Follow the yellow brick road…

Now we’re talkin’. There were a whole slew of things to mark off the “what does it all mean?” checklist tonight, which I’ll get to shortly; but of course, it wouldn’t be a Lost episode if we didn’t get a whole new slew of questions that need answering down the line.

As has become readily apparent over the course of the season, Ben has a tenuous hold over his band of Others, and at no time had that become more evident than in tonight’s episode. Ben could see control of the “tribe” being wrested away from him by Locke, right in front of his eyes. No one came to Mikhail’s aid when Locke beat him, no one questioned why Locke was able to force Ben to take him to see Jacob, and as we saw last week, they all see Locke as a messianic savior to lead them out of the tyranny of Benjamin Linus. Unfortunately, we also know Ben is a master tactician, always staying eight moves ahead of everyone else. Locke found this out the hard way, taking a bullet in the gut for his trouble.

While I’m certain Locke isn’t gone (the creative staff wouldn’t dare rob the show of its’ most interesting character), I’m wondering if he might be dead or well on his way to dying. People who’ve died have a funny habit of showing up anyway on the island. Jack’s dad, Kate’s dad vis a vis Sawyer, Eko’s brother, and now Ben’s mom. Maybe an Obi-wan Kenobi-like resurrection is in store for Johnny boy. “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” Okay, the nerd quotient in this post is fast reaching unprecedented levels. I did mention Locke being a messiah-like figure earlier, and how better to illustrate that than rising from the dead 3 days from now? (The Others plan to raid the castaways camp in a day or two, which will likely give us our season finale, making the season 4 premiere the perfect time for Locke to emerge from his tomb.)

I really like what they did with Ben’s character in the episode’s flashback, finally presenting some cause for the ruthlessness he displays in his treatment of his “subjects” and the castaways. After years of psychological abuse at his father’s hands, Ben became one, sick puppy, so much so that he willingly helped the “Hostiles” wipe out the entire Dharma Initiative in The Purge. Pretty twisted. One wonders what became of Annie. Was she wiped out in The Purge, or did something happen to her long before–did her death or departure send Ben over the edge to the point he became capable of mass murder?

Quick Hits

  • I guess we have to start with Jacob, who we see tantalizing glimpses of in his spartan cabin in the jungle. Based on the brief shots, he appears much like a biblical figure, sporting long hair, a beard and robes. He’s also got a talent for invisibility, only “allowing” himself to be seen by those he sees fit. Or maybe he’s kept hidden by those who have him under their control. “HELP ME” is a curious thing for the apparent ruler of the island and the Others to say, isn’t it?

    As Locke surmised, perhaps Ben really is in control of things on the island after all, keeping Jacob–the intangible grounds for his rule of the Others–locked away from prying eyes.

    I’m guessing that line of sand (or whatever magical material it is) Ben and Locke crossed over on their way to Jacob’s shack has some way of keeping Jacob right where he is.

  • Turns out the enigmatic Dr. Alpert is one of the original inhabitants of the island, at least relative to the Dharma Initiative. Young Ben coming across him in the jungle was certainly unexpected, as I’m sure we all figured Alpert was one of the men Ben recruited back on the mainland.

    It’s looking more like Alpert was something of a mentor to Ben as he grew up–both of them biding their time before they could wipe out Dharma in The Purge. Based on present circumstances, however, it looks like Ben’s long since shed any influence Alpert may have had over him, the latter now a reluctant subordinate. I do wonder why Ben and Alpert ended up bringing more people to the island, as the Hostile group Alpert was originally a part of seemed to want the island for themselves (so much so that they wiped out the Dharma trespassers).

  • Hey look–another eye shot!

  • Those Apollo candy bars must be among the most popular of all-time, at least in the Dharma ranks.

  • We meet Horace and Olivia Goodspeed early in the episode, the couple who introduced Roger and Ben to the Dharma Initiative and brought them to the island.

    I don’t have much to say about the two hippies, but Horace’s apparent specialty in the Initiative was mathematics:

  • Olivia’s specialty was teaching, and we learn from her that there’s a dormant volcano on the island, shortly before the Hostiles attack.
  • Roger, before Ben disposed of him, was the “Roger Work Man” whose skeleton Hurley and Sawyer found in the Dharma bus several episodes back.

  • Ben shows us the code to deactivate the sonic fence, for what it’s worth:

    Ben also has no qualms about using white rabbits for experimentation–whether to test sonic fences or prove a point to Sawyer (Ben brought a drugged white rabbit painted with the number ‘8’ into Sawyer’s cell early this season).

  • Odd that Jacob has a portrait of a dog in his a shack, eh?

    My only conclusion is that the dog is actually the ultimate power behind the Island. I can’t wait for that episode.

Other Stuff from Other Sites

  • NOTHING! I’ve got it all covered…for now. The only thing worth mentioning–maybe–is that a lot of people are speculating that Jacob looks a lot like Locke with a wig. I’m gonna say, not so much.

Until next week…

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