Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lost Episode Review 5.07, "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham"


"I remember dying..."




Holy crap!

This season keeps getting better and better. Of course, Locke's story was the star of the show, but tonight's episode was the first this season that felt like a self-contained story of old. You have to feel a bit sorry for Locke - when he was standing on that desk with the noose around his neck, I don't think he was doing it because Richard and Jacob told him to do so. I think he was standing there because he really did want to commit suicide, not just because he had failed to convince them to come back, but that Jack and Kate's words had cut him deeply.

Throughout the second season, a lot of people complained how pathetic Locke's character had become. They wanted the "Locke of Season One" back - the hunter, the tracker, the wise man with all the answers who believed they were on the Island to fulfill their destiny, not the miserable man sitting in his cave (cubicle) pushing a button. But the thing is that Locke's destiny was to push that button and that the real Locke really is a sad, lonely man who, yes, is a bit pathetic and suffers from dreams of grandeur.

When Richard came to visit Locke as a child, Locke reached for the knife and Richard took everything away disgusted. Locke wants to have an exciting, important destiny and has trouble accepting that it seems he has the latter without the former. This episode, after he rose up on the Island again, I think has finally accepted this.

Terrific performances from Terry O'Quinn, Matthew Fox, Michael Emerson and Lance Reddick. Great scenes between Locke and Widmore, Locke and Abaddon, Locke and Hurley, Locke and Jack and, of course, Locke and Ben. Could we see an Emmy for best writing out of this episode? Could we finally see an Emmy for Michael Emerson? Or a second helping for Terry O'Quinn. And the look Jack gave Locke when Locke mentioned Christian was probably the best Jackface of the entire show. I really thought we were going to get a Luke Skywalker "That's not true!" for a sceond there. :)

Lots to go through. First off, what did we learn?

1. Charles Widmore met Locke when he was 17 years old. He claims he was leader of the Others until he was overthrown by Ben.

2. He watches the spot in Tunisia because it's the "exit." He claims a war is coming to the Island and Locke needs to be on the winning side. Since this is the case, I do wonder if the Donkey Wheel opens up a wormhole.

3. Abaddon works for Widmore and "helps people get to where they need to get to." I'll get back to this below.

4. Locke visited Hurley, Kate, Sayid and Walt, but determined Walt was already through enough, so he didn't ask him to return, which is kinda odd considering I'd think Walt would be the one who likes (and respects) Locke enough to actually take him up on the offer on the spot.

5. Helen, his former girlfriend, is dead.

6. Abaddon gets killed by Ben (presumably).

7. Locke ends up in the same hospital as Jack and tells him Christian sent him.

8. Ben killed Locke after Locke told him Eloise Hawking was going to help him get back to the Island. He then took Jin's wedding ring and set Locke up to make it look like a hanging. Interesting that Ben didn't find Locke's suicide note. Wonder how Ms. Hawking got a hold of it without Ben's knowledge?

9. Locke is now alive and back on the Island with the rest of the survivors who did indeed appear to have landed on the Hydra Island runway.

10. Frank and either Sayid or Sun took off in one of the skiffs (I forgot to write down whether Locke was told Frank took off with a man or a woman). Either way there's only one more of the O6 unaccounted for - whichever of Sayid or Sun didn't take off with Frank. Remember Jack, Kate and Hurley landed at the waterfall.

This pretty much tells all of Locke's story, however we still don't know all the circumstances behind how the O6 made the final decisions to come back, i.e. How Sayid got arrested, how Hurley got Charlie's guitar and where Kate stowed Aaron. Future flashback episodes to be sure.

Man, I haven't even asked a question yet! :)

Five Questions:

1) So is Ben just evil or is he Sauron, cover-the-world-in-darkness evil?

While I'm always hesitant to claim something is definitive on this show, I think this episode established once and for all that Ben is the real bad guy and Widmore is more like the Man in the Iron Mask. All Ben seemed to need Locke for is to find a way back onto the Island. Once he got Hawking's name out of him (and Jin's wedding ring as a bonus) he killed him. For real this time.

But we still don't know Ben's true motiviations. Does he just want the Island's power for himself along with leadership of the Others? Does he, as Doc Jensen speculated, want to use the Island to change his past? Or could it be something even more sinister? Does Ben perhaps want to use the Island to destroy the world entirely - in a kind of "if I can't have it, no one can" attitude?

Now one can argue that Ben does (or did) seem to love the Island and the power he seems to have (or had) on it, so why would he want to destroy it. But I wonder if seeing Locke, the man he killed, standing over him will be enough to finally make him snap and consider destroying the Island all together. After all, the Island has now resurrected Locke, a fairly clear indication that it wants him to stick around. I wonder how Ben will take that kind of rejection? Probably about as well as he took Juliet's, I'm guessing. Can not wait to see what that scene between Ben and Locke.

A while ago I wrote:
It's interesting to note that John seems to almost have a child-like innocence about him: His need for a father-figure, his simple enjoyment of games, his gullible trusting nature that always seems to get him into trouble. It seems that young Ben had these properties, but perhaps his time leading the Others (and his subsequent desire to hang on to his power) has corrupted him.
I still think this is plausible as well, although that corruption seems to have now descended into desperation and madness.

2) So did the Island resurrect Christian too?

Last week I speculated whether Jacob and Christian were one and the same, but now I really wonder whether the Island simply brought Christian back to life and now Jacob is simply using him as his mouthpiece. We know Christian was up and walking from the get go as soon as the plane crashed, much like Locke this time around. I made a flippant comment the other day about Smokey being Metatron, but maybe Jacob's voice is really Jack's alcoholic dad instead.

3) So if Ben's evil and Widmore is good, then whose side is Ms. Hawking on?

On one hand, if Ben is really Dr. Doom, you would think Ms. Hawking wouldn't help him, but she did. Ben probably came to her and asked her how he could get back to the Island. She told him the only was to get back was to bring all the O6 back, like Locke was trying to do. Which does kinda make sense in that Ben's only motivation in getting them all back was so that HE could get back. And did he know he'd need them all? Is that why he had Sayid try and protect them? Was the only thing he didn't know was who could help him return? Seems a little funky, but lets roll with that theory.

If that's all true, perhaps Hawking is merely a neutral force, playing her role, but not judging, a Watcher if you will, who sometimes is called upon to act. Of course, what does that make Daniel? Hmmmm....

4) So can the Island only resurrect dead bodies that crash on the Island?

Or special dead bodies, I suppose, otherwise Eko's brother would probably be alive as well. Oh wait...

But seriously, do people that die on the Island stay dead? And what about famous people who may have crashed on the Island too? :)

5) Now what?

Locke's back. The Oceanic Six are back (sans Aaron, plus Jackface Jr.). What happens next?

Will the time skipping continue? What will the O6 have to do? How will the Island be put to rights? Will Locke finally assume leadership of the Others? Does he have freaky Jedi powers? Will they have to find a cure for why mothers on the Island keep dying or will we get to see Kate the Ticking Time Bomb meet with a bloody miserable death?

I tell ya', this season keeps getting better and better. :)

Bonus question #1:

So what was Ben doing with Walt oh-so-long-ago when he was "testing" him? He doesn't seem to have an Island destiny. Why was he on the plane in the first place?

Bonus question #2:

So was Matthew Abaddon responsible for putting everyone important on Flight 815. We know for certain he got Locke on the plane and since getting people "where they need to get to" was his primary role for Widmore, did he get everyone together - like Claire with Richard Malkin and Sun and Jin with Mr. Paik's watches - behind the scenes?

Tidbits

* Definite Top 10 episode. Might need to watch this one again next week.

* The two new people are named Ceasar and Alanna.

* Ceasar looked like he found a copy of Rousseau's maps in the Hydra:



* "This may be the best mango I've ever tasted." Awesome.

* The license plate number of the truck that picked Locke up in Tunisia was 342 6346

* Locke's, or rather Jeremy Bentham's, passport:



* Widmore told Locke to press "two three" if he needed anything.

* Sayid's shirt read "Build the World"

* Helen was born on 4/30/57 and died on 4/8/06

* Locke was staying in the Westerfield Hotel

* Hurley's been getting a lot of good lines this season. His "am I talking to a dude in a wheelchair"was priceless.

Summary:

Best episode this season (and that's saying a lot) and one of the best of the entire show, not because it answered a lot of questions (which it did), but because it gave us back the John Locke of old. Of course, he was always there, only this time it's not just a face or persona Locke uses to cover up for the rest of his life that he's ashamed of. This time, it's who he really is because that other person, that John Locke of old, is dead. 5/5, easily.

17 comments:

Missie said...

Frank took off with a woman, so I'm assuming Sun.

Missie said...

Also, the woman who's the marshall doesn't seem to concerned about the whereabouts of her prisoner. As opposed to Kate's escort from the first season.

Jay said...

Ah, thanks for that Miss. Guess Sayid's the one still missing.

And I think we're going to get what the story is with her through either a direct flashback or one of Sayids. It might be that they made a deal of sorts.

Of course, if he's missing, she could also just assume he's dead.

Hannah said...

This episode left me with so many questions. Crazy that is the second time Ben tried to kill Locke. Maybe he knows Locke is to be the new leader and he doesn’t want to let it happen?

And a second question, If Ben only wanted to talk to Locke to get the name of the person who was going to help him get back to the island and Ben was the leader of the others, how could he not know about Mrs. hawking?

I also think it's really interesting that the island didn't heal Ben. He was one of the people that were hurt. And he got a tumor in his spine while other people had their ailments disappear.

Do you think that the island is rejecting Ben?

Kerin said...

Hi Jay -

Thought you would find this interesting...the license plate on Abaddon's car when they visit Walt is an old Liberty plate, which has been out of circulation since 2001 (latest it could've been around is 2003)and Helen died in 2006, so the time line for that seems to be off. Do we know what year it is off island...I can seem to remember that.

Not sure what to make of that, and it may be inconsequential, but with this show who knows...and every little thing counts.

How nasty was the scene with Locke's leg!? Ouch!

Any thoughts on what Dharma station Caesar and Alanna were in? It seems to easy to be the Hydra station...although I do think they're on the smaller (where hydra is located) island. Or do you think it may be someone's office instead of a station?? maybe Candle's?

So true about Locke having the innocence of a child.

LOVED this episode...hate waiting a week for the next one

PS - I have this feeling Libby is under that hood (in the preview) at least it would be interesting if it was.

Jay said...

Hannah -

There's a Lost thread on Fark right now and someone in it made this comment:

The best was his reaction to John saying Jin had survived. Basically one look said, "well this changes everything, looks like I don't need you alive anymore".

Maybe Ben didn't need Ms. Hawking's name, maybe he really needed Locke to convince (protect him from) Sun. He knew there was no way he was going to convince Sun to come back, but after Locke told him Jin was still alive he realized all his problems there were solved. Actually makes much more sense now that I think about it...

I definitely think the Island was/is rejecting Ben. Remember Locke's famous "how come you're in a wheelchair and I'm not comment to Ben" (back in Season 3, I think). And I can't imagine the Island's too happy with him right now. :)

Jay said...

The plane definitely landed on Hydra Island, Kerin. One of Cesar's folders had a Hydra logo on it and you could see Locke staring at their big Island when he was on the beach.

Interesting tidbit about the license plate too. :)

Kerin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kerin said...

sorry i posted twice..and thanks for the clarification on the station - I had a feeling I missed something there

Theresa said...

What's the timeline for what we learned last night? How long was it between Locke's leaving the island and his return? When did he visit Jack/die/return to the island?

I'm asking because my roommate and I are trying to figure out when exactly Jack had his breakdown. It seems he was clean when he saw Locke, then started to fall to pieces as he thought about what Locke said. I'm guessing that he wanted to kill himself when he saw Locke's obit because he thought it was too late to save everyone on the island now that Locke was dead. You know how Jack takes things personally, he probably blamed himself. It just seems like the writers are trying to make it like Jack broke down, lost his job and his reputation, turned obsessive and tried to kill himself all within a matter of weeks....which seems like a really short time to be so self-destructive.

Does any of this make sense? Thoughts?

Carly said...

I thought the episode was fantastic with a perfect Lost ending.
I've been thinking a lot about the Widmore, Ben question and why Ben killed Locke and one thing we have to remember is that Widmore told Locke there was a war coming to the island and if Locke wasn't back when it happened, the wrong side would win. It seems that Ben wants to get back on the island without Locke. He wants to lead something on the island. And obviously didn't know that Locke would actually be resurrected. Ben betrayed Locke but frankly I still don't trust either one. I only trust Locke.
I totally feel let down by Abaddon dying after half a show. I think they should have used him more.
Also, I feel like we saw Cesar in a previous episode somewhere but I don't know where.
I agree Jay. Fantastic acting. Especially the scene with Locke and Ben. I felt such empathy for Locke's character as he was manipulated by Ben.

James said...

i think the time skipping's probably over, cause that was the whole point of locke turning the donkey wheel.

the jack and jin group could be back in the distant past - it lines up with farraday being present at the drilling site, and with the red haired woman realizing that she recognized him.

Le Rap said...

do you think the boat with the water bottle, that was found by sawyer/daniel/.. was the same one frank and sun used to get on the island? because then the whole time line would confuse me. they found the boat before they even met jin and locke and they got away because they skipped in time. and the rifle cesar found, was just a short shotgun, not very effective on long distances as in the scene on the ocean.

Capcom said...

Great post!

"...the real Locke really is a sad, lonely man who, yes, is a bit pathetic and suffers from dreams of grandeur." Well put! I agree. And this ep totally showed that!

Does Locke need to be on the winning side, or does Widmore just need Locke on his side? :-o

IS Helen really dead? Or did they just need to make Locke think that she was dead. I don't know what to bloody believe on this show anymore! I also was really shocked and disappointed about Abaddon's too-easy death. Dammitt Ben! :-(

Very good question about how Mrs.H got Locke's note!

That's what I was wondering about CS coming alive! Is he really alive and not just a Smokey apparition as we always assumed? You're the only other person I've seen also ask that question.

Also in the notes that Ceasar was looking at was a paper like the page in Dan's notebook that showed a drawing of the real Minkowski's imaginary time and imaginary space, etc (with scribbled in circles and connecting lines). WTH?!

Interesting comments here too everyone! :-)

someGirl said...

My 8 y/o daughter asked if “the very clever man” that Ms. Hawking gushingly said invented the method to track the island could possibly be Daniel Faraday… I was almost going to dismiss her question when I realized that they (Daniel, Sawyer, Juliet, etc.) seem to be stuck in the DHARMA timeline. And if this is so, Daniel could be possibly setting up the conditions for everyone to return…you know pointing the scientists in the right direction.

Have you seen the movie “Deja` Vu” with Denzel Washington?? In the movie he travels back in time to change a horrific event from happening. But his future self needs to die because it cannot co-exists wit his past self. The timeline he existed in also disappears because he changes past events. It’s confusing and really far-fetched (i.e. Doc Jensen!) but what if this is kinda of happening with everyone off island?? What if when they manage to place everyone where/when they should be, they all course-correct like Ms. Hawking’s said?? As in the O-6 timeline seizes to exists…or something like that :)

PS: Faraday said the Flash Sickness had something to do with people’s exposure to the island (explaining why Charlotte got sick first) Do you think this is why Kate gets those visits from Claire urging her not to bring Aaron back, him being born on the island and all?? I apologize if this was obvious from the get-go, I’ve been a little slow on the up-take lately!!

Jay said...

Theresa - I think Locke was only gone a very short period of time. Really just the amount of time it took him to jet around and visit everyone. Didn't someone in the episode ask him how long it had been and he said "four days?" I can't remember who it was though - makes a difference if it was Hurley or Ben.

But the writers seem to have compressed time a bit. Originally bearded Jack (back in Season 3) told Kate he had been flying "a lot" trying to get back onto the Island. Yet Ben told Locke Jack had just booked his first flight the night he killed him and, presuming Locke's body was found quickly (it wasn't decomposed at all in the coffin), Jack would have seen the obituary a few days later.

While I suppose it's possibly the Island preserved Locke's body for a couple months before it was discovered, but it really seems the writers have compressed the timeline quite a bit in a way that doesn't totally jive for me.

LeRap - Absolutely. Only question is who was doing the shooting? My guess is Cesar and Illana, who don't know our Losties.

Have more to write, but have to leave for work. More later... :)

Jay said...

James - I really hope the time skipping is answered this week. From the shooting on the skiffs it seemed that the Island Losties were out of synch with the Plane Crashers (who presumably were doing the shooting) since the Island Losties skipped while they were shooting.

On the other hand, Jin is certainly in the same time frame as the Plane Crashers - the only question is when.

Capcom - I think Locke is just happy to feel important, to feel his life has a purpose. Doesn't really matter what his place is just as long as he has one.

But even though it seems Ben is the real bad guy now as opposed to Widmore, it is possible they could BOTH be bad, simply wanting what's best for themselves and not what's best for the Island.

Widmore does get points for caring about Penny though (and coming around to Desmond).

Ana - I think the very clever man is almost certainly Daniel. :)