Warning: This is rife with spoilers, plot details and random speculation. If you don't want to know what happens in the “Lost” season finale, turn back now.
Last season's “Lost” finale ended with Locke finally blowing open the hatch that tormented him like a certain white whale taunted Ahab. This season opened with life inside the hatch for one tormented soul named Desmond. Soon enough, Desmond would vanish, and Locke would take his place.
The hatch, better known as Dharma Initiative station No. 3, aka The Swan, pretty much defined life for the Losties this season. Locke obsessively ensured the button was pushed every 108 minutes. Hurley raided its food lockers to feed his hunger with vats of Dharma dressing and Apollo bars. Kate took comfort in its shower, and nursed an ailing Sawyer back to health. Sayid turned a closet into an impromptu torture chamber for Fake Henry Gale. Ah, yes, it was a very different existence this season for the Losties — with a privileged few allowed to hang in the hatch while Rose, Sun, Jin, Claire (apparently moms and newborn babies don't get hatch time) and the lot were stuck out on the beach.
But inside the hatch, we all were introduced to Dharma via that creepy orientation film, and over the months the Dharma mythology took center stage, as other stations (the Staff, the Pearl) were discovered, and as Locke found at least a rudimentary map outlining the scope of Dharma's operations on the island.
The season's final episode filled in many essential details of the hatch, and quite possibly ended that part of “Lost's” story line. But it left behind even more questions about Dharma, about the always-creepy Others and about the various interconnections between the Lostaways that indicate there's something greater afoot.
The focus this time was on Desmond, aka Lance Cpl. Desmond David Hume, dishonorably discharged from Her Majesty's Armed Forces and released from military prison. His time in the clink apparently was courtesy of the rich daddy of his beloved Penelope Widmore (of the Widmore family featured prominently in Gary Troup's “Bad Twin”) and it was daddy Widmore who greeted Desmond upon his release, trying to scare him off.
No such luck. Penny caught up with Desmond as he prepared to compete in her father's boat race — literally moments before he would run into Jack on a set of stadium steps.
Desmond's voyage was ended prematurely when he wound up marooned on the island in a vicious storm (hastened, we'll bet, by a Dharma meteorological experiment) with only his precious copy of Dickens' novel “Our Mutual Friend” for company. (It was the book he wanted to read just before he died, which provides enough symbolism to choke a horse.)
A biosuit-wearing Kelvin dragged Desmond into the hatch, and the two would become hatch-buddies for the next three years. But Kelvin wasn't much of a pal, denying Desmond even a moment outside. As it turned out, Kelvin had a prior partner, Radzinski, who painted the map Locke would find before Radzinski blew his brains out (or so Kelvin said).
Desmond would soon dispatch Kelvin, after he found him planning an escape using Desmond's precious boat. But first Kelvin revealed a mighty useful piece of information. Down in a crawl space under the Swan station, Kelvin revealed a "system termination" switch, complete with Dharma Key, and a wall with the same electromagnetic powers that lifted Eko's cross.
"What's behind that wall, Kelvin, what was the incident?" Desmond asked.
"Electromagnetism, geologically unique," Kelvin answered, in a moment of alcohol-induced candor. "The incident? There was a leak, so now the charge builds up and every time we push the button, it discharges it before it gets too big."
Finally, a straight answer to at least one of the island's mysteries. Then, with Locke, Desmond linked the last “incident” and the crash of Flight 815. It's been promised for weeks that viewers would learn what brought down the flight, and at least it now seems as though the electromagnetic anomaly was to blame.
It wasn't to be the last incident at Swan station. The Eko/Locke tension finally reached a boil, with Eko first locking Locke out, then Locke tricking Eko into abandoning his post. Eko tried to get back in, but failed — and lost his precious Scripture-covered EkoStick as the blast door shut him out. So he and Charlie dynamited their way in, but too late. Locke had destroyed the computer, the numbers ticked to zero and the happy hatchers were on their way to another incident.
As the hatch was on its way to self-destructing, Jack, Sawyer, Kate, Hurley and Michael headed off to visit the Others. Last season's finale was marked by the Others taking Walt, so why not cap this one by Michael retrieving his son? That's just what happened, but not before Jack exposed Michael's betrayal of his friends, and Hurley realized that his would-be love, Libby, died at Michael's hand. The merry band found some interesting tidbits along the way, including the massive pile of pneumatic tubes used to transport notebooks from the Pearl observing station.
It's been pretty clear that next season will focus on the Others, so it worked pretty well to introduce them to us now. Aside from Ms. Klugh (aka Dee), there was Sea Captain Zeke (real name Tom) and Fake Henry Gale, who not only seems to be their leader but managed to keep his real name concealed. But still, who are they?
They set Michael and Walt off to sail away in what seemed to be the same boat they used to capture Walt.
"Who are you people?" asked Michael as he departed, remarkably unconcerned with his friends' fate.
"We're the good guys, Michael," Fake Henry replied.
Questions left danglingIn a morally relative world like Lost Island, who knows what that possibly means? Actually, the Others were this season's big tease. Episode after episode, viewers got brief glimpses and threatening hints. Even as Sayid combed the beach on a scouting mission this week, there were no big revelations, no secret panels hidden under their primitive yurts. Even the Dharma door under Square Rock, the landmark used to find their camp, yielded nothing. At least not that we've seen.
This wasn't the only longtime mystery left dangling. Among the others:
- The numbers: Hardly factored into this episode, and are no more clear than they ever were.
- The dearly departed: We accept that Shannon, like Boone, was a casualty of a plotline that reached a dead end. But what about Libby, who has ties to both Desmond and Hurley? What about Ana Lucia, whose has ties to Jack?
- The “vaccine”: Kelvin was seen skulking around in his biosuit and warned Desmond to inject himself with the serum, but discarded his protective gear the moment he left the hatch. It seemed imperative that Claire be given the “vaccine” by doctors who turned out to be part of the Others. So do they hold the clues to what it really does?
- Walt: The Others hinted that he'd been useful, but on balance he looked like the same old Walt, and now he's sailing off with his dad. You just know they've gotta come back. I mean, they left behind Vincent, if nothing else. What boy abandons his dog?
- Dharma: Aside from Kelvin's smartass aside about joining the mysterious Initiative, we got precious little about it.
What's clear, then, is that we all were being moved out of the hatch and on to the next round of threads: the Others, the Dharma backstory, the island's supernatural mysteries.
The big bangBut that's not to say the season didn't finish with a bang. With the hatch computer destroyed and the electromagnetic field crushing every piece of metal in sight — including that infernal numbers display — Desmond seemed to sacrifice himself to the cause, crawling back under the station to turn the key and engage the “system termination.”
What followed was stunning: a bright flash that flooded the skies, along with an earsplitting whine. Pieces of the hatch rained down, including the huge “quarantine” door that almost flattened Claire.
Unseen, though, was the hatch itself, and Locke or Eko. Both men were inside when Desmond turned the switch, and whether their faith (or some blast doors) saved them will remain a puzzle for now.
Either way, the hatch's time was done, and for “Lost” lovers, it was time to move on. Farewell hatch, welcome Others. It's a long summer, but come fall, the game is afoot.
Just to keep us guessing, a final epilogue moved to a far-off snowbound research station, where two researchers noted a huge electromagnetic anomaly and made an emergency call. On the other end of the line was ... Penelope, Desmond's long-lost love.
During those three years in the hatch, Kelvin had asked: “Here's the real question, Desmondo. Do you have the courage to take your finger out of the dam and blow the whole thing up instead?”
The answer, apparently, was yes. And good on him. The hatch was fun, but now let's see the rest of the island and start uncovering its other mysteries. Maybe the Others would care to lead the tour?