The good news is – this episode got a lot “easier” upon second viewing. After watching the episode live, I knew that it felt pretty big, but I wasn’t quite able to wrap my head around it and understand the implications. But given a few days to digest, one repeat viewing, and an hour of cutting grass to work through some storylines in my head, I’m feeling pretty good about the analysis. Let’s get down to business.
Emily. A lot in the Comments section have been wondering if perhaps Ben’s mother Emily is the same person as Locke’s mother Emily – which would make Ben and Locke brothers / half-brothers. Granted, it is quite the coincidence to have both mothers share the same first name, but there’s one very big reason why this couldn’t work (aside from the fact that the two look totally different) - Emily Linus died shortly after giving birth to Ben in the 1960’s, and Emily Locke was still around to help con John Locke into giving up a kidney somewhere in the 1980’s / 1990’s.
If you want to go conspiracy theory with the mothers, have it be that the future “leaders” of the Others have all been born by women named Emily (hey, Claire’s real life name is Emily de Ravin!). Moving on…
Hurley. Although he probably didn’t realize it, Hurley did eventually lead Locke and Ben to the Cabin. It’s funny, but it wasn’t until Hurley stopped focusing on finding it / feeling the pressure of needing to find it that he was actually able to. Perhaps the whole point of Locke’s vision of Goodspeed and retrieval of the map was only to provide a prop for Hurley to think that he really was no longer needed – and maybe you can only find the Cabin when you aren’t really looking for it, or something along those lines. Or maybe the Cabin actually finds you.
The bigger question remains “why Hurley?” In the episode, they discussed that he saw the Cabin, and that makes him special. Hurley’s theory was that he and Locke were the craziest on the Island… which might not be too far from the truth. Out of all the characters on the Island, the two most wanting to believe in some greater power have definitely been Locke and Hurley. Remember back during Season One when Hurley went crazy to find CFL to prove that the curse of the Numbers was real? Along with Locke, Hurley wanted to believe that there was something bigger at play – that the Numbers were real, and that the Island was special. This makes Hurley a good candidate to be “accepted” by the Island, and perhaps become an Other someday. Maybe Hurley’s destiny is to help the Oceanic Six return to the Island where he can finally find his peace (since he clearly isn’t finding it in the flashforward future).
Through the Island showing Hurley the Cabin, it helps prove to him that there is something special about it – and that might be enough for him to inspire the other members of the Oceanic Six to return once they realize how much life sucks back in the real world.
Or maybe he was just brought along to provide hilarious comic relief in an otherwise super-tense Cabin scene. Either way.
Unkillable. Back during “Meet Kevin Johnson”, it was easy to dismiss Tom’s claim that Michael was unable to kill himself until the Island let him. After all, we had countless characters die on the Island (including Others) that one would think the Island would protect to help form the army required to defend against the Freightors. Plus, it was only one gun jamming – which may have been tinkered with by Tom in the first place (I think there’s a gay joke in there somewhere, but I’ll keep it PC).
However, this week really seemed to prove that Michael cannot be killed. Keamy attempted to fire three shots into his head, and not a single one worked… even though the gun was working properly before (for killing Alex) and after (when Captain Gault) fired it. But this protective Island shield isn’t limited to just Michael.
Ben commented to Hurley that he “should have realized at the time it (shooting Locke) was pointless, but I wasn’t thinking clearly.” Not only does this suggest that Locke shares the same invincibility – but that others in the past have as well (thus, Ben’s knowledge about it). It’s clear to see why Locke would have this shield – but why Michael? It seems as though he has accomplished his mission – effectively sabotaging the Freighter and providing information to Ben about all the Freightors. Is the Island keeping him alive until he can get his redemption by saving our Survivors? Are his engineering / mechanical skills still required? And how are the writers going to explain this using science? More importantly, is anyone else on the Island protected the same way?
Keamy. Speaking of giving Ben information about the Freightors, did you notice how upset Keamy got when he found out Benjamin Linus knew who he was? This struck me as odd. Why would his anonymity be so important? Is he afraid Ben (or the Island) will “come after him”? Or that he will use the information to find a weakness?
The other question is – why is Keamy so hell-bent on getting Linus? Sure, he was sent on a mission, and I’m sure there is money involved – but it’s almost as though there is some sort of personal vendetta involved. I’m thinking that Keamy has some connection to Linus in the past (like Ben killed his father or something), which would explain the blind rage with which he’s attacking. Gault said that they were simply on an extraction mission – but Keamy is out for blood.
The electronics he was strapping to his beefcake body this episode look like they are tied to his heartbeat (note the chest strap) with a control on the arm. When Captain Gault threatened to shoot him, Keamy showed the device and said “I don’t think you want to do that Captain”. I’m guessing that if Keamy were to be shot and his heartbeat would stop – the device would send a signal to blow up the nearby explosives that were being loaded into the helicopter. In true action movie style, Keamy has created a situation where he has the power to set off the explosives – but if he is killed, they’ll go off anyways… making it very tricky to attack him. One way or another, he’s going to get his revenge on Ben, even if it means he dies in the process.
Secondary Protocol. So where is Keamy headed? As we saw this episode, the Freightors had both a Primary and Secondary Protocol. The Primary Protocol was the mission we saw Keamy and Co. attempt over the past few weeks – attacking the Island commando style, taking prisoners, and kicking ass. But as we saw, that didn’t quite achieve the intended result thanks to Ben and his friend Smokey the Friendly Smoke. According to Keamy, “if Ben knows that we are going to torch the Island, there’s only one place he could go.” And based on the file that Keamy retrieved, it looks like we’re heading to yet another Dharma Station.
Conveniently, the logo of this Dharma Station matches the one Ben was sporting on his jacket when he suddenly appeared in the Tunisian Desert, sporting a wicked gash in
So here’s what I’m thinking.
This Dharma Station is the one that controls the Funky Space / Time element on the Island (an invention by Dharma? Or something that existed on the Island pre-Dharma that they just came up with a sweet logo for? I’ll get to this later!). Knowing that death and destruction on the Island are eminent, Ben wisely heads there to avoid it. Before this season is up, there will be a battle between Ben and Keamy at this station, where Ben gets wounded – but then ends up “jumping” to Tunisia before Keamy can finish the job.
How do the Freightors know so much about all the Dharma Stations and the powers of the Island?
Widmore. So here’s the theory I never got to post while I was away honeymooning. Widmore didn’t even appear in this episode, but it’s necessary to see where my head’s at to understand some of the analysis to come. During “The Shape of Things to Come” there was a super-important meeting between Benjamin Linus and Charles Widmore that hinted at their relationship. Here’s a brief reminder of that conversation courtesy of Lostpedia:
Ben inquires as to when Widmore started sleeping with a bottle of scotch by the bed. Widmore replies, "When the nightmares started." Charles asks Ben if he has come to kill him. Ben says "we both know I can't do that." He instead accuses Widmore of changing the rules and killing his daughter. The two argue about who bears responsibility for Alex's death. The debate concludes with Ben vowing to kill Widmore's daughter, Penelope, so that he will know the same pain Ben knows. Widmore claims to know "what" Ben is, saying everything Ben has he took from Widmore. Ben says Charles will wish he hadn't "changed the rules." Widmore counters that Ben will never find Penny, and that he wants "his" Island back. Ben tells Charles he will never find the Island, and that the hunt is on.
There have been a number of questions about the relationship between Ben and the Dharma Initiative ever since the Purge – such as, why did the Dharma Periodic Ration Drops continue after Ben murdered most of the Dharma people? Where does Ben receive his funding / information / connections on the outside world? I think the answer is Charles Widmore.
More story time!
We have seen that there was some type of relationship between Widmore Industries and the Hanso Foundation – but I’m thinking it was a tenuous relationship at best. Hanso represented the “altruistic” side of the partnership, whereas Widmore represented the “business” side. Both combined to help fund and found the Dharma Initiative on the Island way back when – with Hanso looking to use the Island to make the world a better place (and prevent the end of the world), and Widmore looking to use the Island’s powers for financial gain / power / worldwide domination.
Before the Purge (which may have been orchestrated by Widmore – this week, Ben confirmed that the Purge wasn’t his idea), Ben and the Others entered into a partnership of sorts with Widmore – who promised to continue providing the funding necessary for Ben’s experiments, kidnapping of people, and the Periodic Ration Drops. In return, Ben promised to give Widmore the some of the Island Benefits – living forever, space / time travel, etc. which could be used for significant financial gain. They may have even entered into some contract with Jacob / the Island Spirit, who set the rule that they would not be able to kill each other – thus taking total control of the Island. It’s like a system of checks and balances!
But crafty Ben quickly began working on ways to get Widmore out of the picture as well, to return the Island to how it used to be pre-Dharma, a place where he would have total control. He did things like using the Looking Glass as a jamming station, preventing any vessels from finding the Island unless he wanted them to find it. Widmore realizes what is happening, gets pissed, and sends the Freighter to get Ben and take back control of the Island. This puts the two in a chess match of sorts – where both sides need each other (Ben’s knowledge of the Island for Widmore’s funding) are fighting for the Island for different reasons.
But it gets even better.
If my theory about Ben “jumping” from the Dharma Station at the end of this season is correct, I think that it will coincide with Locke “moving the Island” – meaning that neither Ben nor Widmore know where the Island is anymore. When Ben says “the hunt is on”, he means it literally – as both men are now searching for the Island, and the first one to find it will determine which direction the future of the Island goes (peaceful magic paradise vs. beachside condos).
Let’s ratchet it up one more notch.
Benjamin Linus dies (he’s the one in the coffin from last season’s finale!), leaving no one “fighting” for Team Island – only Team Widmore, who will find the Island in a matter of time. The Island, not wanting to see its splendor ruined, needs help… and begins calling out to the only other people on Earth who know about it… the Oceanic Six. It sends images and visions, calling for them to return to the Island to help fight Widmore and his evil corporate plans.
That would be pretty cool, right?
Usually when I work through a long, thought-out theory like that it takes approximately one episode for the writers to totally disprove it. But for now, I’m rolling with it.
Abaddon. The whole reason I brought it up in the first place is all because of our friend Scary McFreakyson, Matthew Abaddon. Up until now, it was assumed that he was working for Widmore, seen assembling the team of Frank, Miles, Charlotte, and Faraday that were sent to the Island and asking Hurley if “they were alive” post-Oceanic Six rescue. But this week, we saw him working with Locke, helping inspire him to go on the walkabout which would eventually lead him to the Island. Since this seemed to fall in line with Alpert’s attempts earlier in the episode, suddenly people began wondering if he was actually a member of Team Island, rather than Team Widmore.
I don’t think so. Rather, I think there are two possible explanations for his actions:
1. His interaction with Locke occurred during the brief period of time when Widmore and Ben were working together, and both were working for the same common goal.
2. It demonstrated Widmore attempting to get in good with “future management” on the Island, to help the aims of Team Widmore once Locke ascends to the role of “Leader of the Others”.
Based on Abaddon’s message, I’m leaning towards the second option…
“When you’re ready, you’ll listen to what I’m saying. And then when you and me run into each other again, you’ll owe me one.”
Alpert. Man was it good to see Richard Alpert again. This episode got me thinking, “if Cane hadn’t been cancelled, what in the world were the writers going to do with this episode? Would it have been pushed to next season? Would they have introduced another Other to attempt to recruit the young John Locke? I can’t imagine any other character having the same impact as Alpert this episode.
This episode confirmed one of two things.
1. Richard Alpert is non-aging.
2. Richard Alpert is aging, but has the ability to time travel.
Personally, I’d prefer the former, since I like to think that those in true communion with the Island live forever – and the ability to freely time travel is often used as a cheap plot device giving characters ways out of tough situations far too easily.
Tests. As the much smarter Stef pointed out in the Instant Reactions, the test that Alpert administered to Locke was quite similar to the Tibetan test to find the next Dali Lama after the current one dies. The gist of the test is that a number of objects are presented to a youth, including some that belonged to the former Lama. If the boy picks out the right objects, it shows that he is the reincarnation of the Lama. Man, with all these connections to Tibetan Buddhism, I bet the Others are totally boycotting this summer’s Olympic Games!
The objects presented to Locke were as follows:
Book of Laws:
Vial of rough sand:
Comic Book entitled “Mystery Tales”:
As for which objects belonged to the former Other Leader (Jacob?), Alpert appears pleased when Locke chooses the sand and compass, but becomes angry when he selects the knife (I’m guessing the “book of laws” was the correct third object – with the comic book and baseball mitt being youth-friendly objects to try and entice Locke). Although Alpert states that Locke isn’t “quite ready”, it doesn’t mean that he isn’t the “chosen one” – just that he isn’t mature enough to start leading the Others. The selection of the knife seems to signify that Locke is still angry, violent – not the hippie benevolent leader the Others are looking for… yet.
(This also ties in nicely with the next attempt to recruit Locke, where he shows he still isn’t ready by wanting to be an athlete and superhero, rather than the calm, scientific mathlete the Others are looking for.)
But in the end, it’s pretty clear that Locke was always going to be the chosen one – it was only a matter of time (per Goodspeed, “Jacob has been waiting for you a real long time”). Locke is finally ready to fulfill his destiny, and his conversations with Ben hint that Benjamin Linus is ready to accept this fate as well.
I was told a lot of things too. That I was chosen, that I was special. I ended up with a tumor on my spine and my daughter’s blood all over on my hands… those things had to happen to me. That was my destiny. But you’ll understand soon enough that there are consequences to being chosen. Because destiny is a fickle bitch. The Island wanted me to get sick. It wanted you to get well. My time is over. It’s yours now.
I’m guessing that being Leader of the Others isn’t all tea parties with Jacob and unlimited money and passports – but that there are tough decisions that need to be made not limited to, but including killing people, giving up your former identity, being a puppet for the Island Spirit, and sacrificing anything for the sake of the Island.
Cabin. But what of the Cabin this episode? Why were Christian and Claire inside, rather than Jacob? My initial thought is that perhaps the manifestation of the Island Spirit is different for each generation of Chief Other. For Ben, it was Jacob. For Locke, it’s Christian. Or perhaps Locke is not yet ready for a true face-to-face meeting with Jacob, and Christian is acting as an intermediary. Or perhaps they still haven't cast the actor to play Jacob, since he won't appear more frequently until next season.
And what about Claire? Did this episode confirm that she is truly dead? It seems pretty obvious now, which makes me almost want to run in the other direction and think that she’s actually alive but in a trippy state similar to when Ethan abducted her a few seasons back. The key lies with Aaron. Christian claims that he is “where he is supposed to be… and that’s not here.”
For me, this indicates that although Aaron is destined to be important to the Island (maybe even the Future Leader of the Others), with the battle coming and the possibility of “torching”, he needs to be taken off the Island – at least for now – to ensure his safety. Being protected by Sawyer, on his way to the beach, it’s clear that he’s well on his way to being one of the Oceanic Six – but this would also explain why Jack was told he isn’t supposed to raise Aaron. The Island might have sent him away temporarily, but it wants Aaron back after the danger subsides.
Okay – this has been ridiculously long, so let me wrap it up as quickly as possible…
Ray. I still have no idea about the Freighter Doctor Ray. In this episode, Omar received the morse code message that was sent on December 27th. Based on the Lostpedia Timeline, this episode took place on December 29th. So Ray was killed on December 29th, but washed up on the Island two days in the past – even if his body went through a weird bearing to the Island (that sent him back in time), it still wouldn't explain the wound since it was actually healed on December 27th in the first place. You win on this one, Lost Writers.
Desmond. Desmond claims he is never setting foot on the Island again. Can this be true? Does this confirm that he “escapes” the Island and returns to Penny? Or that his death is imminent? I worry about the fate of Desmond and Penny more than any other characters on the show.
Moving. How is Locke going to "move the Island"? Smart money is on changing the weird electromagnetic properties somehow to change the bearing required to find it. How do you do that? I’m not sure – but I will bet it involves the same Funky Space / Time Dharma Station that sends Ben to Tunisia.
Phew. I’m beat. Let me know what I missed!