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Lost Season 5 Episode 12: Dead is Dead

Any issues I had with a slowdown in last week’s Kate episode, were definitely resolved tonight thanks to a focus on Ben, Widmore, and Locke.  Let’s break it down.

The episode opened in ’77 with a man entering the Others camp on horseback.  His first stop after dismounting is to get in Richard Alpert’s face and chastise him for saving Young Ben.  Richard quickly responds that the Jacob wanted it done and that we all know the island chooses who the island chooses.  This seems to satisfy the man, who asks for the boy’s name and enters the tent.  After telling Young Ben that living with Dharma doesn’t mean he can’t be one of them, he introduces himself as Charles Widmore.  I had a major ‘oh duh’ moment when this was revealed.  For some reason I didn’t see this coming, and I feel like after last week it should have been pretty obvious.  Ultimately I think the fact that this guy didn’t seem to look anything like old man Widmore must have been what fooled me.  

Ahead to 2007 and Locke sitting next to Ben in the infirmary when Ben wakes up.  Ben immediately tells Locke that he knew he would be resurrected, to which Locke asks why Ben seems so surprised to see him then.  Ben, quick on his feet as always, tells Locke while he believed it, it’s another thing to actually see it.  Ben also tells Locke that he’s headed to the main island to be judged for breaking the island’s rules. Like the rest of us, Locke wants to know who is going to the judging.  Ben says they don’t have a word for it, but I believe you call it The Monster.  Awesome–who hasn’t thought about Ben getting ravaged by Smokey ever since we saw Mr. Eko get devoured?  I must admit though, that Ben has become a character I love to hate.  I find myself wanting to see what web of bullshit he’ll spin next.  Speaking of, Ben promptly makes an ally of Cesar, by planting some serious doubt about Locke.

Next, we cut to a 20-something Ben and Ethan at approximately age 12.  Ethan’s making a bunch of noise and almost blows their cover as they sneak up on a sleeping Danielle.  As we guessed, Ben steals Baby Alex.  In addition, he tells Danielle that if she wants to live, every time she hears whispers she has to run the other way.  I believe this is the first time anyone has openly acknowledged that the whispers are the cue that the Others are coming.

In Ben’s old office in 2007, Locke decides it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room. Ben is quick to tell Locke that killing him was the only way to get the band back together to play the Island Reunion Tour ’07.  Ben also reminds us that like so many other things, he did it for the best interests of the island. Locke cracked me up with, “I was just hoping for an apology,” then telling Ben that he would like to help him go and get judged. At this point I was already starting to enjoy this new Locke.  In addition to being resurrected, it appears the Island gave him a pair of balls.  The head for one of the canoes on the beach, but are confronted by Cesar a a few guys.  Cesar starts getting in Locke’s face and questioning his motives.  After leading us to believe he’s going to throw Locke under the bus, Ben surprises Cesar by pulling out the sawed-off shotgun he stole from him and giving him a slug to the chest.  Ben looks at the other men and says, “This gentleman and I are going to take a boat, does anyone else have a problem with that?”  I love when Ben talks shit.  Once back on the mainland, Locke figures out that they’re heading to Ben’s old house so he can summon Smokey.  Locke also calls bullshit on Ben for the second time tonight, as he figures out that this has nothing to do with breaking the rules and everything to do with Ben letting Alex die.

This leads us into another flashback to 20-something Ben, this time with a middle-aged Widmore who is now old enough to played by Alan Dale.  Charles is upset with Ben for failing to kill Danielle and Alex, and reminds Ben that he is making decisions for the good of the island.  Ben asks if that’s what Jacob wants and then offers Baby Alex to Charles so he can kill her himself.  Rather than kill the child, Charles turns and walks away.  I may be premature, but I think this is the moment when Ben asserts control over The Others and Widmore starts to become diminished.

Now we’re back in 2007 Dharmaville, and Locke wants to know why the Others moved in after killing the hippies.  Before Ben can spew more lies, a light comes on in Alex’s old room.  Locke tells Ben to go check it out, and after some brief suspense it turns out to be Sun & Frank.  We find out that Christian told them to wait for John Locke, and they think that’s crazy talk.  Ben tells them to look out the window.  John tells his resurrection story and Sun doesn’t believe him–but Lapidus REALLY doesn’t believe him and plans to head back to the crash site.  Locke warns Sun that her only chance to see Jin is by coming along, so Frank heads back solo.  Locke tells Sun that Ben has something to take care of, so Ben goes into his cubby-hole and summons the smoke monster by pulling a drain plug and talking into a hole in the ground.

Back to the Others and Ben is a bit older–looks like the late eighties since Alex is about 3 or 4 and the Others are now in Dharmaville.  Richard Alpert walks up and lets Ben know that the submarine is about to leave.  Even the Richard tells him he doesn’t have to Ben makes a point to go to the dock to see a handcuffed and somewhat older Charles Widmore being escorted to the sub.  Ben doesn’t miss the opportunity to chastise Widmore, telling him this is what he gets for breaking the rules by leaving the island all the time and fathering a child with ‘an outsider’.  Widmore makes it clear this isn’t over and says, “I’ll be seeing you boy.”

In 2007 Dharmaville, Sun tells Ben she doesn’t believe Locke was really dead.  Without confessing, Ben assures her he was, then tells her how surprised he is that Locke was resurrected.  He says that ‘dead is dead’ and that the resurrected Locke scares the living hell out of him.  After a rustle in the bushes, Ben tells Sun to go inside because he can’t control what’s about to come out, and that’s when instead of the smoke monster, Locke appears out of the jungle.  I see two meaning here and I think both are true.  This is confirmation that while Ben was able to summon the smoke monster in season four, he did not ultimately have control over it.  Also, I think this is a clue that Ben is no longer calling the shots.  Since Smokey isn’t showing up, Locke decides they have to take a walk.

Back at the dock in Los Angeles, but not at night, Ben is on the phone with Widmore.  He called just to tell Charles that he is going to kill Penny.

Cut to Sun, Ben, and Locke walking through the jungle.  Ben wants to know how Locke just knows where to go, and John tells him that now he knows what it was like to be him before.  Ben figures out they’re going to the temple about 50 yards before they get there.  Locke stops been from opening the door and points him toward the hole in the ground that Danielle’s unfortunate shipmate got dragged into by the smoke monster.  Before climbing down, Ben tells Sun if she ever gets off the island, he needs her to find Desmond and apologize for him.

Cut back to Ben at the dock.  He shoots Desmond and approaches Penny with his gun raised.  Toddler Charlie comes up from the cabin, distracting Ben long enough for a wounded and adrenaline filled Desmond to tackle and beat the absolute shit out of him.  I had been thinking and hoping all along that Desmond was the one who worked Ben over, so I’m glad to see I was right on that one.  Like it or not, I’m a fan of Desmond/Penny.  Here’s hoping they find their way back to the island as well.

In an odd sequence that I hope will make more sense before the end of the season, Lapidus arrives back at the small island, only to have Ilana knock his ass out after he fails to answer her riddle, “What lies in the shadow of the statue?”  It seems like I heard some speculation that the rest of the people who survived the crash were really Others, but my money  says they are Widmore employees.  I mean you can’t tell me he didn’t have a search setup to notify him when Hugo Reyes decided to buy a last minute plane ticket (or 79).

The big scene this week came with Locke and Ben walking through a tunnel under the temple.  Ben is acting very strange and then insists he can proceed on his own.  Locke agrees and Ben promptly falls through the floor into another chamber.  Locke leaves to find a way out, leaving Ben to explore the chamber.  Ben approaches an altar with a hieroglyph depicting Anubis interacting with what appears to be the smoke monster.  There is a large stone in the floor with a grid of holes, and just as Ben starts to look at it, the smoke monster begins to enter the room through the holes.  It quickly surrounds Ben, and we then switch to a perspective inside the smoke monster, where Ben is shown a series of his own memories about Alex.  After making Ben relive the moment of Alex’s death, the monster dissipates and reveals a corporeal Alex.  Ben’s joy is short-lived as Alex slams him against a column and says she already sees his thoughts about killing Locke again, and threatens to kill him if he doesn’t vow to obey John Locke.  Ben agrees and Alex disappears.  Moments later, Locke appears with a vine to lift Ben out and asks what happened.  Ben says, “It let me live.” LOST

I’ve rattled on a bit too long tonight, but I guess that shows how much I enjoyed this episode.  I am really enjoying this new version of Locke, and I hope it isn’t just a tease.  I would like to think that despite their wishes, both Widmore and Ben are no longer leaders on the Island.  I expect Locke to reunite the Oceanic 815 survivors (including Rose & Bernard) and take his place among the Others.

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April 8, 2009 Posted by | Drama, Scifi, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lost Season 5 Episode 12: Dead is Dead

Lost Season 5 Episode 9: Namaste

The last 13 days have been painful.  This is the longest we have gone without a new episode of Lost since season five premiered in January.  After this brief layoff, I am dreading the long 8 months that will separate the end of season five and the premiere of season six.  I decided to mix a spoiler-laden recap with my own thoughts, analysis, and speculation, so this post is a bit longer than most.

The only positive thing for me about our week off, was I got to experience a higher level of excitement when my brain caught up and realized it was time for Lost again.  One moment, I was using my iPhone and hitting play on the DVR and the next my brain was shouting, “Oh Shit, It’s the Ajira plane!  We’re going to see the trip back to the island from the perspective of the people who didn’t get flashed off the plane!”

That’s exactly what we got to see.  We got some sweet Lapidus-as-hero action as he navigated the stalled plane to a safe landing on the much talked about Dharma runway on the second island.  I was glad to see this validated since it’s been the subject of so much online gossip since the 316 episode.  Captain Lapidus awakens on the ground in the cockpit, only to discover his copilot has come down with a terminal case of Tree Branch Through the Chest Syndrome.  Back in the cabin, Cesar introduces himself to the Marshal who had escorted Sayid onto the plane.  It seemed to me that this introduction was solely to remind all of us what Cesar’s name is, so I guess he’ll be around for at least a few episodes.  The next reveal is that Lapidus isn’t the only alumnus who didn’t disappear in the flash–Sun and Ben are with all the newbies as well.  Cue the first brain melting moment of the night…

30 Years Earlier

Oh. Shit.  Without sounding to cocky, I kind of felt this coming, but it was still something totally different to see it in black and white on the screen.  I think we all knew it couldn’t be super easy for everyone to just flash back to the island and live happily ever after.  What I’m very interested in is the explanation of why Sun, Ben, and Lapidus weren’t cool enough to get flashed off the plane.

So Ajira crash minus 30 years, Jack tells Sawyer that Locke is dead, and Sawyer drops some knowledge of his own by telling us all that it’s 1977.  Cue Hurley with the line of the night: “Uh….what?”  Back at Dharma camp, Juliet is a bit too frantic at the security station, asking Miles where James has gone.  Maybe it’s the three years of relationship we didn’t get to see, but for me the whole Juliet-as-worried-girlfriend/wife/whatever just doesn’t come off as believable.  Back to the Oceanic 3, and we see an interesting side of Sawyer as he tells the gang that he doesn’t want to ‘screw everything up that they have with Dharma’.  Again, I wish we could have seen more of the missing three years, but I get the distinct impression that old Sawyer may be happy with his new Dharma day job.  Jin, having found out from Jack and Co. that Sun was on the plane, races to The Flame to see if Radzinski has spotted any planes landing/crashing on the island.  Radzinksi blows Jin off, and we get to see a flash of the old pre-island Jin come out as he gets physical in convincing Radzinski to call the other stations for a report.

Fast Forward to Sun on the beach.  The Marshal is starting to quiz Sun when Lapidus gathers the group and informs them the radio is broken and wherever they landed, it isn’t on his charts.  Well no shit.  Cesar seems to be unhappy with Captain Lapidus assuming the leadership role and starts running his mouth about buildings and animal cages on the island.  Cue Ben, who goes running into the jungle.  As an aside–I’ve always thought Ben looked like a rodent of some kind, and when Cesar was talking, I think I saw Ben perk up like a caged mouse who can smell the cheese before it’s dropped in his cage.  No surprise that Sun follows after Ben.

Back to the 70s and Juliet is snooping.  She wakes Amy from a nap on accident, and then decides to check on the baby.  Brain melting moment 2:

Amy & Horace’s baby is Ethan.  And now we understand why he’s so loyal to Ben.  Obviously young Ben makes a disciple of Ethan at an early age.  Back at The Flame, we have a Code 14J, also known as a Hostile in Dharma territory.  Jin grabs a rifle and runs out into the jungle only to find Sayid wandering around.  Before he can fill Sayid in, Radzinski shows up with his rifle and forces Jin to play along, taking Sayid into custody.  Back in the Dharma bus, Sawyer is telling Jack, Kate and Hurley what they need to do to fit in as recruits who are fresh of the submarine.  In the process, Hurley asks if Sawyer is planning to save the Dharma people from the Others.  Sawyer explains that Faraday doesn’t think it works like that.  Then we find out that “Faraday isn’t here anymore.”  So what’s up?  Did Daniel hop a sub back to the mainland?  Did he die?  Did he decide to give the donkey wheel a spin?  Whatever the answer, my money is on it having something to do with Desmond.  The new recruits get welcomed, but not before Miles shows up looking for an explanation from LaFleur about his disappearance.  I enjoyed watching the look on Miles’s face when he saw Jack, Kate, and Hurley.

Back to Ben and Sun, who are joined in the jungle by Lapidus.  Even he knows better than to trust Ben, but Sun seems determined to follow Ben to the outriggers and then to the main island.  Just when I started wondering what the hell Sun was thinking, Ben decided to start a monologue about his responsibilities and what his plan on the main island was and just when he gave enough details WHAM!  Sun cracks him upside the dome with an oar.  Nice.

A bonus character intersection at Dharma Orientation as Jack meets with Pierre Chang, Dharma’s resident orientation film star.  We find out the apparently Sawyer has earned the respect of Chang, then we are treated to a funny parallel of Ben’s father’s orientation as Jack is informed he will be a Workman.  I’m sure Sawyer had a hand in making Jack a janitor.  Just as Kate is about to be busted by Security Phil, Juliet arrives to save the day with a sweet line of bullshit.  Back to Sawyer arriving at The Flame, and we discover that in 1977, The Swan is apparently nothing more than a model Radzinski is working on.

Back in 2007, Sun and Lapidus arrive at a trashed Dharma camp that is occupied by a smoke monster and brain melter number three of the night: Christian Shephard.  Oh man this is getting good.  I don’t know why it took me this long to believe it, but I think Christian is alive.  I never had a problem believing Locke was brought back by the island, so I don’t see any reason that couldn’t apply to Christian as well.  Apparently he knows a little something as well since he tells Frank and Sun that they have “quite a journey” ahead of them.

The episode wraps up back in 77 with an increasingly suspicious Security Phil wondering why Jack the Janitor is dropping in on Lafleur, Master of Security.  Jack gets surprised with a Juliet reunion, followed by the reveal that she lives with Sawyer.  The scene that follows between Jack and Sawyer was my favorite of the night.  It really seems that three years with real responsibility have given Sawyer some much needed perspective.  He proceeds to serve jack a big slice of humble pie when he reminds Jack that all the actions Jack took were reactive, whereas he prefers to stop and think in order to come up with the right solution.  It really underscored for me the journey in opposite directions that Jack and Sawyer have been on in the three years since they last saw each other.  Sawyer built a life and a career based on fulfilling responsibility to Dharma and Juliet, while Jack has done nothing more than become a self-pitying drunk and painkiller addict.

The closing scene is a nice reveal of a young boy visiting Sayid in Dharma jail to bring him a sandwich.  Who is that young man with the rodent-like features and dorky circular glasses?  Why Ben Linus of course.  And now Sayid (who didn’t get Faraday’s memo about altering the past) may have a new plan of his own.

March 18, 2009 Posted by | Drama, Science, Scifi, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lost Season 5 Episode 6: 316

This may seem strange for a guy who writes almost exclusively about television shows, but I’ve actually been too caught up enjoying the fifth season of Lost to even think about writing about it.

I’m not going to rehash the first five episodes here for two reasons: 1) By now anyone who cares should already know what happened, and 2) I’m still processing the episodes in my mind and have saved them on the DVR so I can re-watch them later to catch anything I may have missed.

Cue the spoilers…

Tonight’s episode gave us exactly what we’ve been waiting for–Jack and the gang back on the island.  Obviously how much of the gang remains to be seen, but I think they all probably made it just fine.  I’d love it if the island would not let Ben come back or just plain kill him, but I just don’t think that’s going to happen.

My two big questions coming into this episode surrounded two people–Desmond and Lapidus.  Ever since we heard that “everyone” had to go back, I’ve been wondering just who that includes.  Certainly Baby Aaron is a question mark as well, but I really just don’t care about him.  Yes I know some people think he’s the key to everything, but I’m not one of them.  I think Desmond, Penny, and Baby Charlie are the real keys to everything.  So how is Desmond going to get back, and will Penny/Baby Charlie come too?  My thought is he’ll get back to the island on the sailboat just like he got there in the first place, and Penny/Baby Charlie will be along for the ride.  

As for Frank Lapidus, I was starting to get a little pissed that he was just being left out this year, so I shouted a big “Yes! Lapidus!” when he made his announcement from the cockpit on Ajira Flight 316.  I’m not sure if he survived the flash, but I’m at least happy that the island brought Lapidus along for the ride.

When I think about it, I’m really amazed at the power Lost seems to have over me.  It is the only current show that leaves me feeling at once satisfied, amazed, confused, and hungry for another episode each and every week.  I’ll be honest and admit the series hasn’t always had this affect on me (I’m looking at you Tailies), but ever since ABC agreed to an end date for the show, it has been like a full-on race to the finish.  I’m going to keep on running as fast as I can to keep up.

February 18, 2009 Posted by | Drama, Scifi, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lost Season 5 Episode 6: 316