Elsewhere in Vulture's Lost coverage:
Vulture’s Exclusive Season-Five Preview
Who Called Kate on the Phone?
What Is Octagon Global Recruiting?
Was That the Psychic?
See the Alternate Endings
Nussbaum: Why ‘Lost’ Is the Best Game Show in TV History
We can't believe Big dies!
Just kidding, it's Jeremy Bentham who dies. A.K.A. LOCKE. Who was in that season-finale coffin. And apparently gave Jack his hugest guilt trip, which is saying something, because: Jack? Very guilty. It's so sad when a frenemy dies.
Also, the island disappeared.
Basically, it was the kind of kickass TV that makes you speak in sentence fragments: scary, action-packed, at times romantic, and at one point really devastating — and weirdly suspenseful despite the fact (and often because) so many outcomes were predetermined. A "humdinger," to quote a friend. Emotionally, it was shallow yet satisfying: Desmond/Penny, happy for those crazy kids; the Sawyer jump was powerful, until you realize he survives. Only Jin's death really hit hard — but that was all we needed. A friend of ours is insisting he's still alive.
Anyway, we're impressed. Maybe it's hard to be moved by chess pieces, but it's even harder to move them this cleverly.
Kate — shiny and righteous! — confronts Jack in the airplane hangar. She reveals through expositional shouting that the mysterious body in the coffin is "Jeremy Bentham" and yells, "After all the horrible things that happened on the day that we left, how dare you ask me to go back?" Fore-back-shadowing!
Hurley, wrestling with a candy bar in the nuthouse, is confronted by the grandmother of … Tall Walt, who looks to be about 30. Jeremy Bentham visited Walt too; Hurley explains that the Oceanic Six is lying because it's the only way they can protect the people who didn't come back, like Walt's dad.
Sayid visits Hurley. They discuss paranoia and Jeremy Whatsis. Which is not his real name. Also, Hurley is playing chess with Mr. Eko.
Sun is in London. She confronts Widmore, who says he owes her father dinner after their "last game." She slips him her card and mysteriously (to him as well) suggests forming an alliance.
Kate answers the phone. Clicking, clicking, whispering! Freaks, runs into Aaron's bedroom with her gun. It's Shiny Undead Claire, who hisses, "Don't you DARE bring him back." But then it's all a horrible dream and Kate goes in and sees Aaron asleep and weeps, we guess because she IS going back.
Man of Science, meet Man of Faith! Man of Anxiety, meet Man of Exasperating Calm. Jack (with Sawyer) runs into Locke (with Hurley), who is trying to break into the Orchid station. They have words.
On the freighter, Jin, Michael, and Desmond try to defuse the C4 bomb wired to the Hottest Jerk's arm. Michael suggests using liquid nitrogen but, Hanukkah style, there's just one canister. There are many scenes of tangled wires and sweating and worrying, and it is in fact very worrying, because we know Jin is likely dead in the future.
"So tell me, Ben, what is it that makes you so important?" asks the Hottest Jerk. Then there's a genuinely wild shoot-out, involving Frank, Kate, Ben — a whole bunch of folks — but basically Kate pulls a nice bait and switch, collaborating with the Others to take down the Hot Jerks. AK-47s! Darts! A grenade! Not to mention an enormously violent sex scene, or possibly just a rampaging fight, between Sayid and Keamy, wielding knives and big wooden stakes, which is broken up when the only man hotter than them suddenly appears: Richard Alpert, formerly of Suddenly Susan.
Richard holds to the deal they made: Kate helped the Others free Ben, so they'll let her off the island. Ben gives them the chopper. Kate is gobsmacked.
Meanwhile (meanwhile? The chronology is so complex. But anyway…), Jack and Locke bicker about miracles while Sawyer and Hurley eat fifteen-year-old crackers. Locke suggests letting bygones (knife murders, attempted shootings, existential disagreements about the nature of faith) be bygones. "Jack, you know you're here for a reason, and if you leave this place, that knowledge is going to eat you alive from the inside out. Until you decide to come back. You're going to have to lie! You're going to have to lie about everything!" Jack says it's a freaking island and no one has to protect it. Finally Ben shows up, he and Locke enter the Orchid like Willie Wonka and Charlie, and Locke lets loose one final zinger: "Lie to them, Jack. If you can do it half as well as you lie to yourself, they'll believe you."
Twitchy returns with the raft. Rose gets a line of dialogue. Island-wise, Miles is staying, Daniel is going, and Charlotte is first going then staying — mostly in response to the most hilarious interaction with Miles ever, when he accuses her of having been on the island previously and forms an absolute rictus of sarcasm when she stonewalls him. She gives Daniel an icy kiss and walks off with her undisclosed future backstory intact.
In the Orchid, Ben scurries around tossing metal into a wacky time travel "vault" — all while Locke watches a Dharma video revealing that the one thing you should never do is throw metal into the time-travel vault. Then Keamy shows up — aliiiive! — with a knife, and pissed. He exposits villainously about the dead man's trigger attached to his HOT ARM, so when Ben jumps up and stabs him in the neck, he's avenging Alex's death at the explicit cost of everyone on the freighter blowing up. Our crazy friend who always defends Ben tried to defend this and quickly gave up.
There's some Jack/Kate/Sawyer. Sawyer calls Frank "Kenny Rodgers." The Oceanic Four fly toward the freighter but lose gas and have to dump everything heavy off the helicopter (Hurley looks worried), and then — wow, Sawyer whispers to Kate, gives her a great kiss, and then sacrifices himself, which is both sexy and sad, except if you're recapping and have already revealed that he lives.
Keamey dies. The guys on the boat see the bad light go off — Jin decides to stay. Oh God.
The chopper lands on the doomed freighter, despite Desmond's waving it off. Sun is desperate to get Jin. Kate says she'll get him, but then the chopper needs to take off and Jack pulls Kate onboard. As they take off — the O6 plus Desmond and Frank — Jin runs toward them, but they can't go back. The freighter explodes. Jin is dead. Sun screams unbearably. This is the one genuinely affecting part of the episode, and man, it's a doozy.
Ben apologizes, sort of, for his emotional decision-making. Then he finishes filling that vault with metal, sets it off, and changes into a parka.
Sawyer swims up to the beach and finds Juliet drowning her sorrows: She saw the boat explode. (Prediction for next season: Sawliet!)
Ben tells Locke that whoever moves the island can never come back and wishes him luck as the new Wizard of Oz. Locke enters the camp of the Others; it's all very eerie. Ben climbs into some weird icy place and turns a big wheel and gripes existentially, "I hope you're happy now, Jakob."
The island disappears.
The copter crashes.
They all survive, once Desmond is resuscitated. In a lifeboat, Hurley and Jack bicker exhaustedly. There's a boat in the distance. We become distracted by worries about how they're going to feed that poor baby. Jack has other things on his mind: "We're going to have to lie," he announces.
It's Penny's boat! PENNY PENNY PENNY! Desmond rushes to join her and they linger and gaze and beautifully canoodle. Jack says, "We need to talk." Ask if they have formula, Jack!
One week later: Desmond is staying with Penny. Frank's off to rejoin the Parrotheads. The Oceanic Six lands among the natives of another island, to reenter civilization. There is slow-moving eye contact, irony, mourning, sunlight. We're still upset about Jin.
But Then in the Future…
Jack, hopped up and hairy, drives to that funeral home. Smashes the door. Opens the coffin. Then Ben appears and freaks us the hell out. They discuss Mr. Bentham, who apparently came to Jack and told him that after he left the island "some very bad things happened and it was my fault." Ben explains that the island won't let the O6 go back individually, that they have to go back together — and when Jack says the other five won't do it, Ben suggests he can help mind-game them into it. We for one believe him.
What We Know Now
• In the future, Locke is Bentham, capable (like Ben) of traveling to the mainland.
• Sun has "common interests" with Widmore.
• The Orchid was designed to do "very silly experiments."
The Wha? Factor
• What does it mean that Bitchy was born on the island? Is she Annie?
• What did Sawyer whisper to Kate? Was it the same thing Bill Murray whispered in Lost in Translation?
• "If you mean time-traveling bunnies, then yes," is not a sufficient answer, Mr. Lindelof! —Emily Nussbaum