M: Here is the problem with this being the final half of the final season of Lost. An episode like The Package, if it were in on of the previous seasons, would be perfectly acceptable. If this weren’t the last season, and we had no finish line approaching rapidly, we would watch it and enjoy the difference between the Pottersville version of Sun and Jin, where they are married and have a baby, but have been separated for three years, and the Bedford Falls version where they are not married, are sneaking around not quite behind her father’s back, and get busted. But this is the final season, and the end of the show is less than two months away. Last week in Ab Aeterno we got not just an outstanding episode and story, but probably the most answers from any one episode in the history of the show. This week? Not so much.
That’s where The Package disappointed the most. Now, I’ll get into why I think it was a bit of a disappointment on its own, but lets stick with the big picture to start. At the end of Ab Aeterno we had Richard coming around and heading back to tell Jack and crew what to do to stop Smokey from leaving. Now we have him just having arrived and told them they’re going to Hydra island. Ok, that could have happened in the first scene. What else? Well, coming in we had Smokey getting ready to take his first jab at Widmore’s setup on Hydra. Well, he did, in a scene that really only let us know that Widmore got pylons set up really quickly, and that he knows very little about Smokey, except “jungle stories”. Woo!
There were a couple of good bits that we did learn, but none of them were big, even the supposed “reveal” at the end. We did find that Widmore’s team is led by a geophysicist, who is very interested in the electromagnetic maps Jin made of the island while with Dharma. That will definitely lead somewhere, and soon. We also found, in a brief but enlightening conversation between Widmore and Jin, that Widmore IS actually on team Jacob, as his goal in coming back is to prevent Smokey from getting off the island. Interesting, since Ilana’s team was pretty convinced that Widmore was a bad guy.
What else? We learned that Smokey can’t fly over water, and that he needs all the candidates to either be crossed off or with him to be able to leave. We also learned that Sayid is fully “infected” and feels no emotion at all any more (making him the perfect spy, at least according to the writers of Chuck), and that he would have been better off if Dogen had just killed him back in the temple. In the end we find, though spy Sayid’s eyes, that the titular “package”, the one that was behind the locked door in the sub, was exactly what it was rumored to be…. Desmond.
Ok, so you may have picked up on this before, but I love Desmond. Not a Ricky Martin kind of love, mind you, I love the character. I find his stories to be the most compelling, the most interesting, and the ones that entertain me the most. The arc of his character has been great, his personality is enjoyable, and he has had to overcome a ton, which I always love. That all said, I knew he was coming back. First off, Henry Ian Cusick’s name has been in the credits the entire season (A quick Public Service Announcement on that, if you’re not like me and don’t notice things like that, continue to be that way, noticing it just spoils twists, like in the first Mission: Impossible movie where Jon Voight’s name was second in the credits and he supposedly died in the first 10 minutes? I immediately knew he’d be back, and be the bad guy. Don’t pay attention to this stuff, its for your own good!). Second, in the plot of the show they have made it clear that he’s important to the island and that the island wasn’t through with him yet. Third, the producers/writers said he’d be back. Lastly, ever since Recon showed the locked oor on the sub the buzz has been that that was how Desmond was getting back to the island. So, it was inevitable, and just didn’t feel like a “Yes! Desmond’s back!” moment. It felt more like a “Ok, so now Desmond’s back, I hope Sayid doesn’t kill him before V starts in 3 minutes and 47 seconds, and thank you ABC for showing that countdown during the entire episode, it wasn’t distracting at all” moment. Disappointing.
And yeah, that’s all we learned in the grand scheme of things, unless we count the flash sideways. I have heard a theory that the flash sideways are really showing the end of the show, and that they are working all the characters to get to their flash sideways to meet up, or something like that, with their character development in the island timeline. Not only do I not subscribe to that theory, I’ll go on record and say that that will really suck if that’s the ending of the show. The flash sideways, to me, are becoming more and more irrelevant. This is partly because they continue, despite my pleas, to pepper them with connections between the characters that started out as bordering on ridiculous, and passed ridiculous a couple weeks ago on their way to ludicrous speed. This week we got Mikhail, aka Patchy, who was responsible for killing Charlie, who was probably my second favorite character. So glad we brought him back. Really I am. But the bigger reason they are becoming more and more irrelevant to me is because, like I said at the top, we are fast approaching the end, and I really just want the stories that will help us to get there.
Last week we had Richard’s back story. His history, unlike any of the flash sideways so far, was something that led us to revelations about the nature of Jacob and Smokey, and got us some long awaited answers. It worked into and supported the timeline on the island, which is the timeline we have been invested in since 2004. It’s the timeline I CARE about. The flashes into Bedford Falls are just beginning to feel like a waste of time, and its making me not care. I knew, for example, that when Jin and Mikhail fought that the stray shot would be revealed to hit Sun. I didn’t care, because I’m not invested in the version of Sun that we’d seen for maybe three minutes before tonight. She’s NOT the same Sun that we’ve come to know and love, and if she dies, loses her unborn baby or both its just not that important to me as long as the island version of Sun is ok. And maybe that’s bad of me to not care if she lives or dies, if the baby lives or dies, but there are “Six episodes left before the series finale” (which is a confusing way to say there are seven episodes left). That finale, entitled “The End”, by the way, is too close for us to be spending time on versions of people we don’t care about UNLESS it’s really interesting, or helps to answer our questions. Sun and Jin’s story wasn’t really interesting, and didn’t help to answer our questions, it just let us know that there are at least two people whose lives actually are better off in the Island timeline.
Well, one last thought. Maybe it did help to answer one question. In the flash sideways Jin and Sun weren’t married. When they checked into the hotel in LA she checked in under her maiden name, Paik (obviously). He checked in as “Kwon”. I’m thinking that may be a signal that he is the candidate between the two. Just a guess, but based off what I have learned of Lost over the last 6 years, it seems to fit their m.o.