Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lost 4/8: "Dead is Dead"

After a lull of an episode last week, Lost returned with another Ben-centric offering that was ripe with implications and (for me at least) created a ton of new questions.

Darth Locke

What makes Ben a good villain is that it is very difficult if not impossible to pierce the veil of his half-truths. Yet in this episode, the audience was aided by "Jedi Master Locke," who seemed to be brimming with a new confidence and seemingly able to call out Ben on ever lie he threw at Locke. Ben wakes up, and though his face reads instant surprise, he declares that he knew Locke would be alive; this of course, would seem to be debunked by Alex later (as we'll get to). Yet, Locke seemed to knowingly be the one that was one step ahead in this episode, openly admitting to Sun and Ben that he just knew things after his resurrection: like how he would reunite Sun and Jin and even how to find the supposedly hidden "Temple;" on that note though, Locke made it a point to Sun that he was still the same ol' Locke. It will be interesting to see how new Locke pans out, whether or not he is running on instinct in the moment and letting it all come to him, or whether he is fully aware of his condition and of what's to come thanks to Jacob-intel, but staying silent to pull strings.

Ben told Sun after he pulled the switch under the house and called out for Smokey that whatever appeared out of the jungle he would be unable to control. Who would appear but Locke himself - and Ben was right, he couldn't control him all episode. Who was conspicuously absent while Ben was on trial? Locke. Christian Shepheard seems to accompany the sounds of the monster, and he was in a casket when the Losties plane crashed the first time. Who else has that happen to?

Quite the pattern.

Daddy Ben

Enough about the new uber Other. In the latest episode, we got quite alot of info about the history of the Others, as well as glimpses into what Ben might actually be like. At the center of the episode's many surprises is that Ben actually wanted to be a father, and his intentions toward Alex (even sparing her mother) imply that he has a genuine weakeness towards kids. He wanted to give Alex a better life than he had with his father, yet as was the case in his own life, the problem with absentee or dead mothers seems to run rampant in Lost. Things between him and his daughter soured to the point that he, maybe unwittingly, caused her death. For that, he told Locke, is what he returned to the island for, to be judged by Smokey on the count that he killed his own "daughter."

Whether he really was there to be judged, or whether Jedi Locke saw through his bullshit and then really made it happen by leading Ben to the temple, is it not strange that for all the pain and suffering Ben has caused - including the apparent murder of Ceaser at the beginning of the damn episode - he gets judged for only that?

But judged did he ever get. In one of the coolest scenes in the series, Ben entered a crack under the temple and is surrounded by what looks like hieroglyphics. It is not until Ben walked up to the center of the room that the Egyptian connection became even more solidified. Ben stood before this glyph:

Smoke monster with a face coming out of the perforated hole-slab in front of Anubis. Fucking weird - I guess the Egyptians did not have a omgwtf glyph. Whoever etched the glyph could have thought that Anubis and Smokey were one and the same in function, or that even Anubis could not match Smokey and thus is subservient to it and judged by it. Anubis is Alpert!

Nah probably not...

Ben's torch went dark along with the rest of the room, and the monster emerged from the holes under the glyph. Slowly it surrounded Ben, electrically flashing how his life as a father to Alex had deteriorated. Ultimately, the monster recedes into the holes only to come back in the form of Monster-Alex. It's probably a good bet now that this is the way that the monster is able to communicate with people, as we have seen with Eko's brother Yemi, and Alex lays into Ben telling him that he has to follow Locke or that she (monster) will hunt Ben down and kill him. Alex also revealed that she knew that Ben was planning to kill Locke again, which would sort of counter Ben's claim that he knew Lock would be brought back to life. Yeah, something tells me that Ben just lost his clout with the island in this trial, but it'll be interesting to see why he was allowed to keep his life.

Widmore Conflict

Ever since Ben was "saved" and unable to remember the circumstances of his shooting, he has been an other. Leader Widmore was none too pleased with Alpert, who retorts that Ben's saving is what Jacob wants. This dynamic is interesting, because we have seen Ben as the leader interact with Jacob before, which begs the question: why did Alpert's retort silence Widmore? Is it because Widmore was on the ropes with Jacob and was losing favor? Also, if Alpert knows what Jacob wants, why can't he be the leader? We get hints of the notion of Jacob's (and Alpert's) shifting favor after Locke is able to see and hear Jacob for the first time in the cabin with Ben, and Ben, feeling threatened, shoots Locke into the Dharma death-pit. This seems to indicate that being the leader of the native island population isn't exactly what it is cracked up to be, especially when you seem to follow a fickle ghost-leader and there is little job security. Watch out Locke.

At the very beginning of Ben being an other, there seems to be contrary stances on the treatment of children.
  1. Widmore seems to feel that any outsiders, including children, must be killed. How then, do new Others "come on board?"
  2. Ben seems to think that children are the key to something - most likely to replenish the ranks of the others.
Widmore seems to be of the thought that the island knows, and will take care of those it deems worthy to live. If the islands wants someone dead, they'll be dead. Taking on Alex as a daughter was foolish to Widmore, for ultimately Alex was not supposed to be an Other in the first place. We also saw glimpses of a young Ethan, probably already recruited by Ben from Dharma; Ethan is another interesting case because he was born only because of Sawyer and Co.'s interference. Ultimately, Ethan's death at the hands of Charlie seems sort of a wash because he accomplishes and affects nothing, which in turn fits nicely into Widmore's belief that it is the island, not people, who determines who lives and dies. Ethan was not supposed to exist in the first place, and thus has no real affect in the grand timeline (like Alex? like all innocent children?).

Who knows if the other part of the schism is the fact that Widmore realizes that children simply cannot be brought into the fold, and his yearning for a family drives him to ultimately break the rules by going off-island. Perhaps his off-island trips were driven by the ever-present baby-making curse on the Others. We probably will find out soon enough, though we know which way Alpert swayed.

Lapidus Can't Catch a Break
What the hell was all that stuff at the end? As soon as Frank returns, the new castaways go militant and instantly start demanding to know what is buried or under the shadow of the statue. Where the hell did they get that info? Unless, Illana(?) is what I thought she was, a plant by Ben as a fail-safe in case something happened to him. Lapidus might be getting pistol-whipped into following these people to Ben's "final solution."

Now we have:

  1. Losties in the 70's
  2. Locke/Ben/Sun on the main island in the present
  3. Lapidus and rogue castaways on the Other's island.
Remember, hyroglyphics are bad news. Oh and when you hear whispers, run.

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