submitted on April 9, 2009, 7:16 AM
It's sad how close we're getting to 5.16 and 5.17, followed by an agonizing seven month wait for the final season.
My interest was piqued for last night's episode, mostly because it was Ben-centric, and those are pretty hard to screw up. It ended up being pretty much what I expected, a look into some of the history of the island through Benís flashbacks.
Honestly, it felt like this episode was made to lay down some additional exposition to the Linus/Widmore relationship that we will see more of down the road. We were shown scenes from all throughout that relationship, from the very beginning, to where it stands presently. What once started as a very promising friendship between two "Others", deteriorated over the years into what it is today; a bitter rivalry that knows no bounds (Well, almost no bounds), that, at the end of the day, seemingly leads back to the island.
Charles Widmore first meets Ben after Richard brings him to their camp (Great casting for the younger Widmore, by the way, the facial similarities were impressive), who is clearly sympathetic to Ben's plight to joint the Others. Some time down the road, maybe twelve or thirteen years, we see a grownup Ben with a juvenile Ethan Rom, taking Alex from Rousseau, which goes against Charles' apparent wishes to have them both killed. From this point on, Ben seemingly raises Alex as his own. A few years after that (Five? Six?), Charles Widmore is removed from the island, apparently at Benís discretion (Or perhaps the island's discretion). To the best of our knowledge, this is the last time that we have ever seen Widmore step foot on the island, although it appears he has spent those following years either trying to get back there, or at the very least find Benjamin Linus. Along the way we have had Widmoreís men kill Ben's daughter, something Ben later tried to reciprocate with Widmoreís daughter, but was unable to do, along with an off-island confrontation between Ben and Charles (A scene which I am really itching to re-watch right about now).
And that more or less brings us up to speed on where Ben and Charles currently stand. There appears to be some other parties getting involved, which I believe will play a key part in Widmore's "war", but I'll discuss that later.
The "present" storyline for the episode re-introduced us to the idea of the smoke monster "judging" people, something we have not seen it do since Eko was judged for his sins and ultimately killed by the smoke monster. With Ben it's always hard to know what the truth is and what's a lie, but I do believe that he went to face the music for Alex being killed. I think he probably knew that he had to for whatever reason since he was returning to the island, but I don't think that he solely went back just to be judged. There's always an ulterior motive when it comes to Ben. However, I can't help but wonder if Ben will have to stow away his ulterior motives for now since the smoke monster made it abundantly clear that it would kill Ben if he didnít do exactly what Locke told him.
I thought that was an interesting scene, that might help explain Lockeís presence on the island. He came back to life when they landed on the island, and seemed to be filled with certain knowledge of the island (ie. Where the smoke monster was) that he didn't have before, and yet, we really don't know why any of this is so. I think there are lots of unanswered questions regarding Locke, the smoke monster, Christian, and Jacob.
-Who is Jacob? What is his purpose?
-What is the smoke monster? Where did it come from? Does Jacob control it? Is Jacob the smoke monster? Does it have the ability to control people?
-Was Christian brought back to life on the island? What is his role in everything? Is he controlled by someone(thing), or is he simply acting as a guide or messenger for someone?
-Is Locke really alive now? Is he now occupying a similar role to Christian? Did Jacob, or the island, bring him back to life and give him his knowledge so that he too may act as a guide or messenger? Is that why the smoke monster instructed Ben to do what Locke says?
That's a lot to think about, but when itís all said and done, there will be some kind of explanation on the relationship between these four entities (and, I assume, insight as to how Claire fits into all of this).
Those were the two main themes of the show, here are some other quick hits:
-I wonder how long it took Ben to master his art of deception? It's very apparent that when he's a kid he's terrible at it, and even when he was taking Alex from Rousseau he didnít seem like the cold, calculating Ben we've come to expect, And yet, there he is with the other Ajira passengers, starting up casual conversation, lying his ass off, already trying to turn other people against Locke, and he doesn't even think twice about it.
-Peace out Cesar, we hardly knew ye. While I'll agree that the idea of him not realizing his sawed off shotgun is missing is a little ridiculous, you just don't steal a manís gun, especially when that man is Benjamin Linus.
-So, throw out my whole theory of an altered present, I guess. It still seems a little fishy to me (We heard the numbers being broadcast when Frank landed the plane, and it sounded a little like Hurley, everything seems a little too disheveled for a place thatís only been abandoned for three years), but for now Iíll play along and just assume that theyíre in regular old 2007 like they should be.
-I still want to know where the rest of the Others are, and why they never returned to Dharmaville. Maybe Locke knows. Maybe he knows where Rose and Bernard are, too.
-I find it interesting that Widmore was basically removed from the island, and yet hasn't been able to return to it. Ben said that he had left the island many times, so clearly he knows how to find it. Did Ben move the island so that Widmore couldnít find it again? Iím sure there's more to that story.
-Well, we know that Eloise Hawking isn't Pennyís mother. Apparently Widmore likes to escape the pressures of daily life by running off to England to have illegitimate children. I still think Widmore is Daniel Faraday's father, however. I was a little disappointed that we didnít get to see Hawking at all during the flashbacks. I guess that will have to wait for another episode.
-Speaking of Penny, I got the feeling once the show was trying to tease the crap out of Ben killing Penny that he didn't actually end up doing it. Usually when LOST really builds up to something so much that you expect to happen, it doesn't actually happen. So the more and more they teased it, the less likely it was to happen. It is always nice to see the human side of Ben, though. And it certainly makes sense that Ben would have some mommy/child abandonment issues. His mother died in childbirth with him, and his father was always quick to remind Ben about that. Plus, he stole a child from its mother and raised it as its own, something he no doubt feels even more guilty about now that Alex is dead. So once he saw Penny's child, all that kind of kicked in and made him hesitate. Although I do wonder how long that hesitation would have lasted if Desmond hadn't stopped him. Oh, and nice ass kicking by Desmond, I wouldn't want to get in a fight with him.
-Hey look, it's a big metal box that was apparently in the airplane. And it seems to belong to Ilana, who is all of a sudden very hostile to everyone. Hmm...Ilana, who is supposedly working for "the family" of a man Sayid killed, and now only seems to be fixated on her large metal box, and asking stupid questions like "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" Itís starting to look a little more like she was supposed to be on that flight, perhaps another person on the employ of Mr. Charles Widmore? I don't know what's in the box, but whatever it is, it's probably not good.
-Oh yeah, I forgot, what the hell was with Ben draining that pool of water, and then talking into the whole that he would be outside? That's how he summons the smoke monster? I don't understand that at all. I was mostly just amused at how completely bizarre it was.
That's all I've got for this week. Next week looks to be another intriguing episode, as it seems like we will be dealing with Miles and some further flashbacks into his life, along with some kind of interaction with Dr. Chang (!), so that should be fun.
Did anyone watch The Unusuals last night? I didn't, but it seems like Harold Perrineau's character revolved around the number 42. Poor bastard, can't ever seem to get away from the damn numbers.
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