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Lost: Dr. Linus

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.

Black Rock

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.

Character bits:

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 (wikipedia link) 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?"
Alex: "Sure."

Four out of four polar bears, of course. And only nine episodes to go,

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


  1. That was a very good episode.

    I am tired of the slow motion reunion endings, but they threw a in curveball with the submarine and Widmore.

    At least we got a few questions answered.

    I think the full evacuation of the island took place prior to the detonation of the bomb, which caused the branching. I'm sticking to that until otherwise noted in the show. I don't want to think of the sideways world as being in a bubble or a dream or illusion.

    Richard did arrive on the island on The Black Rock. I know we all thought that, but it's nice to have something confirmed.

    They really can't die if touched by Jacob, but I think it's only active when they're on the island.

    Richard, even filthy, is smokin' hot.

    I love William Atherton. He always plays the [bleep] of the story, but he's so good at it. I love how he turned things around on Dr. Linus .

    I love that Miles took the diamonds. It's always nice when a show uses its history.

    I don't know if I trust Ben, even though he very nearly broke my heart at the end of the episode.

    I felt so bad for Ilana. She looked so dejected. But her telling Ben, "I'll have you" made me get all verklempt. I hope she gets a flashback before the end.

  2. I had an "a-ha!" moment at the end of this episode. I've been utterly at sea about where Lost is headed, and I think now I know: we're waiting for everyone (or a large fraction thereof) to get back to the beach. Right? That's our guiding narrative principle for the next few episodes?

    Typing it, it sounds like the stupidest a-ha moment ever. But getting a sense of how the suspense is going to resolve (and then build up again, of course) is helping me suss this season out.

  3. So MIB had Lock leave the island because that was the only way he could off Locke? Interesting. But if that is the case, all the hundreds of other candidates had to have left as well, no? Awesome, awesome episode...seems a shame we didnt get more Ben episodes but I guess they had to keep the creepy little guy a mystery till the end.

  4. No no, that cant be right...Russeau was a candidate and she was shot and killed on the island..both of them. Hmm any thoughts on the matter billie?

  5. I think you're missing the point. The dynamite didn't go off because *Jack* can't kill himself either. You can get killed, but you can't commit suicide. At least not until you've reached your purpose.

    That was why Michael couldn't kill himself. he had to make sure people didn't get off the Island. But Smokey, in Papa Shepherd form, told Locke they should move the Island, knowing Ben would be the one to do it, and do it wrong, since he spun he wheel off it axis, and the chopper didn't make it to the Island in time. Michael completed the purpose Jacob gave him, and he could go. I just can't fit why it was again MIB as Dr. Papa who told him he could go.

    That's why at the exact moment Jack was going to jump off the bridge an accident happened and he called it ll off.

    That's why as Locke was about to commit suicide Ben arrived and stopped it. Smokey somehow knew that Ben would eventually kill Locke. Remember he doesn't believe in redemption. It may never have crossed his mind that Ben would repent and join Team Jacob.

    I really think Jacob touched *all* the candidates. It just so happens we've only seen 6 of them in The Incident. They can't die until they've reached a purpose, unless they get killed, of course. And nobody dies of old age or sickness in LOST, everybody gets killed. Even Boone, who was victim of an accident, was killed by Locke because the latter withheld the true nature of he accident. And that would explain why so many people survived a frigging plane crash in solid ground.

    And I don't think death is the only reason to cross off a candidate's name. We all know that both Jacob and FLocke get what they want by offering faustian bargains to the candidates. That's how they're going to convince the Losties to fulfill their purposes. But what if there's nothing more the candidate wants for him/her to be manipulated?

    Take Miles, for example. He went to the Island to get over his daddy issues. And, in a totally non-LOST fashion, he did. I believe he still has a purpose to fulfill on the Island, but there's nothing to bargain that for. Money? I don't think he would sell his soul for it, as we saw in his very first flashback in Confirmed Dead. Especially now that he has Nikki and Paulo's diamonds. So, not a candidate for manipulation anymore.

    (I was going to say that it'd be awesome if they made a reference to Stranger in a Strange Land, but Dogen made it when he said that he speaks Japanese to make sure he stays apart from those he leads.)

    Another crazy theory: Lapidus was and maybe still is a candidate, but we haven't seen it. I think he hadn't been touched by Jacob yet by 9/22/2004, like Sayid and Hurley. Smokey saw it as a golden opportunity and killed the pilot on the spot, no judgment required. But it turned out the pilot was not Lapidus and Smokey killed yet another innocent man. Sigh

  6. BTW, I hope this ep has pleased Paulo Brabo. If Ben is prone to redemption, so is Sayid. Not everything's lost for now.

  7. Gustavo, I am overwhelmingly pleased. The plot hasn't advanced a tad... but the character delight -- oh boy, was I pleased with that.

    Lost can take me anywhere it wants now. I'm Man of Faith again.

  8. LOVE love loved this episode! Far and away the best episode of season 6 so far! Emerson was BRILLIANT....please give him the Emmy!


  9. -- I don't know if it means anything, but I noticed three vertical, parallel blood stains on Island Ben's shirt.


    I read somewhere else that there was a scene where Iliana beat the crap out of Ben while he was chained but that it didn't make it to the actual episode.

  10. Also worth noting is that Ben killed his father using poison gas. LAX Ben is keeping his father alive using gas, as noted by him changing the tanks on the respirator.

  11. I think that Jin, not Sun, is the candidate. That might explain why Jack, Hurley, Kate, and Sayid all flashed off the Ajira flight into the past and she landed, in the present, with the rest of the crew. Maybe it was only candidates who were able to flash off the plane?

  12. When island Ben agreed to go with Ilana I was certain that sideways Ben would betray sideways Alex... soooo glad to be wrong about that.

    However, my money is on island Ben pulling an Arvin Sloan by giving up his chance at redemption and rejoining with Lockeness Monster. I wonder if Sun would switch to be reunited with Jin. I do agree with anonymous' reasoning about Jin being the Kwon who is a candidate instead of Sun.

    A great episode. I loved that Miles found the diamonds, that we got to see Alex one more time, and that sideways Ben and his father seemed to have a healthy relationship. And to add to the echo chamber above, I truly enjoyed the powerful Emmy worthy performance by Michael Emerson!

  13. Were getting close to knowing who shot at locke sawyer juliet etc. In "the little prince". Both boats are there, soon there will be a scene of them arriving at the camp when they were flashing

  14. This episode definately confirms Ben Linus as the 'Gollum' of the piece. A character forced to do bad for the thing (the island) it treasures most.
    Question is, what will he do next?

  15. If Ilana had killed Ben, I think I would stop watching Lost. I mean, he is one of the best characters of the series. And saying Emerson is a fantastic character is an understatement. I was pretty sure sideways Dr Linus wouldn't betray Alex, for it seems that being on the island and getting brought back to life at the temple is what has made Ben that evil sofb we all love. Yet this season has been making Ben more human, in the sense of being a bit powerless and even pitiful. When he said he was goign to Locke for he was the only one who would take him and Illana said she would, it brought tears to my eyes. He is totally seeking for redemption. Let's just see how things will turn out now that Jack has come back to the island. He's so used to being the leader of the Losties, I wonder how his relationship with Illana will be, and especially how they'll take Ben. Sun has already accepted him and she wanted him killed badly. I believe this new reality, with Monster Lockeness being the source of all evil will have deeper changes into character's relationships.
    Who are the six candidates: Jack, Sawyer, Hurley and one of the Kwons for sure ( betting on Jim), Lapidus(too), who would be the 6th?
    Another internal joke was there, like Shanon's inhaler that people said would never be found; 8-million-worth diamonds had to be uncovered by someone: Miles! It was delightful. Now what good will these rocks be while still on the island is a good question... Like his question to Ben< are you going to sign a check on this banana leaf?
    WHich brings us to a very good question: Ben said he had access to an organization outside the island. What is it?!!!!!
    Last, Widmore arriving in the sub may be the way out Locke is waiting for...
    Nine episodes to go, oh the wait... and worst of all feelings, only nine more to go... What will ever replace Lost to its level?!

  16. If I remember correctly, Jacob touched both Sun and Jin at their wedding. Not sure what it means in terms of which Kwon might be a candidate, though ....

  17. One of the things I am most enjoying in this last series is the return to the good things in the beginning. In this show, it was the reunions on the beach, set to the wonderful score. It felt so old school, yet so right. I teared up.

    Magnificent show. The parallels between the Island story and the LAX story were even better than usual (and that's saying something), but seeing a redeemed Ben is fascinating to watch.

    One of the things I find interesting in this season is the concentration every episode of just a few characters. While it does make the individual stories much more compelling than usual, it is odd to go so long without seeing some of them. As you say, where is Jin? And Sawyer?

  18. loved this episode. ben is a good guy and has a better life off the island. i can't stand selfish control freak jack right now. poor ben finally caught a break and was believing in himself near the end when he was helping sun and then jack shows up and ben wilts like a dying plant.

    why did jack have to smash up the lighthouse? what a vandal. i would have liked to see what images other people's names brought up.

    my 2 cents -- jin and sun are dual winners for candidate status. jacob wanted them as a couple to run the island.

  19. And here we are, just two episodes after I commented that Lost was hitting a low point with the island mysticism we get one of the best episodes of the series. Ben is such a complex and wonderful character, and it was just excellent to see the raw emotion and partial redemption of his on island persona juxtaposed with his meager attempts at manipulation and blackmail by his otherwise decent personality in the Sideways. In both cases, he is a man trying to do the right thing in the only way he knows, and I was truly rooting for him on the Island which is no small feat considering who he is and what he has done. Masterful work by Michael Emerson. Truly a great episode!


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