Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Why "The Candidate" was well-written.

There once was a young man that I sort of was acquainted with who prided himself on knowing EVERYTHING. I'm kind of a know-it-all sometimes, so me saying this means basically that this dude was insufferable. He would argue really minute points, lecture people, make smart ass comments on peoples' semantics and grammar mistakes, etc. I hadn't thought about him in a very long time, but last night, as I was combing the LOST boards and forums, there were several people (stuff-shirts?) who were ANGRY about last night's episode. As in, they thought it was bad, or horrible, even, saying:

it was too predictable.
there wasn't anything personal/all action
only the Asian characters died
it moved too fast
it moved too slow
it was boring
it wasn't believable
it pales in comparison to the time travel events

COME. ON. Just come right the hell on.

This isn't an opinion matter, either. This is basic fact, the episode was well done. Anyone wants a piece of me, I'll argue it to the death. If I have to break it down scene by scene, event by event and EXPLAIN why it was good, how each of the elements that went into making it contribute to it BEING good, then so be it. Following is a hit list, ARE YOU EFFS READY TO GET YOUR GEEK ON? This may be the biggest media rant that ever was.

1. "if you give me a shot, Mr. Locke, I think that I can fix you." Jack wants to fix the physically (and later we find out mentally) broken John Locke. Earlier in the season Jack told Hurley that he went back to the island because he was broken and that he was stupid enough to believe that "this place" (the island) could fix him. Perhaps the island DOES fix Jack, so perhaps Jack WILL fix John.

2. John Locke is genuinely happy with Helen, and Jack notices this. Even if Locke doesn't ever walk again, he is obviously in love. This is important lesson to be learned in life. Also, every time Helen comes on I have to just celebrate the fact that FRICKING PEGGY BUNDY is on LOST!!

3. The music while Jack is on the beach: Acoustic guitar reminiscent of a western leading into The Hydra cages: very Hitchcock, very Twilight Zone suspense. REVEL IN IT; it's always been good like this.

4. "Because I'm the one with the gun." "NOT ANYMORE, DOUGH BOY." Sawyer snatches the gun and wratches it. Widmore explaining who's on the list is very much something else I've seen, maybe a horror, maybe The Twilight Zone. It's escaping me now, but I've heard that chilling British voice explaining something unpleasant before. "FORD is on it, as is REYES and The KWONS." Where the hell is that from?

5. Bernard seems to know things, almost seems to be waiting for Jack to show up! He remembers things, smiles as if to encourage Jack to draw conclusions and make connections. "Maybe you're onto something here." So obviously this is a hint that Bernard and Rose are still a part of all this, has Desmond visited them, do they remember for some other reason? Where's Rose? Is her cancer gone? The only information Bernard gives to Jack is ANTHONY COOPER's name. Obviously Jack needed to meet him, see what has happened, understand why John doesn't want the surgery, and then go from there.

6. Back in the cages Sawyer tells Kate her name was crossed out. WHY IS IT CROSSED OUT? She is obviously still alive; Locke was crossed out presumably when he died, but what is the reason for Kate not being a candidate? (knocked up?) This is a big one. Why is she even there?

7. John won't get the surgery just like Jack wouldn't listen to him about not leaving the island and then having to come back. The Daddy issues return.

8. John Locke (the smoke monster) walks through bullets. What a bad ass. I like the Marcellus Wallace briefcase-quality the bomb on the plane was given, this mysterious item that is obviously important. Also, he took the watch BEFORE he found it, obviously he knew it was there. Did he reevaluate the plane as a death device or was this his plan all along? He explains about "a nice, confined space we have no chance of getting out of" and then puts the C4 in a backpack, just like the real John Locke put the other C4 in his backpack when they left the Flame Station.

9. "I don't trust that thing one bit." That THING! Do you suppose by the end of all this Sawyer will have a new nickname for the Smoke Monster?

10. These items: Apollo bar. Music box playing "Catch a Falling Star," Jack and Claire in the mirror. Obviously we've seen Apollo bars before. The song was always about Aaron. The box, left to Claire by Christian is maybe supposed to ensure that brother and sister are together, a part of each others' lives? Aaron really needs someone to read "Alice in Wonderland" to him. This prompts Jack to invite Claire to stay with him, confirming maybe, that they will continue to have a relationship? Jack neglected his first wife, Sarah, in favor of fixing people at work. Christian may have fallen into the trap of neglecting people too? Maybe this is all to teach Jack to be able to see the forest for the trees? Good lesson for all of us.

11. "You think you two can get our backs?" "ABSOLUTELY." Juliet said this to Sawyer not once but two times when he asked her the same thing. Jack shows loyalty to John Locke by telling Smokey Locke "JOHN LOCKE TOLD ME TO STAY." Jack showing loyalty to Locke is awesome, ADMIT IT.

12. At the sub, the gunfire does not start until Locke has been pushed into the water and there is a completely clear shot at Kate. WHO SET THAT UP? Widmore, Locke, WHO? More about this. What is her role in all of this? Again, why is she even there? There are a lot of open, loose ends with her, grounds for tons more discussion, which face it, LOST fans obsess over, so good, right?

13. "Nothin' personal," Lapidus to the guard on the sub. Sawyer and always "HOSS" to people! (a southern, colloquial term for 'partner') Bag switcheroo. It was a tense moment, Jack was obviously preoccupied with the mission at hand, I don't buy TOO PREDICTABLE. After all, most of these events are really just recast replays of things that have already happened on the show, so even if it was an easy out for the plot, it gels with everything else that has gone on until this point. Jack switched Kate's bag when they carried the dynamite back from The Black Rock, so in a way, he had it coming. (All the little things you do will end up coming back to you. . .)The way they have switched events, characters, and even LINES in this show is brilliant, and it's obviously taken a lot of work and geekery. GIVE PROPS.

14. The realization that Jack has is HUGE. Three years ago he never would have entertained the idea that The Devil even existed. Now he's explaining principals of faith to everyone else, with CONFIDENCE, even! I love Jack. "I think he can't leave the island unless we're all dead. What if he can't kill us because--he's not allowed to? HE CAN'T KILL US!"

15. Sayid's sacrifice? People can come back from the dark side, ANAKIN SKYWALKER!!! He gets his redemption. This was alluded to in a tasteful way and then carried out in a tasteful way. Say what you want about a cliche suicide bomber ending, this fit Sayid's character just as Michael's end fit him.

16. I will accept that maybe Lapidus survived. I won't get militant about it, but it's definitely a possibility. (please God, let it be ding-dongs.) If I get substantial proof next week you can be sure I'll have a black dress on and be playing the funeral march on the piano, but I'm holding off for the time being. Lapidus as a character was very well done and always good for laughs. If he's really gone, I'm very much going to miss him.

17. The flooded sub is like the flooded Looking Glass station and the countdown to death in the Swan station, blinking lights, struggle, etc. Jin and Jack KNOW that Jin and Sun are not going to make it. Jack tries to give Jin the oxygen and Jin won't take it. If you haven't cried by now, YOU NEVER WILL. These characters, people we have spent SIX YEARS with, are almost as real as anyone else can be, it was extremely difficult seeing this. Say what you want about Titanic, it was sad. Piano instrumentals and still shots of the flooded sub ending with the breaking apart of the hands? I would say it was the most emotional moment on the show to date, up there with Juliet biting it and Sawyer telling Jack about Christian wanting to call him on the pay phone.

18. Orderly wheels John down the hall just like Matthew Abaddon did after the push out the window. Abaddon then gives John a suggestion that influences him to go on his walkabout. Does this have any bearing on the discussion Jack has with him? John has guilt over his father's injuries just as Jack has guilt over his own father's death and later, Juliet's.

19. "What makes you think letting go is so easy?" "It's not, in fact, I don't really know how to do it myself."
"Why is it so easy for you to believe?" "It's never been easy." (season 2, outside the hatch).

20. Hugo sobbing on the beach? Again, if this didn't move you, chances are you could pour a quart of boiling water down your throat and piss ice cubes.

I WISH YOU BELIEVED ME. This was amazing. Acknowledge it.