Lost Review: “What They Died For”


And that’s it folks, we are done with regulation and into overtime with Lost. The last of the true episodes have wrapped, and all we have left now is the two and a half hour monstrous finale where all our questions will be answered. Yeah, sure.

I’m going to drop my usual play by play, as this was without a doubt one of the most complex episodes I’ve seen with every character still alive crammed into barely forty minutes of show. I’ll just stick with the highlights.

First, the alterverse. Desmond has concocted a master plan that involves getting most of the important 815ers to uh, a concert I guess where uh, something will happen. I assume this is the Driveshaft/Daniel Faraday bash mentioned earlier in the season. Or maybe he’s just picking them up and a bigger rendezvous is planned elsewhere.


“Trust me, brother, and uh, sister.”

He’s shaken Locke up to the point where he believes that Jack healing his spine is his destiny, and has broken Kate and Sayid out of prison and has Hurley in on his plan. I have no idea what his endgame here is, and it seems like a lot of major players are being left behind (Jin, Sun, Sawyer, Jack and Locke are all still going about their day to day), but as the divine link who is exempt from electromagnetic energy and the rules of time travel, maybe Desmond has fully crossed universes too and will end up being the key to this whole shebang.

On the island, Ben has changed sides for the eightieth time, and has now aligned himself with Not-Locke. He watches as his smoke form spears Richard (is he dead? Is that even possible?) and then he himself shoots Widmore as Locke peppers him with questions about his plans with Desmond. A bit anti-climactic, and that entire plotline seems like kind of a waste now, but certainly a fitting end for Widmore I suppose. Where did Miles go?


Ben killed Locke then Jacob and now Widmore. I’m pretty sure he’s one of the greatest villains in TV history.

Lastly, Jacob played Survivor with the remaining four candidates in a fireside ceremony where I’m surprised torches were not literally put out. He told them that he dragged them to the island to do his job because their lives sucked, and they were all alone (except for you know, Jin and Sun, Claire and her baby, Rose and Bernard, Boone and Shannon, etc etc). He claims they needed the island, and I would argue that could be true, outside of the fact that pretty much all the good friends and lovers they had on the island are now dead. Also, the alterverse does imply that if the island was destroyed, almost everyone would have much better lives, outside of the whole, memory flashing to the realverse thing.

It’s kind of bothersome that we’re not hearing why or how Jacob is allowed to leave the island, or see the future (the first time he visited most of the candidates, their lives weren’t quite in the shitter yet, but he must have known that would happen eventually), and I’m not sure we’ll really get an answer for that. “Magic god powers” I suppose will have to do.

Jacob asks for volunteers and without hesitation Jack jumps up and says he’ll take the job, as he “knows” that this is his grand purpose he’s been searching for all season, and he seemingly has the least to go back to out of anyone. Kate has Aaron (sort of), Sawyer has a kid and a woman (also sort of), Hurley has a family and zillion dollars, but what does Jack have? As cool as it would have been to see Hurley or Sawyer take the throne, I guess really it’s always been Jack. Sawyer’s “god complex” line was priceless.


“Yum, tastes like immortality.”

I guess we have to ask ourselves now, what questions do we really think are going to be answered now in the next two and a half hours? I think we’re at the point where we might just have to accept that science won’t be enough, and we have to just buy into the mystical, all-powerful light that can cause time travel, teleport landmasses, crash planes, and heal spinal injuries while simultaneously killing pregnant women. Like what is the explanation we’re looking for here?

The same is true for Jacob and Smokey. Are we actually going to learn why and how they have god and demon like powers? What this “force” is that doesn’t allow them to kill each other or candidates? What makes them and those they touch immortal? What makes a pillar of smoke sentient, clicking and shape-shifting? How do you explain all that in any coherent fashion? I don’t think you do.


“If you can turn into smoke, why do you even bother walking?”

There are two rabbits out of that hat I could see being pulled here, the first being the Battlestar Galactica route of “God.” We’re kind of already there, as we’ve been told that the island is essentially a bridge between earth and the spirit world, or whatever the hell you want to call it. But are they really going to be so explicit to say that a literal God or gods are at work here? Remember, everyone we’ve seen on the show, even Jacob and Smokey were human at one point.

The second I can see is aliens. Initially it sounds ridiculous, but it would make the most sense for something like the Smoke Monster, who could be a hyper advanced piece of nanotechnology, and it could also explain the light, as the center of the island could be some mystical alien workshop capable of all the time-travelling, teleporting and healing powers we’ve seen so far. Stopping humans or Smokey from taking that kind of power and spreading it to the rest of the world would make sense, as it would probably mean certain destruction for mankind.


Also, why could everyone see the kid-forms of Jacob and Esau running around the island?

Or it could just be open ended, and whatever the light is, where it comes from and why it exists will just be anyone’s best guess, and we can all debate about it Lostpedia for the next three months. I think that after promising answers for six years now, that would be kind of a let down. Since season one, surely an explanation for the Smoke Monster existed, but is that answer seriously just going to be, “he was a guy who was thrown into a cavern of magic light and came out a body-snatching smoke column”? Can you really just use “magic light” to explain away all the show’s greatest mysteries?

I don’t know, given the way the show has been set up over the course of this season, I just don’t think such definite answers are really possible or forthcoming at the moment. But honestly, I’m not mad about it. Looking back, even if all the little mysteries ended up being pointless in the end, the ride to get to where we are is exhilarating, and I maintain there has never in history been a show as engrossing as Lost.

Remember when the show’s greatest mystery was “what is the hatch?” We’ve come a long way since then. We’ve seen every inch of what was inside that hatch, we’ve seen it blow up, then we travelled back in time and watched it be built in the first place. But despite knowing all this, it doesn’t take away from the fact that at the time, that was a damn good mystery, and the show has been full of them ever since.


Ah, the good ‘ol days.

We might not get all the answers, but it’s been a fun six year ride regardless. Remember that the finale is SUNDAY not Tuesday, and I wonder how many pissed off people won’t get that memo. See you Monday with my final Lost review ever. I’m actually pretty bummed out about that.

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  1. The concert in mention I believe is the concert that Jack’s son is playing in. The one hosted by Dharma Scientist/Miles father. I think all of them will converge there.

  2. I thought they’d be going to the concert that Jack’s kid would be playing at. That would mean Jack, Jacks Ex-Wife (which I bet is Juliet) and Claire would be there. Doesn’t seem to make sense to goto where Charlie / Daniel will be, as they both are already turned on to the fact that there is an alt verse. I would think out of any of them, getting Jack to believe would be the #1 priority.

  3. “He told them that he dragged them to the island to do his job because their lives sucked, and they were all alone (except for you know, Jin and Sun, Claire and her baby, Rose and Bernard, Boone and Shannon, etc etc)”

    -Jin and Sun’s marriage was in the dumps
    -Claire was putting her baby up for adoption and had nothing
    -Rose had cancer and her marriage to Bernard had seen better days
    -Boone was sorry sap who worked a wussy job that went to bail out his sister from a horrible relationship.
    -Locke was a lonely cripple
    -Hurley thought he was cursed and spent time in a mental hospital
    -Sayid lost his sense of humanity and the woman he loved
    -Sawyer’s life was based on lies and deceit and whose only purpose was to catch the real Sawyer
    -Kate was headed for jail
    -Charlie was horribly addicted and jobless

    A case could be made for every Lostie, that they were all pretty lonely and going no where.

    Did you get a big grin on your face when Locke talks to Jack about how it could be destiny? It was like we got the old Locke back! Same with Ben, it was like we got the old evil Ben back instead of spineless, mopey Ben.

  4. @ joe

    Good call. I automatically assumed they meant the Drive Shaft concert too. They even mentioned Jack’s son’s concert at the beginning. Charlie and Faraday are already dead too in the Island world so they aren’t as important as Claire, Jack and whoever his Ex is.

  5. I know this is a moot point by now, but when Jack accepted Jacob’s job, I couldn’t help but keeping thinking, “That should be Locke there.” I guess I can forgive Lost for just about any ending to the series, even if it isn’t ideal, but somehow not validating Locke’s belief in the island and his own destiny, and relegating him to death, and having his body used by the “evil” of the show…
    That just doesn’t square with me somehow.

  6. I guess the finale would be everyone left the island, some deaths over there and the fianl scene would be Locke and Jack talking on the beach just like Jacob and ‘Esau’ in “The Incident” waiting for new people to arrive on the island.

  7. I’d like to remind you that Damon and Carlton never once promised answers to all the mysteries. The ABC execs did with all their promos. If anything Damon and Carlton promised from the beginning that there would be things left mysterious. They often cite how once “the force” was explained away by things in your blood stream called midi chlorians, the force was much less cool. I understand that people are upset about the light but I have faith that it will be given a better explanation than we have been given so far.
    And if I may I’d like to correct a few minor mistakes in your review. The episode was title “What They Died For” not “Why They Died” and Lost normally airs on Tuesday nights not Wednesday. Well I guess I should say used to air. *sniffle*

  8. First off, I would love to say a big ‘thank you’ for Jacob telling the Losties that their lives sucked before they landed on the Island. For all the whining and complaining and constant demands to ‘get off the island’ since day one, I am so happy someone finally spoke up my thoughts and told them off. Thank you for that, Jacob, thank you so much.

    @ Lalo -> I’ve been saying that since the start of this season!

    Now then.

    I still don’t get Ben, though. I mean, why’d he change sides again? Or did he not change sides and wanted to kill Widmore before he told Locke his secret but didn’t get there in time? Does it matter? Do I care? No. I hate Ben. He is a turd.

    I still can’t believe the candidate was selected. My wife claims that Jack is going to die in the final episode, and someone is going to have to find/race to the magical font before Smoke Monster gets there.

    Also; why the crap does Locke want to destroy the island, again? Once he is gone, what the crap does it matter?

    Blah. There is simply no explanation for people’s actions on this show. None. Everyone is batshit crazy and that is that.

    Honestly, I, too have come to terms with Lost. Whatever happens, happens, and we’ll move on from there.

  9. Oh, sorry to double post, but it is defiantly not aliens. It’s not going to be explained, I don’t think, because the light is just that, the light.

  10. @ Cracky

    Jack steps up as a method of redemption for not believing Locke about the island originally. If he’d trusted Locke many of the deaths which Jack blames himself for, including Locke’s, may not have occurred.

  11. Yes. Lost used to be on Wednesdays, because I had to leave the bar on ‘Men’s Day Wednesday’ with the guys in order to get home in order to watch. Because I am that big of a loser. And I don’t have a DVR.

  12. i hate to say it, but i have a feeling most things will be left open-ended… put yourself in their shoes. you’ve got this ginormous following (almost cult-like) for this show that you may or may not have had all planned out since the beginning. you’ve opened more cans of worms than you thought since every single line, action, facial expression, etc. is analyzed over and over until it becomes “a sign”… you know you’re not going to please everybody, so you might please the majority of people and keep the conversation of the show going forever if you leave some things open.

    that’s how i see it. can’t wait until the 5 1/2 hours of sunday lost stuff… we’re having a day-long party for it!

  13. Just one question: Why did Ben ask for one of the walkie-talkies? He was holding it in his hand, half covering it, when he was talking to not-Locke out at the porch. I guess I am just hoping that he did not change sides again (seriously, it has been like one bajillion times, enough!) and SOMEHOW trying to bring down not-Locke from the inside. This is a bit of a stretch but maybe he was keeping the transmission open so that if anyone’s listening on the other hand could hear what they are up to -even though I would not bet on it.

  14. I was actually very happy with this episode. We got a reasonable amount of answers, Ben’s altverse is incredibly satisfying and it did get me back into lost (I lost a lot of faith last episode). Really looking forward to the finale now.

    p.s; I hope Miles gets to do his voodoo with Jacob and MIB’s crazy mom. That’s one way of getting some answers and it gives Miles something to do this season. Fingers crossed!

  15. Oh, another thing. People can text in and their messages will be played on air during the finale? WTFBBQ LOLOCOPTER?! That is the dumbest thing ever. There better not be some middle aged mother of five’s message of “OMG I LUV LOST SO MUCH HURLEE 4 LIFE” scrolling across the bottom of the screen while I try to watch/decipher the last episode.

  16. Why are you so obsessed with getting answers?

    Since pure science isn’t enough here (due to time travel, not aging people, ect.) an “explaination” for the supernatural things could only be higher lifeforms (god, aliens, wizards, ect.) and so if you get that explaination your automatically disappointed.

    Lets put it this way: I don’t want any new answers for things, if the explaination involves something that happened before the plain crash. Isn’t it obviouse that such an explaination would be unsatisfactory? I really don’t get the philosophy behind wanting to know all answers.

  17. Smoke monster answered why he walks last night, I guess you weren’t listening again, he clearly said “I like having a body to remind myself I was once human.”

  18. oooh, it’s a quote from the show, sorry dude. I still wish you were happier with the episodes though, hopefully the finale will at least give you some of what you wanted.

  19. As much as I wished the show was more scientific like the beginning, and less mystical like it now is, I can roll with it. I can deal with leaving some/many things unanswered. How many times have you watched a show/movie/book with a big mystery, and the resolution was always at least somewhat of a let down? The imagination is always better than what can be shown on screen.

    Besides, if they leave a lot of questions hanging, there’s always the film option (with the bonus of big money). It’s been a fun, if confusing and sometimes infuriating, ride, so I’m happy. Too many shows I like get canceled quick (recently Happy Town and Flashforward). Maybe the end is Jack and Locke the new Jacob and MiB, rinse and repeat?

    Can’t wait till Sunday to see what rabbits they can pull out of their hats.

  20. Maybe they’ll do like the Dark Tower, where the writers will pop on screen before the last half hour and be like “Look, we’re going to show you what happens, but you don’t really want to know. Just turn off the TV now and be happy the show was good. The rest of you that need to know, don’t say we didn’t warn you.” Then we see the ‘real’ reason for Lost.

  21. I have a theory about whats goind on and what the island is
    and i had it from the end of season 5. its extremely far-fetched
    and i dont really think they will show that but here it is..

    There exists a theory from some historians that before the beggining of civilization as we know it (egyptias ,sumerian, olmecs, etc)
    there was another civilization very advanced, at least as advanced as our civilization in some fields), but then a global Catastrophe striked
    and everything was in ruins.
    Then a group of guys existed with similar characteristics who makes
    an appearance in all of old civilization histories.
    The leader of these group was called Viracocha in the incas mythology, quezacoatl in the aztec, and other names i dont remember. It is said that this group traveled around the world and gave the civilization back to the people.
    Well until the previous episode i was thinking that Jacob was Viracocha. You see throught the series and mostly in the fifth season you see Ieroglifics, greek letters, and other of the same stuffs, you see an aztec temple, and an Egyptian statue.
    The island is a “device” build by this civilization
    and the most far-fetched tech that explains most of the stuff
    thats going on is nanotech, a swarm of nanobots. Explains the smoke, the eternal youth, the healing properties of the island.
    So the “magic-light” becomes, a swarm of nanobots and lost
    ventures into the Sci-fi field..
    I honestly dont believe thats the explanation..i just trying to make sense with the crazy universe of lost

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