Son of a bitch!
(Stop immediately if you haven't seen the "Lost" finale yet.)
Thursday update: "Lost" finale averaged 9.3 million viewers and 4.3 rating/12 share in adults 18-49 demo from 9-11 p.m. Not bad, but I still find it hard to believe that 12 million people thought "CSI: NY" was more compelling!
Straight up, folks: I can't do these two atomic hours of television justice without a second viewing. Just can't be done. My skin was tingling and my heart was racing for the last 15 minutes of "Lost's" fifth-season finale, "The Incident, Parts 1 and 2." I could barely catch my breath as I watched Juliet fall down the Swan's rabbit hole.
For now, about all I can handle is noting some of the great moments, killer lines and what the #$$%@ just happened bits that we'll be pondering all summer and fall. It almost seemed like ABC was rubbing it in with the title cards flashed over the end credits: "Destiny Found" and "2010."
Oh how I dig this show. The auspices of the finale don't get any better: Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse wrote the first hour while the credit for the second hour was flipped to Cuse and Lindelof. And both hours were helmed by Jack Bender, for whom I am on record as raving about, and tonight was no exception. As I said to one keen-eyed "Lost" fan in an email a few weeks ago: "Jack Freakin' Bender. How can he be so talented?"
In fact, "Destiny Found" is a pretty good summation of one of the big plot threads we dealt with in this finale. With Jacob now appearing to us in the flesh (?) in a mysterious, Zelig-like way, we now seem to have evidence that our core group of characters are connected not at random but for a larger reason. We don't know what that reason is yet, but it's no accident that Jacob encountered them in their pre-island pasts (all but Hurley), at pivotal moments in their development.
Think about it: Jacob comes to Kate's rescue just as the lightfingered pre-teen is starting out on her sketchy life of less-than-legal pursuits -- leading a boy (who happens to be playing with a miniature airplane!) around by the nose while she's at it. Maybe Jacob bailing her out gives her the confidence to feel she can worm her way out of any tight spot, and it stops her mother from disciplining her about thievery at moment when it might have made a difference. (For Kate, it all starts with a New Kids on the Block lunchbox! Boy do I feel old.)
Jacob comes to Sawyer at the pivotal moment at his parent's funeral when he starts to write the ("Dear Mr. Sawyer") letter that will define him and the way he lives his life for the next 25 years or so. (And we see a relative of Sawyer's echo the once-and-future Faraday theory of "What's done is done.") Come to think of it Sawyer and Kate seem to be about the same age when they meet Jacob.
He comes to Jack a little later in life, but right after his moment of truth as a young surgeon facing his first big "whoops" on the operating table -- a tale he recounted for Kate way back in season one. "I guess it just needed a little push," Jacob tells Jack about the candy bar stuck in the vending machine, though it's an apt analogy to the scene Jack just faced with his father guiding him through the gulp moment in the operating room.
He comes to Sun and Jin at their wedding (friend of the bride?) and tells them to prize their togetherness and "never take it for granted."
Jacob does nothing less than bring Locke back to life after the moment when Locke's deadbeat dad shoves him out of a window 20 stories up. Jacob (who reads Flannery O'Connor!) gives the bloodied and battered Locke what looks to be a Vulcan-style pinch on the side of the neck and voila, Locke lives. "Don't worry everything's going to be all right," Jacob promises Locke.
And finally, Jacob comes to Hurley much later in the chronology of his story as we know it. Hurley is visited by
the only one that Jacob first visits post-island, and Hurley's the only one he levels with as to why he's approached him. OK, "levels with" may be a little strong. Hurley's the only one that Jacob is explicit with about his need to go back to the island. He gives Hurley all the instructions on getting himself on Ajira 316, and he gives him what we presume is Charlie Pace's guitar and case.
Sayid and Nadya are also visited by Jacob post-island. Memo to Sayid: Never stop in the middle of an L.A. crosswalk. We got another patented J.J. Abrams car-hitting-pedestrian scene out of it, at Nadya's expense, unfortunately.
What does it all mean? I haven't any inside info, just guesses. I don't believe Jacob is dead -- even with the knife wounds and getting rolled into the fire pit (echoes of this week's podcast humor as posted on ABC.com). I think Jacob is dipping into the same vat of anti-aging cream as Richard Alpert. One tantalizing suggestion raised by my Variety colleague Bobbie Whiteman is that perhaps Jacob is time traveling, and so he target Young Kate, Young Sawyer, Young Jack in real time, but now that he knows they're the key players he is going back in time to insert himself in their subconscious memories.
We know from the opening scene that Jacob previously had some bad blood with another island inhabitant who promised that he would "find a loophole" and come back to kill him. By the time we got to the ending 85-odd minutes later, I remembered all of that as I began the process that is probably going to eat at me all during the hiatus: Who's the other bearded man in that opening sequence with Jacob and what's he so upset about. Is that time frame supposed to be Black Rock-era 1880s?
(The clothes look sort of all right for that era, but the pants both men are wearing look suspiciously like Old Navy items.)
We're led to believe in the closing minutes that the other guy who was all bitter and threatening to Jacob the fisherman in the opening scene has somehow become the person that we've been led to be the resurrected Locke. And Credit another Variety colleague, Justin Kroll, with pointing out the real significance significance of the shockeroo the whole business of Locke trying to round up the Oceanic 6 to come back to the island. As we learned in last week's episode, those instructions came from New-bad Locke to Richard while they waiting on the sidelines for Old Locke to come charging out of the jungle. So what's New-bad Locke's agenda in insisting to see Jacob - because he's bringing an assassin in tow?
I think Ben is actually being subservient to Locke, but only to a point. I do believe however that he is scared witless by Smokey and the fact that his daughter came to him and waggled her finger at Ben's moment of truth on the island.
More to come .... after I replenish my electro-magnetic charges with sleep and some coffee in the ayem.