There will of course be those who disagree, but I'm officially declaring this to be the best season of LOST yet. Each episode seems to top the last, and we haven't even seen the finale yet. Things I Noticed:
Just like its characters, LOST is evolving. What were considered main characters in seasons one and two are suddenly back seated, and what were once side stories are now the main event. I don't think this was intentional. In fact, I'll bet just the opposite is true. I think the writers have expanded in the direction of what's most interesting, on a constantly changing basis, no matter what that may be.
Back at camp, Kate's mad about Naomi. Sayid's mad at Kate. Sun supports Jack. Sawyer doesn't. Truth be told I really couldn't give much of a crap about all that stuff this episode. I've loved these characters for so long I felt almost guilty not giving a crap about them, but the story back at the 815 camp really isn't all that interesting right now. Especially not in light of everything else.
So I'm skipping that whole scene this week. I just hope this end-of-season "The Others Are Coming!" storyline explodes into the full-scale battle shown on the previews instead of a dead-end cop-out the way it did in season one.
Roger Linus - Master of Bad Timing
There are some things that you just don't do... like take your 7-month old pregnant wife on a nature hike in the middle of nowhere. Little Ben arrives early, which just might be a lifelong metaphor for how far ahead of everyone he always seems to be. His mother's death during childbirth was sad, but it went a long way toward explaining Ben's later obsession with fertility and the dying mothers of LOST island.
Bolting the forest Roger then meets Horace, the man who would later sell him the one-way ticket to DHARMA's janitorial program. If he'd been a minute faster or a minute slower he would've missed that car - just another perfectly timed ripple in the waters of LOST.
Tom's Coffee... Good to the Last Drop
Alright, it's taken a long time but I'm finally willing to admit it: Ben's losing control. From the nervous desperation of "Tom, have you seen my recorder?" to his utter shock at Mikhail's mentioning of Naomi, things are, at long last, not going according to Ben's plan. On top of that, Locke's reappearance in camp couldn't have been at a worse time for him.
I laughed my ass off watching Tom casually sip coffee while Locke beat the snot out of poor Mikhail. I actually felt bad for him. He's filthy dirty, was 99% dead, just got his ass kicked by Jin, and ran halfway across the island just so Locke could deliver more punishment? I'll bet right after this scene someone manifested him some vodka.
Ben's henchmen might've obeyed his orders and stepped in to stop the fight had it not been for the line Locke delivered just before the beating: "He and I are going to see Jacob". This is why no one intervened. Seeing Jacob was BIG. Richard, Tom, everyone else - either they disbelieved Jacob was real or (more likely) they disbelieved Ben's translation of Jacob's agenda all this time. Richard has already told Locke he thinks Ben has lost sight of their true goals, so if Ben really is the only person able to communicate with Jacob the rest of the Others can only benefit from having Locke tag along. Especially the demolition specialist no-bullshit 'I wanna know what the hell going on' version of Locke everyone has seen lately, who will no doubt deliver them the truth.
At Least They Have Guns And Beer
We got our first real look at DHARMA's hippy Communist regime this episode, where everyone got classified and categorized and assigned a crisp new jumpsuit and a very important job (like beer-running, for example). A fleet of jeeps to get around the lush undergrowth of the island you say? Nah, let's buy a bunch of cumbersome VW vans - in periwinkle blue, no less. A community in the middle of nowhere supplying beer to subterranean specialists watching other subterranean specialists while filling notebook after marbled notebook with useless minutia... and then vaccuum-launching them into the middle of nowhere. It all makes perfect sense now.
Sorry, but DHARMA is still bullshit.
As Ben said last season "This? This place is a joke!" We now know that Ben was a part of that joke, which only must've added to his cynicism toward it. Ben's DHARMA days were not happy ones, with the exception of Annie, which is why he took the doll with him on the day of the purge. It was the only thing pure... the only thing that reminded him of anything joyful, so it was the only thing he took from that time. When Ben says he was born on the island, he means it in the metaphorical sense - not the physical one. He was born again on the day of the purge; born on the day he killed his father just as he was born on the day he killed his mother. See you in another life.
Harry Potter And The Swashbuckling Immortal
Of huge interest this episode was Ben's first meeting with Richard. We learned many things here, the most important of them being that Richard doesn't seem to age. He looked exactly the same in Ben's flashback as he does now - at least twenty-five or thirty years later. No attempt was made to 'age' him whatsoever.
Richard's also a part of the hostile natives, and not from the DHARMA initiative. A local of the island, he was dressed in some very dated (yet non-descript) clothing. Add this to the non-aging factor, and he really could be from any period in history. "You do remember birthdays, don't you Richard?" Not if he hasn't had them in a long, long time.
Ben became a whole lot more interesting to Richard once he mentioned he'd seen his long-dead mother. This made Ben special to Richard the way Walt was special... in much the way Locke is special to him now. His mother had even spoken to him, which instead might've been the island speaking through him, perhaps even delivering the message to it's intended recipient: Richard. "It's not yet time" could've been Richard's cue to wait on young Benjamin Linus. To give him the time necessary to kill his father and prove his commitment to the island, or even more far-fetched, to become of proper AGE before joining. If the island can heal, can it not prevent aging? With no new children being born, surely it must protect its children in some other way?
This is all due to the TIME anomaly on the island. Perhaps aging does occur, but at a very VERY slow pace. Slow enough even to make time stand still. Slow enough to make cancer non-existent. Which makes the fact that Ben developed cancer extremely important, because it can only mean one thing: the island has forsaken him as one of it's children.
The Purge... Now With 50% More Sarin Gas!
The most human thing Ben did so far, even more human than keeping Annie's doll, was to close Horace's eyes after the purge. For some reason this seemed touching to me. It was as if Ben was being apologetic to Horace and the DHARMA crew, who in retrospect had never truly wronged him.
The body of the guy holding the hose really got me thinking. Somehow, after all this went down, Ben was able to persuade the Others (hostiles) to take over the Dharma community. He taught them to run the generators, to live in the homes, to hold a weekly book club. In the end they were cutting the grass and mending the fences and had every bit become those who they'd deemed must be purged from the island. In the end, they became the same enemy they couldn't co-exist with.
This explains much of Richard's displeasure with Ben's leadership. He led them to stray from the native paths of the island. He introduced technology under the guise of fixing the fertility problem, but in doing so he destroyed their purity.
Jacob Needs an Extreme Home Makeover
Alright, let's get to the good stuff. This scene is the reason we all watch LOST. I usually watch an episode twice before writing this, but I put this scene through the paces at least a half dozen times - and two of those were on slow-mo. Lots of important stuff here.
First impression: Ben's a lunatic. He really REALLY didn't seem to want Locke to go in there, and did everything he could to talk him out of it. I originally thought Ben was bluffing. Once inside the empty shack, I figured his bluff was called. So did Locke. The whole invisible man thing seemed a put-on, and for a moment I thought the writers were going to pull the ultimate cop out. Man was I wrong.
"Help me" was easily one of the creepiest things I've heard in a long time. It was skin-crawlingly perfect. Locke's incredulity at what he perceived to be Ben's continued ruse was shattered by his realization that someone really was in that chair. And in that one moment, everything changed. Even Locke's fearless demeanor, as he bolted the house.
What really changed however, was Jacob's org chart. Here's the breakdown, so stay with me:
BEN (To Jacob): "I told you he wouldn't".
Ben's telling Jacob that Locke can't see him. As the only one to see and hear Jacob, Ben wants it to stay that way. To keep in power he's vehemently kept anyone else from Jacob - especially someone as special as Locke.
BEN (To Locke): "You can't see him?" (slightly mockingly) "He's sitting right there, in this chair".
Ben's giddily relieved that Locke can't see Jacob. He thinks Locke doesn't have the faith. He doesn't want him to.
BEN (To Jacob): "Yes I know, but he insisted".
Jacob just told Ben that Locke wasn't ready. Apparently Jacob wanted Locke to come, but only once he would be able to see him. Ben's half apologetic and half making excuses. Secretly, he's glad Locke came early.
BEN (To Jacob): "I am not. He made me bring him here, did you think that it was my-"
Jacob just accused Ben of conspiring to fail by bringing Locke early. Jacob's smart. He knows Ben wants to maintain control... he knows Ben doesn't want Locke to see him. Jacob is realizing that Ben's agenda is not his own.
LOCKE (To Ben): "Do you think there's someone there?"
BEN (To Locke): "I KNOW there is. I'm sorry John, (snootily) that you're too limited to see".
Ben's not sorry at all, he's glad as hell. With Locke unable to see or hear Jacob Ben maintains control over his people AND he fulfills Jacob's orders to bring Locke to see him (if a bit early). He's in the clear on both counts.
What happens next is Jacob gets pissed. Forget Locke's flashlight, Jacob is angry with Ben's complete lack of progress. It is at this point that Jacob abandons Ben. The transition occurs here. This is when he speaks to Locke, and for the first time Locke can hear him. For the first time, Ben cannot.
After tossing stuff around the cabin, Jacob suddenly becomes visible to Locke (yes I missed it too the first time around). And if you watch Ben's reaction, I think Jacob actually disappears out of the chair to him. Ben's expression makes me think he just saw Jacob for the last time - at least while Locke is still alive - and I think Ben knows it.
Okay, now here's my Jacob theory: Jacob is trapped in time. Something happened with the island phasing in and out, maybe the sky turned purple, the monkeys threw poo... who the hell knows at this point. Whatever happened, Jacob is stuck in a Langolier-type limbo that he can't escape from. A hellish, Jaunt-like, endless eternity. Maybe Jacob IS the island. Maybe Jacob IS the smoke monster. I'm not sure of that stuff, but one thing is for certain: Jacob needs help. Jacob is LOST. Hell, Jacob may be the reason that LOST is called LOST.
Relying on Ben all this time has gotten him nowhere, so Jacob now speaks to Locke. Ben's gamble that Locke wasn't special enough has failed. With nothing else to do, he steals Locke's gun and tries to off him (I think Jacob will save him of course). Alex knew Ben might do this, which is why she armed Locke in the first place. And I have to say... I'm a bit disappointed in knife-throwing island-gear dynamite Locke. After all the times he was chumped, I thought he'd be smarter than that.
Two More Things
First, watch the Jacob scene again in slow motion and you'll pick up on something. The lantern Ben placed on the table smashes to the floor, throwing fire everywhere. Locke's looking right at it. We see a few frames of the firelight glinting off Locke's face, and then suddenly - BAM! The next frame shows a firelight-free Locke in a slightly different position with a disbelieving look on his face. And after he bolts the cabin, guess what? Ben walks out with the lantern INTACT.
You can't chalk this up to sloppy editing. I think something happened here, timewise. I think Jacob's rage might've caused a hiccup in time. Maybe leaping back five seconds or so, to before the lantern broke. I wouldn't be surprised to see all the jars of red liquid intact on the shelf just before Locke left, despite the fact Jacob threw one across the room.
The second thing, of course, is Jacob himself. I've seen the screencaps and I have to side with team Locke. The nose is 90% right, but the forehead is dead on. The rest of the facial characteristics fit him too. Could Jacob be another version of Locke, trapped in time, maybe because of something that happened (the hatch implosion), or maybe because of something that's going to happen (series finale?) in the future? Dunno for sure, but I'll say this: the exact same thing happened on Land of the Lost, episode 'Elsewhen'. ;)
Recap by Vozzek