While "Lost" has had an erratic history in terms of quality, it has those moments when our long history with its characters creates moments of such powerful emotional force that the series once again makes the argument for being one of the best shows in TV history. Last night had more than one such moment. ...
I am, as much as any one, puzzling over the plot, the revelation of Jacob and of a new character, played by Titus Welliver, whom I am thinking of as Esau; the possibility that everything that has happened on the island is in fact part of a struggle out of the ancient and Biblical past -- perhaps, to draw on Jacob and Esau again, a battle over a birthright. And doubtless over the summer much will be written about what the finale means and where the show will be headed in its final season.
But here I want to focus on the sheer power of the episode in moment after moment. Look at Rose and Bernard, talking about both their powerlessness over fate and about love, and offering one of several comments within the show about the show itself, with the question about how long the castaways will keep repeating the same behavior. (Another was the issue of who the good guys are.)
Look, too, at the superb work by Josh Holloway as he held the episode together. (For all that went on, it was Sawyer's show, far more than Jack's and somewhat more than Locke's.) He has been doing a terrific job with Sawyer's confusion about Kate and Juliet (and great to see ass-kicking Juliet back), and his determination to do the right thing to the end. But he also had that scene with Jack -- and let's face it, Holloway takes Matthew Fox apart when they go against each other -- and all that it contained, and the show was still smart enough to remember that Sawyer generally sucks in fights; it took a desperate, low blow to gain the upper hand.
And I haven't even gotten to the scenes at at Swan, with Sawyer and Juliet doing "North by Northwest" amped up, and the love and the loss spilling everywhere, and I was overwhelmed by the feelings onscreen. One of the best sequences in "Lost" history, and then capped by Juliet in the pit, and the fade to white when she hit the H-bomb hard enough.
But I can't overlook what some of the other actors did, too: Terry O'Quinn's task of playing Locke-but-not-Locke, especially in the moment when he explains to Ben why he should kill Jacob. And how about what Michael Emerson did there as Ben?
Now, I have some quibbles and questions, as we all do. What is the purpose of Jacob visiting the castaways in the past, especially with the grisly result with Sayid? Could it be that what we saw as Jacob was not always Jacob, but "Esau" -- say, Jacob with young Sawyer and with Hurley, but "Esau" with Sayid? The fight and the collapse at the Swan was engrossing but at times a bit much, such as when Phil was killed. And, with Sayid injured and time short, it was an odd time for Jack to agree to take a few minutes in the woods with Sawyer; one would have thought Jack would feel more urgency regardless of Sawyer's plea. But when was the last time Jack seemed all that smart about anything?
Still, a season finale full of fabulousness. Now, if ABC and the producers would just agree to a transitional movie in the fall, to keep us from waiting until January for more...