Quote: "After everything I've done to bring you here... after everything I've done to keep you here... how can you possibly not comprehend that you're MINE!"
Before we begin, a few random thoughts.
First off, I loved Ben in this episode. We got a good deal of insight into his personality, we know now a lot more about his relationship with Juliet (which always kinda confused me considering she was obviously sleeping with Goodwin) and it's interesting to see his smarmy, dorky, uncomfortable-in-love side (which is also disturbing in a stalker-serial killer kinda way). But he was at his manipulative best this episode and the look on Sawyer's face at the end was hilarious, paralleling Kate's expression when he saw Jack playing football with Mr. Friendly.
Secondly, it's blatantly obvious now that not only is Michael the spy on the freighter, but that reveal is probably going to be next week's cliffhanger, meaning we're probably not going to get much info about him until after the mini-break. Boo.
Anyhoo, on with the questions.
1. So who's the bad guy, Ben or Charles Widmore?
So on one hand you have the evil corporate guy who wants to exploit the island for his own nefarious purposes, quite possibly to take over the world. Plus, he treats Desmond like crap.
On the other hand, you have the guy who wants to stop the other guy from taking over the world but is quite willing to kill anyone and everyone who gets in his way, even if they really aren't evil themselves.
Ben looks like more the monster here than Penny's dad, but in the future he did at least manage to convince Sayid enough that he was doing the right thing that Sayid was willing to kill for him. In addition, barring a enormous surprise, it also looks like he managed to convince Michael to get aboard the freighter and spy for him as well.
The toxic gas in Tempest was probably Ben's makeshift "self-destruct" mechanism for the island. In other words, if everything he plotted had failed he could still kill everyone on the island to keep it safe. Monstrous, to be sure, but it still fits with Ben's mantra of wanting to do the "right thing" for the island by any means necessary.
I guess at this point, considering everything we've seen in the future, we have to assume Charles would do very, very bad things to the island and that Ben's actions are justified. But the very, very bad things better be "end of the world" type here if Ben wants even an ounce of sympathy.
2. And are Charlotte and Daniel following Charles' orders?
Charlotte and Daniel both appear to have ulterior motives on the island. They were obviously given (and carried out) their mission at the Tempest for self-preservation purposes. But what else are they supposed to do for Charles?
On one hand, they don't seem to be bad people and they both seem to have their own reasons for being on the island. On the other hand, you would think if they had explained to Kate that Ben was trying to kill everyone on the island with a toxic gas, she gladly would have helped them. Their secrecy over whatever else they're trying to accomplish makes them look nefarious. But so far they've pretty much done nothing really wrong.
BTW - here's their map. It kinda sucks, but you can make out the Tempest logo on the left hand side (click for bigger):
Notice the distinct lack of other DHARMA stations on the map. No interest in any of them? Can't make out all the writing.
3. So are the Whispers related to Harper's hocus pocus?
When Harper first appeared to Juliet, I thought she might be the Monster. But it really seems that it was actually her. So do the Others have a "transporter room" somewhere on the island that allows them to instantly appear anywhere? I always thought the Whispers were a side effect of a DHARMA remote viewing station where the people they were viewing could quietly hear what their watchers were saying. But maybe it's the Others that have something like this that also allows them to teleport around the island. Would explain a lot about how they seem to come and go.
BTW, Lostpedia usually posts Whisper transcripts shortly after the episode airs. While transcripts of last night's episode aren't up yet, they have posted two different versions of the one's Hurley heard at Jacob's cabin in this season's opener. They are really, really weird.
4. Who does Juliet look like to Ben?
Three possible candidates: Emily Linus, his mother, Annie or Olivia Goodspeed, his teacher. Considering he likely killed the latter, I think we can probably rule her out - my money's on Annie. Furthermore we never definitively figured out who's depicted in the portrait of the blond woman in Ben's house.
I always thought it was his mom, but could it be a grown up Annie? I doubt it's Karen DeGroot. Of course, if he does have a crush on Juliet because she reminds him of his mom, it does kinda fit with his creepiness, doesn't it?
5. Oceanic 6 guessing game, final round
From the previews, it sounds like we'll find out who the last two are next week. Considering it seems to be a Jin and/or Sun episode, I'm sticking with my guess that Sun is one of them. But maybe Michael is really the second. I can't see both Jin and Sun getting off the island and, unless the last is Locke, I really don't know who else the fifth could be.
If Michael is the sixth of the O6, that's going to be quite the story they have to tell to cover his murdering butt. But here's another thought - what if Michael's on the freighter under an assumed name? Say, like, John Lantham, something that would put him in a familiar coffin in the near future. Thoughts on this?
* This morning I find this e-mail from my friend, Matt, waiting for me:
"Kate vs. Charlotte in Islander 2: The Freckling. There can be only one!"That gave me a hearty chuckle.
* But seriously, I think everyone took their stupid pills this episode (more than usual, that is). Kate turns her back on Charlotte, Locke lets Ben out of his hole. At least Jack kinda tried to ask questions, but jeez...
* So Daniel can't remember three cards shown to him, but can easily reprogram a computer (under extreme pressure, no less) to render a highly toxic gas inert? I thought the guy was a physicist, not a chemist, Jim. Just imagine what he could do if he gets all his marbles back? Give him an elastic body and he's a regular Reed Richards.
* So Ben originally told Juliet she was only going to stay for six months?
* Nice seeing Mr. Friendly again. Nice porn moustache too.
* Ben's safe combo - 36, 15, 28. Someone on Lostpedia pointed out that 36-28 = 8
* Oh, and that Tempest Logo:
* The 5 Gum commercial with the guy in the giant, moving sphere was quite possibly the lamest commercial I've ever seen.
* More of bikini Juliet, please.
* "It's very stressful being an Other, Jack." Heh.
* "I taped over the game." Poor Jack.
* Juliet was taking care of Zack and Emma. "Who are we to question who's on the list and who's not?"
* So Goodwin was making a case for Ana-Lucia? Did we know this?
Summary: Solid episode that moved things along, and Ben was terrific. But did anyone else find the flashbacks a bit thin? Aside from straightening out the relationships (which I liked) they really didn't tell us a whole lot of new stuff. And I really, really wanted to see more of the freighter too. I'll give this one a 3.5 and look ahead to next week.