by Ryland Walker Knight
Easily the most "stylish" episode of the season, what with its longish takes and lowish angles, this Richard mythology is also not too great a reveal. How could Richard's "this is hell" thing be true? How could it not be misdirection? How come I kinda bought it at first, for a blip of a second, and then a few segments later almost bought it again? Must be because I've given up hope to a certain degree, and also because I've given up trying to outguess this shit. Must be because I was having fun with the mythology. After all, despite confirming my suspicions about what's really went down in that little love triangle, it was certainly entertaining to see Nestor Carbonell cry and squirm and play pawn.
Really, the only thing to talk about with this episode is the dynamic between Jacob and the Man in Black, as played by Titus Welliver. Because, I mean it, what are you going to say about Richard's little crisis? It wasn't exactly a flipped script, or a mirror of the earlier events, but it plainly cancelled itself. That's what's so frustrating about the emerging end game: it's a leveling. Jacob's gloating, as it's called by the Man in Black, is about keeping things even, keeping a balance. They are free to confront one another because of this balance. (And we get scenes like the final one from time to time.) Jacob's death seemed to tilt things, but it isn't exactly so lopsided yet. And I don't think it will be, given the morality of the show, which is oddly might-makes-right in a lot of spots. Unless, of course, evil is defeated. But I just don't know how that can happen at the end of this season. It'll take some serious ingenuity, and a lot of dead bodies.
So, while we're here, lemme turn on the gas and get a little loopy: nobody comes in peace, ever, even the peaceful. In this arena, no ambition is pure. Even Jack's just a selfish dude prone to working out and shouting when he's not crying. Jacob, it would appear, isn't just trying to keep the darkness at bay with a wine-jug stopper for anti-apocalyptic reasons; his hold on his antipode seems personal. But I don't think the show will go and get all Hancock on us in the final act, proving these dudes are Zeus and Hades or some amalgam of Egyptian dieties, as the statue and the hieroglyphs and the cave writing all suggest. If the title means anything, it could point to some continuum or another that these sandbox idiots keep perpetuating.
So, flying in the face of what I said above, I'll try to guess at where these figures come from: maybe we're in for a religious reading of morals after all. Some new agey bullcrap no doubt. Or, maybe they "expose" religion as no different from the fantastic, to say an interpretation of the real and its consequences in a realm of near-limitless possibility. Of course, either of these is not all that plausible since one of the real pleasures of the scenes between Pellegrino and Welliver is that these seem like real humans with real human hearts and hurts that had to spring from somewhere. (Psychological reading alert! Ack!) In any event, if each episode is as goofy as this one—which included a couple of vintage Hurley-sees-dead-people scenes and a galloping horse and a surfside proof of life and a final shot designed to awe that only came crashing down with a hoot—then I think we're in good shape.
[Here's a hardliner, to go with Titus above: if this week's recap didn't satisfy you, don't hold your breath for next week. I'm not gonna do one. Just gonna put up an image, maybe, during a week off, away from my daily life by a good stretch of space and time.]