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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 11: Whatever Happened, Happened

I’ve never been a Kate-hater, but the more I’ve gotten involved with the online Lostie community, the more I see just how many people really don’t like her.  I’m still not a hater, but I’ll admit this episode definitely wasn’t on part with the previous three installments.  Kate-hate aside, there were some great reveals this week, so let’s get to the spoiler zone for some recap and analysis.

We open in ’77 with Jin regaining consciousness after his beatdown from Sayid.  He talks to Creepy Phil on the radio then retrieves Young Ben, who whispers, “Please help.”  Jin loads him in the van and heads back to Dharmaville.  Cut to Horace organizing the search and security force and — what’s this?  Workman Jack has the audacity to question Horace about the prisoner escape?  Guess who just went to the top of Horace’s suspected traitors list?  Pan to Roger Workman who notices Kate standing around being useless and enlists her for winch duty.  After they extract the burned-out Dharma van from the house, Roger has just enough time to tell Kate his last name and see her flinch before Jin pulls up and takes Young Ben straight past them toward the infirmary.  Cue Flashback…

2004 Kate is traveling with Baby Aaron.  We find out she’s visiting Cassidy, who you may remember is the woman Sawyer screwed over and Kate also saved from a run in with the police in their pre-island days.  Cassidy is surprised to see Kate, but not as surprised as she is when Kate says, “Sawyer sent me.”  So the mystery of Sawyer’s helicopter whisper in Kate’s ear is that he asked her to make sure his daughter Clementine was taken care of.  In the process of explaining, Kate apparently spills the beans about the Oceanic 6’s lies.  Cassidy has a theory about why Sawyer jumped out of the copter–classic fear of commitment. Then she calls bullshit on Kate’s lie about being Aaron’s mom–she asks why Kate would tell almost all the truth and try to keep lying about this–Kate says, “Because I have to.”

In ’77 Kate is talking to Sawyer at the Dharma Security Bunker when Horace, Jin, Miles, & Phil show up.  Sawyer spins a quick lie about questioning Kate, then sends her away.  The guys examine the cell and find a set of “janitor keys” hanging from the lock.  (I guess they could tell because the keys had the cool retractable belt loop attachment that janitors always have.)  Cut to Sawyer arriving at the infirmary and quickly pinpointing that Roger is missing his keys.  Inside, Juliet informs Sawyer that Young Ben needs a real surgeon if he’s going to live.  She didn’t specify that the surgeon should also be wrestling with his faith and have a substance abuse problem, but I’m still pretty sure she was talking about Jack.

In my favorite moment of the episode, we are in a Dharma house with Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Miles.  Hurley is acting weird and when Miles asks why, Hurley explains he is trying to see if he’s disappearing.  “You know, like Back to the Future!”  I love it when Hurley acts as the stand-in for all of us geeks who the creators know are in the audience.  Sawyer ends the comedy by bursting in looking for Jack, who promptly refuses to save Ben again, regardless of his age.  Sawyer leaves and Kate pleads with Jack not to let Young Ben die.  Jack tells Kate to get stuffed in so many words.  He also manages to remind us that he is starting to believe in the island, thinking that his previous actions were just getting in the way of the island fixing things on its own.  Kate says she doesn’t like the new Jack, to which he reminds her that ultimately she didn’t like the old Jack either.  Ouch.

Kate goes to the infirmary and has an exchange with Roger that I think was supposed to make us actually feel sorry for him.  It didn’t work.  Roger has been too big of an asshole for me to forgive him after four lines of remorseful dialogue.  Thankfully we cut back to the house where Hurley is trying to disprove the ‘circular time’ theory that Miles is explaining.  Some hardcore fans might not like this blatant explanation for more casual fans, but I find it hilarious.  It was particularly welcome in tonight’s episode with all the downers courtesy of Sad Kate.

Kate decides to play mother to Young Ben and gets Juliet to help her load him in a van so she can take him to The Others.  Juliet wanted to go, but Kate tells her not to risk her life with Sawyer.

Back to the dock scene in ’07.  Now we follow Kate after the group breaks up.  She takes Aaron to the grocery store and promptly loses him.  For a moment she thinks Ghost Claire has appeared to take him, but it’s just a random blonde woman.

’77 Kate pulls up to the sonic fence and hops out as Sawyer pulls up in another van.  He calls her Freckles (for the first time in ’77) and says he’s there to help.

We jump back to Cassidy’s house in ’07 and Kate admits she has been expecting Aaron to be taken all along.  Cassidy gets Kate to admit that she only took Aaron because she wanted to fill the void left by her breakup with Sawyer.

Back to the sonic fence and Sawyer reveals it’s actually Juliet who got him to come.  Back in Dharmaville, Juliet is confronting a naked post-shower Jack, letting him know it’s his fault that Sawyer and Kate have left.  Jack takes offense and says he came back to save everyone.  Juliet doesn’t buy it, telling Jack he came back for himself and no one else.  Jack changes course and says he came back because he was “supposed to”.  In the jungle, Sawyer gets a Clementine update from Kate, then tells her they never would have worked out.  She points out that he seems to have settled down with Juliet nicely–he admits he’s grown up a lot in three years.  The Others appear and Sawyer demands to be taken to Richard Alpert unless they want a war.

In ’07, Kate shows up at the motel and confesses to Claire’s mom.  She tells her she’s leaving for a while and that Aaron is waiting for her in another room.  Kate has a tearful goodbye with sleeping Aaron and we go back to ’77.

Sawyer (carrying Young Ben) and Kate meet Richard in the jungle.  Richard immediately asks if this is Benjamin Linus, revealing that he knows the boy.  Kate asks if Richard can save Ben.  Apparently it’s not that simple–Richard explains that he can, but Ben will not remember anything.  He also warns that Ben will lose his innocence and be “one of us forever.”  Another Other whispers in Richard’s ear that he shouldn’t do this without asking Ellie, and what if Charles finds out?  Richard blows this guy off saying he doesn’t answer to them.  Richard takes Young Ben away and we cut to an exterior of the ruins where the Smoke Monster lives.  Richard approaches with the boy in his arms and enters the structure.

Cut to ’07 on the island and adult Ben awakens to a smiling John Locke who says, “Welcome back to the land of the living.”

LOST

The last two scenes really made up for an extremely sluggish episode.  While I’m not a Kate-hater, I wouldn’t try for a second to convince anyone that this wasn’t a much slower and less exciting episode than any other one this season.  Thankfully we got the answer to how Ben became an Other, as well as an explanation for how he became such a dark and sinister bastard.  For a moment after the episode, I thought they were trying to tell us that when Richard healed Ben it caused Ben to immediately jump forward to ’07.  Once I thought about it for a minute, I decided this just wouldn’t work.  The one huge question I have is this–Is Richard Alpert also the Smoke Monster?  There has been a lot of speculation about Richard being a god-like figure (Egyptian god Ra has been a popular choice) so perhaps the Smoke Monster is just another form he can assume and the ruins are his sacred ground?  I really don’t know, but I’m feeling more and more confident that Richard is definitely not human.

The big payoff at the end of this episode was the teaser for next week–It’s a Ben episode!  That means we should finally find out how he got his ass kicked before the Ajira flight, and I’m sure we’ll see more about the resurrection of Young Ben as well.  While tonight’s episode may not have been the best, at least it provided some answers and allows us to move on to a much more exciting chapter.

April 1, 2009 Posted by | Drama, Scifi, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lost Season 5 Episode 11: Whatever Happened, Happened