LOST: “Dead is Dead”

Ben, the Smoke Monster and more island adventures. What’s not to love?

Spoilers from tonight’s episode below.

Links and miscellanea

  • Items revealed in this week’s official podcast:
  • Over at The Fuselage, Jorge (“Hurley”) Garcia has more or less confirmed that the mysterious woman seen in the darkness in the Christian/Sun scene a few weeks ago was a crew member. Don’t forget people, despite how carefully Lost is crafted, production errors do happen, as they do in every show.
  • According to TV Guide, the code name for the season 5 finale has been determined: “The Fork in the Outlet.” Past season finale code words include “Frozen Donkey Wheel” (season 4), “The Rattlesnake in the Mailbox” (season 3) and “Challah” (season 2) and “The Bagel” (season 1).
  • For whatever reason, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of new media stories or blog content about Lost this week. So I’ll take this opportunity to offer up some original content of my own. This season has utilized one of my least favorite sci-fi devices, time travel, but so far has done it fairly well. Closely scrutinizing fans have picked up on a few inconsistencies (Charlotte’s age, the Frozen Donkey Wheel’s misalignment), but for the most part, I think it’s been mostly successful. And that got me thinking, what movies or TV shows have managed to pull off time travel somewhat convincingly. Here are my nominees:
    • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – the time travel element at the end of the story achieves what it needs to fairly successfully, and doesn’t bother subscribing to that “can’t exist at the same place at the same time” nonsense.
    • Donnie Darko – Even after watching all the DVD/website extras, I could never quite totally get the theory into my head . Still, within the context of the show, I think it worked. Even though I didn’t completely comprehend it, I still found it mind blowing.
    • Back to the Future – Only the first one. By Part 2, I thought the whole thing was ridiculous. I’m not as much of a fan of this movie as a lot of people, but it told a nice story and presented very memorable characters. If nothing else, it brought us the hilarious picture of Hurley sitting and staring at his hand, wondering whether it was going to disappear now that Sayid shot Young Ben.
    • Happy Accidents – This overlooked Brad Anderson movie staring Vincent D’Onofrio and Marisa Tomei is worth checking out if you haven’t seen it. It’s an unconventional romantic comedy in which D’onofrio plays a time traveler from the future and Tomei the object of his affection. Though time travel is a big element of the plot, it mostly occurs during the premise, and is dealt with throughout the story.
    • Army of Darkness – Although there was never really a good reason to send Ash back to the Middle Ages, I can’t argue with the results. It’s a fine film, one of the best in the comedy-horror genre, and one that produced some of the franchises’ most memorable lines: “Think smart! Think S-Mart!” “Give me some sugar, baby!” “This is my boomstick!”

    Although I can appreciate the Terminator movies as quality action fare, the time travel aspect always kind of bothers me because I don’t see how it doesn’t degenerate into an infinite regress loop. If it doesn’t work to go back and kill Sarah, John Connor’s mother, why not just go back and kill Sarah Connor’s mother? And so on, ad infinitum? I’m also one of those who think that Hiro’s time travel abilities on the TV show “Heroes” has been a major net negative for the series and the show has never adequately dealt with this issue.

  • If you’re hoping to pick up the season 5 DVDs, you’ll need to wait until December 8, 2009, a painful reminder that after tonight, we only have four more episodes left until Lost returns in 2010 (!) for its final season. The DVDs will be released in both BluRay plan vanilla digital video disc.

Observations and speculations

  • This episode opens with a younger, hairier, Charles Widmore riding a horse through the jungle to the Others’ camp. The others at this point (1977) are living a primitive lifestyle still, in A-frame and yurt-style tents and cooking around fires. They are also very much partial to earth tones of brown, drab and grey for their clothing.
  • Richard deflects Widmore’s anger by saying, “Jacob wanted it done.” That seems to be the trump card among the Others—when in doubt, just say, “Jacob made me do it.” Widmore doesn’t question Richard about this, from which we can probably infer that Richard has access to Jacob, but Widmore may not. Richard follows this with, “The island chooses who the island chooses. You know that.” So in what respects are Jacob and the island different entities? Is Jacob a personification of the island’s spirit, or a separate being? I’m pretty sure I’ve been asking these same questions fairly regularly for the last couple of seasons.
  • Widmore tells Richard right out of the gate that Richard should have let Ben die. I have to say, Widmore doesn’t come off well in this episode. In the analysis of whether he or Ben is the more evil, Ben gets points for caring about the welfare of children.
  • Just to make it clear: Ben does not remember Sayid shooting him. Does that put to rest the whole “Ben knew the Oceanic survivors from when he was a boy” thoery? I think it does. I bet others will still cling to it, though.
  • We also know that Young Ben did, in fact, return to DHARMA as an undercover agent of the Others/Hostiles pre-Purge. This might facilitate Sawyer and Kate’s to return to DHARMAville; it would have been hard to explain why they took the boy into the jungle and just left him there. It’s still going to be hard to explain, but at least they won’t be blamed for his disappearance.
  • If I ever murder someone just to find them alive again later, I am totally going to use the “I-knew-you’d-be-brought-back-to-life” excuse.
  • Ben is lying to someone. (Of course he is, his lips keep moving.) Ben tells Locke “I knew this [Locke’s resurrection] would happen.” Yet later in the episode, he tells Sun that “dead is dead” and that nothing like this has ever happened before, that it scares the hell out of him. These different statements seem mutually exclusive to me.
  • Ben claims initially that he broke the rules by returning to the island, then later admits that his guilt is over his responsibility for Alex’s death. I’d like a little clarification of what “the rules” are under these circumstances. When Ben sneaked into Widmore’s apartment in London, there was also a discussion of the “rules.”
  • “We don’t even have a word for it, but I believe you call it the Monster.” This seems to rule out the possiblity that “the Monster” is the same entity as Jacob. But I still believe that they are interrelated somehow.
  • So what is in the crate that the Ajira people on the Hydra Island beach were trying to move? Ilana calls it “some stuff we need to get moved.” It’s marked with Ajira markings and appears to be a cargo box from the plane.
  • Ben spends a bit of time with Caesar trying to win him over and gain his allegiance over Locke. This is ultimately a pointless exercise, but you get the idea that Ben just can’t help it—like the proverbial scorpion that stings the frog, it’s just in his nature. On the other hand, he does find out about Caesar’s sawed-off shotgun from his ruse, so there’s that.
  • Apparently, Ben was Ethan’s mentor who schooled him in the ways of baby stealing. I was surprised to learn that stealing Alex wasn’t the Others’ plan all along.
  • In season 1, when Sayid asked Rousseau if she had ever seen other people on the island, she told him, “No, but I hear them. Out there, in the jungle. They whisper.” Rousseau did see Ben, but from that point forward, presumably, whenever she hears the whispers, she runs the other way, just as Ben tells her to. It’s interesting that Rousseau does not seem to recognize Ben as the very person who stole Alex when Ben later gets snagged in Rousseau’s net. (On the other hand, there have been several studies that have demonstrated that eyewitnesses to a very traumatic event are notoriously bad at later describing their assailants. So maybe it’s not that interesting or strange.)
  • We once again get a glimpse of the music box that Sayid later fixes hfor her, the one she told him gave her comfort in the days after the Others (i.e., Ben) stole Alex.
  • Ben tells Locke that the reason he didn’t just let him commit suicide is that, “You had critical information that would have died with you.” Going back to the transcript from “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham,” that “critical information seems to have been that Widmore and Eloise Hawking were working together.
  • “Well, I just didn’t have time to just talk you back into hanging yourself, so I took a shortcut.” Classic Ben: a pragmatic ruthlessness.
  • Best Locke line: “I was just looking for an apology.”
  • Caesar is (was) like a middle eastern version of season 1 Jack: he’s bossy and impetuous.
  • I was surprised that Ben killed Caesar. I was under the impression that Caesar was being set up to be a more important character.
  • Ben, on the dock at the main island: “Well, I’ve found sometimes that friends can be significantly more dangerous than enemies, John.” There are any number of folks that Ben could have been referring to with this line.
  • The role reversal between Locke and Ben in this episode is interesting. Instead of Ben being the the one with all the answers, this time it’s Locke, and Ben is confused and emotional. Locke knows why Ben wants to be judged, Locke knows where the smoke monster is, Locke has some ideas about how to get Sun and Jin back together. But for the first time, Ben looks most of the time like he’s at a loss about what to do next.
  • In 1988, after Rousseau arrives on the island, the Others are still living in tents in the jungle. It wouldn’t be until 1992, after the Purge, that they movie to the DHARMAville barracks.
  • Ben asks Widmore, “Is killing this baby [Alex] what Jacob wants?” You get the idea that the Others might all wear WWJW bracelets. Sooner or later, we must find out who this Jacob guy is.
  • Here’s something I don’t quite understand. The DHARMA barracks were built (presumably) by the DHARMA Initiative. But we know that Ben’s house was build directly above an ancient paleolithic-era smoke-monster-summoning sinkhole. Does this mean that the DHARMA folks had some understanding of the smoke monster, or the island’s ancient secrets? It just doesn’t seem to me like the location of that house—not to mention the placement of the secret passageway behind the bookshelf—could have been a coincidence.
  • Inside Ben’s house, there’s a game of risk laid out and a couple of plates on a table. This is the game that Locke, Hurley and Sawyer were playing in episode 4.9, “The Shape of Things to Come.” (Hurley’s lines from that scene: “We’re all gonna die. This is exactly what he wants–to fight amongst ourselves. You’re making a big mistake, dude.”) This was the same day that the Freighter people arrived at the barracks and Keamy kills Alex. That was also the last day that Ben was in his house.
  • When Sun tells Ben that the “crazy old man” is named “Christian,” Ben seems to recognize the name.
  • A few of the books on Ben’s bookshelf: Roots, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Flowers for Algernon.
  • Lapidus’ best line: “As long as a dead guy says there’s a reason, then I guess everything is gonna be peachy.”
  • Ben’s usual method of summoning the smoke monster is by flushing its toilet, apparently. Gross.
  • We see Ben pushing Alex on the swingset in the barracks. This is the same swingset that Sayid is later handcuffed to after he’s captured by the Others, and where he tells Alex that she looks like her mother.
  • We see Widmore being marched onto the sub by armed men. From the dialog, we learn that he’s being banished. This is different than how we were led to believe Widmore left the island. In “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham,” it was implied that maybe Widmore turned the Frozen Donkey Wheel and found himself in the Tunisian Sahara, and that this is how Widmore knew where the island’s “exit” was located. I guess not.
  • Ben explains that Widmore broke the “rules” by 1) leaving the island regularly; and 2) having a child with an outsider.
  • “Dead is dead. You don’t get to come back from that. Not even here.” What does this mean? Locke really seems to be Locke, not some smokey apparition. As he tells Sun, “I assure you, I’m the same man I’ve always been.” He was definitely dead, and now he’s back. Why?
  • Ben tells Sun, “What’s about to come out of that jungle is something I can’t control.” Then, right on cue, out walks Locke, and Ben is proven correct. Ben can no longer control Locke.
  • Finally, we know that Ben did try to kill Penny, but was unsuccessful.
  • Penny and Desmond’s boat is called “Our Mutual Friend.” Recall that Desmond had a copy of the Dickens novel (Dickens’ last novel, in fact) A Mutual Friend that he intended to be the last book he reads before he dies. Penny had hidden a love letter in the book, hoping that Desmond would find it.
  • John leads Ben and Sun to the outer wall of the Temple, then tells Ben that they’re not going to go in the Temple, but go under it. Ben seems genuinely frightened. This looks to be the same spot that Rousseaus cohorts ventured into.
  • When Ben shoots Desmond, the bullet hits a carton of milk and Desmond is knocked backward, but is apparently unharmed. The scene reminded me of the Manchurian Candidate, in which a character is killed when a bullet from a pistol hits a milk carton, but passes through into the man’s chest. Of course, we know from Ms. Hawking that the island is not done with Desmond yet.
  • Back at Hydra Beach a redshirt tells Lapidus that Ilana and “three of the others” found guns and said they are in charge now. When Lapidus goes to investigate, Ilana cryptically asks him “What lies in the shadow of the statue?” It’s like a riddle, or a secret code. Naturally, Lapidus has no idea what she’s talking about. It reminds me a little bit of the “What did one snowman tell the other snowman?” riddle that Desmond asks when the survivors finally open the Hatch. So what does lie in the shadow of the statue? The Temple? Why is Ilana asking this question? Is she deranged like Rousseau’s team became deranged? And what does Ilana mean when she says, “Get everyone else, tell them it’s time.” This scene was probably the most intriguing and mysterious of the entire episode for me.
  • Under the Temple there are square columns with the same sort of pseudo-Egyptian markings that we saw when the Hatch’s clock ran down and were also on the stone door behind Ben’s bookshelf. Finally, there’s an alter with a carved mural above it that looks to me like the Egyptian god Anubis sitting in front of the smoke monster (represented by zig-zagging lines).
  • I’m almost entirely certain now that the infamous four-toed statue is Anubis. The jackal-headed Egyptian god is significant in the Book of the Dead for his role in the “weighing of the heart” ceremony in which the dead are judged. Thematically, it makes sense that this would be the mural above the alter where the smoke monster would make his judgment.
  • The judgment scene focused entirely on Alex, exactly as Ben thought it would. Of all the bad things Ben’s done, and all the people he’s killed, the Monster only seems interested in Alex, his adopted child who was born on the island.
  • Alex, or some apparition of Alex appears and tells Ben to do whatever Locke tells him to do or else she/he/it will “hunt you down and destroy you.” Alex also tells Ben that she knows that he’s “already planning to kill John again.”
  • Ben’s final line: “It let me live.” He doesn’t seem overjoyed.

This was a great episode, and unexpected in a lot of ways. It provide all the answers I was hoping (especially about what the Monster is and who the Walking Dead are), but it was still pretty great.

What did you think? Did this episode prompt any new theories, or did it, in true Lost fashion, just raise more questions.

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61 thoughts on “LOST: “Dead is Dead”

  1. Is Jacob a personification of the island’s spirit, or a separate being? I’m pretty sure I’ve been asking these same questions fairly regularly for the last couple of seasons.

    We’ve been waiting for an answer to that question for a very very long time. When was it that we saw Jacob in that cabin? Was that in the third season?

    We also know that Young Ben did, in fact, return to DHARMA as an undercover agent of the Others/Hostiles pre-Purge. This might facilitate Sawyer and Kate’s to return to DHARMAville; it would have been hard to explain why they took the boy into the jungle and just left him there. It’s still going to be hard to explain, but at least they won’t be blamed for his disappearance.

    I don’t think we’ll see Sawyer and the others stay for very long at Dharmaville. I think they will be gone before young Ben comes back. In order for the memory loss effect to work, and Ben not remembering any of the Losties, they all would have to no longer be at Dharmaville by the time young Ben comes back from the Others.

    I was surprised that Ben killed Caesar. I was under the impression that Caesar was being set up to be a more important character.

    That was my feeling too. Very disappointing, and a cheap death. He really didn’t need to die, but if you wanted even more evidence that Ben is a bad man, there you go, shooting an unarmed person who didn’t need to be shot.

    So what does lie in the shadow of the statue? The Temple?

    It’s not the temple. Remember, they’re on the smaller island. The Temple is on the main island. I was also under the impression that the statue was on the main island as well, but I guess it is on the smaller one.

    The only disappointing thing about this otherwise excellent episode is that we’re going to have to wait at least two more episodes (if not into season six) to find out who/what Jacob is.

  2. “altar” not “alter”. Sorry, it’s the proofreader training coming out at yet another inappropriate time.

  3. Dan, the statue is also on the main island. Maybe the answer to the riddle is “Ben – always lies, no matter where he is.”

    Floyd, I could have really used your proofreading skills at :00 am this morning.

  4. Greg,

    Dan, the statue is also on the main island.

    That’s what I thought. Well, that turns this new group into something far more sinister. That woman (I forget her name), was some assassin sent to get Sayid. She wasn’t spooked by Sayid’s strong attempts to take another plane. She said she worked for someone who Ben had an interest in killing. We still have no clue about that man Sayid killed on the golf course. It seems the men working with this woman on the smaller island are actually known to her. Do you think they knew that that Ajira flight would go through that magnetic field? Do they work for Widmore? Someone else also interested in the island?

  5. If you’re hoping to pick up the season 5 DVDs, you’ll need to wait until December 8, 2009, a painful reminder that after tonight, we only have four more episodes left until Lost returns in 2001 (!) for its final season. The DVDs will be released in both BluRay plan vanilla digital video disc.

    Talk about incorporating time travel into the show? Now we have to go back in time to watch the final episode?

  6. I’d be careful assuming that Penny and Charlie are safe. Otherwise, why does Ben want to apologize to Desmond? For *trying* to kill Penny? Very unBenlike.

    Speculation: Since the island still wants Ben alive he climbs out of the water and kills one of them. Then Desmond, being outside of the island time traveling rules, finds the island, turns back time resetting all events, and then lives happily ever after with Penny and Charlie.

  7. Sigh – this is the first episode of Lost that ever disappointed me

    I was up half the night grappling with the timeline, particularly around when exactly Widmore left the island. Before the purge? After the purge? Everyone seems certain that the purge was 1992, when Alex was 4 years old. So where was Alex for her first four years? Who was taking care of her?

    I thought the reason for Widmore’s banishment was hugely disappointing. I was expecting something epic – like him sacrificing himself to save the island or something – not an argument over a character they never really developed properly. And they STILL haven’t explained what Danielle was doing there in the first place; looks like it was a simple shipwreck, when I had been hoping that her “scientific expedition” was related to the island.

    Jacob’s gotta be the name for the deity of the island. He’s synonymous with the island, yet slightly different. Anubis must be one of his gods or something – it’s like the island was Egyptianesque in ancient times, and in isolation, has evolved to the worship of a god named Jacob. If you’re lucky – or a good con man – he speaks to you and other people listen because of it. Rather primitive.

    My only hope was Ilana – because Cesar’s death was sadly anti-climatic. There was promise he’d be pivotal (we fans likely propagated that idea), and yet we learned nothing of him and he played no role of significance.

    So Ilana is more than a bounty hunter? Keamy part deux perhaps? Does anyone read James Rollins? Because he often has this sort of character – a kick ass assassin who works for the really bad guys.

    She reminds me of the two babes in the Looking Glass – which brings me to another huh? in that ep.

    Ben goes on about Widmore being bad for leaving the island and yet: Ben has a full closet of suits, passports and currency, and is known to a hotel in Tunisia; Richard has left the island several times that we know of (recruiting Locke and Juliet); and Tom had a whole life going off island.

    Sigh. Much to ponder.

  8. Ben tells Locke that the reason he didn’t just let him commit suicide is that, “You had critical information that would have died with you.” Going back to the transcript from “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham,” that “critical information seems to have been that Widmore and Eloise Hawking were working together.

    The way I recall that episode (not having gone back and reviewed the transcript), I thought Ben’s demeanor changed (from stopping the suicide to committing the murder) after Locke told him that Jin was still alive and handed over the wedding ring. I assumed that Ben took this information as a means of getting Sun to the island without needing any help from Locke now, and therefore felt he could kill him now. Not sure how it was critical for getting back to the island to know that Widmore and Hawking were working together. ? Am I wrong?

    As for what’s in the shadow of the island, I assumed it was the well at the Orchid Station. Remember how when Sawyer and Juliet were time-skipping, they ended up at the well and then saw the statue not far behind them? That’s my bet– Ilana et. al. are looking for the well.

    Awesome episode. It’s fun to see some more background on Ben. It’s also fun to see him get his face pounded by the man who continues to be Lost’s awesomest character. And by the way, I was daydreaming last night in bed about what kind of groceries would stop a bullet. A frozen lasagne? A bag of frozen chicken breasts? A hot pocket?

  9. I thought that Ben being ordered to kill Rousseau and (by extension) the baby was a parallel to Ben ordering Locke to kill his father. This appeared to be some kind of test of leadership for the Others.

    From the look of the scene when Ben returns to the camp with Alex and states that Rousseau is still alive that A) Widmore thinks that Ben failed the test; and B) Richard (who looks at Ben admiringly) believes that Ben passed the test.

    Jenny asked when it was that Widmore was banished. Clearly it was after the purge: the Others were settled in Dharmaville, and Widmore was being sent away on the confiscated Dharma sub.

  10. Mudhead, that’s what I thought too. And yet, Charles has been looking for/trying to get back to the island for “almost 20 years.” In what universe is 15 years or less “almost 20”?

  11. I have to say that I love how the writers work so hard to make us despise Ben, but they also won’t let us go without showing us his human side, i.e. his feelings for Alex, how he paused just long enough for Desmond to tackle him because he was trying to wait for little Charlie to get out of the way. Very interesting. Widmore came across as a total jerk in this episode, though I feel like we haven’t ever seen him be anything else. I’ve long maintained that Ben is a tragic character, though I admit he’s also a total jerk.

    There must be more to the story of why Widmore was banished. If he is THAT upset with Ben and truly considers it “his” island after the fact, Ben might have done something to him to make him leave. Maybe he set Widmore up to appear as if he were “breaking the rules”? I suspect there’s more to this story…

    I think Ilana’s working for Widmore. Ben doesn’t recognize her or interact with her (of course, he does have a good poker face), but she’s clearly working for someone. If Widmore was in contact with Hawking, he’d have known about the flight and could (should?) have planted someone (and something?) on it somehow. The statue question in interesting, especially since it’s been demolished for quite some time. Only someone truly interested in the history of the island would be asking that question… remember Widmore at the Black Rock auction?

  12. Thinking further about Ilana, I’m now hopeful she’s been sent by Ellie/Eloise (reminding me of young Ellie). Let us remember that Eloise was the first to identify the right flight, and unless she told Charles, he didn’t know about it until Ben told him just a few hours before it took off. Ellie had plenty of time to place a team, and supplies, on that plane.

    I’m hopeful that’s the case, and that it’s not another Keamy-style mission, but something more in keeping with Eloise. Perhaps Ilana has a mission to conduct an experiment, put a procedure into place, or salvage something. The guns (and hiring a mercenary) are just a protective measure for a different kind of team.

    (Which is in part what Keamy was, at least I thought before things got out of hand – a protection unit for Widmore’s handpicked scientist, anthropologist and psychic, all with ties to the island.)

  13. The way out of the time travel paradoxes in films like Terminator is the parallel universe theory which is actually a prominent (some would say majority) interpretation of quantum mechanics. That is every possibility is actualized.

    Ben lied a lot in this episode. (Putting to rest the “he’s not really a liar” claims) My wife claims the actor acts different when he’s lying and claims to know which of his statements are true. I’m a bit dubious myself.

    I think the reason Ben won’t kill Rousseau is because of how his mother died which is why he didn’t kill Penny.

  14. Back to the Future – Only the first one. By Part 2, I thought the whole thing was ridiculous. I’m not as much of a fan of this movie as a lot of people, but it told a nice story and presented very memorable characters. If nothing else, it brought us the hilarious picture of Hurley sitting and staring at his hand, wondering whether it was going to disappear now that Sayid shot Young Ben.

    Frankly, I love BACK TO THE FUTURE II and the other two films. I think that the series has produced one of the best sagas ever made on the topic of time travel.

    I wish I could say the same about LOST, but I can’t. If I must be frank, I think that HEROES’ take on time travel is more interesting. I dislike Cuse and Lindehof’s rule on time travel and pre-destination. It smacks of someone who possesses a very narrow view on life and is unwilling to fact the possibility that life itself is a lot more chaotic and uncertain that many humans want to believe.

  15. When young Rousseau asks in French for Ben to give the baby back, she uses the masculine.

  16. SG,
    You mean she speaks to Ben in the masculine or she refers to her child in the masculine? And do you think this was just a mistake (if your answer is the latter)?

  17. I haven’t seen any claims that Ben isn’t a liar, just theories (including my own) that he acted only in what he deemed the island’s interests, consequences or innocent bystanders be damned. I still think that was the case at one time, but I think his motivation has morphed into a straight power grab – he was once the top dog and wants to be again.

    It seems to me that over the past half-century there is always a leader chosen by the island/Jacob/whatever – it was once Widmore, then Ben, now Locke. Although not subservient to whomever is the leader at a given time, Richard seems to only be acting in an advisory capacity – i.e. the power behind the throne. I have to say I am very keen to get the truth on Richard – his true purpose, why he never ages, where he buys his eye shadow…

  18. Jenny, regarding Widmore’s claim that he’s been trying to get back to the island “almost 20 years,” I can think of only two possibilities. The obvious one is a continuity mistake by the writers (and not the first, as Charlotte’s age would attest).

    The second possibility is more intriguing if it was deliberate by the writers, to make you guess how much of a liar Widmore is. With all the speculation of when Ben lies and when he tells the truth, there hasn’t been as much scrutiny over Widmore’s statements. Did he really want Desmond out of Penny’s life, or was he using reverse psychology on him to *ensure* Desmond would stay tied to her, and her to him? He tells Locke he was “tricked” off the island by Ben… was he? He says he can never return to the island, but Ben did, so why can’t he? Etc. Etc.

    Widmore may turn out to be as big a liar as Ben. Maybe it’s something to do with the pressure of leadership of the Others that they become pathologically manipulative. Maybe it’s a result of the personality change that takes place when they enter the Temple.

  19. Rosie, I don’t think anything in Lost is certain. So let’s not confuse what is determined in Lost’s metaphysics with what the individuals (or audience) knows. Personally I really appreciate the way they’ve crafted the time travel. It is one of the few formulation of time travel in Hollywood that seems convincing to me. Most time travel assumes you can modify things the way it appears in our regular day to day life. But that quickly leads to all sorts of logical problems. So I’m quite enjoying this and I hope they don’t use Desmond as a cop-out to a Back to the Future like scenario.

    That would perturb me.

    Steve, I think the guys with guns work for Widmore too. I kind of suspected she did when Sayid said all that stuff about Ben and she didn’t show any recognition. Still it would be interesting to see what happens.

    Only 4 episodes left…

  20. I’d be curious to know whether we’ll get an explanation of why Smokey (presumably) plucked the pilot out of the cockpit in Season 1. I’d be happy enough just to know what he/it is, though. =)

  21. I was really bored last week. This week was fantastic. Finally an episode that addressed a number of our questions and didn’t simultaneously raise a score of even more ridiculous ones.

    it was implied that maybe Widmore turned the Frozen Donkey Wheel and found himself in the Tunisian Sahara, and that this is how Widmore knew where the island’s “exit” was located. I guess not.

    I imagine that is how he left the island previously that caused him to be kicked out.

    that’s what I thought too. And yet, Charles has been looking for/trying to get back to the island for “almost 20 years.” In what universe is 15 years or less “almost 20??

    Not sure I fully understand the question being asked, but it is important to remember that time off the island moves quicker than time on the island.

    RE: Good time travel films. I’m no Clark when it comes to determining what makes a time travel flick good and what raises too many logical problems – but I really enjoyed the low budget film Primer.

  22. I liked this episode a lot. One question, though. If you were judging a “worst fake hair” competition, would you give the award to Jack’s beard from last season or Ben’s Beatle wig from this episode?

  23. My first thought regarding Illana and the other new castaways was that they were going crazy like the other French castaways with Rousseau. I also think they found that stock pile of weapons. The Other’s probably had them hidden on Hydra Island and we know that Illana and Ceasar were snooping around on the Island and in the stations there.
    I thought this was an excellent episode. I liked the background info on Ben and Charles. I was relieved Ben didn’t hurt Penny and I liked seeing that Ben has a sore spot for young mothers.
    Something is not right with John Locke. I don’t think this is the same guy. Maybe the dead don’t come back to life. Maybe the Island somehow uses them. I mean Christian Shepard certainly seems different then when he was living. Locke just seems almost sinister now.
    So we know Ben lies but it looks like Widmore is a big fat liar too.

  24. I would give worst hair to Flashback Jack in the S2 premiere where he saved Sarah and met Desmond.

    Ilana and her crew were acting funky in a Smokey kind of way but it makes sense that Widmore still isn’t done trying to get to the island.

    I can’t imagine that Smokey and Jacob will be explained any earlier than next season.

    I was gratified to get a more sympathetic look at Ben and while he may not be “good” he is seeming better than Widmore. I still loved seeing Desmond take him out though. Has anyone on the show bled as much Ben?

    It may be only four episodes left but it’s five hours (2 hour finale), so look on the bright side. It’s amazing how fast the season has gone by.

    The DVDs may not be out until December but the S4 soundtrack will be coming out next month.

  25. Question about the Dharma/Others truce: How do the Dharmas build all their stations all over the island when they’re supposedly restricted to the land inside the sonic perimeter fence? Yes, several of the stations are within that territory, but many others are without.

  26. Brian, I think we’ll learn the secret to that soon. The reason the Dharma boys were so upset with Sayid was because they were building where they weren’t supposed to.

    FHL, I think the smokey monster kills anyone it doesn’t deem worthy.

    Biggest remaining question in my mind. What happened to the two kids the Others took in season 1. What about Rose and Bernard?

  27. Clark,

    Biggest remaining question in my mind. What happened to the two kids the Others took in season 1.

    Excellent question. And Walt. He was so important, but then he’s off in New York living regular life…what’s up with that?

  28. The carved mural isn’t Anubis. It’s Ammit, a similar Egyptian ‘God’. Ammit was believed to have judged people with a heavy heart i.e. made judgements of them for their wrong doing. The smoke monster is Ammit. Jacob is Anubis.

  29. I was really hoping from the title that this episode would give us some info one the rules surrounding death and resurrection, but sadly we got nothing. Otherwise it was pretty good.

    The one thing I thought was helpful in untangling some of Ben’s lies was that Alex said she knew he was already planning to kill Locke again. He has given it two pretty good tries now, but Locke keeps coming back. I think he has no idea when/if the island might get done with Locke and if he keeps trying maybe it will stick one of these times. Which makes me think Ben is still focused on keeping his position as leader of the others and liaison to Jacob.

  30. MVC123: It’d be way cooler if the statue turned out to be Voltron.

    Clark, I think I see where you’re going with that explanation, but I thought the Dharma guy (Radinsky) was mad because Sayid knew about a station that hadn’t even been built yet (which suggests some kind of intelligence leak). Anyway, you might still be right.

    btw, I’m also very interested in the two kids from the tail section, but I’m more interested in Cindy the flight attendant because I want to know what gets someone on “the list.” If we never see Rose or Bernard (but chiefly Rose) again, that will be just fine.

  31. If we never see Rose or Bernard (but chiefly Rose) again, that will be just fine.

    Couldn’t agree more. Would actually be pretty funny if we never found out what happened to them – and none of the characters care to ask.

  32. MVC123, I think the mural is depicting Anubis because it has big-pointy ears and looks like it has the head of a jackal. Ammit doesn’t have big pointy ears. Look at the image in the post and then do google image searches under both names.

  33. What’s with all the Rose and Bernard hate? They’re about the only non-dysfunctional people on the island…

    Vrian, it was both. Where it is being built and why. (I assume that will be the hatch))

  34. Just watched the episode online, though I did read the above observations on Thursday.

    The depiction of Locke as a Christ character continue:

    He’s chosen from before his birth.

    He himself lives after having died (unlike all the Jacob/Smokey sock puppets walking around).

    The new one from this episode: John Locke received not of the fulness at the beginning, but received grace for grace.

  35. So that whole pitiful sex line worker fixation parallels…

    Locke, really until his rebirth, is a pretty pitiful character. It seems like all the characters since their return to the island are much better people. (With the possible exception of Sayid and Kate)

  36. Jenny: you said it. We need some serious Vincent time before the end of this season!

    Clark: it’s not “Rose and Bernard hate” (at least from me), it’s more “Rose and Bernard blase.” But as far as them being non-dysfunctional, I think compared to the felon, con-man, torturer, et al, yeah Rose and Bernard are pretty tame, but could they go five minutes without bickering?! I liked them both a lot better before they got back together.

    So tell me, why are you so interested in them? How do you see them affecting the story from here on out, or what mysteries rely on them? I’m trying to re-open my mind.

  37. I’ll tell you why I’m interested:

    First, because Rose, Bernard and Vincent represent another faction that has been unaccounted for for three years now. They were bouncing around in time, so should have landed in 1974, and yet we’ve heard nothing of them. There are several possibilities, any of them intriguing.

    Second, because it’s also possible that faction didn’t make the final bounce to 1974. In which case, there are two possibilities, also intriguing – that they are in 2007 and will be part of Sun/Locke/Ben reconnecting with everyone else, and that there are yet more exceptions to the time travel parameters, which might help us understand it.

    Third, because animals can sense things humans can’t, and there’s an opportunity, yet to be exploited in any significant way, to have Vincent see/hear/sense things that the humans can’t. We lost Walt, we’ll see if they fully leverage Miles, and hopefully Vincent has a role in the future.

  38. I too am interested in where (and when) Rose, Bernard, Vincent, and the rest of the original Losties are. But I’m wondering where and when the rest of the Others are as well, and I suspect the answers to both questions are related.

    Before the time jumping occurred in 2004, Richard led the Others to the Temple on Ben’s orders. Did the Temple protect them from the time jumping, or if not, does the Temple protect those within it from the negative effects (nosebleeds, headaches, etc.)?

    We know the Rose/Bernard Losties faction initially time-jumped with Sawyer’s group, because they were with them in the past when attacked by the Hostiles and their flaming arrows. Did the rest of the Losties end up captured? And/or: Did they end up making their way to the Temple?

    If we see Rose, Bernard, and the rest of that group later, I think we’ll find them with the Others that stayed at the Temple, and it may answer why it was so important for the Others to reach the Temple before Ben turned the Frozen Donkey Wheel in 2004.

    I also suspect that when Locke told Sun he had “some ideas” about how to reunite them with their 70s Dharmaville compatriots, at least one of those ideas involve entering the Temple and working with whoever may be there in 2007.

    And one other thought: Vincent was important in a similar way to Walt’s. Vincent clearly saw things on the island the rest of the Losties didn’t notice. Vincent was the first to see and interact with Christian Shepherd, and when Christian told him “wake up my son,” Vincent knew he meant Jack. He led Shannon to a place where she saw the vision of Walt speaking backwards. He led Hurley to discover the van with Roger Linus’ body inside. He led Locke and Boone to discover Claire after she escaped from the Staff. Etc. Etc. I think Vincent still has a role to play in leading the Losties to the truth about the Island.

    And a completely random thought: so many of the other characters’ names are based on other people. How about Vincent? Could his name be based on Vincent Price? Van Gogh? D’Onofrio? 🙂

  39. And a completely random thought: so many of the other characters’ names are based on other people. How about Vincent? Could his name be based on Vincent Price? Van Gogh? D’Onofrio?

    Gallo.

  40. I wouldn’t say I hate Rose and Bernard – I just hate how they are used. They were essentially kept around to occasionally have their marital bickering used as really lame comic relief.

  41. Rose & Bernard were nice placeholders for the more mundane members of the plane. (Most of whom are now dead)

    All the focus on the self-centered dysfunctional characters can blind us to what is going on. I’m sure they’ll reappear just as Faraday and Desmond will.

  42. Here’s my guess about Rose and Bernard: they somehow time-jumped into the distant past and became the “Adam and Eve” Jack found in the caves early in the show. How this happened, I don’t know.

  43. Cruse et al. have promised they won’t just kill Rose and Bernard off screen and tell us about it later. Besides the dude who plays Bernanrd is doing a play. So in time I believe we’ll get answers.

  44. I like Rose and Bernard. While they aren’t, and have never been, on the A-list, I think it’s overly reductive to say that they’re just around for comic relief. During season 1, Rose’s steadfast belief that her husband was still alive was used to develop the faith vs. empiricism theme. Rose and Bernard’s reunion during season 2 was one of that season’s notable moments. Rose was healed on the island, just as Locke was, which suggests that she may have favor with Jacob/the island and that she has a role to play. Bernard was also a member of the survivor militia at the end of season 4.

    I’m not sure about the Rose/Bernard=Eve/Adam theory. I think there’s an outside chance that Rose and Bernard took up with the Others/Hostile.

  45. remember the amulet around baby ethans neck? or was it his mom’s neck? anyway– there’s a symbol behind the head of the jackal-god in the mural that looks just like it.

  46. Do you mean the ankh? (That was the necklace that caused a rift between Amy and Horace and that belonged to Amy’s dead husband.) Yeah, it looks like there’s an inverted ankh behind Anubis’s head. I’m not sure if the Egyptians put any significance into inverting symbols or not.

  47. “When young Rousseau asks in French for Ben to give the baby back, she uses the masculine.”

    That is because the word for “baby” en francais is a masculine word. If you study languages, you come to understand that the gender of a word does not necessarily equate to the gender of the item/object/person being named.

  48. That’s right, SG, study some languages!

    This was a great episode. I really like the smoke monster. I wish there was one in real life.

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