LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 15: “What They Died For”

20 05 2010

Hey everyone, was that one of the best “setup” episodes ever or what?  You had to be thinking coming in that this was going to be one of those episodes where the pieces on the chess board were being moved around to their rightful starting places for the finale.  But wow, was it me, or was it so much more than that?  After the polarizing “Across The Sea”, I have to think that everyone is back on board and ready to ride the wave of fun into the finale.  Although my level of excitement is somewhat tempered by knowing that Sunday will bring the last LOST ever, I know that the writers have been leading up to this moment for quite some time now, and I know that they’re ready to deliver.  I simply can’t wait to see what they have in store for us.

That being said, we’ve still got this episode to analyze.  Although we’re at the point now where there’s not much mystery being revealed, there was still a ton to discuss.

Jack’s got a real pain in the neck

Jack's got a bloody neck again, just like in the season premiere

We were shown this way back in the premiere, but the writers wanted to make sure you didn’t forget: Jack’s got a bit of a problem with a bloody neck.  I’m sure we’ll see how this ties in when the finale airs, but I can’t help but to think back to an old favorite episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation when I see this.  The episode was called “Frame of Mind”, and it had one of the main characters, Commander Riker, continually experiencing a cut on his right forehead.  Different things would trigger it, and sometimes nothing would.  Eventually, we came to learn that Riker was in fact being held in stasis in an alien mind experiment.  The spot on his forehead that continued to bleed in his dreams was where the aliens had hooked up some sort of monitoring system to him.  So what does all that mean?  Well, I think the first guess is that perhaps Jack experiences some sort of throat slash in the main timeline, perhaps similar to what happened to Zoe.  And perhaps he’s either carrying this memory with him, he’s stuck in some sort of stasis himself.  Perhaps the whole flash-sideways as an elaborate Matrix-type experience for everyone in it.  And perhaps, just perhaps, everyone in it has died in the main timeline.

It’s funny; the more I try to theorize about what’s going to happen in the finale, the more I realize how crazy I sound.  But really, the writers have given us so little to go on, that we’re reduced to this kind of wackiness if we want to make any guess at all.  Part of me just wants to sit back, stop theorizing, and let the finale come to me.  I’m sure that’ll happen on Sunday, but after years of theorizing on this blog, I can’t stop now, no matter how off-the-wall some of the logical conclusions might seem.  I hope you guys continue to bear with me.

“Is your mom coming too?”

So…any guesses as to who David’s mom is?  Even money in the office is that it’s Juliet, but who knows for certain.  At this point though, I think it would be more of a trick that it *is* Sarah, as opposed to it not being her.  Clearly, we’ll find out soon enough.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but the sideways universe (with the Shephard family enjoying breakfast together) is almost a little too good to be true right now.  I’m nearly 100% convinced that the sideways is going to be the epilogue of the series, as some have surmised.  But if it’s that simple…if the events on the island lead to the sideways and there is no further conflict to resolve, I will be highly disappointed.  I almost feel as though this timeline is the result of some great compromise, and that the LOSTies have to “wake up” in order to deal with it.  If somehow the island thread ends with the LOSTies defeating Smokey and getting this timeline as a result, it would seem like a bit of a cop-out.  I hate to jump to conclusions (especially unfounded ones), but I wanted to be on record for that before the finale airs.

Desmond the mastermind

I’m not sure how Desmond knows as much as he does, or how he’s got all of the contacts he has (Widmore, perhaps?), but he’s got a grand plan that he’s desperate to enact.  Clearly, just “knowing” about the island timeline is not enough.  He’s trying to get the right people to remember, perhaps because there’s some final action that they have to take?  Or, because they have to “wake up” from the dream?  Not sure, but the Desmond thread in the sideways timeline makes for an intriguing diversion from the island thread.

“We have to kill him”

Jack and Kate agree that they must kill Locke

The mood on the beach is as somber as it gets, knowing that of all of the survivors of Flight 815, there’s only the 4 of them left.  But amidst all of the sorrow, there is resolve.  The resolve that they must some way, any way, kill the man masquerading as John Locke.  Don’t ask me how they’re going to do it, because honestly, I have no idea.  It’s interesting to think about, because we know so little about any limitations that the monster has.  In fact, we’re not even sure why he can’t break through the sonic fence or the circle of ash.  But we know that when he’s in physical form, he can be physically moved, as Jack demonstrated by pushing him in the water in “The Candidate”.  So perhaps Desmond can get close enough to carry him into one of the island’s electromagnetic anomolies?  Perhaps the original tunnel of light itself?  I’m just typing out loud here…if any of you have something more well thought-out, please share in the comments!

“Welcome back Mr. Locke, it’s good to see you!”

You want to know who I am?

OK, admit it, how many of you thought, “Not again!” when Desmond fired up the car as Locke crossed the street?  The writers definitely got me on that one.  But what might have been even more shocking was that sideways Ben managed to get his “vision” of island time via a complete beatdown at the hands of Desmond.  I definitely didn’t see that one coming.  And the best part was that it seemed as though Desmond knew that would be the result…

“What’s that?  A secreter room?”

It’s those types of lines that make me happy that the writers haven’t found a way to kill off Miles just yet.  I love his one-liners even more than Sawyer’s nicknames, and this one was perfect.  It was certainly a great way to break the tension before the action about to unfold.

Desmond turns himself in…to get Kate and Sayid out

As I said earlier, it’s hard to do much analysis on large parts of this episode: what you see is what you get.  But here’s just another example that it’s simply not enough for Desmond to get certain folks to remember.  He’s looking to accomplish something that requires all of our LOSTies, and he’s willing to go to great lengths to make it happen.

Little boy Jacob appears for the last time

Boy Jacob claims his ashes

Add another tick mark to the growing list of theories I’ve mentioned that have not come to fruition.  As we learned last episode, the little boy we’ve been seeing antagonizing Locke is none other than Jacob himself.  Some of you correctly guessed that, so kudos to you!  My thought that it was a reincarnated Locke clearly is not the case.  Swing and a miss on that one!  But it was good to see Jacob again, even if this is the last time.  He’s got some critical info to share with the LOSTies (and us), and it was nice to have that before the finale.

“These are both great plans, but I’m gonna go with surviving.”

One thing you may have missed in the chaos that ensued later in this scene, is that Miles ends up taking the backpack with the explosives.  And, in addition, he gets one of the walkie talkies from Ben.  Considering that Miles escapes the wrath of Smokey (at least for now), it’s important to note that the C-4 is still in play, and in Miles’ hands.

“I know this man, all he wants is for me to join him.”

Smokey takes Richard for a ride

Uh, not exactly.  Did any of you expect Richard to be taken out so quickly?  I don’t know if Jacob gave Richard eternal life or eternal youth when he recruited him to be his liaison, but I’d be seriously worried either way after an attack like that.  Of course, Ben’s reaction is classic…what else to do after the Smoke Monster violently assaults someone right next to you than to go sit on a deck chair?  Makes sense to me!

“We insist, even if we have to kidnap you.”

It was nice to see Danielle again, especially since I thought I had read that the actress didn’t have time to come back and be part of the show’s final season.  Of course, the line she says to Ben regarding him driving home with them was a great throwback to the his introduction back in Season 2, when Danielle caught him in a trap and turned him over to the LOSTies.

Ben and Danielle share a moment

By the way, I know I’ve said it before, but I’m consistently amazed by Michael Emerson’s subtle acting abilities.  He does a fantastic job here of showing us how his character doesn’t realize until a few moments later that Danielle said “next time” when referring to their dinner together.  It seems as though Ben will get a second chance with his “daughter” in the sideways universe…

“How nice to be able to talk without those fences between us.”

Zoe is murdered by the Smoke Monster

Too bad for Widmore and Zoe that talking is not what Locke actually had in mind.  Clearly, Smokey is through scheming and plotting, and is ready to use physical force directly and purposefully in order to get what he needs.  Zoe is murdered within seconds, and Ben takes out Widmore when he tries to make a play to save his daughter.  The deaths didn’t end with “The Candidate”, and somehow, I don’t see a fatality-free finale, either.

Ben takes out Widmore

What really makes this scene interesting, however, is the return of the old Ben.  Some of you had been lamenting about Ben and the role he had been relegated to in Season 6.  Clearly, as Smokey’s right-hand man, he can get back to his devious ways.  He may attempt to double-cross Smokey if the time and opportunity is right, but even so, he’s far from the man sitting in the background, waiting for the action to be brought to his doorstep.

“I think I’m ready to get out of this chair.”

OK, so I’m an admitted Locke fan, which makes this assessment biased.  But hearing those words from sideways Locke made me hope for the first time that the sideways timeline was the epilogue.  In the big picture, I’m still hesitant about how convenient it is for all of the characters to have these “fairy-tale” endings.  But I suppose that if it this is somehow shown to be the “real” Locke, and he finds his way out of the wheelchair and begins to take on the demeanor of the Locke we saw on the island, then I guess I’ll take the trade-off.  Still, I’m hoping that the writers have some special trick up their sleeves…

“I chose you because you needed this place as much as it needed you.”

Jacob explains the candidates' purpose

The Jacob fireside chat was great in terms of putting all of the pieces together about the overarching reason why all of the LOSTies were on the island: Jacob knew he would eventually be killed by Smokey, and he needed a replacement lined up.  In fact, Jacob does such a good job of explaining the situation, that it’s hard to do any additional breakdown or analysis here.

One thing I feel compelled to point out is when Jacob says, “it’s just a line of chalk in a cave.”  Why would I want to mention that?  Well, if we know anything about LOST, it’s that things are never quite what they seem.  And honestly, it seems just too soon, too convenient, and too obvious that Jack would become the new protector of the island.  In fact, Jacob himself questions whether or not Jack’s response is a statement or a question.  Think about it this way: everything we’ve seen regarding protectors of the island leads us to believe that it’s a job that encompasses hundreds, if not thousands, of years.  And since Jack is told that he has to protect the island “for as long as he can”, you’d think that he’d have the job as long as crazy mother or Jacob had it.  But what if that’s just conditioning on our part?  What if Smokey manages to kill Jack a single day after he takes the job?  If he’s been playing this game for thousands of years, and Jack has been at it for hours, is there any reason to think that Jack can outwit him?  If Smokey plays him, and manages to off him by slicing his neck (or having someone else…like Ben…do so), then wouldn’t they need another replacement quickly?  I could certainly be way off base here, but I’m not convinced that Jack has this job for the long haul.

Desmond breaks the Oceanic jailbirds out

Desmond, Kate, and Sayid break out with the help of Ana Lucia

Awesome cameo by Ana Lucia here as the driver of the truck, and a great scene of the front end of a master plan yet to be executed in the finale.  It’s too bad that the writers couldn’t have made the flash-sideways this compelling from the start, as it may not have had such mixed responses if they had.  Regardless, it’s interesting to note that Hurley already has full understanding of the island timeline.  He recognizes Ana Lucia, even if she doesn’t “remember” him.  I’m actually excited for the answers to some flash-sideways questions: what Desmond is ultimately up to here, and of course,  more importantly, how the whole sideways timeline ties in to the main timeline.  Only a few days until we find out!

“I’m gonna destroy the island.”

A fantastic way to end the episode, with everyone having clear motivation and purpose for the finale.  It’s now just a matter of who will be able to execute their plans, and who will fail.  If we know LOST like we think we do, the outcome may not be abundantly clear, even after it’s all over.

Post-episode questions

1. How does Jack’s bloody neck relate to the connection between the two timelines?

2. Now that Jack is the protector of the island, what does he “know”, or what can he “see”?

3. What exactly is Desmond up to, both on-island and in the flash-sideways?

4. Is Ben really playing for Smokey, or is he just waiting for the right moment to stab him in the back?

5. Can you believe that we only have one episode left before the end of LOST?

I hope you found this episode as entertaining as I did…I think the writers gave us a setup episode that transcended their typical offerings of that nature, and really whet my appetite for the finale.  Just an FYI: I’ll be back here on Friday to give you any nuggets of info that I can glean from the Times Talks Live event on Thursday night.  I doubt we’ll get much with respect to the finale, but we’ll likely get some good insights on how Damon & Carlton constructed the show’s path, and the obstacles they ran into.  As we wrap up LOST forever, I think that’s as interesting a topic as any.

Thanks again for stopping by!

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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!





LOST Recap: Season 5, Episode 12: “Dead Is Dead”

10 04 2009

Well, was that a doozy of an episode or what?  Sorry to those of you that watch LOST for the character development: this one was for the fans of the mythology, no question.  A ton of little tidbits of info: a few answers, sprinkled in with a few new mysteries to be solved.  No doubt, the pieces are starting to come together.  But the writers are also still throwing us a few curveballs as we wind down to LOST’s final cliffhanger.  There’s much to discuss!  So let’s get to it!

“The island chooses who the island chooses”

Interesting relationship that Richard and Widmore have.  It seems as though Widmore is calling the shots, but that Richard is allowed to trump him if he mentions Jacob, or the island’s wishes.  But what intrigues me even more is Widmore’s seeming singular focus on whatever he’s doing on the island.  He doesn’t want to save Ben, and only succumbs when Richard forces his hand.  He’s also quite unapologetic with respect to his desire to kill Danielle and Alex.  I’ll get more in depth on that topic in a bit, but the thing to keep in mind here is this question: in the upcoming “war”, is Widmore a good guy, or a bad guy?

“What’s in the crate?”

What indeed?  At this point we don’t recognize the significance, but it’s safe to say that Ilana’s main reason for getting on Flight 316  didn’t have anything to do with Sayid.  It was about getting herself to the island.  The question then becomes, who is she aligning herself with?  Did Eloise clue her in on Flight 316?  Is she working with Ben?  Did Widmore send her?  Could it be Widmore himself in the crate?  Or is she with another group entirely?  Her apparent knowledge of the island adds a whole new layer to the story.  Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be enough evidence to make a real educated guess as to her true intentions.  But if I had to go out on a limb right now, I’d say she’s a Widmore plant, and that Widmore himself may be in that crate, waiting to jump out when the time is right.

“Don’t worry my friend, I have your back.”

Well now, isn’t that high comedy?  A guy named Cesar telling someone that he has their back…do you think the writers were telling us something there about his fate in the next scene?  The writers are definitely not choosing the names of the characters in the show randomly…

Ben and Ethan raid Danielle’s camp

benandethan

Interesting that both Ben and Ethan are undercover Others at this point.  We always knew that Ben was, but clearly Ethan was turned at a young age as well…maybe by Ben himself?  Either way, Ben is shown at an early age to be taken out of his game when he confronts a mother and her child.  While there’s no doubt that this has ties to the reason why the Others are so obsessed with children and the fertility problem on the island, the big thing that I’m taking out of this is Ben’s demeanor.  He’s clearly been incredibly traumatized by his childhood, especially losing his mother mere minutes after he was born.  If he’s put into a situation in which he has to rob a child of his or her mother, he simply loses all focus and cannot carry out his original intentions. 

“Every time you hear whispers, you run the other way.”

Whoa, was that line from out in left field or what?  Is Ben trying to stop her from ever finding Alex again, or is he trying to protect her in some way?  Despite the fact that I think that Ben lies almost as much as he breathes, I really think he’s trying to help Danielle here.  He has an overwhelming level of empathy for the mother/child relationship, and while he knows he’s in for trouble by not fulfilling his task, he can’t help but to give Danielle a fighting chance.  Of course, I also wouldn’t be surprised if I’m completely wrong, and he’s just messing with her mind.  But what we do know is that this Ben knows exactly what those whispers are, and their intention.  Somehow, I’m led to believe that the Others have control of them somehow, and are using them to manipulate actions on the island.

“I was hoping that you and I could talk about the elephant in the room”

So…do you believe anything that Ben says here about his reasoning concerning Locke’s death?  He seems to change his story multiple times in the episode.  One thing I do think I believe him about is his reasoning for stopping Locke from killing himself…and then strangling him moments later.  He needed key info…namely, who Locke was going to see to put the Flight 316 plan in motion, and where she was hiding out.  Once he knew that, it was imperative that Locke die as the island demanded, but the hanging was clearly not going to happen.  Ben had to do the dirty work himself.

“Consider that my apology”

benshootscesar

Damn!  Ben’s one cold bastard, isn’t he?  He shoots Cesar with his own gun, effectively “stabbing him in the back”.  Yep, I definitely just wrote that.  And you know the writers wanted us to draw that conclusion as well.  But what’ s interesting is how Ben uses this moment to become subserviant to Locke.  He’s following Locke around like a little lost puppy dog…maybe he’s coming to the realization that the island wants him to be the leader, and the island is going to get what it wants, one way or the other.

“We had a complication…”

benreturns

The confrontation between Widmore and Ben after he and Ethan are unable to kill Danielle draws parallels to Ben pushing Locke to murder his father.  Perhaps this is Ben’s test…to overcome the circumstances of his youth and to transcend into the person that he was meant to be.  While it’s certainly possible that Widmore is just being a total jerk here, it’s more likely that he’s telling the truth about the island’s desires.  The island is trying to get Ben to overcome his one major “character flaw”…his trauma over his mother’s death.  And Ben has failed his task…at least for now.

“You don’t have the first idea of what this island wants.”

The one thing that is evident about Locke since he’s come back from the dead is that he is now in tune with the island in a way that he only dreamed about before.  Obviously, we don’t yet know about the circumstances of his resurrection, but whatever the process, it’s allowed him a relationship that is almost scary.  In fact, it’s almost to the level of Christian Shepard’s current connection..as if he’s the spokesperson for the island.  I’ll touch on this a bit more coming up.

“He said if I ever wanted to see my husband again, I had to wait here for John Locke.”

bensunandlapidus

While it’s obvious that the island has more in store for Sun than she realizes, the real interesting thing here is Ben’s reaction to the 1977 Dharma photo with the orignal LOSTies in it.  It seems to be one of genuine shock, but I’m not necessarily subscribing to the idea that he didn’t know.  He’s too good at playing with people to take that at face value.  It’ll be interesting to see how that plays itself out.

“The only ones that are here to help us are a murderer and the guy who can’t seem to remember how the hell he got out of a coffin!”

Once again, here’s Locke taking the reins of the island’s wishes…seemingly without any direct information whatsoever.  He tells Sun that she’ll never see Jin again if she goes back to Hydra island with Lapidus.  And he claims to be all the help she needs.  How can he make these claims?  Why does he even want to?  It’s clear that not only does he have a connection to the island, but he’s displaying extreme confidence about it as well.  It leads me to believe that there just might be more going on here than meets the eye…

Ben goes off to summon Smokey

bensummonsthemonster

A couple of things to take away from this scene.  First, remember that this is a Dharma camp we’re visiting here.  As far as we know, they were the ones that built these houses…including the one that is attached to the cave that takes Ben to the smoke monster summoner.  Did they know a little bit more about the island than we’re led to believe?  Or, was this just a communication device of some sort?  Ben clearly says, “I’ll be outside” after he pulls the plug and drains the water from the hole.  We’re led to believe that he’s talking to Smokey, but could it be that he was trying to reach someone else?  Finally, where the heck is Locke during all of this?  Sun tells Ben that he “had something to do”.  Really?  What the heck could he be up to at a time like this?  Why would he choose now to go do it?  I’m telling you, there’s much more to Locke right now than meets the eye.

Ben banishes Widmore

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One thng I like about Widmore more than Ben is his lack of subterfuge.  You can clearly tell that he is telling Ben exactly how he feels…no lies, no subtlties, just the cold, hard convictions of his mind.  He truly believes that the island wanted Alex dead.  And this scene was all the convincing I needed to believe it as well.  It defintiely seems as though Ben was meant to be involved and/or responsible for Alex’s death.  And this piece of information may go a long way towards understanding what really happened at the end of the episode.

“Dead is Dead.”

Alright, so here we go again with a different version of Ben’s story.  Now he claims that he had no clue that Locke would come back from the dead if he came back to the island.  And with Locke nowhere in the vicinity, I’m much more inclined to believe him now.  While I think Ben believed that Locke needed to die and come back to the island dead, I don’t think Ben had any expectation that Locke would be resurrected.  Ben knows alot about the island, but this one took him completely by surprise.  This, of course, does a good job of explaining why Ben is following Locke around so willingly.  He’s truly afraid of what might happen to him if he doesn’t…

“I assure you Sun, I’m the same man I’ve always been.”

Well, I’m not one to call Locke a liar, but this line is in direct contradiction with everything we see in this episode.  Locke’s earned a lot of trust with the viewers over the years due to his ability to seemingly always tell the truth, even when he doesn’t know what’s going on.  But our new Locke *is* different, even if it’s only because he’s so in tune with the island.  Despite Locke’s words, I’m not taking anything he does at face value.  In fact, in the very next scene, he admits to “knowing” what’s going on with the island, and taunts Ben’s current predicament: “Now you know what is was like to be me.”  This is not the same Locke.

“About a half mile from here…we built this wall to keep people like the two of you from ever seeing it.”

atthetemplewall

So…that is not the Temple wall we’ve been seeing all this time, but instead, a facade.  Quite interesting.  I have very little doubt that we’ll get to see the Temple proper some time in the very near future.  But for now, we’ll have to “settle” for Locke forcing Ben into his confrontation with Smokey…

Desmond brings the beat down

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OK, so I have to admit…I really thought that Desmond was a goner.  With all of the rumors swirling about a “major-ish” character meeting his or her demise, and Ben firing a shot right into what appeared to be Desmond’s chest, I thought we were done with good ol’ Des.  Of course, I was ecstatic to see otherwise, as Desmond has too much potential to take leave of us just yet.  But it definitely was a major shock to see Ben get blinsided after he let his guard down, and have the crap beat out of him by Mr. Hume.  Of course, now we know why Ben was so bloody back in “316”.  It wasn’t Penny’s blood, or even Desmond’s; it was his own.

One other thing to make note of here: Ben is once again paralyzed when he thinks he’s about to ruin a mother’s relationship with her child.  He simply cannot complete the mission he set himself on.  I think that even if Desmond weren’t there to make sure the killing didn’t happen, I suspect that Penny and little Charlie would have escaped.

“What lies in the shadow of the statue?”

shadowofthestatus

No matter how strange the situation was back on the main island, once Lapidus heard this question, he must have been really wishing he hadn’t left.  Poor Frank has no clue what Ilana’s talking about, and we the viewers are only slightly more clued in.  Certainly, Ilana is talking about the 4-toed statue.  But what lies in the shadow?  The smoke monster?  The temple? Death?  Of course, it’s clearly just a passcode, but it’ll be interesting to know the answer.  And perhaps even more interesting will be *who* knows the answer.  I speculated on Ilana’s alignment earlier, but one thing that seems to be clear…she’s making a beeline for the main island, and I bet her destination is the Temple.

“I did kill Alex…and now I have to answer for that.”

Obviously, the big payoff of the episode is Ben’s confrontation with the smoke monster.  But before I discuss that directly, I want to touch on something.  Does it strike any of you as odd that Locke continues to find ways to be conveniently absent when the smoke monster is summoned/approaching?   With all that went in on this sequence, it’s easy to think that his disappearance (heck, Ben *did* fall into a hole) was happenstance.  But I seriously doubt that it was coincidence.  Locke not only appears to be in tune with the island, but I would venture to guess that he is now *part* of the island in some way.  He doesn’t seem to be around when Christian, the smoke monster, or any “apparition” appears.  I’m going out on a limb a bit here, but it seems to convenient.  I’ve definitely got my eye on Locke and his whereabouts in relation to other island phenomena.

monsterandanubis

In terms of the structure itself that Ben fell into, it’s got the requisite Egyptian markings, as expected.  But what may not have been expected, was a quick glimpse of Anubis, apparently summoning the smoke monster.  It’s almost a given now that the 4-toed statue is indeed Anubis, considering everything we know to date.  Additionally, knowing that Anubis is the Egyptian god of the afterlife, it’s not overly surprising to see him summoning the smoke monster to do his bidding.  The whole thing fits almost *too* well.

4toedstatuebehind

Ben gets judged

You know, when I first read the listing for this episode, I wasn’t convinced that Ben was actually going to go face-to-face with the monster.  After all, it’s one thing to summon something, and it’s another thing entirely to actually confront it.  But thankfully, it wasn’t a head fake, and we actually did get to see Ben get fully enveloped by the smoke monster, and face its judgment.

benandthesmokemonster

I have a little curveball I want to throw you though.  While we don’t know *exactly* what the smoke monster is doing, it certainly appears as though it’s judging its victim’s intentions.  Locke originally came in contact with the monster and was spared.  Later, he came in contact with it and was almost dragged down into its corridors.  Eko first met the smoke monster and escaped unscathed.  later he met it, seemingly unrepentant, and has killed by it.  Of course, we also know the monster killed the pilot in the first episode, and it tried to get to Juliet and Kate unsuccessfully.  Following the pattern, you can make a case that the monster judges a person’s true intentions, and if they are pure in heart, they escape and live to see another day.

But what if that’s *not* what Smokey is doing?  As part of Ben’s past unfolded in this episode, we came to see a man that truly loved his daughter, and tried to keep her safe.  But towards the end of Alex’s life, Ben went a different route.  First, he sent her to to imminent danger with her mother and Karl (in which both of them were killed).  Then, when Keamy presented him with a clear choice, he opted for safety as opposed to his daughter’s life.  So…is repentance enough to escape the wrath of the smoke monster?  Perhaps that’s all it is.  But my theory goes just a little bit differently.  I think it’s at least a possibility that Smokey is not judging a person’s nature or level of repentance, but instead, whether or not they have done, or will do, the island’s bidding.

I equate the entire Ben/Alex situation with Locke and his father.  Ben declared that the island wanted Locke to kill his dad, because not doing so would continue to hinder Locke’s growth as a human being.  He’d always have that bit of his past dragging him down, influencing his decisions for years and years into the future.  But if he killed him…well, then he could overcome that anchor to his thoughts and actions.  He could become whatever it was he needed to be.  Now, apply that logic to Ben.  His mother died minutes after he was born, and now that situation hangs around his neck like a dog collar.  When he’s ordered to kill Danielle, he can’t…because that issue still dominates his psyche.  The island knows this.  That’s why the island sent him on the quest in the first place.  But perhaps, now that he “allowed” Alex to die willingly, he has fulfilled the island’s wishes.  Now, when he comes to be judged by the monster, he “passes”…because Alex is dead.  Maybe the island doesn’t give a crap if he’s repentant; maybe the island cares if he does what he’s supposed to do.  That’s a bit out in left field, but I think it still fits without knowing the exact intent of the monster.

Apparition Alex puts Ben in his place

alexscoldsben

I love the last few moments of the episode.  While we can’t say that the apparitions and the smoke monster are one in the same, we can certainly say that they’re attached at the hip.  You often see one right before or after the other.  And this case is no different.  Ben has to be doing a major exhale after escaping the clutches of the monster, but his relief is short-lived.  Right after that encounter, he faces off with Alex’s ghost, who’s got him all kids of figured out.  “I will hunt you down and destroy you” is the warning that Ben receives, if he doesn’t follow the man he’s already tried to kill twice.  Locke is now officially running the show, as demanded by the island, and Ben has no choice but to follow his lead.

Post-episode questions

  1. What are Locke’s next steps?  How is he going to help Sun find Jin?
  2. Is Ben really going to follow Locke unconditionally?
  3. What the heck is Ilana and her crew up to?  What’s the answer to their riddle, and who knows it?
  4. Why did Ben tell Danielle to avoid the whispers?  Was it to sabotage her, or to help her?
  5. How are Smokey and the apparitions related?  Are they actually one in the same?

That’s all for this week, thanks for visiting!





LOST Recap: Season 5, Episode 11: “Whatever Happened, Happened”

3 04 2009

The calm before the storm.  Do any of you feel like that’s right where we are now with LOST?  I don’t want to downplay this episode much, because we got two huge answers that, quite frankly, I didn’t see coming at all.  But the preview for next week, coupled with just the general direction that the Dharmaville storyline is taking, leaves me to believe that something really special and large in scale is right around the corner.  But I guess that’s getting a bit ahead of ourselves, isn’t it?  First, let’s discuss “Whatever Happened, Happened”, because there were some pretty cool revelations…

Ben’s been shot on the right side…no, no, no, on HIS right side

benshotbysayid

benbleedingeverywhere

Alright, is it me, or was Ben shot on his left side (Sayid’s right) last episode, only to have the wound show up on his right side this episode?  I only ask because I included a screen shot of it last week, and it clearly seems to have moved.  You really don’t expect those kinds of errors from the crack effects/make-up teams on LOST.  But I guess they’re entitled to a mistake now and then…right?

Kate carries on the Littleton tradition

katevisitscassidy

Wasn’t the lullaby that Kate was singing to Aaron the same one that Claire had sung to her when she was younger?  Nice job by Kate to remember that, and share it with Aaron.  Actually, although this scene technically takes place fairly soon after the Oceanic 6 get back to the mainland, Kate does a masterful job of growing up in this episode.  It’s cool to see so many of the original characters grow in ways you wouldn’t expect based upon their actions in Season 1.  And Kate’s definitely not the only way to make a seemingly out-of-place decision in this episode…

“We’ve only got three janitors: there’s Roger, Willie, and that new guy, I just met him…his name is Jack”

Sawyer’s always been a clever chap, and getting promoted to Dharmaville’s head of security hasn’t changed that at all.  The way he asks for Roger’s keys so that he can allow him to incriminate himself is sheer brilliance.  But the fact that Goodspeed is aware that Jack had the ability to let Sayid out creates a pretty ominous situation.  Do you think that anyone would have reason to frame Jack for the situation?  If not at the start of the episode, perhaps by the end of it?  Things are becoming very interesting around Dharmaville these days…

“What the hell are you doing, Tubby?”

“Checking to see if I’m disappearing.”  Absolutely awesome dialogue here between Hurley and Miles.  The fact that the writers could tell, months in advance, that conversations would be happening around the internet just like this one after last week’s episode is really amazing.  What’s even better is that they use the conversation to once again hammer home the idea that “Whatever Happened, Happened.”  There is no magically changing the past like Back to the Future.  Ben had always been shot by Sayid, we just didn’t know it.  Of course, I went over this with last week’s recap.  So why rehash it?  Well, other than the fact that the scene was yet another nod to us hardcore fans, I think it sets up the table nicely for future episodes.  If we continue to believe Faraday (and so far, there’s no reason not to), then we know that Desmond is the one exception to this rule.  And we know from Eloise Hawking that the island isn’t quite down yet with good ol’ Des.  So don’t be surprised if someone tries to manipulate Desmond into changing past events, Back to the Future style.  Now that the rules have been set and seen, there’s no better time to try to break them.

“If you don’t come with me Jack, that kid is gonna die.”

Wow, so much to glean from just a few minutes of conversation here.  First of all, is this the first time in the entire series that Jack decides not to fix something?   In previous seasons, making a decision like this would be near-impossible for Jack, even if the subject is Ben.  In fact, Jack says as much himself–he’s done this before.  Not only time after time in a general sense, but even this specific case…saving Ben.  But now, somehow, some way, the island has helped Jack see the error of his ways.  This time, instead of following his compulsion to fix anything and everything…instead of doing the thing that wrecked his marriage with Sarah, instead of doing the thing that broke his heart as Kate and Sawyer did their thing in the cages, Jack fights the need to fix things, and instead does nothing.  Actually, it’s more than that.  Jack actually appears to not even have the desire to fix anything…it seems as though he’s kicked that habit altogether.  He’s clearly ready and waiting for the opportunity to fulfill his destiny when the island presents it to him.  Wouldn’t Locke be proud…the man of Science appears to have transformed into a man of Faith.

And simultaneously, he appears to have had enough of Kate’s games, and is putting her right in her place.  Kate knows that Jack has a thing for her.  In fact, she’s known it for awhile.  But this time, Jack knows that Kate knows, and that she tries to use that to her advantage.  But no dice this time.  He’s already given up everything for her.  He’s already saved Ben because she asked him to.  And where did that get him?  Heartache, as he watched she and Sawyer get it on in the cages.  Nope, this time, he’ll have none of it.  And while Kate tries one last, desperate attempt to get Jack to do her bidding: “I don’t like the new you,” Jack refuses to budge, and snaps her back into the reality of her own decisions: “You didn’t like the old me, Kate.”  Wow, truth hurts, doesn’t it.  I could see how alot of people might see Jack as being a cold, uncaring ass in this episode, but not me.  To me, Jack’s been spending the entire series helping everyone else, to the detriment of his own desires and happiness.  Kudos to him for deciding that he’s done being walked on, and that he’s ready to do something that’s right by him for a change.  But if nothing else, it sure as heck seems as though you can write off the Jack-Kate end of the love triangle, doesn’t it?

“She’s a universal donor”

katecontemplating

Amazingly, Kate’s also going through a tremendous transformation right before our eyes, and it’s exactly the opposite of Jack’s.  Kate’s spent the entire series focused on herself: killing her Dad because it made her feel better about her mother’s situation, running from the law instead of facing the truth, even drugging and leaving a man she married because she couldn’t bring herself to do “taco night”.  But now, Kate is doing the right thing.  Instead of running away from the island, she’s come back to it.  Instead of sitting idly by while Ben loses blood, she donates her own.  And there’s more to come, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

Hurley and Miles continue the time travel conversation

milesandhurleytalktimetravel

Seriously, did the writers visit the future themselves when writing this dialogue?  I swear I saw discussions on message boards that were almost *exactly* like the verbal tennis being played in their scenes together.  It’s mind boggling how well these guys know their viewers.  Of course, this part of the conversation ends with Hurley asking the big question that Miles can’t answer: why doesn’t Ben remember Sayid, the man who shot him as a child, when they meet in 2004?  Ah, great question Hurley, and one that we get the definitive answer to later in the episode…

Kate loses Aaron…

…and quite possibly her mind in the process?  Actually, it’s this exact moment that causes Kate to head down the path of realization about what she’s doing.  The vision of Aaron walking with Claire (even though it turns out not to be her) strikes a chord with her.  Suddenly, she realizes not only that she’s been living a lie, but that lie has deprived both others, and herself of true peace and happiness.  But let’s wait for the full revelation before discussing the definitive conclusion about her behavior.

“I ain’t here to stop you, I’m here to help you.”

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And help her he does.  But of course, Kate needs to know the why.  Why would he help her?  Why would he help Ben? (Especially since Jack wouldn’t?)  Well, the answer may have been a bit more than she bargained for.  Sawyer’s helping because it’s what the woman he loves wants him to do.  The answer is, he’s doing it for Juliet.  And really, that makes all the sense in the world.  Remember, even though it’s only been a few episodes for us, it’s been three years that Sawyer and Juliet have been together.  If you compare that to the three months that Sawyer and Kate played footsies, with Jack completing the love triangle, then it’s really a no-brainer.  But the bottom line of it is this: the Sawyer-Kate end of the love triangle appears over, doesn’t it?  Actually, it suddenly appears as though Kate’s got no romantic interest on the island, does she?  Hm…perhaps that’s just wat she needs right now…

“You came back for you!”

Juliet finally gets off her chest what she’s been holding inside since 4 of the 6 O6ers came back to 1977 Dharmaville.  She’s pissed that Jack and friends came back, and she demands to know why.  Why the heck would they break up their happiness?  Of course, she already told him…he’s come back for himself.  And while Jack won’t admit as much directly, he knows it’s true.  Even when the island calls on him to fulfill his destiny, it’ll be about *his* destiny, regardless of whether or not it benefits or impacts anyone else.  By the way, did anyone else think it was odd that Jack decided to put a shirt on right out of the shower, without even drying off?  That was a strange move.

“She had an interesting theory about why you jumped off the chopper…”

Sawyer and Kate’s heart-to-heart scene answers quite a few questions for us.  First, we get confirmation of what many of you thought all along…that last season’s whisper was all about Kate taking care of Sawyer’s daughter.  And in the smae conversation, we get a full-fledged admission from Sawyer: he was looking for an excuse to jump off that helicopter.  He wasn’t ready to play house with Kate, and he wasn’t ready to be a dad.  But the interesting thing is that he appears much more mature now.  If nothing else, he at least appears to be able to talk about what he is, and what he isn’t.  Or at least, what he wasn’t.  Yes, James has grown a lot as an individual these past three years.  It’s no wonder he wants so badly to keep up the Dharma ruse and play house with Juliet.  It almost excuses his behavior from last episode…almost.

Kate comes to grips with her situation…and comes clean to Carole

katetellscaroleall

And the moment that we all hoped would happen finally occurs.  Kate finally tells Carole that Aaron is actually her grandson, and that she, not Kate deserves to raise him.  Certainly the right thing to do, but also incredibly brave on Kate’s part.  And, in what was probably the 2nd most shocking event of the episode, Kate reveals that the reason why she’s going back to the island is to find and rescue Claire.  Wow, I didn’t see that one coming at all.  But it really makes so much sense…much more than if she said she was going back for Sawyer.

Of course, before I move on, I think I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Evangeline Lilly’s amazing performance in this scene, and in the episode as a whole.  The cast has really been doing a fantastic job lately, and Lilly’s work here is no exception.  Her scenes with Aaron haven’t always worked, but if you didn’t feel at least a little tug on the heart strings when she leaves Aaron behind, you don’t have a pulse.

“If I take him, he’s not ever going to be the same again.”

richardtakesbenintothetemple

And thus we get the biggest surprise of the episode, at least the biggest for me.  Ben’s recovery, lack of knowledge of Sayid, and his turn to the menace he is in the future all point to one thing: he’s been brought through the Temple.  I tell ya, that Temple is goose-pimple freaky.  It has the power to heal an irreparable gunshot wound, but it steals a part of your soul in the process.  The same sickness that Rousseau’s crew contracted is also what makes Ben tick.  Not sure about all of you, but I can’t help but to think Pet Sematary on this one.  I hope we get a bit more detail, but it really makes Ben a fully tragic character at this point.  The poor kid has his mother die minutes after he was born, his dad beats the crap out of him regularly, and a complete stranger that he lets out of jail shoots him for no reason.  And what does that get him?  A trip to the Temple..where his humanity is forcefully taken from him, turning him into a pathological liar and tool of the island’s will.  That’s a tough fate for anyone to endure.

One last thing to take from this scene: Richard comments that Charles Widmore and Eloise Hawking are still on the island at this time (makes sense, since Charles said he was tricked into leaving by Ben, and he’s not old enough yet to pull something like that off).  But Richard also makes it quite clear that he doesn’t take orders from them.  So while it looks like Charles may have founded the Others camp, Richard was almost certainly not a part of the original team.  In fact, it looks as though he may have been around much earlier…

Post-episode questions:

  1. What the heck does that Temple do to people?
  2. Who *does* Richard answer to?
  3. What’s Locke got in store for Ben?
  4. Whose blood did Ben have on him back in “316”?  Desmond’s?  Penny’s?  His own?
  5. Are we actually going to see Ben go eye-to-eye with Smokey?  Hoo boy!

That’s it for this week!  Thanks for stopping by!





LOST Recap: Season 5, Episode 10: “He’s Our You”

27 03 2009

And away we go!  As expected, last episode was all about putting the final pieces in place, and starting with this episode, it’s all about moving the narrative forward.  To be fair, there weren’t too many major revelations in this episode, except for the shocking (or perhaps not-so-shocking) ending.  But there were a lot of interesting little pieces of information that you may have missed along the way if you didn’t examine things too closely…

Sayid the chicken killer

So…Sayid was able to kill a chicken with little remorse as a youngster.  That’s pretty telling, especially with the way it dovetails with the episode’s conclusion.  But here’s another piece to take from this: what does Sayid’s actions, especially later in life, tell us about his ability to choose?  I think that’s a theme running all through this episode, and even through the over-arching tale of this season as a whole.  I’ll touch more on that a bit later, once we’ve lined up the body of evidence.

“Brought you a sandwich…and a book.  I’ve read it twice.”

Really, I’ve never been able to truly decipher what the writers want us to glean from the books they strategically place in the show.  “A Separate Reality” seems like a really good title for a possible explanation for the end of this episode, when Sayid ends up shooting Ben.  But if I remember correctly, most of the books shown on LOST indicate what the story is *not* about.  So I’m going to stick with that again, and say that it’s a head fake.  The events in this episode are not a separate reality from what we theoretically know about Dharmaville.  It is, in fact, the same reality we are all too comfortable with.  This is another topic I’ll dive into further detail on later.  But for now, let me just say that I think the book (not ever having read it) is a red herring.

Sayid completes his mission

sayidcompleteshismission

I guess that answers why he was off doing his Habitat for Humanity work earlier in the season.  And it also answers why he was so thoroughly bitter with Ben when the Oceanic 6 had all gathered at the dock before Flight 316.  It would be one thing for Ben to end the crusade against Widmore and his people (assuming he was telling the truth that they were all dead…or that all of the people Sayid hunted down were indeed Widmore allies), but beyond that, Ben tosses Sayid aside like last week’s newspaper.  Sayid had convinced himself that he was Ben’s partner in crime.  But in fact, Sayid was simply a pawn in Ben’s game.  But Sayid was so caught up in what he was doing that he couldn’t see how Ben was playing him…or maybe he simply chose not to.  But now…now that the game is over…Sayid knows that it was all for naught.  Or perhaps, it was all about him coming to grips with who he really is.

Goodspeed and his “interrogation”

Horace really does seem to be one of the few well-intentioned guys in Dharmaville, doesn’t he?  He tries to treat Sayid with respect, and gives him multiple chances to do what Goodspeed thinks is the right thing.  But what I took from this scene is Sayid’s unyielding faithfulness to his friends.  At least at this juncture, he’s prepared to take his knowledge of what’s really going on to the grave in order to protect the LOSTies in Dharmaville.  How ridiculously ironic that the guy he’s protecting the most…Sawyer…will have such a complete moral breakdown, sentencing Sayid to almost certain death, later in the episode.

“It’s over, isn’t it?”

There are times in LOST when you just have to take a step back and admire some of the acting performances on the show.  And Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet) is just absolutely knocking it out of the park right now.  I have to admit, I originally thought that she was miscast, and the whole “defecting Other” role she played in most of Season 3 never really captured my imagination.  But these past few episodes of playing house in Dharmavile…I really think she’s nailing it, more than anyone else on the show in fact.  Great stuff, and it really makes me feel for her character.

“Oh, he’ll talk to me.”

The conversation between Sayid and Sawyer is actually very insightful, if you take a minute to really think about what they’re saying.  Sayid asks Sawyer why he tolerates living with a young Ben Linus, and Sawyer’s response is, “I ain’t got a choice.”  Once more back to fate vs. free will.  Despite the fact that Sawyer is on the outside of the steel bars, he feels less empowered to control his own destiny than a locked-up Sayid.  While Sawyer seems to be losing his backbone with each subsequent appearance in the episode, Sayid becomes more and more empowered to do and say what he wants.

One other interesting thing about this exchange: Sayid offers Sawyer the chance to release him out into the wild of the island, but Sawyer refuses.  He’s concerned about betraying the trust of the rest of the Dharma folk.  Later in the episode he changes his mind…but by then, it’s too little, too late.

“I made a sandwich for you…”

bensdad

Poor little Ben.  It almost makes you feel sorry for him, doesn’t it?  He loses his mom without ever getting to know her, he gets the beatdown from his dad consistently, and some total stranger that he tries to help escape from prison shoots him for apparently no reason.  Is it any wonder that he turns out the way he does?  Oh wait, that’s my end argument…let me get back to that in a bit.  But for now, notice what Ben’s dad tells him: “I’ll tell you what to think.”  Could the writers have beaten the fate vs. free will theme over our heads with any more tenacity?  Well…

“If I can find you, so can the people who found Locke.”

ben_visits_sayid

Ben’s duplicitous and reflexive statement notwithstanding, he’s got Sayid figured out even more than Sayid himself does at this juncture.  Of course, it could be because he actually knows more about Sayid’s actions (circa 1977 especially) than Sayid himself.  But at the heart of the conversation is the real question of the episode, the season, and perhaps the series itself: are we creatures of destiny, or can we control our fate?  If we’re programmed a certain way, if our circumstances are fated to turn out a specific way, is there anything we can do to stop it or change it?  Ben knows that Sayid’s a killer, and Ben knows that the island is not done with Sayid.  And despite Sayid’s protestations to the contrary, he’s going to go kill the guy spying in Hurley, plus several others (despite them trying to do nothing more than tranquilize him), and he’s going to try to kill young Ben back in 1977.  Sayid’s path has already been determined…it’s now just a matter of when he decides to accept it.

Oldham, the hippy interrogator

oldhamandsayid

Hey, if Goodspeed and Sawyer can’t make it happen, then why not some guy in the middle of the jungle who lives in a tent?  While there was no additional info revealed in Sayid’s interrogation, I can’t help but to think about how this would seem to the Dharma folk.  It’s almost as if they’re in the position that we were way back in Season 2.  How the heck does this crazy guy from out of nowhere know so much about what they’re doing?  Actually, it makes me wonder what it would be like to watch LOST over again from the beginning, but in chronological order.  I bet that would be really trippy, and really cool, to see how it all played out.  And I also bet it would be way too much work to ever think about realistically doing.  In any event, it seemed like a cool thought, even if completely unfeasible.

The Dharma mob calls for Sayid’s head

thedharmamob

The decision they all make is not too far from what the original LOSTies may have done if they caught an Other (like Ben in Season 2).  In fact, it’s almost expected.  But if you haven’t been following along all episode, Amy gives you one last chance to hear the words.  They have to kill Sayid.  They have to because they “have no choice.”  Wow, could they be any less obvious?

Of course, the other big thing to get out of this sequence is Sawyer’s complete moral meltdown.  Instead of fighting for what he believes to be right…instead of fighting for his friend’s life, he caves in to peer pressure and the desire to keep up the charade.  Sawyer does the unthinkable and raises his hand when Goodspeed asks for unaninimity.  Way to go Sawyer; I guess playing house with Juliet is more important than Sayid’s life.  It doesn’t look like you’re too ready to make the tough decisions correctly…

Sayid lowers his guard

It’s almost sad how many times Sayid tries to get away from being a killing machine.  But despite his best efforts, he just can’t get away from it.  And this time, it’s Irina that helps him (OK, forcefully drags him in handcuffs) back to his destiny.  Although you had to see this one coming based upon the events of previous episodes, it’s still hard to believe that Sayid got himself caught.  For better or for worse, the island’s not yet done with him…

Little Ben sets Dharmaville ablaze

dharmaablaze

Not too bad for his first act of villainy, is it?  A great distraction, and fairly well thought out.  And he even brought along a little dark hoodie to both disguise himself and look a little evil.  Great job Ben!  Too bad you had absolutely no idea what Sayid’s true agenda was…

By the way, I love the actor playing little Ben.  He comes off as a very believable young version of Ben Linus, but on top of that, he really makes you feel sorry for Ben as a youngster.  Skillful acting from multiple angles in this episode.

Sayid takes out Ben, and jacks up the entire timeline in the process

benshotbysayid

Or does he?  OK, despite it being fairly well telegraphed, it was still a pretty shocking sight to see Sayid put a bullet in a little boy…even if that little boy’s name is Ben Linus.  But don’t jump to conclusions just yet.  I’m a firm subscriber to LOST’s insistence on non-paradoxical time travel.  In other words, whatever happened, happened.  It’s hard to imagine, but Sayid always shot little Ben back in 1977, we just didn’t know it.

I know, some of you are saying, why didn’t Ben know Sayid when they captured him back in Season 2 (circa 2004)?  Well, that’s a great question, but I’ve got a better one: who’s to say that Ben *didn’t* recognize Sayid?  Ben is an accomplished liar.  As I pointed out in a previous entry, he does it with the simplest of discussions and off-hand remarks.  Is it really beyond the realm of possibility that he knew Sayid but simply lied about it?  I certainly think it’s a very valid possibility.

But back to Sayid for a moment.  He was clearly trying to rid himself of years of pain by killing Ben before he ever could neagtively influence his life the way he did.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t aware of Faraday’s knowledge of how the timeline works.  If he did, perhaps he’d try *not* to shoot Ben.  Why?  Well, in essence, if Ben survives (and I’m betting the ranch that he does), then Sayid well have in effect, helped to create his own misery.  His actions against Ben as a child helped to create the monster that Ben is as an adult.  Almost sounds cyclical, doesn’t it?  And if you subscribe to the “whatever happened, happened” theory, then you almost have to wonder as to whether or not Sayid had any real choice in the matter.

If Sayid was always destined to shoot young Ben in 1977, was there any way he could avoid it?  Couple that with Sayid’s nature as a killer, and you have overwhelming circumstances that work against Sayid having any chance of doing anything other than shooting Ben.  When thought in those terms, Sayid’s shooting of Ben was about as inevitable as the Purge, the Incident, and any other activity that we know is going to take place.

So here’s the real kicker: where does the “whatever happened, happened” theory end?  If we can look back to 1977 from 2009 and know what *must* happen because it did, wouldn’t that apply to anyone looking at 2009 from any point in the future?  When we think about the present, we believe we have free will because none if it has happened yet.  We can make decisions and take actions freely because the future is untold.  But all of 1977 Dharma believes that they are in the present, and they can take whatever actions they want.  But the truth of the matter is that we know that Ben lives to grow old.  And we know that Ethan lives to at least 2004.  So their free will, at least with respect to doing something that would get them killed, is in fact, restricted.  (As an aside, wouldn’t it be interesting to know that you wouldn’t die until at least after a certain date?  You could pretty much do anything and know that you’d be safe.  Hey…does that remind you at all about the discussion that Ben and Widmore had with each other?  Is it possible that they’ve met their future selves and know that they will live to at least some point in the future?  Hmm…)

I don’t want to get too metaphysical here (too late?), but I think that LOST really wants us to ask the question of fate vs. free will, especially with this episode, and the season as a whole (Locke is told he will die, the O6 know they must go back).  You could have some really entertaining discussions on this topic using LOST as a springboard, and I hope that some of you might share your thoughts on it below.  But with that, I move on to…

Post-episode questions

  1. What are the LOSTies going to do with Ben?  Will he survive, and if he does, how will his psyche be impacted by this turn of events?
  2. Can Sawyer keep his secret together, or will he be forced to stop playing house with Juliet?
  3. How long will it be before Jack steps in and tries to set things straight?
  4. Will we get to see what Sun is up to on her journey next week?
  5. When the heck will we get to see what’s up with John Locke?

Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you again next week!