Friday, April 10, 2009

L O S T

So Lost is really heating up now, isn't it? This past week's episode was so full of information, most of which -- as usual, for Lost -- generates more questions than it answers, that I know I am once again going to have to watch it twice before I really grasp all of the nuances. Today I'm just going to go through a series of stream of consciousness thoughts, questions and working theories I have going on with respect to Lost, Season V.

For starters, death has been good to young Alex, hasn't it? She looks like a Jewish siren nowadays. If you're into jappy chicks, Alex is the yahweh of your dreams.

Speaking of that Alex scene, one of the most interesting scenes yet in the series if you ask me, it's clear that the writers have crossed a line in the sand now with their depiction of the black smoke that they cannot return from. This shit is supernatural. And how. I mean, it pours out of those holes in what might be the altar of the Temple, and it enveloped Ben before giving him a slideshow of his entire life with his now-dead daughter Alex. After that scene, they can't come at us next week and claim that the smoke is just a weird cloud formation on the island, some kind of scientifically-created explanation like a cloud of nanoparticles or something, or someone's bad dream, or anything even remotely originated from the earth. No, at this point, that smoke is supernatural and that's all there is to it. It's not man-made, and it does not appear to be man-controlled either. My best guess right now as to this is that the smoke is some kind of Egyptian deity. I can only assume, what with Richard's eyeliner, all the heiroglyphics they keep running into, the past link to Tunisia, and of course the huge statue on the island that at some point this story is going to go back to ancient Egypt or thereabouts. How that happens, I don't know. But that theory of Richard Alpert being Ra (his initials), the Egyptian sun god, keeps coming back to me more and more these days even though when I first heard it I thought it was so much hogwash.

And while we're on the topic of the black smoke, what was with that basin in Ben's closet? It was like a bath in a way, or maybe more like a sink. He claimed to be "summoning" the monster as he did on the night Keamy exterminated his daughter, and the way he did it was by reaching into the brown sludge in this basin, ostensibly pulling some kind of drain plug, and letting the "water" all drain out. And then, once the water was all out and we could see this black pluggy-looking thing left in the empty basin, he simply said "I'll be outside", as if he was waiting for the smoke (or someone else) to meet him there. But, having no reason to think Ben could be heard by the others in his house at the time, I think we have to assume that he was speaking to someone -- or something -- through that empty basin. Wtf?

Man are these Ben episodes great or what? Just so full of bullshit and deception and ambiguity, it's hard to even get my bearings sometimes I find. For example, they sure made it seem like Ben was lying to Locke about why Ben strangled Locke back off-island. Much as he did when first hearing from Desmond that Eloise Hawking was Daniel Faraday's mother outside of Eloise Hawking's bat cave, Ben seemed 100% genuinely shocked (and upset) to see Locke alive again, and Ben clearly was seen throughout the episode planting ideas in others' heads to kill Locke off once more. And even his story to Locke -- which for Ben typically follows the old X-Files motif of burying a kernel of truth in every lie -- was that Ben needed to get critical information from Locke before letting him die. We all know from watching the scene a few weeks ago that the only "critical information" Locke gave up to Ben between the time Ben saw Locke about to commit suicide and when Ben killed Locke himself was that Locke was supposed to go and see Eloise Hawking in Los Angeles about how to get back to the island. It's been a common theory all along that the Hawking information is what set Ben off and caused him to kill Locke in the first place. Now here Ben is more or less confirming that story, in a way. But can Ben be trusted about his true motivations regarding killing Locke? I don't see how anybody can trust Ben any further than he can be thrown.

And as for Locke -- I have long said here that Locke is somehow related to Jacob, probably is Jacob in fact, in some strange island-y way. And I think this episode starts to plant the seeds for that. It was subtle so far, but Locke seems to be more in tune with the mysteries of the island this time around than he could possibly have been when he left earlier this season. He seemed to have a greater understanding of the black smoke and of Ben's place, and he certainly knew a good deal about the Temple given that he had never seen it or been there before in his life (that we know of). I got more "Christian Shepherd" vibes from Locke this week than I ever have before, and I just can't escape this feeling that somehow dying off-island after establishing some cosmic connection with the island's aura leads to becoming some sort of an apparition as I have written about before. It seems clear that Locke, at least now while he remains rebirthed Locke and not Jacob, still has a corporeal form of some kind, so that blows my theory a lil bit. But just a little. I am still waiting for something to happen that affirmatively turns Locke into Jacob, a spirit on the island with no physical body, like Christian appears to me to be.

Going back to Ben's lying for a minute, didn't he also seem to be genuinely surprised when Sun showed him that picture of Dharma in the 1970s with Hurley, Jack and Kate all back there? Now this gets back to Richard saying at the end of last week's episode that Ben will never remember being healed by the Others as a young boy or that "any of this ever happened", as Richard put it. His surprise when seeing that old Dharma picture would seem to support this theory. But I'm just not buying it. I think the writers took great pains to show Ben planting the idea in Sayid's head again and again and again all through the show a couple of episodes ago that Sayid was some kind of a natural born killer, someone "capable of doing things most men are not capable of", as I believe Ben put it to Sayid when they met up at the South American happy home building place. I mean, they went out of their way to make it seem like old Ben was setting Sayid up for what old Ben knew Sayid was about to do to young Ben when he went back to the island and went back in time. And since we now know that Ben being shot by Sayid is what indirectly led him to the Others in the first place, it seems fully believable that Ben felt he wanted to do whatever he could in 2007 to help push Sayid down that path to the 1977 he was about to go back to, to make sure that little Ben in fact gets shot by Sayid, and then brought by Kate and Sawyer to the Others to have his innocence taken away forever. I am betting that part of the type of "healing" that the Others practice will involve brainwashing via that room that we briefly saw Alex's main squeeze Karl in a couple of seasons ago in Others-Town, but that, for whatever reason, in Ben's case it simply did not stick. Ben may not remember everything that the Others did to him to nurse him back to health and make him one of their own, but I think he remembers more than he lets on, and more than they think he does for sure.

And what do we make of Ben specifically telling Rousseau to run the other way whenever she hears the whispers? Why would he say that, and what does it mean? I thought I sensed a real concern in Ben that if Rousseau did not heed this advice, and instead she either listened to the whispers and learned from them, or followed them, that she would either discover something about the nature of the Others, or in some way be able to find them and infiltrate them. Maybe I'm overblowing it, but didn't it seem weird to any of you that Ben was so concerned about her not paying attention and sticking around to listen to the whispers? It's almost like he was afraid she might hear her daughter's voice among them....What does that mean? I got no clue.

Oh, and is Caesar really dead? Just like that? After all those furtive glances and all that sneaking around like he knew shit?

And while we're on the topic of the new Ajira losties, what on earth is up with the new losties now using the phrase "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" as their password? Presumably there is some answer or response to this question that could be given to show that you are "part of the group", but what group exactly is that? For starters, we've been seeing the Ajira losties -- led by Caesar and Ileana, mostly -- and they didn't seem to be doing anything too crazy. But this week, all of a sudden, there they are holding guns, and more than that, moving this heavy crate around what god knows what inside, and then when we see them near the end of this week's show, they're asking Lapidus frantically about what lies in the shadow of the statue, and when they don't like his answer, they are knocking unconscious first, and maybe asking a question or two later. I am realyl struggling with that and just don't know what to say about it. No ideas, no theories, nothing. The best I got is that after setting us up for weeks that Caesar was actually a mole for Widmore on Ajira 316 or whatever it was, that it was actually Ileana who has been the Widmore mole all along. It stands to reason in a way -- we know Eloise Hawking knew exactly when and what flight the Oceanic 6 would be taking to get back to the island, and we know that she had a relationship with Charles Widmore from back in the 50s on the island. So why wouldn't she have let Widmore know about their opportunity to get back to the island with the Ajira losties? It seems that Widmore himself can never return to the island due to his lifetime banishment, but that apparently does not stop him from getting someone working for him back there. So it's not too hard to see how Widmore (or Ben, for that matter) could have gotten a mole onto that plane as well, knowing from Hawking that it would send its passengers to the island.

And what about this question: I thought Widmore had hinted to us at the end of last season that Ben tricked him into spinning the wheel, and that was how Widmore ended up exiled from the island and unable to return? Maybe I am mis-remembering that, but that's what I thought he had said. But then in this episode we see Widmore, wearing a hairpiece that even made Ben's toupees look good, being escorted by military-looking dudes to the submarine to leave the island, where he specifically refers to his banishment. So what did Widmore do that required him to be banished so forever-ly from the island? I guess that remains to be seen. All we know for now is what Liar-Ben accused him of this week, which was essentially having a child with and "outsider" (I wonder who Penny's mother is???), ignoring the island and trying to exploit it for his own personal gain. I have long suspected that uber-capitalist Widmore wanted to use the island's time-travel properties for his own selfish, nefarious purposes, but how exactly he managed to do this remains a total mystery to me.

Oh and lastly, so do you think Ben actually killed anyone when he went to go kill Penny on the boat in the marina just before boarding Ajira 316 to return to the island to be "judged"? We know he showed up bloody as all getout on that plane, but now that we saw most -- not all, but most -- of the scene there, it seems like, just like he was with Rousseau when he ended up stealing Alex and letting her live, Ben actually has a soft spot for children. Or maybe it's just for mothers, given all the guilt Ben's own father was constantly heaping onto him for his mother dying while giving birth to Ben. So he shot Desmond, seemingly right in the stomach (but who knows what he had in that bag of his to perhaps provide some protection and save his life), but then he froze when seeing Penny with their young son Charlie. Then Desmond is back, pouncing on him and basically giving him the shit-kicking we've been waiting for Ben to get for years, literally. Then Desmond throws bloody Ben into the water, he is pouring red out his nostrils, and that's all we see. In discussion with some friends on the girly, the easy conclusion is that no, Ben didn't kill anyone in the end when he went to the marina that day, that his mysterious soft spot prevented him from fulfilling his promise to Charles Widmore that he would kill Penny to get revenge for the killing of Alex. But then why does Ben ask for the message "I'm sorry" to be passed on to Desmond Hume? Sorry for what? For trying to shoot his wife, but then relenting? Sure, if I did that to one of you, that would be grounds for an apology, or at least for an anonymous call-out on the blog here. But for Ben, that's like the equivalent of saying hello how do ya do? No, I don't see, if all Ben did at that marina is what we've already seen, how Ben would be so concerned about apologizing to Desmond. Either he killed Desmond and wants someone to go apologize to him in the past or in some other way, or he somehow did something bad to either Penny or baby Charlie. Which I guess just remains to be seen, like most of the big questions still looming on Lost.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Julius_Goat said...

10,000 words on a TV show is ghey. I wish this was a poker post.

1:37 AM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

Oh, and the likely answer to Ben's "I'm sorry" to Desmond was a rather dubious attempt on the writer's part to make you think "ZOMG PENNY IZ TEH DEAD!"

Kind of manipulative. Like Ben.

1:45 AM  
Blogger HighOnPoker said...

For what its worth, the rumor mill has it that they have already casted Jacob and its not Locke, so I think you are off there. I wouldn't be too surprised, though, if Jacob = Aaron in some roundabout time traveling way.

As for the Ajira Losties, my guess is that they are suffering from the same "contamination" as Rousseau's crew. My guess is that the smoke monster got to them somehow (similar to how he "got to" Rousseau's crew), such that they are following its orders. If it is an Egyptian God, that would explain why they mention the statue, which was built for the Egyptian God.

5:25 AM  

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