by Billie Doux
Arzt: "You know, you really had me fooled with that sweater vest. Linus, you're a real killer."
And the Emmy goes to...
I'm not kidding. Michael Emerson was phenomenal. Quite possibly his best performance so far, and that's saying a lot.
I just knew that, under Ben's devious, manipulative and occasionally murderous exterior, there was a good guy screaming to get out. In the flash sideways, we finally saw the Ben that should have been. Yes, he was still staging a coup to take over the high school, familiar behavior for Ben -- but he easily gave it up for the sake of a girl who wasn't even his adopted daughter. Yes, he had a job that didn't challenge him and a boss that made him miserable (gee, does that sound familiar to any of us?) but LAX timeline Ben has a good life. He's a good teacher, he has friends like Arzt, and he takes good care of his sick father. A life well lived.
And seeing Ben finally redeem himself on the Island was amazing. He could easily have killed Ilana and taken up the Man in Black on his offer to rule the Island. And Ilana could have just let Ben go over to the dark side, too. Deciding to forgive him, to welcome him back to the beach -- just that scene was worth the price of admission. Interesting, that Ben was seeking forgiveness for failing to save his adopted daughter, while Ilana needed forgiveness for failing to protect the man she thought of as a father.
It was so lovely seeing Alex alive and happy -- no trauma, no slingshot, clean clothes. It's a shame we didn't see Danielle, though she was mentioned. Someone on the LostReviews list pointed out that Danielle and Alex should have been living in France. But I think Los Angeles isn't really Los Angeles as much as it's Karmaville. (Sort of like Dharmaville but with karma.) Ben's redemption couldn't have played out like it did without him making amends to Alex and putting her first, which was exactly what he didn't do in the Island timeline.
As if all the Ben stuff wasn't good enough, the B plot with Richard, Jack and Hurley at the Black Rock was fascinating, too. We've all guessed that Richard came to the Island on the Black Rock in chains, so that wasn't a surprise. Helping Richard die -- or actually, not helping Richard die -- was an interesting test of faith for Jack. Jack is still angry about everything, but he's starting to believe, isn't he? The Lighthouse really did prove something to Jack. And you know, Jack is the lead character in the series, and his name is so much like Jacob's... I'll stop now.
When Jacob touched people, he gave them a gift. For Richard, it was immortality. Did Jacob also give immortality to the Losties, or were they different gifts? Does the gift go away if the candidate fails? (I'm thinking of those three hundred and some crossed out names.) Ilana said there were only six candidates left. Which six? The six that the MIB knows about? Or does Ilana have better info?
Back to the Beach
Does anyone else think it's funny that they're back at the beach again? The entire series seems to consist of expeditions and campsites. Let's move to the caves. Let's move to New Otherton. Let's go to Alcatraz. It's interesting that the Man in Black's base of operations is apparently going to be Alcatraz. Maybe the opposing sides can lob really big rocks across the bay at each other.
Speaking of funny, Widmore arriving via submarine like a Nazi in a Mel Brooks movie had me laughing out loud. (I guess he's the one Jacob said was coming. I had been hoping for Desmond.)
And Miles was a delight. His disregard of anything resembling tact ("Linus killed him") and his gleeful greed made an already terrific episode even better. I'm glad that the eight million in diamonds found its way out of that double grave. I hope Miles makes it off the Island and spends the rest of his life lounging by a pool somewhere drinking pina coladas.
What have we learned?
-- Richard became immortal because Jacob touched him. Jacob's touches are gifts.
-- The selected candidate will find out what the job is about. Does that mean no one knows what it is except Jacob? Who told Jacob?
-- Notice how little we learned this week? But hey. Ben redemption was a biggie.
What I missed last week:
-- According to the enhanced version of last week's, Sayid's brother's name is spelled Omer, not Omar.
-- The secret passage in the hall of the Temple was marked with the Egyptian hieroglyph for eternity. Which I believe was also the symbol on the necklace that Nadia was wearing in the flash sideways. Yet another reference to immortality.
-- Absolutely loved the transparent allusion of Ben and Alcatraz as Napoleon and Elba.
-- I also thought it was interesting that LAX timeline Ben was still obsessed with taking care of children, just as his Island self was.
-- In an episode full of parallels, the Man in Black offered Ben control of the Island, while Locke gave Ben the idea to become principal.
-- Frank said he didn't make flight 815 because he overslept.
-- Ben's father Roger was still alive (though ill), and his relationship with Ben seemed to be a good one. Roger talked about not staying on the Island with the Dharma Initiative. And every single Lost fan went, "A ha!"
-- Jack just tried to kill himself a second time. The first was when he took the poison pill meant for Sayid. But maybe Jack had already realized that it wouldn't work, huh?
-- I'd already heard that Mira Furlan wasn't willing to come back, or she probably would have been in this episode. I wonder if Blake Bashoff also said no? If he hadn't, I bet Karl would have turned up in that high school.
-- The tight-fisted Principal Donald Lawrence Reynolds was played by William Atherton, who has been in practically everything. I'm sure "Donald Lawrence Reynolds" must be a reference to someone or something. Anyone know?
-- The assorted titles in Sawyer's abandoned sand trap library included Justice is Truth in Action by Benjamin Disraeli (which seems to be a quote, not an actual title), The Chosen by Chaim Potok (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chosen_(Chaim_Potok)) and an issue of Booty Babes, which I don't recommend looking up on Google. All of which are full of symbolic Losty goodness. Except Booty Babes.
-- The reunion scene on the beach was lovely. But where is freaking Jin?
Bits and pieces:
-- LAX timeline Ben's mention of the East India Trading Company in 1813 felt like it related to the Black Rock.
-- I don't know if it means anything, but I noticed three vertical, parallel blood stains on Island Ben's shirt.
-- Love the Black Rock interior set. Gorgeous and strange. Much like Lost itself.
Ilana: "Are you sure?"
Ben: "He was standing over their dead bodies holding a bloody dagger. So yeah, I'm pretty sure."
Miles: "Linus killed him."
Ben: "What? That's not true!"
Ilana: "Are you sure?"
Miles: "He was standing over Jacob's dead boy with a bloody dagger. So yeah, I'm pretty sure."
Hurley: (asleep) "Cheese curls."
Ben: "Shall we return to the high seas?"
Four out of four polar bears, of course. And only nine episodes to go,