Saturday, May 12, 2007

Extra Long "The Man Behind the Curtain" Analysis!

Wow. I don’t even know where to begin. You would think that through the hours of analyzing, researching, and thinking about each episode in writing my previews, I probably would have gone over most possible outcomes in my head. So, even if the episode doesn’t turn out the way I anticipated and wrote about, it probably would turn out in a way that I could have reasonably foreseen during my thought process. You would be wrong.

I have to admit, before this episode, I was feeling pretty confident not only that I knew what was going to happen in “The Man Behind the Curtain”, but also where the storyline would go in the remaining episodes of the season. I was sure that Locke would expose Ben as a fraud, and become the new “leader” of the Others. This would lead to the long-awaited Jack vs. Locke battle (brewing since Season One!) as Locke leads the Others versus the Survivors in the season finale in an effort to keep the Island secret. Jacob wasn’t going to exist at all – he was going to be just like the Wizard from the Wizard of Oz… a lot of smoke and mirrors to keep people in line, happy, and believing in a greater purpose. Ben’s flashback was going to reveal a softer side to him, showing him as an Island Original (Other) who had to conjure up Jacob to keep people on the Island protecting its great secret (something about living forever) instead of being swayed by the glamorous technology and luxuries of Dharma. He was to be the last of a dying breed, a character we felt sympathy for, which was to lead up to Ben actually dying in the season finale battle, leaving the audience to wonder who we should be rooting for – the Survivors, or the Others.

So you can imagine my surprise when the storyline from this week not only proved my “The Man Behind the Curtain” predictions totally wrong (I told you I don’t have any inside connections! Or did I intentionally post something wrong to throw you off? Mwa ha ha ha!) – but probably blew my theories for the rest of the season out of the water as well. But to be honest with you, I couldn’t be happier.

One of the drawbacks of spending so much time thinking, analyzing, and obsessing over Lost is that you lose a lot of the “shock value” from the episodes. You start to foresee things like character deaths and the broad strokes of the storyline (the details are still often hard to predict). So when an episode like this comes along, I can’t help but tip my hat to the writers on Lost for coming up with huge surprises like this week, even when there are thousands of people around the world analyzing, predicting, and researching their every move. It’s episodes like this that humble you, make you realize you really don’t know what is going on with Lost (no matter how much time you spend on it), and it almost makes you want to stop thinking about it and just enjoy the ride. If they can pull out surprises like this week now, I can’t even begin to imagine what’s coming up in the season finale.

It almost makes you want to stop thinking about it. For me, until I get my head wrapped around an episode, I can’t move on to the next week. (Note: watching two episodes back to back once I got back from Europe was killer. I still don’t feel like I’ve properly digested them.) I keep thinking about the episode, wondering about it, trying to piece it together in a logical way. As I’ve said before, it’s really just a product of my arrogance telling me “you’re smarter than this TV show – figure it out.” Thus, without further pointless ramblings, let’s get to it…

Patchy. Who could have predicted the large role that Patchy would have had in the second half of this season? He’s now probably had more screen time than any other Other besides Ben (and Juliet, if you count her). This week, we learned that he survived the seeming deadly sonic waves from the pylons around the Barracks because they weren’t turned up to full power. As lame as this explanation is (medical experts out there, can you really survive blood shooting out of you ears? It seems like that is something fairly serious), I am thankful that we’re not dealing with a “the Island brings people back from the dead” storyline, where we would have to start wondering about the true fate of every character that has died on the Island thus far. If you think there are a lot of “Christian Shepherd is alive and behind it all!” theories out there now (which are all clearly wrong), they would be twice as popular if Patchy had somehow been brought back to life by the power of the Island. So we all lucked out there.

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The other interesting thing is that when Locke started to pummel Patchy, Ben asked Richard and Tom to help, and both just sat by and watched. Even if they were sick of Ben and his baby-making endeavors and were tired of taking orders from him, you would think they would have jumped out to help Patchy, since he’s one of their own. While it’s possible they just hated Patchy and his weird reclusive ways - I think the more likely explanation is that they do not want to mess with John Locke.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve learned that the Others have a fascination with Locke due to his amazing recovery on and communion with the Island. Somehow he has seemingly been “let in” on Island secrets and powers that no outsider ever has… maybe even more so than Island Originals like Alpert himself - and that intrigues them. I don’t think it’s too far of a stretch to think that they view him as some sort of savior, prophet, or leader – and he suddenly makes Ben’s alleged connections with the Island seem pretty weak.

This is why there was so much shock among the Others when Locke announced he was going to see Jacob – if Locke was able to visit and communicate with Jacob, it meant that Ben was no longer anything special – Locke would now seemingly have all the power of Jacob and then some. It symbolized a changing of the guard… one that the Others probably had been waiting for as they grew tired of Ben’s single minded-obsession. The only thing they needed was for Locke to come back with a message from Jacob and Ben would have been history. Unfortunately, Ben made sure this didn’t happen.

Ben. As I said earlier, I expected this episode to reveal a “softer side” of Ben, revealing a tragic past that would make the audience sympathetic and understanding of his ways (note: this would help go along with my long-running theory that the Others end up being good and our Survivors end up being bad. Remember Ben’s comment to Jack in last season’s finale: “We’re the good guys”) – and for the first half of the episode, I thought that was exactly what we were going to get. He had the no good drunk father blaming him for his mom dying and never remembering his birthday, he was haunted by a freaky image of his dead mom (more on this later), and to make matters worse, he was an uber-nerdy kid who didn’t really talk, which clearly would have led to many after-school wedgies. The stage was set.

But in his last flashback, we saw another side of Ben – a vengeful, conniving side. A side summed up in his speech to Locke at the end of the episode about “doing what needed to be done to not end up in the pit”. While this helps explain the character that exists today on the show, the shift from the quiet loser kid to the cunning ruthless leader means there are still some major questions surrounding Ben (the kind of questions that would prevent him from dying before he gets a second flashback, I would think).

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Since Ben was born 32 miles outside of Portland (conveniently close to where the Mittelos Bioscience facility is! Which came first, the chicken (Dharma) or the egg (Ben)? I’m thinking the chicken), and not on the Island – it helps explain why he got cancer, but still could claim to Juliet, “None of the people on the Island has ever had cancer.” It seems to indicate that whatever “power” exists on the Island that cures people / makes them live forever / keeps them healthy is limited to Island Originals (like Alpert) and not transferred to outsiders, like Ben - no matter how long they may spend on the Island (it’s safe to assume Ben has been there for what, 30 years?).

This also sheds a little more light on why Ben sorta flipped out when he found out about the cancer – it was a reminder, thrown in his face, that although he was acting as leader of the Others, he wasn’t truly one of them – no matter how much he wanted to be. Want another reason why Ben hates Locke? The Island cured Locke the instant he arrived on the Island, while he has spent a lifetime there without receiving the same benefit. But this also brings up a huge question from the episode… how in the heck did Ben end up as the seeming leader of the Others?

Others. Three strikes. I’m out. Yet again, I was expecting a reveal about the origin / nature of the Others, once again I was wrong – big time. Somehow we made it through an entire episode featuring flashbacks of the Dharma / Others Era on the Island without learning anything substantial about the Others. Part of this is tied to the fact that Ben turned out not the be an Other at all, but instead a Dharmite… perhaps even a “Rebel Dharmite”? My theory from midway through season two finally resurfaces!

For the new readers out there, way back when we saw (and went crazy with analyzing) the Blast Door inside the Swan Hatch, my main takeaway theory was that there must have been two groups in the Dharma community – the card carrying goody two-shoes Dharmites, who blindly followed the rules and teachings of the organization, and the beer drinking, rock-and-roll listening Rebel Dharmites who were sick of the structure, questioned authority, and generally raged against the Dharma machine.

After hearing of “The Purge”, this theory kinda died off, because it seemed like the Others, not the Rebel Dharmites, were directly responsible for Dharma’s downfall. Also, it’s been over a year since we had any other new information that supported the theory. However, after this episode, I’m ready to resurrect it like a Patchy through the Pylons.

I’ll draw your attention to what Ben said at the end of the episode – “I’m ONE OF the ones smart enough to not end up in the ditch”. Maybe Ben was the mastermind behind the Others’ attack on Dharma, but he wasn’t the only one – which helps explain a lot, like how the Others could have overtaken the seemingly more powerful and better equipped Dharma soldiers, gotten through their pylon barriers, and had the weaponry to successfully “purge” them off the Island.

My thinking is that although we only saw the initial conversation between Ben and Alpert, there were many more over the years. These meetings eventually swayed Ben to the Others’ way of thinking, pointing out the faults and weaknesses of the Dharma society… and Ben recruited other Dharmites to his point of view. These “Rebel Dharmites” eventually planned a coup. They were willing to kill their fellow Dharmites in exchange for gaining access to the super secret club of the Others – and potentially the magical powers that went along with it.

I also think it’s a very real possibility that there was some sort of “initiation” for each of these Rebel Dharmites to officially join the Others – something symbolic to show that they were ready to “let go” of their past lives and start a new, fresh one. In Ben’s case, it probably meant killing his father (which he did). Is it coincidence that it happened on the same day as the purge? Is it coincidence that this was precisely the same request he made of Locke in order for him to gain access to the Others’ community? I don’t think so.

So based on all of this, the only true Island Original that we know of is Alpert. I think Tom could very easily have been a Rebel Dharmite, but it’s definitely open for debate. Given how much everyone seemed to listen to and follow Ben, there’s no real way to tell who the Original Others are and who the Rebel Dharmite Others are – but I’m guessing that will become more clear down the road.

The other thing that isn’t clear to me is why the Others felt the need to “purge” the Dharmites in the first place. The episode hinted that the two parties didn’t get along and couldn’t live in peace on the Island, but there must have been something more than that. Hey, I brought back my “Rebel Dharmite” theory this week – I might as well throw out my “Experiment Reject” theory as well – that Dharma eventually started recruiting / using Others as test subjects for their wacky experiments (perhaps trying to figure out why they didn’t age? More on this later...). This seems like something that would drive you to battle. The other possibility is that the Dharma destruction of the Island to pave roads / build stations and setup a society somehow was infringing upon the natural order of the Island, and the environmental hippie Others weren’t going to take it anymore. Either way, while the Others were the ones who eventually did the killing – it seems to me that they were provoked, and not acting aggressively on their own.

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You could reason that the Rebel Dharmites could have kept in touch with their Dharma headquarters, keeping up the charade that all was well on the Island by living in the Barracks, wearing Dharma clothes, and keeping communications with the mainland – which may explain the continuing food drops and access to Dharma funds and resources. Heck, maybe a higher up at Dharma became a Rebel Dharmite himself (Hanso?) and willingly gave the Others all the power and funds they needed to ensure that their mission on the Island was able to continue.

Which brings me to something pretty ironic (don’t you think?). We were told that this season would be “about the Others” in the same way that the second season was “about the Hatch” and the first season was “about getting to know the Survivors”. However, here we sit with two episodes left in the season and we don’t know much, if anything about the Original Others. We’ve learned about Juliet… who is not an Original Other. We’ve learned about Ben… who is not an Original Other. If Patchy’s story is true, he was a recent recruit of Jacob’s, making him not an Original Other either. In effect, we learned about the people who recently joined the Others, but not a thing about the true nature of the Others, their history, or their purpose. All we really know is that Richard Alpert is an Island Original and he uses amazing skin screen (or perhaps isn’t aging).

Alpert. Which brings us to what should have been the biggest part of the episode (until the Jacob scene came along, of course) - Richard Alpert seemingly hasn’t aged a day in thirty years. This just might be it – that huge secret that is the underlying point of the whole series. Aside from my brief flirtation with “the Island grants wishes from a magic box” (which really, was pretty nonsensical in retrospect), this has always been the most likely candidate for the big secret of the Island. It’s the reason that the Others would rather die than have the outside world find out about them, the reason that time seems so funky on the Island, and the reason for Dharma choosing the Island as the place to conduct their experiments to prevent the end of the world – because they would have all the time in the world to perfect them. Recent episodes have seemed to eliminate the theories that time moves faster or slower on the Island, but it still leaves the door open that while time moves normally on the Island – the people don’t.

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(Note: want another reason why this is such a strong candidate? Lost is the brainchild of JJ Abrams. The underlying storyline of Alias’s five seasons was Rambaldi – which in the end we discovered had found the secret to living forever. Think JJ wouldn’t repeat ideas from one show to the other? Watch season five of Alias, then Mission: Impossible III and marvel at how ridiculously close some of the major plot points are!)

Of course, there is always the possibility that I’m jumping the gun here. As some have pointed out to me, it’s possible that this was just a poor makeup job on Alpert in an attempt to make him look younger / older. It’s possible that it needed to be the same actor as current Alpert or else the audience wouldn’t have understood who he was in the Ben flashback… but I don’t buy it. There are just way too many hints that would indicate the opposite, such as Ben’s comment to Alpert “It’s my birthday – you remember what those are, don’t you Richard?” as if he hadn’t had one in ages, the Rave Room Video telling us “only fools are bound by time and space”, and the X-Ray of the twenty-six year old with the seventy-year old womb.

Want your explanation for why Alpert is allowed to travel back and forth to the mainland for recruiting purposes? For one, he’s an Island Original, so Ben knows he will always come back, unlike a recruit, who may be tempted to stay away by family / friends / non-Dharma beer back home. Two, because he’s an Island Original, on the Island he reaps the benefits of extended life that he wouldn’t get on the mainland. It all makes pretty good sense in my head except for one thing – how did Ben end up in charge of the Others?

If we are to assume that this eternal life / extended life / healing power is tied to a communion with the Island, it’s clear that Alpert (and Locke) have it, but Ben doesn’t. He got cancer. He doesn’t heal fast. He has been aging. What would make the Others decide that this “inferior” person should be the one to lead them? One reason could be that he was integral in helping coordinate the Others’ purge of the Dharmites, and became a “commander in chief” of sorts due to his cunning execution of the mission. But based on this episode, I think the more likely reason is tied to one very freaky, beardy, ghosty character – Jacob.

Jacob. Take a deep breath. We’re about to dive off the deep end.

Okay, this was the part of the episode that gave me the hardest time (clearly). I was simply totally unprepared for Jacob to actually exist, let along being some sort of being that was invisible, then appeared, then disappeared – so trying to wrap my head around what it all meant proved a challenge.

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Initially, I wanted to think that it truly was all smoke and mirrors by Ben. He used Dharma technology to create this fake “Jacob” and tricked the simpler-minded Others into believing that he had a communion with this “all powerful being” on the Island – thus, his position of power among them. It would still support the “Man Behind the Curtain” theme of the episode, and give us a totally logical, scientific reason for what we saw. But that seemed like taking the easy way out.

So then I thought a little more spiritually, thinking that Jacob was actually the “spirit of the Island” taking a human persona for the purposes of communicating the Locke. Being the “spirit of the Island”, it would be all knowing about anything going on around the Island, have power over everything on the Island, and would explain the “help me” plea – as the Island might be afraid of the forthcoming search party for Desmond that would ruin the secrecy of the Island that seems so important. But that wouldn’t really explain why Ben (an outsider) could communicate with the Island Spirit but Alpert and the Island Originals couldn’t – so that didn’t quite sit right with me either.

The hard thing is, in the back of my head all along, I have the voice of Cuse and Lindelof telling me that everything on the Island will be explained by science or pseudo-science. It’s a promise they made to us long ago, have always stood by, and is part of the contract they’ve made with the rabid fan base of Lost who are continually trying to decipher the Island’s mysteries. So when I was thinking back about this episode, I realized that we are now talking, quite logically, about Smoke Monsters, Living Forever, and an Invisible Island Spirit. I think the audience would be willing to accept one “pseudo-science” explanation (such as Smokey being nanobots or the Island’s magnetism slowing down the aging process), but if we’re going to have multiple “sci-fi” explanations for every weird thing that happens over the course of the series, I think the writers would have broken the promise they made to the audience – which would come off as a cheap way to prevent us from figuring out the mysteries.

So in the end, I started thinking that there must be some unifying answers for all the strange occurrences on the Island – Jacob included. This would increase the likelihood of a logical explanation, or cut down on the number of “pseudo-science” explanations in the end. But how could Jacob seemingly appear and disappear, move objects, and communicate with Locke? In writing that sentence, it hit me – Jacob is just like Walt.

Think about it. Walt would freakily appear and disappear, often only seen and heard by select individuals. He would pass along cryptic messages that seemed to have deeper meaning. He had the ability to move / guide objects with his “mind’s eye”. Is what we saw with Jacob really any different than what we’ve already seen with Walt? I don’t think so.

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From here, you can spin the analysis off in a number of directions.

Maybe Jacob is being held captive somewhere in a Dharma holding cell, just like “the Room” Ms. Klugh threatened Walt with. Perhaps the message to Locke of “help me” is quite literal – that Jacob is a real person who wants Locke to free him from captivity. It’s not hard to theorize that Ben is in power because he claims to be the only one who can communicate with Jacob because he’s the only one who knows how, based on what he learned from the Dharma experiments. Or, perhaps he can’t – but knows that Jacob has the same powers of spooky communication as Walt – explaining why he was so curious about Jacob’s message to Locke. Now he knows that Jacob is looking for help to escape.

Maybe there truly is something special about children on the Island, because they are the only ones who can communicate with “spirits” such as Jacob. Perhaps the key to Ben’s power over the Others is that initially, he was able to communicate with Jacob because he was the only child among the Others. This might tie into the Others obsession with stealing children (to find out who could help them communicate with the all-knowing, all-powerful Jacob). It could also explain why Ben didn’t hear Jacob’s message in the house – now that he’s old, he no longer has the connection, and has been “faking it” for the past few years… giving another reason why he had to shoot Locke.

Maybe all the images that people on the Island have seen – Walt, Jacob, Ben’s Mom, Jack’s Dad, etc. – are all the same entity. We’ve sometimes chalked it up to Smokey, but what if Smokey and these images represent this “Island Spirit”, whose main goal is self-preservation – keeping other people from discovering the Island? Jack’s Dad led the Survivors to the caves – away from the beach, where they were more likely to be discovered. Ben’s Mom indirectly led to Ben joining the Others and participating in the purge, killing the Dharmites who were constantly bringing outsiders to the Island. Heck, even Walt’s message about pushing the button might have been an attempt to get our Survivors to continue pushing the 108 Numbers to keep that “blip” from being detected by Penny’s crew when the failsafe was turned.

In this scenario, the “help me” could be a direct reference to Naomi’s crew, who will likely be discovering the Island very shortly as they attempt to rescue her. The Island is looking for Locke to prevent that from happening – which could tie in to my original theory of Locke and the Others vs. our Survivors in the finale!

What makes Locke special? The same thing that makes Walt special, and to a degree the same thing that makes Rose special – they don’t want to get off the Island. While Walt allegedly did leave the Island, don’t forget that he also set fire to the first raft that Michael built because “he liked it on the Island”. I’ll also point out that the writers did seem to want Michael and Walt back on the show before the end of the season, but were unable to secure the actors. I was always wondering how they would fit back into the storyline at this point without seeming totally extraneous to the main action – but if Jacob is just like Walt, it would have been the perfect time to have them return.

Depending on which scenario you choose (it’s like “Choose Your Own Adventure” don’t cheat when you end up getting eaten by a lion!), there’s a reasonable explanation for the sandy / chalky substance around Jacob’s house. It could serve as a warning to the Others to keep away, a spiritual “fence” to keep Jacob in, or even a magical “fence” to keep Smokey out. But we really didn’t get enough information about this to make any explanation more likely than the other either.

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Phew. That was all sorts of crazy talk spewing out at once, and I apologize. It’s just really hard to nail down one theory as more or less likely than the others at this point. It’s like I can start to see all the pieces of the puzzle lying on the table, but can’t quite put them together into one cohesive picture. Unfortunately, I don’t really see us getting any clearer of a picture this season with so many other dangling storylines. But I’m guessing that when we do see Jacob again, we’ll have a much better understanding of who or what he is, and we’ll look back on this episode and think we were idiots for not seeing it in the first place.

Speaking of those “dangling storylines”…

Locke. Wow. I did not see this coming from anywhere (even though Terry O’Quinn recently sold his house in Hawaii). I could have reasonably made an argument for why almost any other character on the show could die in the finale, but not Locke. Lucky for us, there is no chance that Locke is dead. Why? Two major reasons:

  1. He is the spiritual leader of the show. If Eko was still alive on the show, Locke would have been much more expendable, because Eko could have taken over as the character on the show with the “spiritual connection” with the Island. However, with Eko out of the picture, unless the Others merge with our Survivors and one of them turns out to have the same sort of connection with the Island, we would have no way of ever discovering the spiritual truths of the Island. Based on the fact that none of the other Others can see / hear Jacob (Ben included), I don’t see how we could ever receive resolution to that storyline without Locke sticking around.
  2. We have never had the Locke vs. Jack battle that has been building up for three seasons. In the Season One finale, Jack warned that we “were going to have a Locke problem” and the two characters have been at odds ever since – the man of science versus the main of faith. Killing Locke before getting this confrontation would be a tragedy.

Sure, there are arguments about why Locke could actually die – his flashbacks now seem complete, as the audience knows how he was paralyzed, he finally got the curse of death “closure” with his father, freeing himself from his past demons, and Ben forebodingly warned “are you sure you want to do this?” before entering Jacob’s house – but I have a hard time believing the Lost writers have the guts to kill off one of the most intriguing characters on television without providing proper closure to his spiritual journey on the Island.

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Having said all that, how is Locke going to survive? I was initially thinking one of three ways:

  1. The Island would cure him. Just like the bite to his hand and his paralysis, the Island will hook him up with another round of voodoo magic.
  2. Alpert / Alex were trailing Ben and Locke and will come to his aid. Neither one seemed overly trusting of Ben – and Alex even provided Locke with a gun, as if sensing the danger he was in.
  3. The gunshot will prove non-life threatening. At first I thought it might have hit where Locke had his kidney removed – meaning that the bullet would miss any major organs, preventing him from bleeding out. But upon closer examination, the shot seems a lot higher – almost in the lung region, which would spell trouble.

But then I thought of the best way – to not explain it. Having Locke suddenly reappear, much to the surprise of Ben (and the audience), would pretty much elevate him to godlike status among the Others, guaranteeing he becoming their new leader. It would also keep the audience guessing as to how he survived. Was it Island magic? Is he back from the dead? Was it something more logical and mundane? Eventually, the answer can come forth – but to tease us along for until the fourth season would provide great fodder for discussion over the long summer months.

Mark it – John Locke will appear again, alive and well, before the season finale.

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Final Notes. Since this has already been insanely long (that’s what she said), I’ll try and wrap up a few miscellaneous points quickly.

Smokey. The Dharma video mentioned that the Pylons around the Barracks protected them from a “variety of wildlife”. I took that to refer not to polar bears or boars, but Smokey. If this is true, then Smokey takes on a much more “magical” explanation, rather than a scientific one that Dharma created it and lost control of it. (Unless it was one of their early experiments gone awry, and the Pylons were quickly added afterwards).

Wonderland. Some readers have already pointed it out (blast you for getting to type pithy one sentence comments instead of novel-length analyses!), but this episode featured some heavy “Alice in Wonderland” symbolism. From Ben’s Mom looking like Alice, beckoning him to venture beyond the Pylons (or “through the looking glass”) to Ben literally following his white rabbit across the field for the first time, these things stood out to me big time (mostly because I know that the season finale is called “Through the Looking Glass”, so I’m on the lookout for symbolism relating to it).

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Emily. Speaking of Ben’s Mom, I know that earlier I mentioned that it’s possible that Smokey was responsible for all the visions around the Island. If you want evidence against it, remember this – Emily was standing right outside Ben’s window, inside of the Barrack Pylons designed to keep Smokey out.

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Annie. It's way too convenient that Annie wasn't shown after the purge. Ben stumbling upon her dead body would have had way too much emotional power to just skip - and it also would have proven how dedicated Ben was to joining the Others. Therefore, it stands to reason that Annie died before the purge. Smart money is on she and Ben getting together, and then Annie dying while attempting to birth their child. It would add another level to the reason why Ben obsesses over babies. Some people want to think that Annie became CFL, and that Alex truly is Ben's daughter - but these people are crazy (why would Annie pick up a fake accent?).

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…and I’m spent. You know, there have been a number of occasions when I thought we were about to go “through the looking glass” on this show (choosing that phrase intentionally, of course). If you remember at the end of the first season of Lost, I said that the finale was genius (not going inside the Hatch), because it meant the show was still everything to everyone. The writers were careful not to tip their hands enough to refute any theories, and gave just enough hints to give some justification to each. However, I thought once we found out what was inside the Hatch we would finally learn what this show was really about… and in a way, we did. In Season Two, we learned that there was a deep mythology on the Island (and show) that some viewers ate up… but I’m sure it turned some viewers off as well. At the end of the second season, we stood on the cusp of entering the Others’ world – and once again, I thought to myself “this is it! We’re finally going to understand what this show is about – what drives the Others, what is so special about the Island, and why they’ve acted the way they have towards our Survivors.” The answers to these questions would clearly eliminate some theories, and put the show in a new direction – one that may turn off more viewers, but would also give some answers to those that have been patiently waiting. But strangely, although we’ve spent almost the whole third season with the Others, it never happened. We’ve gotten hints, but for the most part they remain as mysterious as ever.

However, I think this episode was one of the episodes that could push the show off in another direction. There was something very symbolic about Ben and Locke entering Jacob’s house. When Ben asked Locke if he really wanted to go through with it, he wasn’t just talking to Locke, but also to the audience. For Locke, the decision would change his life forever. Whatever the repercussions of the visit end up being (Locke taking control of the Others, Locke dying, Locke going crazy, etc.), it’s clear that he won’t go back to being the same Locke he was before the event. But for the audience, it potentially was one of those “going through the looking glass” moments, where once we saw what was beyond the door, there was no going back for us either. While there is still some debate about what we actually saw, and what actually happened – it really felt like that event was a big deal, and I think we’ll look back on it as a true turning point for the series.

(Footnote: For all those out there trying to over-analyze the pictures of Jacob, I’d give up. Much like the first glimpse we got of Penny in Desmond’s picture (before the actress was ever cast), I would bet that the uncredited Jacob from this episode also has not been cast – and the image we saw of this episode was of some member of the cast or crew just standing in for a brief flash. The close-up of the eye looked pretty similar to Desmond, and as for the silhouette – well, how awesome would it be if Lost Island ended up to be the same Island that Michael and George Michael ended up on at the end of “Arrested Development”, and “Jacob” is no other than Oscar Bluth? You can’t deny the similarities!)

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Official Extra Long "The Man Behind the Curtain" Analysis! Post on the Message Board.


Sawyer's Optician said...

I have to say that I have been obsessivly checking for your analysis!

I still really have no idea what is going on, but I love your ideas about Locke. I hope they prove to be true. Locke can't go yet!

Sérgio Ferreira said...

Fantastic work once again, congratulations.
Didn't Carlton and Damon once said that the season finale would be about Jack vs. Locke? This indicates that Locke isn't dead.

Anonymous said...

small detail...but do we think Ben's bunny as a child was the identical one he used to scam Sawyet with many, many years later? Any chance of trying to compare photos of each to see?

Anonymous said...

like the Walt connection. How ironic it would be that the Island can produce no children, yet they are the only ones who can truly gain all the powers of the Island, or have a connection with Jacob...except for Locke, of course. I like where that line of thinking is going.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of Locke just showing back up. You said his story line is basically summed up at this point so having him just show back up will be cause for another flashback episode down the road -- the period from when he was shot to when he returned. Before reading this analysis I thought Locke would show back up in the middle of the inevitable battle that looks to close the season, but I don't think that's the case now. If we do see Locke again this season, it'll be at the end of the finale urging whoever (Jack? Ben?) "through the looking glass." He'll come back to much shock and awe and will reveal HIS secret to only a select few -- the ones on Jacob's list perhaps. That would be enough of a cliff hanger to hold till Feb '08 when the "What happened to Locke" story could completely be told -- which would more then likely contain a bit more about who Jacob really is. I'm probably completely off base, but whatever happens, I can't wait!

Anonymous said...

Great analysis, as always! I like the idea of only children being able to see/hear Jacob. It compares to what is often said about kids: up to a certain age they are able to see ghosts!

It is loads of stuff to digest this time, and I´m not done yet. Your thoughts and the other comments help a lot, it´s so good to have that!

Anonymous said...

thinking about the Island having a consciousness makes me recall a series of Star Wars books called New Jedi Order. In that series the Jedi are searching for a mythical planet called Zonoma Sekot, which had a consciousness and actually could use the force in a very destructive manner. Also it could appear to people in any form in chose, whether it be one of the planets inhabitants, or even Anakin Skywalker or whomever it wanted.

Stef said...

This is by far your best analysis yet! Now I can't even imagine what is coming with the season finale.

See everyone on the message boards!

Renee' said...

Bravo Brian, Thanks for the hard work! I don't think you know how much we appreciate you!!

I love the ideas of: Ben and Alpert meeting secretivly over the years.
Alpert always coming back to the island.
Ben faking it because he's getting older.
Ben + Annie = Death in childbirth

My questions:
Whose bloody hand is reaching for a gun? I think Locke.
I still think there is a "Peter Pan" connection.

Sarah said...

I think that you did as best you could with the puzzle pieces Brian. I think that you managed to analyze all the major talk that has been discussed on the boards, I don't know how- but you pulled it off! I have watched the episode for around 3 times and I am still no closer to knowing how to talk about it. See everyone on the posts.

Renee' said...

(I changed my mind about the Peter Pan connection.)

Brian said...

renee - It always makes me happy to hear that people actually appreciate and enjoy the Blog posts. It makes me feel like I'm doing some sort of community service, rather than "wasting my time" writing about a TV show :)

As for the hand, we'll get to that in a few days with the episode preview. Don't get ahead of yourself!

Anonymous said...

Apologies if this has been mentioned, but here goes:

I think the reason the Others can't reproduce is simple, if people dont age at all / like normal humans, then how is a foetus in an Other going to develop at all / like normal foetuses?

I'm with renee, we really appreciate your blogs, don't stop!

And i have to say I think this episode was one of the best Lost episodes ever, hell, maybe even one of the best tv show episodes of all time.

Matt G. said...

Great post! I know there was a lot of "other" stuff to cover but I'm surprised you didn't mention what's happening on the other side of the island. You must be saving it for the next preview. Looks we finally get some action from the "let's build an army" thread that went no where nearly 13 months ago....

Anonymous said...

i have not seen it mentioned in any article about this episode, but in jacob's house there is a ghost-like face reflected on the back wall throughout, have any of you noticed this ?!

Anonymous said...

RE: scientific or pseudo-scientific explanations

It simply isn't so. Doc Jensen at Entertainment Weekly recently commented about the topic:

There is a "well-traveled Lost myth that once upon a time, the producers of Lost said the answers to the show's freaky mysteries would be grounded in sound science. ..... last year, this column reported Damon Lindelof's denial of that myth."

Anonymous said...

In fact, in a recent podcast, the producers said explanation would be found in the "borderlands of the supernatural"

Anonymous said...

Hmm I'm not sure you got it. Jack's "White Rabbit" (image of his father) was not trying to lead the survivors away from being rescued, but towards water and shelter.

Obviously there could be other reasons for leading him there, such as the caves with "adam & eve" and the black and white stones.

I don't think Ben's "White Rabbit" (image of his mother) was leading him to the Others specifically...

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute. Isn't everyone overlooking the most obvious. Rousseau (sp) had a daughter on the island, with Ben. Okay, so..then if Rousseau was pregnant on the island, why didn't she die? Isn't she the key to it all? She's grabbing explosives and heading into the jungle, and has seen her daughter. Locke may be able to die because Rousseau is just as spiritual as he was/is. Also if this whole thing is about pregnancy, why hasn't Ben gone after her?

Anonymous said...

Natives on the Island. I am very interested in this Rebel Darma idea, because a bunch of white men and women running around on a tropical island doesnt seem plausable. Especially since we know they are south of the equator. Unless this Island is near Norway or Greenland, these cannot be "natives." Enough said on that. We still have that huge foot statue as a key to answer this from season 2. As for Locke dying, didn't Mr. Eko say he was next? This means the notice could have been given. I agree John represents the spiritual aspect of the cast, but he too lost faith at the end of season 2 and has really never been the same. Maybe that other guy is right, maybe its the French lady that will lead the spiritual revolt since she is the most connected to the Island. We have yet to learn her story which has to include Ben, since her daugher is also Ben's daughter (happy birthday daddy.) Also did anybody else wonder if Juliette didn't have them play the other side to learn what her instructions were since it was clear that she was not going to get ahold of the tape again? Maybe the bullet was not turned up to leathal (will be the explanation) or perhaps Patchy (and his medical experience) is in with Locke and followed them and will be his savior from the gunshot. Lets hear what you have to say about it.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anom (4:18).....Roueau (CFL) did NOT have a baby on the island. She had the baby prior to arriving on the island and Ben took her.

Elliott and Family said...

Brian, you post that "If you want evidence against it, remember this – Emily was standing right outside Ben’s window, inside of the Barrack Pylons designed to keep Smokey out."

But i think you have to be careful about posing speculations (no matter how likely) as actual fact. We don't know that the fence is there to keep smokey out, or what the relationship smokey has with the dharmites or natives.

Although i often like your conviction, I think it pays to keep an open mind with Lost. Plenty of good points though.

I'm worried about carnage for all our favourite characters as the season comes to a climax.

Anonymous said...

So as we all know the show will end in 2010. That gives us 48 (per the producers 3 x 16 episodes) to answer some huge questions.
What is the smoke monster/ where is it from?
What is the French Girls back story/ and where is she going to fit in?
What is the story with the three toe'd statue?
What is up with Walt and his Dad, we all know they didn't just get let go, otherwise they would be telling the world about what happened.
What is up with seeing dead people on the Island (Jacks Dad, Ben's Mom, and Kates Horse?)
What is the whole thing with mom's dying on the Island but healing others?
Who are the Others (they are as native as Polish people in Africa)?
Are the numbers really cursed?
Im sure you all have other questions but those are mine.

Anonymous said...

Ezra James Sharkington (the Darma Shark) ate Walt and his dad. That was his job! The answers to Walt and his Dad will be in the Lost Movie (Jaws 5)

Brian said...

s - Let me clarify. I wasn't posting anything about Emily or Smokey as fact. I was merely providing an argument against the theory that Smokey is manifesting himself as the images that people have seen on the Island.

The only real fact from that scene is that Ben saw an image of his dead mother outside his window. It could be interpreted a variety of ways.

Anonymous said...

Anon- I went back and watched Solitary and Exodus. Now I have to agree with both of you a little. Rousseau's baby (Alex) appears to be the daughter of Robert a member of her French expidition force (which was armed, hmm could they have been a Dharma rescue squad sent to deal with the Others) who survived with her for two months and then was shot by Rousseau after being given a disease by Ben and Company) and Danielle. However, she never said that Alex was born off the Island. In fact she said she was 7 months pregnant when they were shipwrecked and that Alex was born ON the Island. (This is most likely why the directors put the caviat in there that if you were pregnant when you came your okay, but if you get pregnant on the Island you die.) So sadly for both. Your both wrong. Alex was born on the Island, but Rousseau doesn't hold the key, she was already pregnant. But she does hold a bigger question. What plague did Ben and Company afflict her team with and why? Are they part of a Dharma Rescue squad?

Anonymous said...

Okay so Jacob (did you all get the curly haired middle age guy with a brown open shirt and grey t-shirt sitting in the chair right after he throws Ben across the room, or was that me?) has this smoke quality about him that is being contained by the ash from the volcano? So Ben calls him his superior and that he takes orders from him. Yet Jacob calls for Locke to help him as if Ben might be holding him hostage with the ash. Is smokey and Jacob related since they both have this mist quality? I agree Locke cannot be dead, and the podcast from the directors so much as said that he is not dead. I cant help but think that one of two people have to assist him. Either Rousseau (who has to become central in her quest for her daughter) or Patchy (in his quazi weirdo love/hate relationship with the others). Also Locke has to play a role in finding out why all the children and part of the Oceanic crew have so easily taken into the others camp. I doubt very much that the Island will heal Locke of that gunshot as it did not save any of the other characters who have died of gunshots. However I like the missing a kidney thing helps save him, but doubt that he could heal without help. Perhaps a love relationship between Rousseau and Locke?

Anonymous said...

Can someone please tell me how the latern that catches the room on fire and gets knocked off the table and broken, ends up back in Ben's hands and rehung after leaving the shack? Did Locke and Ben do some Dharma mind experiment thing? Ben looks traumatized also when walking out. The lamp seems too obvious to be an oversight by the producers. Any explanations?

Anonymous said...

First off...Greetings From Delta Chi (Hayward). Brian..keep up the great work. Now. I would agree with all except the whole (spirit of the Island part). I am glad you know why Walt isn't back, and I like the idea that Walt, Kates Horse, Jacks Dad, and the rest are all related. I like that Dude talking about Rousseau being a Dharma hit squad (but doubt they would send a 7 month pregnant chick with her husband as the hit squad...maybe as part of the team but not part of the squad.) Good questions about the lamp, I agree. Alpert and the fountain of youth...I don't know that we are going to buy that, but the whole time is moving at different speeds is good. I heard another theory that all of the survivors are not really survivors but part of an experiment and were placed on the beach after programing with plane wreckage...but I don't know if I like that either. What I do know is that Naomi (or what ever her name is that is there to rescue them) is a hottie, and hopfully will take our DUI jailbird's place that couldnt keep her nose clean and got the boot from the show. BY the way does anyone know the actresses name who plays her and what other movies or tv shows she has appeared in? I want to join her fan club. As for Charlie...hate to say it, but the podcasts seem to be getting us ready for his departure. Does anyone know if he has a movie deal in the works that is going to have us saying goodbye to Charlie? Yeah..that Statue I forgot about. Did they explain it? Keep it up Bri. and Say Hi to Kimble.

Anonymous said...

Hey more thing. I am a CRJA major at CSUH...and was wondering on what your take was on the mass grave. The directors made a very clear and obvious hint that at least three bodies in the grave did not die via gas, but were shot in the head. Did you notice the gunshot wound to the skull when Locke was looking in and Ben was talking to him. As a Criminal Justice Major that couldnt be ignored, and was too obvious not to be a clue. So if so many were shot, then it leads me to feel that although that was a big battle between Dharma and the Others, it was in no way the end. Also if the Dharma/Others war is over...then why are the Survivors still getting Dharma drops of food? If the experiment was over, then the food would have stopped. I think the others and Dharma are still at war, which is why the Others are so worried about outsiders getting onto the island. Plus we still don't know when the "accident" occured that caused the numbers to begin, so other stations could have been fighting back after (hence the gunshot bodies).

Anonymous said...

Both Ben & Locke have a mother named Emily. Coincidence? I think not. Are they, in fact, brothers or half-brothers? (Good twin, Bad twin)

Also, why would the grave of dead Dharmites be left uncovered all these years?

Ben's girl friend will end up as the woman who died on the operating table after Juliet got there. She then expressed condolences to Ben on his loss.

Keep up the great analyses.

Anonymous said...

What about the picture of the dog in Jacob's House?

Anonymous said...

There is no way Ben & Locke share the same mother. Yes, they were both named "Emily", but we have seen them both, & they are not the same.

Anonymous said...

Brian, could the substance outside of Jacob's house have been volcanic ash?

Rebecca said...

LOVE your analysis and I think I need to stew a bit. xoxo

Anonymous said...

A very telling interview with "Ben". Gives a little info about "The man behind the curtain"

Brian said...

Wow, I can't believe Emerson let that slip. Mark it - Locke lives because the bullet hit scar tissue from where he gave up his kidney OR the bullet went where the kidney used to be, so all vital organs were missed by the shot.

But I still think the best option would be to not reveal it fully, letting Locke gain another element of intrigue.

Anonymous said...

I know I'm jumping ahead to next week's episode, but if you watch the preview shown at the end of "The Man Behind The Curtain" in slow motion (thanks to HD and DVR), just after the dynamite being stacked and Charlie's DS Driveshaft ring sitting in Aaron's crib, there is a short scene showing a Dharma can - no perspective so it's hard to tell whether it's a beer can or a drum - then there's a fade to three characters standing facing the camera/looking at the can. On the right is Sayid, on the left is Tom shooting a rifle and in the middle is most certainly ROSE!!! It's a little smoky, I suppose due to the rifle shot, but there's no mistaking the identities. I was certainly glad to see Rose back, but then it struck me as a strange grouping. Sayid and Rose and just nonchalantly standing there while Tom does target shooting. Please be sure to include some analysis time for the upcoming episode to this little scene.

Anonymous said...

yeah, it is interesting how or why Emerson would let this slip...had to be an error of judgement on his part. But Brian was correct in the Analysis that Locke will live as a result of not having a kidney where the bullet entered. From everything we have heard in the media, certainly Locke will return this season and probably kick some serious a**!!

Drudo said...

Brian, great post as always. I think there is some serious significance that we may be overlooking. Ben has been lying to survivors and to the Others about being born on the island. Why? My best guess is that he knows the Others have a prophecy regarding a child born on the island. That would also explain their obsession with children being born. Now, I have nothing on which to base this, but wouldn't it be cool if somehow we find out that Locke WAS born (maybe even conceived) on the island, was taken away, and has now come back. Somehow I envision him becoming a messiah like character. Especially if Ben comes back and says he's dead (or lies and says Jacob killed him) and then he turns up. I'm as lost as anyone given this most recent episode. But more than that, this episode reminded me why I absolutely love this show!

Liza Wimberley said...

I don't think it's Tom standing next to Rose and Sayed, I think it's Bernard, Rose's husband.

Brian said...

Not to get ahead of myself, but I agree with liza - it's Sayid teaching Rose and Bernard how to fire a gun... preparing ever Survivor for the upcoming "battle".

Anonymous said...

you can have a french accent due to a condition of trauma to the left side of the brain that could cause an abrupt change in accent.

melodrama said...

FYI, we know Lock IS GOING TO LIVE... Carlton Cuse has already told us that Locke will be in the season finale.

This is what I posted on the last comment page last week:

"melodrama said...
FYI, Carlton Cuse let out a big spoiler last month about Locke:

Carlton Cuse on Ask Ausiello 4/18/07: "Let's just say the end of the season features a showdown between Jack and Locke — a showdown long anticipated and a showdown with an extremely significant outcome for the future of the castaways."

My prediction: Locke going to live, Charlie will stay alive for now, and Rose and Bernard are going to die before the season's over. Because the commercials say at least 2 characters are going to die, and if anyone else dies (like Sawyer or Sayid) people will be upset... but there's no point for these 2 people to stay alive.

If anyone else dies that's a major character in this season, I predict it's Jack, Juliet, or both!

~M~ "

Anyway, on to bigger points:

1. I really think Jack will die soon. I think somehow he's going to sacrifice himself for the Survivors to live, and that will immortalize him as a hero.

2. I don't think Locke will ever die on the show. I think in the end, we will somehow see that Locke will continue on the Island and live happily ever after. ;-)

3. Sawyer won't die, at least not yet. I think he needs a chance to live an honest life, to have love. Having it for a day or two is not enough to redeem his whole life. I don't think killing Locke's dad will make him useless to the show.

4. Sayid won't die, at least not yet. He's more important than we think, and he's also a good person to have around to explain things quickly or to be the sensible one that makes everyone less frustrated. Also, his story is not finished... he still hasn't seen the girl he loved, Nadia.

5. Claire shouldn't die until at least someone realizes that her and Jack are connected. Or if she does, Aaron will definitely live so that some part of her existence made sense.

6. Jin and Sun will stay alive until the end. And somehow they're going to have this baby (either on or off this island).

7. The List of Expendables right now (in order of most likely to least likely):

a. Bernard
b. Rose
c. Charlie
d. Claire
e. Jack

8. Brian said in his post that "Based on the fact that none of the other Others can see / hear Jacob (Ben included), I don’t see how we could ever receive resolution to that storyline without Locke sticking around."

I thought Ben was seeing and hearing Jacob?!? Remember how he said to Locke, "You mean you can't see him?" And he somehow already knows that Jacob is sitting on that chair, and is talking to him and answering him? Am I missing something?

Michael said...

Love the Walt and Jacob parallels. Adds a little bit of meat to Ben's comment that they got a lot more than expected in their dealings with Walt. Maybe Walt was able to restore some Island power to the Others that Jacob had been preventing?

One thing I've been thinking about - why were so many of the tail section survivors taken, and apparently on "Jacob's list" while the main beach survivors if not on the list so prevalently, have been for the most part left alone? Strength in numbers?

Last thought, please leave the comments section as is. I check the message board, but probably won't ever post there because it just ain't my way. The comments section does the job for me.

Brian said...

melodrama - While Ben might be able to see and hear Jacob some of the time, it seemed clear that he didn't hear whatever Jacob said to Locke - which is why he was so curious to find out "what did Jacob say to you?" when Locke was shot.

Perhaps Jacob can appear / talk to specific individuals at a time - but it still means that if we are going to get resolution to the "Help Me" storyline, we need an alive Locke.

Eric Antoine Scuccimarra said...

A few comments... I think the reason Ben wanted Locke to kill his father is not because this act has some greater significance but because that is what Ben did. He was in essence saying "let's see if this man is as committed to you as I am."

I think that Alpert is an "island original" in that he is one of a very few number of people born on the island. We have seen that people who were born off-island age normally on-island. My guess is that Alpert is a son of people who crashed there on the Black Rock. This is probably related to the baby-making problems, and my guess is Sun doesn't have those problems.

I've also written pages and pages about this episode as comments on message boards, comments on blogs, and in my own blog so I'm kind of tapped out for now. Can't wait for this week, though!

Anonymous said...

great point Drudo - that may be why Ben has been lying about being born ON the island!

Anonymous said...

ugh. my tiny little brain cannot possibly analyze anything from this ep anymore... at least, not until after wednesday night's new episode, that is. ;) ha ha

thanks again brian for a kickass analysis. great work!

Anonymous said...

I've got nothing more to add, except to say thanks, Brian, as always for your thoughtful and reasoned insights on an episode that had (and still has) my mind spinning. Reading your blog has become an integral part of my own LOST experience. Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

No offense to you Brian, obviously you deserve the praise for your hard work, but this constant butt-kissing is getting a little annoying. This is my favorite Lost blog as well, but I don't need to routinely tell you and everyone else who reads it how great it is and that I enjoy your work. The people who feel the need to do this (you know who you are) after every single post are really getting on my nerves and seem to want to post an unnecessary comment just so their name is up on the board. To be honest I don't really like the message board because I am more used to the comments section, but I am wondering if it is even worth it to read the comments section if 3/4 of it reads like this: "Oh Brian, you are so great, I wonder if you are this passionate and attentive to detail in the sack, too." Let’s try to keep the comments section limited to questions or comments about the show, not how great Brian is. He probably knows he is by now. The number of site hits that this blog receives should be more than enough to let Brian know his work is appreciated.

Eric said...

Maybe we need a "Brian is Great" thread on the message board. Then people who want to say that can post there, and anonymous can avoid it!

melodrama said...


I see your point now Brian. I thought you meant he can't see or hear him at all, which got me a little confused. I think you're right that Jacob can choose who to communicate to and how.

I also agree that Smokey/Jacob/etc are making it a little difficult to make a scientific explanation for everything... Even if it was just one source of strangeness making all of these things happen, it would have to be a "science of the future" kind of thing that could explain this!

Brian said...

Wow - that was unexpected.

But if people don't continue to tell me how much they like my Blog, where will I get my inflated sense of self-worth?

From my job? Family? Friends? No thank you!

Renee' said...

To quote John Locke "Don't tell me what I can't do!"

Fans of Brian Unite!

Anonymous said...

"Wow - that was unexpected."

No doubt! Holy Crap! It's not like Brian is paying us to shower him in compliments. I mean sure, maybe he isn't saving the world or anything but Gebus Man! lighten up! Brian has been and continues to do so on a very demanding regular basis, provide us with one of the best damn analysis and follow up discussions communities I've seen on the old WWW.

Sure issues come up here from time to time but really the amount of energy it takes to glance past a readers compliments of our deserved host versus reading an attack from you "anonymous" (if that is your real name?). I think you've just wasted more time then all the flattering posts combined. So congrats to you; you win. YOU!! got the attention you've obviously been graving but were to much of a coward to sign for.

Even if it is to just say thanks, I think it's great when people post. And quite honestly for all the work Brian puts into this blog he deserves the feedback. I'm all for moving the conversation forward because after this episode I don't know wtf is going on. And I'm barely holding on to a few loose theories. But F'it... I'm not even going to talk about Lost. I'm just gonna say one more thing:

"Thanks Brian!"


Anonymous said...

It's not like whole items are praises to Brian either.

It's more like a small sentence og gratitude either at the start or at the end of a regular post.

Lighten up man!

Maybe we should add "Brian praise warnings" á la spoiler warnings so that those whose stomachs can't take no more gushing can close their eyes while scrolling past?

Thomas, Norway

Anonymous said...

F'ing brilliant, Brian. Your thoughts were EXACTLY the same as mine (ahem... well, I mean, ya know, I sort of thought along the same lines in a general way... only AFTER reading your analysis, but still)...


Anonymous said...

Oh, and anon...? There seems to be a bug up your ass. You might want to have that checked out.

Anonymous said...


I just had to say it because I really like to see my name on the comment board!

and you really do rock! You are by far the best blog poster I have ever read...out of both of them!

And to all the fans of Brian's Blog, you also rock. With out your ego inflation he might have quit a long time ago!

And to...ok, I will stop!

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous at 5:59 pm:

At the risk of belaboring this point, I will respond.

I think you are confusing “butt-kissing” with genuine expressions of appreciation and gratitude. There is a difference. No one is kissing up to Brian, and I don’t think that people just want to see their names posted. REALLY. Sometimes, I think people just have a “Wow, that makes sense!” reaction and want to share it. What’s wrong with that? The norm here is that it is acceptable, I think. Also, we realize that Brian puts a great deal of work into posting on this Blog, and we want to give something back. The comments section provides a forum for that along with comments on content. I, for one, LIKE reading the comments that give Brian the credit he deserves, and they remind me to be a little bit more grateful throughout the day to everyone in my life.

Anonymous said...

You know I always like reading both the blog and the comments because so many good questions are raised.. however, I must say, I hadn't thought of the one Anonymous brought up, and now.. I simply MUST know!! You know the one.. wait for it...

"Oh Brian, you are so great, I wonder if you are this passionate and attentive to detail in the sack, too."

Hahahahaha.. oh lookie, there is my name at the top of the post.. cool! Wow that Anonymous sure was right on! ::snicker::

Anyhoo.. great blog, I loved the Jacob like Walk thoughts.. See ya'll on the board.

Anonymous said...

err... Jacob like WALT.

Anonymous said...

"Oh Brian, you are so great, I wonder if you are this passionate and attentive to detail in the sack, too."

That's what she said!

...and I'm spent.

PattonR said...

One small thing you should look at.
Just before we see Jacob, there are a few flashes of the empty chair as the place starts shaking. If you freeze frame there is a black blotch that looks suspiciously like Smokey. It looks to be hovering in front of the chair, and it quite obviously is NOT a shadow. Also, that picture of the eye you have at the beginning of your Jacob bit, who's is that and is there any chance it's Jacobs? It looks like it could be Locke's, but logically they wouldn't go from a shot of Ben, to a shot of Locke's EYE, to a shot of Locke.

Anonymous said...

Great work Brian!!!

Late Ponderings:
I like this idea that people born on the island, aka hostiles, are almost-immortals, like Tolkein elves. Good news: They can live forever on a tropical island. Bad news: They are mass-murdering wacko power-hungry manipulative cultist immortals. Avoid small rooms with video projectors and agree with everything they say and you will be fine.

We can imagine that as Dharma came to study the " Island's unique properties" the hostiles felt invaded to say the least. Their origin is unknown - maybe they came from white pirateers who landed in the Brig in the 19th century. (Why modern TNT is in there is another story.) They can leave the island anytime they want but Ben either does not want to leave or cannot.

We now know the Dharmites had to make that big old fence for Smokie and for the hostiles as well. It looks like the hostiles got through and shot up the place now and then though. Wouldn't young Ben of been just a bit scared to go outside the fence, Mom or not? Well he did it and was never the same because he fell into the grips of the hostile brainwashing immortals who sent him back as a spy.

I think back to the speech that Tom-in-the-lame-disguise made to Jack. He was really adamant about saying how it was their island. While to them It may be their island what seems to be true is that they do not seem to be in touch with the unique properties of the island much more than the Losties are. I mean they seem to want to wield the power of the island but cannot control it much either.

It would seem that the island wants true seekers like Locke and I would also say Jack and Kate and Sawyer. I cannot imagine Locke really dying yet.

As far as Ben - maybe you are right that these immortals are just using Ben, who could at one time hear Jacob and have used him since he was a child - but why couldnt they talk to Jacob? I mean maybe Jacob is something they made up to manipulate Ben.

If Jacob is all-powerful then why would they need to brainwash people ala the mind control video and Crazy Carl? Alex was raised by Ben and not only does not trust him she does not look like a Jacob believer either. She should know. Well I guess what you are saying is that what better way to continue their fertility studies and maintain control over their group then to set up a leader like Ben who really believes in Jacob and that wil hide their real secrets which include the fact that they never age? Hmmmm

Well they did ask young Ben if he saw his dead Mother. They knew he was special just like Walt which would lead us to believe that their really is a Jacob they all really believe in and they all understand that for some reason only Ben talks to him...
But that would mean that even Ben knows he is not really the leader -- I mean he knows that he is aging and they are not.

The way Ben mentions to Juliet in the previous episode that she should at least believe seemed to stop her in her tracks. Is she also been brainwashed along with having her sisters health hanging in the balance?

Why would people like Tom believe in Jacob if he was a fake? He seems to have a healthy bit of skepticism. Jacob is either real or everyone is being brainwashed.

It seems like young Ben was thoughtful and sensitive and after hanging with the Hostiles he becomes one of them even to the point of murdering his father and all he lived and grew up with - and on his birthday. I mean whoever Jacob is or isn't, real or not, can we assume that Ben thinks that Jacob told him to do it or can we assume that Ben did it because he is a power-hungry person or did he do it to save them from a worse fate and he is a good person? After shooting Locke I cannot see that unless he knows that Locke cannot die and wanted to prove it to him!

Up until now I have understood that unique things happen on the island to individuals who help create their own reality by bringing their thoughts to the island which somehow makes them materialize for good or ill. Most often to teach them something about themselves!

But with an all-powerful Jacob figure does that mean that he also controls these materializations? Or is Jacob also trapped in his cozy cabin by the magic dust? Jacob seemed pretty pissed-off but did not murder Ben or Locke - just called for help.

Okay well I cant believe way back when I really thought we would be deep into the significance of the numbers and saving the world through equations and now we are into fertility and mass murdering cultists. Even our most trusted Jack cannot be trusted. I love this show!
- Web Buffy