"Lost" Season Six, Episode 15: "What They Died For" Review

5/19/2010 Posted by Admin


"Lost" Season Six, Episode 15: "What They Died For" Review

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

After the pace was basically slowed to a near crawl with last week's mythological origin story "Across the Sea," "What They Died For" picks up directly where "The Candidate" left off and we join the few remaining Losties as they begin their journey to avenge the deaths of their friends and end the war waged by the Man in Black once and for all. As far as series finale lead-ins go, this is by far the best the series has had.

Spoilers herein.

Following the format of "The Last Recruit," the episode doesn't really center on any particular character. The flash-sideways show us a variety of different situations occurring at once, mostly due to the influence of Desmond. We begin with Jack and Claire, who are together again as brother and sister. They get a call saying Oceanic has found their father's missing coffin, but it turns out it was Desmond on the other end of the line.

Desmond has returned to Locke's school, and as he appears to prepare to run the poor guy down with his car again, Ben intervenes and Des gives him a beat-down, triggering memories of the other timeline. Half-enlightened and baffled, Ben tells Locke that perhaps Desmond was trying to help him "let go," and this discussion pushes Locke back towards Jack.

The scene that follows between Jack and Locke has been something so much of the alt timeline has been building toward. Locke tells Jack he's willing to go in for the experimental surgery that may get him walking again. Could Jack and Locke's back-and-forths throughout the series truly culminate in Jack, the ultimate "fixer," fixing Locke so that he'll be out of a wheelchair? I can't think of a better way to end their story, although it's hard to say if it would really matter or not without knowing how real the flash-sideways really are.

Meanwhile, Desmond turns himself in for assaulting Locke and Ben, but it turns out he's plotted an escape for himself as well as Kate and Sayid. His partner-in-crime turns out to be none other than Ana Lucia, with Michelle Rodriguez making her first appearance on the show since last season. Apparently Desmond's plan involves reuniting all of the Losties at Widmore's benefit concert, which could be either totally awesome and fulfilling or the cheesiest moment the show has ever seen.

The flash-sideways were really at their best here, with lots of fantastic character work (especially with Locke and Jack) as well as plenty of interesting and mysterious moments with Desmond, who has quickly gone from season five's most formulaic and pointless character to one of the most enigmatic and mindblowing characters of the show. I don't think anyone expected such a drastic return to form for his character this season.

But the on-island storyline belong entirely to Jack and Ben. The latter has been absent since "Everybody Loves Hugo." He, Richard and Miles, finally arriving at the Barracks to pick up some C4, find themselves meeting up with Widmore and Zoe, who are still trying to find Desmond. After the lack of conflict between Ben and Widmore the past couple seasons, their malicious distaste for one another returns with full force, enough to make Ben forget all about his attempts at redemption.

After Miles takes off and Richard is incapacitated by Smokey (hopefully not permanently--we don't see Richard again the rest of the episode, it would be a shame if that one quick scene was it for him), Ben tells Flocke that Widmore is in his house. After a brief explanation of Widmore's motivations, Ben shoots him in cold blood, finally avenging his daughter's death. It's a rather odd move for the writers, considering they've spent the last two seasons trying to make Ben into some sort of sad, broken shell of his former self just looking for forgiveness. I'll be happy if they actually get a bit bold and let Ben go out without redeeming himself. Once a bad guy, always a bad guy. If Widmore goes, Ben should go with him.

On the other side of the island, Jack, Sawyer, Kate and Hurley, presumably the only survivors of the sub explosion, set out to find Desmond and plan their final stand against Smokey. Before getting anything going, though, they get one final interruption, this time from a form of Jacob that they all can see, and he says this is the last time they'll see him. He's going away, and before he does he has to first give one of the his position as protector of the island. There's not even a second thought--Jack takes the job. He finally gets why he's on the island. After a little exchange similar to the one Jacob and his mother did by the light cave, Jack takes Jacob's place, setting us up 100% for the endgame of the series.

Really, the execution of this moment could not have been better. The candidates finally meeting Jacob, the omniscient demigod admitting he may have made some mistakes, and him expressing quite simply, as the title puts it, what their friends died for, is all executed to perfection, and if this turns out to be the final appearance of Jacob (unlikely, as the writers seem determined to bring back just about every cast member the show has ever seen in the finale), it will have been a great one.

"What They Died For" is really "Lost" at its finest, quite a relief after the divisive episode last week and the show's rocky history with finale lead-ins. Everything is handled with such simplicity and grace that I find it hard to imagine the finale could be anything less than brilliant.

In just five days, "Lost" will be over. It's been quite a ride, and even when some of the answers don't add up and when some episodes seem more pointless than others, the writers have been true to their word that this show is all about the characters, and they've done really great things with them these past 15 or so weeks.

Grade: A

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  1. The Rush Blog said...

    I could say that this was a shitty episode. But it wasn't. However, I was NOT impressed. Not one bit. Jacob's explanation about why he brought down Flight 815 made me wonder if I had spent the last five to six years being fucked by Cuse and Lindehof for a trinket.