Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Lost, "Dead Is Dead": Reversal of fortune

My seder ended early enough for me to watch "Lost" more or less on time, so spoilers coming up just as soon as I take the groceries out of my car...
"You don't like this, do you?" -Locke
"What?" -Ben
"Having to ask questions you don't know the answers to. Blindly following someone in the hopes they'll lead you to what you're looking for." -Locke
"No, John, I don't like it at all." -Ben
"Well, now you know what it was like to be me." -Locke
In honor of the Passover holiday -- and the fact that I believe I first introduced the rule in my review of last season's Ben-centric "The Shape Of Things To Come" -- it's time once again to bust out the Dayenu Rule. If you're new to the blog, or to the holiday, "Dayenu"(*) is a song Jews sing about the story of the Exodus from Egypt, in which we list all of the many great things God did for us along the way, each of which would have been enough by itself. If God had only freed us from slavery... dayenu. If God had only freed us from slavery and parted the Red Sea... dayenu. If God had only freed us from slaver, parted the Red Sea and provided manna from Heaven... dayenu. Etc. I invoke the rule when an episode of a TV show is so overflowing with awesomeness that any one particular element would, on its own, have been enough to merit a positive review.

(*) Pronounced "die-AY-new"

So, without further ado (and because, much as I liked this episode, I really want to watch the "Life" finale before I go to bed if I can), it's time to apply the Dayenu Rule to "Dead Is Dead":

• If we had only found out that Penny survived Ben's attempt on her life... dayenu.

• If we had only found out that Penny survived Ben's attempt on her life and gotten to watch Terry O'Quinn be so serenely and supremely confident as the resurrected Locke... dayenu.

• If we had only seen Penny's survival, O'Quinn being so awesome and Michael Emerson being just as awesome at playing Ben's frustration with being Locke's puppet... dayenu.

• If we had only gotten all of those things and the look on Emerson's face when Ben realized Penny had a child... dayenu.

• If we had only gotten all of those things, the look on Emerson's face when Ben realized Penny had a child, and our trip inside the Temple basement... dayenu.

• If we had only gotten all of those things, the look on Emerson's face when Ben realized Penny had a child, our trip inside the Temple basement and then the look on Emerson's face when Ben saw what he thought was the resurrected Alex... dayenu.

I could also add to the list Ben (apparently) killing Caesar as his "apology" for killing Locke, Lapidus noting that "As long as the dead guy says there's a reason, I guess everything's going to be just peachy," and Ilana and Ungalow(**) turning out to be people (agents of Widmore, maybe?) who know about the Temple. But outside of my enormous relief at realizing that Penny, Desmond and Charlie had all survived Ben's attack at the marina, what made "Dead Is Dead" so great was the acting clinic put on by the two most senior -- and, with all due respect to everybody else, most talented -- members of the "Lost" ensemble.

(**) I'm sure the Brand Henke character has an actual name, but until it's used a bunch of times in a row, I'm gonna call him after his character from "Going to California."

Despite being a Ben flashback episode, and despite taking us inside the Temple, "Dead Is Dead" was surprisingly light on new bits of mythology. We found out the circumstances under which Widmore got banished, which sound different from what I remember Widmore telling Locke (didn't he claim to have also turned the donkey wheel?), and finally got the explanation for how he could have been banished after the Dharma purge and still had a daughter as old as Penny (answer: he was slipping off to the mainland to have a relationship with a non-Other). We saw the circumstances under which Ben took Alex from Rousseau (which, if I'm reading my Lostpedia right, means she was taken before the purge and while Ben was still pretending to live with Dharma much of the time). We found out -- assuming (and this is never a safe assumption) Ben is telling the truth -- that Locke is the first person the island has ever resurrected before. And, in our glimpse of the hieroglyphics on both the wall of behind Ben's closet and in the Temple basement, we got confirmation that whatever is happening on this island in some way ties back to Egyptian mythology. (Those of you who assumed the four-toed statue was Anubis have to be feeling pretty pleased right now by the picture of Anubis on the Temple wall.)

But we still don't know what happened to Ben after Richard took him into the Temple -- specifically, how much of his evil-ness we're supposed to ascribe to the Temple and how much to his father. We don't know the details of how or when Ben returned to Dharma, how he recruited Ethan from Dharma into the Others, how and why he talked the Others into moving into the Dharma village, his relationship with Jacob and a whole lot of other things that I expect the show to get around to before we're done here.

And I'm okay with that. The Locke/Ben role-reversal, Ben's guilt over Alex's death (and the realization that he has a soft spot about killing children, or their parents, no doubt because of how he thinks his life would have been different had his mom lived), and "Alex" -- whether she was supposed to be Smokey (probably not), or Jacob, or the island itself -- telling Ben to quit plotting against Locke and start following orders was enough to keep me riveted throughout.

It's that last part that made the show especially satisfying. Ben's a fun and memorable character because you can never believe what he's saying, but that also turns him into an easy writers' crutch. Ben's mendacity gives the writers license to pull the rug out from under the audience at will, all in the name of "why should you have believed Ben this time?" And brilliant as Emerson is, that can get tiring after a while. Now, having been warned by a higher power to shut up and listen for once, Ben can't keep plotting his own game, which takes away that crutch and makes things (slightly) more straightforward from here on out. Ben is still Ben, but he's now Ben working in the service of someone else, and having to more or less be loyal to Locke, and that's going to create a really fascinating dynamic, I think.

Some other thoughts:

• We went a bunch of episodes without any Locke, and now we went this episode without any of LaFleur or the other '70s people. I assume they're all going to meet up again eventually, but until that happens, would you rather the scripts try to showcase both timelines at once, or see more character-driven stories spotlighting the characters in one era or the other?

• Were Hurley and Sawyer playing Risk when Keamy's forces turned up at New Otherton last season? I'm assuming it was their abandoned game that Ben walked past when heading for Alex's old room.

• Ben tells Rousseau, "Every time you hear whispers, you run the other way" -- suggesting, once again, that the whispers mean the Others are heading your way.

• Ben seems surprised to learn that anyone from the present day was somehow in the Dharma Initiative in the '70s. I can understand his memory being wiped about Kate and Sayid and the Ajira 316 late-comers, but does that mean he's also forgotten the presence of LaFleur, Miles, Juliet and Jin? Or is this yet another case of it not being safe to trust anything he tells anyone?

• Brian K. Vaughan and Elizabeth Sarnoff, who wrote this episode, are sadistic bastards, aren't they? They had to know that as soon as they showed Ben at the marina, that's all any of us would want to see, and so they immediately cut back from that to Ben, Locke and Sun in the jungle.

• So, should we now assume that either Ilana or Ungalow was shooting at Sawyer during the outrigger chase?

What did everybody else think?

134 comments:

Carmichael Harold said...

I was surprised that we didn't see Ellie in this episode in any of the flashback scenes to the Other's camp. It had seemed from Richard's comment at the end of the last episode that they were both in charge (so weird not to see her in the first flashback) and I had assumed (incorrectly, and, in retrospect, based on nothing) that she and Widmore had been exiled at the same time.

I'm curious as to what her story is.

TC said...

I've never enjoyed watching a beating more than I did seeing Desmond wail on Ben. Just awesome.

Roger said...

I thought that Ilana and company were taken over by "the sickness".

Lizbeth said...

Agreed, what a great episode. I love the reversal in the Ben/Locke relationship.

And I'm soooo relieved Desmond, Penny, and Charley are safe and sound. My heart was pounding during that scene.

So nice to know that Ben has a weakness for moms and their babies. Wow, so he's not a complete monster.

Also, when John Locke and Ben were walking through the jungle I kinda wished John would say "Ben, why don't you go first since every time I turn my back you try to kill me."

Jeff said...

Speaking of Desmond, is he some kind of invincible, like maybe Caesar? He did beat the crap out of Ben after getting shot, after all.

Stringer Sawyer Carmichael said...

What a great episode in a great season. Just last week I spent about two hours on lostpedia and remember seeing they translated all the hieroglyphics that had been in the show thusfar. Hopefully they will be able to translate what we saw tonight.

Also, we saw the Smokey coming out of that vent-looking thing. I'm guessing that's supposed to be it's home, right? What was with the nasty water Ben had to put his hand in and make it drain out?

Paul said...

Has someone remarked that Ilana and Caesar could be Egyptians, or is that reaching?

Mike F said...

great episode, good answers, this show continues to deliver week after week...bravo, Lost

JD said...

Best episode of the season and I loved seeing Alex back, even if she was a stand in for Jacob and/or the monster. I'm still bummed she died. I think I would have gotten sick if I had to witness Penny's death by Ben, so I was glad that didn't happen at all of course. Can't wait for the rest of the season and next.

studda said...

wonderful episode.nice to see more of bens past,and (slightly) of the others.and whidmore aged quite well.

l.b. weighs in said...

It was a Passover miracle that I got to watch too, and it didn't disappoint although, the wig is just not enough to make Ben look younger on a hi-def TV! Too bad there is no money for some retouching.

Isn't Christian the first person we know of that the Island resurrected? What struck me is that even heading to face Smokey, Ben was telling lie after lie.

And what exactly is he apologizing for with the message he wants Sun to give Desmond. I have a terrible feeling that there is something else in the works that Ben couldn't stop before he got on the plane, although I could be over-complicating things.

And YES it is a relief to know that Penny and little Charlie are as far as we've seen still OK. I actually was scared that Ben accidentally killing little Charlie was what his "I'm sorry" was for.

james said...

AMEN! to this review and episode of LOST. AMEN!!!

Wonderful episode, thrilled with the black mist and them showing us from the inside of it after its swarmed somebody. Brilliant!

To my understand Ben is unaware of "the island" resurrecting others but it doesn't mean it hasn't. For example, Jack's father could have been resurrected but we don't know if it has.

I always thought:
the Island = Jacob = the black mist

They're all essentially the same entity performing different functions. For example, Jacob is the island manifested into being while the mist is security. But this is probably wrong.

I wish this show was over and on dvd so I can watch through to see how it ends.

EOTW said...

I'm going out on a limb to say that the bounty hunter babe is something independent of Widmore. She asked Frank about the statue (the four toed one. is there another?) so I am thinking maybe she has to do with the original natives on the island, perhaps she knows Richard?

It was a great ep and my relief at penny living was evident. I've never feared more for a fringe character. I love that little family.

See, Alan, I'm posting with no mention of next week or podcasts! Proud of me, big guy?

Adam said...

Since Ben knows he didn't kill Penny or Charlie, why does he want Locke to apologize to Desmond?

Tony Dayoub said...

"... which sound different from what I remember Widmore telling Locke (didn't he claim to have also turned the donkey wheel?)..."

I'm assuming two things:

a) You can't ever believe what Charles says, same as you can't believe Ben, and...

b) Ben also mentioned that Charles had left the island before a number of times. It seems likely that it would be easier for him to use the donkey-wheel portal to do so.

Tony Dayoub said...

"Since Ben knows he didn't kill Penny or Charlie, why does he want Locke to apologize to Desmond?"

Ben is sorry he had to shoot Desmond.

jasctt said...

I'd feel sorry if I'd shot a dude as cool as Des.

Lester Freamon said...

I don't get how you'd draw the conclusion that Ilana is working for Widmore. To me the whole "statue" line sounded like a code, like "What did one snowman say to the other snowman" Perhaps they ran into trouble while Frank et al were on the big island. Something was impersonating them so they developed a code to detect impostors.

AndyW said...

When Alex/Smoke monster/Jacob asked Ben to "say it" - I couldn't make out what he said. Played it like five times. Anyone have better speakers than I do? I'm assuming it was "I'll follow John Locke" or variations thereof.

Christopher said...

I don't believe Charles said he'd turned the Donkey Wheel to leave. Unless I'm mistaken, I think he just said that Ben tricked him into leaving, which we all assumed meant Donkey Wheel.

Either way, if that's all we ever see of Linus vs. Widmore on-Island, I will be a little disappointed.

Otherwise, great ep. Alan, I liked your pick-up that Ben's sparing women with children ties into his own motherless upbringing.

Hobbs said...

I agree with Lester. I, too, thought it was a test.

From what I could see, I thought Desmond was saved by his bag of groceries (perhaps a can of soup) and was simply stunned by the shot. At any rate, Eloise did state that the Island wasn't done with Desmond, so like Michael, he might not be able to die yet.

As for the trap door in Ben's closet, is it me, or does it seem strange that it's built into the side of a Dharma house? Doesn't that imply that the DI were aware of it as they were building their homes? And if so, what did they think it was for?

Hobbs said...

Sorry, I meant I thought Ilana was testing Lapidus with the statue/shadow question.

Anonymous said...

"Speaking of Desmond, is he some kind of invincible, like maybe Caesar? He did beat the crap out of Ben after getting shot, after all."

I DVRed back and watched that whole scene again, and Ben shot Desmond's grocery bag. As Desmond fell back onto the pavement, there was no sign of any opening in his shirt at all. Presumably something hard in the bag stopped the bullet (per the island's will, of course).

I was a bit shocked that Ben didn't realise that was Desmond, and just walked right by him. Pretty shoddy planning in the spur of the moment there. Guess it was the ol' anger at Charles bubbling up after he hung up on him... distracting him a bit.

"Isn't Christian the first person we know of that the Island resurrected? What struck me is that even heading to face Smokey, Ben was telling lie after lie."

Christian, AFAWK, isn't really resurrected. Which makes the question of Claire all the more interesting, of course. If she died, we never got to see it.... but then again, this show excells at showing things many episodes after they could have been shown to increase tension.

KC said...

Boy, that was a fun ride. Great episode. Linus and Locke, I am sure they will go down as one of the great twosomes in television.

I didn't really believe they would have the heart to kill off Penny, although I may have boycotted the show if they did, seeing as I am still pissed about Libby.

God, I loved seeing Ben get beat up, he makes a great punching bag, the man can take a beating and keep soldiering on.

Some really great moments in this one. Those wigs were kind of funny tho...but still I'm not complaining, if they keep this up I won't say a bad word again about any other bad prop that they use.

I never knew when to believe Ben or not throughout this whole thing.
Can't wait until next week.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and re: Alan's saying that Ben thought that was his Alex, resurrected... I'm pretty sure he knew it was a Jacob-esque figure standing before him, not the real Alex. But just as with Locke standing before him: knowing is one thing, seeing is another.

Also, Alex may have been like Eko's brother, who we got to see after the smoke monster judged Eko, remember?

"And what exactly is he apologizing for with the message he wants Sun to give Desmond. I have a terrible feeling that there is something else in the works that Ben couldn't stop before he got on the plane, although I could be over-complicating things."
"Since Ben knows he didn't kill Penny or Charlie, why does he want Locke to apologize to Desmond?"

You guys wouldn't apologise for shooting someone? Locke had just given Ben a primer in apologies for attempted (or actual) murder, after all!

Also, it was Sun he was asking to relay the message, since Ben (rightly) assumes Locke will never want to leave the island again like Jin and Sun will want to once they get back in the same year together. He assumes Sun may see Desmond some day if he dies in the temple and can't tell Desmond himself ever.

Of course, it's quite possible that Desmond will come back to the island himself, but Ben seems to discount that possiblity.

"Perhaps they ran into trouble while Frank et al were on the big island. Something was impersonating them so they developed a code to detect impostors."

And they would expect Frank to know this code... how? Seeing as how he was on the other island and all...

Hobbs said...

I loved this episode but did anyone else think the recycled flashbacks were a bit cheesy when shown in the smoke monster?

I hold this show to high standards and so far, it hasn't disappointed story-wise or production-wise. I thought this scene could've been shot better.

Zack Smith said...

I really, REALLY want to believe Desmond and Co. are safe, but unless Darlton say so, I have this horrifying image of Ben rising from the water in a later flashback.

But what an AWESOME beatdown! HELL YEAH for Desmond! Wow!

Ohhhhh, Ben. Being forced to follow John Locke. "It let me live." So much self-pity in that line. What a Hell on Earth for Ben...KNOWING he's not the Island's chosen, and made to follow the man he hates almost as much as Widmore. I tuned into this episode hoping Ben would get his. And he did.

Hobbs said...

And they would expect Frank to know this code... how? Seeing as how he was on the other island and all...

I don't think they were aware that Sun and Lapidus left the island. I suppose they would've noticed them missing at whatever meeting they held to let everyone know about the code. But perhaps due to their absence - in fact, no where to be found 0 they assumed they can't be trusted. If anyone in that group isn't a total lunk, they should be apprehensive and sense there is something up with the island...

Lester Freamon said...

And they would expect Frank to know this code... how? Seeing as how he was on the other island and all...

They accidentally told the shapeshifter, thinking it was Frank. It really was a poorly thought out plan on their part, I'd say.

Nicole said...

Ilana, Ceasar and Richard - perhaps Egyptian as someone noted above.

Mummies!

I have no idea, but it amuses me.

ACyclcUniverse said...

I agree 100%, Alan, what a fantastic episode!

The best part for me: Ben's disturbingly Hitler-esque comb-over during his baby-snatching escapade. I don't know if that's what the makeup department was going for, but if so they did a fantastic job.

As for Smokey's cameo, it was refreshing to see Ben directly face the abhorrent actions he's had to perform in service of the Island, *while* also reminding us that he wasn't always that way via his early interactions with Alex.

One of the running themes of LOST has been individuals having to become their despised predecessors, (Jack becomes an alcoholic and substance abuser post-Oceanic 6 escape, Sawyer takes the name and profession of the man responsible for his parent's murder-suicide, Locke uses the people around him to further his own agenda) in order to eventually move beyond them.

And now we know that Ben was forced to become Charles, to becomke so concerned for the safety of the Island that he was willing to let his own daughter be killed, in order to reconnect with some of that innocence that Smokey took from him those many years ago.

Absolutely fantastic, not to mention bad-ass. Dayenu is right!

Devin McCullen said...

I have to say, they were selling the "Ben kills Penny" theme so hard that I figured it wasn't going to happen - of course, I'd called Ben an "unutterable bastard" earlier in the episode when I thought it was.

I loved Locke waving "Hi" from outside the house.

I know Ben's convincing, but Cesar seemed to be buying his spiel about Locke a bit too easily (not that it probably matters any more).

I liked Frank deciding not to have anything more to do with the craziness (nice try).

And the look on Sun's face after listening to Ben and Locke's back-and-forth in the jungle - "How long do I have to put up with these idiots?"

Anonymous said...

Haven't watched yet but happy pesach.

J said...

The first half had me worried. I should enjoy a Ben episode more than that, I was thinking, and *this* is what you get when you waste time answering questions instead of creating quality mysteries.

But the second half was 100% OMG. The Des & Penny thing was a relief -- and properly heroic and romantic and stuff. But the episode was devoted to establishing that Ben loved Alex and that he has suffered the guilt of her death. When he yells to Locke at the end, "It let me live," it was a cry of disappointment. He will have to suffer his survivor's guilt in servitude. Bravo.

Miles S. said...

Great episode and great recap Alan (and happy Passover).

I am surprised you find it unlikely that Alex was the smoke monster. Someone mentioned the death of Eko, and to me, this was an exact repeat of the various Eko/smoke monster confrontations, only happening all at once and with more details. First the smoke monster stares you down, then you see white flashes (of your past, it appears). Then the monster becomes a person from your past, and asks you to do something. Eko refused, and was killed. Ben agreed, and lived.

The smoke monster's role as judge also makes Locke's two season 1 meetings with the monster very interesting. In the first, he found it beautiful, and it seemed to reaffirm his belief in the power of the island (I believe he called it the island's heart). In the second, it was something bad and it tried to drag him in a hole. So many of the things that seemed so important in season one turned out not to matter much; polar bears, how to open the hatch (um, there was a door over there the whole time), but the smoke monster feels like something that is going to to be important to the end.

jimtreacher said...

Desmond was only in the episode for like 90 seconds. Isn't that amazing?

I have no idea what lies in the shadow of the statue, but I'm pretty sure right now it's underneath Ben's discarded, soiled underwear.

And let's hope that, whoever or whatever John Locke really is now, it's not the same thing Kara Thrace was.

fgmerchant said...

It seems I am the only one disappointed that Penny wasn't killed off! I've always found her character, and especially Desmond, to be extremely annoying! I would not mind if this is the last we ever hear from those two.

Alan, what was that about Ilana and Ungalow knowing about the temple? (p.s. isn't this the first we have seen of Ungalow?) Is there a temple next to the Anubis foot?

To everyone else, I took that as some sort of code as well. It definitely had the tone of "a question we ask to make sure these are the people we came here with". I wonder what they found in that box that got them all paranoid. Also makes me wonder if those guns were already on the island in that office, or if the guns were on the plane for some reason. Also, what is the deal with the office? When and why would that be used? It doesn't make sense for the Dharma people to have an unnecessary office on another island when they could have just built one on the main island!

Tyroc said...

Alan, Happy Pesach!

So I too (like Andy W) could not make out what Ben said to "Alex" except, "I swear" at the end of it.

But it almost seems that for Ben it would've been better to be killed for his sins than have to live as Locke's servant. At least by the look on his face.

If I were Locke I would now sit down Ben and have him explain the entire history of the island. But doubt that'll happen.

Overall, fun episode. Yay, Desmond! He and Penny still remain the romantic heart of the show (which is amazing given how little they've been featured compared to Jack and Kate and Sawyer and even Sun and Jin.)

MattB said...

This season is getting to be so awesome.

The writers and show-runners are becoming so exceptionally great at juggling all these balls in the air...

toonsterwu said...

I'll be honest, I liked the Ben stuff, I liked the backstory. The whole Locke aspect, bleh. Take out Locke - very intriguing backstory on Ben. Very nice scene with his daugther. Sorta wish they had spent the money for a younger actor to play young Ben, rather than trying to have Michael Emerson look younger. The Lcoke stuff? Bored me to death. They are trying to give this new Locke a makeover, and honestly, I didn't like the old Locke before, and I don't like the new Locke now. Loved the Desmond scene and have been very disappointed wiht the limited Desmond this year.

I'm beating a dead horse here, but the show has probably taken the "Let's break Jack down" too long. Simply put, most people recognize that, everything, in the end, revolves around Jack, for better or worse. The fact that he has been so separated from the key action is, I think, going to make it that much harder for Jack to be the hero of the story.

I view Locke as a character to set things in place for Jack. I think, in this episode, we see him coming to that realization a bit.

I'll be honest some more - I watched the end of Life and DVR'd Lost, knowing how heavy Locke it would be. And at the end of it ... heck of a Life episode, particularly if it's the ending. Tis a shame NBC doesn't know how to promote shows.

Archie Goodwin said...

A good episode. As someone who very much disliked last weeks, it was nice to see the plot advance without too much silly contrivance like, "we can heal him, but only in a way that miraculously overrides all of the plot holes we have opened up these past few episodes."

Also, I am worried about Ben following Locke now. Perhaps you will be right, Alan, and it will help to take away the Ben is lying crutch. However, Ben is by far my favorite character on the show beyond the good acting of Emerson because he is also the only main character (excepting occasionally Sawyer) who is a thinker/schemer/doer on a show that tends to hit its characters with the idiot stick whenever convenient to keep the plot from advancing and the mysteries from being solved. Look at how quickly Ben was able to adjust to finding Locke alive and work things to keep moving along in his direction. Any other character would have probably found a way to avoid talking to Locke or mentioning the fact that he was recently dead for three or four episodes. Ben is intriguing because he knows things about the island and actually does things that tend to move the plot along.

On the flip side, the current John Locke is already annoying me, because he seems to be a way for the writers to move characters around without actually revealing anything. Because now Locke "just knows" things, so he can't explain why they need to go from point A to B, but we will need to waste an episode watching them walk there anyway when all we really want is to find out what will happen at point B. With the old Ben you always got the sense that at any moment he could and would make something really cool happen, like summon the smoke monster or shoot Lt. Daniels in the head, and I worry that we won't get that anymore now that Ben is just a bit player in the Locke show.

Danny Cohen said...

I liked this episode very much, and it was a great way to shed some light on island history and mythology while focusing Ben as a character.

It reinforced the sorrow and shame Ben felt for the way he took Alex and how things were left with her. Also, they were definitely toying with us having us guess what that showdown would be against Penny and Ben. I was surprised, not only that Penny lived, but also to learn that Ben has a soft spot for mothers. It all makes sense, which is great that it is a character thing and not a story thing, I had just never considered it before.

What this episode also did was bring up the Smoke Monster's relationship to Jacob. Are they the same, or equals, or one is subordinate? I'd guess that Alex and Yemi and Christian are all incarnations of the Monster, while Locke is actually brought back from the dead (a rule breaker, I know). That being said, when Christian says he can talk for Jacob (in Cabin Fever) that implies some kind of subservient relationship to Jacob. And, if Christian is the Smoke Monster, then the Smoke Monster is below Jacob. That being said, Jacob could be the Smoke Monster which could be the Island. But, this is my interpretation of that relationship after this.

What do other people think? Is Jacob > Smoke Monster? Or Jacob = Smoke Monster? (I am assuming that Jacob = Island, but we may find out that Jacob < Island)

Jordan said...

I just finished watching it now and I have so much to say about Bem, the island, and Anubis, but given the day, I'll leave it at this: Dayenu.

That and my early african history professor would be mighty proud of me right now.

A2A Addict said...

@Hobbs,

you're not alone. i too considered it was a riddle/code.
and i thought: "Carrots?"
:)

The container holding to guns is heavy duty and super expensive. And in the past, we've seen the Others use natural cover for hiding items. This makes me think the guns were somehow taken on board the plane by Ellie or Widmore. If so, as leaders, they obviously were not trusted enough to know about the Wheel.

The Wheel was in the shadow of the statue, right?

Sean L said...

I thought the casting of the 40-year old Widmore was brilliantly spot on, actually almost disturbingly so. They've done a great job on these - see also young Ben's bug eyes and young Danielle.

Ben said...

Alan - I do not recall Widmore specifically saying he had turned the donkey wheel, but that Ben had tricked him off the island.

My random crackpot guess - the off island affair was a setup from Ben and when the other powers that be found out about the baby/Penny, they cast him off the island. As to the how and who...?

Adam said...

Happy Pesach, Alan. This episode really was a thrill. Can we assume Rousseau's team had a similar experience, and that because they were acting strange, Rousseau thought they were diseased? Or did they suffer the same madness that ilana and the other guy seem to have?

I'd love to know what all those hieroglyphics mean.

And what was the deal with ben shouting into a drain???

sonofabitch said...

Loved the episode, so I hate to start with something negative, but . . . we have another instance of Rousseau having a serious memory lapse. 16 years in the future she'll capture "Henry Gale" in a net, yet she doesn't recognize him!? While she believed that he was an Other, she certainly didn't seem to think that this was the man who kidnapped her baby. This is even less likely than her not recognizing Jin.

I like how eager Ethan was to be the one to kill Rousseau. Shows he always was something of a psychopath, which may explain why Ben was able (assuming it was Ben) to recruit him to the Others. Is Amy still alive in 1992 and killed in the Purge? And if so, is Ethan also involved in matricide to go along with Ben's (and Locke's and Kate's and Jack's indirectly) patricide.

Still no further understanding in a Ben-centric flashback episode as to what role Annie plays in Ben's past.

Of all the bad things we know Ben has done (his torture, kidnapping, imprisonment etc of the 815ers, his participation in the Purge/direct murder of his father, multiple other murders and ordered murders of people on and off the island), the only thing he was asking forgiveness for was not turning himself over to Keamy in order to save Alex. Or is it also for breaking the rules by coming back? The picture that Keamy's team had of him off the island - doesn't that mean he also broke the rules by leaving before turning the donkey wheel? Perhaps, since it was Locke who was supposed to turn the wheel, then the Island never really wanted him to leave, so it's ok that he's back. But then why did the island let him get cancer? I don't think the island can make up it's mind as to what to do about Mr. Linus.

Widmore was banished from the island on the sub, meaning this happened after the Purge. Perhaps Ben was against the purge, like he was against the murder of baby Alex, but it was Widmore's order that had to be followed - Ben did tell Hurley that it wasn't his decision and that we all answer to someone - in this case did he mean Jacob or Widmore? If Widmore was getting on and off the island before the Purge, how did he do it without the Dharma sub? Did he have an off-island relationship with Penny's mom to go along with a possible on-island relationship with Ellie, which still leaves the door open to him being Faraday's father, making Faraday and Penny half-siblings in this scenario.

I was disappointed that Frank decided to leave Sun and go back to the other 316 survivors to try and get off the island. I would think he would at least want to go along for the adventure considering all the crazy things he knows that have happened (Locke rising from the dead, 3 of his passengers in 1977, his having supposed to have flown Oceanic 815, the staged crash at the bottom of the ocean, the island disappearing in 04 and then reappearing under his plane in 07). Considering all the things he's seen and his place in them up to this point, he should think he has a role to play in all this and want to at least find out what the hell all this is about and how he's involved.

When Ben hangs out with the Others pre-Purge and even wears Others raggedy clothes, where do the Dharma folk think he is? Is it that easy for him to slip away from them for long periods of time? Would Ben and Ethan arguing in the woods have sounded like the "whispers" if Rousseau had been awake to hear them? Did Ben mean that the "whispers" are the sound of Smokey coming, and that if she wanted to live, she'd best stay the hell out of its way?

Do you have to kill your father to become leader of the Others? If so, did Alpert, Widmore or perhaps Ellie murder anyone to show their loyalty? Are there other ways to prove yourself?

Who's the Economist and will that ever matter again? Since at least one of Sayid's post-island missions for Ben was using Ilsa to get to The Economist while also trying to supposedly destroy Widmore's organization, is Eloise Hawking the economist? Does Ilana work for her? That could explain why she'd want to play a part in getting Sayid on that plane and also how Ilana would know about that plane to begin with. She's still in contact with Widmore (since he had her L.A. address), but she doesn't hate Ben the way Widmore does, perhaps an on-island flashback beween a young Ben and Ellie will flesh this relationship out). But he desperately wanted to find her and it wasn't until Locke told him about her being in L.A. that he was able to contact her. Although now that I think about it, I think Ilsa referred to her boss as a "he". Of course, that could have been a lie. If in contact with Widmore, why didn't she give him directions to the island using the lamppost instead of him finding it himself and sending the freighter.

Keamy returned in Ben's memories. That was a badass dude. But I'll still for the life of me never really understand the logic behind him wearing a dead man's switch when going after Ben under the backup (or was it secondary?) protocol. "If you kill me, my boat and all my crew and the way home for the rest of my mercenaries will blow up!?!? Who exactly was that supposed to keep from killing him who really wanted to? Obviously not the one man who most likely would kill him if given the chance, and did. Has anyone else out there ever heard or thought of a complete and logical explanation for this?

Does Desmond think he killed and drowned Ben?

Widmore wanted Ben to kill Rousseau and baby Alex. Through Keamy, he was finally able to make that happen. Is he ultimately an evil man at heart for this or was he only following Jacob's/The Island's orders? Would that excuse it? The island seems capable of forgiving a lot of bad shit.

It'll be fascinating to see how and if Ben follows Alex's/Smokey's/The Island's/Jacob's order to follow Locke's every order. Will he do so as an open-eyed and repentant acolyte or will it be done grudgingly and lead to an attempt to again undermine Locke and retake control?

Anonymous said...

The island -> Jacob -> Smoke Monster

Father -> Son -> Holy Ghost?

Hobbs said...

We have established that the Agira survivors (Ilana, Caesar, et al) are NOT on the main island.

It's my understanding that the Orchid is on the main island where the donkey wheel is also located.

Based on what we saw during "This Place is Death," the well that leads to the donkey wheel is behind the giant Anubis statute and thus on the main island.

Therefore, isn't it true that the Agira survivors can't possibly know about the four-footed statue since they are on the wrong island?

Also, how did John know where the temple was? Did I miss something?

Frodo said...

Locke the Grey transformation to Locke the White.

Anonymous said...

@Hobbs

You're right.
The Wheel is in a secret chamber under the Orchid, and both are on the main island. assuming they were not speaking in code, those Ajira peeps could not have obtained that kind of knowledge being on the second island. Someone must have told them beforehand.

Hobbs said...

Is anyone else worried about future implications of the Ben/Desmond/Penny marina incident... (I doubt a simple apology from Ben will placate Desmond.)

As a result...

...will Desmond do something rash if he encounters Ben again, either as an act of vengeance or a crime of passion?

..will this cause Desmond to try to get back to the island?

...will Desmond actively hunt Ben down to ensure he is no longer a threat to his family?

What will be Charles Widmore's role too?

I smell complications in the future.

Hobbs said...

The Ajira shadow/statute code could be meant as a simple coincidence. More like a jab at what the Ajira survivors DON'T know.

I personally didn't get the sense that they knew anything extraordinary. I chalk it up to precautionary behavior as a result of what they've seen so far - Caesar getting shot/John claiming to have been dead/discovery of Dharma office/etc, .

jim treacher said...

Also, how did John know where the temple was? Did I miss something?

Like he said, he just knew. I'd imagine it has something to do with whoever or whatever brought him back from the dead.

belinda said...

I too thought the smoke monster manifestation of Ben's memories of Alex could have been handled in a better and less cheesy way, but that's a minor quip on the great episode showcase on seeing Ben and Locke together, acting the hell out of the scenes. Just wow.

What must Sun be thinking, being with two of the craziest (yet also, the two with possibly the most information she could use) people on the island. It'll be interesting to see more of this strange yet apt dynamic between the three, as well as the reversal of roles between the two. I can't imagine another person being stuck with Ben and Locke and be ok with it other than Sun.

I suppose Frank wished he'd stuck with Sun instead. Though I'm not particularly invested in the Ajira people yet, I hope it does lead to someplace interesting if the show is going to spend a lot of time on that storyline.

It is interesting to see that for some reason or another, people that rise from the dead (Christian and Locke) seem to gain some kind of power/knowledge/control over the island purely from being resurrected. What does this mean?

And yes, cheesy, but I was glad to see Penny live. Charlie (and groceries) saves the day!

Toby O'B said...

That Ben is now forced to follow Locke, ordered to do so by some mystical power.... felt very Biblical to me, so it's kind of appropriate it aired when it did.

I'm surprised we got as much of the Penny/Desmond flashback as we did. I could see how they might have left us hanging to wonder if the apology Ben offered via Sun was either "I'm sorry for killing your wife" or "I'm sorry for trying to kill your wife". It certainly wouldn't be unlike TPTB to leave us dangling for that info.

To have shown as much as they did makes me think that we should be seeing the story revisited from Desmond and Penny's p.o.v. sometime soon.

Count me as another who thinks Alex was a manifestation of the smoke monster. Most of it may have already gone back down the drain, but it could be called "Cerberus" for a reason - this could have been one of its offshoots....

I don't see the whispers as a sign that the Others are coming. I think the Whisperers are an entity unto themselves and Locke was warning Rousseau to stay away from them. I've seen the translations of the whispers (from close captioning) and there are always some from characters we know are already dead - like Boone.

I'm hoping the Whisperers are the group whom we'll meet in Season Six. (We always seem to have a new group each season - 815ers, Tailies, Others, Freighter folk, Dharmites.) Maybe that's why Claire will be back then - to serve as our guide from their perspective. It would certainly be a great way to bring back past characters we've lost - like Boone, Libby, maybe Paolo and Nikki (just to rub our faces in their creation in the first place).

The well leading to the Donkey Wheel could be a good answer for the riddle posed by Ilana. But it could also be a play on words. Maybe she was referring to Ben: He not only lies in the shadow of the statue, but he lies no matter where he goes!

Toby O'B said...

woops - it's late. I meant "Ben" when I typed "Locke" warned Rousseau about the Whisperers.

arrabbiata said...

Since the previews following last week's episode implied that this week we would finally see the incident at the marina, I had been nervous for the past week, though glad that it looked like the truth would finally be coming. Assuming that everything worked out as it seems to have, it's a great relief to see the happy family intact and always satisfying to see (adult) Ben get a beating.

Early in the episode we see Ben at his oily best, trying to convince Ceaser that Locke is either just plain insane or a mysterious island native, not a mere stranded plane passenger like themselves. For the moment I will accept that Ben might have been sufficiently contrite following his encounter with Smokey/Alex that he will go along with Locke's wishes for now, but that doesn't mean I will believe anything he says to anyone.

For every answer we get, a question or two are added to the puzzle.

Sean said...

I will give mad props to Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn, they ARE the best actors on this show and both deserve Emmys (though so far, only Terry has gotten one).

But as far as "Best Recurring Guest Star", Alan Dale as Widmore can't be beat. He takes every line he has and delivers it with such precision, he's like a acting assassin. He plays righteous indignation very well.

Mr Mojo Risin said...

Amazing episode. I loved it but I wish Ben had killed Penny. I know this shows his soft spot for children but it's tough to believe that a guy who has killed hundreds can't follow through with a revenge killing that he's been savoring for a long time. Plus I know I'm in the minority here but I can't stand Desmond/Penny.

seeker65 said...

"Frodo said...
Locke the Grey transformation to Locke the White."

@Frodo - Great observation and comparison!

CJ said...

Doesn't Locke know where the temple is because he's already been to the well and the donkey wheel etc.?

bsangs said...

Great episode. I truly enjoy Ben-centric tales. He fascinates me. But - and this is a big giant but - how could they NOT give any explanation at all as to how Des survived that gunshot? That bugged me.

Oh and I also think Locke was either annoyed or stunned that Smokey allowed Ben to live. He cannot be happy about that development.

Anonymous said...

RE: Also, how did John know where the temple was? Did I miss something?

If memory serves, wasn't Locke's second Smokey encounter him being dragged toward Smokey's hole and Jack stopped him from being pulled in? (Doesn't this seems more impressive on Jack's part in hindsight, given what Smokey is known to be capable of?)

Assuming this is the same Smokey hole, Locke just wasn't interested in sharing this bit of info with Ben. It may not have been the same hole, as there was no temple, although it's possible the temple just hadn't been written into the story yet.

Rachel said...

On the issue of why Ben wanted to apologize to Des...

As many have a pointed out, he did shoot Desmond (and tried to kill Penny). That would deserve an apology. Of course, I'm not entirely sure we've seen the last of that scene.

But Widmore now knows the name of Des and Penny's boat. I wonder if that could be the start of what Ben sets in motions that he must apologize for.

I am relieved Penny lived for the time being but still worried!

Stef said...

Ditto what Sean says above - Emerson and O'Quinn are amazing and Alan Dale is an "acting assassin." (I love that!)

Charles Widmore is now winning in my "who's more evil?" race, as Ben's soft spot for mothers makes him seem a much more sympathetic - while still egomaniacal and narcissistic - character.

Did anyone believe Ben when he said he didn't know Kate, Hurley, Jack were in the 1977 Dharma class? I couldn't figure out if he was lying, or if that was part of the Island-healing memory wipe. I was hoping he'd only forget the moment of being shot forward. It's a lot harder to swallow, for me, if he forgets *everything* of being a Dharma kid... how could he go back to Dharma then?

Anonymous said...

AndyW said...

When Alex/Smoke monster/Jacob asked Ben to "say it" - I couldn't make out what he said. Played it like five times. Anyone have better speakers than I do? I'm assuming it was "I'll follow John Locke" or variations thereof.


Ben said, "yes, I will, I'll follow him, I swear."

Castaway said...

Just an awesome episode, and an acting clinic by Emerson and O'Quinn. Wow.

Scott said...

Though I miss my boy Locke during That 70's Show and I miss Sawyer/LaFleur (and Kate and Juliet) during Alcatraz Island episodes, I think we get a lot more info without TPTB having to work both storylines into one episode.

For now, I am ok with going a week without seeing what's going with one side or the other. Especially when we get an episode like last night.

spiderpig said...

Really? A flashback in an episode to events that happened in that same episode? Really, Lost? Boo.

Alex said...

I had an epiphany last night - Ilana and that other guy have the "sickness"! All of a sudden, they're acting all weird and know stuff about the island - i.e., the "what lies in the shadow beneath the statue" line....they have been converted by the island.

jasctt said...

It's a very real possibility tat lastn ight was the last we see of Des and Penny. think about it. Last night ended their story perfectly. They have nothing more to worry about doing with the island and Des has no reason to go back there, not for revenge or anything. The focus of the show is, obviously, the island now. I seriously doubt that with hte limited time left, they can showhorn in a lot of D&P stuff. that being said. To go out and such a kick ass asswhooping by Des would be a great way. Ben is lucky to be alive.

jasctt said...

I think Llana is working for someone other than Widmore, maybe herself. What if she is somehow related to Richard?

OldDarth said...

Ben on a Locke leash. LOL! Love it! Looking forward to seeing Ben chafing.

bill said...

Adam said...
Since Ben knows he didn't kill Penny or Charlie, why does he want Locke to apologize to Desmond?



Why is everyone assuming that Ben didn't climb out of the water and then kill someone? That gives the possibility that Desmond, being outside the time-traveling rules, goes back to the island and somehow resets all events to live happily ever after with Penny and Charlie.

The Cheese said...

I'd love for a Lost crossover special on the History Channel's Cities of the Underworld. It would be sweet to see their graphics show how everything connects on the island. (The DI stations, the temple, etc.)

/pipe dream.

Anonymous said...

So it appears the island really did want Alex dead. Maybe Ben not killing Alex is what caused the fertility problems.

Also, nobody's commented on it yet, but I really liked the scene where Ben says to Sun "What's coming out of that forest, I can't control" (thinking he's talking about the Smoke Monster) and then Locke steps out of the trees.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Why is everyone assuming that Ben didn't climb out of the water and then kill someone?

Because the look on Ben's face at the moment he sees Charlie -- and when he calls Jack to tell him he might miss the plane, and when he asks Sun to apologize to Desmond for him -- suggests a man who realized he made a mistake by even contemplating this plan.

Also, it would feel like a really lame fake-out, and I like to think Cuse and Lindelof are better than that.

Robert said...

The rule on not returning to the island (assuming Ben was telling the truth for the first time in his life) doesn't apply to people who leave, it applies to people who move the island. Many people left and returned repeatedly. Ben specifically told Locke that it was the fact that he was moving the island that would prevent his return. But again, we're talking about the most unreliable narrator in the history of the technique, so who knows?

The scene of Widmore leaving certainly didn't square with his version to Locke, but then, he's only slightly more reliable than Ben. We still don't know what really happened between them.

Jordan said...

Ilana clearly has a mission here. She wanted to get to the island just like everyone else. What's in that box she's moving?

Also I think Jacob/monster/island are three distinct entities. We know that Smokey McSmashington is some sort of security system. And I think Jacob is a (semi-) corporeal dude.

Bobman said...

I had an epiphany last night - Ilana and that other guy have the "sickness"! All of a sudden, they're acting all weird and know stuff about the island - i.e., the "what lies in the shadow beneath the statue" line....they have been converted by the island.

I don't know if they specifically have the sickness, but I thought it seemed pretty obvious that they were speaking in a weird monotone and seemed to be under some sort of spell. I do not believe that, going to the island, they knew anything about the island, but rather have been somehow overtaken by forces of the Island.

Danny Cohen said...

Here's a stretch: Ilana and some other people are employees of Widmore, unknown to each other before they got on the plane, and the code-game is meant to know if someone is friendly or not once they land. Why would Widmore give up after his boat exploded? He wouldn't. He wants Ben and the Island. He used Ben and the Oceanic 6 to help him find the island once again and threw mercenaries on the same plane flight.

The baddies on the Ajira flight are the next big threat to the island, along with Widmore, and Locke and Jack are going to have to protect the island. That is the crazy theory.

Lane said...

Also, nobody's commented on it yet, but I really liked the scene where Ben says to Sun "What's coming out of that forest, I can't control" (thinking he's talking about the Smoke Monster) and then Locke steps out of the trees.

9:45 AM, April 09, 2009


yeah the Locke/Smoky scene had kind of a Clark Kent/Superman feel to it, didn't it? (Or Moleculo, the Molecular Man, http://www.keegan.org/jeff/humor/Moleculo.mov).. Ben summons Smoky and Locke shows up from the jungle... Ben falls down the hole in the temple and Locke leaves, Smoky appears, Smoky disappears, Locke shows back up...

Danny Cohen said...

OR, another stretch: Ilana and these other people are part of a new Dharma team. They enjoy using word puzzles to see if someone is on their side or not. There was the whole thing this past summer about Dharma being reformed (Comicon stuff).

J. Pitts said...

This episode was an out of the park home run. Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn are just wonderful actors.

Unrelated to the episode, but something I have been wondering about-what is Christian Shepherd's connection to the island? He isn't in any of the flashbacks, before the season I think it would have been logical to assume that he used to live on the island a la Widmore, but now that it seems that is not the case-what is the Shepherd legacy on this island/

littlegirltree said...

@Anonymous
"Christian, AFAWK, isn't really resurrected. Which makes the question of Claire all the more interesting, of course. If she died, we never got to see it.... but then again, this show excells at showing things many episodes after they could have been shown to increase tension."

I think we saw her die – she got blown up when Keamy’s people invaded Dharma village. When Miles sees her walking along with him and Sawyer, he looks freaked out – coz he can see dead people. So, Claire = island zombie.
__________
@Anonymous
“I don't think they were aware that Sun and Lapidus left the island. I suppose they would've noticed them missing at whatever meeting they held to let everyone know about the code.”

The Ajira survivors said that the pilot and some lady took a boat, so they did know that the left the island.
__________
@Anonymous
“The island -> Jacob -> Smoke Monster
Father -> Son -> Holy Ghost?”


That is mindblowingly awesome!
__________
@Toby O'B
“I don't see the whispers as a sign that the Others are coming… I've seen the translations of the whispers (from close captioning) and there are always some from characters we know are already dead - like Boone.”

I think that the whispers are the spirits of the island that have not been resurrected (libby, Boone, that crappy Paolo guy). I think that the island is using these dead people, too, to protect itself. The island uses every dead person on the island to protect itself.
__________
@ Stef
“Did anyone believe Ben when he said he didn't know Kate, Hurley, Jack were in the 1977 Dharma class? I couldn't figure out if he was lying, or if that was part of the Island-healing memory wipe.”
__________
I think Ben goes to live w/ the Others after he gets shot and doesn’t come into contact w/ the Dharma Losties. He doesn’t remember them from before he left the Dharma village b/c in order for the island to save him, it had to take him over.

Here’s a thought : the island is like some selfish body snatcher. It’s like a parasite. And it makes these zombies that, in turn, kill people and take over all of the resources on the island.

Joe Tank said...

Loved this episode. I'm sure I'm in a minority, but I've never been a fan of the Desmond/Penny storyline, and don't much care what happens to them. But the way their story and Ben's came together to show that Ben is still a little bit human was great.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else notice Rob McElhenney reprising his role as Aldo from "Not In Portland"? He was one of the Others escorting Widmore to the sub.

Q Ball said...

One poster mentioned this before, but I do think that the flashbacks-in-Smokey thing was kind of hokey. The rest of the scene was just fantastic, but that particular visual just didn't look right and could have been better.

Still a great episode that met my expectations. I would put this one below "The Man Behind The Curtain" but a little above "The Shape of Things to Come." Locke's new attitude might get on my nerves after a while, but as long as Ben is there that dynamic is still interesting.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

One thing no one else has mentioned: Note the attention paid to Locke's shoes, which we know belonged to Christian Shephard. It's made clear that, even when he takes them off to travel in the boat, those are the shoes he's bringing with him; later, we see him putting them on while he's talking to Ben.

No idea what it means, but it probably means something.

dez said...

The island -> Jacob -> Smoke Monster
Father -> Son -> Holy Ghost?


That was my first thought, too. Three parts of the same entity--whatever the heck it is!

legion said...

Oh indeed. dayenu to the max. This was a fantastic episode.

Anonymous said...

Smokey episodes are becoming a Passover tradition. I like!

Whiskey said...

Daniel Cohen said:
Here's a stretch: Ilana and some other people are employees of Widmore, unknown to each other before they got on the plane, and the code-game is meant to know if someone is friendly or not once they land. Why would Widmore give up after his boat exploded? He wouldn't. He wants Ben and the Island. He used Ben and the Oceanic 6 to help him find the island once again and threw mercenaries on the same plane flight.

The baddies on the Ajira flight are the next big threat to the island, along with Widmore, and Locke and Jack are going to have to protect the island. That is the crazy theory.

this is what I was thinking. And I think that as someone else mentioned, Ben's apology directed at Desmond via Sun had to do with the fact that even tho he didn't kill Penny, he set things in motion for her father to find her by revealing her location & the boat's name. For Penny/Desmond/Charlie, being found by Whidmore is probably a fate worse than death...

This was a great ep, we really enjoyed it. I agree that the CGI for Smokey could've been done better during the reckoning scene but it's not the first cheesetastic moment in the series, and everything else was pretty great.

re: Sun following Locke & Ben in the jungle, maybe Sun is in training to be the next leader and take over where Locke leaves off eventually? We've seen that the island chooses people to lead for finite periods of time and that Ben was groomed while Charles was in charge (heh). Then Locke was groomed as Ben was losing control of things. So Locke may not be the last leader we get to see when the series ends. Sun had some serious daddy issues too, Christian appeared to her and told her to wait in Ben's house, and she's proven that she's definitely not a shrinking violet -- remember how she took over her father's company, and how she stood up to Ben at the marina. Just wanted to throw that theory out there.

Happy Pesach, Alan et al!

PS: I totally agree that it's a relief that we'll get a break from Ben's constant lying, it was starting to get old. I'm sure he'll be back to his tricks eventually but even if we get two eps of him being truthful before he lapses, I'll be happy.

leopoldbloom said...

yeah the Locke/Smoky scene had kind of a Clark Kent/Superman feel to it, didn't it? (Or Moleculo, the Molecular Man, http://www.keegan.org/jeff/humor/Moleculo.mov).. Ben summons Smoky and Locke shows up from the jungle... Ben falls down the hole in the temple and Locke leaves, Smoky appears, Smoky disappears, Locke shows back up...

Yup, which makes me suspect that Locke isn't actually alive but is in fact the Smoke Monster. Smoky seems to have a thing for possession dead bodies brought to the island in plane crashes (Christian, Yemi); moreover, we haven't had a scene yet this season that is just Locke, on his own, on the Island. Whenever we see Locke, there is someone with him and we see the interaction from their perspective.

Anonymous said...

I also thought the Ben-inside-Smokie scene was incredibly lame and not up to the show's usual visual standards. And too bad because it was an awesome episode otherwise.

When Ben was speaking to Alex(?) at the end, I got the impression he knew he was talking to an island/smokie apparition, but also believed he was communing with Alex's spirit at the same time. Not sure if that makes sense to anyone, but thats the impression I got.

I also believe that whatever happened Locke after Ajira flight crashed is the same thing that happened to Christian when Oceanic 815 crashed. And I don't think resurrected is the correct word for it at all. If episode titles mean anything: 'Dead is dead' and 'This place is death' .... Locke is still dead.

Devin McCullen said...

I hope Locke isn't a Smokey incarnation/island zombie, because if he is, then this whole new Locke that we're all enjoying doesn't actually mean anything.

And Ben knows that the island can make you see dead people (his mom, if nothing else) and if that's all Locke really is, why is he going to such lengths to impress him? The whole "I knew it!" scene after he wakes up - what's the point of that for Ben if Locke's dead?

I tend to feel that he was telling the truth then, and lying to Sun later. But that's just instinct.

Alan Sepinwall said...

See, Alan, I'm posting with no mention of next week or podcasts! Proud of me, big guy?

Nicely done, EOTW.

Evamarie said...

I can't explain it, but this episode left me with anger. I was thinking: "that's it?" It was a great episode - but I felt like it ACTED like it was answering all these questions when it didn't really answer as much as it pretended.

I also want to say that John Locke is my hero forever and ever. I have had a very up and down love then hate relationship with him through the series, but this season I am full on love. The acting, the character, everything. I just want good things to happen to him.

And the most amazing thing of all? For once it was nice to see emotion in Ben that we could trust as authentic. Tears, surprise, shock, guilt. I've never believed his previous emotions (except when Alex died) and tonight I believed so much of it!

I love this show!

One last question - is anyone else worried that they will run out of episodes before they explain everything?

l.b. weighs in said...

@sonofabitch "But then why did the island let him get cancer?"
Maybe the Island let him get cancer so Jack would have to operate on him, so that he WOULDN'T operate on little Ben, thus necessitating l.Ben's being taken to the Others.
----

@Blogger The Cheese "I'd love for a Lost crossover special on the History Channel's Cities of the Underworld. It would be sweet to see their graphics show how everything connects on the island. (The DI stations, the temple, etc.)"

YES! Wouldn't that be a great extra for the complete dvd box set! It's like that COPS episode of the X-Files.

----
And all these questions about apparitions and embodied bodies just amps up my curiosity about Charlie Pace and exactly what Hurley was seeing and why was he carrying a guitar case to the island?

Regarding the FXs and the wigs, etc.. I wonder if they would have been better before the budget of shows got slashed this year or did Darlton decide not to worry too much about it. If you listen to commentary tracks for other sci-fi shows they talk about cutting corners on some episodes to be able to do the one or two FX heavy episodes the way they want them. Also I am wondering if there were studio notes saying, at this stage you have to make it obvious what is going on with Smokey. Put those two together and you end up with a scene out of The Librarian: Quest for Smokey's Lair (or maybe Quest for Ben's Missing Soul), that aside loved the plot and story of the scene.

Anonymous said...

The more temple, the island wants this and that stuff they do, the less interested I seem to get in the mythology. It's like the more answers we get, the less I care because they are just so weird and out there. How can an island want anything and they way they talk about the island as if it is a person is so bizarre. Thank god the characters are so engaging.

Emerson is a great actor they way he play Said (who I really was interested in) so that he could win back Locke's trust.

And Locke, even though not the main character, stole every scene he was in. He's just so fascinating to watch.

In the end, I hope the island turns out to be a crashed ancient alien spaceship with some kind of intelligence. If it has to do with God or something like the Battlestar Galactica finale I will be very disappointed.

Oh, one other thing, the whole "Ben forgot that Sayid show him and Kate saved him" is a little too convienant and, IMO, unnecessary. And wouldn't he still remember Sawyer, Miles, Juliet and Jin?? WTH?

Nahara said...

@fgmerchant

"It seems I am the only one disappointed that Penny wasn't killed off!"

No, you're not alone in that feeling.

@CJ

"Doesn't Locke know where the temple is because he's already been to the well and the donkey wheel etc.?"

That was my thought also, but I couldn't remember the time frame of the well/hole.

Sam Hobart said...

Oh, one other thing, the whole "Ben forgot that Sayid show him and Kate saved him" is a little too convienant and, IMO, unnecessary. And wouldn't he still remember Sawyer, Miles, Juliet and Jin?? WTH?


We're not yet sure that he doesn't remember them. The only people he saw in the photo were Jack, Kate and Hurley, who were on the plane with him. It's possible that we simply doesn't remember the last couple of days before he was shot, which was when they showed up. With the speed this season is moving, I'm thinking that they'll all be back to the future soon.

Anonymous said...

The holes that smokie poured out of were arranged like rows of candles you seen in a church (evenly spaced in rows and columns on a slanted surface). Ms. Hawking was shown lighting candles like that earlier in the season when Ben went to visit her. I vaguely recall that you light candles like that to honor the dead or something, but I have not been to church in a long time.

Hobbs said...

@jasctt

I doubt that will be the last we see of Desmond. As Eloise foreshadowed, "...but the island is not done with you yet."

@Matter-Eater Lad

Brilliant observation about the shoes! I think it definitely means something too.

---

Also, I really hope the show doesn't end with aliens. That thought already crossed my mind as soon as there were any hints of Egyptian-like artifacts. (X-files, Stargate, Life on Mars, etc)

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised so many people seemed to like/love this episode. For me, it continues a downward spiral that began in the episode where the old lady told them they had to recreate the original plane fight in order to get back to the island? huh? That was the best idea they could come up with after basing 2 full seasons around the idea that those 6 had to go back to the island. Then a brief resurgence with the back to back Lafleur episodes. But since then the story has degenerated into the plot of an especially ill-conceived SyFy channel movie.

Its obvious that the writers had a bunch of "cool" ideas early on in the serious that made the show really great. But now when they have to explain why the cool weird stuff was happening, they are completely flumoxed and come up with goofy things like been being judged by the smoke monster. This is no longer a good show. I feel like I have been watching for too long to stop now, but comparing the quality of the current show to the quality of season 1 or season 2episodes, its no comparison.

At this point, I wouldn't be surpised if the island ended up being an alien burial ground, and it's ultimately revealed that the only way to save the world is for Locke to retrieve the final Crystal Skull from Widmore. Blah...

BF said...

What's in that box she's moving?

Why, the Ark of the Covenant of course!

Anonymous said...

"I don't think they were aware that Sun and Lapidus left the island. I suppose they would've noticed them missing at whatever meeting they held to let everyone know about the code. But perhaps due to their absence - in fact, no where to be found 0 they assumed they can't be trusted. If anyone in that group isn't a total lunk, they should be apprehensive and sense there is something up with the island..."
"They accidentally told the shapeshifter, thinking it was Frank. It really was a poorly thought out plan on their part, I'd say."

One of the first things we learned from the Ajira flight 316 survivors was that "the pilot and a lady" went on a boat to the main island, though. Clearly they know Frank and Sun had taken a boat, and thus this was Frank come back to them. If a doppleganger really did show up while he was gone, and then he showed up again... sure they'd have reason to be suspicious, but they should be suspicious of BOTH Franks, not just the latest one. Eh... we've never seen duplicate people on the island before, why should it start now?

"I liked Frank deciding not to have anything more to do with the craziness (nice try)."

Better the crazies Lapidus knows (Ben, Sun, Locke)... than the crazies he doesn't (the movers and shakers of Ajira 316).

"When he yells to Locke at the end, "It let me live," it was a cry of disappointment. He will have to suffer his survivor's guilt in servitude. Bravo."

I dunno about that. Ben is remorseful that he chose the island (by resisting just going with the mercs from the freighter back to Widmore) over his own daughter, Alex... but the reason he made that choice is that he loves the island too much to leave it, and of course he was hoping to save Alex by pretending he didn't really care about her... he wanted to have his cake AND eat it too, by keeping both the island and Alex, the two most important things in his life, it could be argued.

While Ben may be surprised that the island let him live, and shaken from his experience with Smokey!Alex... I think he's also grateful to be free and alive on the island he loves, even if he has to be Locke's right hand man. He'll put up with that to placate the island, I bet.

"It seems I am the only one disappointed that Penny wasn't killed off! I've always found her character, and especially Desmond, to be extremely annoying! I would not mind if this is the last we ever hear from those two."
"I wish Ben had killed Penny..... Plus I know I'm in the minority here but I can't stand Desmond/Penny.

Heretics!

The Constant was the best ep ever. Penny+Desmond for life!

"Ilana and some other people are employees of Widmore, unknown to each other before they got on the plane, and the code-game is meant to know if someone is friendly or not once they land."

I'm way more inclined to believe that the code was pre-arranged, yes. It would make sense then that they had to check if the pilot was "one of them" to begin with or not, and he clearly failed the test.

Anonymous said...

"And let's hope that, whoever or whatever John Locke really is now, it's not the same thing Kara Thrace was."

While I hope he is truly alive, corporeal, and not going to disappear in the series finale of Lost next year... would that be all bad? Kara Thrace got everyone where they needed to be, basically, and if Locke can do the same for all the 815s and Others and etc. etc.... then Locke will have done well by most of the characters we know and love. That said, I wouldn't mind if Lost ended with a way more "down" ending than BSG did, so... we'll see.

"Also, what is the deal with the office? When and why would that be used? It doesn't make sense for the Dharma people to have an unnecessary office on another island when they could have just built one on the main island!"

That was Ben's office in the Hydra station, which is where he chilled with Juliet while they were holding Jack prisoner to get him to operate on Ben's spine (and where Kate and Sawyer had hot polar bear sex in the cages, remember?).

Clearly it was a Dharma research station on that smaller island. Just because it's not part of the main island doesn't mean it doesn't have some "magical" properties of its own, yanno. And if it doesn't, then it's a good place to store the "control" subjects of experiments. i.e. you want to send polar bears through space and time from the Orchid? Well, you keep one safe on the small island at the Hydra. Or bunnies... or people... or whatever.

"Sorta wish they had spent the money for a younger actor to play young Ben, rather than trying to have Michael Emerson look younger."

They switched from "young adult Widmore" to the Widmore actor we have now at the same time they switched from "young Ben" to the Ben actor we have now. So even though he didn't look young enough (he didn't in the scene where he kills his father... so this is nothing new, right?)... it means that both sets of Ben/Widmore are consistent, at least. Better than having OUR Widmore have to face off with some 3rd, "in-between" Ben, don't you think?

"Also, I am worried about Ben following Locke now. Perhaps you will be right, Alan, and it will help to take away the Ben is lying crutch..... I worry that we won't get that anymore now that Ben is just a bit player in the Locke show."

No worries, Archie. Even if Ben never tells Locke another lie... EVER (which I don't think we can assume... he could follow Locke's orders like the island wants him to while still lying a bit about certain things Locke doesn't demand the truth on).... Ben can still lie (a TON!) to other characters on the island. Hell, maybe even per Locke's instructions from time to time.

Locke is going to become what Ben used to be if we think that Locke is still alive and Jacob wants him to be the leader of the Others still and all...

"For the moment I will accept that Ben might have been sufficiently contrite following his encounter with Smokey/Alex that he will go along with Locke's wishes for now, but that doesn't mean I will believe anything he says to anyone."

Exactly so, arrabbiata.

"Why is everyone assuming that Ben didn't climb out of the water and then kill someone?"

Because Ben never killed Danielle like Widmore had ordered him to do? Once he saw Charlie, his blood fued with Widmore meaning he had to kill Penny was instantly reevaluated in his mind. He had lowered his gun and wasn't going to shoot Penny before Desmond tackled him. He'll find some other way to get even with Widmore, worry not.

"Doesn't Locke know where the temple is because he's already been to the well and the donkey wheel etc.?"

Not the same place. Well/donkey wheel/Orchid station are separate things from the temple/temple wall areas.

Anonymous said...

There was a 1st person shooter game, circa 2001, called "Return to Castle Wolfenstein".

In Mission 2: Dark Secret, the protagonist hero descends into paranormal Nazi-owned catacombs (of course!).

The interesting thing is that the catacombs look an awful lot like last night's tunnels under the Temple.

And in the game, one falls through the floor, into an area much like the one Ben fell into last night, complete with similar "hieroglyphics". Even the lighting was very, very close.

I suspect that the writers must have been fans of this game...

Matter-Eater Lad said...

One more costuming note: Locke's black suit and dark shirt are a very different color palette than anything we've seen him in before -- on the island, he tended toward earth-tones and off-island to checked shirts and the like. As with the shoes, I'm not sure what it means but it seems to reflect his new, more assured attitude.

And that attitude contrasts greatly with Jack's hesitance and uncertainty since leaving the island.

Anonymous said...

"I suspect that the writers must have been fans of this game..."

Well, it was mentioned by a Valve employee in one of the commentaries for a Half-Life 2 game that someone behind Lost is a fan of the Half-Life game series... in Half-Life 2 there is a Lost DVD set on one of the character's shelf in his lab... and in Half-Life 2 episode 2, the Lost numbers (4 8 15 16 23 42) are visible on a computer monitor in some side room of a missle silo the player character defends near the end of the game.

Always glad to see Lost returning the favour, though in case nothing to do with HL2 itself, of course, but another game.

"Locke's black suit and dark shirt are a very different color palette than anything we've seen him in before"

Someone posted a link to this site in the comments for Alan's ep commentary of the Shape of Things to Come that Alan linked to this week:

http://mirrormattermoon.blogspot.com/

It has some interesting speculation about Science vs. Faith, white/light vs. black/dark, and perhaps the colour of Locke's new wardrobe fits in with some of the mythology that site goes into. Though it's also possible that it's just dark clothes being considered societally fitting for a funeral, of course!

J.J. said...

Fascinating episode. A few thoughts...

- I don't think Ben is going to just do what he's told. Unless I'm reading the scene wrong, I thought his judgment in the temple essentially confirms Widmore was right all along. The monster's verdict: it's okay that Ben got Alex killed, because he was never supposed to spare her life initially. And it's even using the image of her to haunt him and taunt him now. No, I don't think Ben is going to go along with what the island wants anymore. I think he's going to start looking for chances to wreck the island's plans. I think Ben has officially turned on the island.

- I think I understand a little bit what Widmore's deal is now. Ben essentially seemed to get Widmore exiled, in large part, by ragging on him for doing things Ben got away with doing once he became leader (indicating those things weren't really ban-worthy offenses). Ben also regularly left the island. Ben also took up with an outsider, or at least tried to (did Juliet count as an other since they forced her to come/stay there?). And Ben also fudged the truth about what the island/Jacob wanted, or seemed to intentionally go against what he suspected it wanted (like when he shot Locke because he felt threatened that Jacob revealed himself to Locke, who seemed on the cusp of becoming the new chosen leader).

In that sense, I see why Widmore thinks he got tricked into leaving. I don't think his banishment was warranted, and I think Widmore's spent years convincing himself he was supposed to fight the banishment instead of being shamed into accepting it.

Heather said...

Desmond, this is why women love him. Because he will beat the crap out of whoever tries to kill his love. Sigh... never has a beating been so romantic.

I think Smokey is the Egyptian God of Judgment. I really do. I wonder how the Egyptian mythology will tie in with the Island's mythology. It'll be interesting to see.

Nice to hear a little more about the whispers, even if it was delivered by the oldest Madden brother (really, Ben looked like a brother of those guys from Good Charlotte)

Is Lapidus a main character now? I wonder what Ilana has in store for him. RIP Ceasar. He had so much potential

Dennis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Laura said...

This was a really excellent episode, for sure, but for me the weak link this week (this season, actually) has been the Sun-Lapidus-Ilana-Caesar stuff.

I can't really relate to Sun now that she's a badass, and it seemed a bit out of character (to me) that Lapidus would just peace out of the Ben/Locke proceedings. As for Caesar and Ilana - their ultimate purpose in the storyline is going to have to be made clear soon because I'm losing interest fast. And does Ilana remind anyone else of Ana Lucia (who I never liked)?

DR said...

First time poster - I just caught up on Lost about 2 weeks ago.

Notes

Smokey as Anubis:
- It's called a Cerberus system by the DI, there's a picture of Anubis on the grate. The show is being pretty obvious here - Smokey is the guardian of the dead. It manifests as people who have died/been corpses on the island (Yemi, Alexandre and possibly Christien, possibly John).

We have Miles on the show, and there is a great deal of inevitability concerning his abilities over the dead. Sooner or later he's going to play into the bigger picture.

I wouldn't be surprised if there was another mass grave under the temple (catacombs), or possibly a single mummified body and that perhaps the temple is a pyramid - all speculation mind you.

The shadow of the statue:
- I got 3rd party (non-Widmore) vibes from the new passengers... as others have mentioned possibly Egyptians with code words.

Ben's judgment:
- Many commented on how cheesy the flashes of images were, but no one mentioned how awesome the rolling cloud of smoke out of the grills looked (because it was Awesome!).

We've seen Smokey judge others, finding Eco wanting, so this isn't exactly new. I suspect that "The Island" is testing Ben. Can you keep true to your commitment, or will you begin to deceive again? If he transgresses again he's done for.

Ben keeps clinging to a semblance (or perhaps a mockery) of goodness, and I agree with others that his mother thing makes a lot of sense. I continue to want to hate him, condemn him as terrible, yet him swinging back to the mockery of goodness just makes me hate him more (in a good way, maybe).

Ben's Memories:
- I'm going to jump on the "feels like a bit of a cop out" bandwagon, but at the same time that seems to imply that the past traveling characters may have already left the past before young Ben returns to the DI, which means that the past traveling characters won't be in the past for much longer (in terms of the linear time that we as viewers perceive).

If they are gone by the time young Ben gets back than it is more sensible that Ben would not remember them because his memory of that time is kind of dodgy ever since the Others/immortal Alpert took young Ben to be healed.

Questions:
- If Smokey _is_ Anubis (or some reasonable facsimile thereof) what other gods (Egyptian or otherwise) may be represented on the island
- Can Ben become the led? I'll agree that that is a great spin to put on the Ben character.

Great episode - everything I like about the show, including some of the best "almost answers" to date.

DR

debkha said...

Good Pesach to all! I'm new here and hope to be welcomed by this mature and intelligent community :)

I'm in the camp with those above who do not feel heartened by last night's turn of events.

Suddenly finding everything we've invested in carried on the shoulders of a man who has never made a good decision in his life does not, to say the least, thrill me.

Terry O'Quinn is phenomenal, but I do not like Locke, Grey, White or tie-dyed Rainbow. He's a small man with big Daddy issues who has fallen for every trick in the book -- more than once -- and desperately looks outside himself for meaning and purpose. I can't possibly be a scientist, he tells his HS teacher, I'm a cool guy that likes to do rough outdoorsy stuff. Whatever, dude. Give me the roller-coaster ride that's Benjamin Linus any day.

And Locke's new smugness is nowhere near as charming as Ben's -- I feel a dread coming on for the remainder of the series that's almost as sinister and foreboding as when I heard Ben tell Widmore that P&D's new boat is called Our Mutual Friend... YIKES!

But I'd like to share a thought I had while re-watching the episode. There's a brief wide-shot that includes Ajira 316 disabled at the end of the runway, which led me to remember Widmore's supposed "fake" O815 found in the Sunda Trench. Of this luckless flight we know only two "iffy" details:

1. Widmore claims Ben arranged this hoax but Ben and Michael point to Widmore (none of whom are reliable sources);
2. Lapidus, who claims he was meant to have been the pilot of our O815 flight that fateful day enters the drama when he notices the captain who replaced him has no wedding band

What pilot do we know who does not wear a wedding band?

Frank Lapidus.

Could this be the altered end of our story if WHH is ultimately disproved?

[I don't like this, mind you, so I welcome everyone to quash this idea as if it were your chance at Ben's face!]

Justin Nigh said...

I agree with several others here who have presumed Ben didn't know the 815'ers were also Dharmites because they time travel again before he gets back from the temple event. It seems like the most logical explanation.

Did anyone else notice the symbols on the back of the shirts the Others who escorted Widmore to the sub were wearing? It looks like part of the DI symbol, and was also on the Ajira airways ticket (along with the hieroglyps). Does this mean Widmore left the island after the purge?

Anubis is the God of the afterlife and often represented rebirth. The association of Anubis with the island and connection with Locke's life after death seem clear.

We only know Ellie/Faraday's mum knew of the Ajira flight; could it be that she also has her own motives and Ilana and co. were put on the plane by her as well? I can't wait to find out what is in that box they have.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I totally understand if no one responds to these points because I've tried to abide by the rules and read all the comments but I can't get through them

If you can't be bothered to read, or at least skim, everyone else's thoughts, no one is going to read yours.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I agree with several others here who have presumed Ben didn't know the 815'ers were also Dharmites because they time travel again before he gets back from the temple event. It seems like the most logical explanation.

Except that Sawyer, Juliet, Miles and Jin -- all of whom Ben knows -- were living in the DI for three years before Sayid shot Ben. So the only way he wouldn't remember they lived there would be if he had forgotten three entire years of his life, which would include much of his father's awful mistreatment of him. And that makes Ben a much less interesting character if they did that.

Justin Nigh said...

Good point Alan. I guess we'll have to wait and see. Either he did know and has done well to never mention it, even to Juliet, or perhaps it could be explained if his dad wasn't able to break his old ways despite nearly losing his son and continues to treat Ben poorly.

However, if he did remember the losties/Juliet, it could explain his seeking her out and bringing her 'back' to the island. The same goes for all the info he and Richard had on the losties.

This brings to mind another thought. We know that Abaddon worked for Widmore, and Locke ended up on the island through his prompting. With the current Locke leading Ben situation, what does this say about Widmore vs Ben? Did Wimore know Locke would come to challenge Ben's role and place him on the island as an unwitting proxy? Is Widmore "winning"?

Matter-Eater Lad said...

Ben might remember just enough to know there's something he doesn't remember. He may not remember what the Lost '77 folks looked like, but be able to find the names of Dharma people who left suddenly (which it seems likely they'll do sooner or later), hence his interest in getting lists of passengers.

7s Tim said...

If I met a young version of my fourth grade teacher tomorrow, i wouldn't recognize her. Why? Cause I was ten fricken years old. Ben meets up with the 815ers some twenty five years later, after numerous changes in his own life. He helped kill all the Dharmas--should he have expected living ones to drop from the sky? I am willing to accept that he didn't recognize Lafleur, Juliet, Miles and Faraday. So far, they haven't shown an uninjured Lil Ben interact with any of them.

Also, I really think the "sickness" taking the 316ers is a bit of a stretch. No reason to believe the Smokey came a dragged the into the Temple, where Locke and Co. were. That's how the Frenchies got all sick in the head, so we have no reason to assume it happens any other way. No, spies. All spies.

An maybe the flahs-backs floating in smoke wasn't pulled off as great as you wanted, but scenes like that--95 percent CGI scenes, are so rare in Lost, that it just seemed jarring. I don't think the effecct was poorly done or ill conceived, just stood out like a sorer thumb given the "realness" of the rest of the show.

Locke's shoes are magic. He clicks them and says there's no place like home to get off the island. How do you think Widmore did it?

Did Richard seem to take pleasure in Ben standing up to Widmore? I get the feeling that Rich never liked the merciless little prick.

And i really like the way locke has changed. Wuss working dead end jobs feeling like a nothing. Confused and easily manipulated religious-esque convert. Now he's achieved a peace and a confidence. He's no longer in a big rush. He lets Ben justify his actions, then quietly says he just wanted an apology. O'Quinn makes him seem talled even, straighter back. awesome.

And yeah, stick with one setting or time period, with correlating flash-backs/forwards. I can wait to see Jack, if it means we can build suspense in an episode, and pay it off twice (desmond raining down hall, ben being judged)

annie said...

Penny and Desmond work for me as long as they are a side story not visited often. It's a nice soul to the story but it's the craziness that keeps me interested. Ben is so good at planning as well as impromptu lieing, killing, and evil manipulation, that I hope he continues to keep Locke and Jack off balance, and that Sun quietly emerges as his cleverest challenger.

debkha said...

"We know that Abaddon worked for Widmore, and Locke ended up on the island through his prompting (...) Did Wimore know Locke would come to challenge Ben's role and place him on the island as an unwitting proxy? (...)

And:

"...[A] wuss working dead end jobs feeling like a nothing. Confused and easily manipulated religious-esque convert."

This speaks to the point I made about Locke a few comments above this. Locke has always needed to think he was special but life had other plans for him. He was nobody and not much liked, stuffed into lockers at school, mocked by his co-workers. Because he always needed to imagine he was something bigger than he was ("Don't tell me what I can't do!"), he was vulnerable to be played by everyone who hinted he could be more.

So isn't it likely that he is still being played?

Justin Nigh said...

So isn't it likely that he is still being played?

I think you could be on to something here. Locke realizes this and is happy to give in to something bigger than himself, which aligns with his belief in faith. This is his sacrifice for the "greater good."

I hopped over to the mirror matter moon theory blog and found it pretty interesting. If the theory is correct, perhaps Sun will have a bigger role before the story is done. Her name being a hint at this.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

It's certainly possible Locke's being played, but he seems more relaxed now than he has in the past. Like he's less searching for answers and directions than he is expecting they'll come when needed or ready.

Mr Mojo Risin said...

Did anyone else notice the symbols on the back of the shirts the Others who escorted Widmore to the sub were wearing? It looks like part of the DI symbol, and was also on the Ajira airways ticket (along with the hieroglyps). Does this mean Widmore left the island after the purge?

I would think he left after the purge since Ben didn't come to power til after right? Also they have the sub now which I assume they gained during the purge.

Anna said...

I think Desmond and Penny's troubles aren't over. If you remember, Ben tells Widmore the name of Penny's boat. I bet he tracks them down. Perhaps that is why Ben says to apologize to Desmond.

7s Tim said...

I'd say Locke isn't being played, for a number of reasons.

No one is manipulating him. Ben isn't prompting him to go to the temple, Locke is prompting ben.

Locke isn't in search of answers. I'd say he's more in search of questions. It's like he has the knowledge he needs, he just needs to get it going. Did he say to ben, "hey, when we get to the island, wanna go see that weird-ass temple?" No. When ben needed to be judged, Locke knew where to take him. I think the answer to Sun's question of how to get the others...okay, poor phrasing there..question of how to get the rest of the 815ers stuck in the 70s back will be pushed aside for a few weeks, our perspective, since once locke really has to answer it, he will be able to. Dead man knows all.

a ghost told ben to follow locke. Does the island get a sick joy out of messing with locke? could be, and a glance at his previous questioning of the island could back it up (hell, he liked to just yell those questions out). But if you look at it another way, he just never got an answer before. He thought he did, or thought he knew how to interpret things on the island before. But he was wrong. he was flawed, and wasn't ready. he had to die first. or something-- given his resurrecion, there just ain't no way to say he isn't a closer to the island now. life again beats walking again any day.

Also, in regards to the timeframe of widmore's banishment...we all saw that seen at the Dharma initiative where ben was playing with little alex gets told it was time for Charles to go, right? cause if that didn't happen after the purge, then security got really lax after LaFleur stopped being in charge, which i'm just gonna go ahead and assume happens at some point.

Scott J. said...

The Island no longer needs to manipulate Locke, because it's already in complete control of him. He's an appendage, like Smokey. Now we only have to wonder if his master is a benevolent one and how many more of his friends Locke will have to sacrifice to it.

I think Locke was always right to believe that he was special and bound to do big things. But he latched onto the first thing that finally affirmed those beliefs without questioning its righteousness.

I hope J.J. is right that Ben turns on the Island for forgiving Alex's death. I want to see that. And when the Island decides that it wants Sawyer or Kate or Hurley dead, then maybe Locke will see it for what it is, too.

JERRY! said...

I know I'm two weeks late into this comment but I just wanted to vent. I wouldve thought someone would comment on this already but I saw none.
I was upset by the Ben/Desmond/Penny scene. I havent gone back to go frame by frame in this scene, but Im pretty sure that was NOT getting shot and beating Ben. I think the producers/director did a great job of hiding the fact that it was an obvious stunt double. Seems like they wanted a quick explanation to all of ben's issues and this was a scene they absolutely Needed to film, but perhaps it couldve been done better. I dont know. Just thinking outloud. Ihold this show and the production value to a very high degree. Awesome blog!