After I saw the previous episode, two weeks ago, I thought the show was basically done, at least the plot-related narrative. The writers openly embraced the idea that Jack is the one among “the candidates” appointed to take Jacob’s place.
Adam Roberts wrote this at the beginning of this season:
All the smoke-and-mirrors of [Lost] are on the surface, as it were; narrative misdirection designed to spin out the franchise as long as it’s commercially profitable. But it’s all in service of a much more straightforward ‘solution’, which this final series is now galumphing towards.
In fact it seems that the four seasons in the middle were generated by plugging “science” into “mysticism”. So we got the Dharma and all the rationalization of the plot. 1 & 6 seasons got back to the mysticism and completely dropped the scientific aspect. Ideally all the seasons in the middle were filler. Or at least feel like filler now (I actually started to like Lost AFTER season 1, when the plot started to look grounded on something).
Which is the reason why every revelations this season is accompanied by some disappointment. Don’t misunderstand this aspect, it’s not something unavoidable and that is in the nature of mystery itself. It happens when mysteries aren’t properly hung onto a solid framework and are revealed as just “curtains”. They come in a gratuitous, untruthful way. Instead of being hooked onto something bigger, they are solved and then pushed out of the picture (for example: Jack’s father appearing on the island in Season 1. Jack asks the smoke monster, gets a confirmation. And so the whispers in the jungle. Explained, acknowledged and put aside. Nothing of this is contributing with purpose. It’s only done to archive questions left hanging for far too long).
What happened to Sayid in this last episode follows a similar pattern. I was never convinced that he went through a “transformation”. It was just a typical Lost “dressing” of characters motivations and purposes. I think Sayid is out the show. Meaning that the motivation of his behavior is to be looked in what we have already seen. Sayid for the whole time has never been “evil”. What happened to him was entirely un-mystical. He was resurrected by the smoke monster, so convinced himself that he owed to him. He’s evil because he thinks his destiny is in doing what Locke asks. He was being granted life, so he owes everything to Locke. His transformation is the one of someone who, after death, has lost all points of reference. The only beacon being owing his life to Locke, because what Locke did was the only “truth”. Being reborn and without a real explanation means that he lost entirely his “moral”. As if you play a video game, losing contact with the physical reality.
But then he understands, right when Jack explains it, that Locke is doing everything to his own advantages (including resurrecting Sayid, to then use him as an ally/tool and then proceeding to persuade everyone to join his side). Saiyd regains a purpose as he understand Locke true motives. Locke can’t kill the people in the sub, and he can’t kill Desmond. That’s why he needed Sayid to kill Desmond. Carlton Cuse commented this directly:
“There is no ambiguity. [The Man In Black] is evil and he has to be stopped…”
That’s the purpose of this last episode: they wanted to clear the ambiguity about Locke in order to prepare for the finale.
The dropping of all misdirection, as the season progressed, lead to the dropping of layers of the narrative, and the result is something that comes out weaker. Instead of acquiring solidity, this surge toward the end gets more and more shallow. Being only held together by the dramatic intensity, but more due to the spectators’ personal investment in the characters than to a story that moves toward its apex. Characters die, but the plot has lost drive and purpose. It feels as if the rest is filler to keep the very last trick for the end.
So we get to the end. It is now obvious that the duality of Jack and Locke throughout the whole show, along with the themes of leadership and faith that represented the struggle and friction between the two, is neatly flowing in the duality represented by Jacob and the smoke monster (then one could even groan at the names Jacob/Jack). It all fits so well that I’m sure there’s no possible misdirection here. We got the pattern.
Locke the believer who clings to the island and becomes the one who wants to get away, and Jack the unbeliever, who now embraces the belief and predestination and is the only one convinced he’s there for a reason.
This I was writing two weeks ago. The next episode (yesterday’s one) was focused on Jack and Locke, the next is Jacob/smoke monster. After that there’s another episode and then the season finale. They won’t stray form the Jack/Locke pattern.
Sayid (awakened to the real truth) says to Jack: “It’s going to be you.” Meaning that Jack is the true Jacob successor (Jack for the whole episode confirms this).
The finale: Locke is evil, wants to be free, and he can only gain freedom if all the candidates are dead. But he can’t kill them himself, and so needs some other way out of this. That’s our context. We get two missing pieces: the first is how the alternate timeline fits in all this, with the missing link being obviously Desmond. The other missing piece is where Widmore fits in this big picture and what he’s trying to achieve.
If you want, an italian website has published six pages of the screenplay of the first part of very last episode. I’ve read it and the script seems legit since it’s plausible and well connected with what happened previously. It’s relatively safe, with the exception of who’s there, whose presence may be a spoiler already.