Previously on LOST...
The first thing I couldn't help but notice was that my manifestation theory might be a little more popular after this week. :) For those who haven't read it, it's been in the THEORIES section of Dark's site for almost a year now. Here's the link:
The Jack & Juliet Show
Seemed to me that the whole Jack/Juliet happy afternoon have a good night thing was a big farce. To say they were bait for the incoming rescue party might be giving the Others a little too much credit, but by the time the episode ended I realized that's exactly what they were (whether they understood it or not). Once again Ben gets credit for being one step ahead of just about everyone, and you'd be a fool to believe he didn't know about Sayid and Kate way before Mr. Friendly showed up in his bedroom to tell him.
Right before Jack shook Ben's hand however, I thought I saw a bright red tattoo on the inside of Jack's forearm. Was that always there? I also thought Sayid's glance at Kate (while she was viewing Jack with Juliet) was pretty telling. Kate's jealous.
Danielle IS Weak
Mikhail was dead on about her. Once again Danielle fades back into the jungle just as things get interesting, and I'm still sure she's no coward. Danielle fears facing the fact that Alex is alive even more than she fears not having her daughter in her life. This is a struggle she would have to overcome all on her own... except for what Sayid did this episode. With the seeds of doubt now planted over her mom being alive, at this point I think Alex will make the first move. She'll take the ball out of Danielle's court.
Apparently Locke Didn't Go Back for the Money
Seeing Locke's run-down apartment and need for benefits, I guess that answers that question. And with Cooper still scamming people, maybe he didn't go back for the money either. Which means some chambermaid got a GIANT tip.
Locke initially lying to the woman's son seemed strange, until you realize he wanted to handle everything himself. Bad move once again, because pre-island Locke couldn't handle boiling an egg. I noticed some strange glyphs on the TV tray Locke ate his dinner off of, with the number '40' written in the middle. Not sure any of that planted stuff means much at this point, but I guess someone will decypher it.
You have to hand it to Ben. Even woken up at gunpoint in the middle of the night he still manages to put on an Academy Award-winning performance to convince an ever-skeptical Locke that what he's "choosing" to do is his own design. Even with Alex flat-out telling Locke that her father is tricking him into doing what he wants, Ben's plan still goes off without a hitch. Unbelievable. And even if you give Ben less credit and assume he didn't know Locke was going to waltz in there with a pack of C4 wanting to blow up the sub, he still manages to both get the explosives back without question AND send a guide along with him to show Locke exactly where the sub is. Crazy quick thinking or insane planning ahead, Ben is NOT to be messed with.
The Others Have a Kickass Rec Room
Pool table, pinball machines, and a really nice fooseball table? Can you really blame Jack? I mean come on.
Watching the whole Jack/Kate scene, I think we're meant to be shocked by so completely 'out of character' Jack's being. In truth though, he's really not. Of course Jack's not with the Others - in his own words, he's not 'with' anyone. When Jack emerged from that dreary cell to find Kate and Sawyer's naked cage romp, something inside him broke. His will to stay was completely destroyed.
"The first time I saw Jack he was risking his life pulling people out of burning airplane wreckage" (Locke's words). That Jack is long gone now. The old Jack thrived on leading, helping, healing, and caring about everyone on the island. Since the beginning he's gotten nothing but headache and heartache from it, and it's now a lot easier to just push all that away. Jack wanted his plan to free Kate and Sawyer to be the last thing he owed them. After that he was indebted to no one and could leave the island with a clean slate. Kate showing up this episode was like twisting a knife in an existing wound.
It was funny how Kate went from complete incredulity over Jack's attitude to sudden comprehension that Jack knew about her and Sawyer. Her facial change as she realized this was priceless. "What did they tell you?", she stammers... and then Juliet walks in. Now that Jack's still stuck on the island, the dynamic between him and Kate (not to mention Sawyer and Juliet) is going to be very interesting.
Kids Kids Kids
The writers showed us a swingset last episode, but this time they hit us over the head with it by chaining Sayid to it. The Others must have kids around, right? Nah. I'm still not buying it. I know it was dark, but the swingset just felt pretty unused to me. I think it was all for show. I still believe the children are someplace (sometime?) else, simply because I think children have the potential to be more dangerous than adults on this island.
And when Kate asks Jack about the people/kids the Others took, he answers simply with "they're safe". Although Jack physically 'saw' the kids a couple of episodes ago, that answer sounded contrived. It sounded like an answer Ben would give.
We Have Two Giant Hamsters Running a Massive Wheel in Our Secret Underground Lair
This was the best line of the week, but the conversation that followed here was the real meat and potatoes of this episode. Not only was a huge secret of the island finally revealed, but we also see a giant hole in Ben's seemingly impenetrable armor: he doesn't have total control.
It turns out that the island CAN manifest things, and it works exactly as I've always thought it would - on the thoughts of those who inhabit it. The box analogy was for Locke's benefit, but in short the thoughts, dreams, desires, and fears one might have can be physically realized by the 'place' on the island (interesting the way Ben put that).
This is extremely powerful knowledge, but Ben confides the secret of the island to Locke for several reasons. First, Locke's "commitment is genuine" and Ben knows he's got no desire to leave. This puts the two of them in the same boat, so to speak. Ben also recognizes that Locke already has a kinship with the island that, at this point in time, might even surpass his own. Finally, Ben needs to learn from Locke. If Locke has knowledge of how the island works that Ben does not, he needs to gain that knowledge. Especially now.
The really awesome part of this scene was how nonchalant Locke was about everything. Ben's really not telling him anything new here - since season one Locke's known that this place is very special. In fact, Locke is angry at Ben because he is abusing the very purity of the island's gifts. He uses its power to make himself comfortable with electricity and running water... in Locke's eyes he's 'cheating', just as his father cheated everyone he came into contact with. Locke shames Ben. "If you had any idea what this place was, you wouldn't be putting chicken in your refrigerator!" Ouch, man. Locke takes a proverbial crap over Ben's whole house, his lifestyle, and his leftover chicken. Then he punches him square in the face with "That's why you're in a wheelchair... and I'm not".
As awesome a character as Ben is, it was enormously satisfying to finally see someone get the upper hand on him. Ben is totally astonished here, maybe for the first time ever. How could Locke be there only 80 days, and yet know more about the island than Ben does having lived there his whole life?
The answer of course, is that Ben has lost sight. Living in comfort, Ben's lost his own communion with the island. Of all people, Locke knows the penalty of straying from the island's set path. When Boone lost interest in helping Locke enter the hatch, Locke lost faith and the island punished him temporarily by taking his legs away. The island then sacrificed Boone to show Locke the penalty for going against the flow. Locke understood this lesson immediately. Locke understands more than Ben gives him credit for.
Still, the island DID provide a spinal surgeon to save Ben's life. Whatever its agenda truly is, the island must still need its favorite son for something. And as Ben struggles to learn the secrets of how the island 'works', he believes the answers must lie within those who are closest to it. Walt, Locke... maybe even Rose.
Finally, if we accept that the island can manifest things based upon thoughts (and I think we've seen evidence that belief plays a major role too), those with the most vivid imaginations would be the most powerful and dangerous. And which group does this apply to the most? The children. Children believe in everything, from monsters to aliens to Santa Claus. I think this is why the others took the children first. This is why they isolated them who-knows-where.
Fool Me Once, Shame on You. Fool Me Three Times? I'm a Gullible Moron.
Pre-island Locke was an angry sucker. This episode marks the third time Cooper has gotten the best of him. It's almost unbelievable how stupid Locke is, confronting his dad yet again, knowing that any encounter he has with him can only end in pain and deceit. And this one ended by answering the question we've all been anxiously waiting for: how the hell did Locke get paralyzed?
The sudden shove and 8-story fall was awesome. The filmmakers did an incredible job with it. I was expecting it and it was STILL shocking - the music change, the rush of it all, and especially the crunching sound Locke's spine made when he hit the ground. That moment had a lot of hype to live up to, and I think it pulled it off.
The bottle of scotch Cooper drank was McCutcheon's, but by this point I hope no one is surprised to see this. The island has a limited amount of brand names to work with, and then everything else gets labeled 'Dharma'. More evidence to what I said last week, that the island is messing with the flashbacks.
Stars, Subs, and Time
Ben tells Locke that since the anomoly, 'no one will find this island'. Yet even before the sky turned purple, way back in season two, Ben said 'God can't see this place'. I've always thought the island was unreachable, at least by normal means, and I think faith and belief is the only way to gain access to it. Unless of course, the island itself wants you there.
Still, I believe Ben when he says he's recruited people to the island (Richard, Juliet, etc...) I also think he keeps his people in the dark about a good many things. The phantom 'food drop', the sub, the 'contact with the outside world' - these are all illusions to keep his people from realizing that they're really LOST. Maybe some of them have made the big commitment he talks about, but to others it's nothing more than a job. The big question though: What exactly does Ben need these people for?
Watch the scene where Ben's staring at the photos of young Alex on the wall of his room. He's not looking at the photos, he's looking at the clock. In watching the clock, you'll see it changes time several times througout the scene. Right at the part where Alex hands the pack over to Locke, the clock goes from 12:40-ish to about 4:13. It might change during the scene where Jack shows up also, I didn't check.
With one huge mystery of LOST revealed, the other big mystery we need to solve is the one involving time. Maybe the clock in Ben's room means something. Maybe the star chart on the wall means something too. Maybe the writers just like to mess with our heads. In any event, the time anomolies are something we're bound to see more of in the future. Remember the producers during season one: "We never said WHEN flight 815 crashed". More ammo for the argument that they've planned this all along.
The Man From Tallahassee
The final scene of the show was awesome. Locke seeing his father in that chair really cemented everything Ben had been saying. Up until that point there would be non-believers who would throw the whole 'magic box' thing over their shoulders as something Ben lied about to mess with Locke. But not after seeing the man from Tallahassee.
Who knows how long ago Locke inadvertently manifested his dad. The point is that upon stumbling across the man from Tallahassee, Ben immediately knew who was responsible for him. This made Locke a very important commodity to Ben, which may be why he came looking for him in season two. Which would make Cooper cooped up for a pretty long while.