Monday, March 08, 2010

Lost - "Dr. Linus"

Episode Title: “Dr. Linus”

Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: At first, I thought this might be the first Lost episode title since “Pilot” that doesn’t have a deeper meaning. “Dr. Linus” doesn’t refer to any sort of famous book or movie – and since we know that Ben isn’t a doctor on the Island, it must refer to his Off-Island character that teaches European History at the same school as John Locke.

That seems pretty simple, straight-forward, and terribly disappointing, doesn’t it? Where’s the deeper meaning?

It might be a tad of a stretch, but think about it like this – to some degree, the primary function of a doctor is to “fix things”. They cure disease, they perform surgeries, and generally help the sick. Looking at the Island right now, there’s a lot of bad stuff going down. At the end of “Sundown”, we saw SmokeLocke with a growing army of followers, a slaughter of the Others who opposed him, and the threat that SmokeLocke intends to kill every living thing on the Island, maybe destroy it, and maybe bring about the end of the world.

It’s bad news.

Perhaps this week will feature Ben attempting to “fix things” On-Island, acting as a symbolic doctor for the Island – while the Off-Island Ben is a literal doctor, a person who has his doctorate in European History. Out of the remaining people on the Island, Ben seems to be one of three people who really understand what is going on (along with Richard and Ilana) – but what makes him such a likely candidate to use that knowledge to help fix things is that he’s the one who caused it in the first place.

Ben is the “loophole”. Ben killed Jacob. Ben started all of this mess. The blood of everyone who died in the Temple is on Ben’s hands. That’s a lot of guilt, even for Benjamin Linus. If he can somehow remedy the situation, it would be his chance for redemption… and thrust Ben into a “hero” role that none of us could have ever imagined three seasons ago.

Like I said, it’s a stretch – but it’s the best I’ve got this week.

Guest Stars: Alan Dale as Charles Widmore, Tania Raymonde as Alex, Daniel Roebuck as Dr. Leslie Arzt, Jon Gries as Roger Linus, William Atherton as Principal Don Reynolds and Steve Boatright as officer.

Guest Star Breakdown: Oh hell yeah.

Short of seeing “Henry Ian Cusick as Desmond David Hume” or “Brian as Kate’s Gentleman Lover”, “Alan Dale as Charles Widmore” is the best guest star I could have hoped for! It’s a little bit funny how we’ve put the discussions of the battle between Ben and Widmore on the back burner (in favor of debating the Jacob and Anti-Jacob stuff this season) – yet the Ben / Widmore storyline really drove the prior two seasons of the show. Remember when we thought that Lost was just going to be all about Widmore vs. Ben for control of the Island? Things have really escalated since then!

But this is a great time to remind ourselves of the Charles Widmore Story So Far – especially since there is still so much we don’t know, and since it’s still pretty likely that he’s going to play a major role in deciding the fate of the Island / the World.

We don’t know when Widmore arrived on the Island – or how. But between the time we saw him in 1954 and 1977 he went from a scrappy youth to some type of leadership position within the Others, along with Eloise Hawking… but it doesn’t look like he had a true relationship with Jacob, as both Richard (when saving Young Ben) and Ben (when saving Baby Alex) were able to play the “Jacob wants it” card and Widmore had no choice but to accept their actions.


This would seem to indicate that the leader of the Others wasn’t always “chosen by Jacob” – and why Jacob used Richard Alpert as a buffer between him and the Others, rather than speaking to the leader of the Others directly. It also kinda explains how Ben was able to usurp Widmore as leader of the Others post-Purge by claiming he was the rightful leader thanks to his connection with Jacob. It would be quite interesting to see how all of this actually went down. Did Ben just “fake it” (in which case, why didn’t anyone else ever think of this)? Did Ben stumble upon Jacob’s Cabin in the jungle and think he was communicating with Jacob all along, even though he didn’t ever actually hear anything? Or was Ben a pawn in Anti-Jacob’s “loophole” plan from the start? Did Anti-Jacob appear to Ben as his dead mother to help “draw him” to the Others, also knowing that when the Others found out about Ben’s apparent ability to see dead people, it would make him appear as a “chosen one”?

(Footnote: if this is the case, then you can mark Hurley down as the next leader of the Others, right? Because he legitimately does see and communicate with dead people!)

Personally, I’m a big fan of that last theory – with Anti-Jacob orchestrating Ben’s induction to the Others all along, slowly and subtly building him up and guiding him to the position of becoming the Leader of the Others, and Widmore becomes the lame duck leader of the Others that eventually gets booted off the Island.

Up until this point, we don’t know if Widmore had good intentions for the Island or not – although based on Richard’s distaste for him, I’m guessing that he wasn’t a big fan of how Widmore did things on the Island. I’ll defer back to my theory from years ago that Widmore wanted to exploit the Island for financial gain – to use the powers of the Island to become rich and powerful… which is actually exactly how Widmore ended up anyways.

Come to think of it, that’s a pretty big mystery in and of itself. Widmore was kicked off the Island in the early 1990s (although apparently he was periodically coming and going from the Island before that point, since he had already had Penny with an “outsider”). The next time we see him, in 1996, he’s the wealthy and powerful leader of Widmore Industries, bidding on the journal to the Black Rock at an auction. So over the course of five years (max) he goes from dirty Island hippie to clean-cut corporate powerhouse. Seems a little crazy, right?

It makes one wonder if Charles Widmore was setting up this corporation during his visits Off-Island, or if part of the reason that the Others gladly kicked him off was that he was dividing his time between his business empire and his duties to serve the Island. Or, perhaps Widmore partially achieved his original goal. Maybe he utilized the FDW / Lighthouse / some other unforeseen magic place on the Island for monetary gain off the Island (like pointing the Lighthouse at the New York Stock Exchange 20 years in the future and dumping a ton of money into Google and Apple in the early 1990s). Again, that would seem to be an “abuse of power” that would explain why the Others were so willing to ship him off the Island, instead of “branding him” like Juliet, or forcing him into slave labor on the Island.

But we digress – even if we never get an explanation for Widmore’s rapid rise to power, we still need to figure out what his intentions are for the Island, and whose side he is actually on.

Let’s look at the hard facts:

  • He 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 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.

When you add it all up, it certainly seems as though Widmore is on Team Anti-Jacob. Plus, one could argue that his assistance of John Locke in recruiting the Oceanic Six to try and convince them to return to the Island was his way of assisting Anti-Jacob with finding his “loophole”, since without Dead Locke back on the Island, killing Jacob wouldn’t have been possible.

If you operate under the assumption that Widmore is playing for Anti-Jacob, I wonder if it’s possible that Widmore made his own “deal with the devil” to assist Anti-Jacob with finding his loophole in return for becoming a wealthy and powerful businessman Off-Island.


But there’s one more thing – remember the scene from “The Shape of Things to Come” where Widmore asks Ben if he’s going to kill him, to which Ben replies “We both know I can’t do that.” It definitely has similarities to the talk between Jacob and Anti-Jacob on the beach at the beginning of “The Incident”, and even some hints at Dogen’s attempts to have someone else kill Sayid, as if he was unable to do so himself. But could the Island’s “rules” stretch Off-Island, and continue to apply to someone like Widmore who has already been exiled? Or was this just an example of Ben adhering to the rules in hopes of returning to the Island someday? We definitely need a printed edition of “The Others’ Rulebook” to understand the motivation behind a lot of what we’ve seen over the years.

So how will Widmore fit into this week’s episode?

I’m crossing all of my fingers (which makes typing pretty hard) that it’s not going to simply be in a throwaway role as a “Theater Teacher” in Ben’s school, or something equally unimportant in the Off-Island Action. Unfortunately, I think that’s probably the most likely scenario. The problem is that the last time we saw Widmore, he was standing outside the hospital where Desmond was recovering from his gunshot wound, getting into a fight with Eloise Hawking about the definition of “sacrifice” for the Island (PS – we also need to address Hawking’s motivation in all of this, but that will have to wait for another week). What we all want to see from Charles Widmore is what happens after that – how his actions Off-Island will affect the current On-Island action and the Anti-Jacob storyline in general… and that would need to take place in “Reality #1”. Since we know that this is a Ben-centric episode featuring his “I’m a teacher” storyline, we know that the Off-Island action is going to take place in “Reality #2”. So unless we get a super-confusing triple-flash situation going, where we see things happening On-Island (Present Day Reality #1), Off-Island (Present Day Reality #1), and Off-Island (2004 Reality #2), I don’t see it happening.

Sad – but at least our brains are all prepared now for Widmore’s eventual return to the series, right?

(Note: yes, I know it’s possible that Widmore could be appearing On-Island in this episode, but I think that’s a pipe dream. It took him nearly 20 years to find the Island the first time with the Freighter. To think that he could find it a second time in less than 3 years seems unlikely.)

Keeping this in mind, the rest of the guest stars make disappointing sense. Alex will probably be a student at Ben’s school, but will she be his daughter or not? Remember, she’s actually the daughter of CFL and Robert. Ben is nowhere in the equation. If Alex somehow becomes his daughter in the Off-Island Action, it will almost guarantee that the Flash Sideways represent a “dream world” / “deal with the devil” world, and are not simply a representation of what would have happened if the Jughead went off in 1977.

Arzt, a science teacher in Reality #1, will probably still be a science teacher in Reality #2, hopefully teaching about coma-inducing spiders. Roger Linus is alive and well in Reality #2, but it will be interesting to see if he continues to be a jerk to Ben, or if he’s suddenly more of a loving, caring father, as was hinted about Locke’s father as well. Finally, we have “Principal Don Reynolds”, who will hopefully be a crusty old dean that everyone hates – after all, he is being played by the jerk EPA agent from “Ghostbusters!”

In the end, it may be that each of these guest stars is simply a minor character in Reality #2… but man oh man it would be cool if any of them showed up in Reality #1 – either as flashbacks / hallucinations to Ben, or in the case of Widmore, alive and well in the present.

Episode Title: Ben deals with the consequences of an uncovered lie.

Episode Breakdown: Last week ended with Ben’s location unknown. We saw Kate, Sayid, and Claire march off with SmokeLocke. We saw Ilana, Miles, Frank, and Sun duck into the same secret passage out of the Temple that Hurley used a week earlier. But what about Ben? The last time we saw him, he was running away from Sayid (Ben, the king of all creepy Lost characters, RUNNING away from someone else?! What hath God wrought?!) into the Temple. At this point, he could be anywhere – rejoining Team Ilana, silently tracking Team SmokeLocke, searching for Alpert, or retreating back to the Barracks to regroup.

So what lie is Ben going to uncover?


The first thing that comes to mind is the big “lie” surrounding the true identities of Jacob, Anti-Jacob, and SmokeLocke. As I mentioned earlier, Ben is the one who was tricked into becoming a pawn in the loophole plan of Anti-Jacob, a plan that may have started as early as his childhood… and he fell for it every step of the way. Despite his best efforts to always be two steps ahead of everyone else, he was used the same way the he used so many others for his own interests.

The consequences of this lie is the current state of the Island… which is to say, it’s all going to hell.

The way the episode description is worded it sounds like this week will be more about Ben coming to grips with what he has done instead of Ben actually doing something to fix things – but I actually think we’re due for a little bit of both as we continue down the unbelievable path of Ben’s redemption on the show. It probably won’t happen, but this would be the perfect time to see some Ben flashbacks On-Island to the various decisions he’s made over the years, with present day Ben coming to the realization of how each one brought them one step closer to the current situation.

So to recap, I’m predicting that this episode is going to unfold in the exact opposite way of what I’m wanting. Instead of getting Reality #1 Off-Island Action with Widmore, and On-Island Reality #1 Flashbacks with Ben, we’re probably going to get Reality #2 Off-Island Action with Widmore and On-Island Reality #1 Present Day Action with Ben.

...and yet, it's a Ben-centric episode. How can it be anything except great? I'm pretty pumped.

Happy Losting!


Anonymous said...

What is SmokeLocke gets killed by Rose with crazy Island Kung Fu?! .....I'm allowed to hope for something crazy to happen right??

Anonymous said...

What IF...sorry.

Brian said...

Bobb - nothing wrong with getting hammered and reading Lost... and Gone Forever. It makes the Comments section far more interesting...

Anonymous said...

But I'm not hammered! Just didn't have anything productive to add this time around.

Oh...I'm seeing DMB this Summer in Columbus!

Anonymous said...

I have a Penny and Desmond half-brother and sister? Is Widmore the father of both?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry not desmond, but faraday... sorry 4 the mixup

Anonymous said...

Yes....yes he is the father of both.

Anonymous said... what about Desmond...remember the rules don't apply to him? Will he be apart of this ben-widmore reunion?

timcourtois said...

I was thinking the "uncovered lie" would be that Ben claimed that SmokeLocke killed Jacob. I'm thinking everyone will find out that it was really Ben who did it, and he'll have to deal with the consequences.

Dichelle said...

Rather than Ben uncovering someone else's lie, I think a lie Ben has told may get uncovered: the truth may come out that he killed Jacob

Dichelle said...

Tim--I see we agree, and you just beat me to posting it.

Jeremy Kroening said...

I'm w/ timcourt. It seems like a pop-fly for the uncovered lie

robpatt said...

it seems like with a ben centric episode it can only advance the plot significantly, i can only think that a widmore, illana, or richard episode could possibly move things more. unless we ever get a jacob / smoke monster episode, but that would be too cool and probably not happening.

im on the west coast, so by the time i finish seeing the episode and spend 20 minutes staring into space the instant reactions are already up to greet me. Tuesday is the new thursday for television.

jack said...

Important to note that given Illana's knowledge of most everything else on the Island, she should be aware of the "rules" that apply knowing that fake Locke could not have killed Jacob and that Ben was lying to her. Something related to this could be the "lie" exposed in this episode.

Oscar said...

I am up way too late, drinking way too much and tripping out on the fact that S ayid shot and "killed" young Ben. Then Roger shot and "killed" Sayid. Then later Ben killed Roger. Maybe the "lie" is that the Others made Ben think he's still alive when he's really a zombie claimed by Smokey and has been ever since Sayid killed him.

Brian said...

Yeah - that makes way more sense. I want to change my vote to "Ilana figures out that Ben killed Jacob", which in turn leads us to an explanation about WHY Ben was able to kill Jacob, and maybe some of the "rules"!

John said...

I read the episide description a little differently. When it says "deals with the consequences of an uncovered lie," I immediately assumed that Ilana is going to learn that Ben lied to her about who killed Jacob earlier this season. Once that happens, Ben is truly on his own...but, then again, no man is an island! LOL!

Steve said...

If Illana finds out Ben killed Jacob, she may kill Ben, or some other punishment. Is it possible that TSM/MIB could could and rescue him with his own 'deal'?

Sam said...

I think we might see Widmore in both timelines. My guess is that he shows up to Ben's school as the angry father of his teenage daughter, Alex.

Then he arrives to the island at the end of the episode (the man Jacob said was coming). So, he'll be the first crossover character to be on-island and off-island since the bomb went off. Will this Widmore have a daughter named Alex or Penny?

jack said...

That makes far more sense Brian. It would be hard to believe that the writers would overlook or not address Illana NOT knowing the "rules of engagement" as it relates to this issue and no lie may be more relavent as of now than this as it relates to Ben Linus.

Hobbes said...

Thursday Night? or Tuesday Night? It doesn't matter it's just Lost Night! woo hoo!

I wonder if the rules aren't "rules" per say. But rather physical properties or "laws of physics" kind of rules; that can't be broken.

jack said...

On ABC's latest promo,Ilana is shown (standing on the beach it appears).

This may be further evidence that the source of Ben's "lie" may be related to him claiming to her that FLocke killed Jacob.

Brendan said...

I'm hoping and praying for a revival of Ben's character. He's been down and out for a while now. Remember how COOL he used to be?

And is it just me, or is TeamSmokey way cooler than TeamJacob? You've got evil Locke, crazy Claire, and a possessed Iraqi torturer on one side, and on the other.... Jack staring at the sea? Hurley playing tic tac toe? C'mon give me some good guys I can root for!

Trixie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jabbadoo said...

Well, seems like everyone is leaning towards the "uncovered lie" being Ben killing Jacob... but there's also the "uncovered lie" of Ben killing John Locke... who did he finally tell that to last week, Sun? That's not going to go down without additional comment when everyone finds out.

Sherilyn -The Dominee Huisvrouw said...

I think it's interesting that no one thinks "Pilot" had any deeper meaning of a title, but that the episode where the Pilot was killed.

I always thought that was an interesting title for that episode.

Brendan said...

Jabbadoo - Ben admitted to killing Locke in his "eulogy" at Locke's burial. Sun, Frank, and Ilana were there. So, no surprises there.

pookie said...

a question that came to mind when I was reading everyone's questions in the Sundown analysis... Why did Jack have to be sure that something belonging to his father was on the plane? Remember, he put Christian's shoes on Locke's body in the coffin? Why did he need to do this? Please point me in the direction of Brian's comments on this, if he has commented on it. I'm relatively new to reading his blog, and I would have no clue where to look :) Thanks.

Daniel said...

Jacob's death is Ben's most recent lie, but he's lied and lied about any and everything since we've been introduced to him. Even Hawking commented on his liar nature. Maybe we'll get something cooler and deeper than the Jacob death lie.