Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
An in-depth examination and evaluation of the Sideways world storyline, in which the author comes to this conclusion: Just as the castaways needed a soulmate to help them reach a happy ending, the Island story of Lost needed a soulmate to finish its own saga.
We begin with Benjamin Linus. I was surprised and moved to learn that the bug-eyed devil got a ticket to the castaways' afterlife rocket launch, that he was even considered a member of this spiritual clan. How very ''love thy enemy.'' Or maybe the castaways had realized that without conflict with this ultimate Other, they would have not have become the people they had become. To quote the philosopher namesake of Juliet's ex-husband Edmund Burke: ''He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.''
The scene between Ben and Locke was also one of my favorite sequences of the evening, and when I stop to consider that it marked the final acting duet by Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson, at least as these characters, I get choked up anew. I have enjoyed doubting the truthfulness of every single word that has ever come out of Ben's mouth over the years, but I completely trusted in his sincerity when he asked Locke to forgive him for the sins he committed against him. Locke gave Ben his forgiveness, along with a smile as bright as Island light. But it seemed like Locke didn't feel like Ben had anything to apologize for. He had nothing but grace for his old adversary, nothing but empathy for a fellow pilgrim on life's journey. I can see something problematic about John's ''I'm only telling you this because it might mean something to you'' sentiment; if Locke doesn't feel like he needs Ben's apology, is his extension of forgiveness meaningless? Nonetheless, I was moved by the example of both men and their movement toward reconciliation. Ben was blessed by it, too. ''It helps,'' Ben said. ''More than I can say.'' Then Ben returned the kindness by completing the circuit on Locke's self-awareness by telling him that he no longer needed his wheelchair. Locke gave him a cockeyed look. Was his old enemy pulling one last con on him? Was Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown one more time? No. And Locke knew it. He stood and sent the wheelchair away from him with a flourish, like Houdini completing a straightjacket escape. Locke: Unlocked. Locke: Liberated. This is what it looks like when we let go. Locke and Ben said good-bye, and parted company as friends. That was awesome.
NEXT: Is Ben the new Desmond?