Lost: “There’s No Place Like Home, Part 2″

Look whose coffin

I called it back in January. The man in the coffin. “Jeremy Bentham.”

(Spoilers after the jump)

In my January recap of Lost‘s third-season finale, “Through the Looking Glass,” I wondered why Jack would be “upset about the death of someone who’s neither friend nor family… Is Locke the man in the casket?”

According to the final shot of the fourth-season finale, yep. Locke bought the pot farm.

That’s not the only mystery that “TNPLH, Part 2″ clears up. The two-hour show also reveals how the island gets moved, how Jin dies (or not), why only six survivors return to the mainland, why the Oceanic Six have lied to the rest of the world about everything they experienced on the island and why movie trailer/TV promo editors continue to use the Vapors’ “Turning Japanese” in reference to Japan like in ABC’s I Survived a Japanese Game Show promo (because they’re dumbasses and they don’t understand racist metaphors for choking el pollo).

The Orchid

In the jungle, Jack and Sawyer are relieved to find that Hurley is safe. He takes the two to the Orchid‘s greenhouse, where Locke and Jack have their first-ever conversation since the day Locke split from the camp. Locke wants Jack to reconsider going home, but he fails to get him to change his mind, so he recommends to Jack that when he returns, he should lie about everything that took place on the island in order to protect it.

Ben’s distress signal to the remaining Others via signaling mirror pays off. With the help of Kate and Sayid, the Others ambush Keamy (Kevin Durand) and his mercenaries as they escort Ben to their copter. Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell) plugs four bullets into Keamy just as he’s about to choke Sayid to death with a tree limb. Kate and Sayid had cut a deal with Richard: they help him rescue Ben, and in return, the Others give them the copter to leave the island with Jack, Sawyer, Hurley and Frank.

Inside the Orchid, Ben prepares to move the island and keeps Locke occupied with a videotape of another one of those creepy Dharma Initiative orientation films hosted by “Dr. Edgar Halliwax,” a.k.a. “Dr. Marvin Candle,” a.k.a. “Dr. Mark Wickmund” (François Chau). For a series of time and space experiments, the Dharma scientists constructed a teleportation chamber called the Vault, next to “a pocket of what we believe to be negatively charged exotic matter.” As Halliwax warns the viewer against teleporting metallic objects, Ben tosses metallic chairs and lab equipment into the Vault.

Keamy—who survived the shooting because of his body armor—invades the Orchid and explains to Ben and Locke the electronic device that he wired to his heart. If he dies, the device will trigger the bomb inside the Kahana. Keamy goads Ben into killing him by taunting him about the death of his daughter Alex. Ben loses his shit and repeatedly stabs Keamy. Locke, whose crusade to save the island has always prioritized the island over the people who are on it, shows some empathy for the other castaways for once and reminds Ben that his act of retaliation just endangered the innocent lives on the freighter. Ben says, “So?”

After Keamy dies, Ben activates the Vault with the metallic objects inside it, which causes an explosion within the chamber. He puts on Halliwax’s Dharma parka, which he wore in the “Shape of Things to Come” flash-forwards, and tells Locke he can’t join him in his next destination (“Jacob told you what to do, but he didn’t tell you how because he wants me to suffer the consequences… Whoever moves the island can never come back.”)

Ben transfers leadership of the Others to Locke and assures him it’s his destiny. Before they part ways, he apologizes to Locke for making his life miserable. Locke returns to the jungle to assume his new role, and Richard, who has followed Locke’s progress since his birth, greets him with “Welcome home.”

The explosion inside the Vault created a hole to an underground tunnel. Ben crawls inside it and climbs down the fragile ladder to the frozen room where he’s supposed to move the island. He falls off the broken ladder, and an icicle cuts into his right arm, which explains the blood on his parka when he awoke in the Sahara in 2005 during “The Shape of Things to Come.” He looks up and says, “I hope you’re happy now, Jacob.”

With the help of a crowbar, Ben begins pushing a giant wheel wedged inside a wall. Everyone on or near the island hears a strange noise—perhaps it’s the electromagnetic energy that Ben has activated via the wheel to transport the island. A flash of light envelops the island, which disappears to an unknown location. The Dharma parka and the arm wound indicate that Ben’s next destination is the Sahara.

The Kahana

Michael comes up with a plan to freeze with liquid nitrogen the battery that powers the C4 explosives, in order to buy some time before detonation. But not even Desmond’s military expertise is enough to defuse the bomb.

Frank’s chopper runs out of fuel due to a leak caused by a bullet hole from the battle between the Others and the mercs. In a last-ditch effort to help reduce the chopper’s weight for an emergency landing, Sawyer—who never really wanted to leave the island in the first place—throws himself from the chopper and dives into the ocean, but not before kissing Kate goodbye.

Keamy’s death inside the Orchid sets the bomb to detonate. As the copter lands on the Kahana, Desmond warns Frank and his passengers about the bomb, which gives everyone very limited time to refuel, patch up the leak and pick up Desmond, Jin, Sun and Aaron. Desmond, Sun and the baby make it to the copter, but Jin, who was busy helping Michael deactivate the bomb, does not. Sun pleads with Frank and Jack to wait for Jin, but it’s too late. Right before detonation, Christian Shephard (John Terry) appears to Michael and tells him, “You can go now.” Sun screams in horror as she sees the freighter below them explode.

The beach

Miles decides to stay on the island—perhaps to have some more conversations with dead people. He’s surprised that Charlotte wants to leave the island after everything she went through to return, but Charlotte plays dumb like she did in front of Jin and Sun in “Something Nice Back Home” and pretends to not know what he’s talking about. How does Miles know that Charlotte’s been on the island before? And why doesn’t Charlotte understand that lying to an Asian on this show won’t get you anywhere?

Charlotte changes her mind and vaguely tells a heartbroken Daniel why she’s staying behind: “Would it make any sense if I told you I was still looking for where I was born?”

After jumping from Frank’s copter, Sawyer swims safely to shore and finds Juliet alone with a bottle of Dharma rum because her hopes of leaving the island have been crushed. She points Sawyer to the smoke from the Kahana‘s explosion on the horizon.

The Oceanic Six’s trip back to civilization

Everyone on the copter sees a flash of light emanating from the island as it disappears from existence after Ben pushed the wheel below the Orchid. Frank panicks because now he doesn’t have a spot where he can land the copter, plus it’s running low on fuel. While the copter crashes into the ocean, Frank and his party unleash a life raft and swim toward it.

In the evening, Frank sees light from a nearby boat and shouts for rescue. As the ship approaches, Jack tells everyone they have to lie about the events on the island to protect the ones they left behind. Desmond spots Penny (Sonya Walger) on the ship and climbs aboard to kiss her. Composer Michael Giacchino totally channels John Barry’s bittersweet Robin and Marian/Somewhere in Time sound during Desmond and Penny’s reunion scene and the Oceanic Six’s subsequent trip to Sumba, the island that was mentioned in the press conference in Part 1 as the location where the O6 were found.

The flash-forwards

The first flash-forward picks up right where the ending of “Through the Looking Glass” left off. Kate overhears Jack’s plea to return to the island and lashes out at him for his wacko behavior. The name of the person in the coffin is finally identified as “Jeremy Bentham.” Before he died, Bentham visited Kate and also implored her to go back. We later learn why Kate refuses to return (see four grafs below).

Walt (Malcolm David Kelley) visits Hurley at the Santa Rosa Mental Hospital. The show’s timeframe has finally caught up with Kelley, who gets to act his age and talk in his normal, unaltered teenage voice for a change. (It’s as jarring a moment as when Freaks and Geeks fans first heard a much older, baritone John Francis Daley speak on the DVD commentrak.) Walt, who received a visit from Bentham, wants to know why Hurley and the rest of the O6 have lied about the events on the island. “We’re lying,” Hurley says, “because it’s the only way to protect everyone that didn’t come back,” like Walt’s father Michael.

Outside the mental hospital at night, Sayid kills an assassin who’s been spying on Hurley. He breaks Hurley out of the hospital to hide him in a safer location and notifies him of Bentham’s recent death. Before leaving his room, Hurley makes one last move in a chess game with an invisible opponent. It’s not Charlie. “Checkmate, Mr. Eko,” says Hurley.

In London, new Paik Industries co-owner Sun approaches Charles Widmore (Alan Dale), who pretends not to know about her ties to the island. “You and I have common interests,” says Sun as she gives him her business card. “When you’re ready to discuss them, call me. As you know, we’re not the only ones who left the island.” Widmore drops the charade and says, “Why would you want to help me?,” but Sun doesn’t answer and walks away.

At her house late at night, Kate has a vision about both a phone call from a man speaking backwards and an intruder inside Aaron’s room. She discovers the intruder is Claire, who warns her that she can’t bring Aaron back to the island.

An inebriated Jack breaks into the Hoffs/Drawlar funeral parlor (the name is an anagram for “flash-forward”) to check up on Bentham’s body. He’s interrupted by Ben, who tells Jack that he’s heard about his failed attempts to find a way back to the island and reminds him that the island won’t allow him to return alone. Everyone who left has to return together, and that includes Bentham, who’s revealed to be Locke.

Some interesting additions to “TNPLH, Part 1″

Last night’s “enhanced” rerun of Part 1 briefly lived up to the word “enhanced.” It reintegrated extra dialogue that was cut from the press conference sequence in the initial airing. The additional bits, which weren’t pointed out in the textual commentary, included:

-Jack mentioning Boone, Libby and Charlie as three of the dead crash survivors in his otherwise fabricated story about the crash.

-Sayid and Jack are asked about their plans after they return home. Sayid replies that there’s nothing for him in Iraq. Jack tells the press about bringing his father’s body back with him to L.A. when the plane crashed, and he intends to resume the task. The doc stops himself from mentioning that Christian’s body is missing, which would have broken his own promise to not tell the world about any of the strange events that transpired on the island.

Stray observations

-Favorite comment on Jack’s lousy decision-making that I grabbed from the Interwebs last night: “Yes, he’s a leader, but a bad one, and he only leads because he wants to posthumously prove himself to his dad. In the end, if Ben and Widmore are Leon Jaworski and Nixon, Jack is Carl Bernstein.” [A.V. Club]

-Three different endings were shot for “TNPLH, Part 2.” ABC said I had to tune into the next Good Morning America to catch the two alternate endings. Good Morning America? Really? (GMA meteorologist Sam Champion, who looks like he ought to be doing the weather for FedNet, creeps me out. I don’t trust weathermen who look so Aryan.) Even though I’m a night person, I tuned in anyway when GMA showed the alternate endings. In the first ending, the dude in the coffin is Sawyer. In the other one, the body is Desmond’s.

-How and why did Locke return to civilization?

-At the end of “The Shape of Things to Come,” Ben told Charles of his plan to kill his daughter Penny as payback for Alex’s death. How will Sayid react when he spots Penny’s name on Ben’s hit list? To borrow Ben’s words to Sayid at the end of “The Economist,” will Sayid think with his heart instead of his gun? If Sayid opts for the former, what will Ben do to him?

The horror, the horror...

My biggest beef with “TNPLH, Part 2″ is that Miles, Charlotte, Daniel, Rose and Bernard don’t receive enough screen time, although the awesome Ken Leung makes the most of his key scene, in which Miles’ mysterious abilities unveil one of the ep’s biggest surprises, Charlotte’s connection to the island. Although it’s not the shocking game-changer that “Through the Looking Glass” was, “TNPLH” is a thrilling coda to a fantastically paced season that ended up as my favorite season so far. Lost is one of the few shows that benefited from the strike and the shortened production order that resulted from it. The gutsy decision to set an end date for the series also had something to do with the revitalized and much tighter writing this year. I want season five to start sooner than next January. Better yet, I want it to start now. Do I have to push some damn wheel to make it happen?

On a scale consisting of Lost‘s cursed numbers, 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42 (4 being the lowest, 42 being the highest)…

“There’s No Place Like Home, Parts 1 and 2″: 23

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