The Wife:

Please bear with me, as I’m trying to process everything that happened in “The Incident” as I write this. Finally, we meet Jacob, ye most mysterious of island god-figures, and in addition to being a great weaver of the tapestry of fate (which is what I believe he is, as the metaphor of fate as woven exists in several ancient mythologies, as well as in Wanted), he’s also Mark Pellegrino and cooks up some mean orange roughy on hot-ass rocks. He also has a friend, a friend with no name who seems to be slightly at odds with Jacob as they sit, looking out at the clipper ship on the ocean that will undoubtedly be revealed to be the Black Rock and will likely carry one Richard Alpert, helper to island gods and island leaders.

Jacob’s unnamed associate asserts that he knows that Jacob brought the Black Rock here, specifically to prove him wrong about, I assume, humanity. Since I just went back and watched this intro, let me give you the rest of their conversation from this point:

Dude: “They come. Fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same.”
Jacob: “It only ends once. Anything that happens before that, it’s just progress.”
Dude: “Do you have any idea how badly I want to kill you?”
Jacob: “Yes.”
Dude: “One of these days, sooner or later, I’m going to find a loophole, my friend.”
Jacob: “Well, when you do I’ll be right here.”
Dude: “Always nice talking to you, Jacob.”
Jacob: “Nice talking to you, too.”

It seems pretty clear to me that my husband is right about the battle of the gods that’s taking place on this island, with Jacob and this other dude trying to prove something to one another about human nature (I think). To facilitate that argument, Jacob has started bringing people to the island, setting up a tropical microcosm in which to prove his point. I think Jacob is trying to prove that there is some inherent goodness in humanity, hence why we spent the first season of this show examining how being marooned on a tropical island with total strangers can somehow serve as atonement for sins of the past. And just as he brought the Black Rock to the island, so, too, he brought the castaways, as seen through a series of flashbacks:

  • Kate: Saved her from juvie as a child when she and young Mackenzie Astin stole an NKOTB lunchbox. He makes her promise that she’ll never steal again.
  • Sawyer: At the boy’s parents’ funeral, Jacob gives young Sawyer a pencil to finish the letter he will carry with him until the day he kills Anthony Cooper. Sawyer’s uncle tells him that what’s done is done.
  • Jin and Sun: As the only white man at their beautiful wedding, he reminds them to never doubt their love for one another, a compliment to Jin’s moving vows, which promise that he and Sun will never be apart because that would be like the sky being apart from the earth.
  • Locke: When his father tosses him out a window, Jacob is nearby reading Flannery O’Connor’s Everything That Arises Must Converge (perhaps a subtle nod to assure the viewers that, yes, everything brought up on this crazy-ass show will make sense in the end). He revives unconscious Locke with a touch and tells him everything will be okay.
  • Sayid: Jacob distracts Sayid while crossing an L.A. street while Nadya gets hit by a car and dies, and I gasped out loud because it was so horrifying.
  • Jack: After his father gives him hell during his first surgery, Jack tries to get an Apollo bar out of the machine. It gets stuck and he confronts his father. Jacob makes Jack feel better by getting a second candy bar and giving one to Jack. “I guess it just needed a little push,” he says, which isn’t just about the candy bar.
  • Ilana: As she lies wounded in a Russian hospital, Jacob comes to ask her to help him.
  • Hurley: When he gets discharged from jail, Jacob is waiting to share a cab with him. He asks Hurley why he won’t go back to the island, to which he replies that he’s cursed. Jacob suggests that his ability to talk to the dead is a blessing and tells Hurley he has a choice to be on A316 and leaves him Charlie’s guitar. (Or the guitar that will replace Charlie’s on the plane.)


This is not the order in which these Jacob flashbacks occur, but I listed them in this way because the first three people didn’t seem to follow the path Jacob set for them. Kate still became a criminal. Sawyer lives his life with the goal of killing the real Sawyer. And Sun and Jin do doubt their love. But, as with the rest of the people Jacob visited, they do come to the island. They do, ultimately, end up where Jacob wants them. Because Ilana is part of this group, I believe this lends some credibility to the theory that Oceanic 815 was not the plane that was supposed to come to the island, but that Ajira 316 was. However, I can’t totally buy that O815 was never meant to be because it allowed so many people to redeem themselves and atone for their pasts: for Jin and Sun to save their marriage, especially.

Look how happy they could have been if they had just listened to that nice white man!

Look how happy they could have been if they had just listened to that nice white man!


So what about that H bomb and Jack’s quest to reset history and erase everyone’s stories of redemption? Alpert, Sayid, Swayer and Eloise puzzle over how to transport a giant bomb across the island, and Sayid finds instructions in Faraday’s journal that indicate they only need to use the core. Sayid, who can now add dismantling atomic bombs to his ever-growing skillset, removes the core and carefully wraps it. Richard moves a wall in the tunnel that leads into the cellar of a Dharma house (just like Ben has a secret closet that leads to his Smokey-calling device; also his magical Schrödinger’s cat box in which he kept Anthony Cooper). Eloise insists that she wants to lead the way because she will not hesitate to kill any Dharmites that get in the way. Richard reminds her that she’s pregnant, and then knocks her unconscious, instructing Jack and Sayid to go on without them because he has helped them as much as he can. Because of all the hullabaloo going down in Dharmaville, Sayid and Jack try to hide in plain sight by donning Dharma uniforms. This works, until Roger Linus recognizes Sayid and shoots him right in the gut, despite Sayid’s protest that he’s kind of carrying a nuclear device. (Roger Linus douchebag points just keep on adding up.) A giant shootout ensues, and Jin, Hurley and Miles swing by in a Dharma van just in time to pick up Jack and Sayid, which pleases Jack to no end. Sayid, who is pretty certain he’s going to die, tells Jack that he just needs to stay alive long enough to rewire the bomb to detonate on impact.

As for Kate the Romance Ruiner, she informs Juliet and Sawyer that Jack is planning to blow up the island and erase history. Sawyer seems totally fine with this because Kate returning to the island totally fucked up his great life as LaFleur. But Juliet decides that they can’t let everyone die, so she engineers an escape from the sub and the three of them row back to the shore after instructing the sub captain to stay on his course and get away as quickly as possible. Once on land, they begin their quest to stop Jack by running in to Vincent, who takes them to the fantastic little island cabin where Rose and Bernard have been living for the past three years. (Best use of “Son of a Bitch” ever: Bernard, upon seeing the trio for the first time since the flaming arrow attack.) Rose and Bernard want nothing to do with this whole crazy stopping Jack plan. They’ve been living happily in the jungle and show great disdain for all of the fighting factions amongst their former people. My theory: when whatever happens at the end of this episode happens, Rose and Bernard become Adam and Eve, the skeletons in the cave from season 1, each of which held a white and a black rock. I don’t know how that would work, necessarily, but I like it, especially because Rose and Bernard both agreed that they’d be totally fine with dying should someone fail to stop Jack. Kate, Sawyer and Juliet head off on their way, despite Rose and Bernard’s assurance that none of this really matters, and stop the van.

Son of a bitch! Its those damn meddlesome kids again!

Son of a bitch! It's those damn meddlesome kids again!

Meanwhile, Locke, Ben, Alpert and the others continue on their path to Jacob. Alpert marvels at how Locke is alive, given the recent information he receive that Ben had strangled him to death. Alpert tells Locke that he is immortal because of Jacob, which Locke reckons is how he came to be alive again, as well. He also mentions that he plans to “deal with” the rest of the Ajira passengers once he’s done killing Jacob. Ben informs Locke of his promise to his dead daughter, who instructed him to do whatever Locke says, no matter what. Locke grins from ear to ear upon hearing this, because now he won’t have to convince Ben to kill Jacob. Ben will simply do it. Ben tells Locke what he already knew: that Ben was faking his conversation with Jacob the first time he took Locke to the cabin. He admits that he has never seen Jacob, the man who gave him orders for all those years as leader of the Others. “So yes, I lied,” he mutters. “That’s what I do.” He asks Locke why he has to be the one to kill Jacob, and Locke simply says that after all his years in service to the island, he got cancer, saw his daughter die and was banished – shouldn’t that be reason enough?

As for Ilana, Bram and the rest of the Ajira passengers, they’ve taken an unconscious Lapidus on their journey to whatever lies in the shadow of the statue, along with a giant-ass box. Lapidus wakes up to hear Bram dismiss him as unworthy of being some kind of sacrifice, and they show Lapidus what’s in that thar box, leading me to squeel, “What’s in the box!? What’s in the box?!” at every commercial break. Bram assures Lapidus that he and his cronies are the good guys as they cart that box to Jacob’s cabin. Ilana enters and finds the place trashed. She tells everyone to burn it down because Jacob’s not there (but his dog man portrait is; so much for the Jacob the Dog Man theories) and someone else has been using it. When Bram questions her motives, she hands him a piece of the tapestry Jacob had woven and pinned to the wall.

Sawyer takes Jack aside and requests five minutes to convince him not to change what had happened by telling him that last year, in 1976, the other Sawyer killed his parents. At any time during his tenure in Dharmaville, he could have taken a sub off-island and stopped it. But he didn’t because what’s done is done. Sawyer urges Jack to admit why he’s doing this, and Jack says he wants to erase time because he fucked up his relationship with Kate. Sawyer casually reminds him that if what he does works out, he won’t even meet Kate and she’ll spend her days in handcuffs. So Jack and Sawyer solve this the only way they know how: a super bloody fistfight, later broken up by Juliet, who now believes that they have to allow Jack to do what he wants to do. Why did she change her mind? Because Sawyer bothered to look at that freckled homewrecker when she descended into the sub. Just because they love each other, Juliet says, doesn’t mean they should be together. “If I never meet you,” she tells him, “then I never have to lose you.” (This revelation was mitigated by a flashback to her parents divorce, and was the only flashback not involving Jacob in this episode. Doesn’t that strike you as odd? It strikes me as odd.)


After the fight, Kate and Jack reenact their first meeting on the island as she cleans his wounds. She tells him she came back to save Claire and Aaron, because if Jack’s plan works, then Aaron would never be away from his mum. Even though she planned to give him up for adoption, she never would have gotten on that plane and maybe, just maybe, she’d have had a choice about what to do with her son. Hearing Kate’s belief in his plan, Jack insists that nothing in his life has ever felt as right as what he is about to do. So while Phil alerts Radzinsky to Sayid’s presence, Radzinsky remains on the warpath, insisting that he must keep drilling at the Swan site, no matter what the cost. Pierre Chang, who has tried his damnedest to get as many people off the island as possible, tries to convince Radzinsky to stop drilling, but he won’t do it. Jack takes the bomb, ready to drop it as close to the site of electromagnetism as possible and as he heads off, Miles suddenly points out to his companions that maybe, just maybe, Jack is going to end up causing the very thing he’s trying to prevent. “Maybe that little nuke IS the incident?” he questions. “Glad you guys thought this one through.”

With Hurley driving the Dharmavan, everyone in the group pulls up shooting to give Jack and clear path to the drilling site. As he drops the bomb, they all brace for their imminent death . . . but nothing happens . . . until suddenly anything metal gets sucked down the drill hole, including the drill itself, which collapses and crushes Pierre Chang’s left arm (thus confirming the theory that he would lose it in he Incident, which is why his left arm looks strangely immobile in all the Dharma videos). Phil gets impaled with rebar, which made me really happy.

I was going to try to be serious about this, but, holy wow, is not the most awesome, hilarious still youve ever seen?

I was going to try to be serious about this, but, holy wow, is not the most awesome, hilarious still you've ever seen?

Worse, though, is that a metal chain wraps itself around Juliet’s waist and drags her down into the hole. Kate, a woman she spent some time handcuffed to once, tries to save her, but loses her grip as Juliet calls out for Sawyer. He begs her to hold on, but the pull is too strong and she lets go, assuring him that he loves her and I AM SO COMPLETELY SAD IN THAT MOMENT I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF! Why wouldn’t it have taken Kate!? No one likes her!

Richard leads Locke and crew to the statue, where he says Jacob lives now, but as Locke leads Ben in, Richard protests and insists that no one but the leaders get to see Jacob. To which Locke suggests that, since he’s the leader, he’s sure Richard can make an exception. After they enter, Ilana and her crew arrive at the statue. She calls Alpert “Ricardos,” and asks him what lies in the shadow of the statue. Richard responds, in Latin, “”Ille qui nos omnes servabit,” which, according to the good folks at Lostpedia, is Latin for “He who shall protect/save us all.” Because he passed her test, she reveals to him, and us, the contents of the box. Just like last season, it’s Locke’s corpse, which prompts Sun to ask: if that’s Locke, then who the fuck just entered Jacob’s house?

The answer is that Jacob’s frenemy from the opening sequence, his rival island god, found his loophole. As Not-Locke urges Ben to do as he says and kill Jacob, Jacob insists that Ben has a choice. He can kill him, or he can simply leave. But Ben, finally in the presence of the man he worked so hard for without any recognition, becomes a simpering, wounded child and wonders aloud why this is the first time in his 35 years Jacob isn’t ignoring him. (Although, I would venture that it’s not the first time, being as Ben was brought back to life and all.) So Ben does what any mild sociopath would do and stabs the shit out of Jacob, allowing Not-Locke to incinerate him in his own fireplace as Jacob whispers, “They’re coming.”

E tu, Ben?

E tu, Ben?

But finally, before I ruminate on some stuff, there’s one more piece of information that’s necessary here. It seems the bomb didn’t detonate at all, as Juliet lies at the bottom of the Swan pit, only a few feet away from the bomb. And so, desperate, I think, to be sure that what was supposed to happen happened, she reaches for a rock and smashes it against the bomb as my television screen went white and the title card appears.

We’re left here with the big question: can you change the past or not? I believe still as I have always believed that what’s done is done, whatever happened, happened and so Juliet’s sacrifice was entirely the way things were supposed to go down. I’ll spend the rest of today reading the opinions of those who say otherwise, though, because that would be a really interesting turn of events. However, because I believe that Jacob wanted to prove human goodness to his unnamed assassin, these events serve as a proof of that. I think this Incident is the thing that’s supposed to send everyone back to 2007 (except for Juliet and Sayid, who I think are pretty much dead). And next season, everyone will have to unite in a front against Not-Locke and fight against the new island god. There are, of course, multiple ways to interpret Jacob’s last words, but I take them as a warning to Not-Locke about those who follow Jacob, those who will avenge him in his name.

I do not, however, have any thoughts on what exactly Not-Locke’s loophole is (other than borrowing the image of a dead body) or its necessity in convincing a follower to kill Jacob. As always, a riveting finale, which is everything I’ve come to expect from Lost and it’s only a bummer that I have to wait until 2010 (dude, how weird is it that next year is 2010?) to continue the journey. Now I’m going to go write about something easy, like Top Model. Because Lost makes my brain hurt.

The Husband:

Lost did something incredible this year.

Despite the awesomeness of the time travel and the paradoxes it created, the philosophy getting thrown down hard over the last 16 episode, the tragic and unflinching hand of fate, the battling timelines and the fact that it’s amazing that we as audiences can accept that we can follow Richard in two concurrent timelines 30 years separated without thinking it’s even remotely weird, it did one thing that I consider amazing.

It turned Sawyer into the show’s greatest tragic figure.

Whats done is done.

What's done is done.

Sure, I loved Sawyer before, playing an incredible foil, both dramatic and comedic, to Jack’s honor, Locke’s faith and Kate’s “goodness,” and he was responsible for just as many badass moments as the one and only Sayid (to quote Drew McWeeney over at HitFix.com, “I love how Sayid’s so badass he can just walk around the jungle with a hydrogen bomb slung over his shoulder”). His backstory, true, was indeed tragic, but had been so clouded by dark revenge, seemingly from the moment his own personal Incident occurred, that the emotions were buried under so many layers of hate.

Here’s something I wrote for the eight episode of this season, “LaFleur”:

But what I loved was that it gave Sawyer, for once, his first uplifting storyline of the entire series. We’ve been smacked with his terrible life again and again – his dead parents, his bloodlust on his search to find the original Sawyer, his destructive cons, and all the bad decisions he’s made on the islands – so it’s just such a breath of fresh air to see a happy, productive, non-thieving, non-growling James Ford/James LaFleur. His redemption as a person, or as much as what can be called redemption, drove my emotions in this episode more than most of Jack’s entire arc, and that’s impressive.

Hell, I teared up twice during the last ten minutes of the episode, first when he and Juliet kiss and the second when Sawyer spots Kate Austen coming out of the blue VW van only moments after revealing that he couldn’t even remember her face anymore. And these tears are for the guy who stole items out of people’s luggage for bartering purposes in s1. Come on, man. Give some respect.

In short, he evolved into an honorable and overall good human being. A leader. A decider. A lover. A faithful man. And a potential family down the line after having fucked up everything with Cassidy and Clementine back in the real world.

But here’s Jack to fuck everything up, playing a part in destiny’s cruel game. And every step moves Sawyer and Juliet closer to the collapse of their relationship, disallowing Sawyer from any semblance of happiness no matter how hard he fought to make it otherwise. And no moment is worse than Juliet’s hand slipping from his, as she plummets down into the Swan hatch, where a hydrogen bomb waits for her. Sawyer was given everything he ever asked for, and it’s been ripped away. And there’s no question that he’s going to rage against this next season. He may not have believed in destiny before, but he might now.

I am completely in the dark about what next season entails, and I like it that way. I avoid spoilers, I avoid little nuggets of clues, and I tend to even avoid most speculation. Just give it to me good in 2010, and I’ll be happy.

The Wife:

Even though they were in two different time periods, this episode felt very much like the Jack vs. Locke leadership quests in season three. Only here, Jack, desperate to try and change the past so that the 815ers never crash on the island, puts himself in Faraday’s place to carry out the instructions in his journal. Locke, on the other hand, is at once following the timeline and, perhaps, totally destroying it in his final act in this episode: leading the Others to Jacob’s cabin . . . so they can watch him kill Jacob.

In 1977, Widmore rounds up the nearby Jack and Kate after Faraday is shot, and Eloise meets with them in her tent. She wants to know why Faraday needed to find the bomb, telling them of how she remembered meeting a man who told her to bury the bomb when she was 17. Jack tries to convince her, and Kate, that they need to follow Faraday’s plan and reverse what is about to happen on the island. Because Jack is a total moron and I’ll never understand why Kate was attracted to him in the first place, he rambles on about how great it will be to have erased all the misery of being stuck on that island from their lives, not realizing at all that he’s basically telling her that he wishes they were never together. (A fact that still doesn’t seem to sink in, even when Kate protests that the 815ers time together “wasn’t all misery.”) Way to go, Jack. You are a fucking dumbass and you are never sleeping with Kate, like, ever again. Eloise, however, seems more keen to follow her dead son’s journal and agrees to take Jack to the bomb, which is now buried under Dharmaville, it seems.

Jack, youre a bitch. And I am done with your bitch shit. You will never, ever tap this again, understood?

Jack, you're a bitch. And I am done with your bitch shit. You will never, ever tap this again, understood?

Jack just can’t seem to shake that hero complex, even though we’re all well aware that the real leader of the castaways in the 1970s is Sawyer, who has his own trials now that Ranjinsky has taken up torturing him in front of Juliet in order to get information about where Kate took young Ben Linus. Sawyer refuses to divulge any information, so Phil takes it into his own hands to get Sawyer to talk by busting Juliet’s lip. (At which point I had a flashback to the scene in Mad Men where Jimmy Barrett takes Betty Draper aside and quietly, metaphorically punches her in the face by revealing the affair their spouses are having. Patrick Fischler is really good at making women hurt.) In greater Dharmaville, Hurley is busy stealing food to bring on his trip to the beach with Miles, Jin and, presumably, Sawyer and Juliet. Dr. Chang catches him and follows him out to meet with his companions, checking the veracity of Faraday’s claim. Miles tells his father that Faraday has been right about everything so far, and that it would be best if he followed the slain physicists instructions and got as many people off of the island as possible.

Chang heads down into the security station to get Horace to call off the imminent drilling at the Swan station, but Ranjinsky steps up and declares himself to be in charge, and when he’s in charge, everything will be completed on schedule. Sawyer tells Chang to get all of the women and children on the island on that submarine, and promises to tell them whatever they want in exchange for a place for himself and his Juliet on that vessel. Ranjinsky agrees to this deal, and demands that Sawyer give him a map to Hostile territory.

Meanwhile, Widmore tries to prevent Ellie from taking Faraday’s friends to the bomb. We don’t get to hear their conversation, so I’m just inferring all of that from hand gestures. Another thing I’m inferring from hand gestures: did anyone else notice the way Widmore held his hand to Eloise’s stomach during that unheard conversation? Because I did, and now I think that she must have been pregnant with Daniel at this time, thus carrying her son at the very moment she would shoot him. But whatever Widmore might have said to her, she goes on anyway, taking Richard Alpert along with Jack and Kate. Once they get to a stream, Eloise tells them that they have to swim through a passage in order to get to “the tunnels,” and Kate refuses to go. Eloise’s bodyguard/red shirt shoots at Kate, but he is felled by a stealthily concealed Sayid. (Well, played, Sayid! We kind of forgot you were just roaming around in the jungles, being the new Rousseau and shit.) Jack explains to Sayid that they’re going to change the timeline by detonating Jughead, and Sayid, smugly informs them that he already has changed the timeline by killing Ben Linus . . . at which point Kate bursts his smug assassin bubble. Jack tries one last time to convince Kate to help him change things, but she’s not having any of his newfound Faraday Fervor, and informs him that he’s starting to sound an awful lot like his old crazy nemesis, John Locke. So she leaves to return to Dharmaville, while Ellie, Sayid, Jack and Richard swim to the tunnels, which appear to be an extension of the Temple.

There’s an interesting similarity here in the entrance to the tunnels being through water to the pool of water Ben drains below his house. Some astute folks have noted that water seems to act as a barrier for the Smoke Monster (as in smoke cannot pass through water, so, if you want to keep Smokey at bay, fucking put a moat around your shit), so this part of the Temple, the tunnels, appear to be an No Smokey Zone. Can we not trust Smoke Monsters with hydrogen bombs? (Probably not.) I am, however, curious about two things now. 1.) How far do the tunnels go? Is there a subterranean system of catacombs under the surface of the island, connecting virtually everything? 2.) Was this really the safest way to bury a hydrogen bomb? I’m pretty sure Faraday would have preferred to have the thing literally encased in concrete, not just casually resting on its side in a subterranean lair. But what do I know. I’m not a time traveling physicist.

Kate continues her bubble bursting when she returns to camp and Ranjinsky orders that she be put on the submarine, totally ruining Sawyer and Juliet’s plans to have a happy life off the island when they disappear once the sub docks. Elizabeth Mitchell’s “aw, hell no!” face is so amazing, and I definitely wouldn’t want to be stuck on a submarine for God knows how long with Kate Austen, either. I feel for Juliet. She and Sawyer had a good thing going, and then the A3 showed up and totally ruined everything. And now that bitch your man used to pine over is all up on your love submarine? That shit’s no good, yo. That shit’s no good.

Does this remind anyone else of that song from Peter Pan? Because thats all I can think of right now.

Does this remind anyone else of that song from Peter Pan? Because that's all I can think of right now.

As for John Locke, he’s taking his “I’m the leader” business very, very seriously, becoming almost as cocksure and manipulative as his comedy partner, Ben Linus. He drags Richard Alpert away from his fun-time activity of building ships in a bottle (I think there’s a beautiful metaphor there, but I’m not sure what it is yet) to go and visit Jacob. Alpert is astounded to see Locke alive, and he promises to tell the immortal Other all about his resurrection on the way, but not before Sun can interrupt this reunion and as Alpert about Dharmaville ’77. He tells her that he does, indeed, remember meeting everyone in that photograph “very clearly, because I watched them all die.” Ominous portents of certain doom aside, Locke assures Sun that he’ll find a way to keep everyone from meeting that fate, which seems to pacify her enough. (She’s not so lady vengeance on the island, is she? Where is the Sun with the balls to stand up to her dad and, maybe, shoot Ben Linus? I miss that Sun.) So Locke leads Ben and Alpert out to the biplane that night and gives Alpert very detailed instructions about how to remove bullets, giving old men who think they’re special compasses and, most importantly, telling said old men they have to die in order to bring all of their friends back to the island. Ben is very impressed by watching Locke watch himself get set on his path to destiny and asks how he knew exactly when to be there, resulting in my favorite Locke and Linus Comedy Moment of the evening:


Locke: The island told me. Didn’t it tell you things?

Ben: No, John. It didn’t.


Seriously, the hilarity in that is entirely up to Locke’s smarminess and Michael Emerson’s brilliantly sarcastic line reading.

When they return to camp, Locke insists that he speak to everyone there, and Alpert acquiesces, because his capacity as an advisor seems to be “let the leaders fuck shit up however they want.” John, like Nietzsche, has a “God is Dead” moment where he announces to the camp that he questions Jacob’s capacity as an omniscient leader, and even his existence. He intends to take everyone to Jacob’s cabin so that they can witness whether or not Jacob exists. En route, he tells Ben that they’re not going to see Jacob to fulfill his promise to Sun of reuniting with their friends in Dharmaville ’77, but to kill Jacob.

I’ve long said that Locke’s resurrection has made him a kind of deity figure, someone semi-omniscient, perhaps on the level of Richard Alpert, but now I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve been wrong about that and Locke’s resurrection has actually changed him into a non-believer, merely enacting things he knew would come to pass to mock Ben and the giant cosmic game that ultimately got him killed. If he is able to kill Jacob, the island’s mysterious God-like figure, would that destroy the cosmic order of the island, thus fulfilling Nietzsche’s nihilist philosophical stance with a lack of cosmic or moral order (since it’s a human invention, anyway)? And can a man that cannot be seen even be killed, anyway? This new Locke is puzzling, and I don’t really know how to read him or his actions anymore, but I have a feeling that whatever he’s set off to do cannot be good.

The Husband:

While I’m not surprised that Hurley, when put under pressure and questioned by Dr. Chang, couldn’t keep up the façade that he belonged in 1977 and declares that he was born in 1931 (dunno where he got that number), I am surprised that he was unaware of the Korean War. Dude watches a lot of television, so I would assume that he’s seen his share of M*A*S*H. Oh well, you can’t have everything.

And so the mindfucker just got mindfucked, as John Locke sent Richard Alpert to talk to injured alterna-Locke, and the deity situation on this show becomes increasingly more complicated. Are we going to have a battle of the Gods next season? Is all of this going to look like the climax of All Dogs Go to Heaven?

I also hope that characters stop proclaiming that they can change the order of things — I’m looking at you, Jack — because I’m under the impression that last week’s The Lamentable Death of Faraday episode pretty much solidified this as being a fool’s errand. So next week should be the last mention of this, o the show’s going to start repeating itself and annoying those of us who pretty much understood the time travel concept from the get-go. (Thank you, once again, time paradoxes put forth in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.)

The Wife:

Finally, everyone’s favorite ghost whisperer (seriously, nobody actually watches that show, right?) got his feature episode, in which we learn just how long Miles Straum has had his spectral communicative abilities, and a whole lot about his relationship with the island and how he got back there. That’s right. Back there. As I (and pretty much every other Lost blogger/amateur theorist out there) suspected, Miles was that wee Asian baby whom Pierre Chang/Marvin Candle/Edgar Halliwax had to tend to in the middle of the night in the season opener, soothing the child to sleep with that skipping Willie Nelson record (although his wife would have preferred jazz). We now know that Miles and his mother were forced to leave the island before the boy was four or five, and that by that time, he had already developed his ability to hear the voices of the dead. I loved the scene where, on the first day in his new non-island apartment building, little Miles finds the body of a man who had committed suicide in his apartment, and keeps screaming “He’s still talking!” when asked how he knew to find the man.

Over the years, Miles started using his ability to talk to the dead for money. Only, as he later explains to Hurley on their fateful road trip to what will soon be The Hatch, Miles can only hear the thoughts the dead were carrying when they died, as their brains cease to function. Hurley, on the other hand, has entire conversations with dead people. He even sometimes plays chess with them. I wonder if the differences between Miles and Hurley’s spectral connections have to do with the presence of bodies. Hurley, it seems, is visited by ghosts as we traditionally know ghosts (or the island’s special brand of ghosts, whatever that may be), but Miles really isn’t a ghost whisperer at all. He has a psychic connection to the dead, but only in the presence of their corporeal form. Without it, he can’t do his job, per the scene with Mr. Grey, who asks Miles to speak to his dead son (now ashes) and tell him he loves him. Miles tells the man that it won’t work without the body, but takes his money anyway, only to much later return it, not because he lied to give the man closure, but because Miles’ own daddy issues got the best of him. “If you needed your son to know that you loved him,” he says, “you should have told him while he was still alive.” Pair that with the scene of cute young punk rocker Miles (seriously, how cute is Ken Leung with a labret and snake bites?) visiting his mother on her death bed to ask about his father, and his recoiling from her touch when she tells him that his father had kicked them out, and was now dead, but that his body, cryptically, was “someplace you can never go,” and you have the emotional core of this episode: Miles’ aptly referenced Skywalker-like quest to know his father.

That douche is my dad.

That douche is my dad.

But there’s also, I think, a hint in that scene as to why the good Man of Many Names sent his wife and son away. I think he discovered his son’s ability to read corpses long before his wife ever did, and sent them away for two reasons: 1) So that little Miles wouldn’t inadvertently learn many of the islands secrets that he wasn’t supposed to know, and 2) to protect them from that knowledge, whatever it might be–especially if Chang himself were to die and his son were to read his corpse. It’s precisely to learn the island’s secrets from its numerous corpses that Widmore sends Naomi to recruit Miles for the freighter mission. She alludes to the many people Ben has killed, and, I think, specifically to The Purge. She tests him by having him read the corpse of Felix, Widmore’s ex-delivery boy, who was bringing him papers, photos, pictures of empty graves and a purchase order for an old airplane . . . you know, for when Widmore faked the wreckage of Oceanic 815. Miles isn’t so keen to go, but he’ll do it for $1.6 million, only to shortly thereafter be kidnapped by Bram, one of the beachies (Choke‘s Brad William Henke), who warns Miles that if he doesn’t know the answer to the increasingly Sphinx-like riddle, “What lies in the shadow of the statue?” that it’s probably not a great idea to go to the island. (It is perfect, by the way, that that character’s name is Bram, pronounced Brom, because Henke’s physical appearance reminds me of Brom Bones in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”)

That right there blew my fucking mind: Ilana, Bram and those other beachies clearly found their way onto Ajira 316 with the intent to make it to the island. Why they’re there, I haven’t a clue, but I’m beginning to think that the war Widmore was alluding to in “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” wasn’t the Ben vs. Widmore war we’ve been preparing ourselves for, but perhaps a war between whatever weirdo cult Ilana and Bram belong to and people like Ben and Widmore who have had a long history with the island. I do get the sense that it will be a war for control of the island, just not between who we think it will be between. Either Ilana and Bram are “Old Ones” like Alpert who are coming back to lay claim to their ancestral heritage (although, really, why leave the island in the first place, if that’s the case?), and are not pleased that Alpert has relinquished control to effective outsiders like Widmore and Ben, or they’re as new as we know them to be and are indeed part of some weirdo island-worshipping cult. Whatever it is, I’m excited to find out. That shit is gonna be crazy.

Other things to note about this episode:

  • Kate is totally fucking everything up by trying to be nice and flirt with Roger Linus. Thankfully, Jack isn’t totally retarded and manages to quell Roger’s suspicions that Kate kidnapped his son and did away with him somehow. It’s only a matter of time, though, before Roger “Work Man” Linus flips his lid and has to die.
  • Hurley still doesn’t understand time travel and has been writing The Empire Strikes Back to try and sell it to George Lucas . . . except that Empire was totally already in the works after A New Hope came out. Dude, Hurley, when are you going to get this whole whatever happened, happened thing down? (Husband Note: Maybe Hurley goes by the pen name Lawrence Kasdan, and both Body Heat and The Big Chill turn out to be lies. He also manages to write Raiders of the Lost Ark in this period.)
  • Apparently, Daniel Faraday has been partying it up at Dharma HQ for the past three years in Ann Arbor, MI. At the end of the episode, he makes his glorious return on the sub, which is good, because he needs to build some shit (see first episode of season).
  • In keeping with Miles’ emotional core in this episode, my favorite bit is when, after much goading from Hurley about taking this opportunity to get to know his father, Miles looks in at Pierre Chang’s house and sees him reading to baby Miles like a loving father should. Miles is overcome with emotion as he realizes that his father didn’t hate him and that, like Mr. Grey, he should have been aware of that love when it mattered. Chang gets a call, however, that forces him to leave baby Miles and exit the house, calling out to the man he doesn’t realize is his grown son: “Miles, I need you.” To which Miles replies, his voice breaking, “You do?” Even though it was really about going to get that Ann Arbor sub, those were, in that moment, the exact words Miles needed to hear from his dad.

The Husband:

To me, the issue isn’t so much why the beachies were on the plane and why they were all up in Miles’ business, but how they knew that Ajira 316 was going to bring them to the island at all. There’s some massive conspiracy madness happening, and it’s pretty hard to believe that they could have managed to know that all the members of the Oceanic Six would have been on that flight (with coffin-locked Locke in tow). But I’m okay with that. This is a show of smoke monsters old enough to have hung out with Anubis, science-relative time travel and electromagnetic displacement. There’s a lot that’s hard to believe. Cuz it’s a sci-fi show, dammit.

But I did the new group, because nothing makes a terrible situation worse than a group of religious zealots. Organized religion SLAM!

I am, however, surprised that it took them this long to make a reference to Star Wars. I expected it to be the first thing out of Hurley’s mouth when he was told that they were in 1977. Like Firefly and Futurama, Lost seems to exist in that world where both Star Wars and Star Trek are both equally revered, and that’s kind of geek’s paradise. What makes it more of a geek’s paradise? Hot chicks who can throw down a beating.

The Wife:

I think this episode has officially put asunder any fears that Ben’s childhood accident with a man named Sayid and the barrel of his gun were in some way rewriting the island’s history. Alpert does indeed take Ben into the temple to be healed, and he lives, but a slightly older young Charles Widmore (who, despite the fact that it’s 1977, confusingly rides around the island on a horse in chain mail and sports a haircut popular with medieval knights) informs the boy that he must return to Dharmaville.


“Just because you’re living with them, doesn’t mean you can’t be one of us.” – Charles Widmore


Now, what we do not know of Ben’s past was how he reintegrated into Dharmaville and his life among them as a young spy. In short, we are not yet told the events of The Purge, for the next time we see Ben, he’s been sent on assignment by Widmore to kill Rousseau. And, for some reason, he’s had to bring pubescent Ethan along with him. Ethan seems eager to prove his mettle in the hierarchy of the Others, but Ben won’t let him do the killing. Only, Ben won’t let himself do the killing either, not when he hears the cries of the girl who will become his daughter. Instead, he fires a shot to make it sound like he’s gone through with the execution, but takes baby Alex in his arms and warns Rousseau:


“If you want your child to live, every time you hear whispers, you run the other way.”


Widmore is not pleased that Ben has failed to follow orders, sparing both mother and child. He questions that the death of an innocent could possibly be what Jacob wanted and tells Widmore that if it were so, he should kill the baby himself. Widmore merely walks away, leaving Alex to grow up in Ben’s care.

So, ABC only posted three shots for this episode, and theyre all close-ups of Ben. Heres what Ben looks like, for those who are unaware of the creepy power of his eyes.

So, ABC only posted three shots for this episode, and they're all close-ups of Ben. Here's what Ben looks like, for those who are unaware of the creepy power of his eyes.

For as much of a terrible human being Ben Linus is, he actually seems like a pretty good daddy. I mean, it’s not like a kid could get into too much trouble in New Otherton (providing she followed the rules and didn’t go starting wars with other people on the island or pissing off Smoke Monsters), but Ben apparently takes a lot of time out of his day to make sure that Alex has someone to push her on the swing as high as she wants to go. It only makes sense, though, that he would try to be a good father, knowing how shitty his own was and how hard it is to grow up without a mother.

He does take time away from Alex, though, to see Charles Widmore off when he is banished from the island, post-Purge. But what did Widmore do to deserve his expulsion from freaky island paradise? Ben tosses out his litany of sins as he says goodbye, chiefly that Widmore broke the rules: he left the island and returned multiple times, and he had a child with an outsider. These things are not allowed. Widmore threatens that, one day, Alex will die, if that’s what the island wants, and that Ben, too, will be standing in Widmore’s shoes, banished. “You cannot fight the inevitable,” he warns. Here’s my question about leaving the island: folks other than Widmore and Ben have done so and returned safely. I’m thinking primarily of Mr. Friendly, who seemed to return with no problem. And Alpert can do that pretty much any time he wants to with no consequence. I think it’s easy to argue that Alpert has powers outside of those of a normal human, but what of Friendly? Is there simply a limit on the number of times you can leave and return that Widmore exceeded? Or is there something to the fact that Widmore and Ben are chosen leaders, thus, it really is against the rules for them to leave? Frankly, I’m not really sure.

But this threat haunts Ben when he, too, finds himself expelled from the island after the death of his daughter and turning of the frozen donkey wheel. And he makes sure that he calls Widmore to gloat on the day he organizes the O6 to return, giddily proclaiming that he’s going back to the island and he’s going to make sure that Widmore experiences the very thing Ben experienced in the death of his child is also felt by Widmore. This was a very intense scene, even though I knew in my heart that the proceeding act of child-murder didn’t fall through the minute Ben realized that a young child would go motherless if he pulled the trigger. I knew Ben wouldn’t be able to kill Penny when he saw little Charlie. And, sure enough, even though he knocks out Desmond by shooting him in the groceries (not a metaphor; Ben really shot Des’ grocery bag), and points his gun at beautiful Penelope aboard Our Mutual Friend, he just can’t go through with it, and allows Desmond to beat the shit out of him, covering him in the bruises and cuts we saw him board Ajira 316 with, and toss poor Ben Linus in the water.

And heres what Ben looks like with blood on his face.

And here's what Ben looks like with blood on his face.

In current island time, it’s the Locke and Linus Comedy Hour as the two men trek to the temple, where Ben claims he wants to be judged because, as he told Widmore on the day he was banished, he broke the rules. Every one of Locke’s lines in this episode is delivered so superbly, edged with a knowing glint in the eye and an undertone of, “I know what you’re up to, you little shit.” In the interactions of these two chosen men, I thought, when the fuck is Michael Emerson going to get a goddamn Emmy for playing Ben? My husband pointed out that it was Terry O’Quinn as Locke who stole it from him in season three, but I think O’Quinn deserves that statue as much as Emerson. They’re amazing actors, and the tensions in their line readings in this episode were equally spectacular. I mean, really, how much better does it get than this?:

Locke: Well, Ben, I was hoping we could talk about the elephant in the room.
Ben: I assume you’re referring to the fact that I killed you.

Ben tells Locke that he needed critical information from John that would have died with him and after he got it . . .

“Well, I just didn’t have time to talk you back into hanging yourself.” – Ben

Locke jokes that he was just looking for an apology, but agrees to lead Ben to the Smoke Monster for judgment. But Locke knows that Ben isn’t exactly atoning for breaking the rules. Now kind of a demi-god, Locke knows that the thing Ben needs to be judged for is letting his daughter die.


“If everything you’ve done is in the best interest of the island, then I’m sure the monster will understand.” – Locke


The new regime at the beach isn’t too keen on letting Ben and Locke leave, though, so Ben steals Cesar’s gun and shoots him, delivering to Locke what I think is the funniest line of the night’s Locke and Linus Comedy Hour:

“Consider that my apology.”


On their way to the temple, they stop in New Otherton and catch up with Sun and Lapidis. Sun shows them the picture from Dharmaville 1977, and Ben claims he doesn’t remember the castaways being there, but Sun still heads off with Locke and Ben, hoping that John Locke can lead her back to her husband, while Lapidis heads back to the beach and gets dragged into Ilana’s scheme to find out what lies in the shadow of the statue. If Ben doesn’t remember the castaways as part of his childhood, is this because their existence in his mind was erased with the knowledge of the events leading up to his childhood death? And are they gone by the time he returns to Dharmaville as a spy? Or should I assume that, as always, Ben is unreliable? He lies about lots of things, so why not this?

And heres what Ben looks like when hes just said something way intense.

And here's what Ben looks like when he's just said something way intense.

After a failed attempt to summon Smokey from the hidden cesspool under his home, Locke leads Ben to the temple and they descend into its underbelly via the hole where Montard lost his arm. As they enter the sacred lair, Ben admits to Locke that he does need to atone for letting Alex die, an act that he allowed to happen and therefore committed. Locke allows Ben to head off on his own after this confession, and lo, Ben falls through the floor into Smokey’s true lair. He wanders through the cuneform-filled room (in my limited knowledge of Egyptian orthography, I saw no recognizable hieroglyphics) and finds Smokey’s altar, which illustrates the monster being called by Anubis. Smoke spills out around Ben and engulfs him in a tornado-like swirl, beautifully recapitulating the twister scene in The Wizard of Oz and reminding us of the man we once knew as Henry Gale, who came to the island on a hot air balloon. Smokey shows him the images of his past – everything we saw in his history narrative – and Ben must watch his daughter die again.

This scene was really moving for me, and it was beautiful to watch Michael Emerson’s crazy eyes well with tears when Alex falls dead before him once again. But Smokey’s judgment is limited to this display of images, and he rolls away, leaving Ben alone. And, more importantly, alive. Then Alex appears, and Ben begs her for forgiveness, after which she proceeds to strangle him and demand that he follow John Locke and do whatever he says. And so Ben concedes his former power and lets John hand him the rope, both symbolic and literal, to pull him from the darkness of Smokey’s lair.

Gorgeous, moving and well-written final scene, Lost writers. Ben’s fall into Smokey’s lair recalls John’s fall into the well, and using the rope as a transfer of power between the two men was a stroke of genius. Terrific performances in this one by both O’Quinn and Emerson, and I hope the Emmy committee recognizes that this year and gives Emerson what he deserves.

The Husband:

Penny and little Charlie are not dead, and I win.

Who else wins? The viewers. I may need to give myself some distance from this ep, but I think it’s in the top ten Lost episodes of all time. Disagree?

The Wife:

This week’s episode of Lost answers some questions about what exactly happened during the Ajira crash. Or, more accurately, during the Ajira landing on the unfinished runway on the Other island that Doc Jensen totally called. A bright flash of light somehow drew out Hurley, Kate and Jack while leaving the rest of the passengers aboard the plane until things went all wonky again and über pilot Frank Lapidis managed to land his bird as safely as he can on the rudimentary runway. Of course, that rudimentary runway isn’t complete, so there are still some casualties, like his copilot, who takes a tree-limb through the chest. Zuliekah and Caesar immediately team up after the emergency landing, and she notices that her charge, Sayid Jarrah, is gone. Sun, however, is still on the plane. She, Lapidis, Cesar and Zuleikah Robinson all try to make sense of what happened, with Lapidis taking over Jack’s role as shepherd of the lost while Cesar, acting a little like Sayid once did, questions his judgment. During Frank’s speech, Ben sneaks off into the jungle, and Sun absconds after him, demanding to know where he’s going.


Sun: Where are you going?
Ben: Back to our island. You wanna come?


Frank eventually catches up to them, begging Sun not to go with such an untrustworthy fellow as Ben Linus, but she tells Frank she wants to go if it gives her a better chance of finding her husband. But before Ben can set foot in his boat, Sun knocks him out with an oar. Frank says, “I thought you said you trusted him.” And Sun repeats Ben’s favorite mantra, “I lied.” Together, she and Lapidis take a night row out to the island, coming upon boarded up versions of the former Dharma barracks a.k.a. New Otherton. There’s only one light on in the community: Christian Shepard’s light. Sun tells him that she’s looking for her husband and asks Christian if he knows where he is. Christian, ever helpful, shows her a photo of the Dharma Initiative from 1977, with her husband amongst them. “I’m sorry, but you’ve got quite a journey ahead of you,” he tells her.

30 years earlier, we pick up where we left off at the end of “LaFleur,” in which Sawyer and Jin are reunited with Hurley, Kate and Jack. Jack tells Sawyer the unfortunate news about John Locke, and Sawyer tells the three of them the unfortunate news about being stuck in 1977. When Jin hears that Sun was on the return flight to Lostville, he takes off to find Ranjinsky, hoping to check the radar logs and reunite with his beloved wife (and possibly his child). Sawyer, now the leader, tries to figure out a way to keep suspicion off of the returned trio, and Juliet, bewildered by the news but ever resourceful, informs him that a Dharma sub filled with new recruits is soon to arrive. Sawyer grabs a bunch of 70s-era clothing from the LaFleur Family Closet, and Juliet sets off to acquire the submarine manifest so she can insert her friends’ names where they shouldn’t have been before. Under the guise of giving the new Dharma mom a day off, Juliet takes the manifest from Amy, casually inquiring if she and Horace had yet decided on a name for their bouncing baby boy. She has, and that name is Ethan!

Youre so cute now, but youre going to grow up to be an evil douchebag kidnapper.

You're so cute now, but you're going to grow up to be an evil douchebag kidnapper.

When last I wrote, I pondered the inherent sadness in knowing that The Purge would come and possibly kill Amy and Horace’s son. I also pondered that son being Goodwin, which would have been kinda creepy and weird. But now that I know that Amy’s little boy is Dr. Ethan Rom, I can rest assured that he won’t die in The Purge. I do, however, know that he will meet his end on the business end of a gun held by Charlie Pace. I think there’s an interesting symmetry in this child who, in all likelihood, wouldn’t have been born without the intervention of fertility doctor/mechanic Juliet, later growing up to try and solve the island’s maternity issues by kidnapping Claire and testing her. But now I have to wonder exactly what got Ethan to switch from the side of Dharma to the side of the Others. Did he somehow know about the oncoming Purge and switched sides to save his hide? Or was he once recruited, perhaps, to be a leader of the Others? And how many other former Dharma kids went along with him? Well, other than the obvious Ben Linus.

While Sawyer and Juliet prepare to help their friends infiltrate the Dharma Initiative, Radzinsky won’t let Jin see his logs and basically laughs in his face when he suggests a plane has been in the island’s vicinity. While at The Flame, the alarm goes off, indicating a Hostile in Dharma territory. Jin takes off to capture said Hostile and finds none other than Sayid Jarrah, which totally explains why he wasn’t on the plane anymore. Jin wants to save this familiar face, but with Radzinsky right behind him, he can only trust that Sayid is smart enough to go along with the charade and not cause any trouble that would get him killed. The two Dharma members bring their new “Hostile” back to the Flame and hold him captive. Radzinsky wants to kill him immediately for breaking the truce, but Jin radios LaFleur, covertly telling him the Hostile’s real identity, and gets him and Miles to come get Sayid out of Radzinsky’s warpath. Radzinsky insists that Sayid must be treated as a spy, but LaFleur convinces him to lay off and proceeds to interrogate Sayid in a scene that reminds me very much of Sayid’s torture of Sawyer from season 1. Following Sawyer’s cues, Sayid admits to being a Hostile, and Miles helps haul him back to Dharma camp.

Meanwhile, after successfully infiltrating the Dharma ranks (though not without raising some suspicious Jimmy Barrett eyebrows from Patrick Fischler when he notices that Kate’s name isn’t on his list), Jack meets with Pierre Chang and is assigned the lowly task of workman. Man, what’s with the Dharma Initiative and underestimating the aptitude of licensed medical practitioners? Both Juliet and Jack got stuck with jobs their education was intended to keep them out of. I can just imagine Jack thinking, “I took the MCAT FOR THIS!!!!!!!!” (Think that with Matthew Fox’s typical inflection/nostril flares.) After their assignments, Jack drops in on LaFleur, asking Jimmy Barrett for directions. Jimmy Barrett is very suspicious of these new recruits. My husband and I joked while watching this episode that he’s actually the Smoke Monster, and that he’s just one vision of a homeless woman behind a dumpster away from dissolving into smoke and wreaking havoc on the island in a rain of cigarette ash and Utz potato chips. (And if you understand both of those references, you get a cookie. But not a real cookie. The economy sucks, and I don’t want to pay for shipping.)

I never thought such dirty hippies would love jumpsuits this much.

I never thought such dirty hippies would love jumpsuits this much.

At Chez LaFleur, Jack seems very surprised to learn that Juliet has shacked up with Sawyer, who is rapidly adding notches to his fancy leather belt with women he’s stolen from Jack. The two men then have a heated discussion about leadership tactics, with Jack accusing Sawyer of laziness because he spends his nights reading books instead of launching ahead in his blind quest. Sawyer informs his friend and rival that he reads because Churchill read a book every night, never forgetting the importance of taking time to think, even during the Blitz. That, Sawyer says, marks the difference between him and Jack. He thinks; Jack just did things based solely on reaction – things that ended up getting everyone into a whole mess of crazy time-traveling trouble.

Sayid gets thrown into Dharma jail and young Ben, who is even creepier than Ben currently is, lovingly brings Sayid the Hostile a sandwich, hold the mustard. I think this scene is going to be a key piece of the puzzle that turns people like Ben and Ethan from the ways of Dharma to the ways of the Others. It’s clear that Ben is unhappy with his life, sad behind those Harry Potter glasses, and it’s also clear that he is fascinated by these strange people he isn’t supposed to hang out with. He’s practically studying Sayid when he brings him that sandwich, looking for a way to become this creature that his people so fear. Sayid may be physically hungry after his ordeal, but Ben is power hungry. And Sayid-as-a-Hostile is representative of that power he so craves. I really, really want to see more of Little Ben’s Rise to Evil. That narrative is going to be superb. I can already tell, just from this scene with Sayid in jail.

Some other things:


  • Apparently, by 1977, Daniel Faraday is no longer on the island. I don’t think he’s dead, because if we follow his “whatever happened, happened” theory, then his death in 1977 would mean none of that stuff in “The Constant” ever occurred. I think he found a way off the island – perhaps that’s why he looked so suspicious in the series opener at the construction of The Orchid. Perhaps Faraday was the first to “discover” the properties of that particular station.
  • According to Radzinsky – and his sweet miniature model – the Swan has not yet been built. That’s why he thinks Sayid is a spy, trying to steal the plans for this yet-to-be Dharma station. Not to worry; Radzinsky is going to get to the Swan eventually. And shoot himself in the head.
  • In regards to The Purge, I’m sure that everyone we know manages to survive, following the Faraday theory of time stated above. But I am extremely interested to know how they will get out of that – will they Faraday their way out? Or will they turn tail and run with the Ethans and Bens of the world?
  • Little Ben apparently doesn’t like mustard. That’s proof that he’s evil, because mustard is delicious.

The Husband:

If I’m understanding it right, technically, even if “whatever happened, happened,” Faraday could still have died in 1977, because all we know of him in “The Constant” was stuff that happened to him, in his life, before he got to the island. Just because he looped around and ended up in the 70s doesn’t mean anything, because his journey is still one straight line. That is, the Faraday in the 70s does not become the Oxford student. The Oxford student looped around. Or maybe I’m just misunderstanding what my wife is trying to say.

But yes, everyone we know to have survived The Purge will have survived, but that still leaves the fate of every single one of the Losties up in the air. Who knows how many of them are going to die at the hands of one Benjamin Linus.

On a completely different note, when Sawyer told the Losties that it was 1977, I definitely wanted Hurley to say, “Sweet. Now I can see Star Wars in its original release!”

Any thoughts as to why Sun didn’t make the leap back in time? My mind is too rattled from nearly four weeks of a bad cough to even posit a theory. But oh man, that’s one of the show’s best obstacles – find another way to jump back in time, or hope that Jin survives over the years and Sun is content with the wrinkly, brittle body of Jin in his early 60s.

The Wife:

I don’t know why, but “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” is the first episode I haven’t been all that jazzed about this season. (I’m not a fan of “The Lie,” either, but that one’s more like a coda to the season premiere, so it functions.) John Locke is one of my favorite characters, actually, and I was initially excited for this episode to flesh out the hows and whys of his collection of the Oceanic Six, but the actual execution of this conceit left a little something to be desired. Maybe it was a lack of a real on-island story, necessary to balance this off-island stuff out. I’m also starting to feel like Lost, in general, is answering a few too many questions or, at the very least, saying things too plainly. Like the scene where Widmore christens John Locke as Jeremy Bentham by explaining who Bentham is and how it’s funny that Locke is reborn as a different philosopher. Most of us knew this already. It didn’t need to be said.

This right here? Mostly just the death part.

This right here? Mostly just the death part.

There is, however, one very valuable thing that I take away from this episode. My allegiance before as to whose side of the impending war would be the right side was in favor of Ben and those of the island, but after seeing Ben’s machinations in this episode and hearing certain pieces of information from Widmore, I no longer know who to trust. As pointed out by EW‘s Doc Jensen, Lost is constantly exploring problems of epistemics: how do w know what we know, and how can we trust that knowledge? I, and possibly some of you, have been willing to believe up to this point Ben’s claims that Widmore is evil and has ill designs for the island and its people should he ever find it. This claim started to be problematized when Locke met Widmore back in 1954, leading us to questions Widmore’s alleged intentions if his association with the island goes back further than Ben’s. It’s even further problematized when Widmore tells Locke in his Tunisian hospital bed (because the Frozen Donkey Wheel always dumps its turners in a Tunisian desert) that wily Ben Linus tricked Widmore into leaving the island, which we know means exile. Until that time, Widmore was the leader of his people. He instructs John that he must go back to the island because “there’s a war coming, John, and if you’re not back on the island when it happens, the wrong side is going to win.”

From there, Widmore rechristens Locke and gives him Matthew Abbadon as a chauffer/assistant. The travel to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic where Locke pays a visit to the new-and-improved Habitat for Humanity Sayid, which is drastically different than the assassin-for-hire Sayid. Locke tries to convince Sayid to return to the island, but he refuses, informing Locke that leaving the island allowed him to be with Nadya, until her death, and that he likes building things and doing good for the world. (Did anyone else notice that the school Sayid was building was called “Escuela de Isla,” or “School of the Island?”) From then, Locke and Abbadon head to New York to see WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALT! Walt informs Locke that he’s had some prescient dreams about the island’s impending war and seeing Locke return to the island in a suit, but despite this information, Locke does not ask Walt to join him on the return trip to that mysterious island. Abbadon chides him for this and, in the distance, Ben Linus spies on the conversation. (Man, Ben sure gets around, doesn’t he?)

Next, the Locke and Abbadon road trip heads to Santa Rosa, California, which I always thought was just the name of Hurley’s medical center, but it turns out that it’s so named because it’s actually in Santa Rosa. There’s a bit of levity where Hurley assumes he’s seeing John because he’s crazy, until a nurse confirms that he is, in fact, talking to a bald dude in a wheelchair. Hurley seems alright with the prospect of going back to the island, until he sees Matthew Abbadon watching over their conversation and freaks out, screaming about how he once saw Abbadon at Santa Rosa, claiming to be a representative of Oceanic Airlines. The orderlies take Hurley inside. Locke has struck out on yet another attempt to bring the O6ers back together. With some doubt planted in his mind about Abbadon, he asks the man exactly what he does for Mr. Widmore, to which Abbadon replies:


“I help people get where they need to get to, John. That’s what I do for Mr. Widmore.”


From Santa Rosa, the odd pair of bald men head down to Los Angeles, where Locke fails at getting Kate to come along. Frustrated, Locke demands to be taken to see Helen, his lost love. Abbadon refuses to take him, but eventually caves and shows Locke to her grave. There, Abbadon tells Locke about how he’s helped Locke get where he was supposed to be (suggesting Walkabout, for instance), and asks him if his death, his instruction from Richard Alpert, will be inevitable or a choice. Suddenly, Abbadon is shot and Locke speeds away on his broken leg, landing himself in a massive traffic accident that he miraculously survives under the care of Jack Shepard. Indeed, Abbadon gets people where they need to go.

Locke tells Jack about his mission, their mission, but Jack is less than receptive. He thinks Locke is delusional and wholly un-special, until Locke tells Jack that he has a message from Christian Shepard. Even then, Jack refuses to believe, and Locke, once discharged from the hospital, returns to his hotel to write that fateful suicide note. He prepares to hang himself with some electrical cords, and I was more than surprised to see that for all the things John Locke knows, he doesn’t know how to tie a noose. That knot he tied wouldn’t hold a human body long enough for it to hang by the neck until dead. Surely, this is something Locke would have learned in Boy Scouts, no?

It doesn’t matter how poorly Locke ties knots, though, because Ben knocks and lets himself in. He reveals that he killed Abbadon to protect Locke and the O6ers from Widmore. He proceeds to contradict the information given to us by Widmore earlier in the episode, claiming Widmore is indeed bad and that Ben moved the island to keep Locke and friends safe from that terrible man. He begs John to let him help collect the O6. Locke breaks down and tells Ben, the man he has trusted as one who groomed him to take his rightful place as leader of the Others, that he is a failure, unable to convince anyone to return with him, and probably because he turned on Jack back in season three. Ben assures him that whatever he’s said to these people is working, because whatever he said to Jack caused Jack to buy a round trip flight to Sydney. All Locke had to do, Ben suggests, is convince that one person. He suggests they go to Sun and start again with her, but Locke tells Ben that he promised Jin he wouldn’t bring Sun back, explaining that he planned to give her Jin’s ring as proof that he was gone. Ben goes to comfort the heartbroken Man of Faith, telling him:


“You can’t die. You’ve got too much work to do.”


But then Locke mentions that he needs to find Eloise Hawking, and the very mention of her name sends Ben into a rage, causing him to strangle John, only to hang his lifeless body from the rafters in an attempt to make it look like John did what he had set out to do. This was the best scene in this whole episode for me, especially the ghastly shadow of Locke’s body looming over the scene as Ben frantically runs about, cleaning his presence of off the hotel room. I like this image not only for its grotesqueness, but because it shows Locke for what he has been constructed as: a puppet, his strings pulled by his considerable faith into many directions by as many masters – Widmore, Richard Alpert, Jacob/Christian Shepard, Jack. He’s a tragic figure, lead into ruin by his faith and believe in what he’s told. The only thing that’s certain about the various problems of epistemics we’ve been presented in this episode is that, whichever side is correct, John Locke had to die. That was always an absolute truth.

But true to Walt’s dream, Locke does return to that island in a suit, brought back to life as he touches that holy ground, much to the confusion of new castaways Ilana and Cesar, who are very confused about this whole situation. It seems they’ve crashed near the Hydra station, and Cesar is looking for something. Ajira did in fact crash, but as Cesar tells Locke, Hurley and two other people (Kate and Jack, presumably) disappeared when the light flashed, and two others (Sayid and Sun, presumably), took off in a catamaran the first chance they could get. Cesar the leads John to inspect the bodies of those who were injured, and among them, is Ben Linus. I like that Locke, reincarnated on the island, has become sort of deity figure, appearing from nowhere and yet being implicitly trusted by those around him. His reaction upon seeing Ben Linus?


“That’s the man who killed me.”


In writing about this right now, I’ve grown to appreciate the episode more than when I started this post. Though I stand by the issues I mentioned at first, the more subtle aspects of this episode really shine through all that, especially the deity Locke on the island and the puppet Locke body hanging from that hotel room ceiling. As always, for every answered question and spelled-out piece of dialogue, the writers throw something new at us: why were only some of the 06 zapped from the plane into time travel land, while others were left behind? Are only some of them necessary for the upcoming war? And why the fuck is Cesar so curious about everything? What made Sayid turn from killer to habitat builder? And why was Locke not supposed to meet Eloise Hawking? I have no theories on any of this. I’m just going to think about the grim spectre of puppet Locke until the next episode.

The Husband:

I’m very big on the Lost episodes that people seem to dislike when it comes to the ones that simply exist as backstory and exposition and not much else. That’s why I like s4’s “Confirmed Dead” more than “The Constant,” not because it was more emotional (that would be the latter), but because I loved how economical the entire story was in our introduction to the Freighties. It was mysterious, it was confusing, and it was informative.

The issue with “The Life And Death Of Jeremy Bentham” is that it simply didn’t pose that many mysteries. I think I like the episode far more than my wife does, especially the implication, via out-of-the-ordinary-for-Lost place cards over black screens, that we’re in the midst of an epic journey, far greater than the episode may indicate. Yes, we followed Locke from his island jump all the way to his death in one single episode – a disappointment, to be sure, to those like myself who wanted that story to last a little longer – but there are little bits and pieces that are going to be filled in later, just like every other damn thing on Lost.

I find, the more I think and read about this episode, that most of my disappointments can be blamed more on my overactive imagination than the show itself, and so I give Lost the benefit out the doubt. For instance, once Locke’s minute-long talk with Walt was over, I thought that it was underwhelming and didn’t really fit with how we see Walt later, talking to Hurley in Santa Rosa. But this morning I popped in that episode from s4, and found that Walt really didn’t really say much to Hurley beyond that Locke saw him briefly, and that Walt’s big conversation piece with Hurley, asking why the O6 were lying, was based on his own objections and not Locke’s.

I give Lost credit for really giving us a slow burn this episode, because we all know that these past few episodes are really revving up to something huge, and that’s okay. The Wire, a show I refer to so much as the great recent example of top-notch quality that I’m surprised our readers still haven’t figured out that they should watch it and tell me how much they like it, was the master of the slow burn, even spending whole seasons building up to something bigger but, if viewing episodes on their own, they may be confusing or even boring.

Lost didn’t pull it off as well as The Wire, and the last two episodes haven’t been the best the show has ever seen, but goddamn if it isn’t leading up to the fucking mother lode.

The Wife:

First of all, how cool was the opening to this episode? At first, I got all excited because they were bringing the “eye opener” trope from the first season back, and then I realized it was the opening from the first season . . . until Lost‘s master scribes pulled the switcheroo on us, revealing a very different situation: Hurley, Jack and Kate crashing on the island for the second time in their lives. There were a lot of cool things about this episode, but by the end, I wish it had been a balanced story between the folks on the island and the O6ers returning. I never like episodes that are just about the O6 and I especially don’t like episodes that are so Jack-heavy. I realize he’s the hero, but, man, is Jack ever boring.

Mostly, we got a lot of answers about the nature of Eloise Hawking’s magical church science lab, as well as confirmation on several theories about which we denizens of the internet have been speculating. The O6ers, at least the ones we saw at the end of “This Place Is Death,” have sought out Miss Hawking’s lair, which, as it happens is an old Dharma station known as The Lamp Post, an off-island research station used to find electromagnetic hotspots – especially the giant electromagnetic hotspot that is our mysterious island. Doc Jensen’s column yesterday explored a number of Narnia references in the Lostverse, so I should note that the inclusion of The Lamp Post station is in fact a reference to the Narnia series, as a lamp post is the only thing that appears in all the books, lighting the way to Narnia as this station “lights the way” to the island. The revelation I’m most interested in from this encounter is Hawking’s admission that there are other places in the world like the island, which makes me wonder about the potential for other groups of people having experiences akin to those of the passengers on Oceanic flight 815. And, also, the potential for spin-offs of the show into other mediums, like graphic novels, for instance.

Which brings me to an interesting coincidence: later in this episode, Hurley is shown reading a Spanish-language issue of my favorite graphic novel Y: The Last Man, which just happens to be by producer and executive story editor of Lost, Brian K. Vaughn. The issue Hurley is reading, I believe, is Volume 3: “One Small Step,” but that’s just my guess from the coverart. The series is about a plague that kills all the men on the planet, except for Yorick Brown and his male capuchin monkey, Ampersand. In “One Small Step,” it’s revealed that astronauts orbiting space were not affected by the plague, so Yorick is not the sole survivor, but he and his companions must do what they can to protect these two other “last men” as they return to Earth. I’d like to be able to make a better connection between the actions in “One Small Step” and in “316,” but so far the only thing I can think of is that they both involve the return of vessels to a place that might not be terribly safe to return to. More interesting: I’m currently reading Volume 9: “Motherland” (which has a nice little rave from Time.com on the front, totally stating the obvious: “Rivals TV’s Lost as a smart, consistently entertaining work of popular art”), which posits the idea of morphic resonance, that there are kinds of biological electromagnetic fields through which organisms develop a collective consciousness. The example is that certain monkeys in one part of the world learned to clean sweet potatoes and then, somehow, other monkeys that had no contact with the original group learned the same behavior. This issue posits that a similar incident caused the man-plague: the moment a child was born through human cloning, the Y chromosome suddenly no longer had a purpose, killing all the men instantly. I’ll have to think longer about the functions of electromagnetic fields in both works, because I currently don’t see how morphic resonance related to Lost . . . unless it’s what caused the Dharma purge! Grasping at straws? Yes. But I’m fucking sticking to that.

(On second thought, morphic resonance, in further conjunction with Y: The Last Man, probably better explains why the ladies on the island have such a massive fertility problem. Something about the island prevents pregnancies from coming to term, and I’m pretty sure it has something to do with long-standing events involving morphic resonance and electromagnetism.)

So, Eloise tells the O6 that windows open up in these electromagnetic fields for limited periods of time, so if they intend to return to the island, they must do so on Ajira Airways flight 316 to Guam, explaining that the Ajira waterbottle we saw in the catamarans on the beach definitely came from the plane carrying the O6 and that, yes, the other canoe that fired at Sawyer’s rig was very likely the O6 . . . or other passengers from their flight. Eloise also tells them that they must do their best to recreate the conditions of their flight. Meaning, not only do they have to get as many people from the original flight as possible, but they also have to fulfill their circumstances. There must be a dead body, a guitar, some drugs and one passenger in chains – all of which confirm a theory I’ve been set on for a few episodes now. Eloise tells everyone present to meet at the airport, but Desmond refuses to go, stating that he’s done his job be delivering Farraday’s message to his dear old mum that only she can help them. Eloise replies that she is, indeed, helping her son by getting the O6 back to the island and tells Des that “the island isn’t done with [him] yet.” Enraged that this woman cost him three years with Penny, Desmond announces he’s done with the island and begs Jack not to follow Hawking’s suggestions. I’m sure Des will make it back to the island somehow. It’s definitely not done with him yet.

After Des storms out, Hawking takes Jack aside and gives him John Locke’s suicide note. Locke hanged himself (a reference to the rope he dangled on just before breaking his leg and turning the frozen donkey wheel to stop the time jumps?), knowing that he would have to substitute for Christian Shepard’s body on the flight back to the island. In order to make this as accurate as possible, Hawking tells Jack that he must take something of his father’s and give it to Locke. Oddly, Jack thinks this is the most ridiculous thing he’s ever heard (and a smoke monster is somehow less ridiculous?) and is hesitating to do it, until a pair of Christian’s shoes turn up in his granddad’s nursing home. Jack takes that as a sign that he should have faith, per his earlier conversation with Ben about being a doubting Thomas. When Jack returns home, he finds Kate on his bed. She Aaron-less and doesn’t want to talk about where Aaron is (I hope he’s in Korea with Ji Yeon and Grandma Paik!), but she’s ready to go back to the island. So they do what Jack and Kate do when they’re in synchronicity. That is, make out and have lots of dirty island sex. The next morning, she sees Christian’s dress shoes and tells Jack that he should consider packing hiking boots instead. He then tells her that he’s bringing them because they belonged to his father, who didn’t have shoes on when Jack was bringing the body back from Australia. At his mother’s insistence, Jack gave Christian a pair of his tennies so that the good Dr. Shepard wouldn’t be buried without warm tootsies. And here I always thought Christian Shepard was just very Woody Allen in his insistence on wearing sneakers with suits . . .

A mysterious island really isnt that much of a stretch from an immortal detective.

A mysterious island really isn't that much of a stretch from an immortal detective.


Jack gets a call from a bloodied up Ben, who asks him to pick up Locke’s body from Jill the Butcher. She lends Jack the Reincarnation van, and Jack carefully places his father’s shoes on Jeremy Bentham’s feet. He also tucks Locke’s note to him inside the dead man’s jacket pocket. At the airport, Jack replays his experience with Oceanic when he checks in Locke’s body. He sees Sun there, and then Kate – as well as Sayid in the security line being escorted by New Amsterdam‘s Zuliekah Robinson (better luck on this show, honey) and then, in the boarding area, Hurley, reading the Brian K. Vaughn work I tried to provide an intertextual reading of above. Hurley has bought up 78 seats on the plane in an effort to prevent as many other people from coming on their fantastic voyage as possible, but, naturally, there are others. Once they board, they notice a shifty Latin man sitting in first class with them (I assume he’s got a backpack full of drugs, replacing Charlie Pace) and, of course, Zuliekah Robinson, escorting a cuffed Sayid (replacing Kate and the marshal), as well as several others sitting in coach. Hurley is ready to walk from the flight when Ben joins them, but Jack calms him down. Before takeoff, a stewardess hands Jack the suicide note addressed to him that they found in Locke’s coffin when they inspected the remains. He is hesitant to read it, and instead goes to sit down with Kate. He marvels at the fact that Hurley and Sayid made the plane without knowing about it, taking it as another sign that they were all meant to be together. Jack receives further divine confirmation when he hears the voice of the pilot: Frank J. Lapidus. Immediately, Jack rushes up to a flight attendant and begs her to let him speak to Frank, as they are old friends. Frank emerges from the cockpit, clean shaven and bright eyed and happy to see Jack, that is, until he notices the other members of the O6 scattered throughout first class.
“We’re not going to Guam, are we?” – Frank J. Lapidus


Jack spends most of the flight waiting for something to happen, while Ben sits around reading Ulysses, leading me to my other favorite line of the night:

Jack: How can you read?
Ben: My mother taught me.

Ben lays a major guilt trip on Jack about his relationship with Locke, which amazingly recreates Jack’s feelings about his father from the original flight to the island, finally convincing Jack to open up Locke’s suicide note which simply reads: “I wish you had believed.”The narrative then jumps back to the beginning of the episode, recreating the events from after the crash, only neither Hurley, Kate nor Jack remembers crashing and they have no idea where they other people from their flight are. And then that awesome VW Microbus rolls up and out pops Dharma Jin, ready to shoot them on site. It seems, then, that when Locke moved the island (which Hawking confirms is, in fact, always moving through time, which is why no one was ever able to rescue the passengers from flight 815), it settled its time jumps in the 70s at the height of the Dharma Initiative, which more than explains Farraday’s presence at the building of the Orchid station, but opens up so many new questions about the fate of the other castaways. Is Miles, then, not Pierre Chang’s baby, if he exists as an adult in Dharma time? And what of Juliet and Sawyer? That end revelation totally blew my mind, and provided a nice bit of openness to an episode that otherwise answered so many questions and confirmed so many theories so neatly. But this Dharma shit? I have no idea.

I’d love to touch the connections between Joyce’s Ulysses and Ben/the O6, but my brain is shot now, so I’ll leave that heavy lifting to other bloggers who are smarter than I am.

If you want to find out why Bens reading Ulysses, check out Doc Jensens column this week over at EW.com.

If you want to find out why Ben's reading Ulysses, check out Doc Jensen's column this week over at EW.com.

The Husband:

Anybody think that one of the other elements needed to recreate the Oceanic 815 crash was to have a pregnant woman on board, and so Jack and Kate bumping uglies pre-flight served a bigger purpose than just some emotional baggage? It might be a long shot, but it might also be awesome. An online commenter also posited that, while Charlotte S. Lewis said that she left the island with her mother, could Jack and Kate perhaps be her real parents? Lostpedia puts Charlotte’s birthdate in the year 1979, so this could very well be possible.

This possibility brings me, as a side note, to one of the greatest things Roger Ebert ever wrote. When fielding questions in his Movie Answer Man segment several years ago, one person brought up the plot holes in the Arnold Schwarzenegger film End Of Days, in which the devil (Gabriel Byrne) came to Earth in order to impregnate a woman (Robin Tunney) with the Antichrist. Ebert suggested, in response, that Schwarzenegger’s character, the hero, could have easily solved the problem and would have had the best one-liner in the history of the world: “I have to impregnate you before the devil does.”

Kate being impregnated with Aaron 2.0 for island-crashing purposes, while not quite the same, is kind of similar. Yes?

Just so we’re all clear, there was a flash of white light right as the Flight 316 started going down, right? Or am I making shit up/reading too far into things? That’s usually my wife’s job as far as this show is concerned. I need second viewings of episodes to really catch certain things. (Like an idiot, I didn’t even put two-and-two together as to why Hurley had a guitar. I blame watching American Idol before Lost in the mushing of my brain last night.)