Tagged: season 5

5.12 “Dead is Dead”

Ben sets off with Locke to fulfill the reason he came back to the island, but along the way he learns just how much Locke has changed.

Written by Brian K. Vaughan & Elizabeth Sarnoff
Directed by Stephen Williams

Flashback

In 1977, a middle-aged man we’ve never seen before rides into the Others’ camp. Angry, he walks up to Richard Alpert and asks what he’s done with young Ben. They argue over Richard’s actions — healing Ben by taking him inside the Temple, as we saw in last week’s episode — and Richard puts an end to the discussion by telling this man that “Jacob wanted it done. The island chooses who the island chooses, you know that.”

The middle-aged man goes inside an adjacent tent to visit ailing Ben. Young Ben remembers nothing of his ordeal, and the man explains that he is among friends, and they’ll be taking care of him. Ben tells the man that he doesn’t want to go back to the Dharma Initiative and his father, he wants to stay here. He can’t stay here, but the man points out that just because he’s not living with here, doesn’t mean he’s not one of them. “You should be dead, but this island saved your life,” the man says. He asks Ben’s name, and then tells him his own: Charles Widmore.

Years later, after the Purge and Ben’s joining up with the Others, Ben and a younger teenage boy watch a manmade shelter on the beach at night. The teenage boy asks Ben if he wants him to do it, and Ben tells the boy to “shut up and stay here,” calling him by name: Ethan. Ben approaches the makeshift shelter and finds young Danielle Rousseau inside — sometime after she’s given birth to baby Alex. He holds Danielle at gunpoint, and she accuses him of being “the one who infected us.” He takes Alex, over Danielle’s protests, saying, “If you want your child to live, every time you hear whispers, you run the other way.” He tells her he’ll kill her if she tries to follow him.

Later that same night, Ben returns to the Others’ camp with baby Alex in his arms. A much older and recognizable Charles Widmore is there, sitting beside Richard Alpert at a campfire. Widmore asks if Ben did it. Ben says there was a complication. Widmore reminds him that his orders were to kill the woman, aka Danielle. Ben says that Danielle is no threat to them, and protests the fact that Widmore didn’t tell him that Danielle had a child. Widmore says Ben should have killed them both, that it’s what’s best for the protection of the island. Ben is outraged at the thought of killing a child, and tells Widmore that if Alex being dead is what Jacob wants, then Widmore will have to do it himself. His bluff seemingly called, Widmore walks away from the camp, alone. Ben makes eye contact with Richard, who’s observed this entire exchange with great interest.

Years later, one day adult Ben is pushing little Alex on a swingset outside their house at the Barracks. Richard approaches and says the sub is about to depart, but Ben “doesn’t have to see him off.” Ben says that he does. At the dock, Charles Widmore is being escorted by two armed Others to the submarine, his hands bound. Ben approaches, says he’s come to tell Widmore goodbye. Widmore fires back that that’s not true, Ben came to gloat. Ben says, “Don’t act as if I wanted this. You brought this on yourself. You left the island regularly. You had a daughter with an outsider. You broke the rules.” Widmore asks what makes Ben think he deserves to take what’s his (referring to the leadership of the Others). Ben replies that he won’t be selfish, that he’ll sacrifice anything to protect the island. Widmore points out that Ben refused to sacrifice Alex for the good of the island, and Ben argues that it was Widmore who wanted Alex dead, not the island. Widmore says that one day Ben will be standing where he’s standing now, being banished, and unable to fight the inevitable. “I’ll be seeing you, boy,” is his farewell.

In 2007, at the pier in Los Angeles the morning of the day the Oceanic 6 return to the island, Ben phones Widmore and tells him he’s going back to the island today. Widmore says the island won’t let him, that he’s spent almost twenty years trying do the same thing, unsuccessfully. Ben says that where Widmore failed, he will succeed. He just has one thing left to do — kill Penny. He says he’s looking at Our Mutual Friend right now, which is the name of the boat Penny is on. Widmore says, “You wouldn’t dare,” but Ben hangs up on him.

Ben approaches the boat, but Desmond, unloading groceries from a nearby car, spots him and demands to know what he’s doing here. Ben spins and shoots him, and Desmond falls to the ground. Penny sees the whole thing, and calls out to Desmond in a panic, moving toward him from the boat. Before she can get down to the pier, Ben stops her, holding a gun on her. He apologizes that she’s gotten caught up in this thing between him and her father, who he calls “a really terrible human being.” Ben says he’s here because Widmore killed his daughter. Penny tells him that she and her father have no relationship whatsoever, and her son Charlie appears, climbing up to the boat’s deck from below. Penny frantically tells him to go back inside, then begs Ben not to hurt the boy. Ben, seeing the boy for the first time, hesitates and then lowers his gun. He’s not going to kill any of them. Desmond suddenly tackles him, and beats the living snot out of him. Ben’s gun falls in the water early on, and then at the end, Desmond throws Ben into the water, too.

Now

In the infirmary on Hydra island, Locke wakes Ben up, welcoming him back to “the land of the living.” Ben is flabbergasted that Locke is alive, yet he tells Locke he always believed this would happen, that the island would save Locke. Locke asks why Ben was trying to leave Hydra island for the main island, and Ben says that he broke the rules in coming back, so he has to go be judged. Locke asks, “Judged by who?” Ben says that his people don’t have a word for it, but that John calls it “the monster.”

On Hydra beach, Ilana greets Ben as she and some of the others are unloading a very large steel crate. Ben asks what’s inside, but she won’t say, brushing the question off. Ben walks away and is approached by Caesar, who asks how he’s doing. Locke stands behind them in the distance, at the shoreline, and Caesar asks Ben about Locke, telling Ben that Locke said that Ben killed him. Ben denies it, making Locke out to be a “dangerously deranged” local who was on the island already, and not on the plane. Caesar shows Ben his gun (which he procured from the Hydra station back in “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham”) and tells him that he’s got Ben’s back.

Later, Ben searches the office inside the Hydra station, and locates a framed picture of himself and Alex from happier times, which he takes out of the frame and keeps. Locke enters and realizes that this was Ben’s old office. He’s surprised at how “corporate” it is, feeling that this isn’t in keeping with the Others’ style. Impatient, Ben asks why Locke is really here, and Locke replies, “Well Ben, I was hoping you and I could talk about the elephant in the room.” Ben claims that his murdering Locke was the only way to get Locke back to the island. He reminds him that Locke failed to get the Oceanic 6 back together and convince them to return, so the only way to accomplish that was by Locke’s death. Locke asks that if he meant for Locke to die the whole time, then why did he stop him from hanging himself. Ben says that Locke had critical information that would have died with him, and after that, Ben “just didn’t have time to talk you back into hanging yourself.” He claims that his plan worked, that Locke’s back and so are the Oceanic 6, although he doesn’t know where they are just now. He concludes that he did what he did because it was in the best interests of the island. Locke smiles after Ben’s long-winded and exasperated explanation, and says, “I was just hoping for an apology.” He says he’s decided to help Ben accomplish his goal — he’s going with him to the main island, and he’s going to help Ben to be judged by the monster.

On the beach, the two of them make to take another of the three outrigger canoes across to the main island. But Caesar tries to stop them, saying they’re not going anywhere and Locke is going to tell him how he knows so much about the island. When Locke refuses, Caesar goes to pull his gun, but Ben has it in his hands and shoots Caesar dead! He tosses the gun to Locke and quips, “Consider that my apology.”

Later, the outrigger carrying Ben and Locke arrives at the Dock on the main island, and Locke notices that another boat is already there. Ben tells him about what happened with Sun and Frank, and Locke asks if it was Sun that hurt Ben’s arm. Ben says no, that was someone else. To which Locke replies, “You just make friends everywhere you go, don’t you.” Ben says that in his experience, friends can be more dangerous than enemies. Locke asks if that’s why he shot and killed Caesar when the man was unarmed. Ben explains that Caesar was unarmed because he stole the gun — the same gun Caesar was going to kill Locke with, and “we couldn’t let that happen.” “No sense in me dying twice, right?” asks Locke. “You’re welcome,” replies Ben.

Locke asks if they’re headed for Ben’s old house, and Ben says yes, that that’s the only place he can summon the monster. Locke asserts that Ben is lying about his reasons for wanting to be judged. It’s not because Ben broke the rules, Locke says, because Ben doesn’t care about rules of any kind. Rather, Ben wants to be judged for killing his own daughter. Ben has no reply.

At night, at the Barracks, Locke asks whose idea it was for the Others to move into the Barracks from the jungle, insinuating that it was Ben’s idea. Ben asks if Locke disapproves, to which Locke replies that it “just doesn’t seem like something the island would want.” “You don’t have the first idea what this island wants,” Ben shoots back. Locke looks him dead in the eye and calmly asks, smiling, “Are you sure about that?”

A light comes on inside Ben’s old house, in what used to be Alex’s room. Locke coolly suggests that Ben go check it out. Ben enters the house, finds it in disarray. Sawyer and Hurley’s board game from before Keamy’s attack is still on the table. He walks back to Alex’s room, where the lights are on, and finds… Sun! And Frank, too. He asks what they’re doing there, and Frank shows him the Dharma portrait from 1977, which includes Jack, Kate, and Hurley. Ben can’t believe it, that they’re back in the 70s, but Sun can’t believe he didn’t already know this. Sun explains that a man named Christian told them to come here and wait, that if Sun ever wanted to see Jin again, that she would wait right here for John Locke. Frank remarks that that doesn’t seem too likely since Locke is dead. Ben tells them to look outside the window, where they spot Locke, waving at them.

A little while later, in the living room of the house, John has just told Sun his story about how he woke up on the island alive again. She says that it’s impossible, and Locke says he doesn’t know how it happened, but there has to be a reason for it. Frank speaks up and tries to convince Sun to return to the airplane with him, and try to fix the radio. Locke tells Sun that if she leaves, she’ll never find Jin. “I’m all the help you need,” he says confidently. Sun asks if he knows how to find their friends that are stuck in the past, and Locke nods, saying he has some ideas. Frank says he’s leaving with or without Sun, and she chooses to remain here, so he leaves. Sun is ready to get started, asking how they’re going to find Jin. Locke says that Ben has something to do first, and that he should get to it.

Ben goes to the secret door in his closet and pushes it open. He lights a lantern and descends a set of stairs down to a small tunnel that he has to crawl through. On the other side is a tiny room with a mud puddle at the bottom. Ben reaches into the puddle and pulls some kind of switch that we can’t see. The water drains completely, revealing a small hole in the ground. “I’ll be outside,” Ben says, and leaves the way he came.

Sun sits on a bench outside Ben’s house as he exits to await the monster. Ben asks where Locke went, and she says “he said he had something to do.” Ben seems stunned to hear this, and asks what it was. Sun replies that she didn’t ask. Sun says that Jack must’ve lied about Locke being dead, because it’s the only explanation. Ben is adamant that Locke was dead and Jack didn’t lie. Sun seems to realize that Ben had a hand in what happened to Locke, and accuses him of knowing that Locke would be resurrected if he was brought back here. In a moment of vulnerability, Ben admits he had no idea this would happen. He tells her he’s seen the island do all sorts of miraculous things, like heal the sick, but never once has he seen it do anything as big as raise the dead. “Dead is dead,” he tells her. “You don’t get to come back from that. Not even here.” And the fact that Locke is alive and walking around this island terrifies Ben, because he doesn’t understand it.

A sound in the woods halts their conversation, and Ben warns Sun that she should go inside the house, because something’s about to come out of the jungle that he can’t control. But the trees part and it’s just Locke, returning from wherever he went. He asks if anything’s happened yet, but Ben replies that “it hasn’t shown up yet.” Locke points out that the last time Ben summoned it, they didn’t have to wait this long. He says that if the monster isn’t coming to them, then they’ll have to go to it. Ben replies that it doesn’t work that way, that he doesn’t know anything about where the monster is all the time, only how to summon it here. Locke turns to him and says that he does know exactly where it is. Once again, Ben is astounded at the picture that’s coming into focus: Locke is a very changed man.

A few minutes later, Locke tells Sun that it’s weird for him too, being back from the dead and not knowing how or why. But he assures her he’s the same man he’s always been. Ben says he’s ready to proceed, and Locke leads the way.

Much later, deep in the jungle, Ben asks John how he knows where he’s going. Locke replies that he “just knows.” Ben wants to know how that happened — bitterly asking if gained information gradually or was it all of a sudden? Locke rounds on him and says, “You don’t like this, do you? Having to ask questions that you don’t know the answers to. Blindly following someone in the hopes that they’ll lead you to what you’re looking for.” “No, John,” Ben replies. “I don’t like it at all.” “Well,” says Locke. “Now you know what it was like to be me.”

Sun suggests they keep moving, and Ben says that he knows now where they’re going, because they’re almost there. It’s the same place he was brought as a child, it’s where the island healed him, he says. Locke says that Ben better hope it’s just as generous this time around. They arrive at the Temple and Sun asks what it is. Ben identifies it not as the Temple, but as a wall they built around the Temple to keep outsiders from ever seeing it. The real Temple is about half a mile beyond the wall. Locke says they’re not going into the Temple — they’re going under it — pointing at the same hole beneath the walls that Danielle Rousseau’s compatriots once climbed down into. Ben hesitates, then asks Sun that should she ever leave the island again, to find Desmond Hume and “tell him I’m sorry.” Sorry for what, she asks. “You’ll know,” says Ben, surprisingly emotional. And with that, he descends into the hole.

On Hydra island, Frank returns in his outrigger. A redshirt runs up and tells him that Ilana and three others have found guns, and they’re saying that they’re in charge now. Frank quickly finds them, Ilana still standing over her giant silver crate, and he asks what’s going on. Ilana pulls her gun on him and without preamble, asks a most unexpected question: “What lies in the shadow of the statue?” He has no idea what she’s talking about, so she knocks him out with the butt of her rifle. She orders her cohort to get everyone else and “tell them it’s time.” And to tie Frank up, because they’re taking him along.

Under the Temple, Locke lights torches for himself and Ben, and the two of them proceed through tunnels of underground ruins. (Sun apparently stayed outside.) Ben admits that Locke was right about why he needs to be judged — it was his actions that killed Alex, and he needs to answer for it. He tells Locke thank you for showing the way, but he can take it from here. He says he’ll meet Locke outside if he lives, and then the ground promptly gives way beneath him and he falls a good dozen feet or so into a large chamber. Locke yells down that he’ll find something to get Ben out, and leaves.

Ben stands to his feet, in awe of his surroundings. It’s a very large chamber, with symmetrical pillars throughout that are engraved with hieroglyphs. A particularly important looking panel full of hieroglyphs on the wall attracts his attention, and he studies it for a moment before noticing a square panel beneath it that’s filled with dozens of small holes, like an ancient grate. His torch suddenly goes out, and the smoke monster emerges through those holes, which seems to be some kind of vent for the monster. The black smoke surrounds him completely, flashing and sparking just as when it’s read the memories of other people in the past. Right before his eyes, it shows him images from his own past, all of which relate to Alex, including her death at Keamy’s hands.

That done, the monster returns to its vent, and his torch lights back up on its own. He turns around — and Alex is there! Or at least, something or someone that looks like Alex. “Daddy?” she says. He’s still feeling overwhelmed from the images the monster showed him, and very emotionally tells her he’s sorry, that it’s all his fault that she died. She replies, “I know,” and suddenly grabs him, shoving him up against a pillar. “I know you’re already planning to kill John again,” she says, turning vicious. “And I want you to know, that if you so much as touch him, I will hunt you down and destroy you. You will listen to every word John Locke says, and you will follow his every word. Do you understand?” He nods, but she’s not satisfied. “Say it! Say you’ll follow him!” she screams in his face. “Yes, I’ll follow him. I swear,” he replies. And Alex vanishes.

From the hole above, Locke returns, calling out that he’s found something for Ben to use to climb out. When Ben comes into view, Locke asks what happened. Utterly shellshocked and staring at Locke with new eyes, Ben says, “It let me live.”

  • Because she’d met Ben once before. He was the one who stole Alex from Danielle when she was just a baby.
    Question: Why did Danielle believe that “Henry,” aka Ben, was one of the Others? [2.14]
  • The Others’ leader, Charles Widmore, wanted Danielle and Alex killed (probably as a way of “finishing the job” after the Purge — giving the Others complete dominance on the island), but the man he sent to do the job, Benjamin Linus, refused to kill them. Instead, he saved both their lives by taking Alex and raising her as his own daughter, and warning Danielle to keep her distance from the Others. Though they would be separated, they would both live.
    Question: Why did the Others steal Alex from her mother, Danielle? [1.23]
  • Nothing very exciting. Just a small mud puddle.
    Question: What was behind the ancient door hidden beneath Ben’s house? [4.09]
  • Ben drained the mud puddle.
    Question: What did Ben do behind the door to summon the smoke monster? [4.09]
  • Widmore objected to Ben becoming one of his people, and their rivalry grew as Ben became an adult. Ben had already demonstrated a connection to the island when he saw his dead mother, and he cleverly used his skills as a master manipulator to make Widmore look bad in front of his people. When Widmore left the island regularly to have an affair with a woman living elsewhere and this relationship lead to the birth of a child (the girl who would grow up to become Penelope Widmore), he broke the Others’ rules concerning interaction with outsiders. Widmore was banished from the island forever, and Ben was elevated to the society’s leader.
    Question: Why does Ben have such a bitter rivalry with Widmore? What’s their history? [4.09]
  • He didn’t go willingly. He was taken away by the submarine, banished by his people for having a relationship with an outsider.
    Question: Widmore was once an Other living on the island, so why did he leave the island? [5.03]
  • No, Penny lives, though her husband Desmond was gravely injured during Ben’s attempt.
    Question: Ben’s “loose end” was him seemingly attempting to fulfill his promise to Widmore to kill Penny. Did he succeed in killing her? [5.06]

  • What’s in Ilana’s steel crate?
  • How did draining the water out of that tiny hole below Ben’s house summon the smoke monster?
  • Who built the monster-summoning water hole there to begin with?
  • Why would the island let Ben come back, but not Widmore?
  • What’s the answer to the question, “What lies in the shadow of the statue?”
  • Why did Ilana ask this question to Frank? Is it some kind of pass code?

I have to start my analysis by pointing out how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE the new John Locke! He’s holding all the cards, at last. The confident, calm, and cool way that he played off of Ben throughout this entire episode was just too delicious. Poetry in motion. Loved every second of it! Locke’s death and rebirth has left him free of all doubt and hesitation and fear, and it looks like it’s made him the man he was always destined to be. But is he now more than that? Keep reading.

I adored the performances of both Terry O’Quinn (Locke) and Michael Emerson (Ben) throughout this episode. O’Quinn for the aforementioned reasons. Emerson for his measured reactions to Ben’s steadily increasing knowledge that he’s out and Locke is in, as far as the island is concerned. Every time Locke took a step forward in authority, Ben knew that whatever he once had was slipping away from him, right before his eyes. And there was nothing he could do about it.

Man, is Lost kicking on all cylinders this season or what? I know Season 6 and all of its big, ultimate answers are yet to come, but I don’t see how the show’s quality could get any better than what we’ve been treated to this year.

The historic first meeting of Charles Widmore and Benjamin Linus was an interesting thing to see. We also got to witness their last meeting on the island — which was nothing like Widmore told Locke it was, back in “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham.” In that episode, Widmore told Locke that Ben tricked him into leaving the island, by turning the frozen wheel. That didn’t ring true, even then — the Orchid station above the wheel was still intact from its Dharma Initiative days, and Ben had to blow a hole in the floor, in the present, in order to access the wheel. Obviously, Widmore was lying to Locke, to try and get in his good graces as the island’s chosen one.

Was Ben lying about his reasons for killing Locke? Absolutely! It seems that the Oceanic 6 really did need someone to serve as a proxy for Christian Shephard, and be dead on the plane. But Ben telling Sun that he’s never seen the island do anything so miraculous as resurrect someone from the dead had the ring of truth to it. Add to that Alex’s threats against Ben for “already planning to kill John again,” which to me only reinforces the fact that Ben killing him the first time was for entirely selfish reasons. He wants to be the island’s favored son, he always has. And now, clearly, that person is Locke. Of course he killed him maliciously. Of course he was being selfish — despite his earlier proclamation to Charles Widmore, when Widmore was being banished, that he, Ben, wouldn’t be selfish in his leadership role. It seems that the two of them are more alike than unalike.

Looks like twenty-something Ben and teenage Ethan were buds. Makes sense, since they both became members of the Others after originating as part of the Dharma Initiative. Ethan was even born on the island, as we now know — to Horace and Amy Goodspeed.

Ben’s abduction of Alex wasn’t entirely like Danielle described it. Her story, way back in Season 1, described the Others coming in the night — which they did — and stealing Alex from her. Her words led us to believe that there were multiple Others involved in the abduction, when here we saw that it was Ben acting alone. Didn’t she also say that the plume of black smoke rose on the horizon as an indication that the Others were coming, and that’s how she knew when they were coming for another child at the castaways’? I didn’t see any plume of black smoke during that scene, but maybe I just missed it.

Ben mentioning the Whispers to Danielle, telling her to run the other way whenever she hears them, was an nice little bit of symmetry, because the first episode in which older Danielle Rousseau appeared in Season 1 was the very first time we the viewers ever heard the Whispers. Ben’s remarks here, mentioning the Whispers as something for Danielle to avoid if she wants Alex to live, seems to point to the Whispers as coming from the Others. Another possibility is that the Whispers are the island itself speaking. Either way, while we saw from this episode that Ben doesn’t know everything about the island, he does know what the Whispers are.

So it turns out that Ben’s abduction of Alex wasn’t quite the evil thing that we once thought. As always, context is everything. Ben was under orders (from Charles Widmore, no less) to kill Alex’s mother, and he was expected to kill baby Alex, too. And what he did instead was save Alex — and Danielle, to boot. Sure, he did neither of them any favors by keeping Alex away from her mother her entire life. That’s a giant check mark in the “evil” column for Mr. Linus. But Ben definitely loved that little girl, and took on the responsibility of raising her when he was in no way required to. And it’s because of him that Danielle lived as long as she did, too. (Now it’s also because of Ben that both of them were killed. But that was sixteen years later, so we’ll skip that for now.)

Locke’s repeated questions to Ben about the “corporate” nature of the Others under Ben’s leadership, including their appropriating of the Dharma Barracks… Either this was the writers’ way of hinting early on at Locke’s new all-knowing status on the island, or something else is up. Ben clearly integrated everything he learned at the hands of the Dharma Initiative into his leadership style over the Others. Maybe Locke is right, and this is not how the island wants things to be done. Is this a hint of things to come when Locke formally takes over their leadership? Could be.

It seems pretty clear that Widmore probably was lying to Ben about the island and/or Jacob wanting Alex and Danielle dead. The question is, why? What did Widmore get out of giving such an order, other than the opportunity to exercise his power and position as leader of the Others?

We’ve been speculating for weeks that Eloise Hawking, Daniel’s mother, and Charles Widmore, Penny’s father — who were both Others once upon a time — may have at one time had a romantic relationship. Which could make Penny and Daniel siblings. But from Ben’s remark about Widmore having a child with an outsider, it sounds like that’s not the case, because Eloise is most decidedly not an outsider. On the other hand, Hawking not being Penny’s mother doesn’t mean that Widmore isn’t Daniel’s father. (That came out a lot more confusing sounding than it was in my head.) I also wonder, since she is currently off the island just as Widmore is, if that mean she was also banished? And if so, was it for a relationship with an outsider — perhaps the head of that monastery where Desmond once lived? That monk had Hawking’s picture on his desk, after all. Perhaps he’s Daniel’s father.

Rules, rules, rules. Ben talks an awful lot about “the rules,” even though like Locke, I don’t think he really cares all that much about following them. He told Widmore that he broke the rules when Alex was killed. He told Widmore years earlier, as we saw in this episode, that he broke the rules when he had Penny with “an outsider.” And he told Locke that he himself broke the rules when he came back to the island. Are these the rules of the Others and how their society functions? Are they arbitrary ideals that Ben himself is making up as he goes along?

I hope we get some more backstory on Charles Widmore. As his story becomes more and more fleshed out, like Ben, we can see that he’s not entirely evil or entirely good. He’s done terrible things, but he left the island to carry on a love affair with a woman on the mainland, and fathered a child with her, who he still cares about. On the other hand, he’s been unsuccessful for almost twenty years in attempting to get back to the island, while Ben managed to get back just fine, when and how he planned to. I think there’s something more at work here than each man’s aptitude and cleverness. It seems that the island wants to keep Widmore away, while it let Ben return. The question is, why?

Ben became leader of the Others after Widmore was banished. I’d be willing to bet it was Ben’s machinations that caused the Others to find out about Widmore’s off-island family. And again, I feel the need to point out that the story of Ben’s rise to power and Widmore’s leaving the island is nothing whatsoever like what he told to John Locke in Tunisia.

Ben had no reaction when Sun mentioned Christian to him. Does he not know of Christian’s existence? We’ve never witnessed a meeting between the two of them, so I’m going with no.

Pretty ironic of Ben to criticize Kate for pretending to be Aaron’s mother when he did the exact same thing by pretending to be Alex’s father.

I’m not sure what to make of the mud puddle room under Ben’s house. When we first saw Ben go through that door in last season’s “The Shape of Things to Come,” I kind of expected something bigger and badder to be at the end of the tunnel. I also thought that this meant that Ben knew a lot more about the monster than he’d ever copped to. But it turns out, all he really knows is how to summon it. He has no idea what it is, or even where it resides when it’s not out scaring, maiming, or killing people. And what was the deal with the mud puddle? Some kind of elemental signal to the monster to come out and play? Apparently the monster has free will, and can choose whether to comply or not.

And speaking of the monster, the “every time it appears we learn something new about it” rule still applied tonight, as we saw the inner workings of its, for lack of a better word, home. And we got confirmation that it can access peoples’ memories. How or why, we have no idea, and I don’t think we’re any closer to knowing just what it is. But that awesome scene in which it completely enveloped Ben was another clear cut sign that the endgame is nearing, the gloves are off, and the answers are on the way. There’s no way the show would have ever attempted something like that in earlier seasons.

At first, Ben seemed to be enjoying the idea that this could really be Alex, perhaps back from the dead like Locke, but by the time she shoved him against the pillar and threatened him, I think he knew who he was really dealing with. It was the monster in human form. We’ve seen it do this before. It appeared to Eko as his brother Yemi. And it gave Ben his marching orders.

But why didn’t it just kill him? It’s shown no hesitation at killing before, and surely Ben deserves death more than others it’s killed. Why did it choose to forgive him, albeit on the condition that he follows Locke’s every instruction to the letter? The answer has to be that the island still has a purpose for Ben.

Like everything else about this show, Smokey’s “vent” was an answer that only led to another question. If this is where the smoke monster comes from when it emerges, then what’s it emerging from, exactly? What’s on the other side of that vent?

I’m still wondering where Locke went and what he “had to do” when he left Ben and Sun at the house, only to reappear moments later. Was he getting orders from Jacob or from the island?  Was he somehow telling the smoke monster to back off and wait for them at the Temple? Was he just taking a leak? What the heck. Though I loved Ben’s startled reaction to Locke’s disappearance. You could practically hear him thinking, “But I’m the one who’s supposed to mysteriously disappear to go do big, important islandy things!” Whatever power and mystique he once had is not only transferring to Locke — it may be a pale imitation compared to what Locke now has — and in that scene, he knew it.

Ilana’s mysterious steel crate has me stymied. It didn’t come from the Hydra station, it was from the plane — there’s a clearly marked Ajira Airways sticker on the side. (And the ID number “AA823,” in case you need your cursed-numbers fix.) And then there’s her question to Frank: “What lies in the shadow of the statue?” What a loaded question! We can infer from this that she’s a lot more than she appears to be, she does not in fact work for Benjamin Linus as Sayid feared, and she knew the plane was coming to this island and intended to come herself. We can also assume that she knows about the island’s special properties. But I’m getting a “sent by someone to the island to perform a certain task” vibe from her and her big steel crate, and not a “I know what I’m doing and have all the answers” vibe. So the obvious candidate for someone to send her to the island would be Charles Widmore. But how would Widmore have known about Ajira’s true destination? (And if he did know, why wouldn’t he have gotten on the plane himself, since he so badly wants to get back? Hey, maybe he’s in the crate! Nah, that doesn’t wash, because we saw him in London on the phone with Ben earlier that same day. There couldn’t have been time for him to get to L.A. prior to Ajira 316’s departure.) Maybe Eloise Hawking told him. The two of them obviously have a history together.

As for the answer to Ilana’s question… I don’t recall seeing anything at the base of the statue. The last time we saw it, from the rear, trees obscured our view of its base. But the first time, when all we saw was a four-toed foot, there didn’t appear to be anything else of significance in the vicinity. And something lying in its “shadow” implies the shadow of the entire statue, which no longer exists in the present. All that’s there is the foot. So apparently we’re meant to believe that something of importance is in the woods near the statue. We know the Orchid wasn’t far from that location, but I don’t think it was in the statue’s shadow, per se…

And what exactly is it “time” for, as she ordered her friend to tell the other Ajira survivors? Not a clue. I am, however, curious about why “three others” are so eagerly following her orders all of a sudden. Who is Ilana, exactly, and what kind of power does she wield?

The fact that they now seem headed for the main island, and Ilana’s Ajira water bottle sitting on top of the crate alongside their guns… All of this adds up to Ilana and her new pals being the ones that shoot at the time-jumping castaways from one canoe to another, as we saw earlier this season.

I’m bigtime relieved that Des and Pen are both alive (even though Desmond got a flesh wound for his trouble), and I have to admit to feeling a bit of righteous justice when Desmond laid the smackdown on Ben. It was the arrival of little Charlie on the scene that changed Ben’s mind, and he definitely halted his intention of killing Penny or anyone else when he saw the little boy. Whatever else Ben may be, he’s not so evil that he’ll kill a child. We saw the same exact thing happen earlier in the episode when Ben first came upon baby Alex; he couldn’t and wouldn’t kill her either.

We know what happened to Ben after his confrontation with Desmond and Penny; he climbed up onto the pier and called Jack, asking him to pick up Locke’s body, and that he’d meet him at the airport. What we don’t yet know is what happened to Desmond and Penny and little Charlie. They certainly escaped the Wrath of Ben, but what did they do from there? Where did they go? And is Desmond really alright? Ben seemed to think so when he asked Sun to find Des and apologize, but how would he know for sure? He went back to the island that very night. At the very least, Desmond had to get patched up. Any gunshot that’s powerful enough to knock you on your butt has to leave more than just a scratch. I’m still holding out hope that since we know the island isn’t finished with Desmond yet, his destiny will be to live out his days on the island with Penny and Charlie. (I continue to stubbornly root for D&P as the Adam & Eve skeletons, too.)

Ah, those sneaky writers. How about that revelation that what we thought was the Temple is actually just a wall that was built to keep outsiders from seeing or reaching the Temple? So I’m thinking that from all we learned in this ep, that the Temple, which is half a mile inside this Great Wall of the Island that surrounds it, could still be connected to the smoke monster. Only the Others (or maybe just Ben) never quite realized this. Ben never knew that beneath the outer Temple walls is where the monster lives. This would mean that the monster predates everything else on the island, including the Temple (which wouldn’t really be a surprise). Maybe that “monster vent” we saw leads to further inward toward the real Temple. I’m also intrigued by Ben’s labeling the Temple as “our Temple.” That identifies the Temple as the property and construction of the Others, and not of the ancient civilization that once lived on the island and built the four-toed statue. (Which assumes that the Others and that ancient civilization are not one and the same. They very well could be.) Whatever the real Temple is… I’m guessing we won’t get to see it until Season 6.

Speaking of the Temple… The last time we saw both it and the smoke monster, Smokey dragged one of Rousseau’s friends underground and tore off his arm. His friends, sans Danielle, climbed down to rescue him, after which, Danielle found that they’re personalities had all been drastically altered. So much so that she believed them to be infected by some kind of sickness that came from the monster. Yet in this episode, we saw Locke and Ben climb down through the same hole and there was no infection to speak of. Assuming for the moment that Locke’s resurrection-slash-bonding-with-the-island renders him immune, let’s look at what happened to Ben, exactly. He definitely encountered the monster when he went down there, though we’ve no idea if it’s the same kind of encounter that Danielle’s friends underwent. What if it was? What if, when the Frenchmen went down there, they each encountered the smoke monster in the form of someone they knew, and it threatened them and gave them orders to follow, as it did with Ben in the guise of Alex? Could that be why their personalities and behaviors were so changed, from Danielle’s perspective? Taking this question a step further… What if Robert, Danielle’s lover, was instructed to kill Danielle, and that’s why he tried to shoot her? If, by some chance this were true, then that would mean that Widmore was right, and the island really did want both Danielle and Alex to die. Whoa.

As for what that big hieroglyph was and what it meant… I’ll leave that for other more qualified parties to decipher. It certainly looked like Anubis or another Egyptian god though, which some have speculated was the shape the full statue took. There was another figure to the left of the Egyptian figure, which may have been a representation of the monster. Or maybe not. I suppose we’ll find out eventually.

So here’s the Big Question of the Week. Just exactly what is the new John Locke? Is he really just Locke, returned from the dead, and nothing more? Or is he something altogether new and different than the old John Locke? If this is the case, there are numerous candidates for what he could be — he could be a reanimated “ghost” like Christian Shephard, or he could be the smoke monster in human form, just like Alex was. Perhaps the island has even made him ageless, like Richard Alpert. His newfound knowledge of the island’s secrets seems to indicate that by whatever process he was resurrected, the island has infused him with all of the knowledge that he needs to fulfill his long-awaited destiny. Whatever that is. That destiny is surely afoot now that Locke has been reborn with new knowledge and the complete support of the island and the smoke monster’s intention to protect him at all costs. But even Ben didn’t know of the island ever resurrecting anyone before in its history, which makes Locke very, very special. “Dead is dead,” he said. “And you don’t get to come back from that, not even here.” Moments later, Locke assures Sun he’s still “the same man” he always was. Is this the writers winking at us, trying to tell us something? Could be.

My guess: I think he’s been transformed into an avatar for the island, possibly even on equal authority or power to Jacob. Heck, maybe he is Jacob. Who knows.

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5.11 “Whatever Happened, Happened”

Kate goes to great lengths to save young Ben’s life, while Jack infuriates everyone by refusing to do anything to help.

Written by Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindelof
Directed by Bobby Roth

Flashback

In 2005, Kate visits her friend Cassidy, with a less-than-one-year-old baby Aaron along for the ride. (Cassidy is the mother of Sawyer’s baby, and the woman who helped Kate covertly meet her mother, to ask why she turned her own daughter in. All of this happened before Oceanic 815 crashed on the island.) This is the first time Cassidy has seen Kate since the Oceanic 6 were rescued, and Cassidy’s very happy to see her. She’s followed the media coverage of the Oceanic 6, and knows Kate was one of those rescued. She asks what brings Kate to her door today, and Kate replies, “Sawyer sent me.”

Kate tells Cassidy the truth about the Oceanic 6 and what happened to them on the island. She gives Cassidy money to take care of Clementine, per Sawyer’s request. And she explains Sawyer’s sacrifice, when he jumped from the helicopter. Cassidy, still bitter about how Sawyer swindled her and refused to accept that Clementine was his daughter when she visited him in prison, calls Sawyer a coward, believing he jumped out of the chopper to run out on Kate. When Cassidy asks about Aaron, Kate tries to perpetuate the lie that he’s hers, but Cassidy sees through it, and asks why she’s lying about being Aaron’s mother. “Because I have to,” Kate replies.

In 2007, the familiar scene at the L.A. pier plays out from Kate’s perspective, and while Sun holds Ben at gunpoint, she exits in her car, with Aaron in the backseat. Aaron complains that he’s thirsty and needs milk, so she stops at a supermarket. Inside the store, Jack calls Kate’s cell, but she doesn’t answer. While she’s looking at her phone, Aaron disappears from her side. She panics, running through the store and checking every aisle. Finally she finds him with a friendly lady who’s helping him — a woman who strongly resembles Aaron’s real mother, Claire. Kate grabs Aaron and holds him tight.

The next morning, Kate takes Aaron to visit Cassidy and Clementine, who calls her “Auntie Kate.” Alone with Cassidy, Kate spills her guts, telling her that the other members of the Oceanic 6 are going back to the island, and that Jack says they were never supposed to leave. Kate then tells her about losing Aaron in the store last night, and that “as scared as I was, I wasn’t surprised.” She says she’d always expected him to be taken from her, because she took him herself. But she justifies her actions, saying that Aaron needed her. Cassidy corrects her: “You needed him.” She says that because Sawyer left her, she grasped onto Aaron to fill the void that Sawyer left.

That night, Kate goes back to the hotel where she and Jack saw Carole Littleton, Claire’s mother, meeting with her lawyer. Carole seems wary at meeting her again, and explains that she’s still confused about Jack’s visit the day before, when he was “going on and on about some person named Aaron.” Kate confesses everything, that Aaron is Carole’s grandson, and that she believes Claire is still alive on the island. She explains the Oceanic 6’s lie to Carole, telling her that when Claire disappeared on the island and left Aaron alone, she decided to keep Aaron herself. She knew that Claire would want him to be adopted, but Kate couldn’t bare turning him over to a stranger, feeling that she needed to protect him. When Carole asks her why she lied this whole time, and why Kate never came to her in the first place, Kate replies, “Because I needed him.” She apologizes and gives Carole a picture of Aaron, and then reveals that he’s asleep in a hotel room two doors down from Carole’s, where Kate has checked in. “I know this is a lot to handle,” Kate explains tearfully, “but when you’re ready, he’s waiting for you.” She says that she’s told Aaron that Carole is his grandmother, and that she’ll be taking care of him while Kate is gone. Carole asks Kate where she’s going. Kate replies that she’s going back to the island to find Claire.

Minutes later, Kate returns to her own hotel room where Aaron is sleeping, and while the two of them are still alone, she says an anguished goodbye and exits.

Now

Immediately following the events of “He’s Our You,” an unconscious Jin gets a call on his radio after being knocked out by Sayid, who’s disappeared into the jungle. It’s Phil, who says that Sayid has escaped; Jin reports that he was attacked by Sayid, before he spots young Ben on the ground. He checks on the boy, who’s gravely wounded but isn’t dead yet. “Please help,” young Ben whispers. Jin puts him in his van and drives.

At the Barracks, everyone is still cleaning up after the burning van tore through the facility. Horace rallies the troops, explaining that Sayid escaped, and what that means to the truce. Jack questions Horace’s words, and Horace bristles, asking Jack who he is and telling him that there’s no way Sayid escaped on his own. He had to have had help from someone in the Dharma Initiative.

Roger Linus approaches Kate on the sidelines and asks for help cranking a winch. Even though she’s in the motor pool, she has no idea what he’s talking about. The two of them commiserate over their respective sucky jobs, and Roger reveals his name to her, which of course she recognizes. Jin pulls up in his van and carries Ben into the Infirmary. Roger sees this and freaks out.

At Dharma’s Security HQ, Sawyer desperately checks through various video feeds from around the island, trying to find any sign of Sayid. Kate enters the building, tells him that it was Ben that Sayid shot. Sawyer warns her to keep quiet, and that she shouldn’t be in there. Horace and a crew of Security guys — including Jin and Miles — enter, and Horace asks who Kate is and what she’s doing there. Sawyer covers for her with a lie that he was trying to find out if she’d seen anything when Sayid escaped. She didn’t, so he dismisses her. Horace wants to see Sayid’s empty cell, and upon checking, they find a set of janitor’s keys are still in the open lock. Horace says there are only three janitors working for Dharma: Roger Linus, someone named Lilly, and the new guy, Jack Shephard. Sawyer says he’ll question the new guy, and leaves, taking Miles with him.

Outside, Sawyer tells Miles to grab Jack, Kate, and Hurley and keep them in a house, together. Sawyer explains that he doesn’t want them talking to anybody else, or things could spin even further out of control. Sawyer then goes to the Infirmary, where Roger is waiting outside on the same bench where Sawyer and Jin recently waited while Amy was in labor. Roger asks who did this, but Sawyer merely says they don’t know yet. Roger says he doesn’t know how Ben is doing, because Juliet ordered him outside. Sawyer offers to get an update for him, but before going in, he asks Roger if he has his keys on him. Roger can’t find them in any of his pockets.

Inside, Sawyer finds Juliet furiously performing emergency surgery on young Ben. She tells him that the regular doctor is at the Looking Glass station until Friday. Juliet takes Sawyer aside and quietly tells him that Ben is bleeding internally someplace that she can’t find or fix. He needs a real surgeon. He needs Jack. Sawyer leaves at once to retrieve the doc.

At a Dharma house, Miles loads his shotgun while Jack, Kate, and Hurley watch. Jack asks if they’re under house arrest. Miles says no, they can leave anytime they want, but he’ll shoot them in the leg if they do. He’s acting under Sawyer’s orders, he explains. Kate defends Sawyer as “just doing his job.”

Hurley looks at his hand with an odd expression on his face, and Miles asks what he’s doing. Hurley says he’s checking to see if he’s disappearing, like in the movie Back to the Future. He says that if young Ben dies here in 1977, then they won’t exist here because adult Ben is “the one who made us come back here in the first place.” Miles explains that it doesn’t work that way, that history can’t be changed no matter what. Sayid shot young Ben, he says, and that’s exactly what always happened. Ben didn’t die, “so the kid can’t either,” he concludes. Kate asks what if Miles is wrong. Before she gets an answer, Sawyer rushes inside, and asks Jack to come to the Infirmary, quick. But to everyone’s surprise, Jack refuses. Even if it means Ben dies, Sawyer can’t persuade him to go.

Moments later, Kate looks out the window and watches as Sawyer returns to the Infirmary and talks to Roger. She approaches Jack and demands to know why he won’t save Ben. Jack says that according to Miles, they can’t change anything. Kate counters that maybe history means for Jack to be the one that saves Ben. Jack reminds her of all that’s going to happen in thirty years, when they are captured by Ben. He says he’s already saved Benjamin Linus by operating on him once — and he did it at Kate’s behest — and he doesn’t need to do it again. Kate argues that this entire situation is their fault, because they brought Sayid with them when they returned. Jack says that the last time he was on the island, he spent all of his time trying to fix things. “Did you ever think,” he asks, “that maybe the island wants to fix things itself?” He thinks he was just getting in the way of that the first time they were here. Kate says that she doesn’t like the new Jack; she liked the old Jack better. He replies that no, she didn’t like the old Jack, either. She storms out of the house, ignoring Miles’ objections.

At the Infirmary, Juliet is attending to Ben when Kate enters, tells the nurse she’s a universal blood donor, and she’d like to donate blood to help Ben. Juliet draws her blood, and while the two of them have a moment alone, Juliet asks why Jack won’t help. Kate replies that she doesn’t understand anything Jack does anymore. Juliet asks if anything happened between the two of them off-island; Kate reveals that they were engaged.

Roger busts into the Infirmary, unable to sit outside and wait any longer, demanding to know what’s happening. Kate offers to sit with him, while Juliet works on Ben. Roger tells Kate that Ben stole his keys and set Sayid free. Kate asks why Ben would do that, and Roger replies simply, “Because of me.” He asks if she has any kids, and after a moment’s hesitation, she says no. Roger says he always thought he’d be the best father ever, but things didn’t work out that way. Kate asks about Ben’s mom, and Roger explains that she died giving birth. He says that in coming here to the island, he was trying to do what he thought his wife would have wanted, “but I guess a boy just needs his mother.” Kate is visibly shaken at these words. Ben suddenly goes into hypoxic shock, having great difficulty breathing, and when Roger freaks, Juliet orders him back outside again.

At the Dharma house, Hurley and Miles have an amusing conversation about the nature of time travel. Hurley has particular difficulty understanding how the fact that everything they’re doing right now is part of history. Miles repeatedly loses his patience with Hurley, until Hurley asks a question Miles can’t answer: when the castaways first met and captured Ben in 2004, why didn’t Ben remember Sayid as the man who shot him in 1977? “Huh,” Miles replies. “I hadn’t thought of that.”

Outside the Infirmary, Juliet tells Roger that Ben is stable. She sends him to the Staff station for medical supplies, and he thanks her for everything she’s doing. Kate sits nearby, listening, and once Roger is gone, she looks to Juliet for the truth. Ben really is stable, Juliet says, but not any better, and she can’t fix him. Kate asks if they could take him somewhere in the submarine for treatment, but Juliet says it’s gone and won’t be back for months. Kate mentions time travel, and asks Juliet if Ben can really die here. Juliet says Ben is going to die, because “he’s in a medicinal situation that is not resolvable.” Kate says there must be something they can do, and Juliet is suddenly lost in thought. “Maybe there’s something they can do,” she says, referring to the Others.

Juliet and Kate secretly load young Ben into a Dharma van. Juliet wants to come along, but Kate tells her to stay here. She has a good life here, and being part of this will only wreck it. Juliet says Sawyer is going to come asking about Ben, and she’ll have to tell him the truth, but she’ll give Kate as much of a head start as she can. Juliet wishes her luck, and Kate takes off.

At the sonic fence, Kate stops the van. Ben fades, delirious: “Tell my dad I’m sorry I stole his keys,” he says softly. Another van approaches; it’s Sawyer. To Kate’s surprise, he says he didn’t come to stop her, he came to help her. He disarms the fence and carries Ben into the jungle. Kate asks why he’s helping her try to save Ben, and he says he asked Juliet that same question when Ben was first brought in wounded. Juliet’s answer was that she wouldn’t let a kid die, no matter what he was going to grow up to be. Sawyer says his reason is Juliet’s; he’s doing this for her.

At the Dharma house, Juliet barges in, angry, and asks Miles and Hurley where Jack is. They tell her he’s in the shower, and Hurley, observing Juliet’s agitated state, asks if Jack is “in trouble.” Juliet says she needs to talk to him, and asks for privacy. The two of them leave the house, and Miles is now considerably more interested in hearing Hurley’s thoughts about time travel.

In the bathroom, Jack gets out of the shower to find Juliet waiting for him. She’s angry, saying she needed him earlier when “that kid” was bleeding out, that he was a surgeon and she needed him and he didn’t help. Jack argues that “that kid” is Ben. Juliet says he’s not Ben yet, he’s just a kid. Jack says he’s sorry, but he can’t help her. Juliet says she’s not asking for his help, because he made it very clear he wasn’t interested in helping. She says that it’s up to two people who actually care now — Kate and Sawyer. Jack argues that he cares, that he came back here to save all of them. “We didn’t need saving!” Juliet shouts. “You came back here for you!” She asks him to tell her why. He says he came back because he was supposed to, and she asks what he’s “supposed” to do. When he replies he doesn’t know yet, she bitterly tells him he’d better figure it out.

In the jungle, Kate offers to carry Ben for a while, but Sawyer declines. She asks if it’s clue that young Ben was the one who set Sayid free, and Sawyer replies that “a kid will do almost anything if he’s pissed off at his folks.” Kate asks if that’s why he asked her to take care of Clementine, before jumping from the helicopter. He asks if she did as he asked, and she tells him of course she did. He asks about his daughter, and she tells him that Clementine looks like him when she smiles. Then Kate tells him Cassidy’s theory on why he jumped from the helicopter — that he was running out on her. “You and me would’a never worked out, Kate,” Sawyer says. “I wasn’t anymore fit to be your boyfriend than I was to be that little girl’s father.” She comments that he seems to be doing okay with Juliet. He replies that he “did a lot of growing up” over the last three years.

The Others suddenly emerge from the surrounding jungle and level weapons on them. One of them says that Kate and Sawyer’s presence here is a violation of the truce, but Sawyer cuts him off, demanding to be taken to Richard Alpert.

Some time later, Kate, Sawyer, Ben, and the Others finally reach Richard, who steps out of the jungle to meet them. He greets Sawyer as “James,” recognizes Ben, but asks who Kate is. Sawyer says, “She’s with me.” Kate explains that they’ve come to ask if he can save Ben. Richard hesitates. “If I take him,” he says slowly, “he’s not ever going to be the same again.” Kate asks what that means, and Richard replies that Ben “will forget this ever happened, and… his innocence will be gone. He will always be one of us.” Richard asks if they’re sure they want him to do this. Kate and Sawyer consider it, until finally Kate says yes. One of the Others steps forward and tells Richard, “You should not do this without asking Ellie. If Charles finds out…” Richard replies, “Let him find out. I don’t answer to either of them.”

Richard carries Ben into the jungle alone, until he arrives at the ancient Temple from which we’ve recently seen the smoke monster emerge and retreat. Richard accesses a door and takes young Ben inside.

At the Hydra station in 2007, adult Ben awakens to find John Locke sitting at his bedside. Ben is clearly stunned to see Locke alive. “Hello, Ben,” says Locke. “Welcome back to the land of the living.”

  • Sawyer asked Kate to see to it that his daughter, Clementine, received all the financial support she would need from her father.
    Question: What was the favor Sawyer asked of Kate? [4.10]
  • Kate decided to give Aaron to his grandmother Carole Littleton.
    Question: What happened to Aaron? Why does Kate no longer have him? [5.06]
  • Why did Kate change her mind and decide to go back to the island?
    Question: Kate decided to return to the island to find Claire, presumably to help Claire escape and be reunited with her son. [5.06]
  • It was always what happened.
    Question: Did Sayid change history by shooting Ben? Or was his attempted murder always what happened? [5.10]
  • Whatever Richard Alpert did to Ben inside the Temple altered him somehow, and erased his memory of the events leading up to his near-death.
    Question: If history wasn’t changed when Sayid shot Ben, then why doesn’t adult Ben seem to remember meeting any of the Oceanic survivors when he was a child? [5.10]

  • What exactly did Richard Alpert do to young Ben inside the Temple? Why did it cause Ben’s memory to be erased and his innocence to be lost?

Even the Evangeline Lilly critics out there — and there are many of you — have to admit that this episode featured her best work to date. The scene where Kate leaves Aaron behind is one of the most heartbreaking moments Lost has ever featured.

True to its title, “Whatever Happened, Happened” illustrates exactly how time cannot be changed. In essence, it boils down to this: just because the castaways have free will and can do whatever they want in 1977, doesn’t mean that events won’t unfold exactly the way history records.

I was fascinated at how very different Roger Linus was with Kate than what we’ve seen of him with his son. He was friendly, funny, and downright charming. Could it be more clear how much resentment he holds towards his son? And yet, his paternal instincts finally kicked in for real when he saw his son had been hurt. Perhaps this will mark the beginning of a change in the way Roger treats his son? We know that on the day of his death — which was also Ben’s birthday — he made a real effort to reach out to his son. Maybe this is his first step onto that path.

Jack actually made some decent, understandable points in his explanation to Kate about why he wouldn’t operate on young Ben. Though his first answer, that they “can’t change anything” regarding history, doesn’t wash, because it was one of them (Sayid) that changed things by shooting Ben in the first place. But the truth was what came out later with Juliet: like Sayid, he secretly hopes that Ben dying will prevent all of the terrible things Ben did to all of them. He was right about one thing, kinda-sorta… It was the island that “fixed” Ben, not himself or anyone else.

Jack’s line to Kate about how she didn’t really like the old Jack, after she claimed to prefer him over the new Jack, was all about what happened between the two of them and how their engagement ended badly. His obsession with being “Mr. Fix Everything” led to his downward spiral into prescription drug abuse, alcohol, and a need to control. And Jack wasn’t lying when he said this; the old Jack ended very badly, and it was only Locke’s death that pulled him out of it, helping him to change. It may yet turn out in the end that the new Jack is more to Kate’s liking, after all.

To clarify the timeline, this is how I believe Kate’s adventures off the island played out… Kate returned to the mainland with the Oceanic 6. She “adopted” Aaron. She received her settlement from Oceanic Airlines. She visited Cassidy and gave her money, fulfilling her promise to Sawyer. She was put on trial, amid a media circus, and ultimately acquitted. She and Jack made nice and moved in together. Jack asked her to marry him. Sometime during their engagement, Kate speaks to Cassidy on the phone regarding a meeting of some kind. (Maybe they were just getting together for coffee or something, and she kept it from Jack because Cassidy is linked to Sawyer?) Jack dopes up, Kate breaks off the engagement. Locke visits everyone as Jeremy Bentham. Jack tries to convince Kate to return to the island with him, she refuses at first, but eventually changes her mind because she knows Claire is alive and wants to reunite Aaron with his real mother. Sound good?

As the father of a small boy, the scene where Kate says goodbye to Aaron absolutely destroyed me. But I have to say, as sad as I am that Aaron is now separated from the only mother he’s ever known, I am really glad to see that Lost’s writers are finally letting Kate grow, change, and accept responsibility. Up until now, she’s just been “the love ‘em and leave ‘em” chick, running out on everyone she ever loved and anything resembling reliability. Here, at last, she’s taken responsibility for her actions, and made a choice that will change her forever: to go back and find Claire.

Now we know why she went back. She seemed like the least likely of all of them to ever return, so I had high hopes for the explanation on this one, and happily, it didn’t disappoint. Not only does it make perfect sense, it also gives her character new territory to explore. That’s an example of good writing, folks — serving the plot and evolving the character in a “two birds with one stone” scenario. Aspiring writers take note: this is how it’s done.

Can I just say how much I love that the return of the “love quadrangle” hasn’t led to melodrama so far? I love that Kate and Juliet are actually on the same side, I love that Kate and Sawyer haven’t stirred the pot, and I love that Sawyer and Juliet are remaining steadfastly and unapologetically steadfast to one another. I hope this can only mean that the writers are as disinterested in clichéd melodrama as we, the viewers, are, and they intend to take the “love quadrangle” into more interesting territory than unrequited pinings and secretly cheating partners.

Hurley and Miles’ conversation about time travel was one of my favorite scenes, and Hurley’s repeated confusion with it was undoubtedly the writers having a bit of fun with us, the viewers, many of whom have complained about the difficulty of understanding Lost’s rules of time travel. But they cleverly turned it to their advantage, verbalizing a question that’s been on many viewers’ minds — regarding Ben not remembering Sayid in 2004 if he was shot by him in 1977 — as a way of setting up the answer that was to come later in the episode. I also love that Miles and Hurley’s conversation ended with the two of them suddenly bonding.

Regarding that answer, apparently Ben’s memory will be altered by whatever happens to him in the Temple. Sure, this is an awfully convenient — and awfully sudden — plot point. But clearly something big is up with Ben and the Temple. What exactly happened when Richard took him inside is going to be the subject of much fan debate. It muddies the waters significantly about Ben’s devious ways: Is he bad because of the choices he makes as an adult? Because of the abuse he suffered from his father? Or because of the mysterious change he has now undergone in the Temple? Fans who love to hate Ben are probably going to cry foul at what they perceive as the writers trying to absolve Ben of all responsibility for his evil actions. But I say, let’s wait and see how it all plays out.

For now, here’s what we know. Richard’s taking Ben into the Temple will cause Ben to:

  • lose his memory of being shot, and (presumably) all of the events surrounding that action
  • lose his innocence, whatever that means, exactly
  • from now on, always be considered an Other

The big question on my mind is this. Remember Danielle Rousseau’s people Montand, Robert, and all those fellows that went inside the Temple earlier this season? And how they came back from that experience… different? Danielle believed they’d been infected by some kind of disease which changed them fundamentally, to the point that Robert was willing to shoot and kill his own wife and unborn child. Whatever you want to call it, it’s clear that exposure to the interior of the Temple changed the French people significantly. So now that Ben has been taken inside the Temple as well, will he be changed the same way that they were? If so, does that mean that the Temple made the Frenchmen into true Others? (And what would that even mean, exactly?) What we’re meant to believe from this episode is that the good, kind boy that was young Ben was changed into the devious, scheming, manipulative man that we know as adult Ben — by whatever is done to him inside that Temple.

This leads to all sorts of new questions. The most obvious being, what is the Temple? Is it the smoke monster that alters people inside there? How? Why? To what end? What does this mean for Ben? Is he not in full control of his actions? And what about Richard Alpert? I doubt this was his first time inside the Temple. It seems obvious that he answers to the island, the smoke monster, or Jacob (assuming all three aren’t one and the same!). So maybe he’s immune to whatever happens inside the Temple. Or maybe he underwent the procedure already. Or maybe Richard IS the smoke monster! Aaaah! One could go mad theorizing.

Whatever it all means… does this mean that Kate and Sawyer, in choosing to allow Ben to be healed and changed by Richard, are somewhat responsible for what eventually happens to the Dharma Initiative at the Purge? It’s a confluence of events, to be certain. A domino effect, that many of our characters will bear some responsibility for (most recently Sayid, for shooting Ben and starting all this). But it could be traced back further, to the Oceanic 6 leaving and returning to the island. Or even all the way back to Jacob, for ordering Locke to move the island — which adult Ben did instead. How much of it comes down to choice, and how much of it is fate? Perhaps when Lost’s endgame comes into focus next year, “fate vs. choice” will be revealed as the fundamental theme of the entire show.

When one of the Others told Richard that, in essence, “Ellie” and “Charles” would not be pleased that Richard took this action with young Ben, it was a confirmation of info we either already knew or suspected: Eloise Hawking and Charles Widmore were, in the past, major players in the Others. Charles was their leader at one point, and it looks like Eloise held a position of similar power as well. This goes a long way to explain the two of them and their places in the world off the island. But it leads me back to a frequently-asked question from earlier in the season: were Eloise Hawking and Charles Widmore ever a couple? And could that coupling have resulted in one Daniel Faraday? I hope we find out soon.

As much as I’ve been enjoying the trip back through time to the Dharma era, I’m very glad to see that Locke and Ben have reentered the larger picture. But for what feels like the gazillionth time, the episode left me wanting to know… Where in the world is Daniel? Where is Desmond? And where, oh where are Rose & Bernard?!?

Your turn.

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5.10 “He’s Our You”

Sayid‘s life is on the line as the Dharma Initiative goes to great lengths to get the truth out of him.

Written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz
Directed by Greg Yaitanes

Flashback

Many years ago, in Tikrit, Iraq, an overbearing father tries to get his son to behead a chicken, to prove he is a man. The son doesn’t want to, but the father forbids him from reentering their home until it’s done. Another, younger boy approaches with birdfeed in his hand, and uses it to entice a chicken. The chicken in hand, he breaks its neck, and places the dead bird in his brother’s hand. Their father returns just in time to see this, but the older boy confesses the truth that it was his brother that did the deed. The father commends the younger boy, calling him by name: Sayid.

Sometime probably in 2006 or 2007, grown-up Sayid is in Moscow, chasing down another of Ben’s list of Charles Widmore’s operatives. The man tries to flee into his home, where he retrieves a wad of cash, but Sayid is too fast for him and catches up quickly, aiming his pistol at the man. The man offers Sayid a bribe to spare his life, but Sayid’s reply is to pull the trigger.

Outside and down the street, Sayid encounters Ben and reports on how his latest assignment went. He asks who he’ll be killing next, but to his surprise, Ben says that this latest target was his finale. Ben claims that all of Widmore’s operatives who pose a threat to Sayid’s friends have been killed, and Sayid is finished. Sayid protests as Ben walks away casually, asking what he’s supposed to do now. Ben says that he’s free to go live his life.

Some time later, Sayid has taken up work for the humanitarian organization Build Our World, in the Dominican Republic. Not long after his visit from “Jeremy Bentham,” aka John Locke, Ben shows up to tell him that Locke is dead, and he believes it was a hit undertaken by Widmore as retribution for Ben and Sayid’s recent campaign against Widmore’s operatives. He warns Sayid that the people who killed Locke are probably looking for the two of them, and if Ben could find Sayid here, so could Widmore’s men. He also tells him that there’s a parked sedan outside of Hurley’s mental hospital, which has been there for more than a week, with a man inside watching Hurley’s movements. Sayid can’t believe Ben came all this way to suggest that Sayid go and kill this man who’s watching Hurley. Ben replies that Sayid is “capable of things most other men aren’t.” He says that Sayid is a killer, it’s in his nature. Sayid argues that Ben is wrong, that he doesn’t like killing. Ben apologizes for the intrusion, saying he was mistaken to come here.

Days later, we watch the familiar scene at the pier in Los Angeles, where the Oceanic 6 have reunited thanks to Ben’s meddling. Sun has a gun pointed at Ben and is threatening to kill him, while Kate is outraged that Jack brought her here as part of his scheme to get everyone back to the island. But this time, we watch the events from Sayid’s point of view, and after he threatens Ben and walks away, we immediately follow him to a bar, where he’s drinking very expensive alcohol. A woman we recognize as Ajira 316 survivor Ilana approaches him and begins to flirt slyly. He asks if she’s a professional, which she takes to mean “prostitute.” She replies that she’s not a professional anything. She moves closer, asking more about him, like what he does for a living. He says he’s between jobs, but that he used to do the “only thing I was ever good at.” She asks why he stopped, and he says because he’s trying to change.

Later, Sayid and Ilana burst into a hotel room, all over one another. They nearly have a night of passion, until Ilana handily takes Sayid down and pulls a gun on him. She says she lied before — that she is a professional, and she was hired to take him to Guam. He asks who hired her, and she says the family of Peter Avalino, the man he killed on the golf course. He asks if she’s a bounty hunter, but she neither confirms nor denies. She simply says he’s going to answer for what he’s done.

The next day, after being escorted through security, Ilana escorts Sayid to the gate for Ajira 316. Sayid spots Hurley standing at the counter, and asks Ilana, “Are you sure we’re going to Guam?” Ilana replies, “Where else would we be going?” Seeing that Jack and Kate are both here as well, he tries to convince her that they should take the next plane to Guam. She declines.

On the plane, before takeoff, Sayid sees Sun is there too. He appears despondent, as if he knows what’s happening and where the plane is really headed. Ben stumbles onto the plane at the last minute, and the two of them make eye contact. Sayid’s shocked expression at seeing Ben here is given new context, and he turns almost immediately to Ilana and asks point-blank if she’s working for Benjamin Linus. She claims to not know the name, and he explains that Ben is a manipulator, a monster responsible for nothing less than genocide. “Why would I work for somebody like that?” Ilana asks. “I did,” Sayid replies.

Now

It’s the next morning after the events of “Namaste.” In the Dharma Security station, Sayid is still there with his hands bound together. Ben arrives with another sandwich for him, but Phil, who’s on watch, says Sayid isn’t eating anything, so it doesn’t matter. Ben says that Horace told him to bring the food, and he takes it to Sayid, along with a book — A Separate Reality by Carlos Castaneda. Young Ben then gets right to the point of his visit, asking if Richard Alpert sent Sayid into the Dharma camp. Sayid hesitates to answer, looking pointedly up at the security camera watching them both, but Ben says that the camera doesn’t transmit audio, only imagery. Ben confesses to Sayid his jaunt into the jungle four years ago, where he met Richard in person, asked to join the Hostiles, and Richard told him to be patient. “I’ve been patient,” says young Ben. “And if you’re patient too, I think I can help you.”

Later, Horace visits Sayid and frees his hands. Horace asks what Sayid was doing in the jungle, but Radzinsky, who’s also there, interrupts and tells him to ask about “the model” — referring to his model of the Swan station we saw Radzinsky building in the last episode. When Sayid doesn’t answer any of Horace’s questions, Horace offers him one hour to change his mind. After that, he’ll have to take things to the next level.

At Sawyer and Juliet’s house, Juliet stares out a window, deeply lost in thought. Sawyer appears and sees that she has nearly let breakfast burn in her introspection. He asks her what’s wrong, and then follows her gaze to see Jack and Kate exiting their houses and going to work. She tells him her belief that it’s all over — “This. Us. Playing House.” — but he says that just because the others came back doesn’t mean anything’s changed. She asks him what if Sayid rats them all out by telling the truth about who they are? Horace comes knocking at the front door, and tells Sawyer there’s a problem with the prisoner, Sayid. They have to know why he violated the truce, so he wants to sick someone named “Oldham” on him. Sawyer calls Oldham a psychopath and asks Horace for a chance to speak with Sayid alone, first.

Sawyer storms into Security HQ, tells Phil to “take your lunch” — aka, get out — so he can speak to the prisoner alone. He goes to the cell and asks Sayid how he’s doing. “A twelve-year-old Ben Linus brought me a chicken salad sandwich,” Sayid replies. “How do you think I’m doing?” Sayid asks Sawyer how he can live here with Ben here, and Sawyer says he has no choice. Sawyer opens the cell door, apologizes, and then hits Sayid. He explains that he needs to make Dharma believe that he didn’t get an “easy confession” out of Sayid, in order to save him from Oldham. But Sayid counters that Sawyer should just let him go. Sawyer says he can’t do that, because the good life he’s made for himself and the others here will be destroyed if he lets Sayid go. He proposes that Sayid’s confession be that he came here to defect from the Others and that he wants to join the Dharma Initiative. That way, he can stay among his friends and be safe. But Sayid refuses this suggestion.

In the Dharma cafeteria, Hurley — whose Dharma assignment is apparently that of a cook — brings breakfast to Jack and Kate. They talk about Sayid, and Jack reports what happened when he went to Sawyer’s apartment last night, that Sawyer advised Jack to let him handle it, and that’s what Jack’s going to do. Hurley is surprised to learn this, but Kate says she’ll talk to Juliet about Sayid. Hurley argues that if Sawyer didn’t tell them anything, Juliet won’t either. He reveals to her that Sawyer and Juliet are in a relationship and are living together, which Kate did not know.

Roger Linus, Ben’s father, comes to clean Sayid’s cell. He’s not there long before he tells Sayid that he can’t figure out how Sayid, a Hostile and therefore one of the “kings of the jungle” managed to get caught “by these idiots” — referring to the Dharma Initiative. Sayid replies, “And yet, you’re the one who mops up after them.” Ben enters with another sandwich, but stops cold at the sight of his father. Ben claims the sandwich is for his dad, but Roger sees through the lie. He grabs young Ben roughly, accuses him of lying, and Ben admits that the sandwich is for Sayid. Roger sends his son home in tears, and then throws the sandwich against the wall.

Later, Sawyer, Phil, Radzinsky, and Horrace enter the cell, and Sawyer all but pleads with Sayid, offering him one last chance to give his confession. Sayid doesn’t cooperate, so Sawyer tazers him, and they take him to a blue Dharma van. They drive him out into the jungle to a teepee, where Oldham lives. When Oldham emerges from the tent, Sayid quietly asks Sawyer who this man is; Sawyer replies, “he’s our you,” meaning he’s Dharma’s resident torturer. Oldham drops a dose of something onto what looks like a sugar cube, and tries to get Sayid to eat it. When Sayid struggles, the men restrain him up against a tree. Oldham says the restraints are for Sayid’s protection, due to the side effects of what he’s being given. Oldham promises Sayid that whether or not he struggles, he will tell them the truth.

A short time later, Sayid is feeling the effects of the drug, and is in a childlike state. Via Oldham and Horace’s questions, Sayid reveals a number of things to them: he tells them his name; he says his hands were bound when they found him because he’s “a bad man”; he’s not really a Hostile; he came to the island on a plane, Ajira 316; he’s been to the island before, having crashed on Oceanic 815; he was here for one hundred days, then he left; and he knows all about Dharma stations, including the one that hasn’t been built yet — the Swan — and that it will be used to study electromagnetism, until “the Incident.” Radzinsky freaks out, his fears confirmed that Sayid is a spy sent by the Hostiles. Sayid tells them that they’re all going to die, referring to the Purge, and when Horace asks how he could even know a thing like that, Sayid tells them he’s from the future. Oldham speculates that he may have given Sayid too heavy a dose of the truth serum, but Sayid bursts into laughter, saying it was exactly the right amount.

At the Motor Pool, Juliet shows Kate around on her first official day of work. They share a laugh regarding Kate’s complete lack of knowledge about fixing cars, before Juliet asks if Jack told Kate “about us,” meaning her and Sawyer. Kate says no, but Hurley did. Juliet says that it’s a relief that she doesn’t have to do it, because she couldn’t think of a way to tell her without it sounding like “stay away.” Kate assures her it’s all good. Just then, the security van bearing Sayid drives up, and Kate and Juliet each in turn make eye contact with Sayid, and Sawyer.

That evening, there’s a meeting of Dharma leaders at Horace and Amy’s house. Horace leads a discussion about what to do with Sayid, having apparently decided that Oldham’s truth serum had no effect on Sayid, and he was spouting nonsense meant to confuse them. Radzinsky immediately chimes in with his opinion: “We kill him.” Horace reluctantly agrees, but Sawyer argues that they’re civilized and this isn’t right. Radzinsky presses the issue, again mentioning his fears about what Sayid saw of the Swan plans, and says they have to vote. “Either we make a decision, or I call Ann Arbor, and they make it for us.” Amy speaks up, agreeing with Radzinsky, saying that she doesn’t feel safe with Sayid here, and she doesn’t want him around baby Ethan or any of the other children. Her argument settles it for Horace, and he puts it to a vote. It’s unanimous all but for Sawyer, but Horace asks Sawyer to join in so that they can say that it was unanimous. Sawyer grudgingly raises his hand.

Later that night, Sawyer visits Sayid in his cell. He tells Sayid to hit him, because he wants to help Sayid escape, and he needs to fake a struggle as his cover story. Sayid appreciates the offer, but declines, even after Sawyer tells him that Horace and the others are planning to kill him. Sayid explains that when he woke up in the jungle, and realized that he was back on the island, he felt that there was a purpose to it. And now he knows why he’s here.

Confused, Sawyer heads home, but then diverts suddenly to Kate’s house. He asks her why they all came back, but she says she doesn’t know why the others came back, only why she did. Before she can explain further, a Dharma van crashes through the Barracks, and it’s on fire! It stops by plowing into a house, quickly catching the house on fire, too. Sawyer and Kate rush in to help — Sawyer organizes people to put out the fire, while Kate helps the house’s residents to evacuate. Jack runs up and asks what happened. Sawyer gripes that it’s probably happening because the four of them came back to the island. He calls in reinforcements from everywhere — including Security.

At Security HQ, when Phil has left to help put out the fire, there’s no one left there but Sayid. Ben — who we easily surmise is the culprit behind the burning van — sneaks inside to see Sayid. Sayid asks what happened to Ben’s glasses, which are broken. Ben says it was his dad. Sayid understands and sympathizes, admitting he had a difficult father too. Ben asks if he can come along, if he lets Sayid out. Sayid agrees, telling him that that’s why he’s here.

After Ben lets him out, they run through the jungle at night, trying to get away from the Dharma Initiative. Ben believes Sayid is taking him to be with the Hostiles, and he’s ecstatic to finally be free from his abusive father. A Dharma security van approaches, and Sayid tells Ben to hide. The van stops, and Jin hops out, rifle drawn. Sayid explains what happened, though he lies and says that it was Sawyer who freed him, in order to save him. Jin believes him, but wants to call Sawyer to find out what to do next. Sayid knocks Jin out, as Ben watches from his hiding spot.

Ben emerges from hiding, amazed at Sayid’s skills. He encourages Sayid to hurry before others come along, but Sayid slowly retrieves a pistol off of Jin’s unconscious form and remains crouched there, in deep turmoil. “You were right about me,” he whispers to a confused Ben. “I am a killer.” He raises the pistol and shoots Ben. Young Ben collapses, Sayid is reduced to tears at what he’s become and what he’s done, and he flees alone into the jungle.

  • The exact date is unknown, but some time before Locke visited Sayid in the Dominican Republic, Sayid killed the final person on Ben’s supposed list of people posing a threat to Sayid and his Oceanic 6 friends. Once this was done, Ben dropped him from his employment, suggesting he go live his life and be done with revenge. Only then did Sayid realize he had been used by Ben.
    Question: When did Sayid stop working for Ben, and why? [5.01]
  • Sayid only appeared to be in federal custody. Ilana is not really a federal agent; she claims to actually be a bounty hunter sent to capture Sayid by the family of one of his victims.
    Question: Why was Sayid in federal custody, and being escorted onto Ajira 316? [5.06]
  • Her name is Ilana, but her true motives and mission remain a mystery.
    Question: Who was the woman who captured Sayid? [5.06]

  • Did Sayid change history by shooting Ben? Or was his attempted murder always what happened?
  • If history wasn’t changed when Sayid shot Ben, then why doesn’t adult Ben seem to remember meeting any of the Oceanic survivors when he was a child?
  • Who does Ilana really work for?

It’s not all that surprising that Sayid had a difficult father. It’s a recurring theme on the show. Can you think of a single Lost character who didn’t have a relationship with their dad that defines them as an adult?

Examining the endless literary connections Lost has with all of the books it shows us on screen isn’t really my thing. I’ll leave it to others, like Doc Jensen at EW.com, who I expect will have a heyday with young Ben’s gift of A Separate Reality by Carlos Castaneda to Sayid. But if you’re interested in investigating the book on your own for links to Lost, here are a few sources of info.

So what in the world is the deal with Radzinsky and his anal obsession with the Swan model? Why is the Swan so doggone important if it’s only about studying electromagnetic fields, and why is Radzinsky so bent on keeping it a defcon-one secret? His antics and personality are already wearing thin on me, but his OCD about the Swan is cause for mondo curiosity. Is there more to the Swan than just study of electromagnetism? Could it be that the Swan is being built around the atomic bomb Jughead, and Dharma doesn’t want the Others to find out that they know where the Others buried that bomb?

Actor Michael Emerson, aka Ben Linus, remains the show’s driest line-reader. His delivery of “I looked” after Sayid asked how Ben found him in Santo Domingo, was priceless.

For all the hullabaloo about Oldham being a psychopathic torturer, his “torture” was not so much. He forced Sayid to ingest a truth serum, and that was about it.

I almost fell out of my seat when I realized who the actor playing Oldham was. Did you recognize him? It was William Sanderson, aka Larry from Newhart! As in, “Hi, I’m Larry. This is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl.” Whoa.

Did you catch the discrepancy in the repeated scene from “This Place Is Death” — the scene where Sayid left Sun, Jack, and Ben at the pier? In that episode, Sayid says, “I want no part of this,” then turns to Jack and Ben and says, “If I ever see you, or you, again, it will be very unpleasant for all of us.” In “He’s Our You,” the scene was replayed, but Sayid only threatened Ben, and not Jack. The phrase “or you” was excised from his last line on the pier. Was this a cut-for-time thing? A case of editing to put the focus on what was best for this episode? Or an intentional change for some reason?

If Ilana was telling the truth about not working for Ben — and that’s a big if — then how did she find him so easily after he met the others at the pier in L.A.? It’s not like he was following a regular, predictable routine. It would almost have to be that she was following him, and had been for some time. But she was dressed for her part at the restaurant/bar when she met him, and she knew enough about him to know exactly how to seduce him, with sophisticated conversation. Plus, if she’d been following him, wouldn’t she have seen what happened at the pier, and then recognized the participants of that little scene on Ajira 316 the next day? It was all of the exact same people, and these aren’t just ordinary people — they’re the world-famous Oceanic 6, after all. Nah, I think there’s a lot more to Ilana than meets the eye.

You may be wondering why Radzinsky threatened to “call Ann Arbor,” and what that meant. Ann Arbor, of course, is a real-world city in Michigan, and it’s been speculated by Lost fans that Ann Arbor could be the mainland home base of the Dharma Initiative, and/or the Hanso Foundation, Dharma’s benefactor. In last year’s Comic-Con video, where Pierre Chang appears to plead for the salvation of the Dharma Initiative, he identifies himself as “a professor of theoretical astrophysics from Ann Arbor, Michigan.” What’s more, the Swan orientation video identified the founders of the Dharma Initiative, the never-seen Gerald and Karen DeGroot, as students at the University of Michigan — which is, of course, located in Ann Arbor. Radzinsky’s comment in this episode seems to confirm these long-held suspicions that Dharma is indeed headquartered out of Michigan.

So many questions are raised by Sayid’s encounter with young Ben. If, as Daniel Faraday claims, it’s impossible to change the past, then did Ben remember Sayid and some of the other castaways from his childhood when he met them as an adult? Could this mean that Ben has been pulling all of their strings for a very long time — even before any of them first came to the island — to ensure that they would be there when history needed them to be?

Did Ben place the man outside of Hurley’s mental hospital for the express purpose of bringing Sayid to Los Angeles? Likely. Especially considering his so-called suspicions about Locke being murdered, since we know Ben himself was Locke’s murderer. And once again, Sayid slid easily into Ben’s enticing words, like a lonely sailor hearing to a siren call. Even when he argued against Ben’s observation that he’s nothing more than a killer, his voice and eyes were filled with doubt. Ben offered him a chance to do what he does best one more time, and even though some part of him had to have wondered if it was all another manipulation, in the end he seems to have decided he didn’t care. Killing, it seems, is almost like an addictive drug for Sayid, and when the temptation comes on, he relishes giving in to it.

And I still can’t help wondering if Ben was the one responsible for Nadia’s death, and not Widmore, because it so conveniently propelled Sayid into being Ben’s personal hitman. We’ve seen Ben manipulate people like this before; it seems not only possible, but probable. Besides, we have witnessed as yet no particular motivation for Widmore to have Nadia murdered. Then again, it appeared that Ben only learned of Nadia’s death after the fact — when he arrived in Tunisia via the frozen wheel and checked in at that desert hotel, where he saw Sayid’s funeral for Nadia on TV. Hmm.

“He’s Our You” ultimately revolved around pondering a single question, and it’s the one implied by Ben when he visits Sayid in Santo Domingo: Is Sayid nothing more than a killer? Is that really all that he’s capable of? The flashback to his youth we saw at the beginning of this episode was meant to hammer this point home, yet we know nothing else about his life up until he joined the Republican Guard as an adult. We’ve seen plenty of instances afterwards, when he’s tried to make amends for sins of the past, to live a better life — his many attempts to help the Oceanic 815 survivors find rescue, his low-profile work as a cook in Paris after the war, the time he helped U.S. authorities track down a terrorist cell, his reunion and marriage to Nadia, his work in the Dominican Republic, etc. Yet he seems destined to be a man who doles out pain and death, either as a torturer or an assassin. No matter how hard he tries to avoid the bad stuff and devote himself to good, he can’t ever seem to escape it.

Sayid has always been a very likeable, very sympathetic character. But there’s no getting around the fact that he’s done a lot of evil things in his time — much of which he’s sought out intentionally. And this is at the very heart of Ben’s shrewd (yet, as always, manipulative) observation about Sayid: when tempted to embrace his inner darkness, he always gives in to the temptation. He tortured Sawyer in Season 1, even though he later told Kate that inflicting torture was something he’d sworn he would never do again. In Season 2, when Ben Linus was captured by the castaways and held in the Swan, Sayid had an unmistakable glint of satisfaction in his eye when he told Ben, “My name is Sayid Jarrah. And I am a torturer.” When Nadia was killed, Ben all-too-easily utilized Sayid’s lust for vengeance to make him into an assassin. It was plain to see that Sayid took to that role as a way of numbing his pain over losing Nadia (it’s easier to undertake a mission than to deal with one’s own grief). When Ben told Sayid that Hurley was in danger at his mental hospital, Sayid dropped his good humanitarian work like a lead brick, got out the hair-straightener, and put on his Assassin Man persona again.

And now he’s shot Ben as a child, a mission he seemed to think was a divine one — either as a way of undoing all of the damage the two of them did together in the 21st Century, or simply as a singular opportunity to kill Ben in a much more vulnerable state (as a child). The job finished, he ran off into the night.

I think it’s safe to assume that young Ben isn’t dead. Either by way of all this already having happened in adult Ben’s past, or by way of history making a “course correction” to compensate for the castaways’ interference in the past, there’s no way he’s going to wind up dead. Hey, maybe even the island will intervene, making it impossible for him to die yet. It’s happened before (see: Michael, Jack, and Locke). Jin will soon awaken and find Ben bleeding in the middle of the road. The Dharma Initiative will perceive that one of their own was shot down by a “Hostile,” and that can’t spell good tidings for the truce between Dharma and the Hostiles…

The real question after tonight is, what will become of Sayid now? Where will he go? Will he track down Richard Alpert and sign up as an Other? Will he go find himself a secluded spot to try and live out his days alone? (Maybe that cabin Horace built is empty if Jacob hasn’t taken up residence there yet.) Hey, maybe he’ll run into Rose and Bernard. I’d sure love to know where they are.

Having completed this last mission, for one horrific moment I thought Sayid might turn the gun on himself. After all, what does he have left to live for? Is there any hope for him, even now, to ever find redemption and change his ways? Is killing in his nature, inescapable?

Discuss.

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5.09 “Namaste”

Sawyer must act fast to bring Jack, Kate, and Hurley into the Dharma Initiative. In the present, the fate of Ajira 316 is revealed.

Written by Paul Zbyszewski & Brian K. Vaughan
Directed by Jack Bender

The story begins as we rewind briefly to the final moments of Ajira 316, flying over the Pacific at night. Everyone on board experiences the first signs of turbulence, as the Oceanic 6 wait anxiously for what they know is coming. In the cockpit, the copilot tells Frank Lapidus that he recognized Hurley back in the main cabin, as a member of the Oceanic 6.

The turbulence gets worse, so Frank switches off the autopilot and goes to manual. The big flash of light comes, the Oceanic 6 disappear, and suddenly the plane is going down — and now it’s  daytime! Frank manages to just barely pull the plane out of a nosedive into the island. They spot a dirt runway in the distance — the very runway the Others were building on Hydra Island back in Season 3 — and Frank brings the plane in for a treacherous landing.

Frank awakens after the impact covered in cuts and scrapes, to find his copilot has been impaled by a tree limb sticking through the front window. Back in the main cabin, Caesar awakens Ilana, but she finds that her prisoner, Sayid, is gone. Unlike the rest of the Oceanic 6, Sun was on the plane when it crash landed, and is there still. Frank helps her to her feet, though she’s unhurt. Ben turns up alive and well on the plane, also.

Thirty years before Ajira 316 landed on Hydra Island, we return to the scene that ended the last episode, where Sawyer is reunited with Jack, Hurley, and Kate. Hurley’s delighted to find out that Sawyer’s still alive, and when Sawyer teasingly calls him “Kong,” Hurley admits that he actually missed Sawyer’s nicknames. Jack acknowledges Sawyer cordially. And Kate and Sawyer embrace in a rather chaste fashion.

Sawyer is amazed that Locke really did it — he got them to come back. He asks where Locke is, and Jack tells him Locke’s dead. Hurley asks why Sawyer and Jin are wearing Dharma jumpsuits, and Sawyer explains that they’re part of the Dharma Initiative now. Jack asks if Dharma came back to the island, and Sawyer says no, he and the others went back to Dharma. He drops the bombshell on them that they’re in 1977.

A few minutes later, Jack sums up Sawyer’s story: they jumped through time back to the 70s, and have spent three years as members of the Dharma Initiative. Both groups notice with curiosity that that three years have passed “since the helicopter” for both of them. Hurley notes that Jin’s English is “awesome.” Sawyer thinks fast, saying he’s going to have to figure a way of bringing the three of them into the Dharma Initiative if they hope to survive in 1977. Jack asks what they’ll do about everyone else — there were other passengers on the plane that brought them here. He explains that Sayid and Sun were both on the plane as well.

Hearing this, Jin takes off in his Dharma van, saying he’s headed for the Flame station, that if a plane crashed anywhere on the island, “Radzinsky will know.” After Jin dashes off, Kate asks Sawyer who else from the original survivors is still here.

Juliet marches into the Security control room, where Miles is on duty. She’s looking for Sawyer after the strange way he left in a rush without offering any explanation this morning. They go to the security feeds, where they see Sawyer’s security van pull up in front of Sawyer and Juliet’s house.

At the house, Juliet finds him in the bedroom, looking for 70s clothes he can give to Jack, Kate, and Hurley, to help them better fit in. She asks him what’s going on, and he tells her, “They’re back.” He’s got them waiting out at the North Point until he returns. Juliet sinks onto the bed, confused about how Jack and the others could have gotten back. Sawyer says he has to bring them into the Initiative before they screw everything up. She points out that a sub is arriving that afternoon.

Sometime after the Ajira crash in ’07, the survivors have made it down to the beach. Sun is there, pondering Jin’s wedding ring, which she holds in her hand. Ilana approaches her, and asks if she lost someone on the plane. Sun says no, that she was traveling alone. Frank calls everyone to attention, tells them that the radio is dead but he believes that help will come once they realize that the plane went down.

Caesar speaks up and argues with Frank’s calm approach to the situation. He wants to know where they are, and why there are buildings nearby, with animal cages, and a larger island off the coast. Caesar quickly wrestles control from Frank, convincing everyone to help him search the buildings.

Ben, standing in the background, listens to their exchange before quietly sneaking off. Sun sees him go and follows him into the jungle. He sneaks up on her from behind, and asks why she’s following him. She asks where he’s going. He says he’s going “back to our island,” and asks if she wants to come.

In ’77, Jin arrives at the Flame station, the hub of all of Dharma’s communication on and off the island. Radzinsky is there, assembling a scale model of the Swan station. Jin races inside, checking readings and video feeds. Radzinsky is furious, and stops him from messing with the equipment — equipment he believes he alone is qualified to use. Jin says that he has to check the radar for a plane crash. When Radzinsky argues the ridiculousness of this, Jin threatens him into submission. Radzinsky checks with the other stations for any signs of a plane crash on the island, and the two of them wait for responses to come in.

In 2007, Ben and Sun are trekking through the jungle when they find the three outrigger canoes. When Sun questions his actions, Ben says that he’s taking one of the outriggers to the main island, and she can come with him, or she can stay behind. It makes no difference to him. She asks if the main island is where Jin is, and he says he doesn’t know, but it’s where he would start looking. Frank finds them, having gone looking for Sun after she disappeared from the group of survivors. Sun explains that she’s going over to the main island with Ben. Frank questions her trust in Ben, reminding her that the Freighter was filled with commandos sent here to get Ben. Ben counters, “And how’d that work out for everyone?” Sun asks Frank to come along, but he refuses, feeling responsible to stay with the Ajira passengers and see to their safety. Ben steps forward, telling Frank of the Dock on the main island, and the Barracks just beyond. He says his people may be there, and if anyone can help the Ajira survivors, it’s them. But Sun sneaks up behind Ben and knocks him out with an oar.

Juliet checks in on Amy in 1977, who’s asleep in a hammock, watching over her newborn. Amy stirs and Juliet explains she just came for the submarine manifest, something Amy would normally oversee but which obviously she can’t since she just had a baby yesterday. Amy reports that everything went well with this new batch of recruits, except that two of the recruits dropped out at the last minute because they didn’t want to take the sedative required for the trip. Juliet picks up the baby boy, and asks if Amy and Horace have decided on a name yet. “We’re going to name him Ethan,” Amy replies, to Juliet’s veiled astonishment. Amy asks when Juliet and “James” are going to have a baby of their own, and Juliet replies that she doesn’t know. “The timing’s got to be right,” she says.

Out at the North Point, where Jack, Kate, and Hurley await Sawyer’s return, Kate asks Jack if Eloise Hawking told him that it would be thirty years in the past when they got back to the island. He says no, she left that part out. She asks what they’re supposed to do now, and he says he’s not sure yet.

Sawyer arrives, and fills them in on the plan. A “second batch” of Dharma recruits is arriving on the sub today, and he’s arranged to smuggle the three of them in as part of that batch. It won’t be a problem, he says, because all recruits are sedated for the trip and none of them meet one another until they arrive. But they have to work fast, he says, because the sub will be here soon and there are no more recruits scheduled to come to the island for six months. Jack asks his friends what they think of following Sawyer’s plan, and they all agree it’s their best bet for survival.

Back at the Flame, Radzinsky hears from the last station to check in, the Looking Glass, and no one is reporting anything arriving at the island except the submarine. Radzinsky tells Jin to go home, and he’ll call him if anything changes. An alarm goes off just then, and a computer readout says, “Pylon Breach, Grid 325.” Radzinsky explains that a Hostile has entered the perimeter and tripped a motion sensor. Jin runs from the building, secretly hoping that it might be Sun.

Running through the jungle, Jin soon comes face to face with not Sun, but Sayid! They’re happy to see one another, though Sayid is very confused and still wearing his handcuffs from the plane. Jin asks where Sun is, and Sayid says he doesn’t know. Radzinsky catches up with Jin and raises his rifle to bear on Sayid, believing him to be a Hostile. Jin has no choice but to play along, and he takes Sayid into custody.

Sawyer drives his van back to the Barracks with Jack, Kate, and Hurley all on board. The three of them are now wearing the 1970s clothes that he brought them from his and Juliet’s closet. Hurley is still trying to wrap his brain around the idea that Sawyer and the other remaining survivors are now part of the Dharma Initiative. He reminds Sawyer that Dharma eventually gets wiped out; he saw for himself the pit where they were all buried. He asks why Sawyer hasn’t warned them that the Purge is coming. Sawyer replies that he’s “not here to play Nostradamus,” and that “Faraday’s got some interesting theories on what we can and can’t do here.” Jack speaks up at the mention of Faraday, asking if he’s here too. “Not anymore,” Sawyer mysteriously replies.

At the Processing Center in the Barracks, there’s a big welcome celebration going on for new recruits. Sawyer explains that Jack, Kate, and Hurley’s names have been added to the list of new recruits by Juliet, so all they have to do is go inside the Processing Center, watch the orientation video, and get their jumpsuits and work assignments. He worked out their work assignments himself. Miles drives up, surprised to see Jack, Kate, and Hurley back on the island. Sawyer asks what he’s doing here, and Miles replies that Jin called with “a 14J at the Flame.” Sawyer radios Jin, who reports that he has a hostile in custody who breached the perimeter. As he talks, Radzinsky locks Sayid away in a closet. Sawyer doesn’t understand, saying this is a blatant violation of the treaty between Dharma and the Hostiles. Jin steps away from Radzinsky and whispers into his radio, “It’s Sayid.”

Night has fallen by the time Sun and Frank reach the Dock on the main island in 2007. The Dock is damaged since we last saw it, in a state of disrepair. When a few trees shake on the shore, and sounds like those the smoke monster makes can be faintly heard, Frank is stops in his tracks. But Sun pushes on, dismissing it as “probably just an animal.”

They find the Barracks abandoned and in the same state of ruin as the Dock. A now-familiar sign hangs free that reads “Processing Center.” They hear a few Whispers in the dark, and then a light comes on inside one of the houses. The front door opens, and out steps Christian Shephard. He identifies himself, and Sun asks if he knows where her husband is. He replies, “Follow me.”

In 1977, Jack and Kate are inside the Processing Center, watching the orientation video and waiting for their names to be called. Pierre Chang appears on the video, welcoming them to the Dharma Initiative, and warning them to stay inside the safety of the Barracks. Kate wonders aloud how they’ll pull this off, just before Phil (who we met in last week’s episode; he’s one of Sawyer’s security guys) calls out Jack’s name.

At the “Uniforms” booth, Pierre Chang enters, frustrated that Jack’s file isn’t in with any of the other recruits’. He mumbles something about “them” being “disorganized on the other side.” Chang asks who drove Jack’s shuttle from the sub. “Mr. LaFleur,” Jack replies, and Chang approves, remarking that LaFleur is a good man who runs a very tight operation. He apologizes for the disorganization, explaining that the woman (Amy) who was supposed to be handling uniforms processing had a baby yesterday, so he was pulled out of his lab to assist. Jack’s work assignment is something called “the Shed.” Jack doesn’t understand what this means; Chang explains that based on Jack’s aptitude test, he’s to be a janitor.

After nearly everyone has been processed, Kate is approached by Phil, who asks her name. She gives it, but he can’t find it on his list. He asks who her recruiter was, and she fumbles for an answer. Juliet enters, explaining that she just got a new list from Amy and that Kate is on it. Phil hands Kate off to Juliet, and the two share a conversation of formal greeting, as if they’ve never met before. “Welcome to the island,” Juliet concludes.

At the Flame station, Sawyer arrives to see Sayid. Outside, away from Radzinsky, Jin reports that he found Sayid wandering around the jungle after he inadvertently set off the perimeter alarm. They both go inside, and Sawyer demands the key to the closet. Radzinsky hesitates, saying that Sayid saw his model of the Swan as they brought him inside, and could have seen the survey of the site where they’re planning to build it. He concludes that Sayid is a spy sent by the Hostiles, and he wants to kill him, here and now.

Sawyer blows him off and demands the key again, wanting to talk to the prisoner. Jin retrieves Sayid, who can’t hide his surprise at seeing Sawyer again. Sawyer sits him down and interrogates him, asking Sayid to identify himself as a Hostile. He says that under the terms of the truce, if he doesn’t identify himself as a Hostile, Sawyer has the right to kill him. Sayid catches on quickly, replying that his people don’t call themselves Hostiles, but he is one. Sawyer is satisfied and orders that he be taken back to the Barracks as a prisoner until they can figure out what to do with him. But Radzinsky objects strongly, arguing that he’ll go directly over Sawyer’s head about this and speak to Horace. Sawyer tells him to go right ahead.

In ’07, Christian takes Sun and Frank to the old Processing Center, which is in shambles just like everything else. He walks to a far wall, where several “class photos” are hanging, and he retrieves the one from ‘77. When Sun asks again where Jin is, Christian replies that Jin is “with your friends.” He shows her the “class of ‘77″-style photo, in which are all of the second batch of Dharma recruits — including Jack, Kate, and Hurley. “I’m sorry,” Christian tells her, “but you have a bit of a journey ahead of you.”

After the “class of ‘77″ photo is taken (the same one Christian Shephard shows to Sun thirty years later), the new recruits are dismissed by Phil. Phil gets a call from Sawyer, who says he’s coming in with “the 14J,” aka Sayid. When the van arrives, Sayid is escorted by Sawyer and Jin down into the security HQ, underground, and placed into a holding cell. Sawyer says Sayid will wait here until they figure out what to do with him, and orders Phil to bring him something to eat. After Phil leaves, Sawyer makes eye contact with Sayid, offering him a reassuring-but-concerned look.

That night, Jack passes Phil outside and asks where James LaFleur lives. Phil points out LaFleur’s house, but warns him not to call him “James,” because LaFleur doesn’t like it. Jack knocks on the door of Sawyer’s house, and a smiling Juliet answers. Jack is stunned to find her there, but she embraces him warmly, saying it’s good to see him. After an awkward silence, Jack says he was looking for Sawyer, but “I guess I came to the wrong house.” No, she replies, this is the right house. She invites him in.

Sawyer is reading a book in the living room, and Juliet leaves the two of them alone to talk. Jack says he has so much to discuss he doesn’t even know where to start, but he settles on Sayid. Sawyer says he had no choice but to arrest Sayid, the situation forced him to improvise. Jack asks where they go from here, and Sawyer says he’s working on it. Jack shoots back that it looks like he’s just reading a book. Sawyer says that back when Jack was calling the shots, Jack never thought about anything. He “pretty much just reacted.” Sawyer, on the other hand, likes to handle things by thinking first. He blames Jack for a lot of people being killed, because he didn’t think before he acted. Jack argues that he got people off of the island, but Sawyer counters that despite that, here Jack is, right back where he started. Sawyer says he’s going to think, because thinking’s what saved Jack, Kate, and Hurley earlier today, and it’s what’s going to save Sayid tomorrow. He shows Jack out, telling him that all he has to do is go home, rest, and let Sawyer do his thing. “Ain’t that a relief?” he says. Jack actually looks sincere when he replies, “Yeah.”

As he watches Jack walk away from his front porch, Sawyer turns and makes distant eye contact with Kate, who’s also out on another front porch. They wave at each other, but say nothing, before Sawyer goes back inside his home.

Down in security HQ, Phil is on duty as a young boy enters and says he’s here to deliver some lunch to the prisoner. He goes to the cell and asks Sayid if he’s a Hostile. When Sayid evades the question, the boy asks him his name. “I’m Ben,” the boy says. Sayid is stunned, replying, “It’s nice to meet you, Ben.”

  • Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sayid were transported through time to 1977. Everyone else remained on the plane.
    Question: What happened when Ajira 316 went through the bright light? [5.06]
  • Nope. They remain in the present.
    Question: Where are Sun, Sayid, Ben, and Frank? Did they travel back in time as well? [5.06]
  • Ajira 316 survived its encounter with the Oceanic 6’s “window” that allowed them to return to the island. Most of the passengers appear to have survived, but several were injured.
    Question: What became of Ajira 316, and the rest of its passengers? [5.06]
  • The specifics aren’t entirely clear, but what we know for sure is that after the Oceanic 6 (all but Sun) disappeared from the plane, Ajira 316 found itself losing altitude above Hydra Island. Frank worked fast to bring the plane to an emergency landing on the Hydra runway.
    Question: How did Ajira 316 wind up on the island? Did it land? Did it crash? [5.07]
  • One assumes the runway was built so that Ajira 316 would have a place to land. How the Others and/or Jacob knew it would be coming three years prior to its arrival on the island remains to be explained.
    Question: Why were the Others building a runway on Hydra island? [3.22]
  • Sun.
    Question: Which passenger did Frank leave Hydra Island to go to the main island with? [5.07]
  • Sun wanted to go searching for Jin, and asked for his help.
    Question: Why did Frank steal a canoe to go to the main island? [5.07]
  • Horace and Amy Goodspeed’s baby is Ethan Rom. How and why he came to use the last name “Rom” is unknown.
    Question: Who is Horace and Amy’s baby boy? Is he someone we’ve met on the island in the present? [5.08]

  • Why was Sun left behind in the present, when all of the other Oceanic 6 were transported through time to the past?
  • Presumably, the Hydra Island runway was ordered built by Jacob, who knew that Ajira 316 would be coming to the island in 2007 and would need a place to land. So how did he know it would be coming?
  • What’s become of Daniel Faraday in 1977?

Is Lost juggling dozens of storylines this season, or what? And doing it remarkably well. Even in the midst of all that was going on in this episode, I found myself wondering when we’ll see Locke again, and what’s doing with Desmond. And Faraday, too. Hm.

The title “Namaste” is a word we’ve heard many times before, always on Dharma orientation videos and in other Dharma-related contexts. It’s a word that originates from Sanskrit, and it goes far beyond its common use in India and Nepal. It’s a gesture of great respect used all over the world, and is even used in yoga as a spoken-word common greeting between the yoga instructor and his or her students. It has many different meanings — all related to respectful greetings — but literally translates as “I bow to you.” I figure all this must have some relevance to the events in this episode, but I’ll leave it to others to speculate on the specifics of that.

Why did Ajira 316 crash? We assume it’s related to the pseudo-wonky “science” of the Oceanic 6 time-jumping their way back to the island, but all of them (except Sun) jumped through time before the plane went down. So what was it that made the plane go down?

And speaking of, why was it daytime outside the plane after the time flash took the Oceanic 6? Is it because the island’s normal progression through time seems to operate independently of the rest of the world (remember Faraday’s rocket in Season 4)? Or did the plane time-jump as well, only to something a little more current? I also noted the presence of all of the wrecked Dharma signage still lingering around the Barracks when Sun and Frank arrived; I don’t remember seeing all of that Dharma stuff around when the Others lived there in recent years. So are the Ajira passengers really in 2007? (I’ll come back to this in a few minutes.) Or is something else afoot?

The runway we saw the Others building waaaaay back in early Season 3 finally has revealed its purpose in the overall story. But in true Lost fashion, this only leads to new questions: did the Others know that the runway would be needed for the future arrival of a commercial jet? And if so, how? The simplest answer would be that they were directed to build it by Jacob, who somehow knew that Ajira 316 was going to need it in the future.

I still think we’re going to get to the end of the show and find out that Jacob is really a character we already know, like maybe Jack. The way the castaways are becoming integral parts of the history of the island — and there’s probably more time-hopping to come, in that regard — only reinforces this theory. Heck, maybe they’ll at the end of the show they’ll wind up really far back in time, and we’ll find out that the Others are their descendants! I’ve always wondered about the so-called “destiny” of the original group of survivors, whose arrival on the island (aside from John Locke) always seemed so random. It’s feeling less and less random with each new episode.

Who’s the man? That’s right, Frank Lapidus is the man. He’s one heck of a pilot, managing to land Ajira 316 on the island, and not crash, after all. I’m glad Frank is back in the game. He’s a fun character. Looks like he and Sun are heading off on their own buddy cop adventure… either to travel back through time to 1977 and join their friends, or find a way to bring their friends back to the present.

Okay, here’s one of the biggest questions I came away from this episode with, and I’m sure it’s bugging you too: Why didn’t Sun time-jump off of Ajira 316 with the rest of the Oceanic 6? I can tell you why, from a storyteller’s point of view: because it gives her a dramatic new hurdle to overcome before she can be reunited with her husband Jin. But how this will be explained in the show, I have no idea. My best guess is that it has something to do with the Oceanic 6 having to return to the island in order to save it, as Richard told Locke back in “Because You Left,” the Season 5 premiere. If I’m right, then for reasons yet to be explained, Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sayid were all required by the island to return, to join their fellow castaways. (The island even has a part for Desmond to still play, as Eloise Hawking recently told him.) This would mean that Ben was not required, and neither was Frank, even though like Desmond, he was with the Oceanic 6 when they left. And whatever the island has planned for Mr. Resurrection himself, John Locke, it’s in 2007, not 1977. (This is not surprising since it’s been hinted that Locke is meant to be a key player in the war between Ben and Widmore, and that war is happening in 2007.) But I have no idea why the island wouldn’t require Sun to return when it still needs all of her friends. Any guesses out there?

Funny that Jack failed to mention that Ben was among the Ajira 316 passengers, when he was telling Sawyer and Jin who else was with them. Maybe he figured it wasn’t the right time for that conversation. Or maybe he was just too chicken to tell them.

We finally got to meet the famous Radzinsky. We heard all about him four years ago, in the Season 2 finale. We know that eventually he’s going to be in the Swan station with Kelvin Inman, and the two of them will work together to keep pushing the button every 108 minutes for many years. Until Radzinksy, for reasons we don’t yet know, decides one day to kill himself. After the small taste of Radzinsky’s persnickety personality we got in this episode, I’m suddenly starting to empathize more with Kelvin’s general bad attitude, as we saw four years ago when Desmond first met him. Years of being stuck alone with someone like Radzinsky would probably make me grumpy too.

Radzinsky’s assembling of the Swan station model was likely a bit of foreshadowing. We know from his later comments to Jin that the Swan hasn’t been built yet, but the plans are underway, and they’ve already selected a site for it. And that the Others probably aren’t going to like the site they’ve chosen for the Swan (maybe because it’s far away from all the other stations, and therefore closer to Others’ territory?). It seems inevitable that the rest of this season will see the construction of the Swan. The fact that Radzinksy was instrumental in its design and construction is entirely new information, though.

There have now been two mysterious commercial airplane crashes in the Pacific Ocean over three years’ time. Shouldn’t this raise a flag for authorities and/or conspiracy nuts off the island?

Why does Dharma require new recruits to take a sedative before getting on board the submarine and traveling to the island? Is it to help keep safe the location of the island, or is there more to it than that? You’ll remember that Juliet had to undergo the exact same procedure before boarding the very same sub, back when Richard Alpert first recruited her to the island. (And is it just me, or are the present-day Others starting to feel more and more like the 70s Dharma people? They use a lot of the same procedures, and their numbers are made up of numerous non-natives.)

So Horace and Amy Goodspeed’s little boy is none other than Ethan Rom. Wow! Admittedly, he was one of very few viable candidates, given the timeframe of his birth, but still… I wasn’t expecting it. This means that Ethan was not a native of the island; he was born into the Dharma Initiative. Which makes his story very, very similar to Ben’s. But now we have new questions about Ethan: How did he survive the Purge? He would have been a teenager at the time. Until now, we’d been led to believe that Ben was the only Dharma member to survive the Purge. Did little Ethan strike up a friendship with teenage Ben, that eventually saved him from Ben’s plan to wipe out Dharma? Were there any other members of Dharma that survived the Purge and went on to become Others? And why is Ethan’s last name Rom instead of Goodspeed?

Just because I like to keep the timeline straight in my head… The fact that the “second batch” of Dharma recruits was introduced in this episode means that every Dharma member that’s been on the island since 1974 and before was all part of the first batch. From this, we can deduce that Roger and Ben Linus were part of that first batch of Dharma recruits, since we’ve met up with young Ben again and he’s older now. This is further verified by small details like Horace’s hair, which was much shorter when Roger and Ben first arrived on the island, than it is now in 1977. Not to mention the mysterious Olivia, Horace’s presumed first wife, who we saw teaching young Ben in school back when he and his dad first came to the island, and now she seems to be out of the picture.

Where is Daniel Faraday? Sawyer said he’s “not here anymore.” Are we to take that to mean that he’s not on the island anymore? That he’s not in the Dharma Initiative anymore? Or what? If he’s off the island, then is he off the island in 1977? Or is he back in 2007? We have yet to see him confront Pierre Chang with what he knows about the future of the Dharma Initiative, as we know from last year’s Comic-Con video that he will at some point. Nor have we seen how he wound up at the Orchid station as it was being built. Plus, he has to warn Charlotte not to return to the island after she leaves, if he hasn’t already. So if he’s off the island, we have to assume he’ll be back.

How awesome was it seeing this new and improved Sawyer interacting with his old pals, confident, cool, and in command? Sawyer was never a character I found myself rooting for very much (sorry, ladies), but I’ve warmed to him greatly since he joined up with Dharma. I find him a more likeable character now, and I think a lot of that has to do with how intelligently the writers are writing him post-Dharma. He used to be the angry redneck character who blew his fuse and spouted off at people at the drop of a hat; now he’s reserved, smart, and dependable. Three years of stable living, a good woman at his side, and all those books he’s read have done the guy a world of good. He’s even won the respect of the always-cranky Pierre Chang.

The Sun/Ben/Frank scenes in the jungle were pretty anticlimactic, since we already knew that Sun and Frank escaped to the main island on one of the canoes, and Ben wound up in the makeshift infirmary inside the Hydra station. We just didn’t know how they all wound up where they did. But it wasn’t hard to see Sun’s turn on Ben coming a mile away.

Was that a Swan logo on Pierre Chang’s lab jacket in the orientation video? Odd that he’d be wearing a logo for a station that hasn’t been built yet. Continuity error?

Who’s the “them” that Pierre Chang told Jack was “disorganized on the other side”? Most likely, the recruiters working for Dharma on the mainland.

Looks like Christian Shephard is still doing his help-people-find-their-path thing (which is very similar to Matthew Abaddon’s job of “helping people get to where they’re supposed to be”). He did it with Locke. He told Michael when it was okay for him to “go,” aka die. He seems to have helped his daughter Claire find her path in some way. And now he’s helping Sun (with Frank in tow). His assistance doesn’t seem to be rooted in any one particular time period, either. Locke was in the distant past when Christian last came to him, but we’ve also seen him many times in the present. Which makes sense, considering that he functions as the mouthpiece or oracle of the all-powerful Jacob. But we’re still no closer to knowing who and what Jacob is, and what it all means.

The “ghost or not a ghost” debate about Christian got a few more votes in the “not” column in this episode, as he was seen opening doors, turning on a light, and physically handing a picture in a frame to Sun. Dead spirits are typically believed to be too incorporeal to manipulate so many objects in this way. But then again, this is Lost, where absolutely nothing is “typical.”

I wonder what the significance is of “14J.” It’s the designation Dharma security gave to a Hostile intruder, but I’m talking more specifically of its significance to the overall mythology. Remember, names and titles always have special meanings. Nothing on Lost is ever named carelessly.

I’m willing to be that young Ben’s final exchange with Sayid was the start of a major new storyline between them. It’s no surprise that young Ben was interested in meeting the “Hostile” currently in captivity; we already know that his father’s poor treatment of him has driven him to an interest in the Others, and a desire to join them. He’s even made contact already with Richard Alpert, after wandering into the jungle late one night (as we saw in Season 3’s “The Man Behind the Curtain”). On the other side of the coin is Sayid, and his recent history with grown-up Ben, where he was manipulated into serving as Ben’s assassin against Widmore. We’re all thinking the same thing now, right? Sayid is going to try and kill young Ben, and prevent all of his own future sins in one fell swoop.

If there was a motif in this episode, it was undoubtedly subtext. It was everywhere. It was in Sawyer and Juliet’s quiet exchange on their bed after he tells her that Jack, Kate, and Hurley are back. You could see in her quiet reaction that she understands full well that the happy life she’s found with Sawyer is never going to be the same again; and Sawyer seemed to sense her sadness, even though he kept the conversation all about how to keep their friends safe. There was subtext in every exchange between Sayid and one of the survivors, as he was forced to masquerade as a Hostile, and in his final scene with young Ben. But my favorite instance was the scene where Kate and Juliet were reunited. Juliet totally saved Kate’s skin, and then played all warm and friendly in bringing this “newcomer” into the Dharma Initiative. While Juliet was being super nice, underneath that, you know she was saying, “Hey, been a long time. Glad you’re back and everything, but make a play for Sawyer and I will bust you up.”

The power play at the end between Sawyer and Jack I’m sure is far from over. For the most part, Jack seems content to let Sawyer take the reigns for a change, knowing that he has his own destiny on the island to find now. Maybe Jack was never meant to be the group’s leader at all, and he’s probably considering that notion right now. Sawyer’s doing a fine job so far. But then, the question of who is the proper leader on the island is also a source of unending conflict between man-of-destiny Locke and destiny’s-old-flame Ben, too. Plus there’s Charles Widmore, who was once the island’s big cheese and wants to be again. So many people on the island want to be in positions of power. In the end, only one of them is likely to emerge victorious.

When Caesar woke Ilana up after the crash, she was mildly delirious as she thought someone she knew was calling to her. It sounded like she said “Shara,” though I’m not positive. Any guesses? Is this someone we’ll find out about in Season 6?

My best guess about the Hydra runway situation is this. We saw in “The Incident” that Jacob visited Ilana sometime in the past and asked for her help. Based on her actions at the foot of the Tawaret statue, she and Bram and their friends appear to be working to do just that: help Jacob. So my guess is that Jacob’s bedside appeal for Ilana’s help happened sometime prior to 2004, when he ordered the runway built on Hydra island. This theory assumes that Jacob has precognitive abilities, in order to know the circumstances of Ilana’s arrival on the island three years later, but it’s the only explanation that fits the facts as his reason for building the runway. So… if Jacob has the ability to see the future, then he must have known that his nemesis would eventually assume Locke’s identity and arrange his murder. This can only mean that Jacob’s plan for Ilana has a purpose beyond protecting himself from Fake Locke and Ben. Hmm…

More

5.08 “LaFleur”

After their final time flash strands them in the ’70s, Sawyer takes charge and leads his friends into joining up with the Dharma Initiative.

Written by Elizabeth Sarnoff & Kyle Pennington
Directed by Mark Goldman

The episode begins at the end of “This Place Is Death,” where our band of left behind castaways on the island were watching John Locke descend into the well. Sawyer, as you’ll recall, was left holding the well’s rope, which now went into the ground where there was no well. Juliet says that this time flash took them back to a time before the well was dug. Miles sees something on the horizon and says they’re back “way before” the well was dug. The others follow his gaze to see the back of the four-toed statue, its entire body intact, and standing incredibly high in the sky.

Down in the well, Locke turns the wheel, and there’s one last flash. Another time jump occurs, and everyone notices that it felt different than the other flashes. Sawyer sees that the well has been built out of stones, but the hole itself still hasn’t been dug. The headaches and nosebleeds are all gone; Locke was successful in stabilizing the island. Sawyer sums up the plan from here: “Now we wait for him to come back.”

Three years later, it’s nighttime on the island when two members of the Dharma Initiative — a man named Jerry and a woman named Rosie — put on some music and dance, inside a Dharma security station. They’re interrupted by another security worker named Phil, who warns them that “if LaFleur finds out” what they’re up to, it would mean trouble. On one of the monitors, they spot Horace Goodspeed at the sonic fence. He’s heavily drunk, and carrying a backpack full of dynamite. He lights a stick and throws it into a tree, which explodes. Jerry and Phil send Rosie away, and reluctantly agree that they have to go and wake LaFleur.

They venture out to LaFleur’s house at the Barracks, and the man’s identity is revealed as none other than James “Sawyer” Ford. And his Dharma jumpsuit labels him as Head of Security.

Minutes later, Miles exits a Dharma house of his own, wearing his own Dharma jumpsuit that designates him as part of the security team. Sawyer waits for him in a van, and Miles readily defers to Sawyer’s authority. Sawyer says they’re headed out to the Flame station, where Horace is blowing up trees. It’s revealed that Horace is the leader of the Dharma Initiative, and that he’s never before been seen drinking. They find him passed out on the ground, and when Miles questions one of Sawyer’s orders, Sawyer asks if he’d prefer to be the one to tell Amy where they found Horace.

Back at Horace’s house, the Amy in question answers the door, and she’s nine months pregnant. Sawyer carries Horace in and deposits him on the couch, and explains what happened. Sawyer presses Amy to find out what drove Horace to this, and she finally reveals that the two of them had a fight, about someone named Paul. Sawyer recognizes this name. Amy suddenly experiences labor pains, and Sawyer rushes her off to deliver the baby.

Three years ago, we pick up with the group of survivors after the final time flash. They find Daniel back where they left him with Charlotte, only he’s sitting alone, totally distraught. He mumbles, “I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to tell her,” when Juliet asks him what happened. He finally explains that she died, and then when the last time flash happened, she disappeared. “She moved on, we stayed,” he says. Sawyer asks if that means that all the time jumping is over, and Daniel says yes. Wherever and whenever they are now, they’re there for good.

Sawyer declares that they’re going back to the beach, and Miles gripes about this, wondering who put him in charge. Juliet agrees with Sawyer, though later she quietly tells him it was a stupid idea, but it was better than arguing or doing nothing. Their tones of voice indicate that they’re both doing a little open flirting.

Gun shots in the distance stop everyone in their tracks, and they hear a woman crying. Tracking the sound to its source, they spot two Others, who’ve shot and killed a man on the ground, and are preparing to kill the woman who was accompanying him. The pair were having a picnic from the looks of things. The woman is Amy, but the dead man on the ground is someone we’ve never seen before. Sawyer wants to intervene, but Miles doesn’t. He asks Daniel to back him up, but Dan says it ultimately doesn’t matter what they do. “Whatever happened, happened,” he says.

Sawyer and Juliet rush in and save Amy, shooting the two Others dead. After Sawyer has calmed her down, Amy asks, “Who are you?”

A few minutes later, Amy is crying over her companion’s body. Sawyer and Juliet confer in private, looking over the two men they killed. Juliet notes that Amy’s companion is wearing a Dharma jumpsuit, which places them somewhere in the 70s. Sawyer asks if she recognizes the two Others they killed, and she says no, they’re from before her time.

Sawyer lies to Amy about who they are, saying they were shipwrecked on a ship headed for Tahiti. Juliet says that more Others will be on the way soon to look for their men, and they should get out of there. But Amy begs them to bury the Others for the sake of “the truce,” and to carry her dead companion — her husband, Paul — back to camp. Jin volunteers to carry Paul.

As they travel to the Dharma Barracks, Sawyer tells his friends that there are going to be a lot of questions asked of them, and that they should let him do the talking. He has a cover story already worked out, and he used to lie for a living as a con man, so he can handle it. Juliet calls out to Daniel, who’s walking near the front of the group, to stop, because they’ve come upon the sonic fence that surrounds the Barracks. Juliet covers by saying it looks “like some kind of sonic barrier,” and asks Amy to turn it off. At first Amy plays dumb, but eventually she agrees, moving to the control panel. When she announces it’s off, Sawyer tells her to go first. She successfully passes through the fence’s pylons without incident, so everyone else follows her. But they are immediately taken down by the sonic fence, which is still operational. After they’re unconscious, Amy pulls a pair of earplugs out of her ears, revealing how she passed through the fence unharmed.

Three years later, Amy is in labor, but the Dharma internist doctor tells Sawyer that she’s breech, and needs a Caesarean to get the baby out. The doctor says that Amy was about to leave the island on the submarine for her delivery, since all Dharma deliveries are carried out on the mainland. But she’s two weeks early. And this doctor isn’t qualified to conduct a Caesarean birth.

Sawyer takes off, looking for Juliet. He finds her working on one of the blue Dharma vans, where she is now a member of the Dharma motor pool. He whispers to her that Amy needs her help, that she’s the only person on the island who can deliver the baby. Juliet is reluctant to help; they’ve lied about who they all are to the Dharma people, and she’s watched so many pregnant women die on this island… But he convinces her to go.

Back at the medical building, Juliet quickly takes charge, issuing orders to the internist doctor. The doctor balks at her sudden authority, but Amy says she wants Juliet to handle the delivery. Sawyer shares a brief moment with Juliet, telling her he believes in her, that she can do this.

Outside, Sawyer waits anxiously. Jin approaches — speaking much better English after three years as part of the Dharma Initiative — and reports to Sawyer that his ongoing, regular searches for “our people” are still coming up empty. He asks Sawyer how long he is to go on searching. Sawyer replies, “As long as it takes.”

A very emotional Juliet suddenly emerges, proclaiming, “It’s a boy!” and that both mother and baby are perfectly fine.

Three years ago, Sawyer wakes up after being knocked out by the sonic fence. Horace is watching him, waiting for him to awaken, and immediately begins questioning him. Sawyer weaves his intricate lie, explaining that he and his friends were on a salvage vessel headed for Tahiti, looking for a famous old slave ship called the Black Rock. Horace says he’s never heard of the ship. Sawyer continues, saying that their ship wrecked, they washed ashore, and they were looking for the rest of their crewmembers when they came upon Amy and Paul, under attack in the jungle.

When he complains about the welcome they received after saving Amy’s life, Horace says that the Dharma Initiative has strict security protocols that have to be observed. And as such, Dharma’s submarine is scheduled to depart tomorrow, and that he intends for Sawyer and his people to all be on it. They’ll drop them in Tahiti, he says.

Outside, everyone else sits around a table, conversing at night and speculating on what Sawyer is saying to Horace. Juliet is particularly bemused to be back here, seeing nearby the house she lived in for three years. Daniel agrees that all of this is very odd, saying that “the record is spinning again, we’re just not on the song we want to be on.” Just then, a woman walks by with a little red-headed girl, and Daniel is taken aback. It’s Charlotte as a child.

Sawyer comes outside and tells them they’re being forced to leave the island. Miles asks why that’s a bad thing, but they’re all interrupted by a loud alarm blaring. A Dharma member ushers them quickly inside a house, as all of the other Dharma members retreat to their homes for safety.

Richard Alpert strides into the compound and places a burning torch into the ground. Horace walks outside to speak with him, and addresses him as “Mr. Alpert.” Richard is there looking for his two missing men, and he reminds Horace that there is a truce between his people and Dharma, which killing his men has violated.

Horace quickly goes to the house where Sawyer and his people are hiding, and asks him just how well they buried the bodies of the men they shot. Sawyer says he’s going to handle this, and doesn’t give Horace the option of declining. He goes out into the courtyard and addresses Richard by name. After confessing to killing Richard’s men, explaining that it was self-defense after he came to the aid of a helpless woman, he says that the truce hasn’t been broken, because he’s not Dharma. When Richard asks who he is then, Sawyer replies, “Did you bury the bomb?” The hydrogen bomb named Jughead, he explains. He also says that he knows that a man named John Locke entered his camp back twenty years ago and said he was the leader of Richard’s people, right before he vanished. When Richard demands to know how Sawyer knows all this, Sawyer replies that he’s waiting for Locke to get back.

Richard believes Sawyer that he’s not Dharma and the truce was not broken. But, he says, his people need “some kind of justice” for the two men who were killed.

In the medical building, Amy stands over her husband’s body, and Horace approaches. She asks if Richard is still out there, and he says yes, that Richard needs to take Paul’s body back with him, in order to uphold the truce. He gives Amy the ultimate choice, saying he’s willing to accept the consequences if she can’t go through with it. But she agrees, saying that Paul would want them to maintain the peace. She removes a pendant necklace from beneath Paul’s shirt, and leaves. Horace tells Sawyer that when the submarine leaves tomorrow, it will be back in two weeks. He’ll allow Sawyer and his friends to stay until it returns in two weeks, and they can look for their missing people until then.

Later, Sawyer meets Juliet down at the dock, where the submarine stands waiting. He tells her that he bought them another two weeks to wait for Locke to get back. She asks what they’re supposed to do if and when that happens. Her question is rhetorical, because she just wants to leave. She’s been trying to get off of this island for years, and the fact that it’s 1974 now isn’t going to stop her. She just wants to leave. He says that if she leaves, who’s going to have his back, the way she did when they shot the two Others? He asks her to stay just for two more weeks, until the sub gets back, to wait and see if Locke returns. She reluctantly agrees.

Three years later, Sawyer picks a flower and takes it home — to Juliet, who’s cooked dinner for the two of them. The two of them are clearly living together. He tells her she was amazing today, at the delivery. She thanks him for believing in her. They embrace, and Juliet says, “I love you.” Sawyer replies, “I love you, too.”

Later, Sawyer is reading a book while waiting on a snoring Horace Goodspeed to wake up. When Horace rouses, Sawyer tells him that he has a son, but he missed the kid’s birth. The two are clearly friends now, despite their rocky first meeting. Sawyer asks why he got drunk and started blowing up trees. Horace confesses that he found Paul’s necklace — the one Amy took from Paul’s body three years ago — in the back of one of her dresser drawers while looking for a pair of socks, and the two of them got into a fight over it. Sawyer says that that was pretty silly, and Horace agrees, but he can’t help wondering… Is three years really long enough to get over a lost love? Sawyer tells him that he loved a girl about three years ago, but he never really took a run at her. Does he regret it? He says that now, after all this time, he finds that he can barely even remember what she looked like. And it doesn’t matter anyway, because she’s gone and she’s never coming back. Yes, he says, three years is plenty long enough to get over someone.

The next morning, Sawyer and Juliet are still in bed when he gets a phone call from Jin. It’s the day Jin found Jack, Kate, and Hurley in the lagoon, as seen at the end of “316,” and he’s calling to tell Sawyer the news. Sawyer tells him to meet him in the north valley, far from the Barracks. Juliet wakes up and asks where he’s going, but he just says everything’s okay but he has to go, though he’s visibly shaken.

Driving a blue Dharma jeep, he meets up with Jin’s van, and out comes Jack, Hurley, and Kate. His eyes and Kate’s meet, and the look on his face shows that three years wasn’t long enough to get over her, after all.

  • Yes, Dharma is the source of the polar bears.
    Question: Tom mentioned that “bears” were once the occupants of Sawyer’s jail cell. Did he mean polar bears? Is that how polar bears came to be on the island — brought there by the Dharma Initiative, to be used in their experiments? [3.01]
  • Horace Goodspeed is the leader of the Dharma Initiative on the island.
    Question: What is Horace’s position in the Dharma Initiative? [3.20]
  • The survivors left behind have become permanently stuck in the 1970s, where they’ve joined up with the Dharma Initiative in order to survive and stay on the island to wait for Locke to return with the Oceanic 6.
    Question: Why was Jin wearing a Dharma jumpsuit and driving a Dharma van? What’s happened to the survivors left behind on the island? [5.06]

  • Olivia, Horace’s original companion on the island, seems to be out of the picture now. What happened to her? (Was she his wife? Girlfriend? Sister? This was never explained.)
  • Since Amy was able to carry her baby to full term and deliver successfully (with Juliet’s Caesarian help), then the problem that present-day Others have with bearing children is something that began after 1977. What happened to the cause this childbirth problem in the present?
  • Who is Horace and Amy’s baby boy? Is he someone we’ve met on the island in the present?
  • How and when did the Others and the Dharma Initiative come to a Truce? What were the circumstances that spurred this agreement?
  • Sawyer, Jin, Juliet, Miles, and Daniel have wound up in 1977 after all that jumping through time. Are they the only members of the original Oceanic 815 group of survivors left alive now? Did anyone else end up in 1977 with them? What about Rose and Bernard? What’s become of them?

Whew! The stories just keep coming fast and furious this season, don’t they? Now that the Oceanic 6 and island-time-jumping storylines have come to a conclusion, Lost wasted no time launching into a major new story arc.

Holy crap, we actually got to see the four-toed statue in full! Alas, we only got to see it from behind. But still… One would have to guess that, like Miles said, that last time flash took them waaaaay back in time. There was a civilization living on the island sometime, long ago. Who were they? Were they the Others/Hostiles? Or some civilization that predated even them? I’m guessing the front of that statue would offer a mighty big clue, or they would have shown it to us by now. Do you suppose a face we know is depicted on it? Richard? Jacob? Someone else? I’ll come back to the statue with lots more thoughts in a minute.

“LaFleur” presented us with another time jump. All of the main characters on the show are now three years ahead of the days when we followed them day-by-day — whether thanks to off the island activities, or on. This conveniently gives all of them plenty of new fodder for future flashback stories. Will the rest of this season and all of Season 6 play out with a return of flashbacks only?

Interesting, is it not, that the island survivors have now spent as much time apart from the Oceanic 6, as the O6 have spent apart from them — three years. Is it coincidence that the same amount of time passed for both groups, or is it something more? I would imagine it mostly was a decision on the writers’ part to have both groups separated for the same amount of time, to make it easier to follow the character developments from this point forward.

Equally interesting is the fact that both groups felt the need to lie, to conceal the truth in order to survive. The Oceanic 6 lied about their time on the island, and the survivors left behind lied to the Dharma Initiative about where they came from.

I couldn’t quite figure out which Dharma station the security station was, where the workers watched Horace Goodspeed wander around drunk, tossing dynamite into trees. My first thought was that it looked like the Pearl, with all of the video monitors. But it seems more likely it would be the Arrow, since it was one we’ve never really seen before. We only caught a glimpse of one part of the Arrow station back in Season 2, when the Tailies were taking up refuge there.

Did you notice that Rosie — the girl dancing with Jerry in the security station — was wearing a Geronimo Jackson t-shirt? Charlotte referenced Geronimo Jackson during her time-trip delusions that occurred just before she died.

Jerry’s crack to Paul, “What’s going to happen? The polar bears are going to figure a way out of their cages?” is a nice little wink to continuity, going all the way back to the pilot episode. We didn’t know then, but we know now, that the polar bears belonged to Dharma. And the cages in question are over on Hydra island, where Kate and Sawyer were held captive by the Others in Season 3.

Where did Horace get dynamite? Did Dharma bring some with them as part of their armory, or did he requisition it from the Black Rock? If so, then either he was lying to Sawyer about having ever heard of the old slave ship, or three years later, Dharma came across it at some point.

Horace and Amy obviously married after Amy lost her first husband Paul to an attack by the Hostiles. But Horace Goodspeed also had a different wife when he first came to the island, back when he recruited Roger Linus. Her name was Olivia Goodspeed, and she taught school for the Dharma kids. What happened to her? Did she die as well? Or did they divorce? And was she still around in the “Three Years Ago” segments, when Sawyer and the others first encountered Horace?

Last season, Locke had a vision of Horace Goodspeed building a cabin in the woods — very likely the cabin where Jacob now lives. Was he building the cabin for Amy, or for Olivia?

The fact that Horace is the leader of the Dharma Initiative is a major revelation. We knew from his appearance in “The Man Behind the Curtain” that he held a position of some authority within Dharma, but I didn’t see it coming at all that he was their “fearless leader.” I always assumed the person in charge was Pierre Chang or Alvar Hanso, or maybe someone else we haven’t met yet.

I never got a terribly good look at it, but I believe Horace’s jumpsuit identifies him as “Mathematician.”

Poor Daniel. His mutterings of “I’m not going to tell her” are a clear reference to Charlotte’s story about him coming to her as a little girl and telling her never to come back to the island or she’d die.

“Whenever we are now, it’s for good,” according to Daniel. Is this true? Will the present day castaways never be able to return to what they know as the present, on the island? What about the Purge? Now that all of the left behind survivors are part of the Dharma Initiative, and I’d be willing to bet most if not all of the Oceanic 6 will soon be joining up as well, what will become of them when the Others enact the Purge, and kill every member of Dharma? I’d be willing to bet a future storyline will be about them trying to either stop or escape from the Purge. Sounds perfectly epic enough for something like this year’s season finale, wouldn’t you say? Or maybe even the series finale next season, for all we know.

Why were the Others/Hostiles executing Amy and Paul, if they have a truce with the Dharma Initiative? Did Amy and Paul trespass into Hostile territory, or violate the truce in some other way?

How did Amy survive her pregnancy, since we know the island kills pregnant women? The Dharma doctor told Sawyer that they send all pregnant women to the mainland to deliver, but that could have merely been because of the meager medical facilities they had available on the island. Is it, as Sawyer suggests to Juliet, a time before the island started having fatal effects on pregnant women? If so, then what caused this phenomenon to begin? One possible answer could be lingering aftereffects of the Purge. We know that the Purge was carried out by releasing chemical toxins into the atmosphere via the Tempest station, and that this took place in no small part due to the scheming of Benjamin Linus to take over leadership of the Others. How ironic would it be that the problem that vexed him so greatly later in life — the Others’ inability to have children on the island — a problem he recruited Juliet specifically to address, was originally caused by his own actions during the Purge?

Why did Amy want Juliet to conduct her delivery? Did she already know that Juliet was qualified, despite the lies Sawyer & Co. told the Dharma people about who they really are? Does she know that Sawyer and his friends are lying? Or does Amy trust Sawyer and Juliet simply because she’s known them for three years now?

How great is it that Jin can speak normal English now, finally? Actor Daniel Dae Kim can finally interact with all the other characters without translations, gestures, or broken English. I loved that little side-effect of the three-year island time jump.

A big question you should be pondering right now: Who is Amy and Horace’s baby boy? The chances of him being someone we’ve already met are pretty good. Given that he was born in 1974, he would be right at 30 years old if we’ve seen him on the island prior to now (since all of the island action up to this season took place in 2004). Could it be a major character with a heretofore unknown history of being born on the island? Maybe Jack or Sawyer? Desmond would be a provocative choice, since we don’t know anything about his childhood. Can’t be Daniel, because his mother is Eloise Hawking. And Miles is more likely to be the child of Pierre Chang. Sayid is an Iraqi national. Hurley is Hispanic. That leaves secondary players like Ethan Rom, Goodwin, or Ajira 315 newcomer Caesar. That last one becomes more likely when you consider that Juliet delivered the baby by Caesarean. Could his parents have decided to name the little guy after his delivery method? If he is Caesar, then the grown-up Caesar knows a lot more about the island than he’s letting on to the other Ajira survivors, and it was probably no accident that he wound up on that flight.

Actress Elizabeth Mitchell was given a big moment to carry as an actress, in the scene where she emerges from the delivery room. Since the writers chose not to show us the delivery or even the baby afterwards, Mitchell was solely responsible for conveying the weight of Amy’s successful delivery. And carry it she did, splendidly. That was a great scene.

Are we meant to assume that Horace’s opinion of Sawyer as “not Dharma material” changed largely due to how smartly Sawyer handled the situation with Richard? Or is there more to Horace accepting Sawyer and his friends into the Dharma Initiative, that’s yet to be revealed?

Why would Richard be the one coming to the Dharma Barracks to speak to Horace, when this episode falls into the timeframe when we know that Charles Widmore was leader of the Others? Why didn’t Widmore come talk to Horace? And this clearly wasn’t the first time Richard had been around them — both Horace and Amy knew him by name.

Richard claimed that the sonic fence can’t keep him out, or any of his people. And he proved it by marching into the Barracks. So how do they get around it? Do they also utilize earplugs, just like Amy did? Or is there more to this?

How and when did the Dharma Initiative and the Others come to their truce? Inquiring minds want to know.

What exactly did Richard’s people do with Paul’s body once he brought it to them? Did he just need it as proof that the truce was maintained? Or did they have a specific purpose in mind for it? Maybe they intended to reanimated it somehow, as Christian Shephard and John Locke have both been brought back to life. Then again, maybe they’re cannibals and just wanted supper.

Would it really be 1974 off the island, if anyone on the island left it now? The Oceanic 6 returned to the island and traveled back to 1974, even though they originated in 2008. Is the island in its own pocket bubble of time? I don’t understand why it would be, since up until this season, it’s always seemed to run concurrent with time off the island. Did Locke or Ben change things somehow, when they turned the wheel? I’m hoping Dan will explain how all of this works at some point.

So Sawyer managed to convince Juliet — who desperately wants to leave the island — to stay for two extra weeks. Yet three years later, we see them happily in love and living together. Did they really fall in love in just two weeks’ time, and that’s how he was able to get her to stay permanently? Or was there another reason she stayed?

Watching Sawyer three years in the future, a happy member of the Dharma Initiative, with Juliet blissfully at his side, is a really rewarding thing to see. He’s come a long way from the angry, social malcontent we first met back in Season 1. He’s settled comfortably into a position of leadership, he’s found lasting love, and he’s allowed the better angels of his nature to surface. Juliet and her calm, cool demeanor have been good for him.

It goes without saying that Sawyer and Juliet’s romance is about to get very complicated, with the arrival of Jack and Kate. But I am hereby announcing that henceforth I’m fully rooting for Sawyer and Juliet staying together. They’re such an unlikely pairing that I was surprised at what a sweet, genuine couple they made, and the actors really made me believe in their feelings for each other. I probably like seeing them together so much because those feelings for one another are based on a mutual belief in each another, that the other person can be better, or more than they once were. And Kate and Jack have always been better suited to each other, anyway, if they can ever get over their respective baggage.

But wait, there’s a fifth player in this growing love triangle, quadrangle, or whatever shape it is now: Ben. He believes that Juliet is his, as we saw in last season’s “The Other Woman.” Which is probably going to place Sawyer squarely in his crosshairs at some point. But Sawyer is in a position of power on the island now as head of Dharma security, where Ben will be completely unknown by the Others, and therefore entirely on his own.

I still don’t get why Richard told Locke back in “Because You Left,” the Season 5 premiere, that “the only way to save the island” was to get back the people who left. The island seems to have been saved; there are no more time flashes, and haven’t been for three years now. So what difference does it make to the safety of the island that the Oceanic 6 returned? The island seemed pretty darn safe to me three years before they got there.

The one castaway we never caught up with after the three-year time jump was Daniel Faraday. Yet we know from the season premier that he also winds up as part of the Dharma Initiative. So where was he? And what department did he wind up in? All of the others are basically “working grunts,” which we can understand Horace accepting them as, since they have no science backgrounds. But Daniel is a scientist, and could easily fit in among any of the scientific research studies Dharma is conducting on the island. Is that why we didn’t see him? Is he stuck conducting experiments off in the Swan or the Orchid or someplace?

Paul’s necklace bore an Ankh amulet, which was an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol for life and fertility. It’s also known as “the key of life,” “the key of the Nile,” or “cross with a handle.” It was popular among the Hippie subculture of the 60s, which could explain Paul’s affinity for it, since Dharma was big with the “peace, love, and world unity” vibe. Then again, this is Lost, so it probably has a much deeper significance and meaning than that…

Which brings me back to the four-toed statue. Granted, we only saw the back of it, but it has a decidedly Egyptian appearance about it. The statue even holds something in its right hand that looked an awful lot like an Ankh symbol. The statue’s right hand can clearly be seen clasping something hoop-shaped, which could easily be the top loop of an Ankh. It also holds something in its left hand, which isn’t quite as easy to see (stupid trees!). Its head looks strikingly like the back of a traditional Egyptian pharaoh’s headdress, but there’s a small crown (or maybe a flat-top) on the very top. The statue also wears what looks like a textured loincloth, but then again, for all we know, it could just be a miniskirt. The gender of the statue is impossible to determine, and I would imagine this was intentional on the part of the show’s producers.

I have a million questions about this thing! Who built the statue? When? What’s with all the Egyptian influences, if the island is way over in the Pacific Ocean? (That’s pretty much the opposite side of the world from Egypt.) Did it deteriorate naturally over time (which would make it crazy old), or was it intentionally destroyed during some kind of conflict, leaving only the sandaled foot that exists today?

Theories, anyone?

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