Thursday, April 9, 2009

What Lies Beneath: LOST, Episode 5.12 - "Dead is Dead"

You keep on saying the past is not even past
and you keep on saying we are smoke
Ben Folds Five, "Smoke"

Tonight's episode was so rich with Lost mythology and lore, the Ben & Locke scenes were absolutely stellar and I breathed a large sigh of relief that Penny was not killed. But please excuse the brevity of this post; I have been under the weather all week and am unable to stay up as late as I'd like to complete my initial theories. This will serve as the first of two posts about "Dead is Dead."


Ben broke the rules of the island by coming back. Widmore broke the rules by having a child with an outsider, off island. So when Ben confronted Widmore about breaking the rules by allowing Alex to get killed, was that just his attempt to place blame on someone other than himself?


At what point will we learn who was on the other canoe that Juliet shot at during her time shift with Sawyer & co.?


We saw Hurley, Sawyer and Locke playing the game Risk when they were in Ben's house last season. Tonight we saw the game in what appeared to be the same state of play and location; is that an indication that Ben, Locke, Sun and Lapidus have traveled forward in Oceanic Six rescue?


It seemed to be a major time/era clue when Ilana asked the mysterious question, "what lies in the shadow of the statue?" That indicates a whole statue (and not just a leg stump w/four toes), which refers to a much earlier time on the island...


Are the remaining Others living in there?

The hieroglyphic tablet that Ben was staring at resembled young Locke's drawing (see comparison at top of article).


Talk about a soft spot for mothers; sparing the lives of Rousseau and Penny because they have children. He does not want those kids to grow up without a mother (like he did) and the guilt about Alex is looming large.

Ben said he killed Locke off island only after finding out that Hawking was in Los Angeles. The master manipulator with endless resources didn't know that already?

If Ben doesn't remember 1977, why he does remember recovering from an injury inside of The Temple. Wouldn't he recall that it was a bullet wound, and that Sayid shot him?

Was Ben living double lives on the island; Dharma by day and Hostile by night? The time we witnessed tonight was before his 1992 purge, so he would have still been living in Dharmaville with dear old dad...

He always carries that messenger his secret spy item that was stored in the hotel room vent in there?

He kills Locke, but offers no real apology. He shoots Desmond and threatens Penny, but they all live. So why did Ben feel compelled to express an apology to Desmond?

Widmore was exiled for regularly leaving the island and having a child with an outsider. But Ben regularly left the island and raised the child from an outsider...

Ben lies more often than not, so did you believe him when he said that he'd never seen the island resurrect someone before? Because the look on his face when Sun mentioned that they'd spoken with Christian Shephard was priceless; he had to have known that Christian was seemingly resurrected upon crashing there in 2004.

I love that following Locke is a fate worse than death for Ben; I think he'd rather that Smokey killed him than have to follow that order.


Is Ben's secret spy chamber beneath his New Otherton house really the only location to unleash Smokey? Is Ben the only one who can do so? Who used to, prior to Ben's leadership?

So Smokey is a manifestation machine of sorts. We've seen it take the human form of both the dead (Alex, Yemi) and the living (Walt).

We've only seen Smokey kill 4 people: Seth Norris (Flight 815 pilot), Nadine (one of Rousseau's shipwrecked crew), Mayhew (one of Keamy's mercenaries) and Eko. Looking at all the people who have been/lived on that island who have committed egregious crimes...why has Smokey spared all of them but took the lives of these 4? [side note: many contend that Nikki's spider was Smokey, which would make her victim #5]

In Season 3, Smokey seemed to photograph/scan Juliet rather than harm her...what was that about?

When Locke first encountered Smokey in Season 1, he was pulled underground and said he looked into the eye of the island and what he saw was beautiful. So did Smokey provide a preview into Locke's journey and purpose on the island?

When Ben summoned Smokey last season to go after Keamy's mercenaries, it seemed to immediately and violently head directly for them. So what is the explanation for the delay in its appearance tonight? Did Smokey want/need Ben to come down below The Temple?

Does Smokey ever travel off island? Could Smokey have been Ana Lucia, Claire, Eko, Libby, Michael, etc.? FYI, I am not including Ghost Charlie because I'm still baffled by Hurley's ability to feel Charlie's slap across the face.


Is that the last of Little Caesar, or is the island not done with him yet?


Ben managed to get himself back to the island rather quickly (albeit in difficult, dramatic fashion via Ajira flight 316), so why wasn't Widmore able to in 20 years with all of his resources?

At what point in time did Widmore realize that Ellie's kid Daniel Faraday was a physics genius who figured out the island's secrets? Is that when and why Widmore financed Faraday's research?


Since (according to Faraday) "the rules do not apply" to Desmond - does that mean that he cannot die? He must have had several cans of food in that bag to stop a bullet...

Nice pummeling of Ben, reminiscent of Jack's Ben beating in Season 4. Something tells me we'll see him revisit Hawking for answers..


Before Alpert first took Little Linus into the Temple, one of the Hostiles mentioned that Ellie and Widmore wouldn't be pleased. At what point did Ellie leave the island, and why?

After she left the island, would she be considered an outsider? If so, could she be Penny's mom?

Regardless of whether or not she's Penny's mom...when and where was her son Daniel Faraday born?


At what point does Ethan join Alpert and the Hostiles? We last saw him as a baby with parents Horace and Amy in 1977 Dharmaville. If I had to guess - Amy has something to do with it, as her behavior has been suspicious since first husband Paul was shot.

Ben seemed to be mentoring Ethan as a teenager. Their dynamic must change at some point, because Ben dispatches him to infiltrate the fuselage section of 815 in 2004, knowing that Ethan will probably die in the process.


Last season, it always bothered me that he sported a bandaid on his forehead after allegedly suffering injuries from his first flight to the island, because he landed the chopper perfectly. So when Ilana clocked him on the head tonight, I immediately started to ponder whether or not Lapidus has either time shifted or perhaps even died in the Ajira crash...and then I realized that the bandaid was on the right but he was hit on the left temple tonight. Doh!


Assuming that gun cache on the plane was hers...did Widmore hire her? If so, why hesitate to kill Ben?

When she asked Lapidus, "what lies in the shadow of the statue?" was that a riddle/code like "what did one snowman say to the other snowman?" (as asked by Kelvin Inman to Desmond, Locke to Desmond in past episodes)?

I am assuming that the answer to Ilana's question is The Temple...


So now we have confirmation that Jacob existed in an earlier era. So where did he reside until Horace built his cabin?


They seemed to focus on Locke with Christian's shoes tonight; is one of the keys to his leadership on the island literally walking in the shoes of the resurrected?

When Locke was in the jungle while Sun and Ben were on the porch in Dharmaville, what was he doing?

For the record, I love the new and improved Locke.


If not Ellie Hawking, then who is her mother?

Was she born on the island?


If Alpert doesn't answer to Widmore, then what is his role and relationship to him? Is Alpert simply Jacob's mouthpiece and island representative in perpetuity?

When Alpert brings the wounded Little Linus into The Temple, does something inside heal him or is Smokey involved? Is Alpert the only person with access to do so?


I still hearken back to her unknown dealings with Widmore off island...who's side is she on, and will she take any action against Ben back on the island?


Desmond and Penny's boat is named after the Charles Dickens book that Desmond designated to be the last thing he'd read before he died.

The portrait paintings on the wall in Alex's Dharma bedroom: I'm not sure if they're supposed to be Karl and Alex, but they also resemble Jin & Sun, Jack and Kate, etc.


Bedside Boys:
  • Younger Widmore sitting by younger Ben in Hostile camp tent
  • Older Widmore by Locke's side in Tunisian hospital
  • Locke awaiting older Ben in makeshift Hydra infirmary
"I have some ideas."
  • Ben to Jack (Season 4 finale), when he learns he has to bring everyone back to the island
  • Locke to Sun (tonight), when she asks if he can find Jin

For five seasons, I have asserted my belief that there is an underground community beneath the island
  • The Others seemingly disappear without a trace and without leaving footprints; they simply go underground
  • Cindy and Tail Section kids are there with the remaining Others, where they all live and are schooled, etc.
  • Very large items (i.e. Dharma vans) are transported to various parts of the island via an underground transportation system
Smokey lives underground; he is unleashed from Ben's secret chamber and seems to guard the Temple when he is not out scaring, scanning and killing people. Smokey must also guard the entire underground community...


Referring to Smokey...when Ben said to Locke "it's not a train," I laughed out loud. Many of us have theorized over the years that Smokey sounded like and even resembled a locomotive at times. And given Rose's assertion in the Pilot episode that Smokey sounded familiar, many of us also jumped to the conclusion that because she was from New York...Smokey emanated from an underground subway system.


Locke knows more about the island than we've previously seen (i.e. The Temple); perhaps all of that knowledge was gleaned during his various time shifts. So when he briefly disappeared into the jungle while Ben chatted with Sun on the porch, he actually communicated with or controlled Smokey. Locke knew to take Ben to The Temple and go underground to face his judgement. And it also isn't mere coincidence that a) Locke disappeared when Smokey confronted Ben and b) Smokey instructed Ben [via Ghost Alex] to listen to and follow Locke from now on. But I'm not quite ready to believe that Locke BECOMES Smokey...

Thank you very much for reading, and stay tuned for further thoughts after a second viewing and more sleep!


Alex said...

I had an epiphany last night - Ilana and that other guy have the "sickness"! All of a sudden, they're acting all weird and know stuff about the island - i.e., the "what lies in the shadow beneath the statue" line....they have been converted by the island.

Anonymous said...

There's no excuse for brevity! We order you to write more!! ;-)

I am totally sold...Ben is now a good guy. I actually teared up during Ben's flashbacks & his trip to visit Smokey. Michael Emerson is such's either that or I'm a huge wuss!

I don't know...if Locke is actually Smokey now, I would be pretty bummed out. I think you could be on to something though!

Aunt J-ha said...

I thourghly enjoyed "Dead is Dead." The pace of quick and the music was fantastic (of course it always is, but last night was a bit different...even more scary & dramatic.) I loved all the answers, and I have never enjoyed seeing a man get beat up before, but I was giggling like a school girl while Des pummeled Ben. It left me craving even more LOST.

Anonymous said...

My first reaction when Illana asked, "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" was the frozen donkey wheel under the Orchid station. We saw the statue in that location earlier this season during the time shifts.

Yvonne said...

I thought that Ben and Locke made a great comedic duo! I couldn't stop laughing at their banter and Ben's quick witty remarks.

However, I don't agree that Ben is now a good guy. His whole life is lie, perhaps he would even lie to smokey and just pretend to follow Locke while leading him in the wrong path.

I hope that Penny is alive, but I wonder if there is more that we have yet to see in that flashback. When Ben asks Sun to apologize to Desmond, I'm wondering if he was apologizing for more than just shooting him. I am hoping not since he spared Russo because she was a mother.

Other Jo said...

Maybe Locke really is dead, and Smokey is now taking on Locke's form to lead the island through Locke's persona. That would explain why Locke was gone while smokey spoke with Ben as Alex, and why John Locke came out of the jungle instead of smokey who Ben was expecting to come out of the Jungle. Hmmm....

the flour child said...

so many good questions..
i definitely agree with the locke / ben scenes - they were especially fab in this episode.
it still bothers me that we have seen next to nothing of ellie.
she has some 'splanin to do.

Valerie said...

I actually took notes during this ep. Just for fun. As sincere as Ben seemed to be at times, I don't think I trust anything he says. But it was fantastic seeing his sadness and then fear when Alex appeared.

I LOVED how Locke was in such control and seemed to know everything. I like your theory.

Oh, and Desmond beating the crap out of Ben was utterly fantastic. lol!

Anonymous said...

When Penny and Desmond first meet after his being fired from being a monk, there is a photo on the desk of the "top monk". It is a picture of Eloise Hawking and "top monk". As they are loading the wine into Pennys' car she mentions her parent. SHE HAS TO BE HER MOM!!!

Anonymous said...

I've started rewatching the first season and I'm wondering if "Smokey" has been controlling Locke since his first encounter much in the same way the French crew was. His extreme behaviour in protecting the island seems inexplicable, particularly early on and now he claims he knows these things only intuitively (and thus not from knowing so from time shifts,etc.)

Katie H said...

Ok check this out, I found this image while researching ancient Maya Culture It looks abit like Ol' Smokey in the Hieroglyphics on the wall In the judgement room..

The Mayan Vision Serpent was believed to be a direct link between the spirit realm of the gods and the physical world. According to the Maya, it communicates between the spiritual and the earthly worlds or planes. They create a doorway to the spiritual world, where one can access their innate power and integrate it into their physical experience.
Anywho, I just thought that this was interesting and may help explain our friend Smokey.

Thanks for letting me sare this with the group :o)

1miletogo said...

This episode was soo awesome, i am a huge Smoke Monster Fan so any Smokey episode rocks, add a whole lot of Locke & Ben, some mythology, some answers and new mysteries, and holy cow - Awesomeness...

And Katie H - all I can say is wow, I looked over your link and came up with a wikipedia entry...

All I can say is I think you nailed smokey!! Here are a few key things from the above wikipedia...

1) During Maya bloodletting rituals, participants would experience visions in which they communicated with the ancestors or gods.

2) the Vision Serpent was direct link between the spirit realm of the gods and the physical world.

3) Once the actual bloodletting was over, the blood soaked ceremonial papers were burned, releasing a column of smoke. The smoke provided the perfect medium for the Vision Serpent to appear.

Lintel 15 -

#15... Hmm... now this may sound weird, what if there are 6 main mysteries in LOST, each one explained by one of the numbers... 15 is for Smokey...

Katie H said...

1miletogo I think that you may have something there with the numbers being related to each Island mystery If that is the case I think we may have solved one! Hooray us :o)

1miletogo said...

I wonder what the 6 main mysteries would be? The mysteries would had to have been introduced by 1x18...

episode 1 - Smokey
episode 5 - Christian (resurrection)
episode 6 - Adam & Eve
episode 9 - The Whispers
Episode 10 - Claire/Malkin & Aaron
Episode 14 - Walt Special

I think Smokey, Christian, & the whispers could be in the top 6.

1miletogo said...

There is a thought that the island is the birthplace of all cultures. There are several different mythologies in Smokey's lair... Check out this link talking about how the mythology of snakes works into multiple cultures...

I will put a few of the highlights here:

Some cultures regarded snakes as immortal

Snakes were a common feature of many creation myths

Snakes were regularly regarded as guardians of the Underworld or messengers between the Upper and Lower worlds because they lived in cracks and holes in the ground.

Healing and snakes were also associated in ancient Greek myth with Aesculapius, whose snake-familiars would crawl across the bodies of sick people asleep at night in his shrines and lick them back to health

Snake-gods were more often portrayed as hybrids or shape-shifters; for example, North American snake-spirits could change between human and serpentine forms whilst keeping the characteristics of both.

The Mayan sky-goddess was a common attribute. However, in her case, the snakes leaned into her ears and whispered the secrets of the universe

Snakes were associated with wisdom in many mythologies

Greek myth held that people could acquire second hearing and second sight if their ears or eyes were licked by a snake.

Makes you wonder....

ColorCodedC said...

Wait, didn't Smokey kill Shannon, too?

1miletogo said...

Shannon was killed by Smokey in Boone's hallucination. But Ana Lucia shot her in the jungle after Shannon saw Walt and there was a bunch of whispers.

Nurby said...

It has been bugging me that Kate said she was going to go back to the
island to find Claire. That she thinks Claire is not dead... could this have something to do with Ben and Kate's breakfast? Or did it have to do with her dream when Claire was at her house?

Does Kate help Ben the most because of their encounter later on?

Can you tell I am really stuck on this Kate and Ben encounter, I hope they finally solve that for me soon!!

1Miletogo said...

in regard to Aaron, I think that Kate spending time with Cassidy and Clemintine made her think that Aaron should be with his real mother. all of the visits by Claire, and then finally the run in the store with Claire look-a-like and seeing Claire's Mom sealed the deal.

I think Kate was suppose to spend this time with Aaron. When she went back to the island, she looked at young Ben with different eyes. She probably pictured young Ben as Aaron, and the mother instinct took over and she did everything in her power to heal Ben, just like she would with Aaron.

As for the breakfast scene in Season 3, I think Ben may remember a little bit about Kate from this line:

KATE: You don't know me.

GALE: Of course I don't.

Also, if you remember a season 3 exchange between haper & Juliet..

HARPER: So, Juliet, what do you think of Ben?

JULIET: He's great. Uh, very smart... and intense. Challenging. He's been really good to me.

HARPER: Of course he has. You look just like her.

JULIET: I'm sorry?

It could be that Harper was saying that Juliet looked like his mom... Or that Ben mentioned that Juliet looked just like a nurse that helped him back when he was a child in DHARMA days... I'm rooting for #2.

CuInAnotherLifeBrother said...

Thanks for the read.
Some great spots, I especially liked the pictures behind Sun.
hope you feel better soon.

Too Many Hats said...

I rarely comment, but I always read. Just wanted to thank you for your insights and theories. Also thanks to your commenters for their thoughts too.

neoloki said...

I don't understand you risk question. Locke, ben, Sun, etc.. are in 2007. Present day. No they did not travel into the future. They left the mainland in 2007 and arrived on the island the same date. The risk board is just still their.

The question from Illiana was a test question like "what did one snowman say to another" and not a reference to a earlier time on the Island.

I do not think Ben thought that Ethan would die by infiltrating the fuselage, that was Goodwin, concerning Ben jealousy over Juliet.

Smokey sound familiar to New Yorkers because one of the sounds Smokey makes, the ticking, is from a cabbie making a receipt. This was confirmed by Darlton in a podcast back in season 3. Also mentioned in commentary during season 1 dvd.

I enjoy your website and have it bookmarked, but your recap is kinda off this time which probably has to do with the cold medication. But all the questions you pose are a little redundant. Postulate some answers that why we read these recaps.

Ambivalentman said...

I really enjoy your articles.

The theory that there is an underground culture is problematic for me, only because it seems so unlikely that the "Hostiles" could be on the island so long they wouldn't have met at least one of these people.

But I do think that the area in the Temple which Ben talks about, goes underground. Your idea that this is where the children are makes tons of sense.

Last thought: I think this episode answered the question about why the Others kidnapped all of the children. It was for their protection because Ben didn't want any child to be hurt, just like with wee Alex.

Check out my LOST blog at

Anonymous said...

Jo,(Chricket here) some are commenting over on the ABC Board about some box that Llana and crew are transporting. I missed that point myself; I'll have to go rewatch. What do you make of it? I did not read any comments from you on this.

Jo said...

Apologies in advance for the long comment, but I haven't had time to respond to your comments in a full post. I love your feedback and responses to each episode; that you take the time to do so here means the world to me.

From the top...

Alex: I like the idea that Ilana and her team may have 'the sickness.'

CinematicallyCorrect: Agreed. I would actually be disappointed if Locke turned out to BE Smokey.

Aunt J-ha: You should also check out the new columnist on who analyzes each episode from a cinematography and film school perspective...totally cool!

Randy Rando: Good call. Very possible that the Frozen Donkey Wheel lies in the shadow of the statue. :)

Yvonne: I too love the Ben & Locke show! As for Ben's status as a Good Guy...jury is still out for me. And I also hope that Penny is still alive & well, and that there is more to that flashback than we saw.

Other Jo: Hi! If 'dead is dead' then perhaps Locke did die and is a walking, talking ghost who manifests into Smokey. But not sure I'd be a fan of that...

FlourChild: Yes! We definitely need to learn more about Ellie, especially the years between 1954/Jughead and her prophetic meeting w/Desmond in Flashes Before Your Eyes. I would love to know how and why she left the island, and her connection to Widmore (i.e. the real reason why he bankrolls her son Faraday), etc.

Valerie: I heart Season 1 Locke too. I've missed the confident hunter.

Anonymous 1: I'm still not on board with Ellie as Penny's mom, but I do believe that Eloise being in that photo with the monk at Desmond's monastery is further proof that she has been guiding/monitoring his destiny for many many years.

Anonymous 2: That is an interesting thought...that from their first encounter back in S1, Smokey has been controlling Locke in a way. He's certainly been influential!

Katie H: Nice research! Thank you for providing that link. I need to dedicate some serious time looking at that and the info that 1MileToGo provided!!

1MileToGo: You and Katie are awesome. Thank you for sharing your hieroglyphics, mythology & numbers analysis with us.

Nurby: I am with you. I don't necessarily believe that Kate returned to the island for Claire, and I do think that her mission to save Little Linus relates to that infamous, infuriating beach breakfast they share in Season 3!

1MileToGo: Okay, that is a reasonable explanation for Kate's purpose. But rather than the references to the 'her' that Juliet resembles (in addition to the painting in Ben's New Otherton house of the blonde woman)...I'm now thinking that Little Linus remembers Juliet trying to save him after being shot. So I guess that means I don't believe Alpert; that Ben does remember all of the details.

CuInAnotherLifeBrother: Thank you! I finally feel better after being sick for a week. Phew.

TooManyHats: Thank YOU for those very kind words.

Neoloki: You are right; I was confused (and still am) about the time frame between Sawyer's group playing Risk and Sun/Lapidus/Ben in that same Dharmaville house we're currently seeing. And I think that Ilana's inquiry was both a test and a reference question. As for Ben sending Ethan to infiltrate the fuselage Losties...that still baffles me. Ethan was their only surgeon, and it was a dangerous mission. Given what we learned about why Ben sent Goodwin, I just feel that we're going to find out if and how Ethan somehow crossed him as well. I'd read that about the NY cab ticker, but I'm still interested in the mechanical sounds emanating from Smokey. And I do appreciate that you have bookmarked my site, but want to reiterate that what I write about is mere speculation; I never post anything as actual fact. In addition, my episode entries are primarily theories and questions, but not recaps. There are many sites for traditional play-by-play recaps (including my own on I choose to ask more questions at times rather than post my own detailed thoughts/theories because I enjoy reading what you all have to say. If I didn't have a full time job, I would spend far more time elaborating & sharing on this site; I recommend that you bookmark Erika's stellar site for more in-depth analysis ;)

AmbivalentMan: I was thinking that the Hostiles are more than aware of this underground system; that under Alpert's leadership through the years it has remained a secret location utilized by both the Hostiles & Others. I agree about the children, and look forward to finding out the root of the infertility issue (i.e. 'the incident' or jughead). And I will check out your blog for sure!

Chricket: When Ben first walks the beach after chatting with Locke, he asks Ilana what is in the crate. It is a large metal container, which I'd assumed she put on the plane (full of guns & ammo).

I hope I'm not missing anyone. Thanks again for leaving comments! I look forward to more after "Some Like it Hoth" this week.

1miletogo said...

Hey Jo, here is a theory that you may like... It revolves around Juliet and the Mark that she recieved back in Season 3...

Here is a theory that the Mark that was placed on Juliet was a maker for Smokey to place judgement on the person who is marked.

Remember in Left Behind, Smokey seemed intent on reaching Juliet...

So, being marked is a request for that person to be judged by the island.

Here is one of the Hieroglyphics from Smokey's Lair..


Here is Juliet's Mark - [img][/img]

1miletogo said...

"What lies in the shadow of the statue"...

The fake village and door station with a nice rock formation to mark the location. Similar to a Raiders of the Lost Ark Map Room moment, the shadow of the statue will cast an image on the rock formation.


The "door" station seems to have alot of concrete around it. Hmmm...


What if, Ilhana's crate had a nice assortment of drilling equipment?

Smurf said...

Never commented before, don't read many blogs but ive been bouncing arounda few about this episode. About Ben not remembering Sayid shooting him, did not Richard Alpert say to Kate and Sawyer that Ben would lose his innocence and have no recollection of the events happening?

lola said...

when they turn the wheel of time do they choose also which year or it settle by it's own?