What can I even begin to say about last week’s episode, “Dr. Linus?” So far I think this has been the best episode of the season. That’s not hard to believe though since all Ben episodes have been awesome! Let’s get started with the flash-sideways.
This episode was more of a philosophical and faith based episode than anything, and that is why I liked it. Right from the first flash-sideways scene I knew we were in for something deep. Ben Linus, who has a doctorate in modern European History in the flash-sideways, is shown in his class discussing Napoleon’s exile on the isle of Elba. Watch the video below for the full effect. This perfectly mirrors Ben’s life in the original timeline.
We learn that Ben still went to the Island in the flash-sideways timeline but that he and his dad left for some reason and seem to regret it. (In this timeline it seems that his dad actually likes him) What made them leave it? Do they know that it is sunken now? Did they leave it when everyone was ordered to leave before the bomb went off? (Assuming the bomb went off in this timeline)
Ben finds his redemption in this timeline when he does what is best for someone he cares about instead of doing what he needs to do to keep/obtain power. Alex Rousseau is a student of Ben’s that tells him that the principal is having an affair with the school nurse. Ben tries to blackmail the principal for his job, but the principal says that he will not write a recommendation for Alex that she desperately needs to get into Yale if Ben goes through with blackmailing him. Unlike what we would think Ben would do, based on his decision of choosing the Island over her in the season four episode, “The Shape of Things to Come,” Ben backs down from blackmailing the principal thus letting Alex get a good recommendation from the principal.
Now we also have to ask, why is Alex where Ben is in this timeline? I guess if Rousseau and her people really went on their expedition they would have returned home. Still, it was interesting to see that Alex ends up being decently close to Ben. I wonder if this is meant to show that people will always be drawn to each other if destiny says they need to be close regardless of the timeline. Is that why there are crossovers in the flash-sideways? It was pretty cool to see Locke in Ben’s flash-sideways, as well as Dr. Artz.
Now for the original timeline, Miles “talks” to Jacob’s ashes to discover that Ben killed Jacob. (Interesting, I thought, based on another Miles flash-back, he needed a body to talk to a person. Is this an inconsistency? Maybe. However, he told the guy in the flash-back that he needed a body to read the deceased person’s thoughts and that he could not help him since the man had scattered his son’s ashes. Since Ilana presumably had all of Jacob’s ashes maybe Miles could read his thoughts. So it might be an inconsistency, but maybe not.) When Ilana discovers what Ben had done she order’s him to start digging his own grave. She intends to kill him because Jacob was the closet things she had to a father.
Meanwhile, Richard Alpert meets up with Jack and Hurley and claims he is taking them to the Temple but ends up taking them to the Black Rock. He says that everyone at the Temple was dead or gone. Richard, in total desperation tries to go and kill himself. It is revealed that if Jacob touches someone it is a gift. Richard’s gift appears to be some form of immortality. Richard cannot kill himself. I guess Richard is like the race of elves in the Lord of the Rings series. They cannot die unless someone kills them. Does this mean that Richard can’t get sick either? I guess you are not supposed to get sick on the Island anyways, but we have seen that happen.
With all of this being said, when Jacob touches someone does that mean they all get “immortality” or are there other gifts? Remember, we have seen Jacob touch Jack, Hurley, Sayid, Kate, Sawyer, Sun, and Jin. Are they all gifted with immortality? If Jacob touches anyone at all does he pass on the gift or is it a willful touch and thought that is needed to pass on the gift? When Jacob grabbed Ben when he stabbed him does that mean that Ben is now gifted as well? Also, do we think that Jacob has touched others? I think so. I submit that he has touched at least Claire and Christian Shepherd.
The producers have said that Christian Shepherd is “undead.” Now, assuming that Christian is a separate entity from the Smoke Monster (which I have not always been sure about and am still not sure where I stand on this) has he ever been touched by Jacob? He was dead, but when he came to the Island, Jacob’s domain, he was brought back in some capacity. Is this what brought Sayid back? I personally thought that Claire might have died when the barracks were blown up in season four. Did she come back because she had been touched by Jacob? If this is true about Sayid and Claire then we are still missing a point as to why they are “evil” now. All I mean to say by this is that I think that it is very possible that Jacob may have touched others than the ones we already know about. We cannot be too arrogant or ignorant to think that we know who all Jacob has touched.
Getting back to the story, Richard goes into the Black Rock and says that this is the first time he has been back here in all of his time that he has been on the Island. (He all but explicitly said that he came on the ship. Isn’t that frustrating?! I’d go as far to say that he was a slave, but who knows. That would imply that he came to the Island in the late 19th century.)
It was so powerful to see Richard, who has been with Jacob and has followed him for centuries, completely lose his way.
RICHARD: I devoted my life, longer than you can possibly imagine, in service of a man who told me that everything was happening for a reason, that he had a plan, plan that I was a part of, when the time was right that he'd share it with me, and now that man's gone so...why do I want to die? Because I just found out my entire life had no purpose.
Sounds a lot like Elijah of the Bible. In I Kings 18:20-46 God answers Elijah’s prayer and proves that he is the real God. Then, Elijah kills the 450 prophets of Baal. One of the greatest victory stories of the Bible. However, just a few verses down Elijah has lost his confidence and faith and hopes to die, similar to Richard eh? “It is enough; now, O LORD, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.” (NASB I Kings 19:4) A little further down he says some more things, “I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life to take it away.” (v. 10)
Here, Elijah had been a part of some great things and great victories but when things started to go bad he lost his way, only for a time though. Similarly, Richard has been at Jacob’s side for centuries and in a moment of despair he lost his way, but as we already saw, it did not last long.
Jack tried to light a stick of dynamite to blow Richard up since he wanted to die. Jack chooses to sit with him because, after seeing what Jacob wanted him to see in the Lighthouse, Jack is slowly starting to think like real Locke and become a Man of Faith. He feels that he was brought to the Island for a purpose, and it’s not to blow up with Richard. Jack was right and the two survived and went with Hurley to join the other followers of Jacob at the old beach camp.
While Ben is digging his own grave Miles comes to talk to him and tells him that Jacob did care that he was about to die, despite what Ben thought.
MILES: Right up until the second the knife went through his heart, he was hoping he was wrong about you. I guess he wasn't. (Wow. Today is not Ben’s day)
Smoke-Locke then comes to Ben and provides him an escape from Ilana and tells him that he can join his group on Hydra Island. (Apparently Smoke-Locke is also a Jedi because he can telekinetically move things, as seen by the brace on Ben’s leg. Talk about a crossover. I mean, we knew the producers love Star Wars, but wow, a Jedi. Or would he be a Sith? I’m going to go with Sith; he’s got to be bad.) Smoke-Locke tells Ben that when he and his people leave the Island the Island will need a new leader and he wants Ben to do the job. Is this a new leader in his position or Jacob’s position? Or is it a way to tempt Ben to joining his side? It does not appear that Ben is one of Jacob’s candidates so what exactly did Smoke-Locke mean by this leadership position?
Ben tries to escape to the jungle to get a gun left for him by Smoke-Locke to use on Ilana. She chases after him and we see one of what I believe is the most emotionally powerful moments of Lost thus far. I do not feel I can do it justice by writing it so here is the clip below.
It appears that Ben has finally found his redemption. Lost is all about redemption and its characters. This was an amazingly beautiful scene. This whole scene has shown just how much this season is boiling down to good vs. evil. Like Richard, Ben lost his way, his faith. We already saw right before Ben killed Jacob that if anyone he mirrors Job in the Bible.
BEN: Oh... so now, after all this time, you've decided to stop ignoring me. Thirty-five years I lived on this island, and all I ever heard was your name over and over. Richard would bring me your instructions--all those slips of paper, all those lists--and I never questioned anything. I did as I was told. But when I dared to ask to see you myself, I was told, "You have to wait. You have to be patient." But when he asked to see you? He gets marched straight up here as if was Moses. So... why him? Hmm? What was it that was so wrong with me? What about me?!
JACOB: What about you?
When bad things started to happen to Job he dared to confront God about why he had to suffer. God basically tells Job that he is in control of all things and really shows Job how much he does not know. With all respect, in this similar parallel, Ben complains to Jacob how he was been treated and complains about all the bad things that have happened to him and by Jacob’s response it shows that Jacob has always been in control on the Island.
I realize that both the Elijah and Job metaphors are not perfect, but very similar and worth noting. After all, most metaphors are not exact; otherwise it would be considered copyright infringement.
Finally, we see that Jacob’s people are finally getting together. (About time, Locke’s probably already put all his people through basic training.) I am looking forward to seeing Richard interacting more with the other main characters. The episode ended with something big, Charles Widmore on a submarine mere feet from the Island! I am excited to see how he will change the dynamic of the show by being on the Island. Was he the person Jacob was trying to help get to the Island? It is possible, but where is he going? Is he going somewhere for Jacob? Or is he going to Hydra Island to meet up with Smoke-Locke? Is he aware of Smoke-Locke? Widmore told Locke when he was off Island that he needed to get back to the Island because if he was not there then the wrong side was going to win the war. Was this because he knew Locke needed to have his form stolen by the Smoke Monster so he could win the war? These are a lot of questions. I still think Widmore is good! I’m holding to that until further plots develop. I believe Jacob has a different mission for him and that is where he is going to right now.
By the way, please feel free to leave comments below. I would love to hear what you have to say about the show, theories or reactions to anything I say.
In the words of Smoke-Locke “You are so close; it would be such a shame to turn back now.”
Until next week when we have seen a little bit more Lost, Namaste.
Here are the sneak peeks ABC has put out for this week’s episode. Watch at your own risk!