Wednesday, April 8, 2009

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

We already know that Smokey D. resides in Newark, New Jersey. So I guess we shouldn’t be all that surprised that you summon him by flushing the toilet. Hey-yo!

The Ben-centric (Bentric?) episodes have always been insightful winners, and this episode was no exception. Right off the bat, Ben’s conversation with Caesar at the beginning was a fantastic reminder that we REALLY can’t trust a single word this guy says (just think back to his VERRRRRRRRRY different conversations with Locke and Sun RE: Locke’s miraculous resurrection). And wow, did anybody see it coming when Ben shot and killed Caesar? That was a sure jaw dropping moment – and that was only within the first twenty minutes.

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The awesomeness continued with that incredible Ben/Frank/Sun/Locke scene. Ben’s reactions were great. He seemed genuinely surprised to learn that the rest of the crew was in the Dharma Initiative – which is suspicious since he should, from what I understand regarding the established rules of time travel, now remember growing up with them. His exasperated look when Sun uttered the name “Christian” also raised my eyebrow. There was a definite sense of familiarity. Have these two met? If so, what is their relationship? Because Christian seemed to disapprove of Ben during his interactions with Locke. And does Ben know that Christian is the ghost of Jack’s father?

Speaking of facial expressions, the look on Sun’s face after Locke assured her that he was the same man she’s always been was absolutely priceless.

On the topic of Locke, I like the reborn version of this character. After constantly being manipulated and continuously trusting the wrong people (often the same person numerous times), it was refreshing seeing a more confident, rock steady John Locke. He repeatedly called out Ben on his lies, and he stuck to his guns regarding Ben’s judgment, no matter what obstacles or potential detours came their way. It was also a tad unsettling seeing him transform into a mini-Ben of sorts, particularly with his half truths while speaking with Sun. Dude totally preyed on her emotional vulnerability.

We also saw the under dwelling of the Temple. Naturally, there are a lot of confusing hieroglyphics. But perhaps the most intriguing drawing was of what appeared to be the statue staring face to face with what appeared to be the smoke monster. What does this mean? Very intriguing.

And that brings us to our friend Smokey D. We got another glimpse at what happens when the monster surrounds you. Basically it reads your memories and shows them back to you. It then determines if you are worthy of forgiveness or if you should be terminated. And, as we’ve seen in the past, Smokey took the form of a dearly departed, in this case Alex, and rather aggressively advised Ben to listen to whatever Locke says. Oh, and how great was it when Alex/Smokey called him out on how he was already plotting to kill Locke again?

I was a bit surprised by some of the stuff we learned about Ben’s past. In particular, I didn’t expect to see that Ben actually had mercy on Rousseau, and that taking Alex was an act of compassion. Similarly, his urgency for vengeance seemingly took a backseat after he discovered that Penny has a young son (and hey, another mystery solved! We now know how he got those bruises).

Caesar might be dead, but his bounty hunter cohort is leading some sort of mutiny. This is certainly setting the seeds for them shooting at the time traveling Sawyer and crew, but what are they up to beyond that? It seems curious to introduce all of these new characters if they don’t play some significant part in the overall story.

Last week was VERY light on the reader feedback, which is disappointing because overall I’ve received a lot of interesting comments and e-mails. Here are some potential topics of discussion for next week’s Revisited colunn:

How did Ethan become an Other? Why did Ben have mercy on him when it came time for the Purge? How did he react to the murder of his parents?

What exactly did Widmore do to get evicted from the island? Is it because he fraternized with a woman that wasn’t an Other, or can the leader never leave? I don’t recall Ben ever leaving the island.

Why did Widmore want Alex dead?

How much – if anything – does Ben know about Christian?

Ben told two polar opposite stories regarding Locke’s resurrection, with each tale benefiting his predicament at the time: Which one do you believe?

What is your interpretation of the hieroglyphics beneath the Temple?

What are the bounty hunter and her crew up to?

Ben seemingly does not recall Jack, Hurley, Kate, and the rest being part of the Dharma Initiative. Do you believe him? If so, why doesn’t he remember them? If not, what does he benefit from lying?

And finally, what do you make of Ben’s compassion towards children?

As always, send me an e-mail or comment on the blog.


Kyle Litke said...

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 I wonder if he was doing it in secret the whole time.

I'll go into more detail later on, just wanted to mention that now.

The Blog of Steel(e) said...

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 Litke said...

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.