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Monday, March 10, 2008

Lost 4x06:The Other Woman

“The Other Woman” makes it very clear that Juliet has been manipulated and treated like an object for the last several years of her life. We’ve seen previously how she was manipulated into staying on the island longer than planned, and now we’ve seen how she was manipulated into keeping her affair with Goodwin, seemingly the best part of her island life, secret. It also emphasized just how much control, even now, Ben has over her. It makes her actions last season, siding with Jack against Ben, all the more significant: it was, most likely, the first time she had ever broke rank, and did something for herself.

The events of this episode reminded Juliet of just how controlling and powerful Ben is, and the ending, in which Juliet worries for Jack because he’s standing between her and Ben, is an ominous one for Juliet. We’ve seen Jack off the island, but not Juliet, which suggests that she is likely to either die in the process of the Oceanic Six being rescued, or be forced to sacrifice her freedom in order for Jack to leave.

The flashback this week was more thematic and character-building than it was revelatory, but it was still enjoyable to see some old Other friends again, especially Tom (he seems so out of place among the Others-I’d love a flashback explaining how he came to join them and why) and to see a different perspective on past events. The Others have a therapist. Goodwin was married to her. Last season, I assumed he was sent to infiltrate the Tailies due to some medical experience (Goodwin was seen at one point assisting Juliet in an operation of some sort, and Ethan, their surgeon, was sent to infiltrate the other camp). Now it appears he was sent by Ben as punishment for his affair with Juliet, with every intention that he wouldn’t make it back. It also seems placement on “the list” is negotiable; Ben mentioned Goodwin making a case for Ana Lucia that led to his being out in the field even after Ethan’s death at the hands of the Losties.

The big revelation this week, of course, confirmed that Charles Widmore, Penny’s dad, has a vested interest in the island, and is the man behind the Freighties’ mission. If we trust Ben, one player of the ongoing island backgammon game has now been identified. Several big questions regarding Widmore’s involvement remain: is he or his company responsible for the fake Oceanic wreckage? What is his relation, if any, to the Hanso Foundation or the Dharma Initiative? Is he aware that his daughter is attempting the same thing he is (to find the island) and is he actively working against her or just keeping her in the dark? Are his true intentions what Ben says they are: to take advantage of the mysterious properties of the island? Everything we’ve seen of him before suggests he is a ruthless and uncaring man; I found it particularly insightful that he mercilessly beat Ben’s man himself-something most “behind the scenes” villains would have had a hired goon do.


Highlight
Either “You people had therapists?”-“It’s very stressful being an Other, Jack.” Or Ben wondering whether or not the rabbit he was served for dinner had a number on it.


Did You Notice?
The Tempest station obviously alludes to Shakespeare’s play by the same name, about a magical island, shipwrecks, island spirits and deformed natives named Caliban; needless to say, it’s rife with thematic and narrative parallels to Lost.

The scene at the beginning, with Juliet setting up her tent and Sun asking her why, seemed more or less inconsequential until examined in the context of the episode; putting aside all Jack vs. Locke debates about the Freighties intentions, deep inside Juliet knows that getting off the island won’t be as easy as flying away on a helicopter for her, not with Ben still in a position of control over her. The later events of the episode confirmed that instinct.

I’m assuming the previous time Ben used the Tempest station gas, as referenced by Charlotte, was the Dharma purge.

Zack and Emma, the two kids Juliet mentions looking after over dinner with Ben, were the children taken from the Tailies and most recently seen in the care of Cindy the flight attendant.

Juliet apparently resembles someone in Ben’s past that he loved (childhood friend Annie?); Juliet was also chosen to interact with Jack at the beginning of season three because she resembled Jack’s wife.

Questions
Once again, who his Ben’s man on the boat blah blah it’s Michael…

If their mission was benevolent, why didn’t Charlotte and Daniel just tell Jack and Co. what they were doing? I understand that’s it been previously established that Charlotte has taken the company line about keeping the Losties in the dark (especially after her experiences with Locke) but Daniel seems more willing to share information, and really, once they realized they were being tracked, wouldn’t it have made some sense to just stop and say, “look, we don’t trust you, but we’re doing something good. Don’t believe us? Come along and see.”

Was the scene between Locke and Claire setting up the events that will cause Aaron to be raised off the island by Kate?

What does it mean that “Ben is exactly where he wants to be?”

I’d like a closer look at the map Faraday had in this episode; come to my aid, oh mighty Internet!



It has to be asked: was everything Ben told Locke about Widmore true? It certainly makes sense, given the information we’ve already received, and Ben is usually, technically, honest, but it wouldn’t be the first time he wasn’t telling the whole truth, or telling a skewed version of the truth.

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