Betsy Warren and Steve Higgins both independently told me of their dimensional theories: that the Lost world we know is the world as massaged by Jacob, and that the Dimension X of Season Six isn’t a world in which Jughead goes off or some sort of wish-fulfillment universe for our merry band. Both say it’s the world in which the Locke-Dressed Monster’s view is ascendant. I dunno about you, but I find that one pretty compelling.
And in last week’s comment section, Lost maestro EJ Feddes came up with a zinger: “And if I’m right that Timeline X is a reflection of the candidates’ deepest desires (which the Locke-Dressed-Monster kinda sorta alluded to), then Kate is the one person who’s formed an altruistic reality. Everybody else that we’ve seen has created or saved a relationship of their own, while Kate forms a world where Claire and Aaron can be together.” That one is making me think a lot about who’s going to end up taking Jacob and Fake Locke’s places. Nice work, EJ.
Interestingly, the official ABC pop-up video of last week’s episode delineates that the flash “sideways” are “what would have happened if Flight 815 had landed safely in Los Angeles.” I think that shows pretty clearly that Jacob’s touching of the candidates at various points of their lives has caused the world that the audience knows and with Jacob’s death all bets are off.
I’m on vacation right now, so I can’t watch the ep over and over and put it on pause and whatnot on my TiVo like I usually do before I assay one of these essays, so I’m going to hop on over to EJ Feddes’ superlative LOST summary and pretend like we’ve cracked open a really good bottle of Bruchladdich together and are sitting in our respective divans commenting thusly. I suggest you all click that link, too. Sorry for biting your style, Eeej, but desperate times, etc. Feddes is The Man when it comes to Lost commentary, so I’m sure he won’t mind.
EJ loves Ben as much as I love Lapidus, so it’s no surprise he has an in-depth look at this episode. He begins by noting Ben’s lecture on Napoleon, as my notes do: “It was on this Island that everything changed… He was allowed to keep his title as Emperor, but without any real power, the title was meaningless. He might as well have been dead.” But EJ thinks it refers to the Locke-Dressed Monster, or possibly to Jacob. Me, I think the meta-observation refers to Ben, himself. I have to admit I didn’t think that until the end of the episode, but, come on! How many times have you watched an episode of Lost thinking one thing at the start and having it turned around by the end? Bruce Willis was dead the whole time!
And speaking of Bruce Willis, have you ever seen a little art house flick he once made called Die Hard? The jerk-off media guy his wife punches at the end is played by William Atherton, who most folks remember as having played basically the same role as the dickless EPA functionary Walter Peck in Ghostbusters. He once again plays the same thankless role here. If you want your main character to appear sympathetic without lifting a finger as a storyteller, cast William Atherton opposite. That guy has so much baggage he needs one of those airport SkyCap guys to help him haul it all around with him. Anyway, let’s get to the episode:
1. POUR! SOME! SUGAR! ON ME! I just thought it was delicious that not only is Locke the substitute teacher at the school in which Ben is living his life of quiet desperation, but that Artz is the science teacher there as well. Ben gives Artz some of the old steel: “I know you’ve given up; I refuse to.” And Locke… “The Substitute” here at school, and on the Island, for Ben, as leader of the Others, says… “If the man in charge isn’t, maybe you should be.” Delicious might be too coarse a word.
2. SO YOU THINK YOU’RE A ROMEO; PLAYIN’ A PART IN A PICTURE SHOW. Ilana gives Miles a bag containing Jacob’s ashes; Miles confirms Ben killed Jacob. While revealing Ilana’s relationship with Jacob, this one also confirms Jacob really is dead, Hurley really is talking to dead guys, and, later… that Ilana and her team, at least, if not all of Team Jacob really are the good guys. When the Locke-Dressed Monster appears and sets Ben free, telling him there’s a rifle in the woods and to shoot Ilana first because she won’t hesitate to kill him… Ben gets the drop on her and… wants to explain. Man, if you’ve been watching this show and that didn’t make you well up a bit… I hope at least the reflected light on Ben’s face as he said it made you think him sincere. Ever since the angel kids of a few episodes back put the fear of… well, God, I suppose… into Fake Locke with their spooky appearances and their mysterious pronouncements and their haloes of bright light about their heads and shoulders and whatnot, well… If you’ve been watching this show you don’t need to see all the Black Rock references to know there’s White Light references right behind. Ol’ Ben is getting set for redemption, he is. “Right until the second the knife went through his heart, he was hoping he was wrong about you.” Maybe there’s still a chance for you, Ben. Maybe there’s still a chance.
3. HERE’S A LITTLE DITTY, ‘BOUT JACK AND DIANNE. I loved seeing the juxtaposition of Ben taking care of aged Roger Linus and the appearance of Alex Rousseau as one of Ben’s most gifted students, because this blew open a hole in one of the major assumptions of this season, and gives credence to Betsy and Steve’s theory that Dimension X is Fake Locke Lane to our usual Jacob Street. Alex mentions that her mother “is working two jobs just to pay our rent” which means Danielle Rousseau (if not actually ever having been to the Island, at least) has been raising her daughter in LA. So, OK, maybe they got off before Jughead exploded, and maybe Ben left with the women and the children when Sawyer and Miles and Chang and everyone were getting the women and children off. But Roger Linus was d-e-f-i-n-i-t-e-l-y still on the Island when Jughead was treated so poorly by Juliet and her big ol’ black rock of doom. So the audience has to assume Dimension X isn’t a result of Jughead so much as one of those cosmic resets that we’ve been suspecting all along. Kate did end up in the trees away from everyone else, after all, and that kind of thing’s a sign of a reset.
4. THAT’S THE WAY UH HUH, UH HUH I LIKE IT UH HUH, UH HUH. Some awesome Lapidus stuff this week, notwithstanding tough-guy quips like, “You make friends easy, don’t you?” to Ben. The standout hadda be when Frank told Ben he was supposed to have been the pilot of 815 but missed the whole thing simply because he had overslept. “Comeon,” says Ben, incredulous. You know, as if there was much more going on there with a rough night getting in the way of Destiny. How different would have my life been? asks Frank. Ben reminds him the Island got him in the end. And, boy, does Jeff Fahey give his look off that line an interesting read. He gives Ben an “I see what you did there” sort of smirk that really made that line sing. I hope there’s more in store for Frank than just a safe return and the thanks of a grateful nation, because Fahey is really mining the small vein he’s been given.
5. YOUR FATHER WANTED YOU TO HAVE THIS WHEN YOU WERE OLD ENOUGH, BUT YOUR UNCLE WOULDN’T ALLOW IT. I literally cannot wait for the Richard Alpert flashback episode, because… well, forget the seemingly immortal aspect of the character, forget the tie into the history of the Island with the widely-accepted supposition he’s former crew of the Black Rock… it’s that the character routinely answers direct questions like the one from Jack last night: “Where’d you come from?” with “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” Like Hurley, I’m going to be disappointed with the reveal if it’s anything less than a time-travelling cyborg vampire from the future. This character is really outside the norm in a show where all the characters are outside the norm.
6. MAMA’S GOT A SQUEEZE BOX, DADDY DOESN’T SLEEP AT NIGHT. “I don’t need your money; not when there’s two jablones named Nikki and Paulo over there buried alive with eight million in diamonds on their chests.” Oh, Miles; finally that talking to dead people thing has put you on the map.
7. I ONCE HAD A GIRL; OR, SHOULD I SAY: SHE ONCE HAD ME. When Richard says, “There’s something I have to do…die. , I was struck by how Christian’s death starts the ball rolling, and that both Locke and Jacob HAVE TO DIE before the next stage of the narrative can move forward. I’m going to have a real whole lot to say, personally, about this thematic device when the show is over.
8. YOU DIDN’T THINK I WASN’T GOING TO MENTION THIS, DID YOU? When the flickering light of goodness fleets by Ben’s visage as he’s confronting Ilana and says with the same amount of conviction he’d mustered at the graveyard that he’s sorry he murdered Locke that he’s sorry he’d killed Jacob… Ben has one green eye and one blue eye.
And… a special Spectacularry Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Award goes out to our old friend Harris O’Malley, who wanted to discuss finer points of last week’s Lost episode on my Facebook page but complained when sent to the relevant article here that had pre-answered his points and anticipated his criticisms that he was entering “TL; DR territory.” For those of you who still use English to communicate, that’s short for “Too Long; Didn’t Read.” Anyone know the Latin for “Go back to Twitter, ya jablone; we write more than 140 characters at a time here” in Latin? I’d like to inscribe that one along the bottom of all the bronze Whiskey Tango Foxtrot medallions we award from now on.