Saturday, October 24, 2009

Lost Rewatch Week #18: D.O.C., The Brig & The Man Behind the Curtain

Hello and welcome to this installment of the Lost Rewatch! As you know, I am a bit behind schedule, so I really appreciate your patience and kind comments. 

This week's batch of episodes included two of the most powerful, in my opinion: The Brig and The Man Behind the Curtain. Both revealed many answers and surprises, and contained a good deal of mythology which is just as intriguing to this day. 

So let's take a hike just outside of Portland and hope to birth a few ideas together...

Dharma Death Ditch

It appears as if there are deceased Dharma folks in that ditch who died from events other than the Purge. 

Some of the skeleton sculls have bullet holes in them...

Drunk Daddy Club

Ben's father Roger Linus joins the club with fellow members Wayne Janssen and Christian Shephard. 

Fate vs. Free Will

This week's instance of the relevant theme was delivered by Ben, in The Brig:

"When people join us here on this island, they need to make a gesture of free will, of commitment. That's why you're gonna have to kill your father."

Note that in the next episode, Ben does just that. 

Foreshadowing Dialogue


Mikhail: "I already died once this week."

Mikhail: "On his island, wounds are a bit different."

Naomi: "Flight 815? They found the plane. There were no survivors. They were all dead."

The Brig

Ben, to Locke re: Cooper: "YOU brought him here."

Flight Attendant Cindy, to Locke: "We've been waiting for you."

Sawyer: "We didn't crash in the Pacific; we crashed here on this island."
Cooper: "You're sure it's an island?"
Sawyer: "What else is it?"
Cooper: "Little hot for heaven, isn't it?"
Sawyer: "Oh, so we're dead?"
Cooper: "They found your plane on the bottom of the ocean. One minute I'm in a car wreck, and the next minute I'm in a pirate ship in the middle of the jungle. If this isn't hell, then where are we?"

Ben: "Don't tell me what I can't do, John."

The Man Behind the Curtain

Ben: "You do remember birthdays, don't you Richard?"

Ben: "You probably think that I'm the leader of this little community, but that's not entirely true. We all answer to someone, John."
Locke: "And who might that be?"
Ben: "His name is Jacob."

Ben, re: Alpert: "He doesn't know who Jacob is."

Locke, to Ben: "You are the man behind the curtain, the Wizard of Oz, and you're a liar."

Ben, to Mikhail re: Locke: "He's with us now."

Ben, to Locke: "Whether or not you think he's the Wizard of Oz, I can assure you that Jacob is very, very real. This is not a man you go and see; this is a man who summons you."

Ghost Emily Linus: "It's not time yet, Benjamin."

Young Ben: "Take me with you."
Alpert: "Maybe that can happen. If that's what you really want, I want you to think about that. You're going to have to be very, very patient."

Ben, to father Roger: "I've had to put up with you. Doing that took a tremendous amount of patience."

Ben, at Jacob's cabin: "Once I open this door, there's no turning back."

Ben, standing at mass Dharma grave pit: "These are my people, the Dharma Initiative. They came here seeking harmony, but they couldn't even coexist with the island's original inhabitants. And when it became clear that one side had to go, one side had to be purged, I did what I had to do. I was one of the people that was smart enough to make sure that I didn't end up in that ditch. Which makes me considerably smarter than you, John."

Locke, after Ben shoots him: "Why did you do this?"
Ben: "Because you heard him. What did Jacob say to you?"
Locke: "He said 'help me.'"

Ben: "Well I certainly hopes he helps you, John."

Logistics & Locations

Naomi claims that Penny hired her and gave her the island's coordinates, and yet in S5 we saw Matthew Abbadon hire her and Freighter Four on behalf of Penny's dad Charles Widmore....

New Otherton

In The Man Behind the Curtain, we hear but do not witness a Hostile incursion in the barracks. Charles Widmore was still on the island at that time, and I am curious to find out if he was working with or a part of the Hostiles, if it was he or Alpert who was in charge of the group at that point, and whether or not either of them were involved with this particular attack. Given that in S5 we see Alpert seemingly stroll through and/or disengage the sonic fence security system and show up in the barracks to speak with Horace, my money is on Alpert for the previous incursion.


In The Brig, Locke manipulates Sawyer into killing Cooper.

In the S5 finale, NotLocke manipulates Ben into killing Jacob.

Significant Moments/Firsts

We learn that Jin's mother is alive, that she was a prostitute who gave him up at birth.

We see that there is a hidden medical room in the Staff Station.

We hear about the Freighter for the first time, when Naomi mentions it. 

Sawyer finds out that Locke was paralyzed before crashing on the island.

James Ford meets the real Sawyer, and finally avenges his parents' death.

We meet Horace Goodspeed. 

We are introduced to young Benjamin Linus when he arrives on the island with his father Roger to work for the Dharma Initiative.

We meet Ben's island girlfriend Annie.

Young Ben sees his mom (or at least a manifestation of her) outside of his room and then in the jungle. 

Ben admits to Locke that he wasn't born on the island.

Ben kills his father.

We see Jacob's cabin and a very brief glimpse of...someone in a chair. 

Ben and Alpert oversee a Purge of the Dharma folks in New Otherton.

Ben shoots Locke and leaves him in the Dharma death ditch. 

The Temple & The Volcano

In Season 5, we got our first glimpse of both the outside wall and underground tunnel system of The Temple. In The Brig, Ben refers to their new camp site as an "old place." I assume that The Temple used to be located there and that it was destroyed entirely with the exception of one ancient column; it reminds me of the one remaining statue foot of Tawaret. It seems that a major event took place on the island, wiping out both The Temple and Tawaret. 

I have suggested this before and stand by it again (because it is first alluded to in a Dharma classroom in The Man Behind the Curtain)...the island's volcano caused the collapse of the statue and The Temple, although the tunnels beneath remained intact and were still in use when both Dharma and the Others lived there. Dharma teacher Olivia Goodspeed did say to the children that it erupted "a long time ago."

Let's also not forget that Jacob's cabin is surrounded by a thick line of ash. 

Testing, Testing 1 2 3

After Ben tries and fails to make Locke kill his father in front of everyone in the Others' camp, he announces that Locke is "not who we thought he was."

Richard Alpert was present at Locke's birth and tried on two different occasions in Locke's younger life to bring him to the island. Presumably, Alpert traveled off island to do so at Jacob's behest. And even though little Locke failed Alpert's tests and ignored his recruitment efforts in high school, Locke was eventually brought to the island on Flight 815. 

It seems that both Jacob and Alpert never gave up hope in Locke. If I had to guess, Alpert knew that Jacob had revived Locke after Cooper pushed him out of the window, and that he was bringing him to the island...

Richard Alpert: 

"When word got back here that there was a man with a broken spine on the plane who could suddenly walk again, people here began to get very excited. That could only happen to someone who was extremely special. But Ben doesn't want anyone to think you're special."

"We're looking for someone to remind us that we're here for more important reasons."

The Visual and the Visceral

I just want to point out that Dr. Chang has a prosthetic left arm during the Orientation video that plays in the Dharma processing center, indicating that the film was created AFTER the incident...

I've pointed this out before, but they certainly clothe Ghost Emily Linus to look like Alice in Wonderland. Jack follows his father down a virtual rabbit hole on the island, and Ben does the same with his mother. 

Locke's confidence facing Ben in The Man Behind the Curtain is eerily similar to his behavior in the S5 finale...when he was the Mystery Man/Not Locke. 

Annie & Ben

Although she only appeared in one episode, Annie's role in Ben's life still remains atop many lists of lingering Lost questions. When she gave him the carved doll in The Man Behind the Curtain, it was the nicest thing that we've ever seen anyone do for Benjamin Linus. 

[sidenote: When I met the real life Ben (Sterling Beaumon) and Annie (Madeline Carroll) earlier this year, they were both very enthusiastic about their characters and this episode, and hope that they get the opportunity to appear together on the show again. Me too.]

By the way, if you're interested, I wrote an article at the beginning of the year noting similarities between Ben, Annie and To Kill a Mockingbird. Of course we have since learned much more about Ben and Jacob, so keep that in mind if you should read it.

We may have no idea what happened to Annie, but there is no way that Ben would allow her to die in the purge. I would love to find out if he put her on the sub or hid her somewhere else on the island...

Anthony Cooper

It totally struck me when Cooper said that "I didn't raise no dummies." Plural. Locke has a sibling...perhaps one or all of his foster sisters and brother were also fathered by Cooper. 

Ben & Locke

When these two have scenes together, they are arguably the most riveting to watch. I found myself thinking that Ben should hold up a mirror when delivering some of these lines to Locke, as they certainly apply to him as well. Then again, they also apply to Jack...

"You'll never be free until you release the hold that your father has over you."

"The magic box is a metaphor. I can't show you anything until you can show me that you're ready and willing to be one of us." 

In addition, I wonder if Ben provided the intel on Sawyer's past to Alpert, who then gave it to Locke, or if Alpert did so on his own. Refresh my memory...does Ben know that Locke didn't actually kill his father? 

Emily Linus

Was it Smokey or NotLocke who appeared as young Ben's mom? 

The Goodspeeds

It was not a coincidence that Horace and Olivia Goodspeed just happened to be driving by when Roger Linus emerged from the forest with his dying wife Emily and baby son Benjamin. 

Horace must have been married at least two times; to Olivia and Amy (who gave birth to their son Ethan Rom). 


As I stated at the end of S5, I'm not sure that Jacob was ever actually in that cabin. After watching The Man Behind the Curtain again, I'm leaning more toward the thought that the Mystery Man/NotLocke was in fact trapped inside. Thus, he was the one who said "help me" to Locke. 


I remember being a bit concerned after The Brig initially aired that Sawyer may become dispensable after finally exorcising his demons by killing the real Sawyer. Thank goodness I was wrong, because S5 absolutely belonged to Josh Holloway and his character has made the most obvious and impressive transformation in all five seasons of Lost thus far. 

Crazy Theory of the Rewatch Week

I never really realized it the first time around, but the island is rather cruel; it seems to reward men and punish women with regard to children. Juliet reveals that the male sperm count on the island is five times the average, which should result in quite the bounty of babies. However, women who get pregnant on the island never live past their second trimester. 

[sidenote: Ironically, the four toed statue was a goddess of birth and Jacob wound up residing in the foot of it; he was the exact opposite of the nursery rhyme:
"There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. She had so many children, she didn't know what to do."]

Here is my new train of thought....we saw Kate and Sawyer have 'relations' in the cage on Hydra Island, and clearly they did not take the time to ask for or use a Dharma prophylactic. Their rumble in jungle took place under the watchful eye of the Others' surveillance camera. 

SO, when Ben told Kate during their earlier mysterious breakfast on the beach that "the next two weeks are going to be very unpleasant," I have a strong feeling that he informed her that she had to sleep with either Jack or Sawyer to try and get pregnant. Of course he probably threatened their lives and used his typical blackmailing methods. Keep in mind that after returning to their beach, Kate went into Sawyer's tent for Round 2 of an afternoon delight...

Cut to the end of D.O.C., when Juliet records the following message for Ben:

"I'm still working on getting samples from the other women. I should have Austen's soon."

IF this turns out to have some semblance of truth to it, then Ben has failed. That we know of, Kate was never pregnant on the island (or off, as one of the Oceanic Six). 
Again, I am overwhelmed by your kind comments and support, as well as your unwavering patience.  Thank you so much for coming back and following along! I am thrilled to be nearing the end of S3 and looking forward to entering a new season for the Rewatch. Of course the next batch of episodes deal with Charlie's very poignant death, so it will be a bittersweet experience to say the least. 

See you next week, and don't forget to enter to win a S6 Lost poster or Lost University tee! The contest is open until next Friday, October 30.



shar said...

Great job again Jo. It's ok with me that you're a little late. I'm right there with you.

buzmeg said...

Jo: The second picture (Portland) looks a bit pornographic. (lol)

MonkeyFace said...

Jo, thanks for the recap. Who cares if you're a bit late? We all are! Thanks for continuing when so many others have dropped the rewatch altogether.

One thing, didn't Sawyer strangle Cooper to death, rather than stab him? Still the same, Locke manipulating someone to kill for him.

Like you, I feared Sawyer's story would be over after that turning point. I'm so glad I was wrong, as he has become my very favorite LOSTIE.

Jo said...

Thank you for correcting my error, MonkeyFace! I fixed it in the post.

And buzmeg, you're right...Ben's birth photo is a bit dirty. LOL.

Ed said...

Great post as always Jo. Here was something else I noticed. In "D.O.C." I thought that there were interesting themes of choice with Sun and Jin. Sun chose to take the money and indebt her husband to her father. She chose to know who was the father of the baby. Jin didn't choose to be an enforcer for Sun's father. It was chosen for him.

Dustin Winebrenner said...

I've never understood Naomi's cover story. She, of all the Freighties, seems well aware that Widmore's plane was a hoax (revealed in later flashbacks).

Strange that Cindy said "We've been waiting for you" and not an Other who'd been on the island for a long time - and grew up with the promise that John Locke would one day be coming. That's assuming Cindy wasn't an Other before the 815 flight.

Who (or what) is Anthony Cooper here? The actual Anthony Cooper brought here supernaturally? Or brought here on the sub by the Others? Or a manifestation of Smokey/Black Shirt? If he's a manifestation, why would Black Shirt be playing along with the mistaken notion that the Losties all died and their bodies found?

This is one of the biggest questions we have left to unraveling the whole story - was it actually Jacob who asked for Locke's help - or Black Shirt?

I'd suggest that Alpert's interest in young Locke was due to adult Locke announcing his own coming in the 1950's - a result of Black Shirt's time loop scheme. Jacob wouldn't want Locke to come to the island until the "right" time, until after he touched Locke as an adult.

I do not think Ben ever learned Locke didn't kill his father. I believe Alpert was going behind his back here. Richard and the Others, thanks to Black Shirt's time loop, had become obsessed with the idea of Locke coming to lead them. By this point they were ready to mutiny against Ben.

Some have suggested that Olivia was just Horace's sister.

These are some of my fav epis also. Great post.

Ledyard said...

I think these episodes, as well as the few that preceded it, are the beginning of a quality streak that hasn't let up all the way through season 5. Parts of season 2 and the earlier bits of 3, while still fine installments of the greatest show ever created, could at times be perceived as stopgaps for a larger story.

Ironically enough, I think it was the notorious pair "Stranger in a Strange Land" and "Expose", both of which contend for Worst Lost Episode Ever, that marked the end of wasted story. They were the death rattle to superfluity in the Lost universe, and from then on, each episode has become indispensable.

As they say: it is always darkest before the dawn.

Thanks so much for doing this on a week to week basis; it always brightens my day to see a new one posted!

The Calandro's LiHD Blog said...

Great Crazy theory this week!

Rob said...

Really love the updates. Keep it up, don't worry about lateness. You are the only one who is even trying to update through the re-watch in anyway

BuckarooBanzai said...

Olivia makes an appearance in MOTU 5/6 here…

loophole815 said...

Okay, I have my own crazy theory I want to throw out there. I believe NotLocke to be a manifestation of the Smoke Monster. The man in black may have been the smoke monster all along.

Think about the times it has appeared, mostly as an enforcer to rid the Island of the "unworthy" It killed Echo while showing up as Yemi. It killed Nicki and Paulo as the spider according to Cuse and Damon. It seems to show up to judge people at random, as if to catalog the worthy and unworthy to stay. It also attacks Keamy and his crew because Ben, who is evil, can summon it.

It has been referred to as a security system. In the S5 finale the MIB is clearly pissed that once again Jacob is bringing more people to the Island.

It shows itself as Alex and tells Ben to do whatever Locke says, which ends with Jacob being killed. Remeber that Locke was not present when Ben was being "judged".

The heiroglyphic in the Temple that depicts Tawaret(represented by the statue where Jacob lives)is facing what appears to be the Smoke Monster and they don't look like friends.

The Smoke is black in contrast to Jacob's white.

On and on I could go. The reason I believe the Locke at the end of S5 to be the Man in Black/Smoke Monster is two fold.

For one it seems to inhabit corpses on the Island, namely Yemi, Locke, and Alex.

Two; young Locke in the episode Cabin Fever when visited by Alpert has a drawing of a stick figure being attacked by a black scribble which gives Richard pause. Is it possible that Smokey already targeted Locke and could explain the comment, "you have no idea what I've been through to get here". Also in that scene, John chooses the knife(aggressive) and causes Richard to leave. Clearly, Richard is a man of Peace and is on Jacob's side, and this could cause him to leave.

The thing I can't explain is why Jacob would bring Locke to the Island knowing he was such a complex character. My only thought is that he figured he could change Locke and may have if not for the MIB/Smokey outsmarting him and finding his "loophole".

plost62 said...

Great post Jo, love your insight!

I too thought Sawyer was a 'goner' when he finally got his revenge against Cooper(Sawyer)! His transformation in S5 was really given his charcater so much depth. Also, I think Juliet helped him to "grow-up", I really liked Sawyer and Juliet together.

That cabin scence in S3 still creeps me out. With S5 eyes....I think it is MIB in the cabin asking for help. The ash was place around there to keep him locked in. I still don't know who broke the ASH to allow his escape???

Did Hurley move it???

plost62 in Dallas!

Thanks Jo, for all keeping up with the re-watch post! LOVE IT!!!

markviso said...

Can anyone explain to me why they like Charlie? He was the most annoying character in the whole history of the show. i am pretty sure the only reason anybody likes him is the fact that the actor also portrayed a hobbit in another movie. Charlie was AWFUL. GOOD RIDDANCE

CrusoƩ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ernie said...

Cooper may have said he didn't raise no dummies, plural ... but he didn't raise Locke anyway.