Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Case of the.... Lost - Episode 5-7

Loved the episode, but there was one thing that really irked me: Aside from Sayid, Locke never once told anybody to call him Jeremy Bentham. And we saw his full interactions with Jack, Walt, and Hurley. Yet not only did they all know that Locke is Jeremy Bentham, but each and every one of them had the foresight to refer to him as that – and only that – whenever they saw each other?

Anyway, much like virtually every other episode this season, this episode answered some lingering questions, some of which might go in the category of “Duh.”

Click the "Read More" link for the full column.

First and foremost, we now know what happened to everybody else on the flight. Quite simply, the plane crashed onto the island. And, according to the federal agent, “The pilot and some woman” took one of the rafts (which, by the way, answers what happened to the Zodiac) without telling anybody. Who is that woman? The safe – and likely right – answer is Sun. But I can’t help but wonder something: By the end of the episode, pretty much everybody’s whereabouts are accounted for, except for Sayid’s. It’s not exactly clear how much time has passed between the crash and tonight’s episode, but for some reason I don’t expect a federal agent to be so lackadaisical about her prisoner escaping or disappearing. So, where exactly is he?

And not to sound like a cliche again, but WHEN are they? I think this episode all but confirms that the people shooting at Sawyer and his crew a few episodes ago are the Flight 316 survivors. But, if I remember correctly, there wasn’t a plane crashed on the shore. So does that mean that these new people are jumping through time as well? If that’s the case, I’m beginning to think that the Temple might be the answer to the question of immunity. The Others seem to be the only ones immune to the time traveling, and from what Ben has told us, they were shacking up in the Temple during the whole freighter mess.

By the way, was anybody else “faked out” by the opening sequence? I totally expected the scene with Caesar and the federal agent to be a flashback, with us learning that there’s more than meets the eye with these two. While that may still be the case, it turns out that it was following the plane crash. I’m curious why Caesar has become their leader, but he definitely seems like a sketchy fellow.

Now, let’s get to the juicy stuff with John Locke following the wheel turning.

I think it’s interesting that Locke wasn’t paralyzed upon his return to the “real world.” Incidentally, he didn’t appear to have his mutant healing powers either, as he spent the entire episode with a broken leg. I did appreciate him spending the entirety of him time on the mainland in a wheelchair, though (how great was the expression on his face when Abaddon whipped that out of the trunk?)

How great were his interactions with Widmore? Have you ever seen one character so consistently lied to and manipulated? Normally when somebody has trust issues, it means that they have difficulty trusting anybody, no matter how loyal and reliable. Yet Locke has the opposite problem: He’s perpetually trusting, despite being repeatedly taken advantage of. I mean, how often has he put his trust in Ben AFTER the man shot him and left him for dead in a pit of dead bodies?

It’s funny, but throughout this whole Ben vs. Widmore war, everybody has been assuming that Ben is the lesser of two evils. After tonight’s episode, I’m really not sure that’s the case. Granted, I’ve learned not to merely trust what characters tell us, so I certainly didn’t buy everything he was selling. But when he revealed that he used to be the leader of the Others and was essentially duped by Ben into leaving, it sounded very similar to what is happening with Locke.

Speaking of Ben, I love how casually he confesses to committing absolutely abhorrent deeds. A couple of weeks ago he cavalierly admitted that he was the one who filed the lawsuit against Kate, and this week he owned up to killing Abaddon. And his “a promise is a promise” line was delicious, simply because we all know in just a matter of days he consciously breaks that promise by telling Sun that Jin is alive. By the way, I’m now fully convinced that Ben knew full well that turning the wheel wouldn’t banish him from the island (a theory that appears to be true, given the reveal at the end of the episode). It was just another ploy to screw Locke from his destiny.

And how about the fact that Ben brutally murdered Locke? What a striking scene that was, made even more chilling by his power hungry motives. It wasn’t a crime of passion, nor was it even personal. Ben simply took a man’s life because that person was meant for something grander. I can’t help but feel like he’s royally effed once Locke gets his hands on him.

By the way, Ben recognizing Ms. Hawking’s name, in my opinion, confirms that she was once an Other. I am curious why she would work with Ben, especially considering that Christian instructed Locke to go see Hawking (why didn’t he do that right away, exactly?) while having hostile feelings towards Ben.

Did anybody else feel badly for Locke during his interactions with the Oceanic Six? Locke has a flawed personality, no doubt, and truth be told, if I actually knew him, I’d probably think he was a bit much to deal with. But the fact of the matter is, he does appear to be a genuinely nice guy who is willing to give up his life for others. Yet he returns and is just completely bombarded with hurtful statements, from Kate telling him that he’s desperate and incapable of love, to Jack harshly labeling him pathetic, deluded, and not special. It really felt like one attack after another. And he finds out that his one true love has died (did anybody catch her date of death? I missed it).

Actually, the one encounter that made me smile was when Locke went to see Walt. These two have always had a special bond (in fact, Walt was a great plot device in humanizing Locke’s otherwise loony character), and it was nice that these two were genuinely happy to see each other. I thought it was really sweet how Locke couldn’t bring himself to telling Walt that his father had died (although Walt seemed aware of his death when he visited Hurley in the asylum), and that Locke outright made the decision that Walt has been through enough and that he deserves a normal life, and that they’d make do without him on the flight.

And honestly, had they not had this scene, it would have been a really cruel and distasteful episode. In his attempt to rescue everybody, Locke is used, made fun of, and then murdered. I mean, c’mon….that would have left a bad taste in my mouth.

By the way, I’m glad that they slipped in that little line about Walt having prophetic dreams about Locke. Shows that the boy is still special and that he may play a role in the rest of the series yet.

Did anybody else find it interesting that Widmore’s photo of Sayid looked as if it was taken seconds before Locke visited him? It just seemed strange that Sayid was sitting in the exact same way, doing the exact same action (hammering), with the exact same size piece of the roof missing. This could possibly be blamed on the producers just lazily using a production still, but this doesn’t seem like the type of show that would take such an unnecessary shortcut.

I also couldn’t help but notice how soft and warm Kate looked. Since she’s been back, even in her comforting scenes with Aaron, her attire, hair, and make up always seem to be dark, hard, and cold. Yet in this scene, she was surrounded by sunlight, was wearing pink, and was wearing her wavy hair in a ponytail. She even spoke softly, opposed to the assertive tone we’ve become accustomed to during her post-island life.

The two interactions that bothered me the most were the ones with Hurley and Jack, just because they both seemed so out of character and unbelievable. I understand that Hurley is a bit crazy, and that he’s been through a lot, but I find it EXCEPTIONALLY hard – perhaps even impossible – to believe that he’d be so laid back about Locke apparently dying. Hurley is probably the show’s most compassionate, caring, and sympathetic character. I find it unbelievable that he’d simply say, “Oh, you didn’t make it? That’s cool.” It just wasn’t consistent with his nature.

And while I totally expected Jack to go off on Locke, I find it just as difficult to accept that he wouldn’t (a) ask HOW Locke got off the island (when he asked why Locke was there, it sounded like he was saying “why are you at my hospital, and not at the one two towns over?” and not “what are you doing off that crazy mystical island that up and disappeared right in front of my eyes?”) and (b) inquire about the well being of all the people he had left behind. Am I to believe he doesn’t care about what happened to Sawyer or Juliet? Or Rose and Bernard? And wouldn’t think to ask if Locke has seen his, ya’ know, SISTER. This is a man who spent the last couple of seasons completely obsessed with getting everybody off the island. In the end, he only succeeded in getting five people off. I could understand that he’s not completely tormented, but I simply don’t see him passing up his one opportunity to find out what happened to everybody he left behind.

And is it me, or did the conversation not really ring too true to what Jack had told Ben? It was more Jack yelling at Locke than Locke blaming Jack. And did Locke even say that everybody on the island died? Or that terrible things had happened? He pretty much only said that they needed to come back.

I did, however, love the way Locke deduced that Christian is Jack’s father. Now THAT messed up the good doctor’s head.

Anyway, people seemed to respond (literally!) to my talking points last week, so let’s do that again. Here are some questions to ponder for my Revisited column. E-mail me or comment on the blog:

What time period do you think Locke, Caesar, and that crew are on? Are they time traveling with the island?

What happened to Sayid?

Why did Kate, Jack, and Hurley “flash” to the island, but not Sun and Sayid?

Why is the resurrected Locke apparently a fully living being, while Christian is an all-knowing spirit?

How much of Widmore’s story did you believe? Who is the lesser of two evils, him or Ben?

What was the symbolism of Kate’s “softer” image?

Can somebody help me out here: What was the date of death on Helen’s gravestone?

One must also ask: Considering what Ben did to Locke, why would he want to bring him back to the island? I know that they needed a dead body, but he must have known that the resurrection was a possibility (especially with his coy “oh, he’s only sorta dead” attitude). So, why risk it?

And can somebody please explain to me WHY the Oceanic Six must return? Even within the context of the story, none of the terrible stuff that happened has anything to do with them leaving, it’s because Ben messed up the donkey wheel. Bringing them back doesn’t fix that.

Send me your thoughts. Thanks for reading!


Kyle Litke said...

Okay, let's see.

#1, I totally agree on the Bentham thing, I was thinking the exact same thing.

#2, not sure if that confirms they were the ones doing the shooting, but it does seem likely to me that Sawyer and crew time jumped to a spot after this crash. Although, like you said, there didn't seem to be a plane...but the boats were there anyway.

#3, I'd have to guess the "woman" is Sun. Sayid's location is a big question mark too though.

#4, I kind of assumed that the plane crash people were in the present day, and that's why the plane and everything is there. Jack, Hurley, and Kate (at least) seemingly got picked up by one of the time flashes to the point where they disappeared right off the plane before it even crashed. So I figured the rest of them just crashed on the present day island. But then again I really don't know how the whole thing works yet, so maybe they can't actually crash on the present day island because the island itself is jumping through time too? But then the Others should be as well...well, that's time travel for ya.

#5, I was also thinking it was interesting that Locke wasn't paralyzed. That means the island actually healed his back as opposed to just temporarily allowing him to walk.

#6, I'm fairly certain that Eloise Hawking is Ellie, the Other that Daniel and crew met. Remember that Daniel told her they were from the future...I'd bet that gave her an interest in it, which she passed on to her son.

#7, finally, I don't get the Oceanic Six having to return either. Like you said, the wheel was causing the flashes. I can see Ben lying about that so he can get back to the island by recreating the original circumstances as best as possible, but Christian says they needed to come back too. And why not Walt? I can somewhat accept Aaron since he wasn't born when the plane crashed, but the Six (or, I suppose, Five plus Ben and Undead Locke) weren't enough to recreate all the circumstances anyway. Say Sayid never showed up...would it have made a huge difference? They didn't have proxies for everyone anyway. And hell, why did they need Locke's corpse anyway? I can accept the idea that Ben only begged Locke to not kill himself because he needed to pump him for information (about Widmore and Eloise perhaps, Ben killed him as soon as Locke named Eloise) before he died, but even if Ben is the "good guy" (or, as you put it, lesser of two evils), I'm having a hard time believing he actually wants Locke to go back and lead the Others. So why not get a different corpse? Or did it have to be Locke specifically that acted as the proxy, and if so, why?

Typical Lost...answer 1 or 2 questions, raise 5 or 6 more.

Kyle Litke said...

Okay, one more I forgot to add, but what I thought was the biggest revelation in the episode.

It was Charles Widmore who arranged for Locke to crash on the island.

Which implies a lot of things. First he must have known where the island was at that time to arrange for Locke to be on the flight. He must have had a good idea it would crash (because of our time traveling heroes perhaps? Even if he remembered Locke talking to Richard, that really shouldnt have meant much to him until now, when Locke reappeared in the present day). He must have some idea that Locke is needed for something.

Does this also lend itself to the idea that Charles might be the "lesser of two evils" over Ben? Both are claiming they want Locke to lead the Others, but Charles actually arranged for Locke to end up on the island, and gave him the files for the Oceanic Six, while Ben has screwed Locke over time after time after time. On the other hand, Ben did bring Locke's body onto the plane with him. And the fact is he could have had Locke move the island in the first place...unless he knew events would unfold the way they have and knew that the wheel would be knocked off its axis, moving the island himself doesnt seem to fit in with the idea of Ben simply trying to get rid of Locke so he can go back to running things.

One thing I can't remember though...did Widmore order anything as it pertained to any survivors of 815? I know he sent the freighter people essentially to get rid of Ben, but I can't remember if he wanted Keemy to get rid of any survivors or if he just went crazy on his own. Widmore's actions there might go a long way toward figuring out his overall motivations, because I'm having a hard time remembering Widmore actually doing anything bad besides being a crappy father and threatening Ben. I mean, it seems like most of the bad we've heard about concerning him came from Ben, who is about the least trustworthy person ever.

The Blog of Steel(e) said...

We didn't see a plane because they were on the main "We crashed flight 815 over this island" island. The island that Caesar, Locke, Ilana, Ben, Lapidus (maybe Sun?) were on was Hydra Island, which we know because Caesar was rummaging through the Hydra station from Season 3. They must have taken those canoes from Hydra Island over to the "main" island at some point, and that's when they encountered future-traveling Sawyer, Locke, Juliet, etc.

Matt Basilo said...

Thanks to both of you for the great comments.

It has been pointed out to me that Flight 316 didn't crash on the main island, but the island with the Hydra station (the same island that Ben was building a runway for. Hmmmm). Thanks for bringing that up, I missed it the first time around.

I agree that the plane people are, in all liklihood, in the present day. I am curious to see how they plan to reunite everybody, though. Especially if the island is no longer time traveling.

It is an interesting implication that Locke was CURED and not just temporarily allowed to walk, since he is on the island.

I definitely believe that Eloise Hawking and Ellie from the island are one in the same. Just too many coincidences for that not to be the case (essentially the same names, Danielle recognizing her, Ms. Hawking knowing an awful lot about the island, Widmore knowing her, etc.)

It is interesting that Widmore basically arranged for Locke to get to the island, yet he doesn't seem to have any knowledge of its whereabouts. This is something I hope they explore further. I am also interested in seeing if he played a hand in anybody else's arrival on the island. Definitely worth looking into.