Friday, April 25, 2008

Lost, "The Shape of Things To Come": Smokey and the bandits

Spoilers for "Lost" coming up just as soon as I get my dry cleaner to remove the blood and sand from my parka...

As the Jewish people are still in the middle of Passover, it's time to apply the concept of Dayenu to "Lost." Dayenu, for the gentiles among you, is a song sung around the Passover seder table listing all the things we have to be thankful for in the Exodus story: if God had only freed us from slavery, Dayenu (translate, "it would have been enough"); if God had freed us from slavery and taken us out of Egypt, Dayenu; if he had only taken us out of Egypt and fed us manna, Dayenu; etc.

With "The Shape of Things to Come," if Lindelof and Cuse had only given us the amazing, half-CGI, half-implied nighttime rampage of Smokey, Dayenu.

If they had only given us Smokey's rampage and clarified that Ben can teleport off the island and travel through time, Dayenu.

If they had only given us Smokey's rampage and the teleportation issue, while explaining why Sayid works for Ben in the future, Dayenu.

If they had only given us Smokey's rampage, teleportation, the Sayid explanation and Michael Emerson playing Ben's reaction to Alex's death, Dayenu.

If they had only given us Smokey, teleportation, Sayid, Ben's reaction, and Jack using Bernard to outsmart Faraday, Dayenu.

If they had only given us all of the above, plus tying Ben to Penny (and therefore Desmond), Dayenu.

Yup, "The Shape of Things to Come" was overflowing with manna from post-strike heaven: lots of action, lots of intrigue, the odd answer or three, and Michael Emerson again demonstrating why Lindelof and Cuse essentially turned the show over to a guy who was only supposed to be around for two episodes.

That isn't to say it was perfect. For starters, there's the matter of the redshirts among the Locke/Sawyer/Ben group. The matter of the lostaways who aren't regular castmembers (or at least recurring figures like Bernard and Rose) has always been a sticky one for the show. The producers tried to address the problem last year with Nikki and Paolo, but did it so clumsily that the entire audience cheered their deaths. The massacre in Other Town was the opposite extreme of that. Sawyer's really concerned about getting Claire into Ben's house as quickly as possible but doesn't have a plan for the other people who followed Locke in the premiere (for reasons unknown, because they hd no personalities) other than to tell them to get back in the house. And so, of course, the only people killed during the assault are the handful of non-regulars, while Claire survives a house blowing up around her. That sequence with Sawyer dodging bullets was supposed to be tense and frightening; instead, it was funny.

Meanwhile, between the last pre-strike episode and this one, I feel like the writers really dropped the ball with Alex and Rousseau. I understand the show has too many characters, and has enough trouble servicing the people in the main cast, but as I said six weeks ago, they spent the better part of three seasons with the matter of Rousseau's missing child hovering on the periphery of things, they finally had the two of them meet and learn each other's identity in the finale, and then they had no meaningful interaction with each other until Rousseau died, with Alex following quickly behind her. Between the flashbacks and the time travel and mysticism of the island, dead doesn't always mean dead on "Lost" (see Tom Friendly's recent re-appearance), but at this point in the story, I can't imagine them taking the time to go back to that relationship to fill in the scenes we should have seen between those two after their reunion in the season three finale. Seems like a waste.

But back to the good stuff. As said above, Smokey picking apart the mercenary unit was worth the price of admission. By now, we've seen enough of the monster to know what it can do and what it looks like doing it, and so having it go to town at night was a brilliant idea; not only did it no doubt save some money on the CGI budget, but it let our imaginations fill in the blanks on what it was doing to the bad guys. Lindelof likes to say, while trying to manage expectations for the eventual revelation of what the island is, that our imaginations are always going to come up with something better than what's in the actual show, and that sequence was a nice illustration of that. I don't think it would have been half as exciting or scary if it had been in broad daylight and we had seen every single thing Smokey did to those guys.

Meanwhile, we now know that Ben does have some control over the monster (and that it involves going into his Magic Box room to do it), that he can travel through time and space (and, based on him asking the hotel clerk for the date, doesn't always know where and when he'll be landing), and that he's a better hand-to-hand fighter than anybody left on the island save maybe Sayid and Desmond. We don't know any details beyond that, or what exactly the "rules" are between him and Widmore regarding who can be killed ownership of the island, etc., but the episode was exciting enough, and offered just enough information, that I continue to feel confident we'll find out more as we go.

(To be specific, I don't know that the writers are ever going to satisfactorily tie up every loose end from the early years, but I do believe that everything happening from now to the end is being done with a plan, and that all this stuff with time travel and the Oceanic Six and Ben's glove-trotting adventures will make sense, even if we never find out about the four-toed foot, or why Dharma keeps doing food drops, or how Mr. Eko's brother's plane wound up on the island, etc.)

While we didn't get any freighter time this week, and therefore can only guess who slit the doctor's throat and why the freighter people are playing dumb about it to Faraday (maybe the doctor gets killed in the future, and this is another time travel phenomenon?), we did get to fill in most of the blanks with Jarrah, Sayid Jarrah, as well as put a tragic bow on his search for Nadia, which was the running thread of nearly all his flashbacks in the early seasons. Poor guy finally finds her, and not long after, Widmore's people kill her for reasons unknown, and then Sayid lets Ben manipulate him into turning into an instrument of his vengeance. Nice. Might we reach a point where Sayid is trying to kill Penny (not knowing who she is), while Desmond (somehow back in the real world) has to stop him?

I could write more about Jack's sudden health issues, or Faraday not being bright enough to think that the guy who suggested the telegraph plan might know Morse code, but it's late and I have 70 other shows to watch and blog about tomorrow morning, so for now... Dayenu.

What did everybody else think?

57 comments:

chris w said...

Maybe it was the dry spell but I was enthralled and absolutely loved this episode. I recognized all the low points that you noticed but I didn't mind them. I was particularly moved and shocked by Keamy shooting Alex in the head. I didn't think Lost was going to go there but like Degrassi: The Next Generation, it goes there.

Damon and Carlton swore up and down that we were going to get a flashback to Rosseau's time on the island and now recently they seem to be backpedaling on that which pisses me off because while it may not be important to the overall arc of the 815 people, it's still a pretty rich part of the mythos. (Maybe your next interview with them you can press them on that topic).
But I just have to get settled in my mind now that not all that stuff will be settled.

My hope is that after the show is over that a whole Expanded Universe will crop up with novels exploring the mysteries not solved in the show much like some of the novels of Star Wars worked. I would freaking love a series of novels detailing the exploits of the Dharma Initiative.

Caroline said...

Wow, best episode ever. If Ben does not win an emmy at some point during the future of the series, I will be sorely disappointed. This episode made the show reach a whole new level for me, I was blown away.
There were so many great lines in this episode like Ben's "Excuse me James" or his "Yah!" while getting on the horse, but my favorite had to be Charles Widmores' "Don't stand there and look at me with those horrible eyes of yours." Classic.

P.S. Sayid having a showdown with Desmond in the future over Penny would definitely be cool, but I also think (and hope) that Sayid would remember who a certain Penny Widmore (that is, if they mention her last name) is and would have a hard time killing her off.

M.Chavez said...

Wait a sec, are you suggesting that Ben was time traveling? The way I read this ep, we are seeing a flash-forward of how Ben gets off the island and makes his way over to Sayid. His asking the hotel woman the day and year is just a casual re-syncing of his clock - it's understood that the island's sense of time is a bit out of whack - I don't think he was trying to verify that he traveled years or months into the future or past.

Sorry for being dense, I'm just not reading it the same way you are Alan.

The ep was really good though. I certainly wasn't laughing when Sawyer ran from the machine gun fire, that was some pretty tense stuff. And Hugo once again shows that he's the heart and soul of the survivors. No wonder Jacob deems him worthy (of what I dunno).

So sorry to see Alex go. Not only was Tania Raymonde an untapped acting presence on the show, but she was one of the few truly gorgeous women on the island. All the other beauties are busy acting tough or confused - obscuring their attractiveness - Juliet/Elizabeth Mitchell is a great example of this - her pensiveness just robs her of her looks. Tania could never hide her beauty. Can you tell I'm smitten? :)

jim treacher said...

I couldn't agree more, Alan, and I'm a total anti-Semite. (Just kidding! I disagree with some of it.)

Yeah, as of this episode, Michael Emerson is Fonzie with bug-eyes and no conscience. This is now The Ben Show. And I say good on 'em. I love that he has guns and escape routes hidden throughout the house, but until tonight he didn't feel threatened enough to use them. Sorry, Locke!

Yeah, waking up in the middle of the Sahara, wearing a parka and not knowing what year it is, that's what they call hints. Loved the Ben-on-Bedouin violence.

"That sequence with Sawyer dodging bullets was supposed to be tense and frightening; instead, it was funny."

No kidding! I was like, "What, is Sawyer in the Matrix now?" The Boat Guys are saturating the whole area with heavy automatic weapons fire, and he's hiding behind a picket fence. Go Sawyer, I guess.

Oh, and when Jack had his tummyache and Kate was like, "Crackers always make me feel better," I finally understood her attraction to Sawyer.

P.S. Do you really think Rousseau is dead?

P.P.S. I forget where I read it, but I know Lindelof & Cuse have said that they WILL pay off the four-toed statue deal.

P.P.P.S. I liveblogged it. Click my name if you want to read it and see if any of it even makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Dang it, Alan, now its stuck in my head.

Ilu na-tan, na-tan la-nu,
Na-tan la-nu et-ha Smokey,
Na-tan la-nu et-ha Smokey
Dayenu.

So much goodness. Like Ben and Charles can't kill each other. I am guessing for similar reasons that Jack and Michael couldn't kill themselves. They have a future to fulfill or something and the Island won't let them.

I even cried when I saw Ben's reaction to Alex's death. Give that man an Emmy.

Desmond is awesome but in a fight with Ben, he clearly will lose. Penny is in deep trouble.

I hope we get some time with Sayid and Nadia before she dies.

I think Rousseau might be alive but Alex sure isn't.

jim treacher said...

P.P.P.P.S. How appropriate that Jack's tummyache is appendicitis. A useless piece of meat brings down a useless piece of meat.

Campaign said...

Alan, good review - but where do you get the Ben time traveling/teleporting scenario. I never saw any evidence of that.

It seemed like a standard flash forward to me. To get there, he just had to stay alive and take The Elizabeth on the proper heading, like he explained to Sayid.

jim treacher said...

He was wearing a parka. In the Sahara. And he didn't know what year it was. (Possibly TOO subtle?)

domino87 said...

Hah, I def agree with the Sawyer gun fight. Not only at the fact that the shooters picked off everyone else with pin point accuracy, but that people kept popping out to help someone that got shot and ultimately getting picked off themselves. I donno about you guys, but if someone gets shot and I'm standing around them, I'm running the HELL out of there. Then sawyer runs by the fence as if that really is any cover. The whole scene just reminded me of a cheap action movie.

Other than that though, Loved it. I kinda think this episode was a result of them not having the full order of episodes to complete the season due to the strike. They stuffed a lot into this episode, but boy did it work.

I didn't put together the whole time travel thing in the heat of the moment but as I look back on it I can't believe I missed it.

I usually don't re-watch Lost because once is usually enough, but that was 3 different kinds of awesome so I just might have to.

BigTed said...

Ben was totally badass in this episode. And after his confrontation with the equally evil and power-hungry Widmore, we finally get to see him as something as an antihero.

There was so much in this episode to love... although I also immediately thought the word "redshirts" when the nobodies were demolished.

One thing remains to be seen: Do we really know that Widmore is the one who had Sayid's wife killed? We only have Ben's word for it, and he certainly has reason to lie (and experience doing so).

Am I the only one who thinks that the more time we spend with the coolest characters -- Ben, Locke, Sawyer and Hurley -- the duller everything happening on the beach seems to be? It's almost a letdown every time we get a scene there.

Anonymous said...

I agree. My thoughts after watching the episode were that Ben probably killed Nadia, and set it up so that Sayid would think it was that one guy with a Widmore connection, and then he could get Sayid to join his fight.

Secondly, that confrontation between Ben and Charles reminded me of the Risk game the Lockeaways play. It's like they're just playing a game with the island, manipulating their players. I wonder if Boone, Shannon, the tailies (except Bernard), etc. were all just casualties of dice rolls. I also wonder why Ben can't kill Charles.

Finally, I think Jack's gut problem is going to develop, and he's going to need surgery or something. At first I thought it was just a clever way of saying, as Kate does, that his gut is wrong, but then it flared up again at the end.

Anonymous said...

One more thing: How did Keamey (or however you spell it) and co. get to the island? It's been a few weeks, and I don't care about this show enough to rewatch stuff, but the last I remember, the freighties were stuck, right?

Dirk de Vries said...

I thinks he time/space travelled to the desert. From lostpedia: "One of the Bedouin points out how Ben does not have a trail. The other replies, 'Where did this [guy] come from? Down from the sky?'"

No trail, thick jacket, asks date to the first person he doesn't kill. It's a no brainer.

Stef said...

I loved this episode, and at times it had me breathless. "Shock and awe" indeed, I was stunned when Keamy shot Alex. And the scene between Michael Emerson and Alan Dale was like a master class in acting. I love that "the shape of things to come" is going to be a race to get to Penny. Desmond and Ben are going to clash at some point, and those 2 time travelers are going to put up quite a fight.

Sam said...

Alan, you're right on the money when you say the Sawyer scenes were funny. He can protect himself from bullets by hiding behind a wooden fence post? Rrrrrright.

I agree with the commenter who said the scenes on the beach are less than interesting - I don't really care that Jack is sick. Whatever!

Kristin said...

Ben definitely did some kind of freaky-deaky travel thing. But what I'm wondering is why he was in the parka in the first place? He seemed to have a mission to get into town and meet up with Sayid...so why would he be dressed for a cold location?

Can he time travel/transport from anywhere in the world he wishes?

At first, I thought maybe going into that secret place in the house and coming out all dirty...that he had just gone and returned from his desert adventure. But then the smoke monster swooped down...

Good episode. The plot moved very quickly and many answers were given for previously introduced plotlines. But they also knew they were working with a few less episodes, so I'm hoping for a few more condensed, quick-paced eps before the end of the season...which is fine with me!

Oh, and I'm really curious how Hurley can be the only one who knows where Jacob's cabin is. Before, Ben could take Locke right to it...now he doesn't know where it is? I want to understand that...

medusa said...

I agree that we are being led to believe that Ben might have set up Widmore's guy as the killer. C'mon, a traffic photo? Not exactly ironclad proof, and pretty easy to doctor.

But I like how we are constantly being pulled to one side or the other - I think it's still possible that either Widmore or Ben are telling the truth, and figuring out which is a compelling reason to keep watching the show...

Overall, though, have to say I wasn't as thrilled with this episode. Maybe because of the bad-action-movie shooting scene, or maybe because I'm less interested with watching them kill each other than in finding out why.

I see Jack's "illness" as a way to get him on that helicopter and off the island. The Jack we've grown accustomed to would give up his seat for someone like Bernard or Rose (despite her sudden invisibility) or any of the others they "left behind," but I can believe that one way to get him off is to incapacitate him enough that he can't argue, and have someone like Kate or Sun insist that after all he's done for everyone else, he needs this chance for survival. Plus there is the irony of the big famous doctor felled by his need for medical care.

But we'll see...

ben k said...

So is anyone else thinking that the reason Ben and Widmore can't kill each other is because they are each other's constants?

Anonymous said...

I thought Ben teleported to the real world, but I didn't think he time traveled. Just that, at some point in the island future, he zapped himself to the Sahara. The checking about time could have just been because time is weird traveling off the island. He certainly could have been time traveling though.

BF said...

I'm with BigTed: If there's one thing we know about Ben, it's that he lies when it'd be so much easier to tell the truth. I have know doubt that Baldie worked for Widmore. But I think Ben killed Nadia and then pinned it on Widmore's guy to trick Sayid into working for him. The smirk he gave after walking away was the giveaway for me.

Alan Sepinwall said...

He seemed to have a mission to get into town and meet up with Sayid...

I think the Sayid thing was just luck. He wakes up in Tunisia, disoriented, not sure what the date is, and clearly having just escaped a dangerous situation in a colder climate (hence, the bloody parka). Then he sees Sayid on TV and comes up with a plan to exploit Nadia's death, which is why he ends up in Iraq.

And if Widmore didn't have Nadia killed, why was his goon hanging around the funeral and Sayid?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Sayid having a showdown with Desmond in the future over Penny would definitely be cool, but I also think (and hope) that Sayid would remember who a certain Penny Widmore (that is, if they mention her last name) is and would have a hard time killing her off.

Widmore said Penny was in hiding, so maybe she's using an assumed name. Were Desmond to actually get face-to-face with Sayid, he could obviously tell him, but it could be a race against time thing where Sayid's oblivious to who he's about to kill.

Or... no. Nevermind. I just remembered that Desmond showed him a photo of Penny in "The Constant." Darn it.

Dan said...

AND, wasn't Ben surprised to see Sayid on TV and wasn't Sayid saying something like "let me grieve over my wife"?

So, that would lead one to believe that Nadia was already dead when Ben saw him and came up with his plan.

Awesome episode overall. Ben is a total bad ass!

Erin said...

On Ben teleporting:

Maybe Ben was dressed for cold because he wasn't exactly sure where he would end up. Maybe he could have just as easily ended up at another teleportation place in a cold place.

Why did the hotel clerk girl look so freaked out when Ben said he was Dean Moriarty? And why didn't Ben seem to notice?

On Jack's illness:
What if he doesn't have apendicitis? Maybe he has whatever killed Rousseau's people or maybe what is killing people on the boat.

green-tara76 said...

Wow, Michael Emerson, Action Star Extraordinaire. Who'da thunk it? So, here's what I'm trying to work out: Sayid is one of the Oceanic Six, and I'm going to assume they all get off the island together due to their celebrity.

Sayid asks Ben how he got off the island, and Ben casually reminds him of Desmond's boat. (Oh gee, Sayid thinks, I wondered where we misplaced that!) So when the Oceanic Six leave, Ben is ostensibly alive on the island doing his thing.

Not that this means anything at this point. I'm still so darn confused. Blergh, show!

Bjooks said...

Agree with everything you said, Alan. Excellent episode.

I'm now more convinced than ever that Widmore's been to the island, and that's why he and Ben can't kill each other. Is Widmore behind or working with Darma?

Loved the teleport/time travel reference. Yeah, I don't see any other way to read that. Interesting that he landed in Tunisia, since that's where CSLewis found the polar bear fossil. Perhaps some Darma station on the island can teleport, but only to specific locations? Or maybe it's like someone above said, you never know when or where you'll end up, so you dress for anything (and the polar bear ended up there as an accident).

And smokey... oh yeah! The title of your review was awesome.

mkr said...

i was sure you were going to open with "spoilers...just as soon as i finish attacking brazil from north africa..."

special k said...

I am still so excited about the goodness of Lost last night. It was a brilliant hour of TV.

I didn't think the Sawyer shoot-out was funny though; I thought it was well-filmed, just like the entire episode.

And Ben? Good lord, maybe logically he wore out his welcome several episodes ago and/or should have been killed, justifiably so, about 14 times, but I am so glad his character is still on the air. I too cried when he went over to say goodbye to Alex. Can we just give him an Oscar in addition to an Emmy? Just cuz?

I had to rewatch the smokey scene a few times, I loved it so much. Gave me more chills and fear than all Jurassic Park films combined.

Lastly, I loved Sawyer throughout this entire episode. How much he cares for his friends really shined through, and I loved his final warning to Locke about not harming one hair on his curly head. I know its corny, but I love me some Hero!Sawyer.

elle said...

ben k.... i like your theory about ben and widmore being each other's constant. though it hurts my head to even attempt thinking about how it would all work. however, we've never seen (yet) any sign of widmore time-traveling, so perhaps it's just one-sided... ben can't kill charles because charles is his constant, and charles knows it.

my brain is completely (time) warped...

Sean said...

For those asking about just how Ben can teleport and why Tunisia and so forth, three words: MIRROR MATTER MOON.

chris w said...

Alan,

You just commented about Ben's bloody parka being a testament to his involvement in a fracas in some colder climate. I don't think this is the case. The parka had a new Dharma logo and we've been teased with the upcoming Orchid station since ComiCon over the past summer so I believe that was the Orchid's logo. Additionally, I think the parka is because the teleportation process causes the subject to be very cold (think the DeLorean in Back to the Future). Second, I believe the Orchid is the way that Ben and the Others get off and back onto the island, i.e. teleportation but because of the weird time "bubble" surrounding the island Ben has to readjust to see when he comes out the other side. Third, Ben showed up in Tunisia, where Charlotte found the skeleton of a Hydra polar bear, or the first test subject of The Orchid station. Fourth, Ben's parka had the name "Halliwax" on it; Halliwax was the name that the Asian scientist dude gave on the Orchid orientation video shown at ComiCon and is available on the season 3 DVD set. This is the same Asian scientist dude who showed up in the other orientation videos a few times without a right arm. I believe that there is an imperfection in the teleportation machinery or whatever that causes you to lose an arm or in Ben's case just give you a deep cut.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

Couple thoughts:

First, maybe Ben's parka had something to do with where he was traveling/teleporting FROM, rather than where he expected to wind up? For some reason I thought of Penny's listening post from the Season 2 finale.

Second, in the Ben/Widmore confrontation, Ben was wearing dark clothing and standing in shadows, while Widmore was wearing light pajamas and had a bright light illuminating his face. I think this must have been a callback to Locke's bit, during his backgammon game with Walt, about a game with two sides, black and white. I'd be curious to rewatch the series with an eye toward all of the various games characters have played -- Backgammon, faux Risk, computer chess, etc.

Jeff W. said...

Good catch about the dark/light, Matter Eater Lad. One of the most consistent motifs of Lost, I believe, is placing something dark or black near something light or white. Probably trying to suggest something about the duality of man. (The Jungian thing, sir!)

This was probably the best episode this season, and that's saying something.

jim treacher said...

"He seemed to have a mission to get into town and meet up with Sayid...so why would he be dressed for a cold location?"

Because it was cold where he teleported from? And from the looks of it, his only mission at that point was to get away from who- or whatever did that to his arm.

Erin said...

Two things:

1) Teleporting Polar Bears:

Tunisia is clearly linked to the island through teleportation. I would guess that the Arctic is also, based on the parka AND the fact that there are polar bears on the tropical island and in the desert. Let's not forget that while we now are used to polar bears on the island, that in fact is a really weird thing. I am guessing the bears teleported there from the Arctic, where another special spot is.

Based on Alan's catch about the bloody sleeve on the parka, I am going with the theory that Ben actually jumped from the Arctic to Tunisia.

2) Light and Dark:

That is an interesting perspective on who was in the light and who was in the shadows. Watching the same scene, I saw it differently. They were each in the light and the shadow. Exactly half of their faces was lit while the other half was dark. Neither man is purely innocent or evil. They are both at the same time.

We speculate about who is lying and telling the truth. I think both Widmore and Ben are lying and telling the truth sometimes.

Susan said...

I’m on the ‘Ben was time traveling” side of the fence. He seemed to *suddenly* find himself in the middle of the Sahara (near no visible mode of transportation), in a parka. He didn’t know the date, including the year. Looks like time travel to me.

I wonder why Sayid would so quickly believe Ben when Ben tells him that Widmore killed Nadia? He’s watched Ben lie smoothly and easily in the past. (So have we - I really believed him when he said he didn't know what the smoke monster was!) Perhaps he’s so angry and wants revenge so badly that he’ll aim wherever he’s told there’s a target.

I’m really curious about “the rules” and “the game.” This is a serious game they were playing – did they really set parameters? It appears that the rules were that their families were off limits – so Ben was perfectly sure that Alex wouldn’t be killed.

I love that Penny has become something to pursue for people other than Desmond, making her nearly as important as the island. Here’s what I wonder: will Sayid realize that “Penny Widmore” is the Penny that Demond called from the freighter ship, and will it matter to him? And will Desmond get off the island before/with/after the Oceanic Six, making him a player in the “find Penny first” game?

Ben’s stillness when Alex was killed…wow. I actually felt sorry for him for a few moments. And then his reaction over her body… Michael Emerson rules.

In an interview with Lindelof/Cuse recently, they said that while the fans focus on the mythology, they’re often focused on making a show about great characters. I really felt that with this episode. Sawyer has grown so much, from the “every man for himself” con man who hoarded medicine, to the guy who risked his own life to save Claire and then fought for Hurley.

Trevor Jackson said...

"the teleportation process causes the subject to be very cold"

Just wanted to say this nicely connects with polar bears being first-test subjects.

christy said...

chris w., I LOVE your theory about the process of teleporting itself making the subject cold, Delorean-style, thus needing parkas and polar bears.

Awesome.

Andrew said...

Michael Emerson was brilliant in this episode.

Was there any connection established previously (in the show or in the ancillary games/webisodes) between Widmore and Hanso?

kirs said...

All I know is this: I am buying a shot gun and keeping it in my piano bench.

Bruce Reid said...

I really don't want the show to go in this direction, but did anyone else get a portentous, mythic vibe from the Ben-Widmore conversation? "I know who you are, boy; what you are." "The island's always been mine." Throw in the back and forth about rule changes and the hunt being on and I got the sense of two immortals squabbling over a game they've been playing since humanity began.

Which, again, I think would be a bad idea, so I hope I'm just overreacting to some macho banter.

When Ben revealed he'd just been to Iraq, Widmore's knowing little glance suggests he was behind the death of Sayid's wife, though it's too vague to say with any certainty.

Nate said...

Wassup Sep?

Hey... if Ben goes back and kills Penny, and it upsets the timeline... would that mean we don't have to put up with her incredibly annoying character on HBOs "Tell Me You Love Me"??

It might actually improve that show!

Anonymous said...

"Sawyer has grown so much, from the “every man for himself” con man who hoarded medicine, to the guy who risked his own life to save Claire and then fought for Hurley."

Aww, great point. I've enjoyed his character arc immensely; I love other characters as well but many of them have not had much growth; Jack, Kate, Claire, Hurley, Sayid etc. All wonderful, but consistent, characters. Jin has grown as a person and a man, as has Desmond (giving up the alcohol and all that), as has Sawyer. Wonderful stuff to watch. Hell, I even enjoyed watching Shannon's character develop and change for the better.

Anonymous said...

In all the chaos of the village shootout, I thought Myles ringing the doorbell was a nice touch.

Maybe its just the comic book guy in me, but i always seem to like Brian K Vaughan's episodes just a little more than the rest.

Shotgun in the piano bench AND the look on Sawyer's face when Ben hands it to him. Priceless.

Moonmatter hurts my brain. Must rest for BSG.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Ben is time traveling but I don't think the flash forward occured while Ben disappeared during the standoff but rather at another time. He wasn't wearing the same clothes when he woke up in desert as he was when he was in the dark room, was he?

Anonymous said...

I totally disagree that this was a dayenu episode. I thought so much of it was preposterous.

- Widmore is beyond obscenely wealthy and crafty yet Ben can just walk on in to his bedroom in the middle of the night with no security guards, alarms, etc. whatsoever?

- Why would ANYONE ever listen to Ben about anything? He is a proven liar and manipulator. The fact that Locke and Sayid both hang their fates on Ben's words time and again is ridiculous.

There was a lot more about this episode that I found dumb but that's all I can remember now. But I will say that I wish I had started counting at the beginning of the series just how many times some character pulls a gun on someone vs. the number of times that gun is actually fired. Someone pulls and clicks a gun like every five minutes. It's a joke at this point.

Undercover Asian Man said...

Though I am usually as cynical as the "anonymous" poster above me, I have to disagree with him (or her) this time. This was a pretty entertaining episode.

Like Alan, I DO believe there is a story that is plotted from now to the end of Lost. Also like Alan (I think!), I also still believe that was NOT always the case - as recently as last year.

I do find it telling that all the stuff Lost fans were obsessed about just a few seasons ago has completely been zapped out of the Lostophile's consciousness. Things like Dharma, the Numbers, the Hatches, why all the Losties seemed connected in the past, magical Walt, strange Serums to inject Claire with, babies, viruses, hell even the "Main Characters" themselves - all are just mere background noise compared to Ben vs Charles now.

If they would have chopped out the Tailies season and the Loooooong nonsensical "Others" season, and just went from Season 1 to now, this might have had a place in the pantheon of TV.

Perhaps future 'mythology' series will learn from this and from British TV (who, if the story requires two seasons will end the series in two seasons regardless of popularity) and not play yank-a-chain and extended story lines to the point of absurdity (the button pushing still rankles).

I'm also concerned by the recent flood of Cuse and Lindelof interviews trumpeting last night's return of Lost. In every one I've read, they talk about "managing expectations" and how the expect a lot of disappointment at the actual explanations stage. They even give excuses like 'they always saw Lost as a Character driven show, not a mystery' (paraphrase) and other big hints that many of the details of the past have no satisfying conclusion.

Nevertheless, last night's episode was good TV.

jim treacher said...

"There was a lot more about this episode that I found dumb but that's all I can remember now."

I'm sure we're all waiting breathlessly for your memory to return.

Did anybody else notice the name on the parka Ben was wearing? Halliwax. That's the name of the guy from the Orchid station orientation video:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=4bTvAUVPyLI

Definitely teleportation/time travel.

chris w said...

jim treacher,

Yes, I noticed the name and mentioned as such in my comment previously.

Mark said...

Stewie Griffin, I mean Ben Linus, rocked this episode. As for the parka and the polar bears, I think it's because the method or location for teleportation/time travel is cold, but if the process is random, it reminds me of an ancient piece of Canadian folk, "You can always take it off but you can't put it back on."

M.Chavez said...

I was one of the first folks to chime in about how this doesn't feel like time travel, but folks seem to be convinced it is... and if it is then maybe my reluctance to accept it is that it turns Lost into something very cheesy, IMO. I mean, let's take it all to logical conclusions:

Ben and Charles are the same person (I can't kill you, you can't kill me, etc.) - maybe Ben is Charles' father. "I hate looking at those ugly eyes of yours - DAD!"

Jack and Kate are the couple who are dried up skeletons discovered in the first or second episode: in one of their attempts at getting back to the Island - a mishap gets them stuck in the early 1900's, they adopt to their timeline and sail out to the island finally, but don't find what they thought would be there and spend the rest of their life there. The black and white stones are part of the time travel 'mechanism'.

I guess I should just accept that before Lost there was Alias, and it was spy/espionage tied to freaky balls of energy and stuff, so here we have Lost and solid human drama tied to freaky magnetism and stuff. Physical time travel just seems to be the straw that breaks this latino camel's back. ;) If they can pull it off, kudos to them, it just doesn't, at this juncture, bode well to me.

Anonymous said...

"- Widmore is beyond obscenely wealthy and crafty yet Ben can just walk on in to his bedroom in the middle of the night with no security guards, alarms, etc. whatsoever?"

Good lord, if that truly bothers you about an episode of Lost you are truly watching the wrong show. Smoke monsters, polar bears, and you find lack of security guards upsettingly ridiculous.

Gotta enjoy the preposterous ride, brotha, or not watch. So much of this show is ridiculous, but I assumed most people that watched the show accepted that fact long ago.

barefootjim said...

I know that I'm very late to this party, but Ben's waking up in the desert reminded me of a cross between The Doctor stepping out of the TARDIS not knowing exactly where he is and a Cylon resurrection.

And I'm not just saying that because I watched all three shows back to back to back yesterday.

dez said...

Ben’s stillness when Alex was killed…wow. I actually felt sorry for him for a few moments.

As horrible as I felt when Alex was killed, I admit I laughed at the failure of Ben's gambit. We're so used to him being a master manipulator and then BAM! Mercenary dude takes out Ben's stolen daughter. HA! But, damn, why couldn't it have been someone I hate, like Kate? :-)

Rest of the ep was pretty awesome, too. Go, Smokey!

Anonymous said...

Great episode. I thought it was interesting that Ben told Whitmore that he'd never find the island. Only trouble is, they already found it. He's there to talk about his daughter's death, which was a direct result of them finding the island.

Any ideas?

dez said...

^Is it possible Ben wipes out all the Freighties before they can show Widmore how to get there? Given the time inconsistencies and precise bearings to be followed, they may not yet have been able to convey with accuracy how Widmore can find the island.

Either that, or Ben's hidden it in Jacob's cabin :-)

Toeknee said...

I know I'm waaaay late to commenting on this great episode, but I wanted to follow up on sean's "Mirror Moon Matter" link, and the concept of teleporting to Tunisia:

I had read about the concept of "vile vortices" on another blog earlier this season, and I think that may be part of the explanation to some of the goings-on of LOST. You can read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vile_Vortices but in general the idea is that there are 12 locations on earth that exhibit similarly mysterious phenomena. These 12 locations include Tunisia and Madagascar (which was where the Black Rock's journal was found). Perhaps the teleportation can only occur between these 12 locations?