Part 2 of the analysis for There’s No Place Like Home Season 4 finale of Lost will deal primarily with the second half of the show – the starting point being the moment after Sawyer jumped out of the helicopter. Whilst I will not ignore the events that preceded this halfway point I will keep my focus on this final section.
Since the moment of discovering the explosives on The Freighter there was never any question they were going to go off. A set-up like that wasn’t going to be wasted, and a vessel like The Freighter could not possibly remain as a viable means of leaving the Island. So it was not if, but when.
Aside from numerous, nameless Oceanic survivors running around the deck in life vests (almost literally “redshirts”!) there were key people onboard whose survival, or otherwise, should be addressed. Michael, given that he was stood right next to the explosives when they went off, is dead. The absolute confirmation of that came with Christian’s appearance. “You can go now.”
Before that moment Michael had an outside chance of surviving because he seemed impossible to kill. Car crashes and guns that wouldn’t fire intervened to keep him alive. It seems, however, that his purpose was served. I can conclude that Michael’s purpose was to ensure that the likes of Charlotte and Miles and Dan were delivered to the Island – but that The Freighter was then destroyed so no one could leave. Of course, the fact that Christian showed up at that last moment does pave the way for Michael’s character to enter the next level of Island existence.
Season 4, especially, has been one where Christian Shephard’s role has taken on greater prominence. Jacob’s number two? His spokesperson? Some mysteries in Lost survive to baffle into the next series. Another question: Did Jin survive into the next series? Ever since Ji Yeon it has seemed Jin was definitely going to die. There was hope that it might not be the case, and indeed, for some, speculation may even persist. But I think it’s time to say he’s really dead. He was on the deck, with Sun looking right at him, and then it exploded right before Sun’s eyes. Her reaction was convincing enough.
And even if, somehow miraculously, Jin had managed to repeat the feats of his ‘exploding raft dodging’ antics of the Season 1 finale Exodus and jumped clear of the blast, what then? Miles away from the Island he was stranded in the ocean, and the Island disappeared shortly after. The helicopter didn’t get back to the Island before it disappeared, how could Jin have possibly got close enough? I have to conclude he didn’t. He couldn’t. And that renders him stuck out to sea with no land in sight. Doomed.
His only chance was that perhaps Dan Faraday picked him up in time, but even that is a chance of nothingness.
We got a glimpse of Dan on the ferry boat just before the bright light engulfed the Island. Looking at his passengers with him, there is no Jin. Fundamentally I believe Dan was ferrying people to The Freighter, witnessed it explode, and so turned the boat around and headed back to the Island. (Probably he was secretly pleased. He wasn’t altogether keen on leaving Charlotte.) And I suspect he was in the ‘disappearance radius’ of the Island (for not just the Island, but the Hydra Island and thus the surrounding area of the Island vanished) so he’ll have gone wherever/whenever the Island moved on to.
And that still leaves Jin dead. Sun knows it, and apparently blames two people for it. One is her father, for putting Jin on Oceanic 815 in the first instance. The other, at least in Jack’s mind, is Jack himself. (He said as much – “Sun blames me for. . .” – when he met with Ben at the end of the episode.) I think that’s rather harsh on Jack, for Sun to hold him responsible for Jin’s death. But I wonder if that’s simply what Jack thinks, and is not really the case. After all, we did get a brief scene with Sun meeting Widmore.
The flashforwards in general were all scrappy pieces pointing towards the next phase of the story for the Oceanic 6: the return to the Island. Here we had Sun meeting with Widmore, talking of common interests. Of course, the common interest is the Island – but Widmore asked the pertinent question: “Why would you want to help me?”
We can go two ways with this. Either Sun is turning bad, and really is forming an alliance with Widmore to gain the same benefits out of claiming the Island. Or she’s setting Widmore up to exact revenge on him for the death of her husband. (Widmore sent Keamy, and Keamy blew up The Freighter, and The Freighter belonged to Widmore. If anyone is truly to blame, it is Widmore!) I think Sun has revenge in mind.
Elsewhere the remaining members of the Oceanic 6 are falling into line to return to the Island. Sayid has taken Hurley with him, probably under orders from Ben. And Hurley has become increasingly entrenched in the Island ‘demons’ that torment those that leave the Island; not only seeing Charlie but apparently Mr. Eko! “Checkmate” indeed. And Kate is also not immune to such torments, experiencing nightmares (as Walt and Widmore have both reported experiencing) about Claire.
Claire warned Kate that she mustn’t return to the Island, but the phone message Kate received just before the encounter told her the opposite. In reverse-speak the message was: “The Island needs you. . . You have to go back before it’s too late.” And I think Kate knows she has to go back, too – thus her holding Aaron and saying she was sorry.
The end of the episode was the reveal that Locke was ‘Jeremy Bentham’. Sayid didn’t believe it was suicide that caused his death (for all we know, Sayid might have killed him on Ben’s orders). Still, before Locke’s death and after, Hurley was being watched. Probably it was Widmore’s people, clued in to Locke being back and knowing he was seeking out the Oceanic 6. Follow the Oceanic 6 and they’ll lead back to the Island – it’s Widmore’s best trail.
It’s worth considering at this moment who exactly Ben was specifying when he stated everyone had to go back. Obviously he means all the Oceanic 6. And Locke’s dead body counts. But what of Desmond? Or Walt? Or Frank? Or even Ji Yeon? Are all these people required to go back? I think so. I think everyone means everyone. “The Island won’t let you come alone.”
Locke’s death does present an interesting void for who the current Island Chief is. It’s not coincidental, I think, that Ben is quick to act in getting himself and the Oceanic 6 back to the Island. Perhaps with Locke out of the way, apparently having failed the Island, he spies the chance to reclaim his throne?
Note the recurring use of hieroglyphs for the Wheel Room as similarly appeared on the door that Ben went through (that apparently lead to some level of control over the Black Smoke). My guess would be that these glyphs indicate pre-Dharma. Dharma certainly became aware of the Island’s power here, and so built the Orchid Station, and The Vault, as a means of harnessing that power. Yet inventing a match to make fire doesn’t mean the prime element of fire has been invented. I believe the wheel Ben used was created by an older Island civilisation, one probably responsible for the four-toed statue. . .
There can be no question that leaving the Island was an enormous wrench for Ben. There was certainly an element of Jesus Christ sacrifice about his exit – straining at the donkey wheel to save his people at his own cost like Jesus striving to carry a cross to his crucifixion. It was certainly moving, if you'll pardon the pun. Yet we already know where Ben went to next – the jacket he was wearing and the cut on his arm and his cold breath all present when he appeared in the desert during The Shape Of Things To Come, in 2005.
So we know Ben travelled in both time and space through the act of moving the Island; the key question is what happened to the Island? My guess is the same thing – it will have been moved somewhere in time and space. I get the feeling it has moved somewhere cold (I recall Hurley drawing igloos at Santa Rosa, and the polar bears the Island has would love it there!). But that’s purely gut feeling. It would certainly make it harder to find – and absolutely make the likelihood of crashing there on a passenger airline pretty remote! (But at the same time I acknowledge Lost is a show set-up to be filmed in Oahu, Hawaii – and the logistics of making that place look cold might be too extravagant!)
So, aside from a reveal of where the Island ended up, we had quite the finale. It had all the hallmarks. Funnels of Black smoke. . .
Exploding Dharma Stations. . .
But what it didn’t do was halt the action mid-flow. Season 1 had Jack and Locke looking down the shaft, Season 2 had Jack, Kate and Sawyer captured and Desmond turning the fail-safe and Season 3 had Jack on the phone to The Freighter asking to be rescued. Season 4? The Island could be anywhere, at anytime. And our Oceanic 6 story could be picked up anywhere. Point is, we’ve got something of a Tabula Rasa going into Season 5, headed for the home straight, we’re the action doesn’t need to pick up where we left off – rather we can be planted somewhere new and unfamiliar right from the start. A bit like the Island itself being dumped somewhere new and unfamiliar. . .
“We have to go back!”