Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lost Episode Review 5.05, "This Place Is Death"

"I suppose that's why they call it sacrifice, John."

Best episode of the season so far, bar none, and the first contender this season to possibly make my Top 10 of all time list. This episode was so... meaty, not only lots of new questions, but quite a few answers and it seems like there was something in it for everyone to enjoy. Kinda reminded me of "Lockdown" in that regard.

Lots of Smokey, as I predicted, but not from Locke's journey underground. So what did we learn?

1. What happened to Danielle's team. Her story's still incomplete, but the main thing we got was that going down the Cerberus Vent did something to her team. We still need to see what happened to them down there and why Ben took Alex away. Incidentally, considering the black smoke was in the air the day she shot her boyfriend, I wonder if that's the day she gave birth as well. Convenient of the Island too to send Jin a couple weeks into the future to see it right after he left.

2. We FINALLY saw the Temple. Lots of new hieroglyphs just like we saw on Smokey's door in Ben's basement.

3. We got the two minute synopsis of Charlotte's story. Seems her backstory was one of the things cut out of last season. But the cool thing is it looks like we'll be able to see it first hand through Daniel's eyes, much like we saw Danielle's through Jin's. Now when's Libby going to pop up, eh?

And remember the phrase "I'm not allowed to have chocolate before bedtime." Methinks Daniel's going to bribe the young Charlotte with a Baby Ruth or something.

4. Just as I predicted last week, Ben had Sun's wedding ring, although he got it second hand from Locke, not from Jin himself. Seems Sun's on board now too - convenient way for Locke to get around his promise to Jin.

5. We found out not only how Locke got off the Island, but that he really WAS supposed to be the one to turn the wheel in the season finale. That was something that always bothered me. Of course, that also leads to more questions....

Five Questions:

Unlike last week, I have so very much to talk about with this episode. So many interesting questions too. Where to begin? Let's start with:

1) Is Jacob really Christian Shepherd?

Okay, up until now I always assumed that Jacob was either:

1) Assuming Christian Shepherd's form
2) Animating Christian's body to get us ready for the Zombie Season

But his "Say hello to my son" to Locke calls all that into question. And if Christian Shepherd really is Jacob, did Flight 815 crash on the Island just to bring Jacob home? And if Christian Shepherd really is Jacob, that means that Aaron is Jacob's grandson. Now that's a pretty strong motivation for the Others wanting Aaron so badly.

It also makes a lot of other things fit too - why Jack is so important, why Claire was in Jacob's shack and gives us a reason why everyone on Flight 815 was important - Jacob wanted them on that flight. Also possibly gives us a reason why (and how) certain people survived. When the body of the God of the Island and his son, daughter and unborn grandson are all on board, it probably ups your chances of survival.

Which brings us too...

2) What is Ben's true goal in all this?

I kept going back and forth on this, but Jacob made it pretty clear: Ben is Dr. Doom. And Dr. Doom only cares what's best for Doom. We saw it when Ben shot Locke and left him for dead. But after he really did seem to be trying to set everything right last season and this, I questioned whether he was evil or just genuinely trying to do what was best for the Island.

But the fact that Jacob not only called Ben out in front of Locke, but also told us that Locke was really supposed to turn the wheel last season, I have to wonder. And since Ms. Hawking is working with him, does she really have the best intentions for them all too?

Does Ben just want to be important? Does he see Jacob as the great father figure he never had and feels betrayed by his insta-love for Locke? And perhaps more importantly, does Ben kill Locke in the end?

If Ben does eventually die on the show, I think Hurley should run him over with his father's van.

3) What would have happened if Locke had turned the wheel instead of Ben?

We might get a bit of an answer to this next episode when we see whether Locke turning the wheel stops the Island Losties from flashing through time, although we know Daniel at least has to keep time traveling because 1) he eventually will go back and see Charlotte as a young girl and 2) we know he visits the Orchid. Of course, if the Island does stop flashing they could all end up being trapped in the DHARMA era. That would be so cool (and possibly provide a lot of answers), but I digress...

But if Locke had turned the wheel instead of Ben, would simply the Island and everyone have blinked out with no skipping? Did Ben's evil energy (or something) set all this off? I'd love to see the next Ben/Jacob meeting. Methinks he's going to be grounded - no Magic Box for a month or something. :)

4) What happened to Danielle's crew down the Cerberus Vent?

This is the question I want answered most of all. The DHARMA sickness was a hoax, but whatever Smokey did to them down there - maybe they inhaled some bad Monster - made Danielle kill them. Did he simply possess them or was it something more?

Smokey can communicate as we saw with both Eko and Locke, but we really don't know his agenda, aside from the fact his original purpose was to defend the Island. Maybe he convinced them that Danielle (and Alex) had to die in order to save the Island (and themselves). In other words, they weren't being controlled, but were taking aim at Danielle of their own free will. The former is the simplest answer, but the latter makes a better story.

But we do know now that Danielle wasn't crazy when she shot them - it was truly self defense (and it pained her to do so). That was a simply terrific scene too.

I also wonder if Locke would have really been "okay" back in "Exodus," as he told Jack he would be when Smokey grabbed him. We still really don't know what transpired when Locke first saw the Monster back in one of the first couple episodes.

5) Did Ben not know that Ms. Hawking was Daniel Faraday's Mom? Does Ben even know who Daniel is?

Ben's reaction to Desmond statement that Hawking was Daniel's mom seemed to take Ben totally by surprise. Ben met Charlotte on the Island, but I don't think he ever met Daniel, at least in the present day. But given how much Daniel's going to be time traveling, it seems Ben MUST have met Daniel in the past, at very least as a boy.

Was the Other (Ellie) that Daniel recognized in "Jughead" really his mom, Eloise Hawking? If so, was Daniel born on the Island too? Will Daniel meet himself as a young lad in the past? And did Ben just put 2 + 2 together with a whole lot of things with Desmond's statement?


* Glyphs on The Temple. So how do they compare to those on Ben's door? Dark UFO has the biggie version.

* Em on Ji Yeon: "Now that's a cute kid!" And I wholeheartedly agree.

* When Ben told Sun to either come with him or "get on with it and shoot me," Em said "I so wish she'd have just shot him. That would have been so cool." No, Rule #1 of Lost is you don't kill Ben. :)

* Sawyer called Charlotte "Red." Has he done that before? Seems like low-hanging fruit.

* I wonder if the Others (or DHARMA) knew where to dig the well because they found this mysterious rope coming out of the ground there.

* Charlotte knowing Klingon was hilarious.

* Ben's outburst at Jack in the car was awesome. Evan, by text: "Jack is such an asshole."

* Day Danielle's team first explored the Island? November 15th, 1988.

* The arm coming off Danielle's guy may have been the grossest thing they've done on LOST, yet all I could think of was Monty Python. Then, when he said "I'm very badly hurt" from down in the hole (ala Austin Powers), I just about lost it.

* In contrast, Locke's leg actually made me squirm.

* Smokey wrapping a vaporous tentacle around Danielle's teammate was really cool.

* LOVED seeing Danielle's music box again. It's the one Sayid fixed back in "Solitary."

* So many good quotes this episode - great performances all round too, especially Charlotte, Locke and Ben. But I also really loved Sawyer & Jin's hug too - made me verklempt a bit.

* From Matt by e-mail, on Ed not being able to believe anyone would trust Ben at this point:
See this is why I'm so exasperated, Ed. You're hardly alone. It's like I'm running around saying "Soylent Ben is made of LIES" and everyone else watching is like, "yum, I'll have seconds!"


Back when "Jurassic Park" came out, there was one three-starred review that stuck in my mind. The reviewer (I think from the Albany Times-Union) basically panned the first hour, calling it boring. But then he said something along the lines of "But, oh man that T-Rex. Talk about charisma! He flashes his pearly whites and the movie comes alive for a rollicking hour!"

I feel the exact same way about Smokey. Any Smoke Monster episode is going to be better than average simply by default. But this episode also had a Danielle flashback, a Jacob appearance, Charlotte's backstory and some terrific all around performances. Loses a little from the compression of Charlotte's story and not being as self-contained as some episodes (like "The Constant" or "23rd Psalm"), but that's a nitpick. Best episode of the season and possibly one of the best of the entire show. Man, I can't wait for next week! 4.6/5


egiff said...

I think the quote was actually, "I'm not allowed to have chocolate before dinner." Great summary, as usual. Of course, I'm slightly biased ;)

Jay said...

I defer to your wisdom, as always. :)

Kerin said...

I concur...GREAT episode, definitely the best of the season so far.

The smoke scene - AWESOME!
Sawyer and Jin reuniting- awww, warm fuzzies.
And Locke's leg - ewwww.

The fact that Ben waited until they got to the church to give Sun the ring perplexed me, I mean it was in his pocket the whole time. Why wouldn't he just give it to her at the dock? Perhaps that would have swayed Sayid and Kate to stay and go along.

Now I would like some answers as to where Rose, Bernard and Vincent the dog would assume they don't know what's going on with the flashes.

Also, have you been on the website Ajira Airlines ( Not too much there, it's set up like the original Oceanic airlines and such to open up info. There's some pictures of unknown people and of a new Dharma can also look it up on Lostpedia for some further info.

Carly said...

Dude that episode was fantastic! Sorry, my California roots come out when I get excited! 3/4 of the way through I though, man I bet Jay is loving this one and I was on the edge of my seat at the end.
I am still not convinced about the Jacob actually being Christian Shephard all along. Jacob was just an alcoholic hanging out at a hospital for years in L.A.?
Here's the thing, you can't deny that this episode (and a lot of Lost for that matter) has a lot of Biblical references to it. This was especially evident with Locke and his leg being pierced and being told he had to "sacrifice" himself for others and he had to do it alone. He is "The One" that Richard and the Others were looking for. I think they thought it was Ben but now it is obvious that it isn't, much to Ben's dismay. It had a very Jesus feel to it. So having said that I really think that Jacob took on the body of Christian Shepard. He is using it to communicate.
I agree that I think Ben is bad news and maybe he is trying to get Jacob's approval so he took it upon himself to move the island when he knew he wasn't chosen to do so. It's like he is the fallen angel, the serpent in the Garden of Eden who deceived Eve.
Having said all that, it's really not my style to be "religious" per say, but these themes are running through Lost kinda blatantly.

Oh and I loved Ben's face when Desmond mentioned Mrs. Hawking was Daniel's mom. I rewound my dvr to watch it again. It was obvious he wasn't ready for that one, which is kinda strange because Ben knows everything. He knew the names and rank so to speak of all the people on Widmore's boat including Miles so you know he knew who Daniel was. But not that little piece of info? Hmm.
Sorry this is so long!

Lucila said...

My oh my oh my I can honestly say this has been my favorite LOST episode EVER!!!!! There has been SOOO much information...!
1) I love how they indirectly tell u who spent the longest in the island by the nose bleed order...
If Sawyer is bleeding and Farraday is not is it because
a) Farraday spent far less time in the island (the building the Orchid episode might just been a couple of hours he traveled through time, maybe same day he met lil Charlotte and told her she was going to die...)
b) Been there, done that, has his constant and is able to manage what is going on.

2)YES YES AND YES about the Christian Shepard (sexy grandpa!) being Jacob's manifestation and Jack and Claire being Jacob's spawn... explains why the island needed them! They all have a role in the island... Like Kate!! I just LOVE how her role was to be Aarons caregiver.. deliver him and raise him.. AWESOME

3) Speaking of Christian... Im still trying to figure out his past.. Instead of being Jacob, I will say what my friend Zag said. Christian was one of the 50's Losties! Along with Widmore and Mrs Hawking. Maybe they had to leave and the fact that he couldn't go back made Christian a raging alcoholic? Maybe his trip to Australia (when he met Claire's mom) had something to do with the island?

God I could just go for DAYS...
Maybe Ill come back later and keep going
Off I go... to watch the episode again....