Thursday, March 6, 2008

Lost Episode Review 4.06: "The Other Woman"

: "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?

Other Tidbits

* 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.


chefmom said...

Great episode...We totally think it's Michael on the boat. And My favorite line of the night was: "It's very stressful being an Other, Jack."
Well Sorry Juliette!! Great Post!

Caroline said...

I have never been a Kate hater but she is starting to become increasingly annoying and useless. When she was telling Jack why she went to the barracks, I still had the feeling of so what Kate? They know who you are, get over it!

The episode as a whole was okay...I was almost starting to feel they were answering too much (with Ben spilling his guts to Locke)until I realized they weren't going to tell us for sure who was on the boat. The flashbacks were, I agree, weak.

chefmom, I agree - that was a great line!

Carly said...

Hi Jay. I have been pondering that myself. The lesser of two evils, Ben or Charles Widmore. But I have said from the beginning, if the amazing properties of the island fell into the wrong hands, it would be extremely dangerous and while both Ben and Charles have their own interests at heart, Ben at least has shown he has not exploited the island and feels some connection to it because of seeing his mother. So I'd go with Ben. Problem is Jack and Kate don't know Charles Widmore is behind things, so they are backing the wrong side.
So obviously Charlotte and the others on the Boat, know something about Dharma and what Ben did with the gas. As Juliet pretty much said, those people were hired by Charles Widmore to wage war with Ben for the island and the Losties are stuck right in the middle of it.
I agree with your comment at the end about the Losties acting plain dumb. Ben told Locke to ask him anything, anything else, and all he asks is who is the man on the boat? For some reason that was important enough to let him go. Not, oh I don't know, what's the deal with the island, who is Jacob, what list, just to name a few.
I wasn't crying or anything this week, but I still enjoyed a good solid Lost episode. No matter what.

Jay said...

Agreed Carly. I think Ben does have the best interests of the island (and possibly the world) at heart, but the fact he feels exterminating everyone who gets in his way is justified makes him cold-hearted at the least, evil at the worst.

BTW, I forgot to mention that everyone should check out Doc Jensen's episode preview now in EW. There's always spoilers and teasers there, but he usually has some good info too. I'll post a bit on them next week, but I'm going to be gone til next Wednesday so I may not have a chance. =)

Missie said...

Why do you remotely believe Ben when he reports Goodwin is trying to make a case for Ana Lucia? It's a jealousy ploy. I'm fairly certain we got Ben's 6 month promise when he recruited Juliette- she thought she would be back for the birth of her niece. Also, I still want to hear her theory on the pregnancies- hopefully we'll get some of it next week with Sun.

I'm glad flashbacks have not been ruled out entirely because I stil really REALLY want a Rousseau story.
Loved "I taped over the game".
Can't wait to discuss more this weekend!

memphish said...

I'm betting Widmore is actually the "good" guy, but I think "good" is going to be a very expedient relative in the long run. Actually I think Widmore is on his path just like Desmond is on his path. This is happening because it's supposed to happen.

A reveal of Michael as Ben's man on the boat next week is probably going to be about the worst moment in the season. Unless they've got some huge twist up their sleeve this is going to rank up there with Eko dying the day before he's booked on Regis and Kelly.

In response to a couple of your questions -- in Season 2 Ben was selling the Goodwin was making a case for Ana Lucia story to Ana Lucia herself while he was being held in the Swan. But we never saw Goodwin doing that. It's always been something Ben alone mentioned.

I think Juliet reminds Ben of his mom. I think that painting is of his mom and that it looks like Juliet. I think just like girls marry their dads, Ben is looking to marry a girl just like dear old mom or rather his overly romanticized and completely fantastic version of her. I'll even go so far as to guess that Ben's mom and his ideal of her is what broke up him and Annie. Maybe he suggested she die her hair blonde, e.g.

And yes, Juliet's term of employment was 6 months. It was mentioned in both her earlier episodes.

Capcom said...

Great post and comments everyone!

If this part of the TLE is going to play into the show eventually, Good vs Bad may boil down to the ones who want to kill off 1/3 of the earth's population (for the VE problem), vs, the ones who will kill anyone who wants to use the island for that purpose.

You're probably right about Charlotte's and Dan's purpose, the map certainly didn't show much else than where they were headed for their job. Curiously, it didn't even say, "Watch out for Smokey" on it. :-)

Speaking of Smokey, was that his noise in the jungle in the rain around Juliet too?

Yeah, that whole thing about Goodwin and AnaL was to get under Juliet's skin, and probably to make her get mad at Goodwin enough to turn to Ben. I thought only chicks did that. :-)

Right Memphish, perhaps Ben was trying to turn Annie into his mother, they way that Jimmy Stewart was trying to turn Kim Novak into the other dead Kim Novak, in "Vertigo". Creepy.

All of those 5-Gum commercials are stupid. :-(

Paula Abdul Alhazred said...

Agreed, we're looking at Michael on the boat. I think there is very little doubt at this point. Harold Perrineau's name has been in the credits all season, and we knew he was returning as a regular. But this raises a monumental question: Michael's only been gone for about a month. How the heck is he already a well-ingrained spy for Ben? There's something strange going on here, and I think Michael's eventual flashback will be bringing something brand new to the table. What exactly that might be, though, I can't guess.

I am in the camp of thinking Harper was a manifestation of the island. Why else the spooky whispers and sudden appearance/disappearance? She would be a good form for the island to take, since she is someone Juliet fears and would be intimidated by. I think the character is alive and well with the Others, but I don't see how she could have any communication with Ben. It's the island speaking on Ben's behalf (or its own). Either that, or Ben sent Juliet a Walt-style message using the image of Harper.

I definitely think Charles Widmore is the bad guy. Now, there is probably another side to his character, I'm sure. But I think the threat he presents is very very real. It's been teased for years that Widmore is actually the villain of the show, so this new revelation makes sense. Ben is a villain insomuch as he's willing to do whatever it takes to protect the island, but I believe Widmore is real threat.

It's doubtful Michael is one of the Oceanic Six. Pretty sure he's working under an assumed name. Again, how did Michael manage to change his name, get recruited by Ben and be hired by Widmore in the space of a few weeks? I just don't think it's that simple. The idea of Locke being one of the six is interesting, but I really don't think he'd leave under any circumstances. If Ben is not on the island in the future, then I think Locke is probably still there. I will say that I am seriously now considering that it was Ben in the coffin, not one of the Oceanic Six. It just makes sense, I think.

As far as the Goodwin/Ana Lucia stuff goes, I don't think that's just Ben Linus BS. Watching "The Other 48 Days," it really does look like Goodwin has some kind of fascination with Ana. He could've bailed on the tailsection a long time ago after the Others had taken everyone they wanted, but he stayed and was always watching over Ana Lucia. So I really do think he felt she could be changed. Both Ethan and Goodwin got themselves killed because they became too involved with the people they were spying on. Ethan became homicidally protective of Claire, and Goodwin couldn't leave behind Ana Lucia.

Hannah said...

Kate wouldn't be Kate if she didn't get held at gunpoint. Dumb hoe. Turning her back on Charlotte like that? Please. :)

Man I love this show.

P.S. The Constant has to be one of the best episodes ever. Ev-er.

P.P.S. As always, great post!

Yessifer said...

Great review. Caroline I agree with you. Someone needs to tell her to get over it. I still don't understand how she could think they wouldn't know about her fugitive status.

Jay said...

Random thoughts to everyone's comments in a very neat thread:

Thanks for the clarifications, Memphish. I guess the question is does everyone surrounding the island have a specific fate or does just a select few? There's also this idea that there are people who are kinda like "fate-maelstroms" where their fate is so important to the universe that they bend the paths of all those around them so they get to their final destination. Is Charles Widmore merely being bent by Desmond or does he have a specific purpose himself?

I thought the Ana-Lucia things had been mentioned before - I really need to go back and re-watch some of the old episodes if I get the time.

Kate was great for the first half of Season One, pretty much until the Toy Airplane appeared. I keep hoping that somehow the writers will find a way to return to her character to a certain level of competence, but, alas, I think it's impossible at this point. =)

I'm really hoping that Michael will look like 20 years older when we see him, suggesting he was trapped in the time bubble around the island for an eternity before being released. Otherwise I agree it's going to be a totally anti-climactic moment. But I keep thinking about the look Ben and Michael shared as he sailed off and I can't help but think something passed between them.