Friday, February 27, 2009

Thoughts on Lost - The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham

First of all, I was reading the transcripts of the Darlton podcast from a couple of weeks ago, and I came across some good news: Rose, Bernard, and Vincent are OK. In fact, Damon said they know that if they are going to keep ONE character alive through the end of next season, it will be Vincent. Obviously, they have been reading my blog.

OK, on with the episode:

- Wow, Caesar fits right in here, doesn't he? He's been on the Island for roughly one day, and he's already lying and hiding things from his fellow castaways.

- Nice job by Frank landing the plane, huh? Looks like somebody just set it down on the beach...reminds me of how offended he was when Miles suggested that he may have crashed the helicopter last season: "What kind of pilot do you think I am?" Heh.

- That would have been a nice reveal with Locke pulling back the hood a la Ben Kenobi, if the stupid ABC promo monkeys hadn't shown us the scene in last week's "Next Week on Lost" spot. I guess I'm going to have to go back to not watching the preview scenes.

Also, it has been reported that this set of scenes was originally planned to be the opening segment of the season. I actually think that would have been even better than what we got, as much as I enjoyed the "Faraday is part of Dharma" reveal. Think about it...we meet these two characters in an office that obviously has something to do with Dharma and the Island, based on the files that Caesar found (a map of the Island and a complex diagram that included references to "Space-Time"), then they walk outside and we realize that they are on the Island, and they got there via plane crash, just like our Losties. Then, Locke does his Gandalf act and introduces himself, when the last time we saw him he was in a coffin. Then later, when Jack and the group show up at the airport, both Caesar and Ilana show up and we realize that the flight that crashed was actually the one that our group is on. That scenario has multiple goosebump moments, and I'm not sure why they decided to change their mind.

- OK, so they are not actually on OUR Island...they are on the Hydra Island, where Jack, Kate, and Sawyer were held captive. And, apparently, Frank and Sun decided to take one of the canoes and head on over to the Island, probably to see if they could find Jin. Unfortunately for them, they missed him by roughly 25 years, I would say.

- I loved the little knowing smile that Locke gave when Ilana told him he would have to talk to Caesar if he wanted a passenger list...Locke knows how this works. Plane crashes, people are stranded, confused and scared, and inevitably leaders emerge. Looks like Caesar is this group's Jack.

- And just like the 815 post-crash scene, Locke is the crazy fruit-eating man. "I believe these are the clothes they were going to bury me in...I remember dying." Yeah, OK old man...enjoy your mango.

- So Locke shows up in Tunisia, in the same spot Ben did, roughly 2 years later. This time, somebody was expecting him, apparently, considering the camera that is set up. Later, Widmore will tell Locke that he set the camera up there because that's the "exit." So why didn't he have it set up when Ben showed up there in 2005? Maybe he didn't think anybody else was going to leave the Island the same way he did, until Ben showed up in his hotel room and threatened his daughter. After that, he knew to be watching...probably waiting for Ben.

- NEVER a good sign when your doctor gives you a block of wood to bite down on. And then straps it onto your head.

- The conversation between Locke and Widmore was Lost at its best: extremely informative, and maddeningly mysterious. Let's look at the information he revealed, and then some ramifications/theories...
  • Widmore was the leader of the Others until Ben somehow forced him out...on one hand, he said Ben "fooled" him into leaving, but then he also said that Ben "exiled" him. To me, "exiled" leads you to believe that Widmore was somehow being punished for something, and that his punishment was banishment from the Island. (Also liked the little aside from Widmore that they were not "Others" to him, they were his people. Locke seemed a little embarrassed at that point, probably because he believes that he should feel the same way).
  • Widmore said they protected the Island "peacefully" for more than three decades.
  • Widmore is going to help Locke bring everybody back, because Locke needs to be on the Island when the coming "war" starts, or the wrong side will win.
So what to make of all of that? I have a couple of theories.
  • We know that Richard was the leader in 1954...if Widmore took over for some reason (more on that in a minute) in the late 50's/early 60's, then his "peaceful reign" of more than three decades would have taken him right up to the early 90's. The Purge of the Dharma Initiative happened in December 1992, according to Lostpedia's timeline. Remember back when Locke, Hurley, and Ben were all at the burial pit? Ben told Hurley that it was not his decision to kill off Dharma. Hurley responded that he thought Ben was the leader, and Ben replied, "...not always." Now, Widmore is saying that Ben fooled him somehow, and it lead to his being exiled from the Island. What if Ben somehow manipulated Widmore into killing off Dharma, only to then condemn him for it and "punish" him by banishing him from the Island? We found out earlier this season that Widmore started funding Daniel's research in 1994, and in 1996 he was winning the Black Rock first mate's journal at an auction. To me, that fits right in with my theory...Widmore left the Island in late '92/early '93, and immediately started trying to find his way back to the Island, ultimately culminating in holding a boat race around the world that Desmond enters and ends up on the Island, turning the fail-safe key that makes the Island visible, saving Charlie so that he can make contact with Penny, etc, etc...
Just a theory.
  • So...what is this "war," and how does John being on the Island affect the outcome? And why and how does Widmore seem to have foreknowledge of it? No clue, but I wonder if this is not the "violent purge" that Pierre Chang refers to in the video that was released at this year's Comic-Con?

- One more thing...Richard was the leader of the Others in 1954, and we know he's still around. Why was there even a need for another leader? Why couldn't Richard just continue as the leader, since he obviously doesn't have to worry about getting too old for the position? Maybe, as a friend of mine has proposed (hi, Amanda!), Richard is still the one who is really in charge, and he only puts others in his place when he needs them to do something "unsavory?" You know, like kill a bunch of people, or turn the Frozen Donkey Wheel? I don't know, but I think I believe like my brother said...if we ever figure out what's up with RICHARD, we've probably come close to figuring out what's really up with the ISLAND.

Also, Richard told Locke he would have to die, but Widmore didn't seem to know anything about that. Maybe these who have some knowledge of the future (Widmore, Alpert, Ms. Hawking, etc) only have access to certain "pieces" of the timeline? That would make sense, to me...they aren't supposed to be omniscient beings, anyway.

- Ugh, my heart sank when Abaddon broke out the wheelchair. Poor John.

- "The whole world thinks you're dead. There must be somebody who'd be happy to see you."
"Please don't talk to me."

Yeah, in other words, please don't remind me that I have NOBODY on this planet who would be happy to hear from me, even though I haven't been heard from in three years. Poor John.

- OK, so we have some more unanswered questions when it comes to Sayid. Since he came back from the Island he was married to Nadia for 9 months, worked as an assassin for 2 years, and now is acting as the Dominican Jimmy Carter. And seems very content doing so. The next time we see him, he is putting a bullet through a guy's brain outside of Santa Rosa Mental Institution and busting Hurley out. So what happens to change his mind? It certainly wasn't his visit from "Bentham," as we assumed before.

Oh and thanks, Sayid, for reminding Locke that he has nowhere else to go, if he can't go back to the Island. Poor John.

- But the talk from Sayid of marrying the woman he loves triggers Locke to start looking for Helen. The one person off the Island who MIGHT be happy to hear from him. Maybe.

- Loved the scene with Locke and Walt...they had such a great relationship on the Island, so this is a nice little reunion, complete with the "Boy got big" crack from Abaddon which is now required for every scene involving off-Island Walt. And, ultimately, Locke still has a soft spot for Walt, as he can't bring himself to tell him that the freighter that his Dad was on was blown to smithereens.

Couple of things here...Walt seems to have no recollection of "visiting" Locke after he was shot by Ben...maybe on Walt's timeline it hasn't happened yet, or maybe it wasn't actually Walt at all?

And Walt is obviously still a "special" boy...dreaming of Locke's future on the Island in a suit. But interesting that John is surrounded by people who want to "hurt" him in Walt's dream.

- Next up on the Locke's Magical Mystery Tour is Hurley. Funny bit when Hurley thinks Locke is dead, since all of the other people he has been seeing is dead. And maybe Locke could have convinced him, until he looks up and sees Abaddon, the guy who scared the crap out of him last time he was there. So, once again, whatever reason Hurley decided to go back to the Island, it was NOT because of his visit from Bentham.

- Wonder who else Abaddon directed on to Flight 815? Jack? If so, he would have to be responsible for Christian's death. Kate? If so, he would have to have some control over the US Marshalls.

Claire? Maybe the psychic (Richard Malkin) has a similar position as Abaddon, since he was involved in both Claire and Eko's travels? He put Claire on the plane to go to the potential adoptive parents for Aaron, and Eko was traveling back from Malkin's home after investigating the miracle of his daughter's resurrection.

I wonder if we go back and look at why all of these people were on this flight, we may find that most if not all were somehow "directed" by someone working for Widmore?

- Next up for Locke...Kate. Remember, this has to be not long after she and Jack have split up, which may explain why she's ready to just put the whole thing behind her and move on.

And not only does he strike out again, but he gets a verbal smackdown from Kate regarding his relationship with Helen and why it didn't work out. Poor John.

- Good grief, more tragedy for John...Helen is dead. And Abaddon may be right, she may have died anyway, regardless of whether Locke had never gone to the Island, but Locke knows he could have been happy with her while it lasted, just like Sayid was with Nadia. But now she's dead. The one person off-Island who he wanted to see, and who he thought might actually want to see him. Poor John.

- WOAH! The back windshield has Abaddon all over it! Did NOT see that coming. Bummer.

- And Locke wakes up to see drug-addled, fugly beard-growing, boozy Jack staring at him. Jack is in a pretty weird place right now, remember...he's seeing his dead Dad all over the place, Hurley is telling him that maybe they should go back to the Island, he just broke up with Kate over Sawyer, and now Locke, who he last saw at the Orchid, is now in his hospital trying to convince him (once again) of destiny and faith and fate and Locke's overall unique snowflakeness. not to mention that he's referencing his father, who Jack just can't seem to get away from. So, no wonder he's having none of it. And, he puts the final nail in Locke's self-confidence on his way were never important, you're just a lonely old man seeking for meaning where there is none. Ouch. Poor John.

One thing that bothers me about this scene...Jack told Ben back in the season premiere that Locke told him that everybody back on the Island would die if they didn't go back. However, Locke did not say that in this conversation. If you have a theory regarding that, please let me know, because otherwise it was sloppy writing.

- And, that does it for Locke. I really think that his suicide attempt was 25% attempt to fulfill what Richard said about his death being the only way to get everybody back, 75% legitimate defeat and depression. There is seriously NOTHING left for him off-Island, and if dying is the only way to get back, then dying is his only hope. Now THAT is depressing. And Terry O'Quinn knocked it out of the park in this scene. His whole demeanor portrayed defeat, anger, desperation, the tiniest tinge of hope, but underneath it all a definite sense of purpose. Painful to watch, especially for somebody who loves this character as much as I do, but mesmerizing at the same time.

And I honestly don't know what to make of Ben in this scene, so my thoughts may be a little disjointed...he bursts in at PRECISELY the right moment, proclaiming that he has been watching the O6 to help keep them "safe," and ultimately stopping Locke from going through with it by informing him of Jack's Death Wish Flights. Blames Widmore for "using" John (wow...pot/kettle). He certainly knows which button to push: "You have no idea how important you are."

I think he was legitimately surprised that Jin is alive, but you can almost SEE the wheels turning when he finds out...this is a way to get Sun to go BACK to the Island, not a way to keep her away, and his cunning little mind decides that immediately. "A promise is a promise" ....whatever.

Looks like he has Locke as his sidekick again, until Locke says the magic words "Eloise Hawking." At which point, in my opinion, he just snaps and kill him. But why?
  • Maybe he thinks that if John can get to Eloise, she'll give him the answers he needs and then he won't be so easily manipulated anymore?
  • Maybe because he thinks that the only way Locke could know that name is if Christian/Jacob told him? Remember, the last time he tried to kill John it was after he found out that Locke could hear Jacob, so he seems to have a little jealous streak when it comes to his relationship with Jacob.
Gotta admit, this one has thrown me, especially considering that Ben KNOWS that Locke has to go back with him (he's the one who told Jack when they were in the funeral home, after all). Maybe he was planning on involving Hawking without letting Locke know, but once he discovered that Locke knew about Hawking that became too tricky? I don't's hard to shake my impression that the decision to kill Locke was NOT premeditated, and that once that was done Ben had to adjust his plans. After all...he ALWAYS has a plan.

Maybe he was planning on using Locke to get back to the Island until he snapped and killed him, so than he adjusted and started using JACK instead?

That was basically the end, except for the reveal that Ben is in fact back on the Island, on the same timeline as Locke, Sun, and Lapidus. Any theories as to what caused the difference? Why are Kate, Jack, and Hurley in Dharma days, while everybody else stayed on the "current" timeline?

Overall, yet another fantastic episode...but is it just me, or are we back to piling question upon question? I am as confused now as I was back in Season 1. Not that this is a bad thing, as I trust the writers to answer the questions in their typical mind-blowing fashion.

- What happened to change Sayid's mind?
- What happened to change Hurley's mind?
- What is the coming war, and why is Locke so important to the outcome?
- Are Widmore and Ben really on opposite sides of this war, or are they fighting some other entity, and they are just in disagreement as to methods?
- What is going on with Walt's dreams, and is he supposed to go back to the Island as well?
- What is going on with the separate timelines of the flight 316 survivors?
- WHAT IS BEN UP TO?!?!?!?
- Whose side is Christian/Jacob on?

Seriously, I could keep going....but it's getting late. Feel free to post any theories...I'm starting to feel like my brain is turning to mush. Am I missing some obvious answers to some of these questions I have?

Oh my nose bleeding?


1 comment:

Shan said...

Epic posting, dude (TM Hurley).

As usual, we see much of this the same way. However, I really, really like your thought about Widmore's timeline. I just ran with the "thirty years" from when Widmore was 17, which in hindsight, probably doesn't work quite as well as your numbers. Richard was clearly in charge in 1954, and it makes sense that it would be at least a few years before Widmore would "grow up" and assume some mantle of leadership. All that dovetails nicely with the "purge" and the beginning Widmore's off island activities. (That also suggests that there's much, much more to Penny's "childhood" and parentage than we know).

And what the FRAK is Ben up to?