Posted by: cousinbrandon | March 10, 2010

LOST – Season 6, Episode 7: “Dr. Linus”

I returned to my old ways last night and watched LOST at home, alone, sans DVR. You know, the way God intended. Of course I was excited to see the title, knowing it would be a Ben-centric episode, again breaking away from the structure of season 1. That is, Ben didn’t have an episode based on him in season 1, so like last week’s episode, “Sundown,” “Dr. Linus” was a wrench in the work, so to speak. On the other hand, the seventh episode of season 1 was “The Moth,” an episode featuring Charlie, who is obviously deceased. Perhaps, then, the argument can be made that Ben is Charlie’s proxy, at least in terms of story arc. With that, let’s jump in, beginning not with the opening scene, but with…

1. The Napoleonic Complex. 

In a flash-sideways, Dr. Linus is teaching European History in a high school classroom, covering Napoleon and the island of Elba. According to Dr. Linus, Napoleon was powerless without his island. This is a really nice parallel, in that the island of Elba (an island, first of all) was the site of Napoleon’s exile. There, Napoleon found himself leading a large group of men and was eventually given the title of Emperor. Sure enough, after strategizing for nearly a year, Napoleon and his newly-formed “army” planned their return to Paris. Now, this sounds an awfully lot like Ben in terms of this ostracized figure essentially coming to power and raising his own army. But there’s no denying the similarity to FLocke, as well, who has just raised an army after essentially being exiled on an island and hopes to “return home.” After class, Ben is informed by Principal Reynolds (who, by the way, is one of the great Hollywood “that guys” with roles in, for example, Ghostbusters and Die Hard.) that he’ll be on detention duty, thus forcing him to cancel the afterschool history club. In this reality, Ben is powerless. We find him reluctantly agreeing to Principal Reynolds’ request, before sitting down to eat lunch in the teacher’s lounge with (an awfully heavy-looking) Dr. Arzt. Ben is complaining to Arzt, saying how much he cares about the kids and that it’s them who are suffering. Suddenly, John Locke pipes up and says that Ben should be principal. Here, Locke is still a substitute, but plants the seed that Ben “cares about this place,” and that Ben “should be the man in charge.” Again, this is a nice bit of parallelism in terms of Ben’s character arc and his ascension to leadership. With that, we go to…

2. The Ashes. Ben is running through the jungle following the slaughter at the temple, where he accidentally runs into Ilana, Lapidus, Miles and Sun. (And by the way, you’ll not believe this but Sun is once again completely lame and useless in terms of character and dialogue in this episode. Shocking, right? Seriously, talk about a neutered character. She only has one scene of interest, and it’s not ever her who makes it interesting. We’ll get to that.) Ben tells them that Sayid killed Dogen and Lennon, and that he won’t be joining their “team.” The group decides on heading for the beach, as it makes the most sense strategically. En route to the beach, Ilana once again asks if it was Smokey who killed Jacob. Ben says it was, yet she doesn’t believe him. Ilana has Miles use his power to figure out how Jacob died. Miles says he needs to be near the body, and fortunately Ilana still has her pouch of Jacob’s ashes that she pulled from the fire in the foot of the statue. Miles does his hocus pocus and reveals that “Linus killed him,” which Ben, of course, denies. Upon arriving at their old camp on the beach, Ben is wracked with guilt and still trying to convince Ilana that he didn’t kill Jacob. We then jump sideways to…

3. The Family Tree.

Ben is microwaving a TV dinner (and I’m just now remembering that this is the scene in which we get the reflection of the sideways character, thus maintaining the theme the writers have set forth in every episode this season) and we see his reflection in the oven. He serves the dinner to none other than his father, Roger Linus, who is now an old man needing an oxygen tank to breathe. Here Roger isn’t the drunken, abusive monster he was on the island. Here he is a caring father who not only believes in his son, but apologizes to him for his past mistakes. And what was Roger’s great regret? Leaving the Dharma Initiative. (Zing!) Roger is guilt-ridden over leaving the island with Ben, rhetorically (and ironically) asking, “Who knows what you could have become?” There is a knock at the front door, and who do we find but Alex, thus giving us three generations of Linuses all in one scene. Here, though, Alex is not Ben’s daughter; she is his student asking for help on her upcoming history test. Okay, a couple things: first, while it was great to see these characters, Alex looks too old to be in high school. I know it’s nitpicking, but whatever. Second, I loved the exchange about the Dharma Initiative. If I’m thinking correctly, this is the first mention (other than seeing the statue and barracks underwater in “LA X”) of the “true” timeline we’ve been following all along, or at least the first reference to a prominent fixture of the true timeline. For some reason I was shocked at its mere mention. From here we go sideways to…

4. What’s In a Name? Sun is on the beach, bitching to Ilana about finding Jin. (Okay, she wasn’t bitching; I’m just annoyed with Sun, that’s all.) Ilana wants to find Jin, as well, because his last name is Kwon. Sun is confused by this information, and Ilana explains that she doesn’t know whether it is Jin or Sun who is a candidate to replace Jacob. Sun wants to know how many candidates there are; Ilana says there are only six candidates left. (Quickly, that would be Shepherd, Reyes, Kwon (Sun or Jin), Ford, Jarrah and Austen? Is that right?) Across the island, we find…

5. The Return of Richard.

Jack and Hurley begin to make their way back to the temple, only Hurley is still attempting to literally mislead Jack through the jungle. Suddenly, Richard emerges and offers to lead them to the temple, telling them that Hurley was going in the wrong direction. Jack doesn’t trust Richard, but points out to Hurley that “at least he’s not stalling.” We return to the other side of the island, where we find…

6. The Chosen. Ben is rooting through the old tents on the beach when he finds (in Sawyer’s tent, no less) not only a nudie magazine, but Chaim Potok’s The Chosen. This book is interesting for two reasons: 1) it is a story of religious faith, fathers and sons, and ultimately one character (a son) replacing another (a father); and 2) it was in Sawyer’s tent. Okay, finding literature associated with Sawyer is nothing new, as we’ve seen him reading on the beach many times throughout the show. However, considering the title, one has to wonder if it was pointing us specifically to Sawyer, in that he is ultimately “the chosen one” to replace Jacob. Anyway, Lapidus reveals to Ben that it was him who was supposed to fly Oceanic 815, but didn’t because he overslept. “The island still got you in the end,” says a smug Ben, just before Ilana’s rifle is pointed directly at his head. Ilana walks Ben to the graves and puts him on a makeshift leash. She tells Ben to start digging his own grave. We flash sideways to…

7. The Principal.

Ben is studying in the library with Alex, where we see a picture of ship with the heading “East India Trading Company.” Of course this is a nod to The Black Rock, even foreshadowing considering we’ve already seen Richard in this episode. Alex is wrought with concern over this test, afraid she might fail. Ironically, Ben says, “I’m not worried about your future at all,” which is great considering it was his action, or lack thereof, that ultimately resulted in her being executed. Alex mistakenly refers to Principal Reynolds as a pervert, and tells Ben of the incident involving Reynolds and the school nurse, where she accidentally heard them “doing it.” Ben sees his opening, thus returning to…

8. The Ghost Whisperer.

Ben is slowly digging his grave when Miles approaches, asking Ben if he’d like some food. Ben tries to convince Miles to free him, asking if he still wants the $3.2 million he tried to blackmail Ben for (back in season 4, I believe). Miles tells him he doesn’t need it, as Nikki and Paulo are buried with $8 million worth of diamonds. (Ugh, just the mention of them makes my skin crawl.) Miles tells Ben that even though he killed Jacob, Jacob was hoping he was wrong about Ben, news that sets Ben’s mind reeling. Again, the scene in which Ben murdered Jacob was heart-wrenching, in that all Ben wanted was validation – he wanted Jacob to give his life purpose and meaning. He asked, “What about me,” to which Jacob replied, “What about you?” It was this cold response that was the final nail in Jacob’s coffin (pun intended), resulting in Ben’s stabbing and murdering Jacob. Clearly Ben remains a man whose faith has been destroyed. We then go cross-island to…

9. The Ageless Wonder. Richard, Jack and Hurley are trudging through the jungle, where Hurley is (once again) asking all of the fandom questions. (I know I should find this annoying, particularly in light of Hurley’s “ascent to leadership,” but it still amuses me. I mean, Hurley’s character has been consistent throughout the show, and even though the writers are overloading us with all of Hurley’s recent questioning – such as, the whole time travel question to Jack about the skeletons in the cave – it still makes me laugh.) Hurley wants to know why Richard still looks the same, and Richard explains that Jacob gave him a gift. Rather than taking them to the temple, Richard leads them toThe Black Rock, saying everyone at the temple is dead. Jack, of course, is concerned about his friends, and isn’t too happy with Hurley in that he knows Hurley probably knew because of Jacob. “Whatever Jacob said,” says Richard, “don’t believe him.” Richard says there’s something he has to do at The Black Rock: die. We then go sideways to…

10. The Blackmailer. Ben approaches Arzt in his classroom where he is grading papers. He wants Arzt to access the email account of the school nurse, and explains that she’s having an inappropriate affair with Principal Reynolds. Arzt realizes Ben’s going after the principal’s job, and before he’ll agree to help him he wants Ben to promise him a better parking spot, not to mention more lab coats and new equipment. I liked this scene in that we see Ben making deals and promises in order to recruit others to do his will, which is consistent with the manipulative Ben we’ve seen time and again. We then go sideways to a long and important scene, which I’ll simply refer to as…

11. The Black Rock. Richard enters The Black Rock and pauses at the shackles on the wall, calling back to FLocke’s comment that it was “good to see him out of those chains.” Again, I have no doubt Richard was a prisoner on the ship, and this essentially confirmed it. (Also, I couldn’t help but be reminded of “The Brig,” in which Sawyer strangled Anthony Cooper with the chains on The Black Rock.) Richard tells Jack that this was his first time returning to The Black Rock, before opening a box of dynamite. Richard explains that he can’t kill himself, and that he wants Jack and Hurley to do it for him. He can’t kill himself because Jacob touched him, and even though Jacob considers it a gift, Richard says it’s “a curse.” (This made me think of two things: 1) Hurley telling Jacob he was cursed because he saw and spoke to dead people; and 2) Kevin Johnson. Well, Michael. Now, we never saw Michael touched by Jacob, and yet he couldn’t kill himself. His gun wouldn’t fire when he tried to shoot himself; he didn’t die when he drove his car into the wall. So when was Michael “touched”? Have we yet to see this? Will we see this? I kind of hope so.) Richard wants to die because he found out his life has no purpose; he feels lied to. Richard has blindly served Jacob and for what? Jack clearly identifies with Richard’s plea, but figures this is a way to get some information. He lights the fuse on the dynamite, but rather than leaving, Jack sits down with Richard and says, “Now, let’s talk.” As the fuse edges closer to the dynamite, Jack says he doesn’t think either of them will die. He tells Richard about the lighthouse, pointing out that Jacob wanted him to find it – that he wanted him to know Jacob was watching him. Essentially, Jack points out that they won’t die because Jacob doesn’t want them to, that they haven’t fulfilled their purpose. Sure enough, the fuse burns out just before reaching the dynamite, and in perhaps one of my favorite lines ever delivered by Jack, he smugly asks, “Wanna’ try another stick?” Good stuff. In fact, I really liked this whole scene with Jack. Well done, Matthew Fox. We then go back across the island to…

12. Smoke On the Water.

Well, Smoke(y) near the water, anyway. Ben is still digging his grave when he hears the clickety-clack of Smokey, who suddenly appears behind Ben in the form of FLocke. He explains that he’s digging his own grave because he killed Jacob. FLocke tells Ben he’s gathering a group of people to leave the island, and he wants Ben to remain and be in charge (to replace him in his role as MiB?). Ben points out that he is bound there, only to have his ankle leash suddenly break off. FLocke gives Ben his escape route, and says a rifle will be waiting for him in the jungle – that if he leaves now he can get the jump on Ilana and join them at the Hydra Station. With that, Ben peers over at Ilana, and bolts. We jump sideways to…

13. The Replacement.

Dr. Linus arrives at Principal Reynolds’ office, who is being his typical dick self. Ben shows Reynolds the email exchanges with the nurse, telling Reynolds he will resign and name Ben as his replacement. Reynolds plays his own card and shows him an email of his own from Alex, asking for a letter of recommendation. He tells Ben that he will “destroy Alex’s future” if Ben goes through with his blackmailing scheme. I liked this scene in terms of the whole replacement thing, as well as paralleling/illustrating Ben’s compassion for Alex (which he has in both timelines, even though the “real” timeline is based greatly on remorse). We then return to…

14. The Confession. Ben races through the jungle and reaches the rifle before Ilana can reach him. At gunpoint, he forces her to drop her weapon. Here, then, we get yet another great scene compliments of Michael Emerson, who I still contend is the greatest character on LOST. He just kills it. He wants to explain to Ilana that he knows how she feels, as she lost a “father” in Jacob. He tells her of Alex, and how he chose the island over her when he could have saved her life. Ben confesses that he stabbed Jacob because he was confused, and that “the thing that really mattered [Alex] was already gone.” Ben is genuinely distraught and can’t forgive himself. He wants to go to FLocke because “he’s the only one who will have me” (ouch). Ilana looks at Ben and says, “I’ll have you,” before turning her back and walking away. Ben is genuinely touched, and rather than predictably running towards FLocke, he heads back to the camp behind Ilana. We jump sideways again to…

15. The Choice. Ben is in Principal Reynolds’ office when Alex enters and says that Reynolds wrote her the most amazing letter, clearly indicating that Ben chose “saving” Alex’s future over his own advancement as principal (leader). Reynolds enters the office, and even though Ben didn’t get what he ultimately wanted, he managed to get himself off of detention duty and back with the History Club, somehow earning himself a small, albeit pleasing victory. In this timeline, Ben was able to give Alex the future he couldn’t/didn’t give her in the “real” timeline – the future Roger Linus couldn’t give Ben. Finally, we shuttle back over to…

16. The Hunt for Red October.

Ben and Ilana return to the beach, where a broken and somehow reborn Ben asks Sun if she needs any help. Slowly we see them rebuilding the camp, building the fire, etc. Miles is admiring his diamonds, which he obviously removed from Nikki and Paulo. Suddenly Jack, Hurley and Richard appear on the beach, and we get yet another slow-motion reuniting scene. Sure, it’s hokey, but I still find it kind of touching. Perhaps the strongest single shot in this scene was the camera panning around from Jack’s perspective to focus on Ben, who looked literally and figuratively small. All is well again; that is, until we see a submarine periscope emerge from the ocean. A crewman reports that there are people on the island, and asks if they should stop. Who should answer but Charles Widmore, who tells the crewman not to stop and “continue as planned.” So it appears Widmore has, at last, found the island after all, yet he isn’t stopping there. Hmmm…

All in all, I really liked this episode, even though I thought there were some flaws in the storytelling. For instance, I could have done with a lot less Arzt. Yes, it’s great to see some of the characters in the sideways storyline, but we already have Roger Linus, Alex and even Locke. It just felt like too much screen time was given to Arzt when we could have more effectively utilized Locke or one of the others. Also, I was kind of bummed that Richard simply blurted out to Jack about being touched, being on the ship, etc. Just like Dogen, it seems like a wasted opportunity by the writers to show us his back-story as opposed to flat-out telling us. Now I wonder if we’ll ever get a Richard episode, something I’ve wanted to see forever.

Comments? Thoughts? Theories? Let me know. Until next time, have at it, you vultures!

BD

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Responses

  1. This was my favorite episode of the season. It’s the first episode that totally surprised me when the hour was up. The previous episodes I kept feeling like I was getting impatient – but not this one. We got a taste of some answers. Ben really is a great character and the actor does a great job.

    • You know, Richie, I’ve heard several people make the same comment already: that this was their favorite episode of the season. I just don’t know if I’m in that camp. Don’t get me wrong: Michael Emerson is the greatest. But in terms of overall episode strength, I still might go with “The Substitute” or “Lighthouse.”

      • I liked the second half of Lighthouse, but felt the first half was kind of slow. In fact, as I think about it, it seems that most of the scenes at the temple were just kind of weak.

        • The temple was becoming tiresome, in general. And for the record, pretty much every episode this season has picked up steam in the second half.

  2. My most lingering question coming out of that episode is what island was Roger Linus talking about? Was he talking about the island that appeared to be underwater? If he was when did it sink? If not, what island was Dharma on?

    • I think, Cmitch, that Roger was talking about THE island. If you recall, Roger Linus was on THE island in 1977, as he was the one who shot Sayid. He would have been there with Ben prior to 1977 (I can’t remember what year they came to the DI in the actual timeline). The question, then, is this: did Jughead detonate and sink the island?

  3. One thing I’ve noticed between Flocke and Jacob is that Flocke, to gain a following always offers something that the people want the most.

    1. Sayid – Nadia
    2. Sawyer- To leave the island
    3. Ben – His power back

    Jacob doesn’t seem to offer anyone anything or asks you to sacrifice something.

    • Mike, FLocke has a very obvious Faustian quality to him, indeed. Still, I refuse to accept the fact that FLocke is “evil” and Jacob is “good.” In fact, I’m starting to think that those two terms are completely irrelevant, and that this is nothing more than a game wherein the players (FLocke and Jacob) merely want to win at any cost.

      Furthermore, I disagree with your assessment that Jacob doesn’t ask people “to sacrifice something.” Jacob asked Dogen to sacrifice his life for his son’s. Jacob essentially asked Richard and Ben to follow him blindly.

      • I worded that incorrectly. I was stating that Jacob DOES ask people to sacrifice.

        I do agree, it appears that they are just playing a game between the two of them. It is why I said on a previous post, that they seem to be forming their own groups. Last night, I wasn’t sure if Flocke was offering Ben the island or merely blowing smoke to gather everyone. If it is the former, then I believe that Jacob and Flocke are competing in a game and trying to place their man in charge.

        I wonder if the rules that Jacob and MiB discuss are the same rules that Widmore and Ben discuss in season 4.

        • Oh, I think Jacob and MiB are certainly BOTH trying to find their replacements on the island. Again, there is no good without evil, no black without white. I think both “forces” need to be present in order to keep the world (or, at the very least, the island) in balance. The motif of balance, be it literal or metaphorical, is common on LOST. Again, one side of something can’t exist without the other.

  4. I liked when Ilana questioned Ben about Sayid killing Dogen, and he said “I saw him holding a bloody knife – so yes.”. Then when Ben questioned Miles about seeing Ben kill Jacob, Miles used the same line.

    Is it possible that Kwon could also be Sun & Jin’s baby?

    Was Ilana really planning to kill Ben? He was able to get out of it by telling a sad story?

    • Miles best line might have been his simple “Uh-oh,” when he realized Ilana was pissed at Ben.

      Yes, it’s been speculated that it’s possibly their baby. Hell, some people once speculated that the skeletons in the cave were Aaron and Ji-Yeon.

      I think Ilana was DEFINITELY going to kill Ben. No question.

      • That is an interesting thought – the Sun and Jin’s baby is a candidate. That is totally possible, especially since the baby was made while on the island.

  5. CB,
    I agree that a Richard/ Black Rock episode would be awesome!! Ive wanted to know more about the Black Rock ever since I saw it. It has made me wonder if there is another ship on the Island (Black Rock/ White Rock?) (Oceanic/ Ajira).
    I dunno know?

    • Interesting thought, Crotch. I’ve never even considered The Black Rock in terms of, well, “Black.” Duh! I don’t suspect we’re going to find another ship on the island, though. At least not The Black Rock’s counterpart the way Oceanic 815 had its counterpart in Ajira 316. But, yeah, to not have a Richard/Black Rock episode would be a definite letdown considering how prominent a fixture he/it have been throughout the series. What’s more, for you Watchmen fans out there, the significance of the ship is that much greater.

      • Not a huge comic reader so I didn’t read or see Watchmen. Enlighten me bitch!!

        • Well, I hate to pull anything from Wikipedia, but here you go:

          Tales of the Black Freighter

          Watchmen features a story within a story in the form of Tales of the Black Freighter, a fictional comic book from which scenes appear in issues three, five, eight, ten and eleven. The fictional comic’s story, “Marooned”, is read by a youth in New York City.[23] Moore and Gibbons conceived a pirate comic because they reasoned that since the characters of Watchmen experience superheroes in real life, “they probably wouldn’t be at all interested in superhero comics.”[31] Gibbons suggested a pirate theme, and Moore agreed in part because he is “a big Bertolt Brecht fan”: the Black Freighter alludes to the song “Seeräuberjenny” (“Pirate Jenny”) from Brecht’s Threepenny Opera.[3] Moore theorized that since superheroes existed, and existed as “objects of fear, loathing, and scorn, the main superheroes quickly fell out of popularity in comic books, as we suggest. Mainly, genres like horror, science fiction, and piracy, particularly piracy, became prominent–with EC riding the crest of the wave.”[12] Moore felt that “the imagery of the whole pirate genre is so rich and dark that it provided a perfect counterpoint to the contemporary world of Watchmen”.[12] The writer expanded upon the premise so that its presentation in the story would add subtext and allegory.[32] The supplemental article detailing the fictional history of Tales of the Black Freighter at the end of issue five credits real-life artist Joe Orlando as a major contributor to the series. Moore chose Orlando because he felt that if pirate stories were popular in the Watchmen universe that DC editor Julius Schwartz might have tried to lure the artist over to the company to draw a pirate comic book. Orlando contributed a drawing designed as if it were a page from the fake title to the supplemental piece.[12]

          “Marooned” tells the story of a young mariner’s (called “The Sea Captain”) journey to warn his home town of the coming of the Black Freighter after he survives the destruction of his own ship, along with his deceased friend Ridley. He uses the bodies of his dead shipmates as a make-shift raft. When he finally returns home, believing it to be already under the occupation of the Black Freighter’s crew, he kills an innocent couple and then attacks his own wife in their darkened home, mistaking her for a pirate. After realizing what he has done, he returns to the sea shore, where he finds that the Black Freighter has not come to claim the town; it has come to claim him. He swims out to sea and climbs aboard the ship. According to Richard Reynold, the mariner is “forced by the urgency of his mission to shed one inhibition after another.” Just like Adrian Veidt, he “hopes to stave off disaster by using the dead bodies of his former comrades as a means of reaching his goal”.[33] Moore stated that the story of The Black Freighter ends up specifically describing “the story of Adrian Veidt” and that it can also be used as a counterpoint to other parts of the story, such as Rorschach’s capture and Dr. Manhattan’s self-exile on Mars.[31]

  6. This comment is in reference to Mike, who just posted a comment I had to trash:

    DO NOT POST SPOILERS OF ANY SORT ON THIS SITE!

    Sorry, Mike, but I trashed your last comment. I started reading the first line and was immediately, well, “unhappy,” to say the least.

  7. I love your take on Sun being “neutered”. So true. It’s a shame that for the first few seasons of Lost we had to endure Jin exclaiming, “Others!” or “Monster”. Now, for the last two seasons it’s Sun crying, “have you seen Jin” or “Jin is alive?”

    Blech.

    • I agree. And not once has she even appeared the least bit concerned about getting back to her kid. When you have a show with this many “main” characters it almost seems impossible not to have this happen to one of them. They don’t really have any story or place, appearing more as background noise than anything.

      • She’s been downright awful, DM. Sun’s search for Jin is equivalent to Michael’s search for Walt, only Michael’s search was at least more gut-wrenching and painful to watch.

        And I’m with you, Mike, on her inability to even MENTION Ji-Yeon. Are you kidding me?! You’re on a time-traveling island with smoke monsters and all sorts of supernatural shit, yet not once have you mentioned your heartbreak of not seeing your child?

  8. Another random observation/thought: Was there any reason for Mr. Eko’s brother’s plane to crash on the island? Seems like everybody else is brought to the island by Jacob, but there was no real explanation for why he crashed there. Desmond crashed there because he had a connection to the island. Everybody else pretty much ended up there because they were on the planes that brought the candidates there.

    Mr. Eko was one of my favorite characters. I was disappointed when he was killed and that he hasn’t even been back for any kind of flashback/sideways scenes.

    • That is a good point. I wonder if a lot of these little mysteries will be swept under the rug and filed away under mythology. I was always hoping that every little piece of information was important, but who knows?

      As a question to everyone, what is a mystery that you absolutely want to see resolved?

      • I’m sure they will never do it, and I’m not positive that I’d really want to see behind the curtain, but it would be interesting to get a better idea of the writing procedure. How many things have the writers been planning an answer for from the time they were introduced, or how many things were just thrown out there with a plan to come up with an explanation later?

        For instance, at one point (season 3?) they came across a pile of pneumatic tube containers that had been shooting out from one of the stations (the Flame?) for years. Was there ever somebody there to receive the containers? Shouldn’t there have been a building for those to be deposited in? Did the writers just put that in there with no plan for future explanation?

        • Also, the pneumatic tubes were essentially explained. That is, we realized that the people manning the station, who were monitoring the Swan Station and taking notes on their every move, were essentially participating in a worthless endeavor. In other words, while inhabiting the Flame, people were told to watch inhabitants in the Swan and take notes on their every action. What they DIDN’T know is that they themselves were the actual test subjects. It was an exercise in futility. There was a pile of containers filled with notebooks to symbolize the fact that what they were doing/writing was, in fact, meaningless. The test was to see whether or not and for how long the inhabitants would take these notes.

      • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, simply because it drives me crazy: I want to know why the fuck Libby was in the mental ward with Hurley. Seriously, more than any other “mystery,” that’s the one I want answered.

        As far all of the other mysteries, the writers have flat-out said that they can’t get to everything, and that “if it’s not important to the character it shouldn’t be important to the audience.” Essentially, it’s bullshit. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not okay with red herrings in a show that’s completely focused on details and mystery. You can’t provide clues to a puzzle and leave up to the audience to determine whic ones matter.

  9. I’m very ill, so I haven’t had the proper mindest to digest this yet, but….

    You mention the book Sawyer had… let me mention the other one: The pornographic novel. Not only was it alliterative, but it contained the phrases, “The ‘B’ Spot” and “view mirrors.” Perhaps a hint that THIS timeline is the alt, and the LA X is supposed to be the original, no?

    Also, I found the Artz line about figuring out the difference between a genus and species. The candidates are the genus, and FLocke’s army/ Jacob’s army are the species?

    Oh, and was Alex’s backpack the same one Rosseau had on the island?

    The Hydra is probably still above ground in the LA X reality… and that’s maybe where Dharma is now.

    I don’t know. I’m all loopy off dimetapp.

    • Wow! Great catch, MM. I totally missed the wording on the porn mag. (And by the way, the other book in that scene that I failed to mention was Benjamin Disraeli’s biography.) You’re not the first person to suggest that this is actually the alternate reality, and that the sideways stuff is the TRUE reality. It’s a really interesting idea.

      I was wondering about Alex’s backpack, too, as I kept thinking it looked familiar, only I couldn’t place it.

      Not exactly sure what you mean about the Hydra station.

      • I’m just saying that in the season premier, we saw that the Foot statue, as well as the barracks were under the sea, Little Mermaid style. But there were two islands. The Hydra island and the main island. The Hydra could still be above water in the LA X reality, and that’s where Ben and his dad were with the Dharma inititiative.

        • Okay, now I see your point. Here’s what I wrote to Cmitch above:

          “I think, Cmitch, that Roger was talking about THE island. If you recall, Roger Linus was on THE island in 1977, as he was the one who shot Sayid. He would have been there with Ben prior to 1977 (I can’t remember what year they came to the DI in the actual timeline). The question, then, is this: did Jughead detonate and sink the island?”

          Yes, the Hydra island could be above water, but in the LA X reality, we don’t know exactly when Roger and Ben were on the island, nor do we know when, exactly, the main island “sunk.”

  10. Also, I just added the screencap of Ben and the microwave to the blog post above. If you notice, like Sayid in his flashback, Ben isn’t really looking at himself. This seems telling, as Jack, Kate and Locke all looked at themselves intentionally.

  11. Ok, gonna lay down my thoughts/comments:

    1. Ben-Alex: I thought it was very interesting to see Ben choose Alex over Power in the sideways flash but I had a little issue with it. Alex’s life could have still turned out great if she went to a different college. She could have gone to a great school with a full scholarship (if she was that bright as it’s alluded to) and then wouldn’t have had to worry about money problems. So I thought her saying “I have to go to Yale” was a bit overdramatic on the writing. Still, it did show a difference between Island Ben and Teacher Ben.

    2. Ben-Ilana: They had some interesting scenes and I enjoyed Miles comedic intervention at the times. Ben had a great scene where he did pour out his soul to Ilana saying how he has lost all of hsi faith and how Jacob made it seem like his life also had no purpose and meaning and that’s why he had to go to FLocke. When Ilana said that she’d have him and started to walk away, I was seriously relieved that Ben didn’t shoot her in the back (as I was expecting). That scene made me really feel bad for Ben.

    3. Ben-Roger: Another nice touch to see Ben and his dad having a good relationship in this sideways flash and it was cool to mention the Island and Dharma.

    4. Richard-Jack: Another great scene that I really enjoyed. Jack’s talk about how he’s not gonna die because his purpose hasn’t been fulfilled was great and it appears now that Richard (who’s spirit, like Ben’s, seem to be totally broken) is now back on board with Team Jacob.

    The debate about if Jacob touches you then do you “live forever” I’m not quite sure about. In my opinion, I think Jacob’s touch provides a “power” or “gift” that is unique to each person. For Richard, it was the never aging. For the other Losties that he touched, I’m not sure yet. Also, I’m guessing since Richard isn’t a main character, that he’s not getting his own episode with 9 episode left. Too bad as it probably would have been a cool story.

    5. The 6 canidates: I thought it was Hurley, Sawyer, Jack, Kate, Sun and Jin. I think now that Sayid is possessed, I think he’s out of the running. Also, personally, I think it’s down to Jack and Hurley since Jacob seems to be focussing on them. Kate’s too messed up and not committed to be in charge. Sawyer is possible but something about him being in charge doesn’t seem like it fits. Jin and Sun don’t belong there and should get back to their baby and that leaves Jack and Hurley.

    6. Widmore: I was actually annoyed to see him show up. I don’t know why but it just made me angry. Maybe I’m just done with his storyline but I didn’t want to see him anymore. Wouldn’t mind to see someone kill him. I know his storyline isn’t done but I don’t know, can’t really explain it.

    7. The whole good vs. evil debate is one that is ageless and can be discussed to the end of time. I think now I’m ready to just say that both Jacob and FLocke have their own agenda’s that are conflicting and we’ll see which one of them wins.

    8. The ending: I’m actually surprised no one mentioned how Jack greets Ilana like she’s one of the gang. He doesn’t know her at all and neither does Hurley but they sort of treat her like she’s been with them all along. They might have seen her on the last plane ride but they have no clue who she is.

    9. Does the preview for each week’s episode count as a spoiler? Just curious.

    Done commenting for now.

    • Sweet Jesus, Sir! Okay, let me take a crack at responding…

      1. You make a good point, actually, but I think the implication is that Principal Reynolds would have ruined her chances for ALL colleges, not just Yale.

      2. I think we’ve seen Ben’s “redemption.” It was the first time he seemed completely vulnerable and genuinely moved. Again, there was something in the way Jack looked at Ben on the beach. Sure, Ben isn’t all that tall, but the way he was framed in the camera made him look diminutive and beaten.

      3. Someone made a really cool observation about the scene with Ben and Roger, in that Ben killed his father with gas in the island timeline, whereas here he was saving his father’s life with gas (Oxygen).

      4. I don’t think being touched by Jacob means you “live forever”; rather, it means you can’t take your own life. There’s a definite distinction. Furthermore, this would explain why Jack couldn’t kill himself a couple seasons back when he was going to jump off the bridge, only to be interrupted by (yet another) car accident. Also, I’m still holding out hope for a Richard episode.

      5. No, I don’t think Sun and Jin count as two candidates, at least that’s my take. Also, even though it would point to Jack as Jacob’s replacement (which is interesting, by the way, because I speculated in a blog forever ago that Jack WAS Jacob, so it would be cool to see that kind of come true), I still think Hurley’s got a shot at it.

      6. Widmore is crucial to the storyline, but, yeah, I know what you mean.

      7. I essentially wrote the same thing: that it’s not necessarily good and evil, but two forces competing with one another, two players in a game.

      8. They clearly show Jack shake her hand as if being introduced to her rather than hugging her like he did Sun. More irritating, really, is that they’re not badgering her for answers. That drives me nuts.

      9. I don’t like to discuss the preview. Hell, I don’t even like to watch it.

      • Yeah, usually have an episode I have a lot to say initially so that’s why my first posts are usually long winded.

        1. The the thing with Reynolds is, would the only way he could ruin her is to find out where’s she applying to and he could do this since the school would have to release her transcript?

        3. Yeah, originally watching I remember thinking the same thing btu forgot to mention it as well. That was a funny little twist/detail.

        5. i think Ilana mentions to Sun that she’s not sure which Kwon or both. I’d have to double check that scene again but if she said both, then that would imply that both are canidates.

        8. I guess I would have rather heard dialogue than a slow-motion with music playing to prove that they were introducing her to Jack and Hurley.

        9. Noted, won’t say anything about the previews but I will say I was looking forward to this week’s episode since last week’s preview made it seem like Ben was going to die which definitely sparked my interest level.

        • 1. I just don’t think it’s that big of a deal. In fact, it’s a pretty lazy detail in general. Ben had proof of this married principal cheating on his wife with the school nurse on school grounds. You mean to tell me Ben couldn’t say, “Fuck that! You’ll write the letter AND you’ll give me your job or I’ll destroy your life!”

          5. Yes, Ilana says she’s not sure which Kwon it’s referring to, but it’s not both; therefore, I feel as though Ilana is counting the number of candidates per the names, not the number of actual people. Again, I could be wrong on this one.

          8. Right, but then they couldn’t have utilized their typical slo-mo LOST reunion bit that the writers so love.

          9. That’s the problem with previews: they either give to much away or completely mislead us.

          • Yeah, I thought about why Ben didn’t do that as well but I guess since Reynolds was a Yale alumn, that he had enough sway to crush Alex’s dreams but as I originally pointed out, I still thought Alex could have gone to another great school on a full ride and been fine. Just her dream of Yale would have died which I guess Ben didn’t want to squander.

      • Are the previews even necessary? I mean – at this point isn’t somebody going to watch or not watch next week because they want more answers? I can’t really imagine anybody giving up at this point.

  12. Here’s another random old question that I haven’t seen the answer to: What was the deal with Walt’s power? There was the scene where the bird flew into the window and his mom(?) said that strange things have always followed him.

    • They’ve never REALLY answered that. I mean, we’re left to draw certain conclusions with him. Clearly Walt is special, but how or why I’m not so sure. Again, this could have something to do with being Michael’s son. I’ve already speculated that Michael must have been touched by Jacob, which is why he couldn’t kill himself. Perhaps Walt is “special” because he is the son of Michael, and we all know how important fathers/sons and babies are in relation to LOST.

      Also, here’s a thought: what if Christian didn’t die? That is, what if we learned that Christian was at one time touched by Jacob, and that he was merely pretending to be dead while in the coffin in order to get to the island? I mean, did we ever find out how he actually died? We know where he died, but do we know how? I think it was an alcohol-induced heart attack. Well, doesn’t that mean he drank himself to death? Therefore, isn’t that suicide, something he couldn’t have done if he was touched by Jacob? Again, just a thought.

    • Not sure about Walt. It could just be one of the open mysteries. I’m still curious why Jacob had Sayid go to the temple (to be healed) in the first place and if he knew how all of this would play out? And if he did know (that something would infect Sayid and that Sayid would eventually kill Dogen and allow FLocke to enter the temple), that means he’s playing FLocke.

      • Remember, “It only ends once. Everything else is just progress.”

      • With Walt, I’ve always had the feeling that he was haphazardly removed from the show because as the actor got older his appearance changed quite a bit. Locke visited him in season 5(?) and I barely recognized him. The writers probably had plans for him, but then had to get rid of him when his change in appearance would be a distraction.

        • True, and there’s a very good chance he’ll be one of those casualties, er, red herrings that the writers will never get back to. Still, that’s another “unsolved mystery” that needs to be addressed, as far as I’m concerned. Christ, how much fucking time did we dedicate to Michael searching for WALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLT?!

          • Yeah, hearing Michael scream “Walt” all the time got old. I was pretty pissed when he shot Libby and Anna-Lucia.

  13. Have we seen Christian since the FLocke character came to be? I kind of assumed that MIB was living in Christian but now lives in Locke.

    • Well, yes, I always made the assumption that Smokey was taking the form of Christian. I was simply throwing that other idea out there.

      • In terms of Christian, has any other person had as much contact with the other Losties off the island as him? Jack, Sawyer, Ana Lucia, Claire. I can’t think of any more at the moment, but he seems to be involved in a few of their lives at some point and not just in the passing the hallway sense. I like Brandon’s idea that he is involved with Jacob at some point. Or he could be invloved with Flocke somehow.

        I think it would be pretty cool to learn that Christian was at some point an Other like Widmore or Hawking.

        Is it possible that he isn’t dead or wasn’t even in the coffin? That would be a pretty cool twist. Claire did mention “My dad and my friend.” Now I know that they could be the same person, but she did separate Locke from her friend. Why wouldn’t she know it was all the same thing?

        • Hmmmm, I’m struggling to think of him having contact with anyone else off island. Still, I think we’re going to find out that Christian is vital to the story in more than just being Jack’s “white rabbit.” Think about it, we’ve seen a lot of Shephards on this show: Jack, Christian, Ray, Aaron, Claire, Margo. I think this lineage remains important, particularly the lineage from Ray to Christian to Jack to Aaron.

          • And David too.

  14. Ok, i was able to rewatch the Sun-Ilana scene and Ilana does say she’s not sure which one she’s suppose to protect, Sun, Jin, or both and then goes on to say that the reason is because you are canidates. So here she uses the words “both” and “canidates” implying that both Sun or Jin could be as oppose to just one of them being. So that’s why I think the remaining 6 are down to Kate, Sawyer, Jack, Hurley, Sun, and Jin but as I mentioned earlier, I think Jack and Hurley have the lead in this.

    As for Christian still being alive, I think that’s a stretch. I think we would have seen him turn up by now or someone like Richard would know if he’s alive or not.

    • Okay, I can get on board with that reasoning.

      And again, I’m not saying I think Christian’s still alive; I was merely theorizing/speculating about it as a possibility/cool idea.

  15. There is piles of evidence to say that Christain = Mib = Flocke. Here is what bother’s me. IIana states he can only appear as John Locke. Christian appears to both Sun and Frank after MiB has already taken the form of Locke.

    Him being stuck in that form might be an effect of Jacbo’s death, which took place after that fact, but it still tugs at me.

    • And while I was wildly excited about this discovery, its full of holes. He appears to Ben as Alex after this. I’m going to assume him being stuck as Locke is a result of Jacob’s death.

      • Mike, when Ilana said that he was stuck in that form, it was AFTER Jacob was murdered by Ben. Since that happened, Smokey has appeared only as Smokey or FLocke. That’s it.

  16. CB you sonofabitch! Those “cool” Chirstian ideas were basically what I said a couple of episodes ago on your blog!

    “Hey, here’s something that just occured to me……..
    (it’s a little out there)

    What if Christian faked his death? When browsing through some of the episode transcripts, Sun says something to Ben along the lines, “I don’t care if Locke was in a coffin, it doesn’t mean he was dead. He could have faked his death.”

    What if he did have a connection to the island before 815 (which could accound for the McCutchenson in his study) and HE was the 23-Shepard. He was still alive, and much like Locke, he had to “die” to get back to the island. That’s why he spoke to Vincent saying. “wake up my son” and Claire calls him her father.”

    And yes… the Nikki and Paulo reference was one to an unfortunate time, but also, the another instance where we saw someone who everyone else wrote off as dead, but was clearly not. And if Christian had any connection the the island, he might have known about the Medusa Spider.

    • Don’t I feel the fool, MM. Honestly, I had completely forgotten about your idea, and for that, sir, I apologize

  17. At the end of the episode when they panned out from the group did anyone notice that Ben and Richard were both a fair ways away from the main group and on opposite sides? Almost like they were opposing each other. I know Ben has never been really well liked but I would have expected him to shake hands or join the group.

    And if Ilana considers Jacob like a father, wouldn’t you expect her and Richard to have met at some point? Unless all of her interactions happened off the island.

    As for which island that Ben and Roger were on, I always assumed they still would have been on the main island since I was under the impression that the timeline split when the bomb went off. I was thinking about Ben’s timeline and that in the LA X timeline maybe Dr. Chang was successful in evacuating, but in the island timeline he was not. Which is why Ben isn’t on the island.

    I also assumed the explosion sunk the island, but I like the idea that something else happened, like jughead went off.

  18. […] substitute, but we’ve already seen at least two episodes this season – “The Substitute” and “Dr. Linus” – in which they spoke to one another in the sideways reality. At this point, I think he’d know […]


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