Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lost - "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham"

Apparently I’m a big liar and you can’t take me for my word. Less than 48 hours ago I told you there would be no episode preview this week, and maybe no more episode previews from this point forward. I put forth a logical argument to explain axing them, reasoning that no one would really miss them since based on the Comments Section, more people seemed to complain about them than enjoyed them.


But just like that one time in college when I said “I’m never drinking again”, yet was drinking again less than 12 hours later, here I am, writing an episode preview. Turns out that people really do enjoy them, have nothing but hatred for those that complain about them being “spoilers”, and without them the Lost experience for thousands of people would be much less enjoyable and their lives would lose all meaning. I can’t handle that on my conscience. Who am I to deny people such happiness and life fulfillment during a Global Recession?


However, my arguments against the episode previews were still pretty sound. It does seem like we’re getting less and less to go on each week as the season progresses, leaving me with less and less to analyze without just making stuff up. So I am going to make a concerted effort to make these things a little shorter and sweeter, as dictated by each episode’s title and description. As you’ll soon see, there was a reason I picked this week to attempt this experiment – it’s one of the most straight-forward and episode-description-less episodes of Lost of all time.


Episode Title: “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham”


Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: So we all know what’s going to happen this week… or so we think. We know the episode is going to start with Locke getting off the Island after turning the FDW, he’ll pay a visit to the Oceanic Six, and will end with Locke dying. But something tells me there’s going to be some pretty amazing scenes filling in the gaps between these overall episode tent poles. As for the episode title, there’s nothing deep about it – no reference to a book, movie, song, or historical event… except for the symbolism of Locke choosing to go by the alias of “Jeremy Bentham” in the first place. So who was Jerry Bentham?


According to the Internet (so it has to be true), Jeremy Bentham was an English philosopher and political radical. He was primarily known today for his moral philosophy, especially his principle of utilitarianism, which evaluates actions based upon their consequences. The relevant consequences, in particular, are the overall happiness created for everyone affected by the action. Influenced by many enlightenment thinkers, especially empiricists such as John Locke and David Hume, Bentham developed an ethical theory grounded in a largely empiricist account of human nature. He famously held a hedonistic account of both motivation and value according to which what is fundamentally valuable and what ultimately motivates us is pleasure and pain. Happiness, according to Bentham, is thus a matter of experiencing pleasure and lack of pain.


So what does that mean?


Aside from the blatant John Locke – Jeremy Bentham connection, Bentham’s utilitarian views are all about doing “the greater good”. Even though he also believed in pleasure over pain, (and I have to think that killing yourself would hurt at least a little), there’s nothing like suffering a little pain in order to create a lot of pleasure for lot of other people (that sounds dirty). You know, like sacrificing yourself to save a mysterious Island, helping the Oceanic Five find peace in life by returning to said mysterious Island, or helping to prevent the space-time continuum from ripping apart… any or all of which could be argued to be John Locke’s “mission” off the Island.


Hello utilitarianism!



Episode Description: Locke's fateful mission off the island as Jeremy Bentham is revealed.


Guest Stars: Malcolm David Kelley as Walt, John Terry as Christian Shephard, Alan Dale as Charles Widmore, Lance Reddick as Matthew Abaddon, William Blanchett as Aaron, Said Taghmaoui as Caesar, Zuleikha Robinson as Ilana, Ammar Daraiseh as Hajer, Grisel Toledo as Susie, Stephen Scibetta as foreman and John Jamal Bradley as kid.


Guest Star Breakdown: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLTTTTTTTTTTT! Our favorite special-powered man-child is back, and it’s about damn time. If this is going to be our token “Walt appearance for Season Five”, I hope it’s a worthwhile one, where Locke explains why he was so special, if he really needs to return to the Island or not, and hopefully squeeze in a quick game of backgammon for old time’s sake. Everyone has kinda assumed that Walt would return to the Island and factor into the endgame of Lost – but with each passing season without reference to him, I think that’s becoming less and less likely. Unless some foundation is laid for Walt’s reappearance in the future, we might have been wrong about Walt’s overall importance to the show all along.


On the other hand, back in Season One most of us would probably thought that Christian Shephard appearances would remain a rare occasion – mostly when Jack was hallucinating / drunk – or in his flashbacks. Yet Christian Shephard has become one of the most prominent and mysterious guest stars this season, so his appearance isn’t too surprising… until you remember that this episode will probably take place 100% off the Island, and 100% from the perspective of John Locke. I’m guessing this means that even though Locke turned the wheel and ended up off the Island, he still doesn’t know what he actually needs to do – and will need a little spiritual guidance from the Island in the form of Christian Shephard as he goes about his “mission”.


You’ll also note that Caesar and Ilana appear in this episode. I’m assuming that this episode is 100% “flashback”, meaning Locke probably interacted with them before Ajira Airways Flight 316… increasing the likelihood I posed last week that they were Outcast Others, who had been “helping” Locke on his mission off the Island over the past few years.


But for me, the most exciting guest star this week is Matthew “That Guy Now on Fringe” Abaddon. He’s the creepy tall black guy equivalent of Ms. Hawking, someone who seems to know a lot about everything, could potentially be a former Other, and might be a major player in orchestrating some of the major events that have occurred on the show thus far. Remember, he was the one who inspired Locke to go on the Walkabout which lead him to the Island in the first place and put together Naomi’s crew on the Freighter, which brought Charlotte, Miles, and Faraday to the Island.


Perhaps the most creepy and intriguing detail of all? Remember the last words that Abaddon said to Locke when they first met – that if Locke did go on the walkabout, when they met again, Locke “would owe him one.” With all of the dichotomy we’ve seen on Lost, it’s possible that Abaddon represents one side in “the battle for the Island” and Ms. Hawking represents the other… much like Ben vs. Widmore… and both sides might be fighting for control and influence over John Locke... I mean “Jeremy Bentham”. When Abaddon comes “collecting”, here’s hoping he’s got the best interests of our Survivors at heart… and isn’t trying to bring about the end of the world. Remember, in the Bible “Abaddon” means "A place of destruction", "The Destroyer", "Depths of Hell" and is the King of tormenting locusts and the angel of the bottomless pit.


Sounds happy!


Episode Breakdown: After over a full season of waiting, Locke's fateful mission off the island as Jeremy Bentham is finally revealed. 

We’ll find out what he said to each member of the Oceanic Six as he visited them (or if he visited all of them), as well as what led him to the decision to kill himself (if he really did kill himself). It’s probably the most anticipated episode of the season thus far, needing an extra 6 minutes to tell its tale (check your DVR now to make sure it’s going to 10:06 pm EST!) but ironically is the one episode we’ll have all season where we already know what’s going to happen in the beginning, the middle, and the end. We’ve all discussed countless theories about what happened during Locke’s time off the Island over the past year, but it’s finally time to find out the truth.

You all should probably be pretty excited about it.


…and there you have it, a half-assed, quickie episode preview for an episode that really didn’t need one. But I aim to please.


Happy Losting!




Anonymous said...

I love you man.

Anonymous said...

thank you for bringing the episode previews back.


thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Brian. Are we sure that this episode is "100% flashback" given the episode preview we saw last week?

Brian said...

We are not sure it's 100% flashback.

Episode previews have lied to us in the past (showing scenes from multiple upcoming episodes).

I know the scene you are referencing, so it's possible we get some on-Island scenes as well... but I'm guessing they will be few and far between. There just seems to be too much story to tell about Locke's time off the Island, even to cram it into a super-sized Lost episode.

Anonymous said...

Good point. Frankly, I hope it is 100% flashback. The Locke off-island story is going to be incredible.

VictorC said...

I thought not having the episode previews wouldn't be such a big deal, but I gotta say, as "half-assed" as you say this was, it's sooo much better than not having it at all.

Also, how do you know this episode will be 6 minutes longer?

Brian said...

The ABC Press Release (and my DVR) tell me it's running from 9:00 pm - 10:06 pm.

Also, I have psychic powers.

Renee said...

Thank you so much Brian!

VictorC said...

lol, gotcha.
Psychic powers, so that's how so many of your theories have been so accurate!
That's cheating, Brian.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Brian! I am so happy you changed your mind! :)

(We should call the complainers "the others.")

ronnage said...

outside of the tv show, this is really the only LOST-related thing i follow. also, we have a pretty big fan base here on Guam. too bad they never made here (there). would have been cool to see Hawaii sit in for Guam let alone our island mentioned on the show. niceness. thanks!

LOST soup said...

glad you reconsidered. i actually like the short post. it's just fun to stir the conversation about what to expect. this is fun!

Anonymous said...

Thanks and go on - admit that that was fun!

Like I said before (but badly) good luck with interrupting what 'LaFleur' is going to mean next week. Looking forward to that one from you.

GT said...

Brilliant! Thank you for the preview. It was perfect.


Anonymous said...

Preview was pure sex

Hobbes said...

Flash Present?!? It will be interesting to see if Locke talking to Ilana is also taking place in the Dharma era or in the time of the outrigger canoes with the Aljira bottle.

All Hail the "Deeper Meaning Guess"

Thanks for the pre-cap Brian!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so bad for the preview. Its my favorite part of your blog! Thanks man!

Costa Rica

Fabian said...

Thank you very much for the preview.
btw: there's a film called
the life and death of peter sellers.

best wishes from germany!

Anonymous said...

well done Brian. as for this episode, I wonder if Locke's spirit was involved in convincing Kate or Hurley to get on the plane and go back to the Island. My guess is no....Hurley was likely convinced by Charlie's spirit and Kate was manipulated by Ben using Aron as leverage.

Anonymous said...

Jack turned the corner entering into a phase of suicidal depression after he returned from the Island to a large extent a result of a visit from "Jeremy Bentham". I wonder if it will be revealed tonight what Locke could possibly have said to Jack to shake his resolve to a point of going on a mission to find the Island and return. This, to me, may be one of the most curious turn of events (post island)...how could Jack Shepard change from a man of science to a man of faith?

Anonymous said...

was reminded that originally, soon after returning home from the Island, Hurley wanted to go back, presumably as a result of Charlie's visits. Why or what events Hurley to change his mind to NOT wanting to return -- eventually, once again, changing his mind to showing up on the plane? Why again did Hurley come to resent Jack? Hard to follow this characters story trajectory as it relates to this stuff.

Anonymous said...

I decided to check this morning just in case you changed your mind, and I am so glad you did! A short preview just gets me excited about tonight's episode. You are the best!!!

Anonymous said...

With all this deception, Brian = Ben :)

Steve said...

Keep up the previews, even if they are simple. No one does it like you!

I like to guess what's going to happen. I value your dedication and obvservation. Even if I don't always agree, you ALWAYS have some great ideas and point out things that I've missed. Just reading it fills my mind with ideas.. and I form my own preview. And get to see who is right where! It's a lot of fun, I'm sure I'm not the only one!

I do more than say "brian is right", I also have moments that I say "HA! I WAS RIGHT" and "OH! Hobbes had it nailed!". It's not just about you, it's about all of the bloggers!

I'm not sure just how much you have 'right' anyway. As I've said before, it's all an educated guess, it can't be a spoiler if you don't know what you're spoiling in advance. Example.. you had the 316 right, and the airway that took them back to the island.... but you also predicted the runway on Alcatraz didn't you? Even you were taken aback by what Hawkings suggested. No one could see that coming, but a good number of people had already figured that this indian airline would be their return ticket, we just didn't know how.

And I still say that while the 'flash' during the crash probably took them through time, the rest of the plane crashed in present day, hense the outriggers and water bottles in the future.

But I'm off topic.. Thanks again!
The funny thing is, as 'right' as you are, you're probably as wrong just as often. I think anyone could get a certain amount right, but what

So please, don't stop writing these, and for those who consiser them spoilers? They shouldn't read the previews.

Thanks Brian!

Even when I think you're going in the wrong direction(faraday being evil) it's ideas that we share together as a whole that helps us to uncover the my

Anonymous said...

"but you also predicted the runway on Alcatraz didn't you"

I think this prediction will still hold true. Where was Ben when the plane experienced turbulence? My bet is that he directed Lapidus to the Alcatraz runway where it safely landed.

Melissa said...

I was hoping you'd cave!

Best part, you just let me know I need to change my DVR to tape an additional 6 minutes. Thanks! I'd have been way ticked off if I hadn't know this.

Anonymous said...

Desmond David Hume....didn't know David Hume was a real person.

Anonymous said...

not a chance the plane will be shown to have safely landed on the runway they were building. way too implausible.

Anonymous said...

what purpose the runway will be shown to have is another question for another day.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:41 -- on a show involving time travel, among other things, is it really implausible that an unexplained runway from Season 3 will be of some use now?

VictorC said...

What's Brian's theory on the Alcatraz runway?
Sadly I haven't been following this blog that long.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful!!!! Is it 9 o'clock yet? ;)

Anonymous said...

Anyoym 3:04....do you think the writters will drop the reference to the runway at this point?

rockin robyn said...

i dont know where to put this thought brian, but here goes

WHAT if Ben did kill Penny, Desmond brings her back to the island and she is not dead anymore? like Christian,Claire, Locke?? I know I said Ben kills Penny and Des goes to the island for revenge, and that prolly happens, but what if Penny is not dead anymore? the mystical healing powers of the island = cure for death? dunno. Reincarnation? Maybe we'll get some better theories tonite during the new episode.

ps: I dont think you need to analyze upcoming episodes, sve your brain power for the instnt reactions and analysis. maybe just post the description, guest stars and video clips thats all i need.

thanks for doing what you do.

Heidi Shadows said...

Abaddon: a name for Devil (Rev. 9:11) or hell

OH MY GOSH. just looked it up

Georgedawes said...

With reference to the philosopher jeremy bentham apart from john locke being a direct influence david hume could also be an indicator to desmond having much more importance yet to come as his last name is also Hume..? and congrats on being right about the alias lefleur being connected to a security guard aka sawyer in 1977. I'm dying to see when faraday tells a young charlotte never to return to the island thereby completing a loop in time like the compass that is passed between alpert and locke..

I think now we see why the others regarded locke as special because they have been waiting for him just like sawyer said for 'as long as it takes' since 1974, although when he returns he is clueless because it hasn't happened yet, he's returned but to 2008.. i think i've got a bit carried away.. haha.. appreciate any feedback.