"The Incident"

JANUARY 18, 2011

AIRED: MAY 13, 2009

It’s over! “The Incident” is a decent finale for a mediocre season, though it sadly suffers from some of the same problems (no Desmond? Still no Claire?) and doesn’t really have any big reveals – apart from explaining why “Marvin Candle” doesn’t have a hand, the big mystery solved is... John Locke is dead. For two years in a row, the finale ends with a camera panning around and revealing Terry O’Quinn in a suit and trying hard not to breathe.

Of course, in the S6 premiere we get the physical/visual reveal that Locke was Smokey, so at least they didn’t drag it out for too long, but still, Jacob’s line about “finding the loophole” made a pretty weak reveal – they should have ended things on the “Sorry you had to see me like that” scene from the next episode (which aired 8 months later) – THAT would be a good cliffhanger. Especially since Ben (who gets a rare good line at Richard’s expense when he questions whether he’s making shit up as he goes along – usually it’s Richard who gets the good lines!) still doesn’t seem to know what’s really going on – it’s a reveal to the audience but not to any of the characters. At the time it aired, it was pretty frustrating, and rather lackluster to boot. And if you missed the opening scene it wouldn’t even have made any sense.

On the other hand, that opening scene is much more enjoyable now that we know more about Jacob and the Man In Black. I always liked seeing Titus Welliver pop up, but knowing their history makes their rather casual conversation quite amusing to me. I also enjoyed knowing that Richard was on the Black Rock, which adds another layer to MiB’s accusation that Jacob “brought it there”. Obviously I’ll talk about it more when the time comes, but I didn’t hate “Across The Sea” – I hated its placement in the season. I would have preferred their story got dished out in little standalone scenes like this one, because it didn’t bother me then and I enjoy the scene even more now.

The highlight of the episode is easily the big Jack/Sawyer fight. While the two have gotten along for the most part over the past 2-3 seasons, the time they spent at each others throats in S1 and 2 never really resulted in a full blown fight like this one; I mean – HOLY SHIT. Sawyer even kicks him in the balls! Even Ben never looked as mangled as Jack does at the end of their brawl. Since Jack only fights Locke’s body, this is pretty much the alpha and omega of “long time coming” fights on the show.

The big climax at the exploding Hatch site is good too. Sucks that established continuity kept us from getting to see Radzinsky suffer (another reason why it was a bad idea to make him such a villain), but at least we get to see Phil, who was even more annoying, meet the business end of some metal rods. Plus I just like seeing shit fly around. Also, both in this and the fight scene, Jack shows remarkable recovery skills. Sawyer’s beating leaves him bloody but running at full capacity (even the kick to the babymakers didn’t seem to phase him), and then he takes a full toolbox to the back of the head, which could kill a man easily, but Jack recovers from it without even a noticeable wound.

Speaking of Jack’s skills, his flashback was one of the best, as we got to see Christian (as Christian!) for the first time in a while, and it showed the “Count to 5” story that we heard in the pilot. It’s odd that it was his father that had to tell him to do this, but I guess he just left that part out in order to sound more awesome to the hot girl cleaning his wound. Some of the other flashbacks aren’t as successful – it seems like he actually caused Nadia to die, which sets off the chain that led to Sayid being brought back to the island – not exactly a heroic thing to do. Seems like there could have been an easier way to do it too. Also, unless Ben was lying, the guy who ran her over meant to do so, so wouldn’t she have gotten killed anyway?

And Jack also manages to shoot a guy this time! It’s kind of weird that Jack would be killing people, but I guess if he figured nothing he was doing that day would ever really happen then it would be OK. However, this produces a plot hole/time travel gaffe thingie in his logic – he sets off the bomb which keeps the plane from crashing, but it was only the result of him crashing on the island that would allow him to bring the bomb there, right? So the bomb wouldn’t go off unless he crashed, which he wouldn’t- ah fuck it. Kate sure is pretty, huh?

Actually, they do answer one other question – where Bernard and Rose (I just noticed that their name makes Bernard Rose, the director of Candyman) have been all this time. As it turns out, they just decided to ignore everyone else and live on the island peacefully (with Vincent!), having grown tired of their nonsense. I love that! Kate tells them Jack has a bomb and Rose replies “Who cares?” So good. I also love “We traveled 30 years through time and you’re still finding ways to shoot each other?” Hahahaha, I love these two. Their little coda with Juliet is also kind of sad, almost like they knew she’d be the one that wouldn’t come back from their adventure.

Oh man, that part. This makes the 3rd time I’ve seen it and I still tear up. As I mentioned a few recaps ago, Sawyer and Juliet made for the most realistic couple that the island “created” (meaning not counting Rose/Bernard, Jin/Sun, Desmond/Penny), and I think their reunion in Lost Heaven was the only one I cried at in the series finale, as well. And to this day I don’t know if she wanted to leave to be on V, or if they decided to kill her off and she booked V to keep on working, but either way it’s the rare death that didn’t seem like the result of something besides their plans for the story (i.e. having to kill Eko off early because the actor wanted to leave, or killing Nikki and Paulo because everyone fucking hated them).

So that’s it for Season 5. It’s an odd season in that the middle episodes were better than the opening/closing ones, and it’s also the one riddled with the most plot holes and unanswered questions, making it the weakest (assuming I don’t like S6 less this time around), but it’s still valid entertainment. And while I didn’t like some of the decisions they made along the way, I appreciate the insular nature of the season as a whole – there were no attempts to make it accessible for newcomers (many episodes didn’t even bother with “Previously...” recaps), or shoehorn in some new characters that would look good on a poster or TV spot (guessing no one wrote up any Phil/Radzinsky slashfic). It was a fans-only affair that some fans didn’t like.

I’m taking tomorrow off, so S6 will start up on Thursday. We’re almost done!

Where are we?

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