Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Review: Lost 6.14: The Candidate
You could say this episode was... explosive. (Sorry.)
Lost - Season Six, Episode Fourteen - The Candidate
Written 9/3/13

This is what we in the business call a Wham Episode. (Well, TV Tropes calls it that, anyway.) It is here that the MIB's main plan comes to fruition, and boy is it magnificent. There are times that I like the MIB because I sympathise with him and think that Jacob's a bit of an ass, but here I just admire the sheer badassery and forward planning that comes with his every action. If you torture a man for long enough, he learns a few tricks of his own, it seems. The Candidate was the make-it-or-break-it point of the season, and it was a powerful spectacle that for most fans probably ranks up there with the likes of Reichenbach and The Angels Take Manhatten for sheer pain and misery.
     In the Flash-sideways, Jack's curiosity over Locke's injury leads him to discover that in this Universe, Locke was involved in an accident and blames himself for his father's afterlife paralysis. He becomes unnerved when nearly everyone he talks to turns out to have been on the same flight in from Sydney. In the main timeline,Widmore's men put Saywer's group in the Cages on Hydra Island, before Jack and the MIB (taking his Smoke Monster form) came and busted them out. MIB met them at the plane, where he found a stash of explosives planted by Widmore, and then led the group to the Submarine. With Widmore's goons on their tails, Kate is shot and MIB tricks Jack into boarding the submarine and locking him out. Jack finds the explosives ready to go off in his bag, and Sayid is forced to sacrifice himself to save the others. While everyone else escapes, Jin refuses to leave a trapped Sun and they both drown together.
     One of my favourite moments in the episode is around the middle, when the gang meets up with MIB by the plane. He basically explains to them his own plan to kill them, while omitting just enough information to throw it into an entirely different and more trusting context. It's one of the most ballsy villainous moves I've seen since Moriarty's long game, and its MIB's capacity for such chessmaster-esque manipulation that makes me find him so interesting. For someone who is described in such blanket terms as "the embodiment of pure evil," there is a complexity to him that one wouldn't expect from the villain that the LOST writers paint him as.
     Talking about the writers, I did have to question a few of their decisions when it came to certain demographic representations in this episode. It may just be a complete coiincidence, but it just so happens that every named character who died in this episode was a person of colour. After the offing of main characters Ana Lucia, Eko and Michael in previous seasons, Sayid, Jin and Sun were the last non-white characters remaining from the cast of the first few seasons, leaving a cast with only one person of colour. (Miles). As if this wasn't awkward enough, it just so happens the person who chooses to sacrifice themselves by explosives was the only Muslim in the cast. I don't really see how the writers could have been blind enough for this to happen innocently.
No Stereotypes Were Harmed In The Making Of This
     I have a few other annoyances, as well. Jin and Sun, while never my favourite characters in the world, saddened me with their demise. Mainly because during their deaths, they neither spoke their native language nor appeared to give any considering for the fact that by staying behind, Jin was orphaning young Ji Yeon. As much as I've grown to the love the characters, it didn't have any emotional resonance with me because it was filled with too much silly "true love" spluge to render me completely and utterly cynical. They even through in a cliché, "Go! Save yourself!" line.
     So our remaining foursome has the unenviable task of finding out which of them will become the Island's protector, and finding some way of defeating the Smoke Monster once and for all. It was a well-written journey through the Man In Black's trap and out the other side, and despite my own quibbles with a few of the writers' decisions, it was an episode with a lot of punch. The fun and games are over, and the show is getting ready to pump out it's final few hours of amazing TV.


NEXT WEEK: Before we get to those aforementioned amazing TV hours... it's the less than amazing and quite infuriating Across The Sea. Worse than the damn midichlorians...


  1. ["Jin and Sun, while never my favourite characters in the world, saddened me with their demise. Mainly because during their deaths, they neither spoke their native language nor appeared to give any considering for the fact that by staying behind, Jin was orphaning young Ji Yeon."]

    What on earth made you think that Jin was going to make it to the surface without an air tank? He could have made it if he had been knocked unconscious. But he wasn't unconscious. So, why did you think he could have made it?

    If he had tried, Ji Yeon would have ended up as an orphan anyway. Only Jin and Sun would have died away from each other.

    1. As to your first point, if you recall, Jack, Kate and Hurley escaped from that submarine, and none of them were knocked unconscious. Jin managed to survive floating around the Island after the destruction of the Kahana, he could have escaped that sub. At least by Lost logic.

      Two years on and I'm a lot more fond of that scene, and can see why Ji Yeon's orphaning is more of a tragedy for us than it is an immediate consideration for them. Jin, the one with agency in his staying or going, has only recently discovered that she is alive, and has only just reunited with the woman he loves. If the two had to die, then going down together was the only way it was going to happen.

      Thanks again.