I laughed at the HIPPA thing myself. in real life, Jack could have walked in, shown his medical card and gotten a lot further than simply walking in and saying “I was in Speed Racer, please help.” But then when Bernard knew him from Oceanic 815, I wrote it off as Bernard knowing that something bigger was going on.


  6. Bob #

    @Kevin – HOW COULD I MISS THE DESMOND PART! Darn week off! Two weeks ago, the whole ‘Is Desomond alive or dead’ was on Didn’t even register with everything else that went on that Sayid started acting human again after talking with Des.

    On to the questions:
    Q1 – I don’t think that Jack can ‘fix’ Lockelganger. We may get the ‘Oh Jack, I’m sorry I did this’ but I don’t think he’ll be fixed.

    Q2 – Its starting to look like this, but I certainly hope not.

    Q3 – I’ve never heard the direct “Ten Little Indian’s” reference before. I’m disappointed in myself for not catching it (Although until recently the Main Characters didn’t really start knocking off in mass)

    Q4 – Think I said it my last post. Sayid – nothing. Lapidus – NOOOOOOO. Jin and Sun – heartbreaking at the time, disappointed in retrospect.


  7. stabbim #

    1- If “fixing” Smokey isn’t part of the endgame somehow, then I’m not really sure what any of this was about. I’d like to think John Locke gaining Desmond’s ability to inhabit both timelines at once could play into this somehow…but I have no idea.

    2- For all the folks turning in “meh” responses to this possibilty, all I’ve got to say is it beats a “Trust in the Lord thy Jacob and lean not into thine own understanding” moral, which looks more and more likely the longer this thing keeps mining The Stand. I desperately want to see the remaining Losties strike a blow for humanism, refuse to play the game, and tell both of the demi-dieties to get bent. But that doesn’t seem to be where we’re headed.

    3- Yes and no. Will we see the body count continue to rise ’till all but a very few island folk remain, Jack prominent among them? Almost certainly. But considering Desmond’s story, I think the Sideways is *already* pretty darned real, it’s just a question of who can access what and how. But I do see it very much as an escape hatch, and I hope it’s used liberally for that purpose.

    4- Sayid’s affected me because it was so sudden and clear and unambiguous, and because it was preceeded by the return of his humanity which was the same. With Sun & Jin I think they were trying too hard, wringing every drop of melodrama out of it at the risk of becoming unintentionally comic…but the hands slipping apart afterwards got me. As for Lapidus, yeah: poor guy. But at least he went out with a wry quip, as it should be. I hope Miles is afforded the same courtesy.

    Kate getting shot actually made me gasp — partly because it came completely out of nowhere, and partly because for a second it really looked like she caught one square in the chest and it was all over for her. I don’t even like Kate, and I thought that would have been too far over the brutality line. But lo, she lives to annoy another day.


  8. Harold #

    And the Kwon is…..the Baby who is on the list. I bet the fact that MIB didn’t know which Kwon was on the list, and both of them dying meant it probably is their child.

    Next with is gonna be BIG and a lot of “SO THATS IT” moments for us.

    And Hurley balling almost made me cry. That hit me in the gut more than anything. Good thing he will be able see them soon.


  9. Harold #

    Oh….and where was Widemore???? He has had plenty of time to plan for this, and one guy just snips and power line and its bye bye muchachos?


  10. Kevin #

    @Harold – re: Widmore’s absence, someone was speculating that it’s all part of a long con on his part and Smokey’s… and that they’re actually working together (or not working together, but both working to their own nefarious ends).

    I’m not sure I buy it, but it would explain, to quote STAR WARS, “the ease of [their] escape.” Widmore brings no one but NERDS to the island for the final battle… the sub is left unguarded… I dunno. Something to think about.


  11. Wordsmith #

    Well, I’m just giddy – finally getting to discuss this as it happens! Up until now, us folks in Australia who refuse to resort to piracy have been stuck a week behind, but we finally caught up! And, oh boy! Questions!

    1. I don’t think that’s even a possibility: Locke as Locke is gone. Jack X might be able to fix Locke X, but how could Jack Original Flavour fix the Man in Black? That’s a bit of a stretch, I think. Even Alt-Locke working some mirror-magic and winning control of the Man in Black seems a bit of a stretch. MiB is wearing a disguise, an illusion of John Locke – not inhabiting Locke’s *actual* body. If Alt-Locke were to bleed back into the primary timeline, I could see him… maybe… as a massive stretch… ‘resurrecting’ his buried body (zombie season…?), but I can’t see him bleeding into a body that isn’t even his.

    But to return to the question: no, I don’t think Jack will be able to fix Lockelganger. Or the Locke-Who-Was, for that matter, unless there’s an upcoming Jack-learns-voodoo training montage.

    2. Hmm. This is a notion I hadn’t really considered – particularly since it flies in the face of both sides of the frequent dichotomy of Fate vs. Free Will. Both sides concern themselves with *something* directing the characters’ paths. Fate – it is predestined; they’re on a one-way road that controls which way they go. Free Will – the characters themselves control their lives and what they want to happen; it’s all about choice. “Whatever Happens, Happens” (present tense) is about neither – there are actions out of your control – that don’t direct you in any precise way – and your choices are solely reactions (as opposed to actions). WHH-present tense straddles this dichotomy, addressing both without taking sides, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this philosophy becomes a little more prominent.

    3. Given the penchant for children’s fiction, I’m surprised Ten Little Indians hasn’t made an appearance at all! Or even Agatha Christie’s take on it, for the matter. But which version of the poem would be more accurate for our story? There are two versions on Wikipedia that I’m using for this ad hoc analysis. In the first, there really isn’t a lot of death – the first little Injun just “toddles off home” and the final one gets to live a happy, married life – even if he had to shoot number two to get it (Jack will shoot Kate…?). However, there are also references to falling out of canoes (the outrigger chase which we’ve yet to see the other side of). The second version, a la Agatha Christie, embraces the morbid a little more. We have a red herring swallowing one by the sea (Sayid’s romp in the Temple Pool?), a big (Polar) bear hugging one, a few getting frizzled in the sun (AKA. blown up?). But the final one HANGS HIMSELF. O.o

    So… I don’t think there’s a literal parallel, but the notion of them all dying one by one… maybe. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say it’s a purposeful whittling down. However…

    Question 3, Sub-Section A: Did anyone else notice that the only surviving main Losties (Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley and Claire) were ALL kidnapped by the Others…? Anything important here? Were they following Jacob-orders after all, and Ben just wanted credit…?

    4. DEATH! :(

    Sayid – I actually mumbled OH NOOOooooo as he grabbed the bomb and ran off. It was sudden and a delightful (?) shock, and I think it worked, although I suppose I would’ve liked some more hints at Sayid’s restored humanity. His quickness to analyse the bomb was classic Sayid and that clinched it for me as a viewer, but as an analyst, I’m going to need to go back and look for clearer clues post-Desmond at the well. If he had been a little more human for a little bit longer, his sudden decision to sacrifice himself might’ve carried a tad more weight.

    Frank – Yeah, I’m positive he’s gone. He wasn’t on the beach at the end, and considering we saw Sawyer knocked unconscious by a falling pole, I’m pretty sure Frank wouldn’t have retained the ability to swim for an exit after getting slammed with a heavy sub door. When he got hit though, I did gawk a little. Two main characters offed within a few minutes! My god, no one is safe!

    Jin & Sun – I don’t think it’s completely sunk in (no pun intended) that they just died. I was convinced they’d make it through the season, but alas… I didn’t find the scene overly melodramatic – it was emotion-on-the-sleeve, sure, but wouldn’t you be a bit overdramatic if your significant other was trapped in a sinking submarine? I also thought the psych-out with the filing cabinet was clever – they pull it off Sun and for a second you think HUZZAH! and then they reveal the metal frame. The similar double take with the bomb wires was also effective in this regard.

    So, for me, I didn’t find the scene itself to be diassapointing in the slightest – it was unbridled tragedy. And the shot of the hands… *bawls* I suppose what sits uneasily with me most is the lack of clear resolution to their purpose. Yes, they were reunited, but surely they meant more to the overall story… And it did occur to me, as with Harold, that Kwon is Ji Yeon. I wouldn’t be surprised.

    Also: Forgetting about Ji Yeon. Yes, it’s a little troubling, and I was half-waiting for that to be mentioned, but it didn’t ruin the scene for me. Given that the two were reunited after three years apart, less than a day before their death, I can forgive them for their final decision to die together. Sun’s life post-Island had been all about avenging Jin/finding Jin, and Jin, too, had a fair bit of “I must find Sun” after the Ajira-folks time-travelled. Given that all their efforts had finally culminated, it was fitting, I think, that they die together – and to have there be an element of choice in the matter.

    Anyhoo, that was a bit overzealous, but hey, I’m still on a high after realising I don’t have to avoid the internet anymore!


  12. dock #

    I literally cant think of what to write. I was also expecting Sun to mention the child, which kinda makes me think one of the two might make it out alive (Jin already survived a massive explosion…) but I dont know if theres enough time for that. Sayyids death was the right idea but poor execution. I wanted to see more conflict in him as the good and evil fought for control. It seemed like he was good, then bam! evil, then bam! good again…i dunno..kinda sloppy. I guess, again, if they had more time….

    I think itd be funny to see alt sawyer and alt jack meet up and immediatly hate eachother w/o knowing why.

    Its interesting that Locke has not had his a-ha! moment even though he had a near death experience. I wonder if thats because island locke is dead? He was on the edge, mumbling things in his sleep, and the phrase “I wish you had believed me” (which is starting to give me goosebumps when I hear it) obviously affected him.

    Now that Sun/Jin and Sayyid are dead, all oceanic 6 members, and all candidates, I wonder if their alt-selves will be affected at all? I would think they would, in some way, and I really hope (even though I love all those characters) that they stay dead just for the sake of legitamacy. Id really hate to have everyone come back to life for a happy ending. Lost (and its fans) deserve a mixed, mostly unhappy, but satisfying ending, where we can say “good for him” and “sucks for them.”

    Was Jack right? Would the bomb have not detonated? I say yes. Sawyers meddling means he killed them, not Locke. I guess the universe itself also follows the “Whoever touched it last” rule…

    Q1- Nah, theres no fixing Evil Locke. Jacks going to be the new Jacob and will live on the island, his presence somehow keeping Evil Locke there. Evil Locke will of course “badly want to kill him.” The more things change….

    Q2- Ive kind of taken a mixed lesson from Lost. Sort of like you have a destiny that you cannot escape, but the kind of person you are, the relationships you have, the way in which you will be remembered, and what you do when you are met w/ your destiny (which is a choice rather than an end point) is up to you. You are predestined to face this choice, but what you do before that shapes who you are, and what choice you make at that point is entirely up to you.

    Q3- I kind of think everyone will die. Besides Jack. I mean, the subs gone, the plane is the only way out, and Ben Richard and Miles are planning on blowing it up. Lupidus is dead so they wont be flying it unless the Dead Locke awakens w/ the memories of alt-locke theory is true, although, again, the time constraints make me think that is not happening. I actually think Lost will be the one show that dares to get you invested in multiple characters only to kill them all off, (can you imagine the imact a Hurley death would have?? It would be the most dramatic moment on television) Although I LOVE the idea that “Adam and Eve” are Jack and Kate. I cant remember, but wasnt one skeleton covering the other, like in a protective manner ala the casts found around Mt. Vesuvious (sp prob WAYYY off)? I wonder what that would be from. Another detonation possibly?

    Q4- I already basically said it, but I think all the deaths felt a little rushed. Although they were necessary and in the grand scheme totally worked (Lupidus wasnt gonna be able to survive this). I was hoping for a “Wedge character”, meaning a non-essential character making it from begining to end, although I cant think who that would be now. But have you noticed, the most perceptive and almost creepy even alt-people have been the ones who died on the island? Assuming Rose and Bernard died during the detonation (and if not, where the f are they? They were on the island at that point, too). I didnt feel let down at all, though, because I understand the restrictions of television programming etc. I was just hoping to see Sayyid really get deep into the internal conflict within him. He should have either been more evil and then made an even more drastic final decision (if there is one), or should have slowly come out of it more clearly. Maybe Im just pissed they killed my favorite Tv character since Wolverine of the animated X-men series…

    Okay, so betting pools. Whose next to die? Kate is at 4:1, Sawyer 4:1, Hurley 10:1, Jack 100:1, Miles 2:1, Richard 8:1, Ben 6:1, random jobber 1.1:1, Whidmore 5:1, Desmond 20:1 Evil Locke 250:1. Remember its NEXT to die…


  13. dock #

    btw I totally didnt look over my comment for spelling or grammar. Sorry, I just didnt have the time today. Please forgive me. Please??


  14. AsWicked88 #

    So Locke is impervious to bullets, and can single-handedly take over an airplane with armed guards. But for the submarine, he needs everyone to go. I understand why he wanted to get everyone on the sub, but how come no one said “Hey John, why don’t you do that neat airplane trick on the submarine and we’ll catch up with you in a few minutes?”


  15. Melissa D. #

    Question 1: I don’t think so, mostly because Jack DID let him talk first. Also, island Jack has gotten to the point where he’s stepping back and letting things happen. He’s become the show’s man-of-faith. If anyone’s going to “fix” Dreadlocke, it’ll either be Hurley who spoke to Smocke first or the second coming of REAL island Locke.

    Hmm, what else happened in this episode? Oh, yeah. Three major characters DIED. (And one more maybe-died, but let’s save Lapidus-talk until we know his true fate.)

    Question 3: Half true half false. I think pretty much everyone will die except for one or two characters. But, the sideways universe has been real this whole time, and wasn’t just caused by an explosion but by small changes in the time loop that create an entirely new stream. The problem is that perhaps to save the life in one timeline, the other consciousness has to die for it to become a full ‘person’. So Jin and Sun die on the island so that they can have their life together in the Sideways. Des wanted sideways Locke to die so that real Lock could “come back” and infect Dreadlocke and ‘fix’ things.
    I also think Adam and Eve are Bernard and Rose, and that they remained in the 70s for whatever reason, and thus it’s their (20-30 years decomposed, as we were told) bodies. They are the light and dark couple after all.

    Also… Just something I noticed that I thought this group of people might appreciate… In “The Substitute” Locke gets help from Rose (dark) and in “The Candidate” Jack gets help from Bernard (light).


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