M: Wow, they are really ramping things up. Admittedly, there are only three more episodes, but whoa, did this one finish with a flurry. If you haven’t seen it, spoilers will abound, so don’t read on. Now, we have to start with the title. The title was a total fake out. Mostly. Maybe. Let me explain. Obviously, we know that the candidates are a handful (well, less now) of our Losties, and they are candidates to replace Jacob as the protector of the island, and keeper of the ultimate baddie, Smokey. So, obviously, going into an episode entitled “The Candidate”, any good fan of the show would assume that we would determine who THE candidate was from our remaining few candidate. Instead, very early in the episode, we find sideways Jack calling sideways Locke a candidate. A candidate for what, you (and he) ask? For an experimental procedure that Jack wants to perform to try to restore feeling in Locke’s legs. So, it was a cop out, right? Well, no, but all in good time, we have other things to talk about first. Let’s start with the sideways world.
The sideways world, to me still resembles Bedford Falls, where everyone’s life, even poor, crippled, run over John Locke, is better off. In The Candidate, we explore more of Jack’s sideways life. We get more of Jack’s compulsive need to fix people, now with him obsessing over Locke. He won’t take no for an answer, and sets out to find out why Locke won’t agree to the procedure. Along the way he crosses paths with Bernard, which surprisingly I didn’t mind. This “coincidence” seemed more of a tie in than a coincidence, where the sideways 815’ers are realizing that there’s something odd going on connecting them all. Jack had already met up with Claire, and they’d realized they were on that same flight, so Jack is definitely starting to put things together. However, if you remember from most of the past seasons, Jack’s never been all that quick on the uptake.
One thing that did bother me with Jack and Bernard’s meeting was that Bernard said “If I recall correctly, you were hitting on my wife while I was in the bathroom.” This bugged me because I can’t think of any way Jack’s polite and courteous small talk would be seen as hitting on Rose. Now, we only have a few options as to how he could have come to that conclusion, and yes I know this is likely entirely irrelevant, but it bugged me, so I’m exploring it. You can skip to the end of the paragraph if you don’t care, I won’t be offended. Anyway, one option is that Bernard was coming back from the bathroom and overheard the conversation, which is pretty unlikely. Next is that Rose told him that Jack was hitting on her, which is also unlikely. So what does that leave us? It leaves us with Rose telling Bernard about the conversation, and Bernard overreacting and reading it wrong. Seems more plausible, given Bernard’s character, but still, it feels a little like a cheapening of his character, and I think that’s why it bugged me. Okay, done with that now, come on back.
The important things that we found in the Bedford Falls timeline were that Locke’s good old dad, Cooper, is a vegetable because Locke, who loved him dearly, crashed a plane. That was also the cause of sideways Locke’s paralysis, and the guilt is why Locke wouldn’t agree to be a candidate, and to be fixed. There was a very well done scene at the end where Locke told Jack about the crash, and Jack told him that it’s okay to let go. When Locke balked, Jack told him that he didn’t know how to, and was hoping that they both could, and that Locke “would go first”. It was a pretty touching moment in an episode with quite a few of them. It ended with Locke still declining, and Jack echoing Locke’s words from seasons past, that he wished John would trust him. That leads us to the other important thing was that Desmond running Locke over may not have been to kill him, but to open his eyes, too. We’ll see about that, but Locke seems to have connected with his island consciousness at least a little. At one point he was sleeping, but mumbled about pushing the button, and then the famous “I wish you had believed me” line. He seemed to wake up out of it, but the connection was there.
That was it for the sideways timeline, but the question remains of where it is going, and how it will tie in. We haven’t seen somewhat creepy sideways Desmond in a couple episodes, so we don’t know if he has “shown” anyone else yet. We also don’t know what will happen to bring our two timelines together. A lot of people are positing that the sideways timeline is the afterlife, or the “real” timeline that they will all end up in at the end of the season/series. I will say again that I really dislike this theory, and think that it is more of The Matrix or The Truman Show, something set up to make them forget about their island lives, forget the Pottersville experience, and live pretend lives not knowing the truth. Haven’t figured out why yet, but that’s where I’m going with that.
Wherever the island timeline is going, on the other hand, is at an entirely different pace. If the sideways timeline doesn’t feel like it’s three episodes away from being wrapped up, the island timeline sure does. The Candidate gave us a lot of bang for our buck (admittedly, I don’t pay to watch the show, so there is no buck, but still). When we last saw our island folks, Jack was pulling his “I am now a Jedi, like my father before me” bit with Smokey, looking like he was turning evil, but instead taking the final step he needed to into his true destiny. At the same time, Sawyer and crew were captured by Widmore. When we picked up, Jack, Sayid and Smokey canoed over to Hydra island, where Sawyer’s gang was being put back into the polar bear cages. After Sawyer grabbed a gun from Jane Curtin’s kid from Kate and Allie, but had to back down because Widmore pulled a gun on Kate. Sawyer reveals after they get put back in the cages that Kate’s name is in fact crossed off the cave wall, officially confirming she’s not a candidate, never mind the candidate.
Meanwhile, back that the ranch… uh, beach, Jack agrees to help Smokey and Sayid get the rest of the crew out of Widmore’s clutches. Bad move. Smokey fed him a line about being able to kill them at any time, but not doing it, and Jack fell for it like he was, well, Jack. Again, not the brightest bulb. At least he stuck to his guns about not leaving the island. Oh, wait, no, he left the island. Well, then at least he didn’t get totally played while doing it. Oh wait, he did! More on that in a second, though.
First, they met up with Smokey at the Ajira plane, where he has conveniently found some C4 set to blow the plane. Now, I know it’s a tempting trap, but if Widmore was really concerned with preventing Smokey from leaving, wouldn’t he have had the plane’s engine dismantled? And if we wanted Smokey dead, wouldn’t he have had someone laying in hiding to hit a remote detonator on the C4 as soon as Smokey set foot on the plane? In one scene Old Charles seems like he’s on the ball, sharp as a tack, and has a plan. The next he seems grossly incompetent. I’m not liking the swings. Anyway, Smokey tells our rag tag bunch that the plane can’t be trusted, so they have to steal the sub. Sawyer hatches yet another plan to steal the sub (because his plans work so well!), where Jack will toss Smokey in the water and then Sawyer’s group will take off in the sub.
Turns out for the most part to happen, except that Kate gets shot, Claire doesn’t get on, and Jack has to carry Kate on, and ends up along for the ride. Before that happened, though, he let Smokey hand him his backpack. Literally at that exact moment I said to my wife “Why is he taking the C4?”. Again, though, Jack’s not too quick. At least he did wise up a few minutes later. As they are on the sub, diving apparently deeper than the wreckage of the Titanic, Jack tries to treat Kate’s gunshot wound. Since there’s no first aid kit to be found, Jack grabs his pack and finds the bomb. As Sayid determines how they can potentially detonate it, Jack has a moment of clarity. The bomb can’t go off because, as we the audience have been saying for ages, Smokey can’t kill the candidates. However, back to his usual self, Jack fails to make a strong case, and Sawyer pulls the wires, activating the bomb, and making it Sawyer, not Smokey, that set the detonation in motion, allowing whatever protection the candidates have from Smokey to be lifted.
I’ll tell you the truth, I don’t blame Sawyer one bit. Jack told him that Smokey couldn’t kill them, that it’d all be fine, and to trust him. The last time Jack asked Sawyer to trust him Juliet ended up dead. Jack didn’t mention the little dynamite party he and Richard had on the Black Rock. He didn’t make a case as to why Smokey can’t kill them, or anything. He just counted on Sawyer to trust him. Wrong move, given their history. If I were in Sawyer’s place I would have done the same thing. Well, not exactly the same thing, I would have let the weapons expert (Sayid) pull the wires, but other than that, same deal. I wouldn’t have trusted Jack for a second.
So Sayid, in a moment of redemption, decided to grab the bomb and run. Right before he did, though, the title of the episode was explained for real. He told Jack where to find Desmond, confirming what I told you here, that Des was not dead. Jack asked him why he was telling him, and in a moment of clarity, he said “Because it’s going to be you, Jack.” Jack IS the candidate! Okay, so we guessed it from the start, but still, it’s nice to have confirmation. Anyway, Sayid runs, the bomb blows him up and tears a hole in the sub. Lapidus gets killed by a stray door, Sun gets pinned by a whole bunch of stuff. Hurley swims Kate out to safety, and while trying to help Jin free Sun, Sawyer get knocked unconscious and Jack has to swim him out. In an emotional end, Jin decides that it is more important for him to not leave Sun as they both drown, then it is to swim to safety and have a shot at raising their daughter. Speaking as a father, that is SOOO not the right call. I would do everything humanly possibly to save my wife, but if it was clear I would swim out. She’d do the same. And yes, we talked about it after watching this.
That said, it was an emotional scene, and well done. They cranked up the tear-jerker music, reconfirmed their love for each other in English and Korean, and then gave way to the water. On the beach, Hurley, Kate and Jack all break down into tears, while Sawyer lays unconscious but okay in the sand. The sight of three friends breaking down over the deaths of a couple that was literally thrust into their lives back at the start of the show, that was actually as hard to watch as the death scene itself. Very well done, very emotional. Of course, Kate being able to sit up and converse and not need attention for the gunshot wound that was debilitating her minutes earlier distracted me a bit, but I was able to get past that.
We end back with Smokey telling Claire that the sub sunk (he had told her as they pulled away without her that she didn’t want to be on it), but that not everyone was dead. He walked off, telling her he was going to finish what he started.
So where does that leave us? Well, we know that the theory of Smokey needing all the candidates to be either dead or have them leave with him was wrong. I should have realized it was wrong earlier, because he didn’t need to bring the Oceanic 6 back if they could be off the island for him to leave. He needs them all dead. With the crossing off of Jarrah and Kwon (either one), he’s down to three remaining, Ford, Reyes and of course THE candidate, Shephard.
We also know that despite his not being too quick, Jack has definitely grown a set. He repeatedly told Smokey he was staying, and tossed him in the water while telling him the line of the night, that it was “John Locke told me I had to stay.” Jack grew up, and is definitely ready to take on the job.
But how will it all tie in and end? Will Juliet’s “It worked” last words come to pass, meaning that jughead really reset the timeline back in 1977 and the island time that we have been following is the fake reality? Or will Jack take over for Jacob, and keep Smokey trapped their for all eternity? OR will they somehow find a way to kill Smokey, preventing the need for a candidate at all, and creating the opportunity for them to live in the sideways time, in Bedford Falls, with their memories of the island time erased. The last one might be my favorite, but I almost don’t want to be able to guess it.
What about you?