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Lost: The Man From Tallahassee

Ben: "Tell me, John. Did it hurt?"
Locke: "I felt my back break. What do you think?"

In his continuing quest to blow up every important installation on the Island, Locke has now taken out the submarine. There's no way off the incredible moving Island anymore. Bad Locke. No biscuit.

But we finally know how Locke was paralyzed: because his own father pushed him out of a window. Dan said he felt cheated (what can live up to three years of suspense?) but I thought it had synchronicity. I would have felt cheated if he'd been hit by a car, like everyone else. Or if it had been psychosomatic.

And this means the Island really does have healing powers. So how did Ben get sick in the first place, and why isn't he healing? The magnetic field on the Island picks and chooses? Maybe it was because Ben was born there, and is naturally immune. But how can it possibly be that Locke's paralysis will return if he leaves? That doesn't make sense to me. The Island is holding his spine together now, and if he goes, it'll separate again?

This was the first episode in which I really enjoyed Ben, who was very amusing and clever as he busily manipulated everyone from his (symbolic of Locke's) wheelchair. In fact, Ben manipulated Locke much like Cooper did. I can understand why Locke desperately needed his father to have some redeeming qualities. I've been there; it's so hard to turn your back on a toxic parent, no matter how terrible they are. Did Ben obtain Anthony Cooper for Sawyer's sake, too? Because I'm still about as sure as I can be that Cooper is the con man responsible for the death of Sawyer's parents. Has to be.

So what is this Magic Box bull? I looked through my old reviews and noticed a lot of mentions of special boxes: Danielle's music box, Kate's toy airplane, Kate's and Tom's time capsule, Michael's art work, and Locke, of course, worked for a box company. Lenny the lunatic said that Hurley with his lottery numbers had "opened the box." Pandora's Box. More mysteries.

In an episode full of cool stuff, including the resolution of one of our biggest mysteries, my favorite moment was Danielle Rousseau's face when she saw Alex for the first time. No words, just naked emotion. Beautiful.

Character bits:

Why was Locke on disability before his fall? The case worker said depression. Must have been pretty serious depression to get disability money for a physically sound middle-aged man. I thought in that initial scene that he was already in his wheelchair.

Anthony Cooper was using the alias, "Adam Seward." He almost certainly killed that poor kid, Peter Talbot. Several people have written to me that "Anthony Cooper, Adam Seward" is an anagram for "Sawyer, the con man, a poor dad."

Cooper poured the infamous MacCutcheon whiskey for himself and Locke. Bad daddies tend to have good whiskey, I guess.

Locke was driving a red VW deathtrap.

Jack can play the piano.

Locke was certain that Jack hadn't betrayed them to the Others, and he was right. I liked that.

Sayid appears to be taking Sawyer's place by getting hurt all the time. Stop hurting Sayid, please.

Does Ben know who Alex's mother is? Does Danielle know who Alex's father is? I'm confused. Unconfuse me, please.

I wanted Jack to kiss Kate goodbye. I guess I'm still invested in Ye Olde Love Triangle.

Bits and pieces:

— Tallahassee has been mentioned at least once before. Kate was on her way to Tallahassee when she was captured. Miami has been mentioned in more than one back story, too. Florida must be important to the story.

— Ben said that his people were on the Island because they wanted to be. Really, Ben? Like Juliet wanted to be?

— The paintings in Ben's house all appeared to be landscapes of the Island. Did he paint them himself? There was one of a woman that was hard to see. I wonder who she was.

— Athletic Evangeline Lilly maneuvered her handcuffs from behind her back to in front. That's not easy. Most people can't do it.

— Anthony Cooper said he was a con man, not a murderer, right before he pushed his own son out an eight-story window. (Eight again, one of Hurley's numbers.) Juli on LostReviews was wondering if Locke was the one we saw fall out of the window in Hurley's backstory, "Numbers." Maybe not, but it would be cool if it was.

— Backstory Locke was balder than last time, but still sporting some fake hair. It worked a little better.

— Gold acting stars for Terry O'Quinn, who did a fabulous job in that scene where he first met his wheelchair. And for Mira Furlan, who managed to touch me with just an expression.


Locke: "The man from Tallahassee. What is that? Some kind of code?"
Ben: "No, John. Unfortunately, we don't have a code for 'there's a man in my closet with a gun to my daughter's head'. Although we obviously should."

Locke: "Where do you get electricity?"
Ben: "We have two giant hamsters running in a massive wheel at our secret underground lair."
You knew I was going to quote that one, didn't you?

Another good one. Three out of four polar bears,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. I didn't find it at all surprising that John's dad was the one to paralyse him. In fact, I thought it was almost a certainty given all the other information we've been given about the man.

    The sheer selfishness of Locke's blowing up the submarine leaves me breathless. He is willing to strand not only the Others, but his crew as well simply so he will never have to face a wheelchair again? Unbelievable. He only had to wait an hour so that Jack and Juliet could leave. If we trust Ben (and I don't), it would never have come back. But, even if it did, I'd like to believe that J Squared would have been safe.

    This act is second only to his not helping the son of the woman his father was trying to con. I didn't get that at all. Locke can't possibly think his father would thank him for giving him an out, so why not get a bit of his own back and give the boy some information? Instead, by going to his father he got the boy killed and himself paralysed. Again, unbelievable.

    Although I would guess that we are not, I would be perfectly happy if now that we know how Locke was paralysed, we are finished with his flashbacks. They are repetitive and dull -- how many more times are we going to see that (a) daddy is a jerk and (b) he makes bad decisions when it comes to helping younger men. Enough.

  2. You picked the two great quotes, Billie! The hamsters-on-a-wheel quote is great, and I started laughing right before he said it because I knew it was coming up. I do love deadpan.

    ChrisB recently posted a comment on a Fringe review that I meant to respond to, forgot about, and then lost. Her comment was about how we're supposed to think Peter's really smart, even though we never actually see that in action.

    I think the question of how intelligence is portrayed on TV is fascinating. Usually, smarts = ability to locate information quickly, and/or knowing lots of trivia. Think of Wesley, Willow, and Giles with the books in the Buffyverse. Walter Bishop with the arcane science-brain; Peter Bishop speaking Arabic; Syndey Bristow knowing a billion languages.

    But intelligence isn't just being a walking interactive Wikipedia, and Ben Linus takes the cake for smart characters. I see him as Jack Bristow 2.0: Jack could see 5 moves ahead, but usually ruined the trick by explaining to someone what he was seeing and how it was going to work.

    Ben only explains when he wants to (and often doesn't, especially in the later seasons). He's able to make intuitive leaps very quickly (like figuring out John wants to blow up the sub), keep his reactions to himself, and manipulate circumstances to his advantage. Those aren't moral qualities, for sure. And Ben obviously spends far too much time plotting and not enough time just doing the right thing. But he's so darn smart, and the writers do such a great job of showing those smarts in action.

    In other news: the box! As you noted, B, the recurring symbolism of boxes on this show is weird and wonderful. It's even weirder and wonderfuler in later seasons, of course.

  3. I basically want to reiterate my above comment, with particular devotion to the hamster wheel and Ben's intelligence. Little shout-out to Sayid, too, who totally nailed how to freak Alex out and drive a wedge between her and Ben (if he even knows Ben is Alex's dad, which he might not).

    So what is this Magic Box bull? I looked through my old reviews and noticed a lot of mentions of special boxes: Danielle's music box, Kate's toy airplane, Kate's and Tom's time capsule, Michael's art work, and Locke, of course, worked for a box company. Lenny the lunatic said that Hurley with his lottery numbers had "opened the box." Pandora's Box. More mysteries.

    I'm not sure if the Pandora's box you're referring to is the one from the Season One finale (I think that's it), where Locke mentions that what is left inside is hope. But there's that one, too.

    Anyway, I love the box mentions on this show, and I've been noticing them during this rewatch because, on True Detective, they talk about who a good "box man" is. A good box man is a good interrogator, and can size up a suspect in seconds. Ben Linus fits the category of a good box man; Locke does not.

  4. Cool scene at the beginning:Jack plays baseball with Tom and a very flirt Juliet,Kate gives Juliet a nasty look,Sayid smiles sly and ironic as always,John thinks his plans yet.
    John Locke is again manipulated and betrayed by his creepy daddy,and he's used by evil Ben(great acting).
    Amazing the reunion between Jack and Kate at the game room(great acting). She realizes that she messed up as always,he's so hurt and vulnerable around her. "What did they do to you Jack?" And you Kate?You only broke his heart.
    The submarine explodes. Locke bomber came back.

  5. ^Seconding her feelings about the Kate/Jack reunion. And unlike Billie I like that a kiss was kept out of it. Not that I hate them as a couple. Anyway it was a really good scene, I love the posing... Jack sitting, then Kate crouching in front of him. Very lovely, I was so annoyed that Juliet interrupted and killed it. I can't believe I don't remember this...

    BUT GODDAMMIT SOME-FUCKING-HOW I STILL HAVEN'T REACHED THE MYSTERIOUS SAWYER-KATE MOMENT I STARTED THE REWATCH FOR IN THE FIRST PLACE! And there's only one episode to go before I reached the end of this 2nd batch, and knowing it's "Expose" means I'm fairly certain it won't be in it... which means I'm just gonna download the rest of the season too, because, fuck it, this last third of s3 is just too good to pass up. Man

    I remember the "Locke will fuck up your shit" memes and it's funny to have reached it. Goddamn he really is just blowing everything up. Though nothing's as infuriating as his blowing up the hatch last season, yeah that's worse to me than him punching Charlie. But through it all it's both sad and intimidating that Ben has him so thoroughly figured out and playing him masterfully.
    @celticmarc: "Once again, another reversal of the coin I spoke earlier : "you're in a wheelchair and I'm not". And Ben would flip that one at the end."
    Yeah man absolutely.


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