'The Last Recruit'
After last week's incredible promo for this coming episode of LOST, I must say I was eagerly anticipating this episode more than any other of the season thus far, sans 'Ab Aeterno.' Unlike the latter, however, I could not have been more pleased with 'The Last Recruit,' I dare say it is my favorite episode of LOST this year. This episode featured many things fans have been longing to see from LOST, the reveal of Jack/Claire's relationship to one another, the inevitable Jin/Sun reunion, as well as a possible end to the saga that is Jack/Kate/Sawyer. The last is clearly speculation, of course, as we hardcore fans know, you never exactly know what to expect from an episode of LOST. Here's a small recap in case anyone is suffering from short term memory loss...
Episode 12 of LOST season 6 'The Last Recruit' begins with the somewhat merging of the two main camps stationed on the island. Though several members of “Team Jacob” including Richard Alpert and Benjamin Linus did not join our Losties in the quest to find a peaceful cohabitation on the island, it did not stop the others from following Hurley into the lions den. Although unsure how “Team Locke” would react to their precense in the camp, each had their own reasons for making the trip. Sun longs to be re-united with her lost love Jin, whom she hasn't seen since his “death” at the end of season 4. Jack chose to side with Hurley, who was so much against Richard's plan of destroying the plane, he himself blew up the Black Rock and so with it the dynamite supply, rendering Richard powerless for the time. The initial conversation between Jack and faux Locke signified what most fans had figured for some time, every person our castaways have seen on the island from day one has been the black smoke. From Jack's father, Christian, to the so called Locke we see before us each episode, everyone.
One thing that stands this episode apart from many of the others, is it's lack of focus. Not so much in the island storyline, but in our flash sideways. Everyone gets a fair shot at a storyline in this alternate realm, making the flashes as interesting as the island story itself, which sometimes is a hard thing to do for LOST. As we see of the castaways interacting with one another, the seams of this alternate world begin to unravel. As Sun recognizes Locke and Kate is arrested by Sawyer, everyone seems to be herded almost by the our mate, Desmond. Though I know this world appears to be false, I almost wonder why he is trying so hard to get rid of it. It's as though no ending for this show can be happy. To erase what's happened on the island, they force an alternate time line into being, yet once it's created, they are all eagerly fighting to destroy it. How can these characters get a happy ending when all they do is wish for something different, something better. Do they even deserve a happy ending? We have murderers, con men, self-destructive alcoholics, all wanting a higher purpose for their existence. Is this island merely penance for their choices? Or is it redemption?
The next revelation series creators Damon Lindelof and J.J. Abrams throw at us is another fact we as an audience have known for quite some time, but have always wanted our characters to see and that is the relationship between Claire and Jack. Though in the beginning they were merely strangers, two people whose paths may have never crossed had it not been for the crash, their lives are now intertwined in the biggest of ways.
Of course as soon as our camps come together, they once again strategize to break free from the man in black. Though the newly formed group includes our original losties, two significant members were left out of the huddle, Sayid and Claire. These two, once kind souls, well as kind as an iraqi military officer can be, have both now been over taken by the darkness of the island. Claire with her Rousseau like demeanor and Sayid now resurrected into what we believe to be a soul less shell. This episode makes several pleas against that fact. Not only is Sayid following Locke because he helped bring him back from the dead, but also so he can save a past love in the broken mans life. There is some speculation as to who exactly this “lost love” is, Sayid has formed quite a trail of bodies in his quest for romance. The flash sideways seems to want you to believe it's Nadia, a recurring character we have seen interact with him from the first set of flashbacks. I believe, however, Shannon is the one he wants to be with. This could be just wishful thinking on my part, but there is too much evidence to support the choice of Nadia, and if there is one thing LOST producers are not, that is blatant. Shannon and Sayid's relationship was short-lived, but one of the strongest created on the island in all six seasons. Again, two strangers who, if met outside the island, would have taken two glances at each other and written them off as your typical stereo types. On the island, it's a different world, full of possibility and life, where the most diverse people could fall in love. Hence the love of Shannon and Sayid, though it came to a tragic end, I'm hoping for this small window of light at the end of the dark, spiralling tunnel Sayid is headed down. The question remains unanswered, albeit unsure if even noteworthy, as we are lead to believe Desmond was left alive in the well, which was against Lockes only stipulation to bring her back.
Now broken from the camp, our group of castaways are sailing for refuge with Widmore. The resolve Sawyer has to get himself and his group off the island shows more gusto than Jack has shown since arriving back on the island. His unwillingness to bend to Jack's theory of being candidates for Jacob shows how much he despises the hardships this island has brought on him. Sawyer doesn't care who wants him on the island, in his mind it has taken so much, why should he care about it's plan? This sequence of Jack abandoning these people he has protected from day one speaks to both their characters. Jack steps up to do what he believes is right, no matter how misguided, but Sawyer fights tooth and nail until the end. I believe this is why Sawyer will be the final candidate. He's strong, manipulative, and caring in an off-beat sort of way, all traits you would need to be the next Jacob. Jack is the easy answer, has been in every situation from the moment we began this journey, but again the writers are anything but predictable. So we will see how the journey unfolds, but you read it here first, I place all my chips on Sawyer being Jacob 2.0, or maybe 1,000,000,002, who knows! Also, could this be the end of the Jack/Kate/Sawyer triangle? We see Kate choosing to stay with Sawyer, yet she still seems torn as Jack leaps from the boat. I don't know who she will pick or if they will even survive, one of LOST's many unyielding questions.
The final moment this episode brings to light is the reuniting of Jin and Sun. Some wondered if these two lost souls would ever make it back to each other and it was nice to see them finally hold one another again, if only briefly.
The performances from this episode were spot on, most notably from Henry Ian Cusick and Evangeline Lilly. One of the biggest reasons this show remained grounded and people came back week to week were for the character stories. Of course we all love the mythology, trying to figure out what the hell is actually going on, but without solid, relatable characters, it's all for nothing. The two best scenes of the episode weren't shocking reveals or big action sequences, but two emotionally charged moments between beloved characters. The first scene comes as Sayid is sent to kill Desmond in the well. Desmond's speech of how Sayid would explain what he did to bring “her” back makes him feel again. Could he really tell the woman he claimed to love that he murdered a man in cold blood to bring her back? What would she think of him? Would she want to be with him? Or would she be disgusted at the thought?
“So what will you tell her?” “What do you mean?” “This woman, when she asks you what you did to be with her again. What will you tell her?”
Albeit extremely powerful, the best moment of the episode was delivered between Kate and Claire. Claire, still angry at Kate for raising her child is furious to find the group leaving Locke. Kate touchingly convinces her to join them, to go home, and get her child back. Evangeline Lilly is incredible in this scene, showing so much growth since season one.
“Come with us Claire.” “John promised me.” “No! I'm promising you... I was there when he was born and I never should have raised him. It should have been you. I came back to get you, so you could be with him again. That's the only reason I came back to the island, Claire. So, please come with us. Let's go home”
This scene worked on so many levels, as there was almost a strain to her voice. These people are tired of fighting, tired of running, all they want is to go home. To live and be happy, which I don't think either world, sideways or island, will bring them. That's why I love this show, I've stuck with it through it's best and worst moments, because at it's core, LOST had beautifully flawed characters we could all find a bit of ourselves in. We just want to see them happy, safe and you feel all that emotion in this one 30 second scene. Kudos to the writers for creating such amazing work.
There are questions still left unanswered, even new questions brought to light with each coming episode. But I'm with them until the end. This show has created more than it's share of incredible moments. I have such bittersweet feelings towards it being the end, I am happy to see the conclusion of one of the greatest mysteries of all time, but I am also sad to see the journey for these brilliantly diverse characters coming to an end. Here's hoping for a happy one guys.
Written by: Justin Marchant