Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

LOST Discussion Thursday

Holy Freaking Moly, was this a great episode or what?

Although much of what happened vis a vis Jacob and Ben was expected, from what I construed of the episode title "The Man Behind the Curtain", I gotta say, I didn't ever imagine Jacob as he was or what that was all about. Can you say "Margalit is confused?" I thought you could. Now, we have HDTV and I didn't see a damn hint of Jacob, but I've seen screen caps with a shadow figure in them. Huh? What did you see? Was there a figure on your TV? Please tell me what you saw. Because if you saw a figure or a silhouette or something, I'm going to be so pissed at myself for missing it.

OK, so let's recap the episode, because so much was revealed, I feel like we need to comment on the whole story sequentially.

For starters Ben is a liar. No big surprise as he is as manipulative as they come. But now we know that he was not born on the island. Instead, he was born in near Portland (Maine/Oregon??) His mother Emily and father Roger were hiking when she went into labor, early on in her pregnancy. They make it seem like they are on the island but Roger picks up mother and child and runs to the highway and flags someone down for help just before Emily dies. The man that they flag down features prominently later in the episode.

Next scene is in the present. It's Ben’s birthday and he’s looking at a hand carved doll given to him years earlier by a little girl named Annie for his birthday, his first on the Island. Richard comes into Ben’s tent to ask if Ben wants him to take the tape recorder back for Juliet again. Ben is shocked that it had not been done before they left and thinks maybe Tom might know where the recorder is. Ben and Richard leave tent and talk to Tom but Tom is busy staring agog at Locke, who is carrying his father’s body back into camp. You can almost see anger in Ben’s expression. He tells Ben to start at the beginning.

Ben tells Locke he answers to Jacob a man who nobody other than Ben has seen or spoken to and Locke calls him a liar. Ben says, "you don’t just go to him you are summoned by him". Locke insists that Ben take him to meet Jacob, "Or I’ll let everyone know your brainwashing them and making it all up." Locke uses the Man Behind the Curtain analogy that I had been thinking, that Jacob isn't the Wizard of Oz, and that Ben is really the little guy behind the curtain playing the Great Oz. Which ties in nicely with our first appearance of Ben, when he claims to be Henry Gale and landed in a parachute on the island, all of which we learn later are lies.

Next scene brings us back to Ben as a kid just arriving on the Island. Ben is about 10. He and his father arrive to the Island via Submarine with many other people for the Dharma Initiative. The island has already been operational before they arrived. The person who stopped to pick up Bens mother and father on the highway is Horace Goodspeed and he has encouraged Roger to take a job on the island. A job that was sorely needed. Bens father is disappointed to find out he was given a janitorial job as Roger Workman. Later on we see him delivering beer while driving the VW van Hurley found.

Now we're back to the present. Mikhal comes crashing through the woods looking for Ben and informs about Naomi and her ship. Ben was more than a bit surprised to see Patchy and says "I thought the fence killed you?" Mikhal says the fence must not have been set to a lethal limit. Ben tells everyone that they will take the Sun and Kate tomorrow and that they'll take care of Sun. Sounded ominious. Mikhal insists that it can’t wait and something must be done right away.

They disagree and then Locke chimes in and says, "Ben’s not going anywhere with you. He’s taking me to see Jacob." Everyone is shocked. Turns out that Ben is the ONLY person who has ever seen Jacob, or talked to Jacob. Ben says "I’m sorry John, it’ll have to wait I need to take care of this first." Locke gets pissed and walks over to Mikhal and starts kicking his butt. Ben calls for Tom and Richard to intervine and stop Locke but they don’t move. They all just watch Locke beat him up, astounded at what they're witnessing. Then Locke turns to Ben and says, “When do we leave?” This appears to be the first time that anyone has really crossed Ben and insisted on having things done their way instead of his. It also seems to entertain the rest of the Others, who probably have been waiting a long time for this!

Just before Locke and Ben head out to see Jacob, Alex shows up and gives Locke a gun and says if you’re going to see Jacob you’ll need this. Ben looks at his daughter in a manner as to say WTF are you doing she then says, "Happy Birthday, Dad." There is obviously no love lost between those two. If looks could kill, they would both be dead!

Back on the beach, Sawyer has played the tape for Sayid and Kate and Juliet and Jack are nowhere to be found. They are having a group meeting when Jack and Juliet show up and Juliet tells them to turn the tape over and play the other side. Sawyer reluctantly turns the tape over and hears that Ben is telling Juliet that there isn’t time to get other samples they are coming tomorrow. After Juliet gave Sun the sonogram she evidently told Jack what Ben sent her there to do. Jack didn’t tell the Losties because he hasn’t decided what to do yet. “We have some catching up to do.” He must know something but you don’t find out tonight.

Back in Ben's childhood, Ben is in school now and some alarm goes off. Hostiles (referred to as natives but aren't native peoples) are attacking. Ben looks terrified. Meanwhile, Ben’s father has become a drunk and never remembers Ben’s B-day and one night he tells Ben he can’t celebrate his birthday because he blames Ben for killing his mother, who died in childbirth. "Now I’m stuck with you on this island", he tells poor Ben. He's a real piece of work, our Roger. Nasty drunk, too. Little Ben runs away and arrives at the sonic fence. He believes he sees his mom on the other side and starts to go to her. She says, "Stop, it’s not time yet" and she goes back into the woods. She is obviously dead.

So Ben decides to run away after one more drunken ranting by his dear old dad. He heads out during the day, and when he comes to the big sonic fence, he disables it using the alarm code 54439. He sends his pet bunny across first, and when the bunny is fine, he ventures past the sonar fence himself. He runs through the woods and hears the weird wood whispers, like in many earlier episodes. He then runs into Richard who apparently is a Native and says to take me with you. Richard says if you mean it then we can make it happen but it will take a lot of patience.

Meanwhile, Locke and Ben finally arrive at Jacob's house, which is covered in vines and buried deep into the woods. Ben tells Locke to turn off his flashlight, and that Jacob hates technology. They enter the house with a kerosene lantern and Locke looks around in confusion. It's an empty cabin. Nobody is there. Nobody. Ben starts talking to an empty chair. Evidentally he sees Jacob, but to Locke, he's invisible. Locke gets really angry with Ben and makes all these accusations and is about to leave when he hears a strange voice say "help me". He comes back in and says to Ben, "What did you say?" and Ben insists that he said nothing. It must have been Jacob. So Locke turns on the flashlight and all of a sudden there is a huge burst of power similar to the black smoke and things are whirling around and blowing away and Locke looks scared. But he still thinks it's an elaborate prank. They both leave and Ben demands to know what Jacob told him. Locke refuses.

Weird screen cap of "Jacob" that I couldn't see on my own HDTV.

They hike out of the woods, and then it's daylight. Locke notes that they're going another way, and confronts Ben. Ben tells him he wants to show him something.

Back in the past we see grown-up Ben who is also a Dharma workman. Once again it is his birthday and and once again Dear old Dad forgot. They are on a Beer run to the Pearl Station and Ben's Dad suggests that they stop on the hilltop and enjoy a beer and have a father/son moment. Ben agrees, and off they go in the VW van to the very spot where Hurley finds it years later.

In the van, Ben tells his dad that putting up with him requires a lot of patience. Then Ben puts on a gas mask and opens a canister killing his father. He then hikes back to the village with the mask still on and everyone from the Dharma initiative is dead including the man that gave his father the job. Richard and a small group of people with masks and guns come from behind a building and Richard removes his mask and asks Ben do you want us to bring his body here? Ben says no leave him there. I think it was Bens plan. Now everyone from the original Dharma project is dead, and Ben moves in with the Others.

We next see Ben in the present, showing Locke a mass grave site filled with skeletons wearing Dharma Initiative outfits. He tells Locke, "These were my people. They were the last of the Dharma Initiative." He tells Locke that the Dharma Initiative came seeking Harmony yet they couldn’t get along with the original inhabitants. So he made a choice a long time ago that one group had to be purged. "I was smarter than them and thats why I didn’t end up in there."

And then……….. I won’t tell you the rest you’ll have to watch. No, I'll tell you. I was just being mean. Ben shoots Locke. He first asks him again what Jacob had told Locke, and Locke, realizing that he's dead, tells Ben that Jacob said, "Help Me."

Episode over. Kapow! That totally packed a wallop!

I loved this episode. It answered a lot of my questions, opened up enough new ones to keep me totally hooked, and invited the obvious upcoming war between the Losties and the Others. Man, this is gonna be one freakishly excellent season finale. It kind of sucks that we won't know what happens until next January, doesn't it?

Three more seasons! I want more. MORE.

No great lines, nothing particularly amusing, just action packed drama, old style Lost.

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Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

I couldn't see any shadow thingies, and I was PEERING at the screen. That said, the screen was very dark and I have bad eyesight.

And - there's NO WAY that Locke is dead, and if he is, he'll be 'resurrected.'

10/5/07 8:03 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

True!! No great lines, etc. It was just straight up awesome LOST! I did a recap, too. Though not as thorough as yours. My big question of the episode (besides, "would they really be mean enough to kill of locke?") is WHO ARE THE HOSTILES?

10/5/07 8:13 AM  
Blogger Shelli said...

I saw a small black poofy thing for a split second.

NOT this image of a man at all - SPOOKY!

We do NOT have hdtv.

I think Jacob and Locke will become pals, and Jacob will save Locke.

I'm not worried about Locke, actually.

I have MORE questions NOW than I did before, however!

10/5/07 10:24 AM  
Blogger Malady said...

Holy Cow what a great episode!

I love that Roger Work Man ended up being Ben's dad.

My questions:

1. What was the sooty black ring around Jacob's house that Locke knelt down and looked at?

2. Was that "Hostile" guy Richard? And, if so, how come Richard hasn't aged?

3. What happened to Ben's friend Annie? Did she die with the rest of the Dharma crew?

I can't wait for the next episode!!!

10/5/07 10:54 AM  
Blogger margalit said...

Ok, let's try and figure out some of your questions. Who are the hostiles? Good question. Let's look at who we have THOUGHT were the Other's so far. First there was AnaLucia and her group of tailies, which we labeled Others until we found out they were also survivors. Then we thought that the Dharma people were the others, and now we think that Ben's clan are the Others. Except...Ben was a Dharma and not a hostile? So who the heck knows who the hostiles are, and who the Others are? Confusing, eh?

Is Locke really really dead (taking the Wizard of Oz analogy a bit further)? I don't know. I don't want to believe he is, because he's such a central character. But the writers have said publically that several very important people die this season. Charlie is obvious, but who else?

Will Jacob save Locke? It doesn't appear that way, but who knows. Maybe the magical powers of the Island will resurrect Locke yet again.

What happened to Annie? Some folks think she might be Rousseau, but that makes little sense to me. So again, I don't know!

What was the grey powder surrounding the shack? Three theories. One could be a snack perimeter. They have this stuff that you put around areas that snakes won't cross over. Not likely. One might be volcanic debris. Again, not likely. And the one I think is most likely Gunpowder. Locke seemed familiar with it, it was in a straight line like it was placed there, and let's face it, Ben is trying to ensure that Jacob remains hidden.

Why hasn't Richard aged? One theory is that the secret of the island is immortality, and that the people living inside the fence are immune from the island's healing properties. But again...I don't know.

What do you all think?

10/5/07 12:18 PM  
Blogger Malady said...

Oh, that's a good thought about the compound inside the fence, Margalit. That would explain why Ben didn't heal right away. (and why he got cancer in the first place)

If Annie is still alive, how would Ben have gotten her out of the compound? Or warned her?

This is getting really good!!

10/5/07 12:56 PM  
Blogger Leigh said...

According to TV Guide, a "changed Loche" will be back for the finale...so he isn't going to be dead after all. Either that, or they are going for a "resurection".

10/5/07 3:05 PM  

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