Great episode, but I’m already building my hopes up WAY TOO HIGH for next week. I love Ben-centric episodes, and next week looks like it’s gonna be awesome. But I like the way this week played out. Sayid shoots Ben and that leads him ultimately to Richard Alpert and the others. I didn’t see the role that Juliette (and Kate and Sawyer) would play in it, but that made perfect sense and gives some significance to the “what are they meant to do – why did the island put them in 1977?” question. I wonder what will become of Sayid and I am very disappointed in the use of Miles, but I’ll get to that eventually.
Amazing performance. When she said her tearful goodbye to her sleeping little blonde haired boy it made me want to go in and hug my own sleeping little blonde haired boy. It is nice to see the backstory and to understand the intended motivation for her return to the island. I can’t say that I buy it 100%, but they had to get her back to the island somehow, and this seemed like the best way to do it. But I don’t believe that finding Claire is her #1 objective. She went back for Sawyer, plain and simple. She realized that Aaron was her crutch in a Sawyer-less world, so she went back. Not sure why she still got the love on with Jack, unless that was her flawed way of closing that book, but it does explain her former comment, “just because I’m with you doesn’t mean I am WITH you.”
I liked seeing Cassidy again – I have always loved how her super power is to sniff out BS. Yeah, Sawyer ultimately duped her in a long-con, but she is smart and can tell when people are lying. She’s cool. I like her. And I liked her cynical take on Sawyer’s heroic helicopter bail-out. And she was right on the money. He wasn’t being a hero to just be a hero. He didn’t want to go back and deal with the Jack-Kate thing, so he bailed. Good call. I think he acknowledged as much with his reaction to Kate when she confronted him with it.
Hurley and Miles
Great dialogue about time travel and some direct nods to the audience about how confusing it can be and that you just have to get used to it or stop existing (i.e. go watch American Idol) in which case it doesn’t really matter. I thought that the “ah hah!” moment was a little forced – why didn’t Ben remember Sayid when Sayid first tortured him? Who’s to say that Ben didn’t remember Sayid? Do you think that Ben is the kind of person who reveals all the cards in his deck? That Ben/Sayid question to me is a non-issue, and I certainly hope that Richard Alpert’s “he won’t remember this” is not the way the writers intend to answer Hurley’s question.
And Miles – man, this guy has got some serious talent as an actor and such an amazing super-power as a ghost whisperer. There is a reason he was selected to be part of the fantastic freighter four, but all we are seeing from him is “yes sir, okay sir” second fiddle to LeFleur. This guy is being wasted, and I hate watching it happen. So much potential, just not enough time to let it play out I guess. Too bad. I want to see more Miles. It’s a good dilemma to have, I guess, that you have characters like Miles and Desmond and Hurley and Faraday and Ben and Richard and Widmore, etc etc, who you really want to see more of but just can’t quite squeeze into a 45 minute show every week. Anyway…
First of all, the barging into Jack coming out of the shower was way too Dharma-90210-ish for me. Not what I watch the show for. But the earlier moment when Juliette realized that there was “another way” that little Ben could be saved – that was cool. And it’s about time she starts leaking a bit more of her “The Others” knowledge, although the more I think of it, the more frustrated it makes me. I really like the Sawyer-Juliette pairing, although Tracey really hates it. And as I was trying to justify it to her after we watched the show, I realized that I have only been thinking about their relationship one way – the way that Sawyer had changed as a result of it – that he could be more open, less con-man, more mature and secure and be accepted by Juliette for who he is with all the dirt and baggage that goes with it. But when I started thinking about that in reverse, it didn‘t quite click for me. Has Juliette told Sawyer everything about herself, all her dirt and baggage? Wouldn’t you think that after three years playing house together that Juliette would tell Sawyer more about who and what the hostile others are all about? Maybe she has and we just haven’t seen it yet, but other than “they speak Latin and so do I” there hasn’t been a lot of info coming from Juliette, and that is frustrating, so I was glad to see this moment when Ben is pointed towards Richard.
I was a little surprised that he did not scrub up and go fix little Ben. I would have thought that a guy who is slowly sipping Locke’s “maybe I really am special” or “maybe the island really does need me here for something” cool-aid would jump at the “this must be why fate put me here” rationale. And if you follow the domino line of possibility, maybe Jack could have changed some things if he had saved Ben. Then Kate would never have conspired with Juliette, and Ben would never have been taken to Richard, and the island never would have healed little Ben, and Ben would never have turned into a forever-loss-of-innocence one of “them.” Or would he?
I don’t normally do this, but this time I want to respond directly to EW.com’s Jeff Jensen, who tried to point Ben’s eventual turn to “the dark side” to a single random incident (or a series of single random incidents). He walked us through a little domino logic, and for the most part I agree, but I think he is forgetting the bigger picture (or, at least, he doesn’t see the bigger picture the same way that I do – which, by default, makes him wrong):
The way I see it is this: If Aaron didn't ask for some liquid refreshment to parch his creepy little throat, then Kate — a.k.a., Ms. ''Can't tell my (fake) kid 'No''' — wouldn't stop at the supermarket. If Kate didn't stop at the supermarket, she wouldn't get distracted by Aaron's change-of-mind (Me want juice box instead!) and an ill-timed phone call from Jack. If Kate didn't get distracted, then she wouldn't lose track of Aaron when he wandered off, dazzled by the pudding pop display. If he didn't wander off, then Kate wouldn't get rattled when she found the boy walking hand in hand with a dead-ringer (from the back at least) for Claire. (Pale, long blonde hair, wayyy too much make-up.) If she didn't get rattled, then she wouldn't get the epiphanies that finally compelled her to leave Aaron with Grandma Littleton, go back to the Island, and take it upon herself to save the life of her future foe in order to save the Star Wars generation from timeline-collapsing paradox. Aaron, we owe you one.
Well, yes, and no. Did we learn nothing two seasons ago from Desmond and Charlie? Remember what Ms. Hawking told us – that the Universe has a way of “course correcting.” Some things are just going to happen, no matter what we do to try and change it. Maybe Kate will ignore Aaron’s whining and not go to the supermarket, but that doesn’t mean that something else won’t trigger the emotions already welling up inside of her to return to the island and do whatever it is that she is supposed to do. Little details may change. But significant events will not.
And this, to me, is the essential brilliance of Lost. The show has always been about exploring the mysterious space between fate and free will, between faith and reason. The way those questions are explored is fascinating, and most importantly, incredibly entertaining.
So here we are, with a confirmation that both Widmore and Hawking are currently (in 1977) playing leadership roles among the hostiles. Ben is joining them, and we know that eventually he will unseat them, trick them off the island, and strip them of their power. And it looks to me that “The Universe” actually wants this to happen – it has gone to a lot of trouble to put Sayid and Kate and Sawyer into the past to make this happen and that is significant. Is Ben really a bad guy? Will Kate’s sympathy in saving little Ben be similar to Bilbo Baggin’s sympathy in sparing Gollum – an event that will pay big dividends in the final chapter of Lost? I say yes, but in Lost’s case, we still haven’t quite seen “The Precious” – this “magic box” on the island that makes all your wishes come true. But perhaps next week we will. Can’t wait.