Episode Title: "The Candidate"
Written By: Elizabeth Sarnoff & Jim Galasso
Story: Charles Widmore has locked Sawyer, Kate, Hurley, Jin, Sun and Frank in the polar bear cages on Hydra Island, forcing Smocke, Jack and Sayid to mount a rescue effort. Once it's clear that leaving the Island via the fallen Ajira Airways plane would be a mistake, Smocke devises a plan to use another means of travel — one that has terrible consequences for some of our heroes.
In the Sideways reality, Jack believes that Locke is a candidate... for spinal surgery, that is. Locke is oddly resistant to Jack's proposal, leading the curious surgeon to investigate the cause of the paraplegic's spinal injury.
And The Black Smoke Monster's True Colors Are...: Black, unsurprisingly. The Monster lived up to his name this episode with a single manipulative move that tragically killed three of our beloved "Lost" heroes. Well, four I guess, but as much as I love Frank Lapidus, his death didn't quite have the same sting as the others.
So now that Smocke has made his move and at least three of his targets remain alive — Jack, Sawyer and Hurley are all technically candidates while Kate's just Kate, so she's not the Monster's number one target — how is he going to kill the rest without the element of surprise on his side? He'll need to convince someone else to do the deed, but who remains that will trust him? Claire? Doesn't seem likely to me, unless he really does have full control over those he's claimed.
Regardless, I think it goes without saying that most of us are on Team Jacob now.
There Is No Sayid: After six seasons of lie detection, interrogation sessions, technological proficiency, good manners towards women and overall badassery, Sayid Jarrah — the soldier always looking for a war — finally died for a cause. It was a death in the thick of battle, though there was no one for him to scissor kick and no necks for him to snap. Just a bomb that needed exploding far, far away from those he held close to him. In the end, Zombie Sayid turned out to be quite the hero.
Luckily, before Sayid died, he let Jack (and viewers) in on a relieving secret — Desmond is alive and kicking. Or, sitting in a well. Either way, he's ready and waiting to live up to his great purpose, something presumably more action-oriented than pushing a button every 108 minutes for three straight years.
The Jin And Sun Set: Which Kwon is the candidate? Well, how about neither? Just one episode after finally reuniting, Jin and Sun sank deep to the bottom of the ocean inside the ill-fated submarine, joining Charlie Pace in the great "Lost" tradition of underwater graves. I'm more upset about their deaths than Sayid's — he truly had nothing left to live for, while the Kwons leave poor Ji-Yeon parentless on the mainland. Jin's impulsive decision to die together rather than live alone without his wife was noble, but pretty thoughtless towards his young daughter.
Still, it's sad stuff. I wish we had had more time to spend with Jin and Sun together in this final season, considering it took them three years to reunite and less than a day to leave the Island's mortal coil. Though I suppose they could always reawaken in the Sideways reality, right?
I Think You're A Candidate: Before dying, Sayid implied that Jack is the man to replace Jacob, and at this stage in the game, it's hard to doubt him. Jack has always been a favorite pick to become the candidate, and if Sawyer had just listened to him about the bomb, the various submarine deaths might have been avoided. It's worth mentioning that Jack and Sawyer are now officially in the same boat — Jack's plan to blow up the Swan Station resulted in the death of Juliet, while Sawyer disarming the bomb effectively killed Sayid, Jin and Sun. After all these years, it looks like Jack and Sawyer finally have some common ground to forge a true alliance on.
But I believe it's Jack who won the candidacy — and it's time for the Man of Science turned Man of Faith to kick the ever loving smoke out of the Man in Black.
Doing The Sideways Slow Crawl: It's always nice to spend time with John Locke, especially when his doppleganger is such an unbelievable bastard. But with only four hours remaining, it's hard to enjoy a Sideways scene unless there's some serious forward momentum — which I think this episode sorely lacked, unlike the Sideways plots of the past three episodes.
As of the end of "The Candidate," Locke is out of the hospital, Claire is in Jack's care, Desmond is nowhere to be found and our Sideways castaways are scattered once again. Where any of this is leading is anybody's guess, but I think it's way past time to turn up the speed on the Sideways plot.
The Silver Lining: "The Candidate" was a mostly sad affair, but there's some good news — according to The Hollywood Reporter, the two hour series finale has tacked on an additional half-hour of story! Sure, it doesn't bring Sayid, Jin and Sun back from the dead, but hey, it's something!
Memorable Quote: "It's going to be you." — Sayid's final words, perhaps implying that Jack is the best candidate to replace Jacob.
The Shape of Things to Come: Next week's episode, "Across The Sea," has earned a reputation for having few to no series regulars featured in the installment — leaving plenty of time to get to know Jacob and his nemesis a little better.
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