Friday, April 25, 2008

Lost Episode Review 4.09: "The Shape of Things to Come"

: "I'm here, Charles, to tell you I'm going to kill your daughter."

Wow, was that great episode or what? Certainly the second-best this season, only behind "The Constant" and, in my book, another Top 10 episode contender. It really did a lot of things well - It tied up a bunch of loose ends, including how Ben recruited Sayid, how the DHARMA polar bear ended up in Tunisia and whether Ben was really lying or not when he said he knew nothing about the Smoke Monster (HA - I knew he was lying!). But it also delved quite a bit into Ben and Charles Widmore and the fact they had a pre-existing relationship/agreement and now sets up a harrowing end game for the rest of the series: Whether Ben will end up killing Penny or not?

So much to talk about, but we simply have to start with:

1. How much control does Ben have over the Monster?

I was so STOKED to see Smokey again. And how awesome was it to see it barreling through the Barracks like a freight train? Ben appeared to "release" the Monster from an underground chamber that reminded me a bit of how the Rancor was released from "Return of the Jedi." When he emerged he was covered in dirt, lending credence to the theory that the Monster lives underground and travels to the surface through certain "Cerberus Vents."

But how much control does Ben have over it? He didn't seem to want to release it initially, probably for fear of his (and later, Alex's) life. From the Blast Door Map, The Monster was rumored to have been DHARMA's security system. But judging from the looks of the door to the Monster Chamber, it really looks like the Monster definitely pre-dates DHARMA. Look at the hieroglyphics here - I've lightened the door so you can see them:

Similar to the ones on the countdown timer in the Swan, eh? Those glyphs translated to "Underworld" - wonder what these mean? So were the Barracks built over a pre-existing structure? Did DHARMA build them there so they could control the Monster? Was this a contentious point that set off the war between DHARMA and the natives? Locke needs to grill Ben on this the next couple episodes.

2. How did Ben get to Tunisia?

Obviously the same way the polar arrived there in "Confirmed Dead." Ben was wearing Edgar Halliwax/Marvin Candle's jacket bearing a new DHARMA logo that looks like (to me) an orchid inside a swirly design. He had an injured arm and vomited upon regaining consciousness. When he arrived at civilization, the hotel clerk informed him it was October 21st, 2005 and Ben specifically asked about the year.

Ben also obviously lied to Sayid about how he arrived though and, interestingly, I think it's the first time on the show he's specifically mentioned Desmond by name.

So what questions does all this raise?

* The Orchid Station is likely able to teleport/transport people off the island. Question is, how specific can it be? Can it only teleport to Tunisia and/or a couple select areas around the globe? If so, why?

A distinct possibility is there's a wormhole where you enter and are spit out in a specific place. If so though, you would think Widmore would have had a small army camped out at the exit point (he would have to know where it is by now). And it should be pointed out that the Orchid video does mention Casimir effects, which can be used to stabilize wormholes.

* How did Ben injure his arm? Was he fighting some people off when he jumped or was it a side-effect of the trip? Remember Marvin Candle seemed to have a prosthetic arm too.

* Why was Ben wearing a parka if he knew he was going to end up in the desert? Is the trip a cold one? Is there a cold part of the island?

Then there's the question my friend Matt asked me over e-mail this morning:

3. Is Charles Widmore a future version of Ben?

This question was originally "so what agreement do Charles and Ben have?" but I like this one better.

Future version, I'd say no.

But what about an anti-matter copy? Remember in the Orchid video that the rabbits seemed to copy themselves and Halliwax screamed "make sure they don't come in contact." Could Ben and Charles be anti-matter copies of themselves and that's why they can't kill each other (or even come in contact)?

Perhaps Ben had an accident in the Orchid Station a long time ago and ended up creating an anti-matter copy of himself who became Charles Widmore. Both Ben and Charles found out the truth and realized they couldn't kill each other, however they both still coveted the island. They also originally agreed not to hurt each other's family, but apparently those gloves have now been taken off.

4. Did Ben set Sayid up or merely take advantage of a situation?

I think the conventional wisdom here is that Ben arranged the whole thing to get Sayid on his side. However, I do think it's possible Ben found out Charles had someone kill Nadia (possibly in gunning for Sayid) and decided to use the situation to his advantage.

Question now is, will Ben have Sayid kill Penny or will he have to do it himself? I have a very hard time believing that Sayid could bring himself to kill Penny after what happened to the two women he loved on the show. Not to mention, Sayid's gotten to witness first hand just how much Penny means to Desmond. If Sayid ends up killing Penny, I'll be very, very disappointed in the writers.

Not to mention, I'll just be really pissed if Penny dies, period. :P

5a. Why can't Ben or Locke find Jacob's cabin now?

Is it like only the last person or persons to see Jacob's cabin can find it again? I find it very weird that Ben needs Hurley to find the cabin.

5b. What happened to the doctor?

Question really is, what day is it on the freighter? Last we checked, the island was a couple days in the future compared to the freighter ( I think Sun mentioned to Jin in "Ji Yeon" that Desmond and Sayid had been gone three days). So the good doctor was killed on the freighter and his body traveled back in time a couple days when it washed up on the beach.

This probably doesn't bode well for Des and Sayid. I do wish we'd seen them this episode. Grrrrr...

Other Tidbits:

* We still don't know for sure whether Danielle is alive or dead. How much you want to bet she shows up a crucial moment and saves the day? How much you want to bet she ends up killing Keamy?

* The painting of the Black Rock that Charles Widmore purchased in "The Constant" was hanging on the wall of his bedroom. There also seemed to be a painting of the island in the hallway.

* Did no one think to check Ben's piano bench for errant shotguns? Just askin'...

* I can't tell you how upset I am that Alex is dead.

* "Australia is the key to the whole game!" Innocent comment on a game of Risk or something more? BTW, I thought that scene was awesome.

* Even Ben's piano playing sounds evil...

* Sawyer's concern for Claire and Hurley this episode was also touching. Will he become de-facto leader once the Oceanic 6 are gone?

* It's worth mentioning again, what the heck is going to happen to Desmond at the end of Season 4? He's not one of the Oceanic 6 and now Ben is after Penny. Do he and Penny go into hiding? That could mean a very Desmond-less Season 5, if that's the case.

* That new DHARMA logo. Sure looks like an Orchid to me.

Overall: The only quibble I have over the episode is I really thought Ben handed Alex's situation poorly. It's true that she probably would have been shot no matter what he did, but I seriously thought that Ben misjudged the situation. Otherwise we got one of the best episodes of the season. Smokey's simply awesome when he gets his rage on. 4.6/5


Tickey said...

Nother silly thought I had was, How the heck did the frieghter gun crew make it to the island in one piece. Considering the "frieghties" all practically crash landed onto the island?

Did Ben set Sayid up or merely take advantage of a situation?
I'd say he set Sayid up. That was one wicked grin as he turned away from Sayid saying he would be in contact with him.

chefmom said...

My husband says the same thing as did the frieghter gun crew get there so fast. Wasn't the guy who killed Alex the same guy Skeet shooting a few episodes ago? This may have topped my all time favorite list. The fact that we got to see so much of Smokey, and all his fierceness, was awesome. Every moment had you figuring out something new. Great Review!!

Missie said...

So are we to assume the remaining Locketeers are dead, or does Locke-Linus et al. just not give a crap about them? (I have to say, the fact that a handful responded to "Stay inside!" by immediately running OUT does little to garner any sympathy from me).

Capcom said...

Good post and great reading!

I wonder if the final showdown will be between Des and Ben, when Des finds out about Ben's plan to kill her. Time Lords chasing each other through time and space! :-D

Also good point about why the DI might have ticked off the natives, after they built their houses on their sacred ground. Poltergeist, anyone?

I'm hoping that the Orchid machine can connect with the varioius devil's vortexes around the globe, that would be neat. And then there could be various exit points. I'm wondering, if they have a problem with losing appendages in the leaping process, why don't they wear some kind of protective armor? And there seems to be something about needing absolute zero temps for time travel at light speed, so there could be some kind of cryo-chamber necessary for the process that would require wearing warm gear.

Heheh, guns in the piano bench, a classic. Someone at DarkUFO said that the music was Rachmaninov's Opus something. It did sound like him.

I agree about Ben's poker decision with Keamy. The one time he gets it wrong, it costs Alex's life. Dang.

Perhaps Lapidus is getting better at shuttling back and forth between the island and boat, the more he does it, so the mercs were able to get there easier than the first round. :-)

Imperceptible Me said...

Wow, good theory on Ben and Charles. I thought this episode was outstanding. I loved that Ben pulled a Sayid on those Desert Dudes. Wow, I was shocked. Ben is definitely more the man than I thought. Not only highly intelligent but he can kick butt too. I agree it was one of the top two of this season for sure. Woot!

Jay said...

I think Frank learned a thing or two from his first trip to the island. After all, he did manage to land the chopper okay, even though everyone bailed out. And while I certainly wouldn't be surprised if Ben set Sayid up, I have a feeling that this time he merely took advantage of an advantageous situation.

And I think, Miss, that a lot of the background folk are going to become cannon fodder before the end of the series. Did you notice that at least two of the people shot had red shirts? :)

BTW, tickey, that's Ben's photo you've got now on your SU profile, right? The one the freighter guys brought to the island? Very cool. :)

I'm also hoping there are more than one wormhole exit point around the globe, Capcom. It would certainly make sense if there was one near New York since it would explain how Mr. Friendly got there so fast. :)

Caroline said...

Great episode/great review :)

I was shocked when Alex was shot but I agree, it seemed odd that Ben would just say "oh whatever, not my kid" unless he and Widmore had some previous arrangement and he thought he could bluff his way through the situation and she wouldn't be killed.

I don't know about whether he deliberately set up Sayid or took advantage of a situation - either way, he is obviously using him (as he does everyone).

Also agreed about Sawyer saving Claire (and calling her sweetheart instead of some random nickname) but did anyone else think he said "lets turn him over" and "open the damn door" entirely too often ;) (kidding)

Ok, maybe I am being dense but what was Jack taking at the beginning of the episode - was it painkillers or was it truly antibiotics as he told Kate - and why would one take antibiotics for a "stomach bug" which would be a virus and not responsive to antibiotics?? He was obviously ill at the end of the show as well.

I was kind of distracted during those first few minutes so maybe I missed something.