By Jeff Jensen
Updated May 04, 2010 at 07:11 PM EDT

Image Credit: Mario Perez/ABCYou would think that when a TV show takes an eight-month break in between seasons, it wouldn’t need to take a week off toward the end of a mere 18-hour season to catch its breath. But apparently those wussies who make Lost have such weak stamina they had to pull off to the side of the road and guzzle some water last week. How hard can it be to produce this show? It’s not like they have to stage intricate musical sequences or sit on a stage and drink soda pop and say snarky things about starry-eyed young dreamers like some other Tuesday night shows I watch. Saying snarky things is brain-taxing, muscle-cramping work!

Yes, I am being a poopy little twit. The truth is that Lost’s week-cation was all about ABC’s need to strategically schedule the retiring series’ final four episodes during May sweeps. That’s right, kids: I said “final four episodes.” Just bummed you out, didn’t I? The end is almost here, and it begins tonight with “The Candidate.” Of course, “candidate” is a loaded word in the Lost lexicon. It refers to one of six people still living on Lost that Jacob has tapped (literally) to take his place as The Island’s guardian. They are: Hurley, Sayid, Sawyer, Jack, Jin and Sun. Will tonight’s episode reveal which one gets the job? We shall see. Last week, I posted my analysis on the contest and gave odds over who might become The Island’s next castaway super-siren, the redemption weaver of frayed souls, the statue-dwelling wino of the beach — and you can read it here. Personally, I’m kinda rooting for my off-the-chart dark horse candidate Ben to get the gig. Here’s my rationale:

It’s a fake-out! Jacob’s master plan all along has been to groom Ben as The Island’s new supreme being — but first, he’s had to break Ben of his pride and purge him of his sin, not to mention protect him from the Man In Black’s assassination plot. Bringing the castaways to The Island accomplishes both tasks. The most flattering theory of bad guy Ben is that knowingly or unknowingly he’s been producing challenges of character designed to prepare the castaways for their final conflict with Smokey. Actually, the total opposite it true. Ben’s conflicts with the castaways have been tests of his character, intended to shape him into the kind of man worthy of Jacob’s loom-of-fate stool. Also, by deceiving Smokey into thinking Jack, et. al. were his candidates, Jacob was shielding Ben from Smokey — and even co-opted Smokey into his plan to refine Ben’s soul.

Could my theory be correct? Will Lost settle the matter tonight? We shall see. Or rather, you shall see. Because to be honest with you… I know a lot about tonight’s episode. And judging from all the other info that’s out there about this episode, I’m not alone in knowing stuff. I will spoil nothing except to say the following: 1. “The Candidate” has been touted as monumentally important to the saga of Lost — and the touting is 100 percent accurate. 2. The title of the episode has something in common with the title of the season’s Sayid-centric episode, “Sundown.” 3. I can’t think of a better way to prepare for the ep or at least reboot your Lost memory (just in case amnesia settled in during the week long break) than by watching this week’s episode of Totally Lost, in which Dan and I break down “The Last Recruit” from two weeks ago. You’ll find the videos at the end of my blather. (FYI: My T-shirt comes from the greatest fish and chips restaurant on the face of the earth, Spud Fish & Chips on Alki Beach in Seattle, Washington.)

Now, just because I have a jump on tonight’s episode doesn’t mean you can expect my recap of “The Candidate” any sooner than usual. I’ll be up all night working on it, mostly because I’m working all day today on a very special “Instant Reaction” piece that will go up right after the episode airs. Please make a point of checking it out. Not because what I have to say about the episode is so interesting — it’s because there’s someone else who has some interesting things to say about the episode, and by the time the hour is over, I think you’re going to want to hear what this “someone else” has to say. Okay? Okay! So come back tonight around 10:30ish, then come back again tomorrow… wheneverish for my recap. And on Friday, I’ll have a new Doc Jensen column devoted to the question I gave you a couple weeks ago: Which unresolved Lost mystery do you most want to see the show address during its last episodes? There’s still time to weigh on the matter — send me an e-mail at


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