Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Case of the.... Lost - Episode 5-12 Revisited

After last week’s dry spell, I received some interesting feedback from some of my readers. I got some nice discussion over at the blog. Kyle remarks:

Well, I suspect Ben did leave the island. I can't remember if it was confirmed, but he had all those passports and stuff hidden away, and for someone who was essentially on the island since he was a small child, once he did leave via the wheel, he seemed fairly knowledgeable of what he was doing, finding Sayid very quickly, having people under his command, etc. I actually always just assumed he had...now I wonder if he was doing it in secret the whole time.

Adds “The Blog of Steel(e)”:

Ben has definitely left the island, because either Faraday or Miles showed Kate and Jack the photos of Ben in their little "mission portfolio" at the beginning of Season 4. That explains his connections at the butcher shops, etc. I don't think the reasons he gave for expelling Widmore were particularly valid, considering he went on to break both of them by stealing a child and by leaving the island frequently.

Kyle responds:

Well I don't think there was any rule against "stealing a child"...heck, the Others seem to do that all the time. The issue was against having a child with a non Other or off the island woman or whatever.

That said I agree Ben broke the rules as well and I too think he left the island frequently. I wonder what his excuse was, though. "Okay, going off into the woods by myself for a week..." and then he sneaks onto the sub or a boat? Seems like it'd be tough to leave in secret.

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

Thanks, guys, for the great interaction. This has always been the hope for my blog: to get readers to interact with each other, as well as with me. Let’s hope to take this to an even higher scale!

As both Kyle and Steel(e) have noted, Ben has presumably left the island a number of times. I think the best argument that could be made is how well adjusted he was when we’ve seen him on the mainland. If the only life he knows is the one he has on some crazy island, I’d think the mundane lifestyle of the real world would be a massive culture shock.

So I would have to agree that leaving the island for the mainland isn’t a no-no, leaving fraternization with outsiders as the sinful act. Incidentally, I could see this tying into the still-untold Annie story. We know that Ben cared for her deeply, well into his adult life (evident by him keeping the dolls she made him), but we don’t know what happened to her. Could it be that she wasn’t an Other? Perhaps Ben was able to make the difficult decision that, apparently, Widmore was unable to make.

And my good friend Andy JUST beat the clock with his e-mail. Here’s what the former Inside Pulser had to say:

I loved last week's episode, which is no surprise for a Ben-centric episode. I thought the trip below the Temple was really cool, and I loved the mural of the Monster with Anubis. That means that the Monster is possibly an instrument of judgment used by Anubis before bringing people into the Underworld. "Underworld," by the way, is what the hieroglyphs on the Hatch's countdown timer say.

I don't think the giant statue is of Anubis, by the way, just from what I can tell from behind. I may be wrong, but I think the statue is Taweret, an Egyptian fertility goddess. The destruction of the statue would then explain why pregnant Others die on the Island. And that is why the pregnancy problems only apply to the Others, being the Island's "native" population; we've seen Ethan, Alex, and Aaron all be born on the Island, and the only thing they had in common was what they WEREN'T, and that is Others (at least, not yet!).

My knowledge of Egyptian history is pretty much limited to knowing that the Sphinx doesn’t have a nose, so I’m going to have to take your word on all of that. Nevertheless, that is an exceptionally interesting observation, and I think that theory definitely holds a lot of water.

However, I do think it’s worth noting that Alex and Aaron were not conceived on the island, and if I recall Juliet’s discussion with Sun correctly, the “pregnant women dying” rule only applies when the baby was conceived on the island as well. That being said, all evidence suggests that Ethan WAS conceived on the island, so who knows?

The question then remains, as posed by Ilana the bounty hunter: "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" I'd love to hear your thoughts on that.

I’m a little ashamed that I completely forgot to mention this in my initial column. More on that odd comment below.

Incidentally, here's some food for thought: could the John Locke who led Ben to the Temple have been the Smoke Monster itself? When Ben went outside, he expected to be greeted by Smokey, and instead Locke came out of the woods... and mysteriously knew exactly where they had to go. And then, under the Temple, as soon as Locke disappeared to find a rope for Ben, that's when Smokey showed up. And as soon as Smokey-as-Alex vanished, Locke reappeared with a rope. Coincidence?

I don’t think that is a coincidence. As in, I do believe that the writers deliberately orchestrated this possibility. As Andy noted, Locke and the Smoke Monster were very closely associated throughout the episode, but were never once at the same place at the same time. Is Locke the Smoke Monster? Honestly, I don’t believe he is. But I’m enjoying the guessing game.

Another fun question: Is Locke REALLY alive again, or has he resurrected in the same fashion as Christian? Again, I think the writers were having some fun with us. Notice that throughout the entire episode, unless I’m mistaken, Locke never once makes physical contact with any of the other characters. So is he a spirit, or a flesh and bones human being?

I came across some interesting insights over at the EW website. The reviewer there states:

Behold Ben's Achilles' Heel: Moms. Which makes sense. His own Bad Daddy had pumped him full of guilt for his mother's death during childbirth. Mamas are the line that this Locke-killing, Dharma-purging fiend just can't cross. So he spared Rousseau's life and returned to camp with Infant Alex and got scolded by soup-sucking Chuck for being so darn empathetic.

So is that Ben’s weakness? Mothers? I’m pressing my memory now, trying to think back at any time that he may have knowingly inflicted harm upon a mother, and so far I’m struggling. In fact, if this is true, that would certainly place an added layer to the fact that Ben was arranging for the Others to kidnap all of the potentially pregnant women. What if this wasn’t to steal their babies, but rather to protect the mothers?

The comments over at that site were interesting as well. Here’s one noteworthy comment:

In Season 2, Danielle caught Ben in her trap. She insisted to Sayid that he was an Other, but didn't seem to have any proof other than her gut instinct. Shouldn't she have recognized him as the guy that stole her baby years before?

This is a good observation, but unfortunately I don’t even remember if Rousseau actually saw Ben when she captured him (I seem to recall Sayid being the one who let him out of the net). At what point does Rousseau actually set her sights on Ben? And at what point can we stop using the excuse “well, she’s crazy” for why she doesn’t recognize some of these characters from her past?

And finally: What did the bounty hunter’s riddle-esque comment about the shadow of the statue mean? There’s a theory over at Scott Keith's blog:

What lies in the shadow of the statue? That was creepy, and I’m thinking that it’s a code to let others know who is on Widmore’s team that he sent on the flight to get to the island.

I subscribe to this idea as well: It’s definitely a code to determine who’s on their side. But whose“side” are we talking about? Is it Widmore or Ben? Ilana didn’t seem to recognize Ben, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s not working for him (or she might just be lying). Then again, Widmore seemed just as invested in getting everybody back to the island, so it’s absolutely within the realm of possibility that he would hire her to capture Sayid to ensure that he’s on that flight.

Or maybe she’s Dharma? Aren’t they the ones who came up with the “What did the snowman say?” code?

Thanks for reading. Enjoy the new episode!

And enjoy the newest installment of Lost! Untangled:

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