Oh Locke. Jeremy. Locke. Bentham. Whatever your name is. Wherever you are...
"Lost's" fourth season finale, "There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 and 3," wasn't 88 minutes of television. It was somewhere between a religious experience and a psychedelic journey through time and space, through the earth's crust, past the frozen donkey wheels, past disappearing islands, heroic dudes making the ultimate sacrifices for the ones they love and a latenight break-in at a low-rent funeral parlor in a bad part of L.A. I am still tingling from the enormity and the emotional gamut of the experience.
Friday ayem update: Ratings are in. Big but not nearly as big as you'd think for two of the Greatest Hours of Television Ever. No doubt the DVR numbers will add significantly to the viewership by next week, and the web streams off ABC.com will surely be flowing during the next few weeks. 9-10 p.m. hour of finale averaged 11.9 million viewers and 4.6 rating/13 share in adults 18-49. 10-11 p.m. hour did 12.5 million and 5.1/14 in 18-49.
There's so much to think about, so much info to process and plot development to parse that it would be folly to try to offer anything like a definitive commentary on these segs while the first viewing is still reverberating around my brain. I didn't know how they were going to be able to top last season's gut-wrenching finale, but Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof (who penned both hours) and helmer Jack Bender surely did.
So first some top-of-mind observations and a few questions. After repeat viewing(s), I'll try to draw some larger conclusions. There's plenty of time. I think part of the emotional roller-coaster of tonight is having to come to grips with the fact that we won't get any new episodes until January-February. Shudder.
**A moment of mega-significance seems to be the scene toward the end in the life boat (I felt the ghost of Tallulah Bankhead in the scene) when Hurley is talking about "miracles" and Locke moving the island. "One minute it was there, the next minute it was gone." Hurley's statement was such an echo of the conversation Jack had with Locke in the fantastic, fantastic, beautifully shot scene in the Orchard station greenhouse where those two are once again going at it on the science/faith seesaw.
"Just wait til you see what I'm about to do," Locke warns him, and then tells him he has to lie about the survivors' plane crash experience to protect those left behind. Now fast-forward toward the scene in the life boat and Jack as always is scoffing at the notion of miracles, but, the minute he steps into what turns out to be Penny's boat (Penny's boat!), what's the first thing he cooks up? The Big Lie, for their own protection. For his own protection, as Locke warned him in the greenhouse: "the knowledge (Jack has) will eat you alive from the inside out. You're going to have to lie." Oh boy.
**Even by this show's standards, this finale was packed with action -- once again, fantastically photographed and edited with such originality. No action-movie, fight-sequence cliches. This episode literally kept us on the edge of our seat, gasping and screaming. The big fight early on between Sayid, Kate, Keamy, Richard and the Others was impossible to follow -- just like such a chaotic scene would be. I couldn't tell who was shooting at who at any given point. Even Keamy's death at the hands of a raving Ben was unnerving for its sudden jolt of rage from a man who's already certifiably psychotic. I gotta believe Keamy is really dead this time (the boat did go boom after all) but with a body that big you just never know...
**Locke may be well on his way to prophet-eering, but he still has a heart. "Ben, you just killed everyone on that boat." "So?" is Ben's response. Turns out Variety's Justin Kroll was right on target two weeks ago when he deduced that the thing strapped to Keamy's Montana-sized forearm was a heart rate monitor that could detonate a bomb.
**Walt! Wild to see him visiting Hurley in the mental hospital, traveling across the country with his grandmother to do so. He's still got those probing eyes, even if he is less gawky. "We're lying because it's the only way to protect everyone who didn't come back," Hurley explains -- lucidly, I think.
**Miles, Charlotte and Faraday -- I can't even pretend to get those three. I still wonder if there's a Miles-Edgar Hallowax (or whatever his name is) connection. Can't help it. And I guess now we know Charlotte has been to the island before. Or at least she's been to the island where it was before...right?
**Sawyer pulls the Charlie card of selfless sacrifice. He did it so well. I think I know what he whispered in Kate's ear just before jumping out of the plane -- must've been some info about his darling Clementine. Which might explain the errand that Kate ran on his behalf months (years?) later when she's back in L.A. And why that errand pisses off Jack so much -- no one is supposed to know that Sawyer didn't die right away in the crash.
**An addition to the great lines in "Lost" history from Hurley: "Dude, I've been having regular conversations with dead people. The last thing I need now is paranoia." This delivered to Sayid after he makes a visit to the Santa Rosa mental hospital, kills the bad guy who's parked outside the hospital and informs Hurley that he's being watched. Hurley's right: More conspiracies is the last thing he needs. Love Sayid's blow-dried look in these later flash-forwards.
**Incredible is the only way to describe Yunjin Kim's perf in the helicopter scene where Sun leaves Jin and then watches the freighter blow up. Utterly terrifying, utterly devastating. I can't help it -- even though I saw the fireball, I'm holding out hope that Jin somehow makes it. Sun is also really good and icy in the later scene where she confronts Widmore. "We're not the only ones that left the island," she snaps at him. Interesting implication there, eh?
**"You can go now." Not the words you want to hear from Christian Shephard, head of non-corporeal communications for Jacob Ltd. But that's what he says to Michael. I'm not holding out much hope that Michael survived the big boom, despite what Hurley indicated to Walt in the mental hospital scene.
**"They will follow your every word," Ben tells Locke of Richard and the faithful Others, who are in fact waiting for Locke on the island while Ben's busy thawing out the donkey wheel. This is so strange. "Welcome home," Richard, he of the permanent eyeliner, says to Locke. Creepy, but not quite as creepy as Ben telling Locke: "Sorry I made your life miserable."
**The white light, the piercing tone when Ben finally turns the wheel. It's got to be meant to meant to evoke Hiroshima, no? Or at least the imagery of what a nuclear blast looks like that we've become accustomed to in movies and artists representations of Hiroshima.
**See you in another life, brother..." Doesn't need any explanation. Oh Des. Somehow, I'm thinking that Des and Penny, happy as they are to be reunited, are going to have a hard time living with their part in the Big Lie. And they don't even know, at least not yet, about Ben swearing his vengeance against her father by killing her.
**And the casket goes to ... Locke. Safe to say that was the LAST PERSON ON EARTH that I expected to see in that pine box. (BTW, anybody know
the speed-metal tune Jack was listening to in his car as he pulled up at the Hoffs Drawler funeral parlor? Reader Dashiell reports it was "Gouge Away" by the Pixies. Not exactly speed metal...) How much information was shoveled at us in that last mind-boggling scene? Bad things happened on the island after Jack and Co. left. Locke, who's now known inexplicably as Jeremy Bentham (a historical figure who was an 18th-century English philosopher, economist and social reformer who was influenced by ... John Locke), has apparently been haunting Kate and Jack and urging them to get the gang back together for an island visit. With Ben apparently set to be their tour guide.
With all this rattling around my brain, how can I possibly be expected to sleep tonight? And how can we possibly wait nine months!