Lost: Follow the Leader
(S05E15) "I have a purpose now." - Locke
I can't believe how fast this season of Lost has gone by. There's probably a time-travel joke buried in that realization somewhere, but my head is still spinning from "Follow the Leader," so I'm not really in clever witticism mode. Honestly, I'm speechless. For the most part, this wasn't one of my favorite episodes of the season. But for me to be at a loss for words at one of Lost's sub-par installments - well that says something about the quality of this show. "Follow the Leader" was a lot of set up for next week's two hour finale and the events that have been set in motion (even though it seems they always happened) are mind-numbing.
The hour was clearly divided between 2007 and 1977 and it jumped back and forth. I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't disappointed in the lack of backstory we got on Richard, other than Ben's mention that he's an adviser who's had his job a long, long time. However, the thirty year back and forth jumps provided us enough Richard moments that I do feel like we know him a little better - just not as well as I thought we would, especially considering the multiple interpretations of the episode's title.
Let's talk about 2007 first. Locke returned and took his seat as leader of the Others. It became apparent pretty quickly that he was going to be far more proactive than anyone expected and this was immediately an issue. Richard even went as far as whispering his concerns to Ben, who in turn agreed and told Richard that was why he tried to kill him. Ben's "I'm not gonna try and stage a coup" comment may not have been all that far off.
Two major things came out of Locke's first hours as Grand Puba. First is that when we saw Richard mend up Locke's shot leg in "Because You Left," he wasn't lying to Locke when he told him, you told me. I'm trying to wrap my head around the idea that it was Locke himself who realized that his past self would have sat there and bled to death, so he gave himself his own mission by sending Richard. I know that all this always happened this exact way, but it's still so easy to stop and think, how did this all go down during the first iteration? Would Locke have just died there and after years of failures, the island finally told John to find himself and make this work?
The second big bombshell was finding out what Locke considers to be his purpose on the island. After witnessing enough of how the Others work, John is done with blindly following Jacob's wishes without actually meeting, and seeing Jacob - something John claimed Ben never did and Ben didn't really put up a fight about. John's plan? Kill Jacob. He told Ben and I'm sure Ben will tell Richard - but will they try and stop him?
The one thing that I noticed was that while Locke seemed confident in his choices, Richard no longer did and that was a little out of character for him. I almost wonder if the speculation that Ben really was never supposed to leader, that he was just a placeholder until Locke finally arrived, is true. Maybe Richard is just floored to see what it's like to have a true leader in action again, taking advantage of all that such an individual is capable of?
Back in 1977, things progressed quickly. Jack and Kate watched Dan get shot and then Widmore found the two of them. Beaten and brought to Ellie's tent, Jack quickly convinced her that Dan was telling the truth and that what's written in Dan's notebook has to happen - Jughead needs to be detonated. The only problem? It's buried in the island's subterranean tunnel system, directly below DHARMA's village.
So the big question to ask is whether Ellie is helping Jack because she believes him or if she's using him and this is just a way to try and get rid of DHARMA for good? Sayid (he's back!) actually brought up this point and Jack dismissed him because he knew Ellie would help them in 2007. What Jack seems to be missing is that just because Ellie is off the island, doesn't mean what he's about to do still has a happy ending - lots of people are going to die and Richard confirmed this to Sun.
Elsewhere, Chang finally started to believe Faraday once Miles, Jin, and Hurley confirmed they're from the future. So the island evacuation began. After taking a solid beating from Radzinsky, Sawyer finally agreed to tell them where the hostiles were if he and Juliet could leave on the sub. He even said good riddance to the island. It just goes to show you how far James was willing to go to try and recreate the idyllic three years he had just spent with Juliet - he was willing to ditch everyone else much as they had done three years prior/thirty years in the future. Naturally, Kate showed up (she ditched Jack and got caught) and Phil threw her on the sub too. The look on Juliet's eyes was pure hate. Then the sub left. So will they be out of explosion range?
A few more thoughts on "Follow the Leader" --
Widmore seemed worried about Ellie's well being. He even rubbed his hand across her stomach, indicating that she was probably pregnant with Daniel at the time. But who was in charge? Richard seemed to take orders from both of them. Plus, how did Ellie get off the island?
Speaking of Richard, could we read his hobby (building a ship in a bottle) as foreshadowing that he arrived on The Black Rock?
I felt so bad for Kate when she told Jack that "it wasn't all misery" and he said "enough of it was."
Mitch found the sub manifest and he and Phil realized that Hurley must be part of all this. But where are Hurley, Miles, and Jin headed to? The beach still? Won't they be found?
Sun is going to go ape-shit on Locke when she realizes he lied to her about his intentions.
Lots of info to digest, and from what I've read, next week's two hour finale has such a big game changer, that it'll make you wonder how the show could even continue after finding out. Anyway, here's the official description:
"The Incident," Parts 1 & 2 - Jack's decision to put a plan in action in order to set things right on the island is met with some strong resistance by those close to him, and Locke assigns Ben a difficult task, on the season finale of "Lost," WEDNESDAY, MAY 13 (9:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.