When we left Locke and Co. at the end of season one of “Lost,” they were staring down a big, dark hatch of mystery.
It has, safe to say, been a very long journey since then. What began as a slightly supernatural drama about a bunch of castaways — a “Gilligan's Island” without the grins — has become a tangled, often infuriating, always compelling world unto itself. Locke proclaimed, “We're not the only people on this island, and we all know it!”
So true, but “Lost” took us on some lengthy detours along the way to figuring out just who he was referring to. Was it Desmond, the Hatch-ling who made a hasty escape? Was it the tailies — Ana Lucia, Eko, Bernard and the rest — who initially were made out to be the Others until we learned their story, and discovered there were Other Others? Most likely, it was the true Others, who remained a mystery until this most recent episode (and still remain a mystery). For what seems like a small island, there is no end of new bodies appearing, most of them alive.
If last season all about the basics, shaking out which characters would fit, this season was about solidifying the mythology. If last season was about survival, with Rousseau lurking about, this season has been about destiny. What does the show need to settle before sending us off to a summer full of hamburgers and “Dancing with the Stars”?
Only ladders, no chutes
There is way too much left unanswered for the producers to squeeze into a season finale, even a two-hour one. Here are 10 items that need, if not to be resolved, at least to be moved forward on the board. So we beseech the producers: Only ladders, please, no chutes.
10) The vaccine: Just what is it that prompted the “Quarantine” sign on the hatch, and so much worry about the “vaccine” — and about protecting Claire and baby Aaron with it? Is it a psychotropic drug to keep the island residents at bay? (Unlikely, given Desmond's need for it.) If it really is a vaccine, what does it protect people from?
9) Bake me a Kate: She killed a man. He was her daddy. But not her daddy. There's a horse. There's a ... OK, honestly, who cares anymore? Darned if we can figure out why Kate's still around, aside from being a tantalizing bit of Sawyer-bait. They better find a true purpose for her quick, or else we're upping her odds in the death pool as soon as she and Sawyer get down and funky.
8) Desmond's world: It's been no secret that the finale is Desmond-centric, but three things in particular are on our list: (1) Is Desmond tied to Dharma? (2) How exactly is he connected to Jack? (3) What the heck killed his onetime hatch partner, Kelvin? For what it's worth, Kelvin appears in the finale too (in flashback, we assume) so at least one of these questions should be answered. All three would be nice, though.
7) Meaning of the lockdown: Was it to keep Swan residents in check while the island was restocked? Was it the result of the hieroglyphics and the 108-minute timer counting down? Or is it just another mind game? Speaking of which, was Fake Henry Gale lying when he told Locke he never pushed the button, or was lying Henry telling the truth for once? Inquiring minds want to know.
6) The numbers: They're rapidly becoming “Lost's” MacGuffin, a handy but meaningless trope to haul out, like aliens on “The X-Files.” Hurley, who once seemed to be their keeper, has been pushed to the sidelines, his storylines wandering in circles: Mr. Cluck's, lottery, mental institution, and repeat. His big secret was ... a hidden cache of ranch dressing? His love interest — possibly a fellow inmate — fatally shot? The purpose of the numbers needs to come into focus, and soon, and let's hope it's Hurley who helps discover it. (And let's hope he lives to tell the tale.)
5) Flight 815: Executive producer Carlton Cuse the finale will reveal why the Oceanic jet crashed. That could mean we see the full explanation — perhaps some weird electromagnetic pulse that also drew in Desmond's ship, Henry's balloon and the plane carrying Eko's brother Yemi. Or it could mean we get a literal-minded hint. It's been two seasons since the aircraft smashed into the sea, so c'mon ... time to 'fess up a little. If “Lost” is going to move on to what inevitably will have to be the larger mythology of the Dharma Initiative, it's a reasonable request to close out the “How did they get there?” thread. Unless Cuse and Co. are huge “Prisoner” fans, which we suspect they are.
4) Jack's role: The good doctor's role as de facto leader has been slipping for a while, and nowadays it seems like his primary job is to kiss boo-boos and make them better. Locke stopped listening to him a long time ago, for instance. But when Sayid feared Michael had set a trap, he went to Jack. And with Jack's name on the list given to Michael by Mrs. Klugh, maybe now will be the time for Jack to wage the war against the Others he's been girding for. Or, y'know, he could be getting set up for disaster. Which will it be?
3) Eko vs. Locke: The two mens' faith played a major role in the season's events, so it's sure to reappear. We know they'll lock horns, but will the two will end up allied or sworn enemies, or maybe just helping each other out? When Locke's belief in the button-pushing was shattered, Eko picked right up where he left off. And then there are the matters of Eko's discovery of the scorched-earth question mark and his priestly devotion, even though he's not a real priest. Both men have reasons to stay on the island. Is the island big enough for both of them?
2) Walt: After he went missing all season, we figure it must be time for at least a few threads of the Walt mystery to be tied up. His brief appearance last week fueled all the theories that Walt has supernatural powers (Why would the Others make him take tests? Why would Mrs. Klugh ask if Walt ever appeared somewhere he wasn't supposed to be?) and with Michael rounding up a raid party to target the Others' camp, it's a safe bet Walt will appear again. But don't forget those visions of him early in the season, such as when Shannon saw (or dreamed) him speaking backwards? We'd swear on a polar bear that this season's cliffhanger will hinge at least in part on Walt and his presumably fearsome powers. Oh, and notice how Michael asked for a boat just before one appeared offshore back at camp? Whether he ever gets a chance to use it is another matter.
1) Others, Others on the wall: The link between the Others and the Hanso Foundation must be there, but what is it? Is Sea Captain Zeke actually Gerald DeGroot? Are the Others refugees from a Dharma experiment, or are they the ones in control of the island? Just what did Walt mean when he told his dad, “"They're not who they say they are”? This has been the thread dangled in front of viewers all season, and while we don't expect to get a full explanation, it had better be leagues beyond what we've seen thus far. We've come a long way from legs swishing through the jungle and dangled teddy bears, and now's the time to stitch enough pieces together that Jack & Co. know — and us too — just how the two sides are stacked. Cuse has hinted that next season will largely be about the Others, so it doesn't seem like an unreasonable request.