Monday, March 30, 2009

Season 5, Episode 10: "He's Our You"

OK, so I've watched this one a couple times (editor's note: watching Lost at 1:30am drunk is not recommended if you want to understand what's happening) and still am not sure what to think. On one hand, we were treated to one of the most jaw dropping endings of the season, but on the other hand I feel like maybe we were all being played a bit. I mean, how can little Harry Potter/Ben Linus be dead at the ripe old age of 10? Did the writers just throw us a cheap thrill knowing full well that next week we'll find out that Ben lives and the bullet magically missed every major organ in his body? Or is there something more here? I'd like to think there is, because at this point the time travel paradoxical chicken or the egg stuff is about to make my head explode. But as always, let's see what sense we can make of what went down in "He's Our You."

Clearly this week's Sayid/Ben-centric love/hate-fest episode focused on a couple major themes, each tied to each other philosophically. One theme is the old nature/nurture argument...are people born with intrinsic traits or are they learned by those who raise them? Is Sayid truly a born killer? Well, he definitely doesn't seem to have a problem with snapping that chicken's neck as a boy, but at the same time he does so to seemingly gain approval from his leering father. As his life moves on, he never fails to exhibit his innate cold blooded behaviors when necessary - but only does so when prodded on by an authority figure. Example one: his corrupt Iraqi commander/friend who convinces him to become the de-facto torturer of the group; and two, Ben's ability to turn Sayid's murderous behavior on and off like a light switch. Both scenarios involve a combination of innate traits mixed with outside influences, which correlates nicely with the broadly accepted argument that both nature and nurture contribute to the make up of one's overall sense of self.

Keeping that in mind, the other main theme that was revisited this week was the question of whether you can change the past to alter the future. Up to this point in the show, we've been told that you can NOT change the past and that the universe will correct itself to always get back on the path on which it resides. But recently we've seen examples of the contrary; last week we saw Sun, Ben, and Lapidus in a Dharma camp that looked eerily untouched for thirty years, looking as if the Others never took it over to begin with; and then this past week we see the biggest game changer of all: a 10 year old Ben supposedly shot dead in 1977. Deep down, it becomes a debate of free will...if we can't control our own destiny can we control our decisions or are they being made for us? As in the nature/nurture example above, can it be a mix of both?

Consider this: Ben has lived through the current version of his life (the one we've seen throughout the show) and unfortunately things have not gone to plan. He has failed in protecting the Island and his people, lost his daughter, been exiled, and is generally hated by all. So upon his exile, he turned his sights on finding out how to change the past and focused on Sayid, his easiest target (well, besides Locke I guess - but Sayid has a knack for killing). After arranging for Nadia's death (not a fact but very likely), he takes advantage of Sayid's fragile state and creates some bogus list of people that were involved in her murder for him to kill. Once he's got him as trained as a Faraday maze rat, Ben cuts him loose, specifically to piss the shit out of Sayid. Upon the break, Ben utters, "You're free" which is rather humorous because Sayid is anything but at this point. Sure, he may think that he's trading in a life of evil to go and build houses for the ironically named charity "Build Your World" but we all know that Sayid's world resides in the palm of Ben's hand. At the appropriate time, Ben chooses to pay that control off with a threat to Hurley's security when he casually mentions the fact that a man (again, likely hired by Ben), is standing watch outside of Hurley's mental hospital. You know the rest, Sayid comes back to "save" Hurley, then gets conned by Ilana (also probably hired by Ben) and ends up on flight 316. Which brings us to the final pay-off in 1977; Ben did all that shit to Sayid for one reason and one reason only: to ensure that he would shoot him as a child. Ben is actively trying to change the future by changing his own past, and by getting shot, maybe things turn out entirely different. Maybe the hostiles find him in the jungle and take him as one of their own earlier than planned. Or maybe he lives but the act "outs" Sayid, Sawyer, and others, bringing them to justice. Or maybe he does die - the ultimate act of sacrifice that inevitably saves the Island from the Purge, something he deemed as wrong in hindsight. Whatever the result, the shooting changed SOMETHING to set the future on an alternate course, and Ben used the knowledge of one reality (his immediate past) to create an alternate reality in the future (the one in which he is shot). And to that point, can anyone remember the book that Ben gives to Sayid in jail? That's right, A Separate Reality.

But of course, that is not the only theory out there explaining the traumatic events of this week's episode. My bearded friend Robert posed that a shot and killed Ben will be found in the jungle by the Hostiles, be brought back to their camp (maybe the Temple?) only to resurrect, proving to Richard and Hostiles that he is their true leader. Definitely a little out there (and Jesus-y), but it's not like we haven't seen this before: Locke has just recently sprung back to life from the depths of a coffin and a similar argument can be made for Christian. Another common thread between Ben and Locke's (possible) resurrection is that both were murdered...which helps explain why Ben murdered Locke instead of letting him commit suicide. He knew from history that murder was the only way to test whether or not one was worthy of Island leadership.

In one last theory, let's not forget about Ben's enemies and their motives. Widmore could have hired Ilana to get Sayid on that plane, hoping that he would kill a young Ben in 1977, which would effectively eliminate the source of Widmore's life long troubles. Ben is the sole reason that Charles is not still leading on the Island, so if he ceased to exist, Widmore would presumably still be there calling the shots. But where these types of arguments hit a wall is the fact that we've already seen the events of a world where Ben exists, meaning that he can't possibly be dead. That is why I fear that we are being played and that Ben will simply recover from a gunshot wound in next week's episode - but also why I believe that the first theory hold the most water seeing that it allows for an alternate future based on the occurence of a major past event (meaning that Ben can still live but the event itself can change the future). That being said, next week's episode is cryptically titled "Whatever Happened, Happened," so hopefully we'll have some sort of answer on the subject that makes more sense than this post. ;)

Per usual, a couple of quickies:

-Hurley as the chef: awesome. For those that didn't see it, check out is Dharma Chef badge, it's by far the best Dharma logo we've seen.

-Oldham (the creepy drug dude who lives in the woods): I don't have much to say other than I was impressed by this guy's performance. Also though, there is an alternate tie to the book I mentioned above that can be linked to Oldham. While A Separate Reality can be interpreted as a literal reference to an alternate future, it can also be referring to Oldham and his wacky drugs. The book, written by Carlos Castaneda, claims to be a non-fiction account of Castaneda's journey to become a veritable enlightened being, marked by supreme self-awareness and capable of perceiving ''non-ordinary reality.'' To accomplish this journey, Castaneda does two things; 1) becomes an apprentice to Yaqui shaman Don Juan Matus, and 2) eats a ton of peyote. In light of this info, both Oldham and his spiked sugar cube can be seen in a new light. Is he a reference to the Shaman? Is Ben his apprentice? Is there going to be an episode where everyone takes a day off to shroom in the jungle? Cause that would be awesome.

"You used exactly the right amount....hahahHAAHAHAHAHAH"

I think that's all I got for this week. I suppose I could talk about the inevitable "love rhombus" showdown (thanks Sam) that we'll no doubt see go down between Jack, Kate, Juliet, and Sawyer but I don't care much about its significance. Instead, I'm eager to see how this episode is resolved, because at the moment I'm pretty damn confused. Chime in below to clear my head! Till next time....

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Season 5, Episode 9: "Namaste"

So there is an interesting theory out there explaining how this year's episodes should have been sequenced. It is thought that because of last year's writer's strike, the shortened Season 4 was actually supposed to end with what ended up being this year's 6th episode: "316." As you'll recall, "316" was really the beginning of the O6's trek back to the Island, and ended with all of them successfully on the flight, ready for whatever destiny had in store. Then, in typical Lost fashion, the episode would have ended with Jin's astonished look after seeing his friends alive and on the Island once again...a fitting cliffhanger for a show that has produced some of the best around. Months later, Season 5 would have started off with the stellar "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham," then moved into last week's "Lefluer" before finally revisiting this week's 316 crash again in "Namaste," for what should have been the third episode in Season 5.

The only reason I say this is because both "Lafluer" and "Namaste" had the recognizable feel of what I'd call "season building," or set-up episodes. Meaning, that we as an audience needed a base of knowledge to build upon for the shows ahead. However, because of the accelerated pace of the first half of this season due to last year's delays, we are getting these "seminars" at a funny time in Season 5 - about half way through. Because of this, I think these past two episodes felt a bit out of place, but now that we have them out of the way, we can focus on what's to come: the final arc of the series. Sure, we will be thrown some curves along the way, but I have a feeling that we are approaching the final stretch, and many answers are to come.

But just because "Namaste" may have seemed a bit mellow, it doesn't mean that there wasn't anything to discuss. First off, let's talk about that runway, shall we? Not only do we have confirmation that it was indeed used to land flight 316, but we now know WHY the Ben had the Others building it in back in 2004. Simply put, Ben knew that he would need the runway to get back to the Island at some point in the future. And how did he know that? Because in 1977 little Ben has already encountered a time jumping Sayid and Sawyer and will no doubt cross paths with the rest of the jumpers (Kate, Hurley, and Jack) in due time. Now, I'm not saying that he figured out that a future version of himself was essentially exiled off the Island and needed a way back to it overnight, but I do think that he will figure out who these new additions to the Dharma Initiative are and eventually will be able to exploit that knowledge for his benefit. Don't forget, little Ben was or is going to be approached by Richard Alpert around this time in his life (as seen in his flashback episode "The Man Behind the Curtain") , so he at least has access to some sort of Other/"This is a Special Island and you are a special boy" type of information. And, as we've seen countless times in the past, Ben always seems to know what is going to happen next. The fact that he's meeting people that he will meet again in 30 years is a huge clue in how he became so powerful.

To further prove this point, how do you think he knew to seek out Juliet to come to the Island when they were having fertility issues? Is it not possible, as I mentioned here a couple posts ago, that he likely recruited Juliet to the Island based on her successful delivery of baby Ethan in 1977? She seemed to be able to break the fertility issue then, why not again in 2001? So for now, I'm going to assume that it was this same type of foresight that led Ben to build the runway on Othertraz...he learned at some point in the past from one of the O6 that he would need a means to return to the Island, and the runway was the way to get there.

Confused? I know, me too. Let's move on to Sun. The big question is why didn't she - and Ben for that matter - flash back to 1977 with the rest of the O6? Well, one theory is that Ben is simply not allowed back and that Sun did not follow proper protocol. She didn't "recreate" the circumstances of her initial flight well enough to convince the Island that she deserved entry. On top of that, she's been manipulative: she's playing both sides with Widmore and Ben, and she hasn't been entirely truthful with anyone since their initial return to the real world. In short, we still don't know what her motives are. Maybe the Island recognizes this, and deems her intentions murky at best.

Another more off the wall thought is that Ben and Sun could not return to 1977 because they both exist on the Island in that time as children. Meaning, that they can't occupy the same time as their child-selves. I know this makes no sense but hear me out. Now, we already know that Ben is alive and well in 1977, but how about Sun? Well, remember the first scene of this season where Dr. Pierre Chang (Marvin Candle) wakes up to the crying baby in Dharma-ville? While many including myself have assumed that baby to be Miles, it could also be Sun. Don't forget that Sun's father's company - Paik Industries - has had ties to both the Hanso Foundation and the Dharma Initiative...could there have been a shake up that landed Sun with Mr. Paik instead of Dr. Chang? And if this happened soon enough after her birth on the Island, she would have no recollection of her time spent there. I'm pretty sure I'm way off here, but I can't come up with anything else at the moment. Regardless, Christian tells Sun that she's got a "bit of a journey ahead" of her, so the likely scenario is that the Island has other plans for her...for now.

Moving on, I especially dug the scene between the former leader Jack and new leader Sawyer. As mentioned last week, we really see how Sawyer has grown over the three years since he's been with Dharma. He's a "thinker" now (good for him!). But what's ironic about his "you're a thoughtless reactionary" speech to Jack is that Sawyer himself acted exactly the same way for nearly 4 seasons. He once immediately declared that Sayid was a terrorist just because he was an Arab; he found shit on the beach that could have been useful for all and but instead stole it for himself; and the list could go on and on. But the Sawyer of Dharma times shows that he has learned not only from both his and Jack's mistakes, but from following in the footsteps of his pseudo-mentor John Locke to adopt a more philosophical approach to problem solving. And for what it's worth, it's working out. So far.

Finally, let's break down that extra special creepy scene with Sun, Frank, and Christian towards the end of the episode. A couple things are happening here. First off, Smokey is around. Not only is he hopping through the trees as Sun and Frank approach the village from the dock, but he's letting himself in the Dharma cabin to join the group for story time.

What's the deal with that? Do we revisit an old theory and assume that Christian is a manifestation of the Smoke Monster - similar to other Island ghosts (Yemi, Horace, Dave, etc). And did anyone catch the quick cut of a blond in the background of this scene? Check out the pic it Claire? Is it a mistake?

But I think the biggest clue we got from the scene was the setting of the camp itself. Think about this. Sun and Frank are entering what was initially Dharma-ville in the past and then was transformed to Other-ville after the Purge in the early 90's. The Others lived in the camp up until about 2004 when the shit hit the fan with the freighter folks and had to retreat to the Temple. So let's assume that it's been abandoned for three years. But the camp that Sun and Frank walked into looked like it had been abandoned for WAY longer than three years, didn't it? The lamp posts were rusted over, the signs were all crooked...sure I know that no one's been around to keep the place up, but something's not right. And how about this: why would Dharma recruiting pictures still be up on the wall? Wouldn't you think that the Others would have trashed that stuff when taking over the barracks after the Purge? If you buy a house, do you leave pictures of the former family up on your walls? No, you don't.

One more thing: when 316 was going down in the beginning of the episode, the co-pilot puts out a Mayday call over the radio only to get a familiar transition back. Listen closely and you'll hear the old numbers broadcast coming through the cockpit's radio. What's strange about the transmission though is that in the 2007 we know, the "old" numbers broadcast - meaning the one that navy pals Leonard and Sam heard in the Pacific in the 50's - had been substituted with Rousseau's broadcast in the late eighties. Meaning, that in the 2007 we know, the pilot's never should have heard the old numbers transmission. But they did.....

So what is going on here? Could it be that the time that Sun, Frank, and the 316 survivors are in an alternate version of the present? What if Faraday is wrong and the O6 have done something to change the past? What if Sawyer and company did something to stop the Purge? What if the war Widmore speaks of has come and gone...leaving the Island in a state of devastation? I don't know the answers, but SOMETHING has happened to change the course of time and I'll bet that we learn what that something is over the next few episodes.

Some extra tidbits:

-Radzinsky: Not only is he a muppet lover (reruns of the Muppet show were playing on his surveillance screens), he was the guy who worked with Kelvin before blowing his head off in the Swan Hatch. He was also the guy that started drawing the map of the Island on the blast door. He was also the assumed the architect of the Swan Hatch, as he had a nice little model going in this episode and was concerned that Sayid may have seen it and therefore compromising it's security. Remember, the Swan Hatch was built later in Dharma time and likely in Hostile territory (outside the Sonic Fences). Why is Dharma interested in this area? Probably because it's showing high levels of electromagnetic properties, most likely because it's where "Jughead" the hydrogen bomb was buried. Dharma wants to exploit the area and therefore build a secret hatch, underground, so to not alert the hostiles to what they are up to.

-Did anyone else catch Sawyer saying that Faraday got sent away? What's the deal there? Did someone get a little too creepy with a little girl or did Dharma realize that they had a wealth of time traveler knowledge in that little head of his?

-This isn't a revelation by any means, but I thought the quick shot of Jack tapping his broken watch after being told in the scene prior that they had traveled 30 years back in time was nothing short of classic. Gotta love the writers adding in stuff like that...also the "Ride Captain Ride" song playing while they were signing in on recruitment day. ("Ride, captain ride upon your mystery ship/Be amazed at the friends you have here on your trip"). Perfect.

I swear, he's checking his watch

Anyways, as usual, this is much longer than I had anticipated but hopefully there is a lot to chew on. Looking forward to this week's episode but for the first time in a long time, I will NOT be seeing it during it's regularly scheduled time so I will have to wear a blindfold and ear plugs to work on Thursday to avoid getting spoiled. So if you see me, please be kind. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Season 5, Episode 8: "Lafluer"

So of the small sample group that is my place of work, it was pretty much split down the middle on whether "Lafluer" was a yet another Lost greatest hit, or the first snoozer of Season 5. I think I'm a bit biased, but I was a big fan. I've been looking forward to seeing how Sawyer and company were able to successfully penetrate the Dharma fraternity in a relatively short amount of time, and that story delivered for me. And for those that didn't like the episode? Well, tonight's a repeat night for Lost, so hopefully this recap will give you a bit more to chew on till next week!

Regardless of the overall reaction to the show, few can argue that seeing the rest of the four toed statue in the first scene was no less than totally awesome. As you can imagine, there are a number of theories out there that explain what it was, and instead of going through the ones that are likely not true (remember the one that said it was Sawyer?), I'll list through the best contenders.

First off, I think we can all agree that the statue certainly looked Egyptian. Also, in its right hand it was holding an ankh, the Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol that means "eternal life" (paging Ageless Richard...has anyone seen Ageless Richard?). This is the same symbol that we later learned the recently deceased Paul was wearing when murdered by the Others. But getting back to the Egyptian stuff, it turns out that the ancient god Anubis has been portrayed with an ankh and headdress in Egyptian illustrations, so it could certainly be him. Oh, and Anubis was considered the "gatekeeper of the underworld" as well as the "patron of lost souls." Lost souls...interesting.

But that's not the only theory. Another contender is that the statue is of Taweret, the goddess of fertility, as well as the protector of pregnancy and childbirth. There are obvious parallels here as well, since we know that in sometime after 1977 woman cannot successfully give birth to children on the Island. We have to assume that anyway, because in this episode Amy does give birth, albeit prematurely, to her and Horace's son thanks to Juliet. And while the birth was successful, I can't help but think that it was indeed unexpected and met with some feelings of trepidation. After all, the assistant doctor told us that all pregnant women "go back to the mainland" to give birth and that Amy missed her ride a week earlier to do so. The fact that they don't even have the materials to assist with childbirth must lead us to believe that a live birth on the Island has likely never taken least with the Dharma folks. Enter time traveler Juliet. With not much more than monkey wrench and a scalpel she is the key to the healthy delivery of Amy and Horace's boy. She's bucked the trend, and the boy will live after all. Goddess of fertility indeed.

In light of this we find ourselves at familiar crossroad: can you indeed change the past or, like Faraday said, is "what happened, happened?" Was the Amy's baby born only because Juliette was there to deliver him? If she wasn't there to do so, would that baby's life never had happened? These questions alone make this mystery baby significant. Not only may he be the only infant to be both conceived and delivered on the Island by outsiders, he could also be a life that was never supposed to see the light of day. As to WHO he is, I have no idea. In Lost time, he'd be about 27 in the "present" (2007), and I can't think of anyone of significance on or off the Island that fits that age. Time will tell, I suppose.

Moving along, let's talk about are old friend Lafluer. My girlfriend had made an observation early in the episode that lately everyone has been calling Sawyer "James" more and more often this season. Indeed, Locke had taken to calling him by his rightful name after their realization that they shared a common enemy in the real Sawyer, Anthony Cooper, but recently Juliette and others have often referred to Sawyer by James as well. As posed by some other folks, I think the writers are doing their best to explicitly show Sawyer's transformation from no good lying con-man to a man of worth. He truly seems at home in Dharma land, no? He's got a nice job, a great new girlfriend, and is respected by all. Even Horace looks to him for advice after losing his way with booze and dynamite. Sawyer has found comfort in his life at last, but unfortunately I think that his comfort is going to be short lived, which is too bad. Cause as we see in the show's final moments, the old gang is back, and the honeymoon in Dharma-ville is likely over. Instead of cozy wine-laden date nights with Juliette, the future holds love quadrangles, Other Wars, and probably some more time travel for good measure. Poor Sawyer...he almost made it, but apparently a happy life in the 70's is not his final destination.

[And I have nowhere to fit it in - and it really didn't reveal all that much - but Sawyer's scene with Richard Alpert was by far the best of the episode. While his transformation to "good guy/leader" was well underway at that point, he was still able to con with the best of them. Guess you don't forget a solid trade. He absolutely floored Alpert with the knowledge of Locke, the Black Rock, and more. It's not often we see the Others on their heals, so it's nice to see the "good guys" have a step up on them for once.]

Some additional tidbits before wrapping up:

-Yes, we should assume that the little red headed girl was a young Charlotte. Early in the episode we found Daniel muttering to himself "I can't tell her, don't tell her" meaning that he should resist the urge to change the past by NOT telling her to leave the Island, but I think we all know how that's going to end, right? Because after all, if Charlotte never left, then Daniel would have never met her...better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all, right?

-A lot of people has asked where Ben fits into this episode's timeline. If you remember, Ben was NOT born on the Island but was instead born in Portland, Oregon off to the side of the road in the woods. The birth killed his mother, and as his father ran to the road for help he actually came upon Horace and Olivia (another Dharma person). Later, likely with Horace's help, Ben's father took them both to the Island to work for Dharma.

Now, while Ben was obviously not featured in the episode I do think that he was old enough to be on the Island during the time of the show's events (assuming he's mid forties or so, he would have been born in the 60's, which would make him roughly 10-12 or so in the time of this episode, which is right around when he originally came to the Island). And another quirky coincidence: if he was there and had learned that Juliet was the one to miraculously deliver Horace's baby in 1977, could it be possible that he retained that knowledge, making it possible for him to recruit the "future" Juliet in 2001 to solve the fertility issues that they continued to struggle with? After all, in there first appointment, Harper (Goodwin's shrink wife) uttered "I see what he likes in you, you look just like her" to Juliette shortly after her arrival on the Island. Could she have been referring to the past Juliette??? Did that make any sense???

Alright, well I think that will do it for this one. I feel that for a relatively straightforward episode I managed to thoroughly confuse myself , but at least we have another week to try and sort it out. And one final note: this recap marks my 50th post on this here blog... so a big THANKS for everyone that has read my ramblings, shared their thoughts, and passed this along to others in the last couple of years. It started out as an poorly written email to a handful of co-workers and look how far we've come; it's now a poorly written blog that some poor soul in Bulgaria has even read. Who'da thought. It's been fun and I look forward to trying to figure out the rest of this crazy shit with you guys over the next 24 episodes. Till next week!
Season 5; Episode 7: “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham”

Greetings from 30,000 feet…I’m obviously a bit late with this week’s post, but think of it as a nice primer for tonight’s episode. “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” gave us quite a bit to chew on, so let’s get right to it….

I must admit, I was a bit confused at the show’s opening as I initially thought that we’d be getting some background info on Caesar and Ilana, but low and behold the crash landed Ajira #316 loomed in the background as they walked out to the beach. I’m not exactly thrilled about the prospect of even more characters to deal with, but as long as this doesn’t turn into another Paulo and Nikki situation, I’ll allow it. Getting back to the opening scene, Caesar is told that a man that no one remembers to be on the plane has been found dressed to the nines standing in the ocean water. And for once we get a reveal at the beginning of an episode, as we see that Jeremy Bentham did in fact die, only to give birth to a newly baptized John Locke.

But no matter how good the mangos are and how relieved John seems to be now that he’s alive and back “home,” there are some issues to be dealt with. First off, they are not on the Island, they are on “Othertraz,” home of the Hydra station where Kate, Jack and Sawyer were being held in Season 3 (and also being forced to build that runway…is that what Frank landed on?). Also, Frank and “some woman” have taken one of the canoes and headed off to the Island already. Is it Sun that is with Frank? At this point she seems to be the most likely candidate, but why did she not jump in time with the others? Locke’s final problem is that he’s in the sticky situation of trying to explain his sudden resurrection to a fresh crop of skeptical survivors. Good luck with that.

But first let’s look at Locke’s all but failed mission to convince the O6 to return to the Island. Once he turns that Donkey Wheel he immediately transforms from “I am their Leader” badass Other-King to a broken, old man lying helplessly in the desert. And as the episode progresses, it is not only his physical state that is broken, he slowly but surely loses the confidence and faith that he so strongly commands when on the Island. He simply cannot sustain himself in the real world and turns into the self-doubting bumbling man that we’ve seen so often in the past. And one by one, the O6 let him know it; Sayid condescendingly shrugs him off and suggests that he should forget about the Island and “do some real good for a chance”; Kate accuses him of being a loveless obsessive, Hurley simply assumes he’s dead (is there any bigger insult than that??); and Jack basically calls him a delusional old man in need of some serious mental help. Ouch. And even Abaddon gets in on the fun by chiding him after each successive failure (“you know you are supposed to bring them back with you, right Mr. Locke?”).

And let’s not forget the two puppet masters that pull his strings the hardest: Widmore and Ben. Now, I’ve been stating on this here blog that I figured that Widmore has been shadowing Ben’s every off Island move so that he can somehow piggy back a ride back to the Island, but in this episode we learn that it may be the other way around. Clearly Widmore is on the ball and has been tracking the O6 ever since their return, and seemingly had the Eloise Hawking card in his pocket before Ben did (how surprised did he look when John mentioned her name?). But regardless of who’s tagging along with who, both Ben and Widmore are manipulating John to do their bidding…and we have to assume that one is good, and that the other is bad…right? While I initially came away with the thought that Ben really is and always has been the bad guy (you know, with the strangling and all), I’m not so sure that’s entirely correct. And when you look at both Ben and Widmore’s intentions, they are roughly the same: protect the Island, get Locke and the rest back to the Island, and prevent and/or get ready for the “war” that is inevitably coming. Is it possible that they are on the same overall side come wartime, but simply work in different ways to achieve their goals? I mean, I don’t blame Widmore for hating Ben after he got exiled, but at the same time you can’t really blame Ben for hating Widmore since he killed his daughter and a number of other Others with the whole Freighter incident. I don’t really know where I’m going with this, but I guess the final thought is that it’s still really hard to trust anything either of them say. So I guess it’s back to square one with these two.

But a little more on Ben. Yes, he brutally murdered John. Like, big time. Not cool. BUT, what he did before the murder was restore John’s faith. After all of his failed attempts, it seemed as if John didn’t even believe in his own ranting by the time he set his mind to suicide. And if he were successful in off-ing himself in such a delicate state, would the Island accept him back as its “chosen one?” So with his little pep talk to John (no, no, you ARE really special, blah blah) Ben was simply making John believe again so that when he did die, the Island would welcome his return? Remember his rant from last week when he almost turned the car around: “You have no idea what I’ve done to help you, all of you!” Simply said, it could be argued that he did what was necessary to ultimately protect the Island and its inhabitants. Conversely, the argument that Ben’s just a cold hard manipulating murderer that will do anything to get his way is more than valid, but we have a season and a half to go, so don’t get too comfortable with any theory at this point.

Let’s move on to Abaddon. I don’t have much to say, other than he’s still awesome and I was upset to see him get killed (wow, that makes TWO murders for Ben in one episode…shit, maybe he really is an asshole). (By the way, how awesome was that entire scene? Abaddon gets whacked totally out of the blue and then Locke gets into a crazy car wreck on in the span of a breathless 30 seconds…pure Lost). But one interesting thought regarding Abaddon is that he really might be future Walt. Explanation: I was a little confused with Walt’s appearance in this episode, cause really, abruptly taking a parent-less teenager back to a remote Island in the South Pacific with a mysterious old man is more commonly referred to as “kidnapping” than anything else. But I think the writers wanted us to hear Walt’s dream: he mentioned that he had been dreaming that Locke was on the Island, dressed in a suit and surrounded by a group of angry people (likely a soon to be seen future scenario once people start questioning the whole “I was dead but now I’m alive…isn’t that awesome?!” alibi). Now, we know that Walt has always had “special” abilities, and if those abilities center around seeing visions of the future, wouldn’t he then be perfectly suited for a job that’s description focused on “getting people to where they need to be?” Couple that with the fact that Abaddon conveniently left the scene right before Walt strolled up to Locke and the fact that Abaddon keeps calling John “Mr. Locke” ala Walt from season 1 and you may have yourself a crackpot theory. Regardless of its validity (likely low), I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Walt or Abaddon in Lost….I hope not anyways.

A couple more thoughts that I can’t fit into some sort of narrative cause I’m lazy and/or tired:

-Now that we know that Widmore was on the Island for “three decades”, I think it’s safe to say that Penny was born there. And I still think that she could be the daughter of Eloise Hawking which would make her the brother of Faraday. Therefore I think Penny will be very important in future episodes…that is if Ben didn’t kill her of course.

-I loved seeing the beginning of Jack’s “WE HAVE TO GO BACK!” beard in the scene he shared with Locke. While I mentioned above that Jack laid into Locke pretty hard at the hospital, don’t forget that Locke got the last comeback: “your father says hello.” Cue pills, booze, doubt, confusion, depression and a big ole hairy beard. In the end, it was that line that really started snowball effect of getting them all to get back to the Island.

-“The boy’s gotten big.” – Abaddon…classic.

-Oh, forgot to mention that it’s entirely possible that Christian is actually alive versus being some sort of Island ghost/Jacob’s secretary. I mean, if Locke resurrected, then I suppose Christian could have as well, right? Of course, that would probably imply that Christian had been to the Island before, but as out there as it sounds, it’s not impossible.

-So if John is Jesus, and Jack is St. Thomas, and Ben is Judas, and Sun is Mary (immaculate conception…remember that Jin’s boys don’t swim well), which I guess makes Jin Joseph, ect, ect,….is the Island God? I suck at the religious stuff.

Biggest Questions: if Sun went with Frank on the canoe, why didn’t she time jump with the rest of them? Along the same lines, why didn’t John jump as well? What’s the deal with Caesar and Ilana? Will Widmore be on the Island in the Dharma time that the others are in now? If so, will we see a little Penny running around? And finally, WHERE THE HELL ARE BERNARD AND ROSE?

OK, that’ll do it for this week. I’m already psyched for tonight, and since I’ve been off the grid for a bit I have no idea what it will be about, which is even more exciting. As usual chime in below, especially since I know I’m leaving some stuff out. Till next time…