Spoilers on tonight's episode of "Lost" below. Don't click through if you don't want to know.
So, tonight's episode of "Lost," "What They Died For," was the second to last episode of the entire series.
I repeat: the ENTIRE SERIES.
As of Sunday, the show will be over. No more Hurley witticisms. No more Ben Linus manipulations. No more shirtless Sawyer (unless Josh Holloway's movie career takes off).
No more Smokey. No more Tailies, Others, Freighter Folk, Black Rock, Four-toed Statue, Squirrel Baby or any of the other "Lost" elements that we hold dear (and not so dear. Lookin' at you, Tailies).
Before I go on, I'm going to give you all a moment to let things sink in.
OK? Are we all good?
Let's move on.
Being the penultimate episode of the series (sniff!), "What They Died For" took the first step toward tying things up. We found out (kind of) why Jacob brought everyone to the Island. They, like him, were alone. They, like him, had caused pain in some way. They, like him, needed redemption. Jacob knew he was doomed and that his bro the MIB would eventually find a way to destroy him. And, on some level, I think Jacob believed he deserved to be destroyed. After all, he did unleash Smokey on the Island. And yes, he was crazy with grief and rage, but he still sowed the seed of havoc on that Island by feeding MIB to the light.
Who could live with that? Furthermore, who could live with it for hundreds of years?
I have to believe Jacob was more than willing to pass the torch on to someone. And, despite what Locke Mess has told us, passing the torch is important. Someone must guard the light -- the "heart" of the Island that Jacob's
And, this week, we learned that that someone is Jack.
Sorry, but that's the least surprising plot twist ever. Fitting, yes. But Mr. Fixit signing up to be the savior of the Island? I don't know if that's perfectly in character or totally predictable. Still, the whole sequence when Jack assumed the mantle of Island savior was moving and effective. Sawyer tries, as usual, to deflect with a one-liner about Jack's God complex, but is quickly snapped out of it by Kate. Beneath his jaded shell, Sawyer knows Jack is doing something big so they don't have to. Hurley, meanwhile, is just glad he didn't have to step up and be the protector. Because we all know that being a leader freaks Hugo out but good.
And the trust and sadness in Jack's eyes as he drank Jacob's Kool-Aid was just wrenching. Very nice work by Matthew Fox here.
Meanwhile, all the other characters are hard at work on their end games as well. Locke Mess has enlisted Ben to help him with his true mission -- destroying the Island. Ben, meanwhile, does what he's wanted to do since Alex died -- he kills Charles (how? I thought he couldn't kill Charles. What changed? Or is Charles not really dead?).
Off-Island, Desmond is getting closer to bringing his plan to fruition -- whatever that plan might be. By beating up "Dr. Linus" and telling him that he only wanted Locke to "let go," he leads Locke back to Jack. He also wakes Ben up to the possibility of another life (one in which Desmond beats the snot out of ol' Bug Eyes at marina, not in a school parking lot).
By turning himself in for assaulting Locke and Ben, Desmond gets close to Kate and Sayid. And he's already mobilized Hurley to be part of his mission. They even, briefly, drag along a still-bitchy Ana Lucia. Unlike the other Island dead, she's still blind to her Island life. Well, that's fine with me. I was one of the few who didn't hate Annie Lu, but even I think the show is over-crowded at this point.
So what now? We only have two and a half hours left. What's going to happen? I can honestly say I have no guesses and no clue. I'm just gonna let the rest of the series happen. And then I will futilely try to fill the "Lost"-sized hole in my soul.
Anyway, here are some more thoughts on "What They Died For."
* A few other answers tonight. We learned why Kate's name was crossed off Jacob's wall -- because she became a mother. Presumably, Jacob didn't want to inflict Island duty on her, because he saw what that did to his own crazy mama, and the pain that caused his family. Also, it explained why Claire isn't a candidate. So, can we also assume that Sun wasn't the Kwon candidate? But when Kate says Jin and Sun's names are on the wall, Jacob says yes. I don't get it. But it's just a last name. I thought that meant it was just one of them? Or possibly not them at all?
* Man, Kate is a bummer. Jack was probably already devastated about Jin and Sun's deaths, but ol' Freckles has to go and bring up Ji Yeon and how Jin never got to meet her. Way to rub salt in the wound, Kate!
* I was probably one of the few who didn't openly despise Sheila Kelley's Zoe, but I still wasn't sorry to see her go. Only one more episode left! Time to thin the herd!
* Admittedly, I squealed when we finally saw Ben, Miles and Richard again. I'm sorry. I missed them.
* When Ben told Locke Mess that Charles and Zoe were in his closet, did anyone else have an R. Kelly flashback? No? Just me? OK.
* Um, is Richard dead? Because I feel like they've built up that character way too much to have him flipped into a tree, never to be seen again. Closure, please.
* On the off-Island side, we finally learn who Ben's love interest is -- Danielle! Sigh. Most unsurprising twist since "Jack is the candidate." But it's nice to see Danielle again. And look how pretty and happy she is! I love seeing a smiling Danielle!
* But seriously -- coq au vin night? What, were they afraid we'd forgotten Danielle was French?
* The dialogue was particularly heavy-handed tonight. Alex tells Ben he's "like the nicest guy ever." Danielle tells Ben that he's the closest thing Alex has ever had to a father (yes, it was sweet, but a bit much). And, of course, we had Jacob's mega-loaded line, "We're close to the end, Hugo." Really, Jake? You don't say? Look, I know this is a heavily plotted, twisty show and poetic dialogue would just make it that much more impenetrable. But this week the howlers were flying fast and furious.
* Why are men always forcing Kate into dresses? First Ben, now Desmond. Have these guys never heard of a skirt suit?
Well, that's it for me. Thoughts?