LOST: Episode 6.14, “The Candidate” — Open Discussion

By  · Published on May 5th, 2010

Just when you thought the folks behind Lost were ready to begin unraveling the story and cranking the surprises up to eleven, they go to twelve instead. With The Lost Club taking this and next week off due to some scheduling conflicts, I am here to lead the discussion with all of you – our lovely readers. But first, a warning…

This Article and the Following Discussion Contains Spoilers

Now that we’re clear on that, lets begin to discuss this episode, which was written by Elizabeth Sarnoff and Jim Galasso. Faced with no other choice, Jack must join up with John “Smoke Monster” Locke and Sayid in a go-for-broke rescue mission to get back Sawyer, Kate, Hurley, Jin, Sun and Frank, who were all captured by Charles Widmore in the final moments of “The Last Recruit” two weeks ago. After the rescue mission leads them to the Ajira Airwars plane that is supposed to take them off the island, they learn that Widmore has rigged it with bombs, so it’s on to the submarine.

Meanwhile, in Sideways reality, Dr. Jack tries to convince his new patient – the real John Locke – that he is a candidate for an experimental spinal surgery that may give him back the ability to walk. After Locke is surprisingly resistant, Jack investigates the accident that left both Locke and his father Anthony Cooper in bad shape.

From there, all hell breaks loose. And so, here are some discussion topics…

And ‘Smokey’ Locke is: The man in black, as if you didn’t already know. This is one thing that many expected going into these final episodes, but there was a bit of doubt. But after seeing him plant the explosive in Jack’s backpack – a moved telegraphed from about a mile away – it’s clear that he’s not playing for the good team. In fact, he gets so bad in this episode that he offs three of the series’ most beloved characters.

As the body count rises: It’s clear that this will come down to a showdown between only a few characters. My money is on Jack and Locke being the last two standing, with the very special variable known as Desmond – who is revealed to be still alive in Sayid’s final moments. That said, how sad was it to see Sayid get blown to pieces? I’m sure my mother – who is his biggest fan, there’s no doubt – is a wreck this evening. Even though he’s been a background character for much of this season, he is redeemed in his last great act of heroism. Though the question stands – would that bomb have gone off if Sayid didn’t grab it? Is the Island really protecting Jack?

Sun and Jin, Together Forever: Saddest death of the series, hands down. Right up there with Charlie dying in the underwater station. One of them – or both of them – were still on the list of “candidates,” but now both of them are resting quietly in a deep, watery grave. And leave it to Michael Giacchino – that guy who won an Oscar for Up last year – to bring the audience to their knees with a very somber, touching bit of music as Sun and Jin said their final goodbyes. What’s even more depressing is that the death of Sun and Jin overshadows the other deaths that happen just beforehand. Sayid’s death was so quick that it was nothing more than shock-trauma for the audience, and Frank’s death was almost glossed-over. He did get in his own final one-liner. Good for Frank.

Where do we go from here?: It’s hard to argue with anyone who would posit that Jack is the final candidate to replace Jacob and take on the Man in Black. I find it more than interesting that it’s come down to Jack and the man who used to be Locke. Man of Science versus the Man of Faith, in the end. And here, they said Lost would never go biblical.

Based on the preview, the next episode (“Across the Sea”) will deal with Jacob’s relationship to the Man in Black, and the Island’s game of light vs. dark, good vs. evil. What will be most interesting down the stretch is how the Sideways flashes turn out. Will Desmond assemble everyone into the same room, and if so, what happens then? Does the Sideways reality have any bearing on what happens on the Island? I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t, otherwise what’s the point? Mark my words, Desmond is still the key to the equation. As Sayid said right before he ran off and blew himself up – did it have to be the guy from the Middle East, really? – Jack is going to need Desmond, who is still alive. I always knew there was something to that Desmond guy.

Leave your own thoughts about “The Candidate” in the comments section below. Where will The Final Season will from here?

Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)