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So much was wrong with this episode. For instance... um... let's see. Well, the pacing seemed a little off in the first half. And... uh... c'mon, there's got to be something. Widmore's part seemed weak I guess. And the redshirting has again gotten ridiculous. And...
No, I'll stop there. This was one of the greatest episodes of all. Here are various ways it succeeded:
- Undead badass Bernard. When Bernard accused Jack of "flirting with my wife," I saw no smile. It also seemed fitting that the episode with the Titanic ending would finally reference romance between Jack and Rose.
- Attempts to escape the cage. Normally in such situations, all seems lost till someone comes and rescues the distressed. Here, Kate bent down and almost freed them. At the same time, Frank showed off his quads and almost kicked them free. Meanwhile, the rest considered if behind steel bars may well be the safest place to be under the circumstances. And THEN jack came and freed them all. That just worked well.
- The bamboo staircase. Somewhere, Gilligan is smiling.
- Undead unbadass Anthony Cooper. The shift from miserable bastard to incapacitated old man seems similar to Roger Linus's, but Anthony Cooper was a con man in both timelines. Locke most likely then crashed his plane while Cooper was secretly plotting to steal the kidney. So in the original timeline, we watched Sawyer satisfyingly strangle the man, but the Lost writers sentenced Alt Cooper to a fate worse than death.
- "John Locke told me to stay, mothafucka." Splash.
- The way they debunked the water-weakness theory. The way things have been going lately, I expected they'd handle that with, say, Jack: "Is it true that you can't travel over water." MIB: "No, I can travel over it. I can get wet too." Jack: "Okay."
- A TWIST!
- Sayid analyzing the bomb. Theorize however you like about Desmond snapping Sayid out of it, but I say all Sayid needed was another chance to fix electronics in an unfamiliar, enclosed space. Wiring is his constant.
- Years ago, Sayid sought redemption by telling a friend not to martyr himself with C4. Guess how Sayid finally redeems himself?
- Letting a timer count down. "It's not real!" says Jack. "None of it's real!" All that was missing was for the Jack, horrified, to afterward add, "I was right." Then Sayid could say, "You saved my life brother, so I could save yours. I'm thankful for whatever it was that made you start believing. Now I've got to go and make it all go away. I'll see you in the next life, if not in this one."
- Everything about the sinking sequence of course. When the water first started trickling in, I said to myself, "Heh, they don't have the budget to film something like "Through the Looking Glass, Part 2". This isn't the finale. Then Frank said, "Aw hell." And it broke loose.
- Oxygen tanks. We can argue how the gang couldn't have swum out against that pressure or couldn't feed gas to the unconscious, but the tanks were a nice touch to throw some realism into the crazy situation. Even mentioning buddy breathing. Then Jack says, "Take this tank! I can save Sawyer without it!" Jin: "No you can't." Jack: "Don't tell me what I..." And he can't finish because he starts crying.
- Jin's muscles are HUGE.
- As Jin tries rescuing Sun, we get a quick clip of "There's No Place Like Home". Because this is a heroic, uplifting scene of course. Then for those of you who were fooled, in comes "Life and Death".
- Everything else about their death scene too. Jin has already had two of the show's best death scenes, and now he bags the best one of all. I'm convinced Sun and Jin's reunion scene sought to lull us into a false sense of... not of security, but of believing the show had forgotten how to film good scenes. Among other things, consider how much time the show took over the final shots. The slowly sinking sub. The hands separating à la Michelangelo's Creation of Adam. When have we ever had such long shots? And in an episode so fast paced too!
- Jin reverts to Korean right before dying, but his very last words are in deliberate English. Why? He learned English for her. His first English words were in "The Whole Truth": "I love you."
- Jack: "Why do you find it so hard to let go?" Locke: "Why do you find it so easy?" Jack: "It's never BEEN easy!"
- Locke refusing Jack's surgery. The show could have gone with Jack winning Locke over - and I half-hope they still do - but Locke laughing at Jack and rolling away worked so well.
- Jack giving CPR to Sawyer. I heard American stations cut it out, which is just baffling.
- A minute of crying. Yes, they even had time to stick that in.