"The Candidate"

FEBRUARY 1, 2011

AIRED: MAY 4, 2010

I don’t recall why there was a week off in between “The Last Recruit” and “The Candidate”, but it works in its favor for a second viewing. A lot of Lost works better in back to back, but this episode in particular has a really sad moment that was totally killed by the confusing flash sideways stuff. So not only did I enjoy the episode more this time due to having just watched the one before it, I also got to be sad when two of the more beloved characters perished.

I guess I should preface by explaining my original theory for the flash sideways world. My belief for pretty much the entire season was that when the hydrogen bomb went off, it created two timelines: one in which the characters magically got transported back to 2007 instead of dying in a massive explosion, and then another where Jack’s plan worked and the plane never crashed. And I never contemplated the specifics, but the idea was that everyone had to die in the rather grim Island timeline in order to correct whatever issues might arise in the “sideways” (happier) timeline. In retrospect it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it was my idea anyway. Thus, when Sun and Jin died, I didn’t really find it too sad, because I *knew* they were alive in the other timeline anyway. Ditto for Sayid, but in his case I didn’t really care because they had already killed him at the beginning of the season and turned his character into an incoherent mess.

I mean, really, why did he turn good again? Was it simply Desmond asking him what he was going to tell Nadia when she asked how she came to be alive again? If he’s been “claimed” by some sort of infection, would the simple words of a Scottish dude he barely knows be enough to kill that darkness inside him? I like that he went out a hero, but he also went out as a major plot hole, in my opinion.

But anyway, now that I know it’s real, I did find Jin and Sun’s death to be pretty damn sad. That “Life and Death” piece from Michael Giacchino would give me sad chills even if it was playing over a shot of Clark Griswold punching an animatronic moose, so as soon as it kicked in I could feel the sadness, and this time around the tears did fall. I wish it wasn’t so clunky (what the hell is trapping her, anyway? It looks like three railings? And how did an explosion on the other side of the ship cause that much irreversible damage?), but I guess I shouldn’t complain – the better written it was, the more upsetting it would be. Same as Charlie’s death, which could have been avoided entirely anyway, but was also foreshadowed for an entire season (as was Jack’s, to some degree). Really, Juliet was the only one to ever get a good death scene that wasn’t played for shock value, I think.

Another issue I had concerns Anthony Cooper (funny note – Kevin Tighe’s credit appears as his name is mentioned for the first time in the episode. Nice bit of synchronicity), who in this timeline had a good relationship with Locke. I buy that Jack can have a son and Sawyer can be a cop, because everything changed from a moment that occurred when they were very young, but how did Cooper and Locke end up being close when he abandoned Locke’s mother before he was even born, long before 1977 (when the timeline changed due to the bomb)? Again I guess you just got to chalk it up to the fact that none of this actually happened and it’s some sort of metaphorical series of events designed for the characters to get over their biggest personal demon (which for Locke would be his shattered relationship with his father), but it’s inconsistent with the basic logic of trying to present it as a real, possible world. Though, maybe they figured since the next episode would just be a giant waste of time and thus they only had three hours left to explain the sideways world (actually half that since those episodes had a lot of Island stuff to cover as well), they had to start dropping hints.

Speaking of inconsistencies, I had to laugh when Jin refused to take the oxygen bottle after Jack told him he could make it without it. “No, you can’t, Jack,” Jin tells him, but he totally could. As I pointed out yesterday, Jack is one hell of a swimmer – he got through the cave/tunnel/temple whatever to the bomb in S5 without any problem, and just yesterday he swam from the middle of the ocean back to the island in fairly quick time while wearing a backpack. Not only could he have made it, he probably could have had time to go back and help try to free Sun. He totally missed his calling.

I didn’t notice the first time around, the episode once again depicts the writers’ fairly casual approach to killing people who weren’t necessarily bad (and/or the characters’ approach to letting them perish). Both the sub captain and his mate don’t seem to be killed when the bomb goes off, but no one bothers trying to save them. Hell they don’t even seem to care about Lapidus (I also noticed a bit of irony – there was a first aid kit behind him; if they had found it they might have all died since Jack’s pack never would have been opened), who is assumed dead for this and the next episode, but without any fanfare. No wonder they all went to heaven together, these 815ers are the most cliquey bunch of assholes in the world. I bet they had to have some sort of mental staff meeting to vote on whether or not Penny and Desmond would be allowed to come along.

For all my nitpicks, it’s a good episode though. The action’s fun (love Locke just picking dudes off on the dock), it puts most of our characters together for pretty much the last time, Sawyer and Jack sort of make up, and the flash sideways story is above average, particularly the sweet scene of Jack and Claire at the law office (“You’re family.”). It’s the last “relaxed” flash story too, so, you know, respect. From here on out it’s all crazy running around fake LA stuff.

Tomorrow... *sigh*

Where are we?


  1. My big problem with this episode is that it makes Sun and Jin dicks. They make their kid an orphan for no good reason.

  2. That kid is just a picture on a camera to Jin, he never met her. If anything shes the dick. But to be clear I think neither of them are dicks.