Friday, April 25, 2008

LOST, season 4, episode 9

On the beach, they find the body of the ship's doctor with his throat cut, then hear the claim that the doctor is fine back on the ship, catch Davies in a lie, and force him to admit they are not here to rescue them. Locke's camp is attacked by soldiers looking for Ben, Ben's daughter is killed in front of him when he refuses to cooperate, and so he unleashes the smoke monster on them all. In a flash-forward possibly involving time travel, we learn how Ben recruited Sayid, and we see him confront Widmore -- Widmore "changed the rules" when he killed Ben's daughter, Ben cannot kill Widmore for some mysterious reason, and so Ben is now setting his sights on Penny, as Widmore has his sights on the island.

I had low expectations for the first post-strike episode, but this was as good as Lost has ever been, one of my favorite episodes yet. The only weak point was the fakeout discussion that turns out to be about Risk. I have seen that gag before on Buffy and I am pretty sure LOST has already used it in an earlier episode (when the discussion was over the golf game). I think they just wanted Hurley's "we're all going to die" for the commercial.

The body of the doctor may be bringing up the "copy" problem from the teaser video for season 4 -- but that is out of my scope this week. Two things about the beach plot. One. Nice that Bernard, the guy who built the SOS, would know morse code; that was a nice call-back when a lesser show could have just had some random guy know morse code out of nowhere. Two. I think the fact that Jeremy Davies still has a tie on is one of the best costume design choices in recent memory -- in an instant, I know what that character is all about.

With the degeneration of Locke, Ben has become my new favorite character, and not just because of his awesome hair, his array of exciting outfits on display in this episode, and his collapsable baton -- what an interesting choice for him, non-lethal but cruel being the point I think. His motionless reaction after his daughter was killed was stunning -- he was genuinely surprised that his verbal tricks could not get him out of this. He pulls of kicking ass in the desert equally well. The calling of the Smoke Monster was a thing to see.

"He changed the rules" is a great new mystery, and simply stated. Widmore's claim that the island has always been his and that he wants is back is intriguing; perhaps he is the origin of Dharma, and their feud is from when Ben killed all the Dharma people and went native. Why Ben cannot kill him I do not know, but I wonder if they are not both going to be overwhelmed by the true "owners" of the island in the end. And you have to love that Ben appears in a winter parka in the desert shaking -- was he transported through space and/or time like the polar bear? And why is he wounded and wearing Halliwax's jacket (Halliwax is the name of one of the Dharma guys right -- the guy from the videos, I think). Just the costume choice creates this whole mysterious back-story I look forward to hearing about.

Finally, I have one of my favorite visuals that encapsulates everything I love about Lost. Ben, in the nice suburban house, goes through a door that opens into a minimalist grey metal bunker of James bond suits and passports, then opens ANOTHER panel behind the suits to reveal ancient stone carvings. That is everything LOST is about, in 45 seconds.


Stefan Delatovic said...

Oh my what a fantastic episode.

The traditionalist in me wants to resist my love of both Ben and Desmond as they are not original cast members, but I can't help it.

Their stories are entertaining in and of themselves, and somewhat unfairly receive a bump in interest given their pivotal roles in the mythology.

It's a further testament to the unconventional turns in Lost's writing that a conflict between these two 'latecomers' - the inevitable fight over Penny - is such a major point. It is for me anyway.

Penny. Will she save everybody and her heart or be beaten to death with a baton? Tune in next week!

Ping33 said...

I haven't seen much of this...

In the last month I went from not having seen Lost at all to being totally caught up.

I haven't read all of your entries Geoff but there is a fairly glaring aspect to the show which I don't see much discussion on, here or elsewhere.

It's fairly clear to me what the nature of the island is: It's faerie-land. Between the stealing of children, the displaced time and the healing effects it has every single one of the standard faerie tropes. Ben is the human become king ala the children in the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. The fact that he was not "born on the island" as he first claimed is a key point, but like the kids in Narnia he was "born again" on the Island. Under this reading: Jacob Becomes Oberon.

Why can't women become pregnant? The long stated inability for Faeries to have children and necessity for them to steal human ones.

When did Clare's child become safe? When he was baptised! Then he was no longer at risk of being stolen (and replaced with a changeling?)

How to easily explain the Dharma logos elsewhere in the globe? multiple entry points to the faerie realm. Why, in the flash forwards is everyone (except Kate) Miserable? Because they've 'eaten the food' and left a part of themselves in the faerie land and are now can not feel complete in the mundane world.

Lost ticks all of the boxes religiously, perhaps there hasn't been much written about this because its so damn obvious... Maybe I missed the critical entry on this very blog. But I can't get into any kind of discussion about the mysteries of the show without mentioning it.

Gene Phillips said...

The thing that gets me re: Widmore is--

If he's affiliated with "Original Dharma," why doesn't he know where the island is?

Someone in the outside world knows its location well enough to make food drops there. Whether it's an entity that's of Ben's creation or some Dharma force with which he's made truce, ya never know--