LOST Recap: Season 4, Episode 6: "The Other Woman"

7 03 2008

In episode observations

“The Other Woman”
As usual, the writers throw us a double-meaning. On the face of it, the episode title is referring to Juliet’s relationship with the married Goodwin. Of course, deeper meaning comes from analyzing Juliet and her relationship to Ben. More detail on that in a bit, but the important part is this: Juliet is an Other–at least she believes that in her head. She has insight into Ben’s power, and she doesn’t believe she has any chance of escaping the island unless Ben allows it. And after this episode, we know that it would take some truly extenuating circumstances for that to happen.

The Opening Montage returns
After a 2-week hiatus. I guess they found 60-120 seconds of footage to cut. Which, IMHO, makes sense based upon the quality level of this episode. To me, this was the weakest ep of Season 4.

Head Fake!
OK, most of you probably never bought in to this, but I thought it was intriguing how the episode opened with the viewer being unsure as to whether or not Juliet was flashing back or forward. The whole, “I don’t like being treated like a celebrity” was clearly an attempt to make you think for a moment that Juliet was one of the Oceanic 6. I wonder how many people fell for it.

Juliet, Harper, and the whispers
This event happens so early in the episode that it’s easily forgotten. But it’s probably the meatiest part of the ep (excluding Ben and Locke’s interaction, of course). Harper comes out of the jungle immediately after Juliet hears the whispers on all sides. And when she claims to be doing Ben’s handiwork, it’s easy to believe her. The question is, how? Ben’s locked up. Unless he’s telepathic, something else is going on.

Actually, the answer comes from Ben himself. He knew the freighter people were on their way (as evidenced by the “Red Sox” tape). And as a result, he evacuated the barracks and gave his group gas masks near the end of last season. As he said, he had a plan. He gave the information about the freighter and the Tempest station well in advance of Charlotte and Dan ever arriving on the island.

At the end of last season, Ben said that if the freighter people arrived, that every living person on the island would die. And he said it because it was *his* intent to kill them all…with another “purge”.

The question still remains about the whispers and how the Others are using it/them. This is especially intriguing based upon the knowledge that the whispers were around long before Ben even got to the island (see Season 3’s “The Man Behind The Curtain”). But that’s apparently a mystery for another day. The freighter crew’s “invasion” of the island is this season’s storyline.

The Harper-Goodwin-Juliet-Ben Love Quadrangle
Is it just me, or does anyone really care about this? It’s important in one way–it shows Ben’s dual reasons for having Juliet on the island, and why she’s never going home while he’s in charge. But the whole love triangle thing is already old and used up with Jack, Kate, and Sawyer. I’m already only moderately interested in where that goes, and now they want to spring Juliet’s love interests on us? I think Juliet is a great character for the show, but her rushed romance with Goodwin just didn’t work for me. More on that in a bit.

“Are you going to tell me, or are we going to walk through the jungle like it doesn’t matter?”

It’s amazing how the island’s endgame and Jack’s ability to keep things together seem to be diametrically opposed. In the beginning of the series, when the thing that the survivors needed most was shelter, food, and someone to give them reason to hope,–when things needed to be fixed–Jack was right there, filling in the gap. But now, as events are happening on the island that are beyond his control (or comprehension), as he’s lost half of the people that used to call him leader to Locke and Ben, the only thing that seems to matter to him is finding out whether or not Kate and Sawyer hooked up. And when she answers his question with the truth–her desire to determine whether or not she has any kind of life waiting for her off the island–Jack doesn’t believe it.

In fact, Jack’s awkward, seemingly uninspired kiss of Juliet at the end of the episode has as much to do with his inability to trust Kate as it does with his desire to “fix” Juliet’s situation. This is a man of science that has lost his way–almost as much as Locke, the man of faith, has lost his.

Hey Locke, how’s that leader thing treating you? I don’t know Ben, how’s that fundraiser going?
This episode nearly redeems itself on the basis of Ben and Locke’s dialogue alone. The symmetry between the 2 of them is amazing. Ben’s got nowhere to go physically, while Locke’s got nowhere to go conceptually. They both come to the conclusion that if they don’t “help” each other, they’ll both continue to go nowhere fast. But here’s the catch–don’t you think that Harper was right when she said that Ben’s right where he wants to be? Isn’t it easier to believe that Ben’s playing Locke as opposed to the other way around?

Not to dive into tangential literary works on you (which I generally try to avoid), but isn’t it Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” (the name of the Dharma station in this episode) that has the line, “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows”? Ben and Locke, strange bedfellows indeed. Too much interconnectedness here for me to think that it’s coincidental.

I’m the good guy, he’s the bad guy! No, I’m the good guy, *he’s* the bad guy!
While we’re on the topic of Ben and deceit (do those ever *not* go hand-in-hand?), how much of his explanation for the Charles Widmore tape do you believe? Ever since the Season 2 episode where Ben said to Michael, “We’re the good guys”, I envisioned that Ben would eventually make good on that statement. And after Sayid’s flashforward, where he was working for Ben, I had become convinced of Ben’s ultimate vindication.

But Charles Widmore as the Big Bad? Penny’s Dad is the mastermind behind all of the evil that Ben is trying to stop? OK, I’ll grant you that he has the funds. But I’m just not buying that his intentions are without merit. And is the video tape really empirical evidence to the contrary? Hasn’t Ben and his group of Others done worse to reach their ends? Let’s just say that I’m not buying it, at least not yet. Ben’s a master manipulator and an accomplished liar–this smacks of another plot to get Locke to do his bidding.

“There’s one more thing I need to know. Your man on the boat–I want you to tell me who he is.”
If this isn’t the worst-kept secret in the history of LOST, I don’t know what is. You know that you know who it is. Just give it some thought.

The Tempest Station
It’s nice that we finally get to see the method by which “The Purge” originally happened.(Although if it was a Dharma station, it’s extremely ironic that their own failsafe against the “hostiles” was used against them.) But again, was it only me, or was the whole scene in the station a bit contrived? The “twist” of Faraday trying to make the gas inert wasn’t overly shocking, the battle between Juliet & Charlotte didn’t come off as believable at all, and of course, Dan shut the system down a mere second before tragedy.

In fact, overall, this episode didn’t work for me on a bunch of levels. I know we were due for a bad one, with the way this season has just knocked it out of the park week after week. But I’m glad this wasn’t the episode I saw to be introduced to the series. C’mon LOST, you can do better.

Post-episode Questions

How does Ben’s info about Charles Widmore change Locke’s direction?
OK, so Ben played his hand (theoretically), and told Locke about his man on the boat, and Charles Widmore trying to find the island. How does that help Locke? How does that give him a sense of direction? What’s their next move?

Now that the Tempest Station can’t be used for another “purge”, what is the next objective for the freighter people?
And does it involve Charlotte doing some excavation on the 4-toed statue? (Please?)

Who are the last members of the Oceanic 6?
Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sayid are confirmed. Ben and Aaron have also been shown off-island in the flashforwards. Jin & Sun have their flashforward episode next week. I think we’ll have a real good idea very soon!

 

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5 responses

7 03 2008
Anonymous

Rock on Paul, you have evolved to the next level. Pretty soon the execs at LOST will be knocking on your door and ask you to work with them.

7 03 2008
LostFolder

One simple comment and then a question:

For me, the only importance from the “Love Quadrangle” is to get an even deeper understanding of Ben’s insanity. “You are mine”.

What are you thoughts on the re-use of the “Red Sox” tape?

The re-use seems odd to me. From my understanding someone would have had to leave the island with the Red Sox tape, record over it and then bring it back to Ben. Why use an old tape? If the camera person knew they were going to film something why wouldn’t they have a new tape?

The tape makes me think the writers want to point something out, and since I’m still very fascinated by the whole time anomaly, could there be something more?

7 03 2008
PGotts

I’m not sure how the tape would be an indicator of a time anomaly, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on that!

With respect to the tape re-use specifically, I think it’s one of 2 things. Either it was labelled “Red Sox” as a ruse so that no one would think it contained any Charles Widmore footage (we never saw any abruptly edited Red Sox footage once Locke played it, did we?), -OR- Ben himself shot the footage with his own tape, and thus didn’t care that the old game got erased.

But I’d love to hear your time anomaly thoughts!

10 03 2008
beth

does anyone else think that michael is ben’s man on the boat?

10 03 2008
PGotts

That’s a great theory Beth! Anyone have any evidence to confirm or deny it?

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