LOST Recap: Season 5, Episode 7: “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham”

27 02 2009

Of course.  Wouldn’t you figure…as soon as I write a blog entry critical of LOST…as soon as I make some disparaging remarks about the show…it comes back with a stellar installment that reminds me why I watch every week.  Don’t get me wrong: I still feel the same way about “316” as I did last week.  I still feel as though the show crossed the line.  But maybe it didn’t quite jump the shark just yet.  Maybe it was just one bad installment, and now we can get back to the LOST that I’m used to.  One that hit another home run with this week’s episode.

Back on the mainland…

Seriously, LOST continues to do a great job of giving me head fakes that I keep falling for.  I was all set for a little background info on Caesar, when suddenly, Ilana appears.  What’s she doing here?  How the heck do they know each other?  Of course, it’s yet another head fake.  They know each other because this isn’t a flashback…they’ve already come to the island.  Or, the secondary, Hydra station island, as the case may be.  Very clever, and it immediately gave me hope that this episode was going to be a great one.

Caesar finds an old magazine, a map, some space/time specs, and..

I don’t know a whole lot about Caesar right now, but he already strikes me as one sly customer.  In fact, after the events that take place in this episode, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he was a Widmore plant.  I can’t imagine that Widmore would let Flight 316 get to the island without some type of attempt to get there as well, and Caesar fits the bill.  But what might be just as interesting is the shotgun he pockets just before Ilana enters the room.  I’m sure that’ll turn up at the least opportune moment.

Locke’s alive

Not at all unexpectedly, once Locke returned to the island, he was magically resurrected.  Now I’m not going to get into the details of what it means or the plausibility of it all, but I do want to try understand one big part of it: how does that relate to what happened to Christian Shepard?  Is Locke following in his footsteps somehow?  What correlation are we supposed to draw from that?  I’ll be very curious to see how that plays out over the next few episodes.

One of the boats is missing

ilanaandlocke

“The pilot and some woman took one.”  My first guess is that the “some woman” is Sun, and she had Lapidus take her to the other (main) island in search of Jin.  And that would also explain the fact that there were only 2 boats at the old original LOSTies camp back in The Little Prince episode.  And that also begs the question: who was in that boat when they began shooting at Sawyer/Juliet/Faraday?  The list of possible choices continues to dwindle down some.  But what may be an even bigger question is this: who got shot?  When Juliet and Sawyer return fire, someone clearly gets clipped, we just can’t see who.

Locke teleports to Tunisia using the donkey wheel

lockintunisia

But unfortunately for him, he’s got a compound fracture to deal with, and won’t be going anywhere without someone’s help.  Luckily, Widmore’s got some cameras set up right at the ejection point, and he’s able to bring Locke back to his camp.  There he tells Locke some information about his time on the island, and what the rest of the LOSTies have done since they left.  The important part to take out of this is that everything he said appeared to be true based upon what we know.  Slowly, Widmore is emerging as the one telling the truth, whereas Ben appears to be the liar.  Widmore appears to be trying to truly help John, whereas Ben…well, let’s just say Ben has other plans.  If we’re to believe that Ben and Widmore are on opposite sides, one good and one bad, then Widmore is looking more and more like the good guy.  Of course, I’m still not convinced.  I get the impression that both of them are manipulating the LOSTies in some fashion…

There’s a war coming John…

Here’s the first real hint about LOST’s ultimate endgame.  There’s not nearly enough here to make any kind of serious guess as to what’s going to happen, but I’m sure that when it’s over, we can look back to this moment, and say that this is where the first of the clues started.

And so begins Locke’s (not so) magical mystery tour

widmorematthewandlocke

Right off the bat, Locke’s confined to a wheelchair, just as he was before he left for the island.  Irrespective of the time he was gone or the lessons he may have learned, Locke’s right back at square one: powerless.  And at the risk of condensing 20-30 minutes of show time into one section, that’s exactly the story for Locke at each locale on his tour.  First Sayid, then Walt, followed by Hurley, Kate, and ultimately Jack.  He has absolutely zero pull, and worse than that, they all think he’s just a bit crazy.  They all (except Walt) attack his character, and ultimately make him doubt everything about his mission.  The chosen one, the special one, gets reduced to a blubbering mess simply by visiting 5 “friends” and gravesite. But before his journey comes to an end, he meets with one last person from his past…

“John, what’re you doing?”

whatareyoudoing

As if it wasn’t interesting enough to see Locke re-visit all of the old LOSTies and fail miserably, the last scene we get with he and Ben is what takes the episode to another level.  First, we get an incredible visual of what John’s journey is really about, when Ben kneels before him.  If you weren’t paying attention to the symbolism before, the writers decided to hit you over the head with it.  Although it was last episode that was entitled “316”, it’s this episode where we get to see the true parallels to the famous verse in the Bible.  John is playing Jesus in every way in this episode.  He’s been sent from a mystical place to try to convince unbelievers that he holds the message they need to believe in order to truly live.  Then, he’s killed, only to be resurrected a few days later.  And finally, those that believe in him, even after his death, find “salvation” in the form of the island.  It’s almost as if they gave this episode the wrong name.

As far as his direct encounter with Ben, you really have to be amazed at just how incredibly manipulative Mr. Linus really is.  The entire time he’s saving Locke, he knows he’s doing it to achieve one goal, and one goal only: how he can be a part of getting back to the island with everyone else.  You see, he already knows that he’s not part of what has to happen to get back.  He knows that it’s all about getting everyone to get together, and then find a means to return.  But he has no clue who he has to find (or where) in order to make it all happen.  When he stops John from killing himself, he manages to earn enough of his trust for him to give up the ghost about Eloise Hawking.  With that information, Ben knows who he has to lead the Oceanic 6 to, and that’s all he needs.  He knows that John doesn’t necessarily need to be alive (or in fact, might serve a better role if dead), and maybe, just maybe, he won’t have to worry about him taking leadership of the island if he kills him right then and there.

Of course, the alternative to that logic is that Ben really is the good guy.  Ben knew that Locke had to die, so he helped him get there, but not before he knew all of the pieces that had to be set in motion for everyone to return.  Of course, whether or not that’s true, you can fully expect Ben to suggest a story along those lines when Locke confronts him about his actions.

Everyone’s accounted for…except for the people who got hurt

benjackedup

As if coming back to life on the island wasn’t enough, at the end of the episode, Locke gets to see just how much things have flip-flopped.  Now, he’s alive and well, and Ben is in bad shape after the plane crash-landed.  It’ll be interesting to see just how much John wants revenge, or how much he wants to move on and lead everyone on the island.

Post-episode questions

  1. Who’s really telling the truth, Ben or Widmore?  Remember, Locke was directed to move the island, just as Widmore’s team was closing in.
  2. What’s Caesar’s deal?  Is he a plant?
  3. What’s the war that Widmore was referring to?  What is Locke’s role in it?
  4. Now that everyone’s back on the island, what’s next?
  5. What can we expect to happen between Kate, Sawyer, and Jack, now that they’re all in the same place again?

I hope you all enjoyed the episode.  Talk to you again next week!

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3 responses

27 02 2009
Brad

Fantastic episode. And thanks for another great installment in the blog department. I’ve a few random observations on this episode, in no particular order. First, it appears that good old Frank managed to set the plane down relatively intact. Perhaps he was able to navigate at the correct angle approaching the island as best he could for the speed they were going. Helluva pilot. Notice when Widmore was impressed that John didn’t appear to age since he saw him in 1954? That made me wonder about Richard’s timeless appearance–suppose he found a way to control time warping for his own sake?

In response to question #4, something occurred to me. On the surface it seems just like old times– you know, back on the island, “The A-Team”, and all the fascinating adventures and romping around that we recall so fondly from earlier seasons, etc etc. Not quite so this time, I think. Their whole purpose and objective is different this time. In fact, I think we’ll soon see that they have no idea what to do or where to go. They’re just waiting for something to happen this time around. I think John & Jack’s first words to each other will be something along the lines of “Alright John, we’re back. Now what do we do??” “I–I don’t know, Jack.” …followed by a token scuffle.

9 03 2009
Krystina

I wanted to let you know that I did indeed read this week’s blog. Your blog is very well written…..I am very proud. 🙂

25 03 2010
LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 8: “Ab Aeterno” « interLOST

[…] the story of the episode, “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham”.  Check it out here here for my recap if it’s been awhile.  In it, John Locke turns the frozen donkey wheel on the […]

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