Thursday, March 11, 2010

LOST Season 6, Episode 7 Re-Cap

As expected from an episode titled, "Dr Linus," this week's Lost was primarily about Ben. Rather than dying, as the trailer for the episode implied, in this week's show, Ben is actually redeemed. He came close to dying, but we'll get to that later.

Off the island, we revisit Ben Linus the high school teacher. He is under-appreciated, frustrated, and full of regret for how his life turned out. In some ways, exactly the same way he now feels on the island. But the teacher Ben is actually a better guy overall than the Ben we have all grown to love. He lives with, and takes care of, his ailing father (the father he killed back on the island), and shows special interest in a student named Alex Rousseau. Those two things show a strong tie between the alternate storyline and this one.

Ben's redemption is shown in two ways here. For one, he is caring for his father rather than plotting to kill him. In a discussion with Ben, his dad expresses regret for leaving the island so soon, and wonders if Ben's life would have turned out better if they had stayed. To my knowledge, that was the first mention of the island or the Dharma Initiative in the alternate storyline, and is probably pretty significant. The second form of redemption comes from Alex. She was his daughter back on the island, and he allowed her to be killed in an effort to save his power. Here, she is his student. And when she hands him a piece of information that could cost the principle his job - a job Ben wants - he has to make a huge decision. When he speaks to the principle about the incriminating information, the principle has a counter-offer. If Ben goes through with this play to force him out, he will torch the academic future of Alex (who needs a letter of recommendation from him to get into Yale). Ultimately, Ben sacrifices his own career to save Alex.

Back on the island, the truth of how Jacob died comes to light, and despite Ben's denials, Illana wants him punished. She ties him to a tree and forces him, at gun point, to dig his own grave. While doing so, Locke arrives and tells him that he and his group will be leaving the island. He wants Ben in charge while he's gone. So, he frees Ben, places a rifle in the jungle, and tells him to kill Illana and join him on the other island. It is at this point, that I realized that Locke (or the Man in Black) really is the bad guy, and that Jacob is/was the good one. It was hard to tell for a while, but Locke's manipulation of both Claire and Ben shows a definite leaning toward evil. He wants his obstacles killed, while he lies and misleads his followers. Hard to get more evil.

But Ben couldn't go through with it and tearily explains to Illana why he killed Jacob, how truly sorry he was, and that he was only going to be with Locke because he is the only one who will have him. Illana allows Ben to remain with her, and Ben's island redemption is now underway.

Elsewhere on the island, Jack and Hurley are returning to the Temple when they come across a frazzled Richard Alpert. He tells them that everyone at the Temple is dead, and that Jacob is, as well. The Richard segment is especially interesting and telling. He offers to take Jack and Hurley where they want to go, but instead takes them to the Black Rock (the slave ship loaded with dynamite). It is implied, though not stated, that Richard first arrived on the island on that ship. Since he is white, he was not one of the slaves, obviously. But slave ships stopped running sometime in the late 1800s, so that would make Richard over 150 years old. He explained that Jacob touched him, and since then, he has had eternal life. But now that Jacob is dead, he feels his life is a waste, and asks Jack to kill him.

Jack rigs up a stick of dynamite with a long fuse in an attempt to help Richard die. But rather than lighting it and running, he sits down in order to talk to Richard. He tells him about the lighthouse he saw, and how Jacob has been watching him since he was a child. Jack then tells Richard that he doubts he will die since Jacob put so much effort into him, and he will sit and wait for the dynamite to...not explode. Sure enough, just as the fuse gets close to the dynamite, it goes out. Neither Richard nor Jack can die. Not sure whether or not this proves my earlier assertion that Jack is the new Jacob. Maybe he is the new Richard - an "adviser" to those who live on the island.

The episode closed with Jack, Hurley, and Richard returning to the beach and reuniting with Illana, Sun, Lapidus, Miles, and Ben. Still no word on Jin, Sawyer, or Kate, or on whose side they will wind up. It's hard for me to see them choose Locke, but with Claire in the mix, perhaps that is a choice for Kate. Jin is still injured and staying at Claire's. Perhaps he won't have a choice - he may be a candidate. Locke may force him to remain with him.

This was an excellent episode that went a long way toward explaining some of the history of the island, and it draws the blueprint for how the final battle will go down.

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