LOST: “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham”

No post tonight. Sorry. My day job has taken me on the road the last few days, and I haven’t even had a chance to watch this week’s episode yet. I’ll try to put up the usual post tomorrow night (or soon thereafter). For now, feel free to use the comments section of this post as an open discussion thread about “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham.”

UPDATE: Here’s my usual post.

This was a strong, dark episode, but to be perfectly honest, as good as these last two hours have been, I’m anxious to get back to the island. For that reason, I’m kind of glad this part of the story is over. Lots of significant things happened here, and the episodes continued its trend of piecing together elements from all four previous seasons, so it’s fair to say that the show is rewarding close watching and the devotion of its more obsessive fans.

Spoilers from this episode, and a bunch of other stuff, after the break.

Links and miscellanea

  • One of Lost’s actors is rumored to auditioning for other TV gigs. (Don’t click through if you don’t want to be spoiled the possible death of a major character.) UPDATE: Rumor denied.

  • The LA Times’ Entertainmnet blog has a nice photo gallery/feature on some of the mysterious minor characters that roam the periphery of Lost.

  • And here’s an inverview with Lance Reddick (Matthew Abbadon) from the LA Times.

  • By the way, did you know you can sample some of Reddick’s musical stylings by downloading an mp3 from his website? The website doesn’t appear to have been updated in several years.

  • TV Guide has a short interview with Michael Emerson (Ben) who, as near as I can tell, is very accessible and has never given a bad interview in his life.

  • Here’s a nice tour of the various Oahu filming locations for Lost.

  • The latest video podcast features Matthew Fox expounding about Jack’s character.

  • In the latest audio podcast (live today, post-episode), Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse offer the following hints and guideposts: In next week’s episode, “LeFleur,” we’ll get a better idea of how all the timelines meet up; the only character confirmed to survive to the end of the show? Vincent; no clones, no nanobots on Lost; we’ll find out what Kate did with Aaron later this season; Cuse is a big Red Sox fan and Lindelof is a big Yankees fan.

Observations and speculations

  • As the episode opens, we see Caesar, an Ajira Airlines passanger, exploring the Hydra Station. The Hydra Station insignia is on one of the notebooks he’s reading, and there is evidence of animal studies—skulls, etc.—scattered about (the Hydra Station was a zoological research station, you might recall). There’s also an old issue of Life Magazine dated April 19, 1954, with a cover story about the testing of a Hydrogen bomb (like Jughead).

  • Caesar busts into some wooden filing cabinets and takes out a map of the island featuring a an as-yet unknown DHARMA insignia (with a tsunami-like symbol in the middle). Some notations from the map:
    • In the center: “UNKNOWN?”
    • Towards the top: “POSSIBLE PASS THROUGH NORTHERN MOUNTAINS”
    • Along the island’s western coast: “10 degrees N, 21 degrees E HALF A KILOMETER NORTH UP THE COAST A COUPLE HUNDRED METERS EAST UP THE HILLSIDE. FOLLOW PIG TRAIL LEFT OF THE MAIN PEAK.”
    • Inland to the east: “8 degrees N, 55 degrees E FOLLOW THE RIVER TO THE EAST OF THE MOUNTAINS (?) HEAD DUE EAST TOWARDS THE SMALLER MOUNTAIN RANGE …”

  • Caesar also finds a page that we’ve previously seen from Faraday’s notebook. It has several circles drawn on it with connecting lines and words that say, “Space-Time,” “Imaginary Time,” “Imaginary Space,” and “Real Time.”

  • He next finds a small sawed-off double-barrel shotgun stuck underneath a desk drawer, confirming once again that the island is a veritable stockpile of weapons.

  • When Ilana (the woman who appeared to be escorting Sayid when he was in custody on the Ajira flight) comes in the room, Caesar hides the gun from her. Apparently, the Ajira people are just as distrustful of each other as the Oceanic survivors were when they first arrived.

  • We see the Ajira jet largely intact. My theory is that the plane landed on Hydra Island making use of the landing strip that Sawyer and Kate were forced to help construct during the ill-fated season 3 mini-arc (aka “Passion in the Bear Cage”). Note that this does not necessarily mean that the Others were prescient and knew that the Ajira plane would need a place to crash land. It could simply mean that Frank Lapidus, who has had experience crash-landing vehicles on the island before and probably remembered the special bearings that were given to him by Faraday, used his quick wits and spotted the primitive airstrip from above.

  • The beach with the bonfire, as well as the atmospherics and attitudes of the characters, are awfully reminiscent of season one. Locke, wrapped in an Ajira Airlines blanket, looks almost like a wizard. (Three cheers for the return of shaman Locke!)

  • After the first commercial break, we open with a shot of Christian Shepard’s wingtips, which pans to a shot of Locke standing on a sandy beach, peering out from the Hydra Island to the main island.

  • The pontoon boats are on the beach and Ajira survivors are loading them with gear, pretty much sealing the idea that these are the people who shot at the Left Behinders at the beginning of the season.

  • One of the biggest mysteries of this episode: why did Lapidus leave in the night with a woman, and who did he leave with? And why did they take the manifest? It sort of suggests that perhaps the woman was an Other, who learned from the mistakes of Ethan “he’s not on the manifest” Rom.

  • Okay, I’ll concede that an even bigger mystery is how it is that the island resurrected Locke. It’s worth noting that (as I think someone has already pointed out in the comments) Locke is not some other being in Locke’s form, he is John Locke, with all of Locke’s memories and his personality. This makes me much, much more likely to believe that the apparition of Christian Sheppard we’ve seen on the show is, in fact, Christian and not just some Jacob puppet. It also introduces the possibility that Christian was being brought back to the island just as Locke was (although I’m still more skeptical about this part).

  • Locke’s honesty is refreshing, powerful and hugely upsetting to the other Ajira passengers.

  • Apparently, the Frozen Donkey Wheel is like a revolving door that only spits people out at a single location. Locke appears to land in precisely the same spot in Tunisia where Ben ended up three years earlier, except instead of being greated by men on horses with guns, Locke is noticed by surveillance cameras and taken by Widmore’s men to a field hospital. That spot was being watched.

  • You know, the writers have always treated Locke fairly sadistically. In the time we’ve known him, he’s been conned out of a kidney, pushed through an eighth story window, crushing his legs, conned and manipulated (repeatedly), shot and left for dead in a pile of corpses, and now suffered a compound fracture in his leg that was reset as he bit on a stick, then strangled to death with the same cord with which he planned to kill himself. I’m just saying.

  • We’ve definitely seen a much kinder, gentler side of Widmore this season. We know that he cares about Penny (and maybe even Desmond), that he funded Faraday’s research, then provided for Theresa Spenser when Faraday’s experiments left her an invalid. Of course, this doesn’t totally mitigate the fact that he unleash the fury of Keamy on the island. Maybe Widmore’s the good guy, or maybe Ben is the ruthless executor willing to use whatever means possible to achieve the greater good. I’ll submit that it’s not really an either/or proposition, though. Both Widmore and Linus can be evil.

  • Widmore’s story is that he was the leader of a group on the island who “protected the island, peacefully for more than three decades” until Ben tricked him into leaving. We might find out that this story has more than one version, or at least more than one perspective.

  • Widmore gives John an issue of the “London Daily Tribune,” a tabloid-style newspaper, dated January 14, 2005.

  • Widmore was only 17 years old when Locke first met him, meaning that he’s about 70 years old now. He was even younger than he looked when he palled around with Richard Alpert and young Eloise Hawking on the island.

  • Most portentous lines of the episode: “Because there’s a war coming, John. And if you’re not on back on the island when that happens, the wrong side is going to win.”

  • It’s Widmore who provides Locke with a Canadian passport in the name of Jeremy Bentham. “You’re parents had a sense of humor when they named you, so why can’t I?”

  • When Widmore tells Locke that if he needs to reach him, “Just press 2-3,” it reminded me both of the numbers (23) and Desmond’s daily task in the hatch.

  • How exactly did Widmore get a photo of the exact pose that Sayid would be in when Locke showed up in the Dominican Republic to chat with him? That was weird. (Yes, I’m being facetious.)
  • Widmore seemed genuinely concerned when Locke told him that Richard said he had to die. Not sure if that was an act.

  • The site of Matthew Abaddon pushing the wheelchair serves two purposes: it reminds us of Locke’s disgust with his former disability, and it calls us back to the image of Abaddon as the orderly in the rehabilitation center that suggested Locke go on his walkabout. Speaking of, this may be the first time we’ve had any direct evidence that anyone on Oceanic 815 was put on that flight for the express purpose of ending up on the island and didn’t simply end up there as a victim of circumstance.

  • Abaddon, who’s name refers to a destroying angel from the book of Revelations, seems to be baiting Locke into asking him to find Helen (Locke’s ex-girlfriend who was played in season two by Katey Sagal). I think there’s more to her story than that she simply died of a brain aneurysm while Locke was on the island.

  • Sayid has apparently given up his life as Ben’s international assassin and joined some sort of Habitat for Humanity-like organization (“Build Our World”). Funny that Locke would find him on an island (Hispaniola). Frankly, I liked the intentional-man-of-mystery version of Sayid better.

  • Locke is not very persuasive, and not a terribly good liar. Appealing to what people feel “deep down in your heart” isn’t all that effective a strategy. All the people that Locke approaches (with the exception of Hurley) not only rebuff Locke’s pleas, but also sow seeds of doubt within Locke about his own character:
    • Sayid: “Is it just because you have nowhere else to go?”
    • Kate: Locke was “desperate to stay on the island … because you didn’t love anyone.”
    • Jack: “These delusions that your special aren’t real…maybe there’s nothing important about you at all.”
    • Ironically, it’s these doubts that lead Locke to consider suicide, resulting in the Locke’s death (which would have happened with or without Ben’s assistance), and ultimately all of the Oceanic 5 returning to the island. It’s also interesting that each of the characters seem to be projecting their own dashed hopes and fears onto Locke. Sayid has nowhere else to go now that the love of his life is dead; Kate is fearful that Sawyer, who she really loves, rejected her and that she made a mistake in leaving him; Jack’s feeling that he was someone special, a leader apart from others, was simply an empty delusion.


  • How did Abaddon know what Walt looked like before? He comments that “the boy’s gotten big.” Did Abaddon have something to do with putting Michael and Walt on Oceanic 815?

  • Walt’s dreams about Locke have the following elements: 1) Locke is on the island; 2) he’s wearing a suit; 3) there are people all around him; and 4) and the people wanted to hurt Locke. Remember that Walt is “special” and was taken by the Others so that they could study his (probably psychic, astral projection) abilities. These dreams have to have significance (despite what recent studies may say). In fact, they are fairly transparent. John will 1) return to the island; 2) in a funerary suit; 3) live among different factions of island-dwellers; 4) several of who are hostile.

  • Something that doesn’t add up—and might just be a tiny plot hole. When Walt visits Hurley at Santa Rosa, he tells him that “Jeremy Bentham” came to visit him, even though none of the others did. Yet Locke never tells Walt that he’s going by the name Bentham. Did someone else tell Walt about Locke’s alias?

  • I love that when Hurley sees Locke, he just assumes he’s dead. Hurley sees dead people. And yet, it’s live people that he finds frightening.

  • After visiting Hurley, Abaddon tells Locke, “You may want to step up your game…or we’re all in serious trouble.” I wonder who he means? Just those connected to the island? The whole world? Eloise Hawking, Widmore and Ben have all expressed similar sentiments.

  • Abaddon, who’s name refers to that of a destroying angel from the Book of Revelations, tells John that his job is to “help people get to where they need to get to.” Abaddon of the bible is, more literally (I think) the angel of the abyss or bottomless pit. Is the island, then, an abyss?

  • I thought the scene involving Abaddon’s assassination, though gory, was exceptionally well filmed.

  • I actually really enjoyed the scene with Locke and Jack. (I think I like the bitter-and-angry version of Jack best.) Once again, Locke and Jack were sparring over fate and the meaning of the island.

  • But, of course, the suicide/homocide scene in the Westerfield Hotel with Ben and Locke was the real show stopper. As I’ve mentioned before, any scene with Michael Emerson and Terry O’Quinn is something to feel grateful for. This one was certainly no exception.

  • Not to brag or anything, but I totally called it.

  • There seem to be two possible scenarios about Ben’s motives on the night that Locke died: either he arrived with the intent to kill Locke and simply wanted to get a little more information before he did, or something about Locke’s mention of Eloise Hawking (coupled with the realization that Hawking may be allied with Widmore) caused a visceral reaction to Ben and put him in a murderous rage. I lean toward the latter explanation because Ben seemed to be acting on emotional impulse, similar to what we witnessed when Ben killed Keamy in the Orchid Station. On the other hand, he seemed to have the crime scene scrubbing tools at the ready, which suggests premeditation.

  • Both Ben and Widmore either actually want Locke to be the island’s new leader, or one or both of them realize that telling him that is the key to manipulating him. For some reason, I believe they actually want him to lead. Of course, this presupposes that Ben realizes Locke can be resurrected when he returns to the island. And that might not be a stretch, considering how much care Ben gave to preserving Locke’s body and making sure it was on the Ajira Airways flight.

  • Caesar tells Locke about the Oceanic Five vanishing mid-flight. Here’s my theory: Locke, Ben and the Ajira Airways folks all landed on the Hydra Island in 2007. The island didn’t flash for them, and there is no time-skipping. Kate, Jack, Sayid, Sun and Hurley somehow were sucked into the time-skipping vortex. Those who thought when the Oceanic 5/6 returned to the island that the time skipping would end are, I believe, wrong. I think we’ll continue to see more time skipping. And two alternate on-island stories.

  • Ben was apparently injured on the flight. You just knew he wasn’t going to far from where the action is. It turns out that when Ben told Locke that whoever turns the Frozen Donkey Wheel can never return to the island, he was either lying (again) or just flat-out wrong.

  • Great final line: “He’s the man who killed me.”

Upon reflection, this was really an excellent episode. There were a lot of layers here, and a lot of attention to matters that arose in seasons 1 through 4. Still, I’ll be glad to be spending a lot more time on the island in the coming weeks.

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54 thoughts on “LOST: “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham”

  1. Wow. As always with the Locke episodes – wow!

    I’m almost ready to concede to Dan that Ben truly is evil. But I didn’t find Widmore’s explanation why he sent the mercenaries and C4 to the island that convincing either.

  2. I told you so. Anyone who kills his father like Ben did is not a good guy. And Locke should have remembered that Ben had shot him before in an attempt to get him out of the way, but Locke is very gullible, or at least that is the way the writers have written him to be. And I bet you now that the writers are going to continue making Ben get out of any real serious trouble with Locke by claiming that Ben was truly trying to help Locke kill himself so he could save the island. And Locke will believe it like the dope he is. After all, we need some drama for at least another season and a half. And I doubt they will be killing off Ben anytime soon.

  3. Ben/Michael Emerson has to be one of the most brilliant creations in television history. When has a character tugged at all our emotions so smoothly, when has a character been portrayed with such sophistication and beautiful simplicity at the same time, when has a character kept us all completely fascinated, no matter what he does?

    This was a helluva an episode, I barely know where to begin except to say I also think that Jack/Matthew Fox while not quite on Ben’s level, is an incredible character study, and I’m not quite sure why there’s so much negative reaction out there.

    Locke is the one I’ve never connected to – I find the character exceedingly weak, and while I have some sympathy for his early life, it’s not enough to make me root for him.

    In spite of this episode’s many proclamations of how important he is, I’m still not buying. He’s a pawn. Yes, he’s an important part of the Lost tv series in that the Lost tv series is at its very heart a character study, and Locke certainly is that. But in the Lost story – the island’s narrative – I still say he’s just a pawn.

  4. “Excuse me, am I talking to a dude in a wheelchair here?” That cracked me up. In fact, that whole scene was excellent. I really enjoy Jorge Garcia’s portrayal of Hurley.

    Jenny, you nailed it about Ben. I should have known better (just like Locke should have), but I didn’t see that coming. Why should the name “Eloise Hawking” change Ben’s mind so drastically? Perhaps he thought she was on his side, and Locke’s knowledge of her name shows that she might also be in communication with Widmore?

    Also, Abaddon! I was just getting to like him. Ben’s admission to having killed him should have been a huge red flag, but his candor is itself so very disarming!

    It seems pretty clear that flight 316 crashed on the smaller off-Island island, the one where Jack operated on Ben, etc. The O5 vanished previous to the crash and reappeared, apparently on the main Island. We can tell because the lagoon where Jack found Hurley and Kate has some history.

    This was a great episode, but such a designation is losing any meaning, what with so many of them this season!

  5. I agree with Jenny above, there hasn’t ever been a character so much like Ben on television. The only other one I can think of is Tony Soprano. Obviously they are different stylistically, but both are bad guys who we end up siding with at times.

    And, I’ve also never understood the Jack backlash either. Can he be annoying? Yes. But he’s still interesting.

  6. Wow, I loved this episode. We found out so many things, not the least of which for me was the information that Widmore was the leader of the others for over 30 years and that Ben had manipulated him into leaving. I am now starting to think that in this “war” Widmore says is coming, I really have no idea who will be the good and who will be the evil. And of course, John’s the savior, ready to redeem everyone and play a part in Lost’s History.

    When Lock is revealed on the beach, pulling off his hood, my 8-year kid yelled out, “John is the island’s Jesus!!” How cool are kids?

  7. I don’t think it was just Eloise Hawking’s name that drove Ben to kill Locke, but Jin’s name as well. He not only seemed surprised that Jin was alive, but disappointed as well.

    I’m still not sure that Widmore is the good guy and Ben is the bad guy or their both bad, etc., etc. I don’t think everyone’s motives are clear yet.

  8. Agree this is not a black and white show (in spite of the infamous stones in Adam and Eve’s hands and the backgammon game early on). It’s all about the grey.

    You could see Ben’s mind recalculating everything when Locke mentioned Jin, the ring, Eloise and Widmore all in one rush. He knows about Eloise – he knows the island’s history – but I don’t think he knew Daniel was her son, or more importantly, that Locke had a direct line to her, making him more threatening than ever. At once he saw that Locke was closer to Eloise (not good for Ben), and that there might be a way to get another person working for his interests (Sun).

    He subsequently took pains to preserve the body however, and get it back to the island – why? Because he didn’t want to alienate Eloise? Other than that I see little reason to do it.

    Also, I don’t think Locke is the savior. I think it’s Jack. He’s the Shepherd, he’s the leader, he’s the one who “walks among us but is not one of us.” There was so much talk about how special Locke is this ep – almost too much I think. Eloise didn’t seem particularly upset about Locke, but she was awfully interested in Jack.

  9. Wow. DANG good. The typical talking-down-from-suicide scene… and then kills him himself 🙂 Whadda reversal.

  10. I think that Ben is going to argue he had to kill Locke–that for them to get back on the island, a suicide would not have worked. For all the circumstances to parallel the Oceanic flight it had to be a murder. Christian, I believe we’ll learn, was also murdered. Just as you must kill your father to lead the others–a murdered man must be in the coffin. This is where we leave science behind.

    I can’t wait until the episode when we learn Ben killed Penny before getting on the plane. That’s when Desmond decides he’s going to team up with his daddy-in-law and take some unholy revenge on Ben.

  11. Interesting thoughts Brian G – I don’t really buy into the recreation of the first crash thing (I think that was a ploy by Ben and Eloise to get them focused on minor things rather than what was actually happening – look how Eloise used it to reign in Jack when he started asking questions), but I do see the theme of murder and the reasons for it.

    I’m interested in the idea that Christian was murdered; it’s always just been assumed he drank himself to death. Then there’s Kate on the run for murder for perhaps the right reasons, and Sawyer pursuing murder as a way to right wrongs. Along the way, he murdered the wrong guy, and was able to correct his mistake (somewhat) later. Then there was patricide as a test of Locke’s leadership ability, which he failed. Mind you, that was a Ben test, and we all know how Ben feels about murder as a means to an end.

    Mind you, I don’t think Penny’s dead. She and Desmond are a very popular, almost cult-like romance, so if they do decide to kill her, I don’t think it will be off screen (unless it’s coming up I guess?). I had previously thought that Ben just wanted to know what Desmond knew, and Desmond kicked the crap out of him.

    But you may be right – on reviewing, Ben clearly said he was off to “fulfill a promise to an old friend,” which would clearly point to killing Penny.

  12. I forgot to mention this earlier, but I think there was another big reveal last night: Not only is John Locke alive again, as far as we can tell he is the same man.

    He’s not a puppet of the island or a proxy for Jacob. He’s just John Locke.

    This suggests that Christian Shepherd is also really the same fellow as before, and not just an island puppet. But then, if he is a corporeal being, how did he just appear to Michael on the freighter?

    Brian, perhaps Christian wasn’t murdered, and that’s what made the difference? He chose to die and that choice also allowed Jacob to use his body.

    No, that doesn’t make sense, because people like Libby, Charlie, Eko, and that guy cutting down a tree have been seen walking around after they died, and they didn’t all choose to die, did they?

  13. Ben/Michael Emerson has to be one of the most brilliant creations in television history. When has a character tugged at all our emotions so smoothly, when has a character been portrayed with such sophistication and beautiful simplicity at the same time, when has a character kept us all completely fascinated, no matter what he does?

    While I enjoy watching him, I don’t think of Ben as a brilliant character as much as I think he shows how poorly the other characters are written sometimes. How many more ways will he have to screw people before somebody just punches him in the face when he makes any kind of suggestion, or better yet just kills him? I’m sorry but I can’t imagine a situation in my life that I would still look to someone for advice or instruction when they’ve screwed me or my friends over every chance they get.

  14. Ben, yeah, which makes me wonder about all the other dead people like Jack’s dad. I wonder since Jin ‘survived’ the freighter if Michael did as well. I thought it was interesting his son popped up and had that psychic ability. We still don’t know what Ben wanted with him. And back in season one his psychic abilities were a big issue in one episode.

    Likewise the mystical numbers and their connection to Hugo haven’t been explained. Although I suspect we’ll be seeing a Hugo-centric episode soon. I hope so since his episodes are usually my favorites although the last one was a bit of a disappointment.

  15. If Ben didn’t kill Penny—which I think is the bolder writing choice—then I imagine he did some serious damage on par with putting her in the hospital. Desmond needs to get back to the island and he needs an overpowering motive to return.

    The writers went to pains to show parallels between the Oceanic flight and the Ajira flight. Sayid in handcuffs like Kate. Hurley carrying a guitar case, either like Charlie, or to represent him. Locke in the coffin. There’s just too much for it not to be significant, or a manipulation device on the part of Eloise and Ben, in my opinion.

  16. My immediate assumption was that Lapidus left with Sun. Maybe that is too easy though.

    A couple possible holes that bothered me

    1- Locke sure dies early in the off island story. It happens while Jack is still working at the hospital and before he descends into his bearded, drinking “We have to go back Kate!” madness. They sure kept his body looking nice for a really long time. Or do I have my timeline wrong?

    2- I could be wrong here, but how the heck would Locke know that Michael was on the freighter? He was off doing his own wacky thing at that time.

  17. 1- Locke sure dies early in the off island story. It happens while Jack is still working at the hospital and before he descends into his bearded, drinking “We have to go back Kate!” madness. They sure kept his body looking nice for a really long time. Or do I have my timeline wrong?

    I think that actually is pretty late in the off-island timeline. Three years have already passed since the O6 arrived home. Remember, Jack doesn’t start riding trans-pacific flights until after Locke’s visit, and those flights have already begun (or are about to begin) when Locke dies. The “We have to go back Kate!” episode at LAX was the first thing we saw off-island, but one of the last things to happen chronological.

    2- I could be wrong here, but how the heck would Locke know that Michael was on the freighter? He was off doing his own wacky thing at that time.

    In think at some point Ben told Locke that Michael was Ben’s spy on the freighter.

  18. Abaddon appears at Job 26:6 and Prov. 15:11 meaning “(place of) destruction.” It is a name of the realm of the dead and used synonymously with Sheol.

    In Revelation 9:11 the name has been personified as the angel-prince of the infernal regions, the minister of death. We’re told there that the Greek equivalent of Hebrew Abaddon is Apolluon, which means “destroyer.”

  19. Abaddon appears at Job 26:6 and Prov. 15:11 meaning “(place of) destruction.” It is a name of the realm of the dead and used synonymously with Sheol.

    In Revelation 9:11 the name has been personified as the angel-prince of the infernal regions, the minister of death. We’re told there that the Greek equivalent of Hebrew Abaddon is Apolluon, which means “destroyer.”

    Awesome. Kevin, you showed up at exactly the right time.

  20. The “We have to go back Kate!” episode at LAX was the first thing we saw off-island, but one of the last things to happen chronological

    This is my point. Locke is already dead and Jack has not yet developed his drinking issue, lost his job, etc.

    Am I right?

  21. An attempt to clarify the chronology:

    Jack’s drinking issue began while he was still dating Kate (pre-beard) as seen in the season 4 episode called (I think) “Something Nice Back Home.” He saw a glimpse of his father while working in the hospital, and asked his colleague to write him a prescription for clonazopam (sp). Drinking and paranoia ensue, eventually leading to him getting in a fight with Kate and their breaking up.

    When Locke visits him in this episode, we can see he’s already off the rails a little bit, with the beard half grown and the angry-talk. Next thing we know he books a flight to Sydney.

    Cut to season 3 finale, which must be a week or two later, and Jack has a full-grown beard, has taken several trans-continental flights, and is reading Jeremy Bentham’s obituary in the paper. This puts him over the edge and leads to the near-suicidal bridge escapade, and eventually the “we have to go Baaaack!” scene.

    The only possible continuity error from this new episode is that the way it was cut, it makes it seem like Locke’s death occurs nearly immediately after seeing Jack, whereas the length of Jack’s beard in Season 3 while reading his obituary would seem to indicate this takes place a couple weeks later…

  22. Squals,

    Right that beard is several weeks of work. So even if he were only a week or two away from full beard madness when Locke died, we still have him hitting bottom and getting fired then subsequently cleaning up and helping Ben to try to recruit everyone. Probably my last post on this nit pick issue.

    By the way, I don’t think Ben had planned on killing Locke the whole time. I do think something John said really threw a wrench in whatever his plans had been.

  23. Squals, thanks for that. I think you laid out the timeline perfectly. I don’t think there’s any problem with the chronology. I think one thing the writers are being very careful about is the timeline, what with the flashbacks, flashforwards, and now time-skipping.

    This episode was particularly tricky to follow because last week’s episode was still fresh in our minds, and because the episode begins near the end (with Locke already on the islands), then skips back, plays various events chronologically, but without indicating how far apart they are, then returns to the post-Ajira island.

    But hooray for non-linear story telling!

  24. Dan says Ben is bad for killing his dad, which is hard to argue with. But as shocking as I found it that Ben was the one to kill Locke, Widmore doesn’t look any better sending the ship with mercenaries and C4 to kill everyone on the island, including Ben’s daughter and other innocent bystanders.

    And as much as I like Locke, didn’t he arrange his own dad’s death?

    In fact after watching it again last night, I realized that Locke died in the same manner that hid dad did. Any significance?

  25. David,

    I’m not in any way saying Widmore is the good guy. But remember at the end of season 2 when Jack asked Ben who they were, and Ben said, “we’re the good guys, Jack.”

    I’ve been trying to fight against that the whole time because no “good guy” does what Ben and his group has done from the beginning of the show. What “good guy” goes around and steals children that are not theirs? What “good guy” kidnaps pregnant women to do experiments on them?

    Widmore has his bad streaks too. Remember him as a young guy. He killed his own man, breaking his neck, so that he would not reveal secrets (in “Jughead”). But let’s not even pretend that Ben is in any way a good guy.

    Ben may try to make the argument that Locke couldn’t have killed himself and that someone had to kill him in order for his resurrection to work, but he could have just told that to Locke. Ben had Locke wrapped around his fingers. That’s how gullible the writers have written Locke. All Ben had to say to him is that, yes you probably have to die, but you can’t kill yourself. Someone has to take your life.

    Ben went in there to take Locke’s life, for sure. He had cleaning supplies on him to remove his prints. But what set him off was Locke mentioning both Eloise and Jin. Michael Emerson’s eyes and face reacted, and you can see he was recalculating.

    My view of Widmore softened greatly in this episode based on Abandon. There was something calming about the way he took care of Locke, and I was very disappointed that Abandon was killed so quickly. I was hoping for more.

  26. My view of Widmore softened greatly in this episode based on Abandon. There was something calming about the way he took care of Locke, and I was very disappointed that Abandon was killed so quickly. I was hoping for more.

    More Abaddon would have been a good thing, but he had to go back to pretending to be Broyles on Fringe.

  27. ah, I didn’t know he had other gigs. That’s too bad.

    Just one other thing that occurred to me, but isn’t it weird how all the black guys have gotten killed off?

  28. Sorry Dan. I don’t mean to pick a fight. I think you’re right based on everything we know so far and have seen. But with Lost that probably means that it’s either wrong or at least not complete.

    I bet Ben is such a fundamental character that they’re going to have us guessing until the end, or maybe until “the war” starts (will that be the 6th season?).

    My impression of Widmore improved greatly in this episode too. He’s quite the charmer when he wants to be. I also was sad to see Abaddon go so early but perhaps we’ll see his “helping people get where they need to be”-stylings in more flashbacks. Did he help others get Flight 815? Or just Locke because he was so special?

  29. David,

    Forgive me, I didn’t imply picking a fight with you over Ben, but rather the idea that the writers had wanted to confuse us over who is good and who is bad on the show. Two pivotal characters have said Ben shouldn’t be trusted. Christian Shepard told Locke “when did trusting Ben ever get you any good.” Eloise said something similar about Ben to Jack.

    Ben was originally going to be killed off at the end of season two, but the writers fell in love with Michael Emerson’s acting and decided to transform his character. He’ll be around to the very last episode.

  30. Ben’s definitely one of my favorite characters – if only to hate him. Of course Locke is my second favorite.

    Yeah Locke is gullible but there was a lot of backstory explaining why he is. As I’ve said before all the characters on Lost are lost. They are fundamentally dysfunctional in various ways.

    *** POTENTIAL SPOILER RUMOR BELOW ***

    BTW – anyone hear the rumor that Kate might be killed off this season?

    ****

  31. Still, it would be an interesting twist. I think Lost has been amazing with its quality level. Most shows lose it after a while. (Witness BSG) Lost has gotten, if anything, better.

  32. well, this makes me wonder if the season finales can be like what we have come to expect in the past four; game changers or big reveals. There are some pretty good stories left out there, some mysteries that can be unraveled or compounded. With lost, even if the former happens, usually it is a hydra-esque answer; one is solved only creating three more questions.

    But, with a finite # of shows left, I think we are going to start to get some concrete answers…

    And, they have to let us know that NO ONE is safe. What better way to do that than kill of a major character?

  33. right…and some of them in “ignoble” ways (e.g. Ecko…but I know that he was not hip to the notion of staying on any longer — too bad).

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see a major character off’ed. But, I’d be surprised if it’s Kate. That’s a BOLD move. And, there are many Freckle fans that might be more than perturbed.

  34. true…but how many times can Lost go to that specific writer’s well?

    We still haven’t had Christian explained yet. I think that might answer a lot of questions. There have been a lot of people killed on the island. Not all of them reappear.

  35. I think people are judged “worthy” to be on the island. Ecko originally was and then the second time wasn’t. (Although that change seemed unconvincing) Charlie and Jin sacrificed for others making them worthy. I suspect we’ll see Jack’s dad is more important than he first appears. (i.e. he’ll have been on the island before)

    The one big reveal we haven’t had yet is why Ben kidnapped Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sawyer. We have some clues about the kids and the pregnant people. But why those four?

  36. Yeah, the Ecko ordeal was clearly a death of convenience (for both the actor and for Locke — who, reportedly, hated the guy). Watching season 2, it is clear that HE is the one who is the believer seeking redemption. Locke, yet again, was WRONG.

    I thought that the kidnapping of Jack, Kate, and Sawyer was all part of Ben’s ruse to get Jack to fix him. With Kate and Sawyer in the love cages for the first part of the season and allowing Jack to walk in the moment they are doing their own version of the polar bear plunge pushed him over the edge to want to get off the island. He was willing to operate on Ben if it meant that he could get away. At least, that’s what I thought.

    I am more interested in the Walt connection, as someone has previously mentioned. But,I wonder if they haven’t put that issue to bed, despite the fact that Walt’s specialness was the driving force behind a lot of the movement in season 2.

  37. I’m predicting Walt will be important again this season otherwise I can’t see them making that Locke appearance. It’s foreshadowing I say!

    I’d love to know what they originally intended to do with Ecko. When you say Locke hated him do you mean the actor or the character?

  38. The reports I read from the set was that the two actors did NOT get along. And, since they were cast to play off one another, I assume that it only magnified the professional dislike.

  39. I love how they now have a whole new group of people from flight 316 to play with (and kill off) =)

    I couldn’t remember where I’d seen the actress who was keeping Sayid in custody, but it did finally dawn on me – she was the partner in that ill-fated show about the immortal cop last year.

  40. but…I am not interested in really getting to know NEW characters at this point. If they are red shirts, that’s fine by me, but I don’t want flashbacks giving us info on these people. It would seem too “last minute” and wouldn’t aid in the character-driven stories of Lost and the island.

    I think that we have more than enough material to mine without adding Nikki and Paolo back to the mix…

  41. I’m predicting Walt will be important again this season otherwise I can’t see them making that Locke appearance. It’s foreshadowing I say!

    I was watching a Lost rerun from the first season the other day and I have to agree with you. Walt was such an important figure early on. I had completely forgotten about it until Locke showed up at his school.

  42. don’t get me wrong,I thought that demise of Nikki and Paolo was a FANTASTIC stand-alone episode; very Hitchcock-esque. But, their insertion into the Lost story was poorly handled and seemed forced.

    At least the Ajira folks would fit into the story arc somehow, but it seems like an easyout for the writers if they start mining those folks for episode filler. It’s like with the Tail section losties; we spent half a season with them, and then they all die (excepting Bernard). No payoff.

  43. I’ve heard that a lot but I have to disagree. Were they really introduced any worse than Rose and Bernard? They were showing up in episodes from relatively early that season. So I don’t think it was forced. Plus people were, in that season, asking about all the other people around. Add in the folks from the tail who were introduced only to be killed off shortly and I don’t think it was that bad at all.

    I also disagree about the Tailees having no payoff. We learned a lot about the Others from them and their arrival was important for Sayid. It also demonstrated a fairly sinister aspect about the island towards people. (i.e. the fake Walt who ends up having Anna Lucia kill whatsername)

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