The creative team has always touted LOST as a show about people, as much as a mysterious island. That point has never been clearer than in the episodes where characters who have grown weary in the eyes of the fans are given a little fictional resuscitation. Unfortunately, this seasons newbies, Paulo and Nikki, weren’t around long enough so they got treated to a parable of being buried alive by the fans. Their seemingly lifeless, but actually paralyzed, bodies being covered over by the sand of the Boone hill. Other character turn that was extremely successful was that of Maggie Grace’s Shannon in the second season’s “Abandoned.” Many of the same fans who expressed nothing but annoyance at the seemingly spoiled rich kid expressed sorrow after learning her past. Redeemed posthumously.
This week it was LOST’s often ridiculed rock star Charlie that was in need of some serious redemption. After being chased by the grim reaper for months, it looked like Charlie’s number was finally up when Desmond told him his sacrifice would ensure the rescue of his beloved Claire and Aaron. Sure, Charlie willing to make the sacrifice alone was not going to charm the Charlie weary fans, indeed they were egging him on throughout. What “Greatest Hits” needed to do was turn those opinions around, and it succeeded wildly.
What it also had to do was setup the finale for next week. Something else I am terribly pleased to admit that it accomplished with ease. I would say that if you thought you had a pretty good idea of what was coming, you’ll be left a little unbalanced by some of what occurs tonight.
For starters, there is Jack’s plan. Juliet has told jack all about her peoples plans to come in and kidnap the pregnant women on the beach, and Jack eyes this as the perfect opportunity for an ambush. Danielle has brought the dynamite from the Black Rock and they are going to use it to set traps for “the others” when they arrive at the beach, but there is a problem.
Alex’s boyfriend shows up in a skiff and warns the gang that they are coming a day early. Not a good situation at all. Meanwhile, Sayid is working on a secondary plan. He has Naomi’s satellite phone fixed, but it looks like Danielle’s recording is broadcasting on all channels and blocking it out. He will go to the tower, stop the signal, and radio Naomi’s people for help. However, Juliet introduces a wrinkle, and in the process the nature of Charlie’s sacrifice. A station called “The Looking Glass” which is underwater is blocking all signals being transmitted off the island. According to Sayid’s handy Dharma map, the station is deep and flooded. Without scuba gear, turning off the signal is a suicide mission.
Charlie accepts the mission, knowing that his sacrifice will save Claire. His flashbacks are a wonderful set of moments. Basically, Charlie writes down his “Greatest Hits.” These are the moments that meant the most to him. Proving to his dad he could swim, hearing his song on the radio for the first time, saving a woman from a mugging, getting his drive shaft ring, and of course, meeting Claire the day after the crash. The process is a touching, well performed set of vignettes that brings us closer to Charlie’s human aspect than we have ever been before. No longer are we observing the ex-rocker, the junky, the Laurel to Hurley’s Hardy, now we are seeing Charlie as vulnerable and complex human being with a galvanized sense of what makes life worth living. Damnit, we want him to live.
So Desmond rows him out to the location of the hatch and offers to take his place. Desmond feels that maybe he has saved Charlie all these times to position himself for the sacrifice, to take the reapers scythe. At first it looks like Charlie is going to go along, then he cold cocks Demsond and jumps in the water. It is a deep swim indeed but the surprise comes when Charlie comes up in what is not a flooded station, but an airlock. Looks like he won’t be dying after. His celebration is cut short, however, when a couple of beauties bearing arms come upon him and the sound track pulses to that all familiar gong, and the solitary word “LOST” on the screen.
Some could complain that the episode didn’t really complete anything that it started from a self contained aspect. It would have made more sense, it would seem, for Charlie to face his test of life or death in this episode. None the less, the duty of setting up the action for the finale has been dealt with which means less talk, more rock. And yes, they did not show John Locke this week. (Boo!)
– Jon Lachonis, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Photos Copyright © 2007 ABC)