It became fairly clear to me about midway through Wednesday’s Lost just who "the man from Tallahassee" was, so that last scene didn’t really shock me. What it made me do was think of Jennifer Garner whimpering "Mom?" at the end of season one of Alias, which I recall as a much more jaw-dropping revelation.
Maybe because that last scene felt a little telegraphed, what was otherwise a pretty decent episode — particularly the crackling work of Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson in their scenes together — left me feeling a little underwhelmed.
It felt kind of like a cheat that Locke’s dad apparently came to be on the island courtesy a mysterious box that, when you open it, contains whatever you wished it would (and which will be known from this day forward in this space as the LockeBox). If, as Lost‘s producers have claimed, there’s a world-as-we-know-it explanation for just about everything on the island, how’s that happen?
That’s kind of a big question, and the fact that it hangs there drags down my enjoyment of the episode. Which is a shame, because I was really digging the back-and-forth between Ben and Locke. ("On this island, there’s a very large box, and whatever you imagine … when you open that box, there it would be. What would you say about that?" "I’d say I hope that box is big enough to imagine yourself up a new submarine.")
What was so interesting to me is that they appeared to want the same thing, more or less — to understand and be part of whatever it is that the island can offer them. I’m sure Ben was relishing the thought of having the outsider do his dirty work of blowing up the submarine, thereby forcing Jack and Juliet to stay put. But Locke seemed to be onto that (hence his brushoff of Alex’s warning about Ben being manipulative), and what’s more, he didn’t seem to care.
And yeah, he set back the cause of escape or rescue for the Flight 815 survivors back immeasurably. But his action was maybe the clearest statement yet that we’ve seen of his belief in a connection to the island and his desire to stay on it. So I’m willing to go along with that, and not least because it promises a renewal of one of the show’s more intriguing Big Ideas: the science vs. faith question as embodied by Jack and Locke.
It’s clear, too, that Ben is pretty upset that the island hasn’t healed him the way it did Locke. How the hell is it, he’s got to be thinking, that I spend my whole life here and end up wheelchair-bound (at least temporarily) while this joker gets a free pass from day one? (It was probably a smart move on Locke’s part not to mention the brief moments we’ve seen him lose feeling in his legs.) I’d be very interested to see the show explore that some more.
And, oh yeah, the flashback. Our patience (if Lost fans have any patience left) was finally rewarded, and we got to see how Locke ended up in his wheelchair. It was not especially poetic or ironic, but damned if I didn’t flinch when Daddy defenestrated him like that. (And that looked a lot higher than eight stories.)
Odds and ends: I liked Sayid’s exchange with Alex about her mother, but I’m not sure we needed the scene of Rousseau beaming at her daughter at the sub dock. And I’m curious what angle Tom might be working in being so friendly to Jack, as evidenced by his warning the doc to keep his voice down in the rec room with Kate. Is Tom just a nice guy, or is he one of those folks Ben mentioned who aren’t sufficiently committed?
What did you think of this week’s Lost? Did the final scene surprise you? And what would you wish for in the LockeBox?