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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lost 6x07: Dr. Linus

Homer Simpson once said it takes two to lie: one to lie and one to listen. The last several seasons have found Ben struggling first to maintain his power on the island and then to reclaim it. Just like Napoleon on Elba, Ben returned to Craphole Island a major player in name only. In complete free fall since getting conned into killing Jacob, and with his last great lie exposed, Ben finds himself the most powerless he's ever been. No one will even listen to him, and without an ear in which to speak, his greatest power is rendered moot.

If the flash sideways can be viewed as a potential reward for services rendered in the upcoming war, it seems that Ben, unlike Sayid, manages to make good on his past mistakes on the island in the sideways reality. Unwilling to sacrifice his power for his daughter on the island, in the sideways reality Ben is unable to trade Alex for power (though it seems, in classic Ben fashion, he's managed to at least establish himself as something of a power behind the throne, forcing a better-than-average recommendation for Alex out of the principal and getting himself off detention duty and back into the history club). Just as Sayid's turn to the dark side on the island was reflected in his inability to escape his past in the flash sideways, perhaps Ben's happier ending off the island is a result of his turning his back on FLocke and staying with Team Jacob on the beach. 

From his powerless low point, by episode's end Ben seems to have turned a corner, telling Ilana the truth about Jacob's death. He could have claimed he was manipulated into doing it by FLocke but instead admitted that, in that moment, he wanted to kill Jacob for seemingly not caring about all Ben had sacrificed. Ilana rewarded Ben for his honesty and he returned to the camp willingly to help. Will he now use his power to lie and manipulate for good, or is Ben still waiting for a chance to reclaim his lost power to determine the fate of the island? And how will the return of Widmore affect Ben's role in the endgame? 

Stuff Worth Mentioning
Principal Reynolds was played by William Atherton, who's made a name for himself playing dicks, such as EPA agent Walter Peck in "Ghostbusters" and that smarmy reporter in the first two "Die Hard" movies. 



Six candidates left made me think of the Oceanic Six.

I'm positive Richard's assertion that Hurley not listen to Jacob was born of his anger at Jacob for seemingly jacking him around, and not because Richard believes Jacob to be evil or anything.

Jack's a man of faith now. That stunt with the dynamite was on par with some of Locke's crazy actions, and the first time in a long time that I really liked Jack.


In Sawyer's secret stash, Ben found a nudie magazine and a copy of "The Chosen" by Chaim Potok.

I loved that in an episode which featured Dr. Artz in the flash sideways, the location that led to his ultimate demise was revisited for the first time in a long time on the island.

Ben "gassed" his dad in both realities.


Locke tried to convince Ben to usurp his superior in both realities.


Alex's last name is Rousseau in the flash sideways.

By rejoining the others at the beach, Ben became the first person to seemingly turn down an offer from Smokey. 

Miles got his hands on Nikki and Paulo's diamonds.


The episode closed with another callback to early seasons: the happy slow-mo reunion on the beach set to Giacchino strings. The ending was in stark contrast to the ending of the last episode: sunny, bright, happy as opposed to menacing, dark and shadowed.

The sides appear to have been drawn, with Team Jacob consisting of Jack, Hurley, Sun, Ilana, Richard, Ben, Miles and Lapidus and Team Smokey being Sawyer, Sayid, Claire, and the remaining Others, with Kate and Jin as wild cards, more aligned with Smokey due to proximity and circumstance than anything.

Questions Answered
Ilana took the Jacob ash because it was the closest thing she had to his body, and wanted Miles to read it. Jacob was the closest thing she had to a father.


Appearances to the contrary, Jacob didn't want Ben to kill him.

Richard's lack of aging is a gift from Jacob, as is any touch from Jacob. Richard is connected in some way to the Black Rock.

The scene with Sideways Ben and his father confirms definitively that the Sideways reality deviated from the island reality before Jughead detonated.

Jack seems to have realized what Jacob was trying to tell him by showing him the lighthouse: that he is meant for a higher purpose on the island.

Frank missed piloting Oceanic Flight 815 because he overslept. 

Questions Asked
Ben again mentioned his off-island network of connections. Where did that come from? Is it an Others thing, or a Ben thing? 

What is Richard's connection to the Black Rock?

If Jacob's touch is a gift, does it mean all the Losties he touched will be long lived like Richard, or is the gift specific to each recipient?

Since Sideways Alex is a Rousseau, how/why did her French parents end up in LA?

Did Jacob allow Ben to kill him because he saw that ultimately, it would lead to this moment, when Ben seemingly starts on the path towards redemption?

How did Widmore find the island again?


Next Week: Recon
Sawyer and Kate reunite as we catch up with FLocke and company. And with a title like that, I'm betting it's a Sawyer episode.

12 comments:

Falen said...

even though i know they did this to redeem Ben, i still say the principal's threat to Ben held no weight.
So he gives her a bad recommendation? That doesn't hold much weight when Ben reveals to his wife and the media that he was a shit principal...

Teebore said...

Yeah, Joan and I were discussing that over on Nikki's blog, too.

I like to think that once Alex got her recommendation and was accepted, then Ben just hhhhwhipped the emails out again and took the job once and for all.

Dr. Bitz said...

Frankly, if I was on the school board, giving it good to the school nurse would be grounds for a promotion!

"The scene with Sideways Ben and his father confirms definitively that the Sideways reality deviated from the island reality before Jughead detonated."

I'm not sure that's true, but I can't remember my timeline properly. Couldn't Ben's dad's talk about leaving the Dharma Initiative simply be him talking about when the evacuation of the island occured (right before "The Incident")?

Beyond that, we learned that the island existed when Ben was young. When/why did it go under water if not for jughead?

Teebore said...

Frankly, if I was on the school board, giving it good to the school nurse would be grounds for a promotion!

Ha!

Couldn't Ben's dad's talk about leaving the Dharma Initiative simply be him talking about when the evacuation of the island occured

I could very well be wrong, but when the evacuation occurred, Ben was still with the Others, recovering from his gunshot wound/temple healing, while his dad was busy shooting Sayid.

I'm assuming the Others didn't get Ben back to his dad and then they both got off the island before the bomb blew up. I also think there's a mention in "Man Behind the Curtain", Ben's first flashback episode, of his dad re-signing with Dharma to stay on the island longer; I assumed that when he mentioned leaving the island in this episode, it probably meant he didn't sign on for that extension in that reality.

Plus, their relationship seemed better than I imagine it would be if they had left during the evacuation, considering his dad had already become an abusive ass by then (but then, perhaps Ben getting shot tempered his anger).

Okay, so your point stands: perhaps it's not as definitive an indicator as I initially thought, but those are my reasons for thinking deviations in the realities occurred before Jughead.

When/why did it go under water if not for jughead?

That's the question, then, isn't it? I have no idea. How about...mutter mutter Jacob?

Dr. Bitz said...

Yeah, I forgot about the whole Ben's dad getting shot thing. It would be tough for him to evacuate with Ben before Jughead blew up.

Which, of course, begs the yet unanswerable question of what reality are we watching?

Also, I think they were going for a parent/child bond between Ben and Alex but all I got from it was sexual tension....which is wrong on all sorts of levels.

Teebore said...

but all I got from it was sexual tension....which is wrong on all sorts of levels.

You're not the only one; I've seen other people make that comment too.

Jenn said...

Jack's a man of faith now. That stunt with the dynamite was on par with some of Locke's crazy actions, and the first time in a long time that I really liked Jack.

I agree! I have been super-hard on Jack, what with the jears, and his emo-ness and whatnot.

However, you're right! In this episode he kicked a little bit of butt there, didn't he?

Y.F.N. Palindrome aka Hannah said...

I too loved Jack so much in this episode and Ben! Yay for redemption!

I think Ben's change is genuine. I think the time for games is over with him...hopefully.

How is everyone who has been following Jacob for years losing faith so quickly? Oh, he died...and now Flocke is saying stuff against him, all if for naught! Waah, he won's show me appreciation. Come on! Why does Jacob keep touching people with weak convictions? :)

Anywho, that was probably ONE OF THE BEST episodes of the show. I can't wait to watch the replay on Tuesday!!

Teebore said...

@Jenn: Yeah, I share your disdain for Jack. 'Bout the only thing I've ever liked about him was the Jeard. And the unintentional hilarity of the Jears, but maybe, just maybe, he's slowly coming around.

@Palindrome: Good point about Jacob's selections being short on conviction. You'd think Richard, of all people, would be a bit more easygoing about it all. I mean, even if Jacob was full of BS, why not wait a few days before trying to get someone to kill you, just in case Jacob has a trick up his sleeve yet? He's lived this long; a few more days would be a drop in the bucket.

PS I loved when Hurley asked Richard if he was a vampire or a cyborg (and the fact that Richard said no and not "what's that?").

Anne said...

I lurved this episode. i like new, faithful Jack who's ready to get back to business (FINALLY) and i like Ben's redemption (broke my heart when he said no one would have him).

But man i wish Jin and Sun would finally get back together again

Teebore said...

Yeah, Ben's "he's the only one who'll have me line" was pretty moving.

As for Jin and Sun, I want them to get back together sooner rather than later just because I feel like, at this point, the producers are saving their reunion for the end of the season, to use as the emotional climax of the show.

And since Jin and Sun, for the most part, bore me to tears, that's an emotional climax that will be less that satisfying for me, so I want it done sooner rather than later.

Y.F.N. Palindrome aka Hannah said...

"He's the only one who'll have me"...man, I totally cried like a big baby and I will on the rewatch tomorrow. Good stuff. THAT'S why I don't watch Lost with anyone. I cry too much and I'm not a cryer.