We were promised that some of the show’s most beloved characters wouldn’t make it to the final episode, and despite its flaws, “The Candidate” delivered on that promise. At least three longtime Losties and one minor fan-favorite took their final breaths this episode, and while it was very sad to see them go, the episode as a whole seemed a bit too rushed for their deaths to have much impact. So much happens in the course of this episode that I almost felt that many of the characters didn’t get a proper sendoff, but I guess with only three new episodes to go until the finale, the writers feel the need to get their asses in gear and get us to the finish line, characters be damned.
The episode picks up with Jack waking up in “Locke”‘s camp after being rescued from Widmore’s attack last episode. Locke convinces Jack to help rescue Sawyer and his band of mutineers from Widmore’s group, stating that he still needs them in order to get off the island. Jack agrees but says he’s not leaving. After springing Sawyer and company, they make their way to the Ajira plane, which “Locke” finds rigged with C4, courtesy of Widmore, he says. They then make their way to the sub, where “Locke” gets suckered again and winds up on the dock with Claire while the rest of the group makes a break for it. Everything seems fine until Jack finds the C4 in his backpack, rigged to a watch with less than four minutes to go until it blows. He tells the group that they should just leave it alone, hoping that the stunt he pulled with Richard on the Black Rock will work again this time. Sawyer doesn’t want to take that chance and unsuccessfully tries to defuse the bomb. Most of the group makes it to shore, but several others meet their doom on the sub.
Meanwhile, in the Flash Sideways story, Locke wakes up in a hospital bed, a little groggy but otherwise alive after his vehicular altercation with Desmond. Jack tells him that he would be a perfect “candidate” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) for an experimental surgery that may grant him the use of his legs again. Locke refuses, which puzzles Jack, who tries to find out exactly how John lost the use of his legs. His search ultimately brings him to Locke’s father, Anthony Cooper, and Locke eventually tells him the story of how both he and his father got in an accident and why he doesn’t want to walk. If this is the same Anthony Cooper in this reality that Sawyer was looking for, then he’s in for a big disappointment when he finds him, if the writers even have time to further explore that plotline.
“The Candidate” did a lot to move the plot along, which is necessary if it hopes to achieve a satisfactory ending. It seemed, however, that this episode was trying to do too much and ultimately wound up not doing much for me. The two big twists of the previous episode (Sawyer and company being taken captive by Widmore’s group and Jack being taken in by “Locke”‘s camp) didn’t really amount to much of anything other than getting all the characters together one more time, and the flash sideways, while important in showing more of Locke’s story, failed to have much of a narrative tie to the events on the island. Also, as mentioned before, the deaths in this episode, while significant, failed to have much effect since they occurred with so much else going on. But I guess that’s the price we pay for following a show with such a large ensemble cast and with such a huge, overarching plot. Here’s hoping that the final three episodes will have more of the balance of plot and character that we have come to expect from Lost. “The Candidate” earns only 3 out of 5 Tearful Farewells.
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