I’m not sure how many of you listen to Damon and
In this week’s podcast, they made one of those comments.
Damon: “Certain story points in the show are not story points. They are character dynamics. One of the questions we get sometimes asked is – do we have any intention of showing the show in chronological order, like one scene after another – and the reason we say we wouldn’t want to do that is that the stories are built for very specific reasons they way that they are.”
Their point is – while a lot of times we get caught up in all the minute details of the flashbacks, flashforwards, and flash sideways as if they are all a part of the big overall Lost mythology, a lot of times, that’s not the point. The function of the flashes is to enhance and help us understand the “present action” better.
This got me thinking about the Flash Sideways. This week’s episode, “Dr. Linus”, featured very little in terms of storyline advancement in the “LA X” Reality. There was a minor scene between Locke and Ben – but otherwise the episode centered around something as simple as a recommendation letter and Ben wanting to become a high school principal. That’s about as far away as you can get from the Lost mythology, bleeding realities, or the world coming to an end.
Yet, it worked – perhaps more than any other Flash Sideways this season. It worked because it provided a simple storyline that actually highlighted and reminded us about the decisions that Ben made in his life on the
In short, the Flash Sideways actually served to make the On-Island storyline better, just like the original Season One Flashbacks did. By learning about our Survivors’ pasts, we understood their presents much better. Likewise, by seeing “what could have been” with Benjamin Linus this week, understand his present condition much better.
I guess you could say I’m gaining a little more appreciation for the Flash Sideways after this week’s episode. I think we’re missing the main point of the Flash Sideways this season - not so much to tell a self-contained story in the “LA X” world, but to simply feature scenes that heighten the Survivors’ condition on the Island. If you think about it, we’re a third of the way through the season, and it doesn’t really seem like the “LA X” storylines are going anywhere fast. There are a few cross-connections between characters, but no over-arching themes or plot that connects all the characters.
While part of me is still waiting for this big seismic, shocking, twist that makes us all feel like fools for complaining about the Flash Sideways this season, another part of me is just going to roll with them and appreciate them for what they are – character enhancements.
So there’s my token analysis of the Off-Island action for this week. As you can see, not a lot of developments in the “overall theory” department besides confirming that Dharma still existed in the “LA X” Reality and that Ben and his father still went to the Island, but left before it sank (for reasons unknown). That puts the Island sinking at sometime after 1977, but before 2004 – which we already knew since we saw the Dharma Barracks on the sunken
Let’s move on to the On-Island action…
Benjamin Linus. One of the first things I noticed about “Dr. Linus” occurred during the “previously on Lost” portion of the episode. Jacob actually touches Ben after being stabbed. Although he’s on his way to a char-grilled demise, this might “count” as Jacob touching Ben to make him a Candidate, similar to what he did with Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Sayid, and the Kwons. Sure, his name isn’t listed in the Cave or Lighthouse, but maybe that’s because he wasn’t picked until much later in life… like the moment when he stabbed Jacob.
Later in the episode, we saw that the “bait” SmokeLocke used to entice Ben was to offer him the chance to be “in charge of the
We talked about “Happy Endings” for characters a few weeks ago. If you are thinking about happy endings for each character left on the show, it’s nearly impossible to come up with one for Ben that doesn’t involve staying on the
If the last shot of the series really is going to be two characters on the beach re-enacting the scene from the beginning of “The Incident” (as many have theorized), who better than the show’s two best actors to carry it out?
But aside from Ben, who are the other potential Candidates?
Ilana. According to Ilana, “there are only six left” (she wouldn’t know about Ben). So who are these six other potential Candidates? Jack, Hurley, Sun / Jin, Sawyer, and… then who? Even if we count both Sun AND Jin as Candidates, that’s only five people. Ilana knows that Locke is dead (so she wouldn’t be including him), which only leaves Sayid. Although Ben just told the group that he had just gone on a killing spree at the
In addition to knowing about the Candidates, Ilana also revealed that she knew about Miles’ abilities to read the thoughts of the dead – which she was conveniently able to exploit thanks to carrying around the bag of Jacob’s ashes. She continues to impress with her knowledge about EVERYTHING that is going on. But who is she?
She told Ben that Jacob was “the closest thing she ever had to a father”… which means that she isn’t the daughter of Jacob as some people were theorizing this season. I’m guessing Ilana was some orphan that Jacob visited in her youth. I picture her as someone who could assist Jacob whenever he left the Island, in addition to helping Jacob protect the
The fact that Jacob called upon her means that we are looking at just such a “worst case scenario”.
Richard Alpert. It’s actually a good thing that Ilana came to the
While it does seem like Jacob passed some information to the Others via Alpert, via Ben (who referenced “all those notes”), it’s pretty clear that Jacob kept everyone on the
Although we’re still due for a Richard Alpert-centric episode this season, a lot of his story was revealed this week. He arrived on the Island on the Black Rock (although how it ended up in the middle of the
Does he really mean that? No – he’s just angry, lost, and hopeless. Thankfully, along came Jack, giving Alpert a new person who seems to have some answers – or at least the air of “leadership” that Alpert needed in his life at that moment. Jack saved Alpert, at least for now.
Widmore. There was a lot of debate this week about one particular exchange between Jack and Alpert:
JACK: Where did you come from?
RICHARD: You wouldn't believe me if I told you.
Somehow people are interpreting that to mean that Alpert left the
But if Alpert didn’t go and get Widmore, where did he come from?
In my preview post for “Dr. Linus”, I laid out the following logic:
- Widmore sent the Freighter to the Island with the instructions to kidnap Benjamin Linus and kill every other living thing on the
Island… which includes the Others.
- The Others worship and follow Jacob.
- While putting together the Freighter Team, Bram attempted to talk Miles out of joining this Team – telling him that “he’s playing for the wrong team”.
- Bram says that he is playing for “the team that’s going to win”.
- Bram is a follower of Jacob, who unsuccessfully attempted to kill Anti-Jacob.
- Bram is on the same side as Ilana.
- This week, we learned that Jacob was the closest thing Ilana ever had to a father.
- Alpert never seemed to like Widmore or his way of doing things.
- Alpert dedicated his life to service of Jacob.
- Widmore was instrumental in sending Locke back to the
Island, which allowed Anti-Jacob to complete his “loophole”.
Add it all up, and you can clearly see that based on all the evidence we have so far, Widmore is on the opposite side of Jacob. But there’s an even bigger reason why Widmore has to be on Team SmokeLocke…
Ben is now on Team Jacob.
For three years, the writers have been building up the storyline between Ben and Widmore, which served as the two “sides” in the big bad battle for the
Although I complained about the timeline that could have brought Widmore to the
What is his purpose?
Something tells me that Anti-Jacob made the same speech to Widmore that he made to Ben – “I’m going to leave the
SmokeLocke said he wants to “go home”. He wants to leave the
You’ll also notice that in the final scene of the episode, Widmore views Team Jacob on the beach, but doesn’t “stop” and instead “proceeds as planned”. If the aren’t stopping on the
The Hydra Station.
While Team Jacob has now gathered “where it all started”, on the Beach as their home base for the time being, it looks like SmokeLocke intends to rendezvous with Widmore on the Hydra Station – the “Alcatraz”
I can’t help but worry that traveling between the
The thing is, I can’t figure out who.
In the original scene, Sawyer, Locke, Faraday, Charlotte, Miles, and Juliet were in the first outrigger canoe. They were chased by people in the second outrigger canoe – who shot at them FIRST. Since Sawyer and Miles were both involved in this original scene, they would be smart enough to recognize when they started to re-live it… and thus avoid it… unless they wanted someone to get shot.
What if Sawyer comes to his senses and realizes that SmokeLocke is the “bad guy”? Upon arriving at the outrigger canoes on the beach, he could trick the “bad guys” into chasing after and shooting at the first outrigger canoe under the premise that they are members of Team Jacob, racing to beat them to the Hydra Station first.
But even if that were the case, who would get shot? A random Other that is now following SmokeLocke? I can’t see Sawyer sending Claire or Sayid to their deaths, even though they might be “claimed”. Bullets have no effect on SmokeLocke (and he should know about the original events, assuming he retains all of Locke’s memories).
So in the end, while I was really hoping for something more tragic, I can’t come up with a realistic scenario where it happens. But we’ll see when the next few episodes unfold – answers are right around the corner.
Wrap Up. Okay, a few minor things to wrap up “Dr. Linus”. First off, Frank and Ben’s speech was very interesting and really drove home the theme that “the universe has a way of course correcting itself”:
FRANK: You know, I was supposed to be flyin' it. Oceanic 815.
BEN: And why didn't you?
FRANK: I overslept.
BEN: Come on...
FRANK: Can you believe it? Imagine how different my life would be had that alarm gone off.
BEN: How different would it have been? The island still got you in the end. Didn't it?
In my mind, this is more evidence that detonating the Jughead didn’t actually change the past. Detonating the Jughead caused “The Incident”, just like it always had. You can’t change the past.
Second, Miles told Ben that Jacob didn’t want to die:
BEN: I can't believe you're just gonna stand by and watch this happen. Ilana's gonna murder me for killing Jacob, a man who didn't even care about being killed!
MILES: No, he cared.
BEN: Excuse me?
MILES: Right up until the second the knife went through his heart, he was hoping he was wrong about you. I guess he wasn't.
Even though Jacob appears to be some all-powerful, all-knowing being, this seems to hint that he didn’t know what was going to happen – or maybe he was hoping that he was wrong (like Jesus asking God for an “out” of the whole crucifixion thing right before it happened). We see now that Jacob had an intricate plan in place involving bringing our Survivors and Ilana to the
Lastly, you’ll notice there is a poll in the upper right hand corner of the Blog. I’m curious if folks still want me to continue with doing my episode preview posts. I’ve always done them, but it seems that over the years fewer and fewer people read them – afraid that they’ll spoil the episode (even though I don’t read any spoilers and just do my best to figure out the episode ahead of time). Also, with Lost being on Tuesdays now, there’s just not as much time to tackle them before the episode airs. I usually have my analysis posts up over the weekend, and then have to rush out an episode preview Monday evening – meaning there post has a shelf life of about 24 hours before becoming obsolete.
So, I leave it up to you, faithful Blog readers – should I continue doing those episode preview posts? Or switch to a twice a week Blog, with my Instant Reactions and Analysis (including the “deeper meaning” behind the episode title in the analysis post).
Let me know your thoughts.
Until next week!