Take lots of Ben and Locke, the welcome return of Richard, the ever-awesome Christian, spooky Claire, the reappearance of Jacob’s cabin, and then pepper it with threats, beatings, shootings, throat-slitting, and the best candy-bar eating scene in all of television history. Now jam it all into one episode. This is what the writer’s strike did to us, and we should be thankful for it. Things I Noticed:
Vozzek’s Favorite Quotes of the Week
John Burger… “The Island does not move--land masses just don’t float around and even for scifi--that would be just stupid”. (Two weeks ago, comments section)
bongzilla… “I'm with John Burger. Vozzek, you're out of your mind on some of those wilder theories, such as the island moving and the body/mind time travel difference. Just looney stuff there with no substantiation except a goofball theory”. (Two weeks ago, comments section)
Locke, to Ben & Hurley… “We're supposed to move the island.” (Last night)
Sibling Rivalry and lots of Rain
This far into the show, similarities and parallels between characters don’t much surprise us anymore. Names, places, and even the general look of so many characters are recycled over and over again. And so here we have John Locke; born prematurely, born in the pouring rain, born to a woman named Emily who frantically names him while crying and screaming. We’ve seen this show already, and we know that it ends with a bitter, motherless existence and a sprinkling of patricide. Ben and Locke are brothers, if not fraternally (and I’m not convinced that they aren’t) at least metaphorically, as they both walk the same paths through a very tough life.
During childhood, the similarities continue. Both Locke and Ben would be recruited by Richard Alpert when they were young, and then put off as ‘not yet ready’. Later on in life Locke and Ben would meet and compete for the illustrious title of the island’s chosen protector. They both vie for mom’s affections, with the role of their mother now being played by the island itself. In Cain and Able fashion, one even kills the other, or at least tries to, until mom intervenes.
I couldn’t help but think how Locke’s life would’ve gone if his mother had been allowed to hold him during those first moments. Such a connection might’ve been impossible to sever, which is why Emily chose not to hold him at all before giving him up to a life of foster parents. In this respect, Locke is in much the same situation as future Aaron, and even Walt – being raised by another. Perhaps these characters are special because of this type of upbringing.
Vehicular Manslaughter – Fast becoming a LOST Tradition!
Pedestrians have it pretty hard in LOST. We watched Juliet’s ex-husband eat a bus, and then Hurley rolls right over Pryce. This episode it’s Emily who chews on a fender. And although she doesn’t die, it leaves us wondering who they mystery driver is. Is it Cooper? Is this Richard’s second road kill? Have the writers been playing a lot of GTA4? Doesn’t really matter. What matters is that fate, or the island’s will acting as a executor of fate, bends the path of these people’s lives in the direction it needs them to go.
Horace is one Thorough Dude
Full-blown log cabin blueprints? Even for a mathematician that was kinda stretching it. But Horace’s appearance this episode was extremely telling in the grand scheme of how the island works. Locke’s island-induced vision, which once again happens while he’s unconscious, differs historically from most of LOST’s visions in that he sees someone he’s never met. Hurley seeing Dave, Eko seeing Yemi… these are images that could’ve been taken from their own consciousness. But with the appearance of Horace, now we’re seeing the island’s consciousness. What we’re seeing is a small loop of past time – an event that actually happened. Horace felled that tree a dozen or more years ago, and the island was there to see it. Therefore the island can replay that scene for Locke, over and over again, by memory. It uses Horace as a vehicle to speak to Locke, the way it used Yemi to speak to Eko, and it chose Horace because the blueprints were in his pocket.
Incidentally, this isn’t exactly the first time we’ve been given this revelation. Hurley had no way of knowing what Christian Shephard looked like, but he still saw him in the cabin a few episodes back. I guess the writers are probably just ready to reveal more at this point. Still, I think the island’s ability to conjure up visions is limited to that which it, or its inhabitants, has experienced. Which may be why so many names, numbers, places, people, and things are constantly recycled.
One Time, at Science Camp…
Richard showing up at Locke’s foster parent’s home was an amazing scene, and Nestor Carbonell did an incredible job of creeping us right the hell out. It’s raining again, and Locke is playing backgammon when he arrives, only this time with red and white pieces – no black. He’s drawn pictures of the smoke monster on the wall, indicating exactly what Richard is hoping: that young John Locke is an incarnation (reincarnation?) of a future leader of the island. As such, Locke will inherently know the right decisions to make, the artifacts he’s entitled to, and ultimately will lead them down the correct paths when someday he arrives on the island.
Understand here that Richard Alpert’s group of Others have always been the purists: it’s likely they follow the strict codes found in the book of laws which probably comprise ‘the rules’. His group snarls derisively at any deviation in the island’s plan; this was best evidenced by Richard’s past bitterness over Ben’s fertility program when he approached Locke privately on that hilltop. Alpert’s purists were similarly angered when Ben’s leadership degenerated into ‘wasted time’, and reliance on the everyday Dharma conveniences they enjoyed at the barracks. Such deviation from the purity of the island was one of the reasons Dharma was ultimately purged, and Ben is quick to point out this episode that those events were not ‘his idea’.
Alpert’s test goes all wrong when Locke chooses the knife. By doing so, Locke was affectively altering the path of his destiny – splitting from Alpert’s pre-determined loop and going off in his own different direction. This is precisely akin to the things Ben does later on: championing his fertility program and taking Alex as his daughter were both for his own benefit and not in the pure interests of the island. This pisses Richard off to no end, which is why he angrily bolts from Locke’s house. He’s frustrated because he must accommodate the island’s chosen leaders (Ben, Locke) yet seems unable to guide them in what he believes to be the correct direction. Locke and Ben are alike here once again, in that they both walk their own path. It’s also important to note that Locke did not choose the book of laws, meaning that perhaps he’s not bound to the same rules that Ben, Alpert, and Widmore seem to be.
“Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” is the very reason why John Locke is special. Not choosing the knife was Locke’s way of not accepting who he really is, just as he vehemently refuses science camp (and with cheerleaders laughing at you, who wouldn’t!) Ultimately, I believe he can (and will) alter the pre-determined destiny of the island’s end scenario. Jacob knows this even if Alpert can’t recognize it, which is why he seeks and employs people who are ‘special’. Walt was special, but in Ben’s words was ‘more than they bargained for’ (translation: Walt was TOO powerful). Ben was special too, but at this point the island recognizes Locke as its best bet to accomplish what it needs to do. At least for now, because after Alex’s death Ben’s faith is in serious question.
Michael just can’t Never see Fadage
Turns out here that Mr. Friendly was correct – the world has plans for Michael and it’s not going to let a little bullet come between his skull and the grand scheme of things. Mike is on the receiving end of some more suffering this episode, as the writers continue their attempts to humanize the man who cold-bloodedly shot two women dead. They’re doing a good job too, because despite everything I’m feeling pretty sorry for Mike lately.
Turns out the Captain doesn’t Know Jack Squat
Weeks went by, and one by one the mysterious freighter crew revealed themselves to be relatively harmless. The fantastic four, the doc, even the gruff-looking captain - the real threat all boiled down to a cold-blooded mercenary secretly embedded in the mission with ulterior motives, as always, on the very brink of sanity. Although this cliché is a little tiresome these days (The Abyss, AvP, etc…), Keamy is absolutely frightening. His voice, his mannerisms, the facial expressions – it’s just awesome to watch.
The cover of the secondary protocol destroys any last speculation and conclusively ties Widmore with Dharma. It seems that Widmore knew in advance he would be changing the rules, and has a nice little plan B ready to be enacted. In total, there seem to be four sets of orders on The Kahana: Captain Gault’s unknowingly bogus “rescue” mission, Naomi’s team sent by Abaddon, Keamy’s freighter jocks acting on Widmore’s orders, and finally Michael’s one-man saboteur crew, led by Benjamin Linus. In effect the freighter itself becomes its own little 4-sided power struggle, a game within a game.
Doc Ray STILL Needs a new Plastic Surgeon
Confirmation came this week that Doc Ray is physically indeed in two places at once, and that island time appears to be ahead of freighter time. The executed doctor being shoved overboard without stitches jives with the idea that his body, floating through the time storm, has reverted back to a previous physical state (at a time when he had those stitches). And if you’re still confused at this point, go back and read my thoughts on this from two reviews ago, lest people accuse me of repeating myself in an attempt to jam theories down their throats.
Sayid’s Gonna Save the Island with a 4-man Rubber Dingy
I’m not sure how many trips he plans on making, but at this point maybe Desmond could mention something about owning a boat? Desmond provided some very compelling reasons for not wanting to return to LOST island, and I don’t think anyone could blame him. Unfortunately it looks like he gets to stay behind with Michael (who’s only possible redemption involves self-sacrifice) and a giant suitcase of explosives. Not the best place to be during an upcoming season finale, but then again Desmond rocked his way through the Swan hatch implosion so maybe he’ll be okay. I hope.
I TOTALLY Thought Locke was going Down that Staircase…
It seems that people have a way of showing up in John Locke’s life when he needs the most encouragement. This time it’s Abaddon who takes watch, coaching Locke back from the brink of self-pity and inspiring him to seek out his infamous walkabout. Abaddon’s actions are all about restoring Locke’s faith, getting him ‘back in the game’ as the poster behind them reads. Abaddon eerily assures Locke they will meet again later on, and when they do he will owe him one.
Many people theorize that Abaddon is a future version of Walt. I couldn’t see this theory at first, but after this episode it makes a little more sense. Abaddon refers to John as “Mr. Locke” in hauntingly the same way that Walt always did. He picks Locke up off the floor of despair and gives him guidance, just as Walt did when Locke was left for dead in the body pit. Also, after last night, Abaddon seems a lot less team Widmore and a lot more on his own agenda. We saw him responsible for Naomi’s team, but doesn’t seem associated at all with Keamy’s crew. Perhaps he sent the freighter-4 to the island for non-ominous or even helpful reasons. His visit to the mental hospital seemed more to jog Hurley’s brain than to seek actual answers. I’m now thinking the underlying purpose there was to let Hurley know he wasn’t crazy – to get him to believe in his visions, to spread that believe to Jack, who would spread it to Kate, and ultimately to get the O6 back to the island.
How Come Hurley can see the Cabin?
I’m really not sure on this one, but it seems important that he can. Maybe because he’s the wild card – Hurley is the one person who can’t be manipulated or killed off by the island because he was never supposed to be there. He simply views the island for what it is, which could be why he plainly sees the cabin. But hey, I’m just guessing here.
The Ranch Dressing Comment was a little bit Uncalled for…
Suddenly, it looks a lot like Ben has lost his faith. Still grieving Alex, he looks forlorn and lost. He seems almost sorry for the purge, but refuses to accept responsibility himself. Shrugging, he follows Locke and Hurley through the jungle with no real purpose, no plan, no underlying secret plan, and little care about what happens next. “I used to have dreams”, he tells Locke, as if knowing his days of receiving instruction from the island are over.
Watch Ben’s face as Locke finds the blueprints. He bitterly seems to accept this as a sign that Locke is now the favored one. Later he challenges Locke: “Are you sure John? I was told a lot of things. Then I ended up with a tumor on my spine and my daughter’s blood on my hand”. Sardonically, Ben is now doubting everything the island has ever guided him to do. Where once he thought he had some semblance of control over events, now he realizes he was simply a pawn himself and not the king he thought he was. “These things HAD to happen to me. They were my destiny, and destiny John, is a fickle bitch”. Cool line. He almost had me convinced.
Yup… once again I think Ben is shitting us. At least partially. Ben needs Locke to believe in what he’s doing – without faith nothing works - which is why he’s taken this subdued role. Don’t forget: we already know that future Ben has once again taken up the reins. He’s jumping into the desert, kicking ass, and guiding Sayid on assassination missions. These are not exactly the actions of someone who couldn’t give a crap. So either Ben gets his groove back, or he’s never really lost it. I even think there was a clever clue to this - the scene where he accuses Locke of snowing Hurley: “He actually thinks staying was his idea”… just as Ben’s allowing Locke to believe he’s in charge right now. Locke tells Ben “I’m not you”, and Ben responds smugly with “You’re certainly not”. In short, I still think Ben’s running the show. He’s just taken a back seat, and he’s telling Locke where to make the turns.
Welcome to the World of the Clueless Candy-Eaters
Hurley passing Ben half of his Apollo bar severed the last ‘Other’ thread between Ben and the 815’ers. It was Hugo’s way of saying “Hey, you’re one of us now”. It also marked Ben’s apparent demotion from evil island warlord to just another one of the cool kids. The lack of dialogue made the scene.
Christian and Claire officially begin the LOST Zombie Army
Finally back at the cabin, it seems that Jacob has chosen the form of Christian Shephard. This time Christian is dressed differently, and with no white tennis shoes. This time, he actually looks like a corpse. His face is sunken, his color pallid, he looks embalmed. His hair looks as if it’s been neatly trimmed, then tussled around as if his body had cart-wheeled through the jungle during a plane crash.
This isn’t Jack Shephard’s vision of his father, as he saw him on the beach so many episodes ago. Nor is it Locke’s vision of a man he’s never seen before. This is the island’s vision. And thinking along those lines, the only vision the island would have of Christian Shephard would be of his coffin-flung corpse. A lot of LOST’s imagery is perception-based. Had Jack entered the cabin I think his father would’ve looked differently, tainted by his own real-life memories of him.
Jacob speaks through Christian, and the first thing he does is test Locke. In order to be useful Locke must fully believe. Whether or not Locke believes he is the chosen one, he gives Jacob the right answer. If you watch his expression it’s almost like Locke is resignedly telling him what he wants to hear. Seeing that, I think Locke’s a lot smarter than Jacob (or Ben) give him credit for. At this point Jacob gives Locke the instructions he’s been working so hard to get (and the instructions Ben’s been waiting for so long).
As for Claire, her creepy smirk seemed almost as if she were possessed. Unless there are two entities, perhaps the island spoke through both of them. I love the theories I saw last week that pointed to Claire being already dead – killed by the rocket attack – and Jacob coming (as Christian) to claim her. It would make sense that Aaron would be left behind because the island must know rescue is coming. We’ve always known that Aaron was important, so maybe the island separated him from his mother for this reason. But the fact that Claire ‘needs’ to raise him signifies, to me at least, that Claire will ultimately end up alive, well, and mothering her child. Along those lines, maybe Claire still is alive and Jacob brought her to the cabin to protect her.
There’s too much to speculate here, and not enough information to go on. But I will say that the island moving and the sky turning purple again will probably go hand in hand. And that Keamy will meet some kind of really horrible end