Welcome to the second-to-last installment of the Lost Rewatch! This week I am analyzing four episodes, and next week I will tackle the final three (including the two-hour finale).
So let's go back to the future together and hope that Miles can shed some light on these complicated concepts...
Alternate Reality Bites
At this point during the regular season last year, the thought of an alternate reality or timeline never crossed my mind. Of course we have no idea if that is what they are going to present us with in S6, but watching young Ben bring Sayid a copy of Carlos Castaneda's A Separate Reality reminded me that perhaps the title alludes to the shape of things to come.
Bad Hair Day
The only costume/prop I've ever really had a problem with or made fun of on Lost is Kate's inexplicable red scrunchie in Whatever Happened, Happened. Apparently when Kate finally left the island, she didn't get the memo that the 90's were over.
Bram Stoking the Fire
Bram kidnaps Miles to try and talk him out of going on the freighter and working for Widmore. He refers to "playing for the wrong team." My guess is that just as Mystery Man is using Ben and Locke, Jacob is using Ilana and Bram in the war that is coming...
When Bram tells Miles that he'll find answers to questions he's been seeking his whole life, it made me wonder if Bram also approached Charlotte with the same offer before she left on the freighter. Miles went to find answers about his father, and Charlotte to find answers about her childhood.
Breaking All The Rules
Ben accuses Widmore of "changing the rules" when Widmore's hired mercenary Keamy kills Ben's daughter Alex. Prior to that, he accused Widmore of "breaking the rules" by having a daughter with an outsider. It seems to me that Ben broke or changed the rules first...by kidnapping his own daughter at birth in the first place.
By the way, we HAVE to find out in the final season what Faraday meant when he said that "the rules do not apply" to Desmond.
Charles in Charge (Or Not)
We find out that Alpert does not answer to either Charles Widmore or Eloise Hawking on the island, but he does receive orders from Jacob. Or does he?
When Widmore approached Alpert about bringing young Ben to the Temple, Alpert stopped him in his tracks with "Jacob wanted it done." And yet in the S5 finale, Jacob dismisses/disses Ben with "what ABOUT you?"...and that makes me think that Alpert made some of the decisions along the way on his own.
Another interesting little tidbit emerges from Alpert at the beginning of Dead is Dead. When he tells Widmore that Jacob ordered young Ben's healing, he follows that statement up with "the island chooses who the island chooses." He equates Jacob and the island to be one and the same.
Check Yes Juliet
There have been subtle hints in the last three seasons that there is far more about Juliet than we'll ever know. For example, she knew that Alpert was the only person who could save young Ben's life, indicating that she knows about the Temple and its healing properties. It seemed that very few Others knew about the Temple except perhaps that there was a last-resort safe haven.
In Whatever Happened, Happened, Juliet mentioned that the doctor was down in the Looking Glass station until Friday. Why on earth would Dharma send their only doctor down to the submarine communications station for a few days at a time?
Fate vs. Free Will
Never has this theme been more relevant than for Sayid in He's Our You and Ben in Dead is Dead. Consider the following conversations.
Sayid: "That's why you're here? You actually came all this way to suggest that I kill this man?"
Ben: "You don't want to?"
Sayid: "What makes you think that I'd want to?"
Ben: "To put it simply - you're capable of things that most other men aren't. Every choice you've made in your life, whether it was to murder or to torture...it hasn't really been a choice at all, has it? It's in your nature, it's what you are. You're a killer."
Sayid: "I'm not what you think I am. I don't like killing."
Ilana: "What did you do?"
Sayid: "The only thing I was ever good at."
Ilana: "Then why did you quit?"
Sayid: "I'm trying to change."
Ilana: "When you are good at something, there are always going to be people who tempt you into staying the same."
Sayid: "When I woke up in the jungle and I realized I was back on this island, I felt there was no purpose to it. But now I know exactly why I'm here."
Sayid, to Young Ben: "You were right about me...I am a killer."
Ben: "You were right."
NotLocke: "About what?"
Ben: "Why I need to be judged. When Charles Widmore's men came, they gave me a choice...either leave the island or let my daughter die. All I had to do was walk out of the house and go with him. But I didn't do it. So you were right, I did kill Alex. And now I have to answer for that."
He's Our You
Young Ben, to Sayid: "Four years ago I ran away into the jungle and Richard found me. I said I wanted to leave, that I wanted to join you. So I've been patient. And if you're patient too, I think I can help you."
Sayid: "Where to now?"
Ben: "Nowhere - you're done. We're done. You've taken care of everyone who posed a threat to your friends. It's been a pleasure working with you."
Sayid: "I killed all those people for you, and now you're just walking away?
Ben: "You didn't kill them for you - you're the one who asked for their names. There's no one else in Widmore's organization that we need to go after. Congratulations - mission accomplished."
Sayid: "What do I do now?"
Ben: "I suppose you should go live your life...you're free."
Juliet: "It's over, isn't it."
Sawyer: "What's over?"
Juliet: "This, us, playing house...all of it. I never actually thought they'd come back."
Sawyer: "So they're back - nothing's changed."
Sawyer: "How are you doing?"
Sayid: "A twelve year old Benjamin Linus brought me a chicken salad sandwich. How do you think I'm doing? How can you live with him here?"
Sawyer: "I ain't got a choice."
Oldham: "Why were you in handcuffs when we found you?"
Sayid: "Because I am a bad man."
Juliet: "Jack told you about us?"
Kate: "No - Hurley, actually."
Juliet: "It's kind of a relief - I wasn't quite sure how to do it without sounding like I was telling you to stay away."
Kate: "It's fine."
Sawyer: "Why'd you come back?"
Kate: "I don't know why everyone else came back - I just know why I did."
Whatever Happened, Happened
Cassidy: "What are you doing here?"
Kate: "Sawyer sent me."
Kate: "The helicopter was running out of gas, so he jumped so that we could make it to the boat."
Cassidy: "What a coward. He was trying to get away from you."
Sawyer: "I need you to come with me."
Sawyer: "If you don't come with me, that kid's going to die."
Jack: "Then he dies."
Jack: "When we were here before, I spent all of my time trying to fix things. But did you ever think maybe that the island just wants to fix things itself - and maybe I was just getting in the way?"
Kate: "I don't like the new you. I liked the old you, who wouldn't just sit around and wait for things to happen."
Jack: "You didn't like the old me."
Roger Linus, to Kate: "A boy just needs his mother."
Kate: "I lost him. I don't know what happened. We were in the supermarket and I turned around for one second - and he was gone. The crazy thing is that I wasn't surprised. All I could think was, it's about time. Why would I feel that way? Why would I expect him to be taken?"
Cassidy: "Because you took him."
Kate: "Claire was gone, she left him. I had to take him. He needed me."
Cassidy: "You needed him. Sawyer broke your heart. How else were you supposed to fix it?"
Kate: "Why are you helping me?"
Sawyer: "Juliet told me what you were up to. She said no matter what he's going to grow up to be, it's wrong to let a kid die. That's why I doing this; I'm doing it for her."
Juliet: "That kid was bleeding out. You're a surgeon and I needed you."
Jack: "That kid is Ben."
Juliet: "That's not Ben yet; he's just a kid."
Jack: "'I'm sorry, I can't help you."
Juliet: "I'm not asking for your help."
Jack: "I came back here because I was trying to save you."
Juliet: "We didn't need saving - we've been fine for three years. You came back here for YOU."
Jack: "I came back because I was supposed to."
Juliet: "Supposed to do what?"
Jack: "I don't know yet."
Sawyer: "You and me would've never worked out. I wasn't any more fit to be your boyfriend than I am to be that little girl's father."
Kate: "You seem to be doing alright with Juliet."
Sawyer: "I've done a lot of growing up these last three years."
Carole Littleton: "Where are you going?"
Kate: "I'm going back to find your daughter."
Hostile: "You shouldn't do this without asking Ellie. And if Charles finds out..."
Alpert: "Let him find out; I don't answer to either of them."
NotLocke: "Hello Ben. Welcome back to the land of the living."
Dead is Dead
Widmore, to young Ben: "You should be dead, but his island - it saved your life."
Ben: "You're alive. I knew it; I knew this would happen."
NotLocke: "Then why are you so surprised to see me?"
Ben: "It's one thing to see it - it's another thing to see it."
NotLocke: "Then why were you trying to run away to the main island?"
Ben: "I broke the rules, I came back to the island. I was going to answer for what I'd done. I was going back to be judged."
NotLocke: "By whom?"
Ben: "We don't even have a word for it, but I believe you call it the monster."
Ben, to Rousseau: "If you try to follow me or if you ever come looking for me, I'll kill you. And if you want your child to live, every time you hear whispers - you run the other way."
NotLocke: "We're going to your old house, aren't we?"
Ben: "Yes, it's the only place I can summon it - the monster. Once it arrives, I'll either be forgiven or I won't."
NotLocke: "I think you're lying."
Ben: "About what?"
NotLocke: "That you want to be judged for leaving the island and coming back because it's against the rules. I don't think you care about rules."
Ben: "Then what do I want to be judged for?"
NotLocke: "For killing your daughter."
Widmore: "You might find this difficult to understand...every decision I've made has been about protecting the island."
Ben: "Is killing this baby what Jacob wants?"
Ben: "You don't have the first idea what the island wants."
NotLocke: "Are you sure about that?"
Ben: "Don't act as if I wanted this. You brought this on yourself."
Widmore: "Are you quite certain you want to do this?"
Ben: "You left the island regularly, you had a daughter with an outsider. You broke the rules."
Widmore: "And what makes you think you deserve to take what is mine?"
Ben: "Because I won't be selfish. Because I'll sacrifice anything to protect this island."
Widmore: "You wouldn't sacrifice Alex."
Ben: "You're the one who wanted her dead, not the island."
Widmore: "I hope you're right, because if you aren't - and it IS the island that wants her dead, she'll be dead. And one day you'll be standing where I'm standing now. You'll be the one being banished, and then you'll finally realize that you cannot fight the inevitable."
NotLocke, to Sun: "I'm the same man I've always been."
Ben: "I'm going back to the island today."
Widmore: "The island won't let you come back, trust me. I've spent the last twenty years trying to return."
Ben: "Where you failed, I'm going to succeed - just as soon as I do one thing."
Widmore: "What's that?"
Ben: "Kill your daughter. In fact, I'm looking at Our Mutual Friend right now."
Widmore: "Don't you dare."
Ben: "Goodbye, Charles."
Ben: "How is it that you know where you're going?"
NotLocke: "I just know."
Ben: "How does that work, exactly? The knowing - did it come upon you gradually or did you wake up one morning suddenly understanding the ways of the universe?"
NotLocke: "You don't like this, do you? Having to ask questions that you don't know the answers to, blindly following someone in the hopes that they'll lead you to whatever it is you're looking for."
Ben: "No, I don't like it at all."
NotLocke: "Now you know what it was like to be me."
Ghost Alex: "I know that you're already planning to kill John again. I want you to know that if you so much as touch him, I will hunt you down and destroy you. You will listen to every word that John Locke says and you will follow his every order. Do you understand? Say it - say you'll follow him!"
Ben: "Yes, I will - I will follow him, I swear."
NotLocke: "What happened?"
Ben: "It let me live."
Some Like it Hoth
Miles: "I need you to tell me why I'm this way, how I do the things I do. And I need to know why you don't talk about my father."
Mrs. Chang: "He's dead. Your dad has been dead a long time."
Miles: "Where is his body?"
Mrs. Chang: "Somewhere you can never go."
Hurley, to Miles: "You can talk to dead people. Don't worry, your secret is safe with me. I can talk to them to."
Hurley: "Dude, that guy is a total douche."
Miles: "That douche is my dad."
Miles: "How the hell did you know that?"
Hurley: "Because they're building our hatch."
Miles: "What hatch?"
Hurley: "The one that crashed our plane."
Bram: "We had to try our best to try and talk you out of working for Charles Widmore. He's the man who chartered the boat you'll be getting on next week. You do not want to get on that boat. Do you know what lies in the shadow of the statue?"
Miles: "No - can't say that I do."
Bram: "Then you're not ready to go to that island. But if you come with us...all those things you've spent your life trying to find out? You'll know. You'll know who you are, why it is you have a gift and most of all - you'll know about your father."
Miles: "You want me to pass on going to the island? It's going to cost you double what they offered."
Bram: "All the money in the world isn't going to fill that empty hole inside you."
Bram: "You're playing for the wrong team."
Miles: "What team are you on?"
Bram: "The one that's going to win."
Ghost in the Machine
Ghost Christian tells Sun that if she ever wants to see Jin again, she has to wait for Locke to appear. Ghost Alex instructs Ben to "listen to every word that John Locke says" and "follow his every order." Both must be Mystery Man manifestations.
And then...it is a bit mind-blowing to see that NotLocke disappears at the exact time Smokey appears on two occasions: when Ben is unleashing it beneath his house, and when Ben is facing it beneath the Temple.
When Ben tells Sun to go inside "because what's about to come out of that jungle is something I can't control," NotLocke strolls out of the bushes. That is a goosebump-inducing moment for sure.
The most compelling visual argument that Mystery Man IS indeed Smokey, however, seems to be on the wall beneath the Temple. That hieroglyph sure seems to depict Jacob (as the statue) vs. MM (as Smokey).
Perhaps young John Locke's drawing hints at who will prevail in the coming war...
If You Seek Amy
Even though she's yet another character who we'll probably never hear from again - I never trusted or liked Amy. I still believe that she had a hidden agenda or perhaps was an island double agent of sorts. She NEVER wore any Dharma jumpsuits, and seems to be the only one who was allowed to roam freely in civilian clothes.
The Locke Box
It certainly seems (by the look on his face) that Ben knows about Locke's body in the metal crate that Ilana and Bram are guarding. If so, that fuels my crazy conspiracy theory from two weeks ago about Ben working with Mystery Man the entire time. Add in the following interaction as possible icing on that cake:
"I was hoping that you and I could talk about the elephant in the room."
"I assume you're referring to the fact that I killed you. It was the only way to get you back to the island along with as many of those who left as possible. That's why you left in the first place; to convince them to come back. The only way to bring them together was by your death, and you understood that. It's why you were about to kill yourself when I stopped you."
"If all I had to do was die, then why did you stop me?"
"You had critical information that would have died with you. And once you'd given it to me, I just didn't have time to talk you back into hanging yourself. So I took a shortcut. And look at you - I was right. You're here, you're back. It worked, and that's why I did it...because it was in the best interests of the island."
By the way, I interpret Ben's use of the word 'shortcut' to be a hint about/reference to Mystery Man's 'loophole.'
LOST Book Club
In He's Our You, the book A Separate Reality is relevant primarily because it addresses the use of psychotropic drugs, much like Sayid's experience when Oldham.
Desmond & Penny's boat is called Our Mutual Friend, which is the name of the Charles Dickens book that Des designated to be the last one he reads before he dies. Of course there are themes in the book which mirror Des and Penny's journey: marrying the right person, wealth, presumed death, etc.
We've never met or heard about Penny's mother. When Charles Widmore was being exiled from the island, Ben refers to him having a child with "an outsider." We know that Eloise Hawking was not an outsider, and that she had Daniel Faraday with Widmore, but I am very curious about who Penny's mother is. If I had to guess, she's someone we've already met. Or we'll find out that Penny is related to someone we know.
The Oldham Down the Road
I'm sure that we'll never see him again, but I still find it curious that Horace allowed this strange little man to live on the outskirts of Dharmaville. Was he somehow safe from the hostiles? Assuming he was still out in his little hippy tent when Ben masterminded the purge, Oldham probably survived.
One Of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)
Widmore tells young Ben that "just because you're living with them doesn't mean you can't be ONE OF US."
That is an oft-used phrase on the show, but it always reminds of Jack's tattoo interpretation: he walks amongst us, but he is not one of us. It is also an appropriate way to describe Mystery Man at the end of S5 when he becomes NotLocke.
Much like Eko protected his little brother Yemi when they were kids, Sayid protected his older brother Omer when they were kids.
Widmore was at wounded young Ben's bedside when he awoke, just as resurrected NotLocke was at wounded older Ben's beside when he awoke.
In S4, while trying to convince Jack that he has to go back to the island with his friends, he tells him "I have some ideas." In S5, when NotLocke attempts to convince Sun that they'll find Jin, he tells her "I have some ideas."
Ben spares Rousseau's life when he hears baby Alex, just as he spares Penny's life when he sees toddler Charlie.
Kate has a fascinating and complicated relationship with the alcoholic men in her life. She killed her abusive father, fell for Jack and bonded with abusive dad Roger Linus about parenting.
Running Down a Drain
Seriously? That is still my response when I see that Smokey is summoned via muddy puddle plug.
It can't be mere coincidence that in the very same episode where Sayid initially meets Ilana, we see him killing a Widmore associate in Moscow. The reason that locale intrigues me is that we later see that prior to meeting Sayid, Ilana was in a Russian hospital when Jacob went to see her.
Hurley is the one who informs Kate that Sawyer and Juliet are now a couple.
Ben travels to Santo Domingo to tell Sayid that Locke died.
Sayid meets Ilana at a bar and they hit it off, only she kicks his ass and takes him into her custody for Ajira 316. [sidenote: we were at this very bar last year & will be going back in a few weeks - Nobu in Waikiki!]
Radzinsky mentions Ann Arbor (which is Dharma HQ back in the real world).
Young Ben lets Sayid out of Dharma jail.
Sayid shoots Young Ben.
Alpert brings the wounded young Ben into the mysterious Temple, and he is on the mend shortly thereafter.
Other/Hostile Widmore introduces himself to young Ben.
We see a teenaged Ethan Rom with Ben, scouting Rousseau's tent on the beach.
Ben kidnaps baby Alex from Rousseau and spares her life rather than following orders from Widmore to kill her.
Ben kills little Caesar when he tries to stop him from heading back to the main island with NotLocke.
Widmore is exiled from the island.
Ben attempts to follow up on his threat to kill Penny Widmore to avenge his own daughter's death, but he fails to go through with it.
Ben shoots Desmond, but Des survives and beats the living daylights out of him.
Ben faces Smokey himself, and images of Widmore and Alex appear. Ghost Alex then makes an appearance immediately after Smokey descends into the grate beneath the Temple.
We discover that Miles has had his ability to communicate with the dead since childhood.
A Dharma dude dies after close proximity to the electromagnetic forces beneath the Swan construction site.
We see Naomi recruit Miles for the freighter, and find out why he later tried to bribe Ben for the random amount of $3.2 million (he was given half of that to go on the freighter/island mission and asked for double that amount to be talked out of going by Bram and his crew).
We get our first glimpse at the giant construction site of the Swan hatch.
Hurley sees 'the numbers' being imprinted on the Swan hatch door.
Because it hasn't been written yet by George Lucas, Hurley tries to write his own version of The Empire Strikes Back in 1977.
Miles meets his dad Pierre Chang on the island in the 70's, although Chang has no idea who he is. Little Miles was a baby at the time.
Faraday returns to the island on the sub; he has been at Dharma HQ in Ann Arbor.
There Was an Old Man Who Lived in a (Statue) Shoe
Ilana gives us our first indication that she's quite familiar with the island when she first utters the question to Lapidus, "what lies in the shadow of the statue?"
The Visual and the Visceral
When Kate loses Aaron in the grocery store, a Claire doppelganger appears to take him.
When NotLocke arrives back on the main island with Ben, he takes the time to put on Christian Shephard's shoes again. Walking in the shoes of a deceased man who was also apparently used by Mystery Man...
To indicate that they are indeed in the future in an unknown year, the game of Risk that Sawyer, Hurley and Locke were playing in New Otherton remains exactly how it was on the table when they last played it.
Further proof that Dharma was educating their future generations about Egyptian mythology (but not necessarily how it relates to the island) - the text on the classroom chalk board that Jack was wiping off.
The Way Old Friends Do
When Ilana informed Sayid that "I was hired to bring you to Guam," it solidified the theory that Jacob knew about Ajira 316's route and rare window over the island, and thus has a direct connection to Eloise Hawking. When Jacob went to visit Ilana in the hospital, his favor was to get Sayid back to the island (he knew exactly when and how to do it). And no, I do not believe for one second that Ilana was hired by the family of the man who Sayid killed on the golf course.
Whatever Happened, Happened (Allegedly)
I mentioned this on Facebook yesterday and it is true - while I know that whatever happened, happened and dead is dead...those two concepts still dislodge my record. So I've tried to piece it together, using key conversations:
"Back to the Future. We can back in time to the island and changed stuff. So if little Ben dies, he'll never grow up to be big Ben, who's the one who made us come back here in the first place. Which means we can't be here. And therefore we don't exist."
"It doesn't work like that. You can't change anything. Your maniac Iraqi buddy shot Linus - that is always what happened. It's just...we've never experienced how it all turned out. The good news is that Linus didn't die, so that means the kid can't either; he'll be fine."
"All of this already happened. So this conversation we're having right now - we've already had it."
"Yes. The conversation already happened, but not for you and me. For you and me, it's happening right now."
"If all this already happened, then why don't I remember any of it?"
"Because once Ben turned that wheel - time isn't a straight line for us anymore. Our experiences in the past and the future occurred before these experiences right now."
"Say that again."
"I can't shoot you, because if you die in 1977, then you'll never come back to the island on the freighter thirty years from now."
"I can die because I've already come to the island on the freighter. Any of us can die because this is our present."
"But you said that Ben couldn't die because he still has to grow up and become the leader of the Others."
"Because this is his past."
"But when we first captured Ben and Sayid tortured him - why wouldn't he remember getting shot by the same guy as a kid?"
"I hadn't thought of that."
"He's just a boy - you can't just let him die."
"We can't change what's already happened. This has nothing to do with me."
"Unless you're the one who's supposed to save him."
"Thirty years from now, that boy is going to be a man who locks me in a cage because he needs surgery. I've already done this once; I've already saved Benjamin Linus."
"This is our fault - we brought Sayid back, we caused this."
"We need to save his life. Can you?"
"If I take him, he's not ever going to be the same again. He'll forget this ever happened and his innocence will be gone. He will always be one of us."
"I know where we're going now, John. It's the same place they brought me as a child. It's where the island healed me."
"I've seen this island do miraculous things. I've seen it heal the sick, but never once has it done something like this. Dead is dead - you don't get to come back from that, not even here."
When Smokey Sings
When Ben tells Locke that his old house is "the only place I can summon the monster," I reflected back on every occasion when Smokey has physically appeared. Obviously someone besides Ben was in charge of unleashing Smokey before Ben took over leadership of the Others post-purge in 1992. So SOMEONE specifically summoned the monster on the following occasions, in chronological order; the reasons for some of these remain a mystery:
- Rousseau's crew mate Nadine (killed)
- Montand (pulled below Temple & arm torn off; spared but died later)
- Oceanic 815 pilot Seth Norris (killed during Ben era)
- Locke (pulled him into hole during Ben era)
- Eko (killed during Ben era)
- Juliet & Kate (scanned spared during Ben era; spared)
- Keamy's mercenary (killed during Ben era)
- Ben (summoned himself to be judged; spared)
The lingering question is this - did Ben himself decide to scare Locke, to kill the pilot and Eko...or did Jacob (communicated via Alpert)? It seems that Ben wouldn't have enough time to get word from the top when people were exactly where they needed to be, in proximity to Smokey's reach, etc. But given that Ben unleashes Smokey on himself and "I don't know where it actually is; I only know how to summon it," perhaps that ability is under Jacob's purview alone. Or Mystery Man's...
That wraps up this week's installment of the Lost Rewatch. Thank you for taking the time to read and leave comments; I have really appreciated all of your support during the last nine months!
We are so close to the finish line - I look forward to wrapping this entire project up next week with the last analysis post. So stay tuned, and have a great week!