LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 6: “Dr. Linus”

11 03 2010

Hey everyone, pretty interesting transition episode, don’t you think?  After the doom and gloom of “Sundown”, we got a very interesting story of redemption with Ben.  It’s interesting to see that some folks are not ending up on the sides you may have initially thought they might.  But I’ll touch on that in a little bit.  As always, I’m going to start from the top…

Ben and the rest head for the beach

Well, color me somewhat disappointed that they ditched the Temple so quickly.  I had hoped that maybe we’d see Ben desperately trying to escape the Temple after Smokey’s attack, and that perhaps he’d bump into Kate and try to figure out what the heck went on.  But clearly, Kate has left and joined Smokey (something I wasn’t 100% convinced of after last week, but am now), and Ben clearly knows the Temple well enough to find the secret passage and get out.  Maybe some of you were a bit tired of the Temple, but I certainly wouldn’t have minded getting a bit more info on it, and understanding exactly what mystical abilities the place had or once had.  Oh well.  In any event, we’re headed back to the beach, at least for the short term.

“Without any power, it was meaningless.  He might just as well have been dead.”

Dr. Linus

Any of you still struggling with the flash-sideways?  Despite some of the interesting goings-on there this week, I still feel like it’s a distraction.  I hope we start to get something truly meaningful out of it sooner rather than later.  The continued lack of “rules” around the alternate timeline and exactly how it ties back to the main timeline is becoming more and more difficult for me to reconcile.  On the positive side, I think we’re getting stronger instances of parallelism in them now.  I’ll touch on that more at the end of this entry. Also, I’ll key in on the quick discussion of Napoleon’s loss of power.  It was an interesting bit of foreshadowing, even if it wasn’t exactly the way I initially thought.  Because of that, it’ll be a good idea to keep the quote above in mind for when I get to the second half of the show.  Aside from that, I don’t have a ton more commentary about the first flash-sideways sequence.

“He was standing over Jacob’s dead body with a bloody dagger, so yeah, I’m pretty sure.”

Miles "talks" to Jacob

Funny how Miles uses Ben’s own words against him here.  But even more interesting is that we now know why Ilana scooped up Jacob’s ashes a few episodes back.  You might be wondering how Ilana knew that Miles would be on the island to “examine” the remains, but I’ll help you remember that you actually knew that.  Remember Miles’ flashback last season when he conned the quarterback’s father out of cash?  Well in that episode, Ilana’s counterpart, Bram, tried to recruit him away from Widmore.  Clearly Bram, and as a result Ilana, knew that Widmore was bringing Miles to the island.  And she knew that he’d be somewhere on the island, if she looked hard enough.  So that’s one mystery explained.

As far as Ben, Ilana, and the rest of the crew, it’s somewhat interesting that Ilana even lets Ben stay after getting confirmation that he killed Jacob.  But the funny thing is that I think she knew all along.  I think this was more of her way to get Ben to know that she knew…in order to set up what happens at the end of the episode.  If Smokey can recruit Sayid by preying on his interactions with Dogen, then Ilana can do a similar setup with Ben.  I think the whole thing was all part of the plan…

“This isn’t the life I wanted for you Ben.”

Contemplating what could have been...

Interesting dialog here between Ben and his father in the alternate timeline.  Here, Ben seems to have a decent relationship with his dad (at least he didn’t kill him), and we find out that the two indeed still went to the island as part of the Dharma Initiative.  However, in this timeline, they didn’t stay.  To me, it was already a given that the Dharma Initiative was on the island in this timeline as well.  We saw the Dharma Barracks on the island underwater in the first 10 minutes of the season.  But what we don’t know is when or why Roger Linus took his son and left the island.  I think if we had some more insight into that, we’d probably better understand the fork in the storyline, and perhaps, how we can relate the two timelines.  My guess is that the fork occurred at or near the time Jughead was supposed to go off.  I’m thinking that in the alternate timeline, that event never happened.  But how did that even lead to Ben and Roger leaving?  In that timeline, Sayid never shoots Ben because Sayid never comes to the island.  So any of the reasons that seem somewhat compelling (like, “Crazy Dharma people are shooting my son; I need to get off this island”) don’t exist.  I like the fact that they’re throwing us little bones like this, but I hope we get something a bit meatier to chew on in subsequent episodes…perhaps one piece of information about the island and its apparent submerging that we previously didn’t have.

“You’re candidates…to replace Jacob.”

Ilana states that there are only 6 candidates left

Nothing overly new in the beach sequence and dialog between Ilana and Sun, with the exception of the fact that Ilana states that there are six candidates left.  Exactly who does she think are the candidates?  Let’s get the easy ones out of the way: Jack, Hurley, Sun, and Jin.  Those 4 are definitely on her list.  But who else?  She has to believe that Locke is off the list since Smokey usurped his body, and you’d also think that she’s ruled out Sayid based upon Ben’s report of him killing Lennon and Dogen.  So who else is she considering?  Perhaps Sawyer?  He was on the list, and just because he’s with Smokey doesn’t mean that he can’t still be considered.  Could the other be Kate?  Even though she wasn’t one of the initial numbers that Smokey showed Sawyer, she’s still a possibility.  If I had to venture a guess, those 2 (Kate and Sawyer) would round out the final six.  If any of you have other theories, feel free to post in the comments!

And from out of the jungle comes Richard!  Again!

Gotta love Richard, he’s always popping out of the jungle at the right moment.  In fact, Jack asks where he came from, and he says that they wouldn’t believe him.  I wouldn’t read too much into that, based upon what we get later in the episode.  Basically, he came from the Temple, and saw everyone there dead.  And in an odd turn of events, he lies to get Jack and Hurley to follow him away from the Temple, and towards the Black Rock.

“How different would it have been?  The island still got you in the end.”

This is the most fascinating line of the episode for me.  Think about this for a minute: in the alternate timeline, Ben has been to the island.  Are we to assume that the island will still get him in the end?  Or, is the alternate timeline the consequence of what happens if Smokey wins and the island is left without a protector?  And in that timeline, the island doesn’t “get” anyone in the end?  Ever since the alternate timeline was introduced (and even before that, actually), I had thought that it was going to be about what happened if the LOSTies didn’t follow Jacob’s plan, and Smokey won.  I could be reading too much into this, but does the fact that alternate-timeline Ben does not get called back to the island mean that Smokey has won in that timeline?  I hope so.  I think the only way to show the consequence of losing the battle is to have this flash-sideways.  I think that makes for a much more compelling story than an eventual convergence of the two…but what do I know?

Ilana ties Ben to a tree

As stated earlier, I think all of this is just a way to get Ben to come to grips with what he’s done.  He has to feel a sense of coming face-to-face with his death to have the sort of turn-around he experiences later in the episode.  Ilana never has any intention of hurting or killing Ben; this is her way of setting him up to face his own transgressions.

“Right up until the second the knife went through his heart, he was hoping he was wrong about you.”

I think this is closest we’ve gotten now to confirmation that Jacob knew exactly what he was doing when he let Ben & Smokey into his chamber, and allowed Ben to kill him.  It’s almost like he’s pulling an Obi-Wan Kenobi…letting Ben kill him because he can do more good for our characters dead as a martyr than he could have done if he were alive.  In fact, you might go so far as to say that the *only* way Ben could be redeemed was through Jacob’s death.  Would he have had as much of a change of heart had he not killed Jacob and Ilana not forced him to think about it as much as she did by forcing him to dig the grave?  I wouldn’t think so.  I’m becoming more and more convinced that Jacob has a grand scheme in mind for everything that is happening, and he’s only giving Smokey the appearance of the idea that he’s in control.  Perhaps he wanted to force his hand in order to reach the endgame.  I’m not entirely sure why Jacob’s taken this route, but I’m pretty convinced that everything is going the way he planned it to…

“You spoke to Jacob?  Well, whatever he said, don’t believe him.”

Not sure about all of you readers out there, but I’m looking at every scene for some type of hidden meaning, or some piece of dialog that will unlock one of the mysteries that we’ve been trying to figure out for the past 6 years or so with this show.  And sometimes, when you do that, you read something into a scene that really isn’t there.  Case in point: I initially thought that this line was perhaps some insight on all of the dead people that had been re-appearing, and how perhaps the apparition of Jacob couldn’t be trusted, because it wasn’t him.  Well, after the episode, and after hearing Richard’s story, I think it’s more about how Richard doesn’t trust that Jacob’s plans will work as he says they will.  Not sure if any of you were looking for a deeper meaning with Richard’s comments, but I don’t think there is any.  Sorry if none of you were thinking along those lines, but I know that I got head-faked, so I wanted to help any of you out that may have been thinking the same way.

“In all of the time that I’ve spent on this island, today is the first time that I’ve ever come back.”

Richard and Hurley approach the Black Rock

And so we get confirmation that Richard was indeed a slave on the Black Rock.  We already had a good idea about this based upon Smokey’s comments to Richard earlier in the season, however, this confirms it for us.  But what’s even more interesting about this scene is how neither Richard nor Jack can kill themselves.  We’ve seen this earlier with Michael and his attempts to kill himself, but we never knew why or how.  It appears as though we now have our answer.

An interesting side note, if not overly relevatory, is to apply this to Locke.  Richard seems to make the association between Jacob’s touch and the inability to kill yourself.  Of course, he says that others can do it for you, so it’s not surprising that Ben was able to kill Locke as he did.  But wouldn’t it have been interesting if Locke had tried to go through with killing himself?  He would have failed, and then perhaps reached some type of epiphany about things.  But instead, Ben talked him down, and did the deed himself before he had a chance to move in a different direction.  Just something interesting to think about.

Smokey gives Ben an escape route

Smokey tries to recruit Ben

Alright, so it’s not at all surprising that Smokey would come to recruit Ben.  He certainly seems like a good candidate for a member of Smokey’s crew.  But what you might be asking yourself is why Ilana didn’t simply shoot Ben as soon as he attempted to leave, or why she dropped her weapon when they both had one at the same time?  Why not get into a firefight and take your chances?  Well, you probably already know my answer.  Ilana was never going to shoot Ben, under any circumstances.  This was all a master setup to get Ben to legitimately ask for forgiveness.  This is what Jacob asked Ilana to do, even though it was a possibility that he could have shot her, and gone on to join Smokey.  Somehow it worked, and Ilana’s got one additional recruit on her side.  And I’ll admit: Ben seems about as bad a match for Team Jacob as Kate seems to be for the Smoking Club (what seems to be the accepted phrase now for Locke’s team of recruits).  But that’s what makes it fun, isn’t it?  In fact, we could probably have some fun looking at some head-to-head match-ups of the teams right now.  Let’s see…you could have Jack versus Kate…Sun versus Jin…Sawyer versus Hurley…Ben against Sayid…wow, wouldn’t those be pretty amazing showdowns if they actually break it down that specifically?  While it would be incredibly tragic in a way, it would make for a seriously compelling finale if those one-on-one battles took place.

Ben asks for forgiveness

Anyway, back to the episode at hand.  It’s very interesting to see how Ben went for the path of “good” and redemption in both timelines.  Part of me thinks that he had Napoleon’s situation in his head: Smokey offered him rule of the island, but what good would it be if everyone had left?  It would almost be like a powerless title.  Regardless, I think the important thing to take away from this episode, especially with respect to the alternate timeline, is that the main timeline is operating in parallel to the alternate timeline, or vice versa.  It seems as though whatever these characters were meant to do, they’re going to do it regardless of whether they’re on the island or not.  How is that relevant?  Well, it tells us about what we might see in the main timeline based upon what we see in the alternate timeline (and again, vice versa).  This isn’t overly applicable right now, but it may serve as an interesting foreshadowing device in future episodes.  It’s probably one of those things that makes sense to have in your mind as you watch the show, and attempt to apply it when it becomes applicable.

Hurley, Jack, and Richard reunite with the rest

A happy montage

After last week’s closing montage of death, it was nice to see one of the old-fashioned ones where our LOSTies are similing and hugging each other as they’re reunited.  They’re not in great shape as compared to Team Smokey, but they’re rallying the troops, and aren’t ready to mail it in just yet.  Of course, poor Ben is left to be an outsider as always, but at least he seems to be playing for the right team.

Widmore returns

Widmore is back...

Great final scene of the episode, as we finally get to see Widmore again.  Bringing this story to a conclusion without resolving the Ben versus Widmore situation that we were given for a couple of years would be tragic.  Oh, and on Widmore’s ability to find the island itself, after not being able to all this time?  Well, I’ll chalk that up to Jacob’s death, and his inability to protect the island anymore.  I’ll be highly interested in seeing who Widmore ultimately aligns himself with, and just how much he’s been part of the plan from the start.

Post-episode questions:

1. Is been really on Ilana’s side?  If so, what can we expect from Smokey in retaliation?

2. What’s Jack’s next steps?  He’s starting to understand the magnitude of what’s happening, but what does that mean for him?

3. Who else is out there to be recruited?  Are the sides almost set, or is there more posturing to come?

4. How does Richard play into all of this?  And will he get his wish for an explanation, or death, or both?

5. What is Widmore’s plan when he gets to the island?  Whose side will he be on?

That’s all I’ve got for this week!  As always, thanks for stopping by!

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4 responses

11 03 2010
Robert Bonamico

I think that Richard Widmore is on neither side. He is the Dharma Initiative in a sense, just a different group of investors. He wants to expolit the Island. Whoever it is that replaces Jacob, must protect the Island from Widmore, and people like him. I’m not sure what will happen when Smokey meets up with Widmore, but I venture to guess that they will neither be allies, nor enemies.

11 03 2010
D-Day

I think Ben still doesn’t know how he fits. He had a choice to make and seemed sincere when he made it. I believe had Ben NOT killed Jacob, Smokey may have turned on Ben- with the whole thing about his dead daughter appearing to him telling him that he had to follow’s Locke’s orders or else. it would seem that Ben has indeed made a choice. Jacob told Ben he gets to choose before Ben plumged the dagger into his heart. Who knows what Jacob meant the choice was at that point? Also, remember Jacob replied with a cold “what about you?” when Ben pleaded for some recognitiion. If Jacob is all knowing and his death was like Obi Wan, there’s something to this. I thihk Ben is redeemed but will die heroically- probably taking Widmore with him in a way that saves Jack.

I think the whole thing is coming down to a Jack v. Sawyer showdown for Kate. His next steps are to work with Ilana and Jacob (thru Hurley) to gain more understanding. He will also move to “save” Kate, Sawyer, Sayid, Jin, Claire…

I think the six recruits are pretty straightforward. They conform to the names on the wheel- Kwon (2) Ford, Austen, Reyes and Shephard. Locke is out. So is Jarrah. I think we’ve seen Sayid turn but we can’t confirm Kate and Sawyer at this point.

Richard could be a wild card. He’s confused. He’s desperate. He used to seem to have all the answers but now seems clueless. I don’t buy it. He was always the one who understood the rules better than anyone else. He was also touched by Jacob so was presumably once a recruit. I didn’t see his name on the lighthouse dial though. He could go either way. Based on what we’ve seen, the writers are going to string this out.

Conventional wisdom says Widmore will want to kill Ben, determine who’s in charge and topple them- in that order. So it probably won’t happen that way. One thing about the freighter attack on the island is that it ultimately had a unifying effect of sorts among the islanders.

11 03 2010
D-Day

One final comment…

In the “Lighthouse” episode, we met Jack’s son David in the alternate timeline. We also found out that Claire was an heir to Christian Shephard’s estate. We also know that Jack and David’s mother are somehow separated.

We also see that David has bright, bright blue eyes. Only two characters have those kind of blues- Claire and Juliet. In the alternate timeline, she who we know as Claire will be David’s mother and someone else will be Claire. Just a hunch.

22 03 2010
Science Drive

I hadn’t thought about Richard in the Alternate Universe until you mention it. Will they show his flash sideways? If he doesn’t get touched by Jacob, way back when, then does he continue and end his life some hundreds of years ago as, perhaps, a slave? Hmmm.

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