One board game a number of people in my family enjoy is Risk, in which you win by taking over the world. (I could never get into it, always bothered by all the geographical distortions, but oh well.) So I had to smile at the start of last Thursday's episode of "LOST," which showed Team Locke playing the game. That was the last light-hearted moment of this very intense episode--intense even by "LOST" standards--from which I'm still recovering! Was this worth the five-week wait? Ohhhhh boy...
Some thoughts: I just love what they're doing with Sawyer's evolution as a character. When we first met him, he was one of the most unlikable characters on the show, and now he's literally risking his life for his friends. I know some people think such a dramatic turnaround is a stretch, but it feels just right to me. Over the past 3 1/2 seasons, we've watched him bond with his fellow castaways despite his own efforts not to, and behave in ways that suggested a much more generous spirit than he was willing to admit. Before leaving on the raft in Season 1, he makes a point of telling Jack of his encounter with Jack's father. When he, Michael, Jin and Walt are attacked on the raft, he saves Michael's life despite having been shot himself. In a feverish state after his wound becomes infected, he blurts out to Jack that he loves Kate. In Season 3, he's shown giving some of his food to Vincent when he thinks nobody else is looking, and he's visibly moved when Hurley enthusiastically embraces him upon his return to the camp after escaping with Kate from the Others. It seems as if the Survivors of 815 have filled much of the void he's had in his life ever since the deaths of his parents. In some ways, his stay on the island has been every bit as healing for him as for Locke and Rose--only in his case, it wasn't the island itself that healed him, but the other people on it.
I also thought it was good that when Claire was pulled disoriented from her ruined house, she initially thought it was Charlie who was rescuing her. I understand that both the large cast of characters and high-paced nature of the plot made it difficult to show her grieving for Charlie, but this let us know she does still think of him. And speaking of grief--the writers and Michael Emerson combined to accomplish something I didn't expect: I actually felt sorry for Ben, as well of course for Alex.
Like many viewers, I will be terribly disappointed if Desmond and Penny don't end up living happily at the end. Their love story has always packed such an emotional punch that it's impossible not to root for them. But while I hope Ben never succeeds in making good on his vow to Widmore to kill Widmore's daughter, I had to wonder if the impact of doing so would be quite what Ben hopes. We now know that Ben has some capacity for genuine love; the same can't yet be said of Widmore, and I have my doubts about his being anything other than a power-hungry psychopath. Were he to say the same things about Penny that Ben said about Alex in his vain attempt to save her--"She's only a pawn"--I don't know that he'd be lying.