Guilt can be a terrible motivator. Just ask our newly evil friend, Sayid, who carried around so much he decided it was just easier to believe he was a bad man rather than dwell on his past atrocities. Simplifies things.
Ben Linus is another wrestling with his guilt. Over the death of his daughter (who wasn’t even his), over the death of Jacob, over the death of real Locke, maybe the deaths of countless others (Although seemingly not of his father or the entire Dharma camp. Those guys totally deserved it).
Yet it was another complex human act that may have saved Ben from joining Team Locke. Forgiveness can be simultaneously the most complicated and simple emotion we may ever experience. Most of us have forgiven friends and family for minor transgressions, but how many of us could forgive someone who murdered a loved one? How many of us could forgive a friend for spreading a vicious rumor? Hell, I have a hard time forgiving myself when I knock a beer over. Although, in my defense, beer is wonderful.
Ilana’s shocking (to me and Ben at least) offer to Ben may just have pulled him back from the brink. I think there is more to her about face than we realize, but I’ll get to that in a bit.
One quick note – this season of Lost resembles an avalanche; starts off with a few crumbles of snow before gaining momentum and becoming an unstoppable force of nature plowing everything out the way until it decides it’s finished. I can’t think of a single episode that revealed as much in one hour as last night’s did.
Let’s get to it.
Real World: How great was the opening segment of Ben talking about Elba. Lecturing how everything became clear on the island and that loss of power was one of Napoleon’s biggest concerns. I’d bet Dr. Linus is about the same height, too!
Teacher Ben gets involved in another power struggle with Principal Die Hard who cancels Ben’s after school French Club. While complaining about it (to Arnst!!), none other than John Locke suggests to Ben he should become Principal. ‘Who would listen to me?’ Locke answers by raising his hand which invites a sarcastic ‘Great, the substitute is behind you,’ from Arnst.
Back at home, Ben is taking care of his oxygen sucking father who complains that they should have stayed on the island with the Dharma Initiative (I KNOW!!!). They’re interrupted by the doorbell and the suddenly looking-kind-of-hot Alex Rousseau is there asking what happened to French Club. Seems Dr. Ben has been tutoring Alex on the side in order to help her get into Yale. And, yes, I was as creeped out as all of you were by this development.
Sidenote: Why are people so obsessed with getting into a specific college? Why would her life be over if she had to go to Harvard or UCLA instead of Yale? How about Princeton? Hell, how about Georgetown or Syracuse? Is the Ivy League really where she wants to watch sports? Yale’s volleyball teams sucks!
While tutoring Alex she accidentally slips that Principal Ghost Busters and the school nurse are having an affair. This would include inappropriate trysts in the school with a sleeping student nearby. Yeah, that would be Alex.
Weasel Ben makes a triumphant return as he recruits Arnst to help him dethrone the Principle. He gets emails from the nurse’s account and confronts Principle Real Genius (are you getting that these are all the movies I remember him from?). Only Principle Bio Dome (you’ve seen it, too, don’t deny it) shows him the email from Alex asking for a recommendation.
What’s it going to be Dr. Linus? Good recommendation for Alex or the Principle’s job? Ironic, no? He has to choose between power and saving Alex again (although both sides of the dilemma are not nearly as important in the Real World). Cut to Ben moving Principle Die Hard 2’s (what?) name plate over (and me thinking ‘no way!’) only to be interrupted by Alex and Principle Insert 80s Movie Here. Turns out Alex wanted to thank the Principle for writing such a glowing recommendation.
Way to go, Ben! You have a heart, after all!
Quick break while I enjoy a cheesecake brownie. Unbelievably delicious! OK, onward…
Island World: Let’s start with Jack and Hurley (who’s hungry and could use a delicious cheesecake brownie of his own) who apparently slept in the jungle all night. Are they new here? What would possibly make them think that sleeping out in the open on this island was a good idea? Whatever, they lived. Off they go to make their way back to the Temple only to meet Richard Alpert who leads them to the Black Rock instead.
‘Everyone’s dead at the Temple, anyway,’ he matter of factly lets them know. Jack freaks out in his controlled way before Richard tells him that Sayid and Kate weren’t among the bodies so they may have made it out. Jack realizes Hurley knew about this and he admits that Jacob may have mentioned it in passing. Richard tells Hurley not to believe anything Jacob says despite the fact that he’s been dead on about everything so far (you stupid ass, Alpert). Now if you’ll excuse him, he’s going to kill himself.
In the ship, Alpert tells Jack and Hurley that this is how he got to the island, that Jacob touched him with a gift (which is also a curse as most gifts tend to be) which is why he doesn’t age and that he really can’t kill himself. He needs Jack or Hurley to light the fuse of the dynamite he setup. Jack says ‘Fine, mofo. I’ll light it, but we’re going to talk while we wait to get vaporized’. Hurley, being the only sane one left on the island, excuses himself quickly.
Jack, who may not be so crazy after all, explains to Richard that he’s just been to Jacob’s Lighthouse and saw his fancy childhood home in a magic mirror. Understandably this doesn’t sound that strange to a man who has looked exactly the same for 30 straight years. No Grecian formula or anything!
Jack doesn’t think he will blow up because there must be something in store for him besides being blown to bits like Arnst (Island World version) in the hull of a decrepit ship. He’s right as the fuse extinguishes itself before it goes boom. Well, played Jack.
Since Jack seems to have all the answers (careful with that leap in logic), Richard agrees to follow Jack. ‘What’s next,’ he asks. Jack says ‘Let’s go back to where this started’, which means Oceanic 815, Sydney, 1977 or the beach. Or maybe he means that patch of jungle where he first wakes up after the crash? It could really be anywhere at this point.
Ben catches up to Captain Frank, Sun, PAD and Ilana after the carnage at the Temple. Ilana decides to find out who really killed Jacob and gives his ashes to PAD. PAD does his talking to the dead schtick then tells everyone that Ben killed Jacob, which just proves he’s a logical thinker and not truly a psychic.
Ilana understandably freaks out and chains Ben to a tree and tells him to dig his own grave. PAD offers Ben some fruit and informs him that Jacob really did care whether he died or not. ‘Right up until the moment that blade entered his heart he was hoping he was wrong about you,’ PAD tells Ben. File that under ‘rubbing salt in the wound’.
Later on while Ben takes his sweet time digging his own grave (put some back into it, man!), Fake Locke flies up and offers Ben an escape. He flicks his ankle chain off, tells him there is a rifle in a clearing and that everyone leaving the island will be at the Hydra station. Fake Locke wants Ben to take over care of the island once he leaves, so get a move on.
Ilana sees Ben slacking, tells him to get to work only to be totally pissed when he jumps out of the hole and runs for it. They race through the jungle with Ilana running more manly than Ben, until Ben finally sees the rifle, picks it up and points it at Ilana. She drops her gun, waits for him to shoot only to have to suffer through him crying like a boy who lost his favorite toy.
See, Ben was in a rage when he confronted Jacob. He watched his daughter get murdered in front of him because he chose the island (and its power) over her life. He sacrificed and obeyed without question whatever orders Jacob delivered. The worst part was that Jacob didn’t even care what Ben sacrificed in his name. So he killed him. He doesn’t expect her to forgive him because he can’t forgive himself. All he wants now is for her to let him go to Locke.
‘Why Locke?’ Ilana asks.
‘Because he’s the only one that will have me,’ Ben sobs.
‘I’ll have you,’ Ilana replies. Shocked, Ben stares after her while she walks back to the beach, finally scurrying after her like a needy child. He gets back to the beach just in time to witness Jack, Hurley, and Richard return.
Oh, we’re not quite done.
Out in the ocean a cheap plastic periscope pops up, looks around and spots the awkward reunion. An officer at the controls reports that he has spotted people on the beach and asks if they should stop.
‘No,’ replies Richard Widmore, sitting nearby, ‘continue as planned’.
What We Learned
- Jacob touching you is a gift which is what most sexual predators will tell you. Consider yourself warned.
- Jack has apparently accepted his importance. Or can blow out a fuse without anyone noticing.
- Captain Frank was supposed to be the captain of Oceanic 815 but over slept.
- Richard hasn’t aged because he was felt up by Jacob.
- There are only six candidates left (according to Ilana).
- Hurley is a terrible staller.
- Real World Ben also spent time on the island during his childhood.
- The Dharma Initiative was active in the Real World and they know about the island.
- That’s one cramped submarine, Widmore!
- Fake Locke lied to Sawyer about the island. If you recall he told Sawyer that the island didn’t need anyone to ‘protect it’, but last night he told Ben that he’ll need him to take care of it after he leaves.
- Arnst isn’t as dumb as he looks and hates his parking space.
- People touched by Jacob can’t kill themselves. Although they sure can be murdered by someone else, right Locke?
- Ben needs a new optometrist.
- PAD can talk to ashes which must make him a blast to have around a camp fire.
- Ben’s Real World father is very sick. Emphysema maybe? He also has a better relationship with Ben then he did on Island World.
- Even Ilana isn’t sure whether it’s Sun or Jin who is the candidate so she’ll try to protect both of them.
- Real World Alex manages nap time in the nurse’s office. Must be nice.
- PAD found the diamonds from the two nimrods who were buried alive.
- Richard came to the island on the Black Rock and was either a slave or prisoner on it.
- Richard can be a big baby when his entire existence is called into question. Man up, mascara boy!!
- Hurley was cleaning Arnst off his shirt for days after he blew himself up.
- Widmore is one tenacious sonofabitch.
- Power isn’t as important to Real World Ben as it was to Island World Ben. Although, let’s be honest: control over magical, healing, tropical island or Principle of a cash strapped school? Which would be cooler to you?
- Let’s start with the Dharma Initiative. If they knew and populated the island like before, what made them leave? Did the bomb sink the island and force everyone off? Wouldn’t it have killed Little Ben and his drunk ass father since they were still on it when it detonated? Or was there some other effect from the blast that gave people time to evacuate?
- What made Ben’s father leave the island? He tells RW Ben that they should have never left the island which implies he doesn’t know it’s now under water. What caused him to take Ben and return to the mainland?
- Was Michael touched by Jacob at some point? Remember when he was being recruited to join the freighter team he attempted suicide twice and failed both times. When asked about it by Ben’s right hand man, he asked Michael ‘Did the gun jam or did the bullet just bounce off your skull?’
- If the Dharma Initiative was active back in the 70s is it still active in the Real World? Is PAD’s father still working with it? What is their theory as to why the island is gone? Were they behind the sinking of it and it really has nothing to do with the bomb?
- What happened to Jacob and Smokey when the island sank? Are they just holding their breath until the island pops back to the surface? Will the island re-emerge and call all the regulars back to it in a few years?
- Jacob was like a father to Ilana. An ageless, all knowing, magical father who likes touching people. I’m betting she has relationship problems.
- Did Captain Frank miss Oceanic 815 because of his drinking problem? He did have a drinking problem, right? Or am I remembering that wrong? I thought he took the Widmore helicopter gig because he couldn’t get any other work.
- Is Rousseau alive and living in LA with Alex? Is she still nuts? Not sure I could handle a sane and cleaned up Rousseau. Be way too weird.
- While we’re here, who is Alex’s father and is he still in the picture? I’ll assume yes since they never crash landed on the island.
- Is everyone else noticing how good everyone’s lives are because Jacob hasn’t been mucking around in their lives? What the hell, Jacob?
- Is coming to the island like visiting ‘The Jerry Springer Show’? Seems to me everyone that never landed on the island has much healthier relationships than their Island World versions did. Ben and his father, Locke and his father, Sayid and Nadia, I’ll bet Sawyer and one of his parents get along great, as well. Meanwhile, if they get on the island their relationships fray and clash and eventually wind up in a huge brawl with body guards running in to break things up before chairs are thrown. Is there some emotional current running on the island that amps up the tiniest cracks in any personality?
- Can Fake Locke not leave the island unless there is someone to take over his role?
- And why does he need so many people by his side in order to leave? Are they going to be sacrifices? Or does he need a buffer?
- Could it be that Fake Locke merely implying something else with his ‘leaving the island’ talk? Does he die if he gets off the island? Is he referring to one of his group killing him? Is he like Richard in that he can’t kill himself and needs someone to do it for him? Is dying his escape or path to home? Will he still have Smokey powers if he gets into the Real World? Just think how much money that would save on transportation costs. No traffic jams for this dust storm!
- Who are the six remaining candidates? I figure Sun or Jin, Jack, Hurley, Kate, Sawyer and Sayid, but should Sayid still be considered? If Ilana is counting him does that mean he can still make a comeback from Team Locke? Ben’s name was on the Lighthouse wheel, so should he be considered one?
- Speaking of Ilana, what was it about Ben’s apology that sparked her compassion? Could it be his expression of anger over how much he sacrificed for Jacob? Has Ilana sacrificed something equally important in the name of Jacob? I hope we get to see her back story.
- Was there more to Ilana’s offer than meets the eye? Did she somehow realize the Fake Locke had a chat with Ben and figured she could use all the man power she could get?
- Why is Fake Locke taking everyone to the Hydra Station on the other island? Is there a way off there?
- Where did Widmore get the sub? Was it put together with duct tape and toilet paper rolls? How could a billionaire like him not afford something more realistic? How did he find the island? Who else is in there with him besides the soon to be Smokey victim periscope dude? What’s this ‘plan’ of his and is it better than his ‘send deadly mercenaries on a freighter’ plan that worked so well?
- Does Jack truly believe he has been chosen for something special? Or was he hoping to be put out of his misery?
- Anyone else noticing how far people are getting in understanding each other when they are completely honest? If they did this from the start, we could have wrapped this up in three seasons.
- Where the hell is Desmond? I keep hoping his sailboat will show up again with him drunk in the cabin.
- Will Sawyer and Kate have a reunion in the bear cages when they get back to the other island?
Until next week, fellow addicts.
Today's distraction: 10 famous improvised lines. That Joe Pesci's 'Funny how?' moment was ad libbed blows my mind.