DarkUFO - Lost

Although it might seem odd to reveal a story's ground rules just before the final chapter, Lost has always thrived by revealing things out of order. The titles of episodes 5.11 and 5.12 make for an intriguing pair. Whatever Happened, Happened recycles the words spoken by Lost physicist Daniel Faraday twice already this season. In due course, the equally redundant phrase Dead is Dead was also spoken by Ben midway through this episode. These two titles express rather explicitly two main rules of storytelling that have been established and tested over the course of the series. In order to maintain the dramatic weight of any chapter, two principles are necessary. First, the past cannot be changed. Second, death is permanent. Only in science fiction do these basic tautologies of life need to be proven. The life-threatening injury to young Ben Whatever Happened, Happened provided a not-so-subtle lecture followed by a not-so-subtle demonstration of that first rule. The main plotline then went to great lengths to prove that Ben’s gunshot did not kill him, but helped transform him into the man he became, even with some unnecessary amnesia ex machina thrown in to eliminate possible inconsistencies. Again, for the second straight week, the powers that be were asked to judge whether Ben Linus had a right to live. As an child in the hands of adults, and as an adult in the hands of Island gods, the end result turned out to be the same.

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