Before we get down to analyzin' this week, I wanted to make a quick note about the "Instant Reaction" posts I do each week. Basically, once the episode ends, I sit down and type nonstop for about fifteen minutes about whatever immediately comes to mind about the episode. There is usually no research, no double-checking of facts, or logically thinking through what I’m writing. It's just my fingers going as fast as they can about whatever thoughts are running through my mind. I know that there are often spelling, grammar, and logic errors - and appreciate that people point them out in the Comments Section. Understand that these aren't my final thoughts about the episode, just what's going through my mind the instant that the episode ends - which is why when I sit down to actually think about it and write my analysis, often I've shifted views on some things. There's no need to get worked up or complain about whatever I say in my "Instant Reactions", because chances are - if it's crazy talk, I'll get it corrected when I do the analysis. My goal with the "Instant Reactions" is just to get my thoughts out as quickly as possible, so that you don’t have to wait for the weekend to hear them… even if those thoughts might be a little wacky.
On to "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham". I stand by my initial review of the episode. It was a functional episode, but I feel like it left a lot to be desired. Locke's meetings with the Oceanic Six were all pretty disappointing, in some cases bringing up seeming inconsistencies with what we have seen and heard in prior episodes. Cases in point:
BEN: And what did he say to you?
JACK: He told me... that after I left the island, some very bad things happened. And he told me that it was my fault for leaving. And he said that I had to come back.
KATE: Who do you think you are?! You call me over and over again for two days straight, stoned on your pills! And then you show up here with an obituary for Jeremy Bentham. (Sighs) When he came to me and I heard what he had to say, I knew he was crazy. But you... you believed him.
KATE: Him, of all people.
JACK: Yes, Kate, I did, because he said that that was the only way that I could keep you safe--you and Aaron.
Really? Did I miss the part of Jack's two-minute conversation with Locke where he told him that the very bad things happening on the
At first I thought "maybe Jack will run into Locke again in some flashback and we'll see these conversations happen", but the more I think about the timeline, the more unlikely that seems. It appears as though Locke's encounter with Jack this week is the first time the two have met since he has been off the
Unfortunately, this contributes to the difficulty I have in understanding exactly why Locke's death would drive Jack to kill himself, why Kate would flip out when Jack showed her the obituary for Jeremy Bentham, or why Sayid would suddenly gain such a hatred towards Locke where he wouldn't want his name mentioned. Those little details all kept the suspense and excitement going last season about exactly what happened in the three years since the Oceanic Six returned to the "real world", but the payoff and explanation of them was lacking for me (at least for now).
Maybe this is why over-analyzing and obsessing about the show is a bad thing - because I'm guessing that the more casual viewer was totally satisfied with "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham", and didn't even notice. But here's hoping the payoff for the other series-long mysteries on Lost are much better!
Widmore. We learned a lot about Charles Widmore this week, but the information he provided raises more questions than answers (otherwise known as "The Lost Way"). The facts are these:
1937 - Charles Widmore is born
1954 - Charles Widmore is on the
1992 - The Purge happens on the
1994 - Widmore begins funding Faraday's research
1995 - Desmond meets Penny
1996 - Desmond asks Widmore for Penny's hand in marriage
Widmore claims that he "led his people for three decades" before he was exiled by Ben
Doing some quick math, even if Widmore was the leader of the Others in 1954 (which it didn't appear), that puts us around 1984 that he was still on the
It's confusing, and there are a few ways to tackle this, but in true Lost…and Gone Forever fashion, I think the easiest is probably with a wacky, all-encompassing theory that will probably last exactly one week before being proven wrong by next week's episode...
Let's assume that Widmore becomes leader of the Others around the time we saw him in 1954. He's an "up and comer" among the Others - his strong will, fiercely loyal to the cause, and strong jaw-line make him a logical choice to lead "his people". Roughly twenty years pass without any incident, taking us to the 1970's. Then along comes the Dharma Initiative. The Others aren't big fans of Dharma digging up their
On one side is Charles Widmore, who realizes by observing Dharma that there is a lot of potential for the
On the other side is Richard Alpert, who likes things they way they've always been, just wants to get rid of Dharma, keep the
Years later, it's pretty clear which faction wins the argument, as the Others use Ben to help carry out the Purge, wiping Dharma from the
Lucky for Widmore, he knows enough of the secrets of the Others to collect some of their stashes of money hidden in various locales around the world, uses his clout as former leader of the Others to step in as the leader of the Others off-Island corporation, which he renames as Widmore Industries and goes on with life… but deep down inside yearns to return to the Island. Over the years he gathers information on how to get back by buying the Black Rock Journal, discovering the Lamp Post, and eventually puts together the Freighter team with the goal of removing Ben from the Island, paving the way for his triumphant return… where he can pick up his mission of using the Island for his original altruistic / monetary goals.
What about Penny? I think the easiest answer is that Widmore and TBD Female Lover had her on the
If you want to get really crazy, let's make TBD Female Lover into Ellie Hawking. Then you could go all Star Wars and have Penny and Faraday be brother and sister, which could explain why Widmore was funding Faraday's experiments (or maybe it was just because he thought Faraday could help Widmore find the Island again), and could explain why Ms. Hawking was in the Lamp Post (because Widmore sent her there to get the place up and running again to help find the Island).
It's not a perfect theory, but it's a good enough place holder for this week. Who is good and who is evil? It depends on which side you come down on - Ben represents protecting the secrecy of the
Ben. As for Benjamin Linus, this week confirmed that he lies approximately 90% of the time and kills people the other 10%. He admitted to killing Abaddon, claiming that it was only a matter of time before Abaddon would have killed Locke - probably a lie - and then proceeded to kill Locke himself (irony!).
But why did Ben kill Locke? If he was going to kill him anyways, why not just let him actually commit suicide? Two possible answers here:
1. In some religions (Catholicism), killing yourself is a big-time sin. Perhaps the Others believe the same, and Locke couldn't be "the chosen one" if he had killed himself. Ben, knowing that Locke needed to die to convince the Oceanic Five to return to the
You could argue that Abaddon (and, by association Widmore) are trying to get Locke to kill himself because that will suddenly make him "unworthy" and open the door for Widmore to step in and reclaim his role as "leader of the Others" - making Ben the good guy by allowing Locke to retain his position… but it seems like a bit of a stretch.
2. The other, much more logical explanation is that Ben needed information from Locke. He kept Locke from killing himself until he got the information he needed, and then proceeded with killing him - because it needed to be done. In this scenario, it's true that Locke needed to die in order for the Oceanic Five to return to the
The two pieces of information that Ben learns from Locke during the scene are why he hasn't contacted Sun, and where he is headed next (visiting Ms. Hawking). Earlier in the scene, Ben confirms that he knows Ms. Hawking… which pretty much confirms that she is an Outcast Other (since Ben spent the majority of his life on the Island). Based on the earlier Widmore theory, this probably means that Widmore, Ben, and Ms. Hawking were all on the
Just like Widmore said to Ben last season "everything you have you took from me". First the
Island. The last major item to discuss this week is the on-Island action. I must admit, I was pretty surprised to get any on-Island action - and although we only got a few brief scenes, they revealed quite a bit. As I mentioned in my Instant Reactions, I think that (for some reason) we have the Survivors of Ajira Airways 316 spread out over two different time periods. Last week, we learned that Jack, Kate, and Hurley are currently in the same time period as Jin - who is driving what appears to be a "new" 1970's Dharma Van. They are on the main
This week, we found out that Ben, Locke, Caesar, Ilana, and every other member of Ajira Airways 316 are in the same time period. According to Caesar, everyone apart from those that disappeared have been accounted for. What about Sun and Sayid? Are they "accounted for", or did they "disappear"? Based on the facts of the past two episodes, their fate is still up in the air… but based on the episode preview for next week, it's a little more clear.
***For those who don't like to speculate about things we see in episode previews, you'll probably want to stop reading now.***
In the episode preview, we see a scene with Sun standing in the foreground and Ben standing in the background. Ben still has his arm in a sling, and displays the signs of the mysterious beating he took before boarding Ajira 316… meaning she's in the same time period as the Ajira 316ers. But what time period are they in? Well, using a little deduction skills, it's safe to say they are in "the present" or 2008. We actually do see that the Ajira plane crashed nearby the "runway" that Kate and Sawyer were building in Season Three (meaning it's after 2004). We also find out that "the pilot and some a woman" left in one of the canoes during the night, leaving two behind. If you remember back to "The Little Prince", our Skipping Survivors came upon their old beach camp (which had long since been abandoned) along with two canoes. Again, this puts the time for this particular "skip" as at least 2005 or later.
I'm guessing that at some point, some Ajira 316ers take a canoe over to the main
The moral of the story is that Ajira 316 is in at least 2005… and I'm guessing it's actually in 2008 for simplicity sake. This means that although Sun has successfully returned to the
What about Sayid? Although I have little to base this on, I think he's in 2008 as well. Given that Hurley, Kate, and Jack all landed pretty close to each other, I would assume that if Sayid "skipped" off the plane, he would have ended up near them as well. I also think that Ilana would have mentioned if he was one of the ones that disappeared during the crash - instead of Caesar commenting about Hurley. But he could still go either way.
So, with a little analyzing of the preview scenes, that gives us the following:
1970's - Jin, Sawyer, Juliet, Kate, Jack, Hurley, Miles, Faraday
2008 - Locke, Ben, Frank, Sun, Sayid, Caesar, Ilana, and a slew of redshirts to get killed
As for "the Pilot and a woman", I assume they're talking about Frank and Sun. It would make sense that Sun, uber-excited about reuniting with Jin, would realize that she is on
Also, things are not looking so great for John Locke himself. Although he completed his mission successfully, is back on the Island he loves and came back to life (which constitute a pretty good day, if you ask me), Walt's visions of a suited Locke (check) being surrounded by people who want to hurt him sounds like the party is going to be over pretty quickly.
As for Caesar and Ilana, I'm not sure what to make of them yet. It's possible neither knew each other before Ajira 316, and have quickly bonded in the face of disaster similar to how Kate and Jack did after Oceanic 815. Or, maybe one or both have sinister intentions, are Outcast Others, or Widmore's people. The options are endless at this point.
Time. Lastly, I think it's a good idea to step back and look at the big picture, from a timeline perspective. In 2008, Caesar finds what appears to be Faraday's journal and CFL's maps inside the Hydra Station. Was this where he worked on figuring out how to get the Skipping Survivors back to their proper timeline? And what happened to him? For that matter, what happened to any of them? If they are alive and on the
Furthermore, what has happened to the Others since 2005? Locke disappeared, but they didn't. Who stepped up to become their new leader? What have they been doing for the past three years? Without a leader, did they fall apart and become savages? Are they back to "protectionary" mode, attacking any new people who appear on the
…and I think that's all I've got for this week. What did I miss? What was I terribly, terribly wrong about? Let me know!