Saturday, March 21, 2009

LOST REVIEW: Ep. 5.9 "Namaste"

I’m just 2 hours into a 13 hour Chicago to Tokyo flight. We just hit a patch of turbulence and were asked to fasten our seatbelts. So far I have not seen any flashes and no one around me has vanished from the plane. It’s time to re-watch this last episode of Lost and write my thoughts as I go. I certainly have the time.

Before I start, I just have to say that when I first watched this episode I felt a little underwhelmed. It didn’t seem to “do” as much as I have gotten used to the past few weeks on Lost. But yesterday, when I watched it a second time, it felt better to me. And reading Jeff Jensen’s column reminded me of a lot of cool stuff in this episode. There is actually more going on than I originally caught. So this will be my third viewing (and I’ll watch it again with Tracey when I get in to Tokyo tonight). Hello, my name is Glenn, I’m a Lost-a-holic.

Future Knowledge

People keep doing stuff because they know that other stuff is going to happen. Perhaps the most clear example of this so far has been Faraday’s explanation to his young mamma (a few episodes back) that the reason he knows the H-Bomb Jughead will not go off is because he has seen 50 years into the future of the island, and the bomb didn’t go off. That is the same kind of future knowledge that – to me – explains why Ben told Widmore last season “you and I both know I can’t do that” when Widmore asked if he had come to kill him. I think it also explains Ben’s shock about the death of Alex, who he had (I am guessing) seen in the future, and his disbelief in the statement that “he [Widmore] changed the rules.”
I mean, at this pointin the show, is there really any doubt that Ben knows that certain things that are going to happen in “the future?” How many times has he hidden little kits for himself, or left outriggers concealed on the beach, so that he can use what he needs when the time comes.

Of course he doesn’t know everything – there is still information that he has to extract along the way (i.e. that Ms. Hawking was the one in Los Angeles to point them back to the island, thank you John Locke), but I think he knows about certain significant events and certain significant people. And I think he uses that knowledge to prepare for the things he needs to prepare for (i.e. building a runway on Hydra Cage Island in 2004 to prepare for an emergency landing he will be a part of in 2007) and to prevent (or try to prevent) things that are not exactly in his favor (i.e. turning the donkey wheel himself to move the island instead of leaving that up to John Locke).

Each week we see more and more examples of this future knowledge, and these examples are key. You think this explains the names on “Jacob’s list?” (or, more specifically, on “Ben-the-man-behind-the-curtain’s list.” Yes, I still think that Ben has somehow “imprisoned” the real Jacob, who is an agent of “the Universe,” and part of Ben’s motivation is to maintain his control over Jacob – keep him under wraps). This may even tie into Ben’s at least partial control over the smoke monster. But more on that to come.

Frank Lapidus

It struck me in this episode that Lapidus will play a more significant role in the ultimate end-game of Lost than I had previously expected. Imagine this scenario with me –
Lapidus has some key role in a significant future event that Ben is aware of, but Ben doesn’t want him to play that role. So in 2004, when flight 815 is leaving from Sydney to Los Angeles, Ben arranges – somehow – for Frank to NOT be on that plane like he was supposed to be. In Ben’s mind, he knows that Lapidus is supposed to be on the island, so he keeps him from getting there (or at least he tries, but you can’t really change the course-correcting universe, can you?).
Widmore, however, also has this future knowledge of key people and key events, and to Widmore, having Lapidus on the island (as some part of this future “war” he told Locke about) is in his best interest, so he has Abaddon and Naomi recruit Lapidus as the helicopter pilot for the freighter folk. So, thanks to Widmore, Lapidus gets to the island like he’s supposed to. Chalk one up for destiny.

But Ben once again Ben is wiley, and he finds a way to get Lapidus off via the chopter and the Oceanic 6, and he moves the island before Lapidus can get back, so boom, score another one for Ben.

But Widmore is also wiley, he does not give up, and he arranges Lapidus to be the pilot on Ajira 316, to get him back to the island where he is still supposed to be. And now he is there again, and he are getting closer to whatever role he is supposed to play.
Now, what that role is I don’t specifically know. And he will probably be a minor piece that is sacrificed in some bigger domino mousetrap move by one side or another. But it looks to me like he is yet another pawn being moved in and out of place – a part of this great chess/mousetrap game of Lost.

The Players

Now I mention Widmore and Ben as the two main opponents in this chess/mousetrap analogy, but I still think it is really “The Universe” (aka fate, destiny) that both men are fighting against, and control of the island is what is at stake. How else do you explain Kate, Jack, Hurley, and Sayid being yanked out of time and placed in distinct, separate locations in 1977? I don’t think Ben or Widmore have the power to do that.
But the Universe… Why not?

So what is the ultimate role for these four? Why are Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sawyer, and Juliette “meant to be” in Dharma in 1977 and Sayid is “meant to be” seen as a hostile? Surely it was no accident that Sayid ended up in a different location than the other three. Why did the Universe put him where it did? It will be interesting to see the answers to these questions come in to focus. And I expect that in the end, it will explain why Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sawyer were singled out in season 2 as the four “names on the list” that Michael had to bring to Ben in order to free Walt.

The Numbers

I didn’t catch this the first time around, but if you listen closely to the radio in the cockpit when Lapidus’ co-pilot is shouting “mayday, mayday” you can hear what sounds like possibly Christian Shepherd’s voice (or perhaps a masked, deeper Hurley) repeating “4-8-15-16…”
Why are the numbers being repeated over their radio broadcast? What is the source?
Remember, this is what was being broadcast from the radio tower when Rousseau’s team shipwrecked onto the island and that was then replaced by Rousseau’s “help me, they’re all dead” French-Lady message (circ. 1988), which Jack and co. shut off in order to get their message out to the freighter folk (circ 2004). So if Lapidus and the Ajira 316 guys are really in 2007, why is that broadcast repeating as if it had never been removed? Please don’t tell me that this is an alternate future, where Rousseau’s team never came to the island or changed the numbers. But what is really going on?


That is Sayid’s last name, right? I read Jeff Jenson’s column on He thought that Alana (or whatever her name is – the woman who had Sayid in handcuffs -- the one who looks like Jordin Sparks) Jeff though that Alana said “Sarah” when Caeser woke her after the crash. I think she said “Jarah,” and this is evidenced by her reaction – turning to see that Sayid is gone, and reacting like she just lost a partner rather than a prisoner. I suspect that she works for Widmore, or maybe Ben. Does this mean that maybe Sayid is in league with her, working for Widmore (or Ben), too? Maybe Widmore. More on this later.


Interesting that Sun is not ”meant to be” in 1977 with the rest of her O6 companions. What role does she have to play? And do you really believe that Ben doesn’t know where they went? All he says is, “How would I know?,” which is typical Ben-speak smoke-screen diversion for “you have no idea all the things that I know, and I’m not going to tell you.”

Sawyer and Jack

I like seeing Sawyer more confident in his leadership abilities and seeing Jack a little more humble as a team player, but they still have a ways to go, don’t they? One of my favorite all-time moments in Lost came in Season one, right before Sawyer got on the raft (such a long time ago!) when he told Jack that he had met Jack’s father in Sydney. When Jack asked “Why are you telling me this?” Sawyer said, “Because Doc, you’re the closest thing to a friend that I’ve got.” I like that rivalry-friendship between them, and I saw hints of it in their initial reunion in this episode, but they are still not quite bosom buddies yet, are they? I want them to be. Their friendship is now more interesting and meaningful to me than whichever of them ends up playing house with Kate. Can I start a group of fans called the Jawyers? (just cuz I like that better than Sack).


Loved finally seeing this guy. He knows the island, and he knows Dharma. This is the guy who drew the fluorescent map on the door of the Swan station (that as of 1977 has not been built yet, and appears to be an important secret they plan to keep from the hostiles). I can’t wait to see who it is that will tell Radzinski that he needs to draw that invisible map, where he needs to draw it and why he needs to draw it. There has got to be some information on that map that will be key to the end-game of Lost – something that Locke needs to know that Ben will not know that he knows. And I expect that at least one of these guys have been put back here in 1977 to communicate that information to Radzinski.

I think this also will explain those yellow hazmat suits (or whatever they’re called) that Radzinski and Kelvin (and eventually Desmond) were wearing whenever they ventured outside the Swan station – because Radzinski escaped “the Purge” and wore the suit anytime he left the station as protection against poison gas residuals or possibly another poison gas attack. I am really looking forward to seeing his storyline develop.

And did you make the connection that he was manning the Flame communications center that Patchy ends up inheriting years later after the purge? (and that Locke ends up destroying). But where was the cow?

Juliette and Sawyer

I wanted to see them talk more about Kate’s return. I especially wanted to see Sawyer reassure Juliette that she’s the only gal for him and that he really does love her. I really like Juliette and Sawyer together. Can I start a group of fans called the Jawyers? (oh, Wait….)

The Snoring Dude in 4A.

There is a guy across the isle from me right now who is one of the loudest snorers I have ever heard. I have earphones in and I am watching Lost and I can still hear him over the sound of crashing planes, explosions, andsmokey-clicking-esque VW Busses! I wish I could record it and play it for all y’all (“y’all…” I am country now). This guy should be in Guinness.

Desmond and Aaron

Okay, I’m watching the part where Sun is following Ben through the jungle, and something just caught my eye. I had to go back and freeze frame. Did anyone else see Desmond hiding behind those trees with little Aaron holding his hand and reaching out as if he were being reunited with his mother Claire? This was just as Ben was confronting Sun.

Ok, hang on – I just made that part up to mess with you. Sorry. Blame it on the snorer. It is so incredibly distracting.

Baby Ethan

Man I dig Reiko Ayelsworth. I loved her as Michelle Dressler in 24. She’s just cute as a button. In a good way. The Amy character is a bit weaker for her than Dressler, but she was really pretty laying there in that hammock, so no complaints from me. And we now have confirmation that she is in fact Ethan’s mommy. Do I get points for guessing that right a few weeks ago? I know it was a popular pick.

My guess is that Ethan will be recruited by Ben and will turn against Dharma, although it is possible as someone suggested last night over tamales (yes, Sarah, I’m looking at you) that baby Ethan will leave the island like little Charlotte and will later be recruited back by Ben. Maybe. But my guess is that he lived on the island his entire life. How interesting that the woman he helped recruit (Juliette) would be the woman who delivered him at birth. I wonder if he knew.

Juliette looks just like…

Which made me wonder if Juliette looks just like… well… Juliette. Remember Harper the Harping Psyche lady who told Juliette that it is no surprise that Ben has a thing for her because “you look just like her?” Well, this is quite a stretch, but wouldn’t it be something if little adolescent Ben gets a little Bennie-Margine crush on the sexy auto mechanic Juliette back in 1977? Yes, indeed I think it would be something. I’m not sure what, though.

It would be even more of a stretch and even more more of a something if little Ben actually got with the much older Juliette and they had a little thing together, so that later in life when he says “you are mine!” he really actually means that from experience. Creepy, huh.

But not nearly as creepy as it would be if he actually got her pregnant and she died as a result of whatever it is that starts killing pregnant women. How ironic that would make it then if part of the reason Ben recruits her in the first place is to solve the mysteriouos conditions of her own past/future death.



(way to go little Ben!)

Hurley’s Keen Knack for Exclaiming the Obvious

I loved it when Hurley shouted “Sawyer’s back” when the loud clunkity Dharma van drove up behind him. Thanks for letting us all know Hugo. We were wondering who else it might be in that Dharma van out in the middle of nowhere. (And thank you Craig for the laugh).


Jack: “Is he here?”
Sawyer: “Not anymore. “
Cool. I’m still hoping he makes it back to 1950’s to build the Lamppost Dharma station in Los Angeles that helps them find the island in the first place.

Hello Frank

Did Ben and Lapidus ever meet before this moment on the island? That “Hello Frank” from Ben seemed awfully casual. Curioser and curioser.

The Swan

It was cool to see the model for this future button-pushing Dharma staton on Radzinsky’s table and to hear the intrigue behind where they are building it. My guess – it is outside the boundaries of their treaty, and it is in the same location where Jughead was buried, and it will harness the H-Bomb’s power in little 108 minute burts – or something.

Smokey and Christian

Is it a coincidence that we glimpse and hear the smoke monster just before we hear the whispering voices and see Christian Shepherd creak open the door to the rec room, so reminiscent of the Cabin door creaking open for Hurley back in season 4? Is Christian a manifestation of the smoke monster (and isn’t the smoke monster somehow controlled by Ben?) Could this shed light on Ben’s connection to Jacob and the power that he holds over him – even if it is only in part?

This is a fuzzy area for me. Let me take a stab at a few things:

When Locke goes into Jacob’s cabin for the first time, he crosses over this ring of ash. He watches Ben put on a little show in front of an empty chair and then he turns to leave but hears a voice say “help me.” So from this, we can assume that Ben dows have some kind of power over Jacob, but it is not complete, as Jacob can still get a brief message to John. Something that means John must be shot and left for dead, removed fro m the course of his destiny. But that didn’t work.

When John goes into Jacob’s cabin for the second time, he sees Christian Shepherd, who says he is not Jacob, but he can speak on his behalf. By this time we have learned that the cabin can move and appear to people if it chooses. So again, whatever power Ben has over Jacob,Jacob still has some wiggle room.

But what is this “power” of Ben’s? I expect it to be tied to the ash circle that we saw, but have we ever seen Ben exercise power of something really really powerful? Just the smoke monster. Just once. And he came out of his little hidden Egypt room covered with ash.

Now in tonight’s episode, we see the smoke monster before we see Christian. Whether or not they are one in the same – a physical manifestation of smokey – theydo seem to be in league with each other. We saw something similar with Mr. Eko and his “you-speak-to-me-as-if-I-were-your-brother” Yemi. So it seems quite possible that there is a connection between Jacob-Smokey-Christian, and that part of that is under Ben’s power/control, but not all of it. Make sense? Not sure. We’ll see.

Phil the Security Lackey

This guy has definitely got some Stephen Erastus Knudsen in him. He would pick up a little old lady by the armpits and drag her kicking and screaming across the street just so he could fulfill the cliché “help little old ladies across the street (whether they want to or not) Boy Scout mentality. Letter is more valuable than spirit to Mr. Phill. Or so he seems. The perfect candidate for disillusionment in a grand but flawed ideal, and a turn to a regimented dark side (Shout “heya” if you feel the Spirit).

Sawyer and Kate

The only thing I am really interested in with these two is what he whispered in her ear before he jumped out of the chopper and what she was doing for him in LA that she wouldn’t tell Jack. I expect it has something to do with his daughter, Clementine. I’m just waiting for that confirmation.

Little Ben

They sure did a great job of casting with this kid. It almost makes up for the young Rousseau and young Ms. Hawking incongruities (well, unless you are Tracey, in which case nothing will make up for those two casting abominations). So at this point, do you think Ben is already working for the Hostiles? I get the sense that he is, and that our security Phil is a Hostile turncoat, too. He seems a little too anal to just let some random kid walk in and see this prisoner alone behind closed doors with a brown paper bag in his hands (Phil doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who would believe it was really a sandwich without taking a bite out of it first) .

I love the look in little Ben’s eyes when he asks if Sayid is “a hostile.” And the way he says “I’m Ben” and Sayid says “It’s nice to meet you Ben” makes me wonder if Sayid is still working for Ben, and if adult Ben in 2007 prepped him for this moment (and that young 1977 Ben has some future flash awareness from his adult self that this guy is here to help him). Interesting stuff.

But the other possibility—and the more I think of this the more I like it – is that Widmore pulled Sayid aside, and explained to him that he has to go back to the island, where he will encounter a young Ben (and possibly a young Widmore). And Widmore has entrusted Sayid with a mission that he needs to carry out against Ben, or to thwart some Ben move somehow. Of course it would have been a role that – in 2007 when Widmore had this conversation with Sayid – a role that Sayid would have already have played in 1977. So he’s not changing history. He’s just ensuring that whatever happened still happens. I’m interested to see if this theory bears any fruit.


So, as you can see, what initially seemed rather boring and mundane actually turned out to contain a lot of arcane Lost minutia jam packed at the seams. Or maybe that’s just me. Of course those of you with mere mortal minds will continue to struggle to connect all the pieces and fill in all the gaps that require, on average, a minimum commitment of five viewings per episode going all the way back to season one; and of course you would need the immense brain power to retain and manipulate all the information once you see it; but alas, the lonely life of a brilliant red headed zombie.

All I ask of you mere mortals is that when we discourse all things Lost in those spare moments I deign to give you, that that you listen completely and attentively to my full well-constructed and in-depth answers before launching into your next barrage of silly haven’t-quite-been-paying-attention questions. Is that too much to ask?

But alas, that requires patience and capacity that the mere mortal…

Blah blah blah. I still have eight (8) hours to go on this flight. I’m really just trying to drown out the amazing display of raw power and stamina emanating from Edward Scissor-throat in 4A. A mere mortal’s esophagus would be a shredded bloody mess after all that cacophonous grating.

Yawn. I’m bored. Time to take my ambien.

Until next week, possibly on my flight back to Tokyo from Shanghai (what, me brag?)


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