Wednesday, May 19, 2010

LOST 056: All Around The Campfire

Here it is. The penultimate showdown of penultimate destiny.

Well, one thing is clear. I was totally right about Widmore being on the Nemesis' side. Yep. Totally 100% correct. I feel vindicated. Move along, move along, nothing to see here.




So, Jack, Hurley, Sawyer and Kate have made the final four, and made it to Jacob Probst's final council. Except this time, water is life, and the winner, instead of getting a million bucks, gets a lifetime gig without pay as protector of a cave full of light. Also there's a monster trying to kill them. So it's more like The Apprentice, really.

So Ben has gone to the Dark Side again, but actually probably not really. However, he certainly probably enjoyed killing the man who had his daughter killed. Nevertheless, with his walkie talkie communication linked up with Miles, as well as his seemingly genuine repentance for the murders of Locke and Jacob, I'm guessing he's just getting close enough to the Hurt Locke-er to figure out where to stab.

So Richard just found out that while he can't die, he can certainly fly. Also, maybe he can die. Probably not, though.

So Miles is still hilarious and cowardly. Right on.

So Jack has stepped up and taken on the mantle of Island Guardian. He even used his free will and stuff to do it. I have to say, I finally like Jack. He has stopped trying to be a hero and now, finally, simply IS one. The fact that he extended mercy to Sawyer, who just recently put on the Jack pants and made a real Jack mess of things, getting two people killed Jack-style, after Sawyer had been riding him for the same flaw, speaks volumes. Jack's come through the other side, and he's better.

So, being the Guardian doesn't mean becoming Jacob. Jacob runs things much differently than his mother did, with different strengths and weakness than his mother had (for one thing . . . sane). Which means that Jackob might run a completely different show. A more open island. Maybe . . . just maybe . . . the light doesn't need to be protected. Perhaps we are witnessing the slow evolution of this demigod position. Mother ruled out of a sense of humans fatal flaws, their inherent evil. She passed that on to her intended heir, but he backed out. Jacob loved humans. Maybe Jackob will actually trust them.

So, Jacob made a monster that wants to kill . . . well, everybody, I think. Luckily, Jacob has access to the power that lets him call the shots, and his rule is You Shall Not Leave While A Guardian Lives. But he also wants to rehabilitate his Dark Brother, because, like Jack, he needs to fix things. So he brings a bunch of messed up people to give one of them the keys to his chocolate factory, and to try to show his brother that people are worth saving. He kind of has to, because the previous Guardian made the rule You Boys Play Nice Now, so he can't kill the Monster and the Monster can't kill him. Not directly. But the Monster got somebody else to kill Jacob. And now? Jacob has gotten somebody else to kill the Monster. Or so hopes everybody who ever lived.

How did that island get on the bottom of the ocean, anyway?

So Sideways Des is getting everybody Island Aware. Hurley in particular seems to have full memory. I am finally interested in Sideways World. For the record, that is far too long into the Season for this to have happened. We're probably going to have to chalk this one up to "interesting failure."

So Sideways Ana Lucia is crooked . . . and also "not ready" for Island Awareness. "Ready" and "not ready" are regular phrases used by the Island guardian, as well, in reference to the glowing cave of wonders. Don't know if this is significant. Just saying is all.

So Desmond is Jacob's failsafe. That's a Purple Sky Event word, and the use of it makes me very very very happy, because maybe that will be alluded to in a way that lets me finally try to make sense of it.

So who let Desmond out? Doubt it was Sayid, since Sayid thought Des was still in the hole. Taller Ghost Walt?

So Widmore's a corpse, and we didn't even get a chance to know what makes him tick. If we want to believe him (and to that I say: yikes) he was a true believer who was tricked off the island by Ben, and invited back by Jacob to deliver Desmond the Failsafe. I think this is sort of true, in that Ben was surely corrupted by the Nemesis in Horace's Love Shack Baby . . . but Widmore was off-island making lucky Pennys and raising a fortune, and got busted for it. I'm guessing that the Nemesis corrupted him too. Certainly off-island he became a violent and manipulative man, sending the murder boat and running a cabal of intrigue in his attempts to get the island back. But, for want of any evidence of a big malevolent plan, I think we may have to take him at his deeply flawed word. Widmore, we barely know ye.

Incidentally, it is beyond question after Ben's talk of "being summoned by the monster" that speculation was correct. Ben met with the Monster in the cabin, and the Monster claimed to speak for Jacob (just as he did when he spoke to Locke as Christian). The Monster told him that Jacob wanted him to be the leader. The Monster told him about Widmore's infractions, and how to get him out of the way. The Monster told him that Jacob wanted everybody in Dharma purged. The Monster told him about a house in the Dharma Barracks, about a secret room with a secret-er chamber, from which he could summon the Black Smoke. Ben spent his adult life thinking that he was Chosen of Jacob. And then he got cancer. And then his daughter was murdered. And he thought Jacob was behind it, betraying him. It wasn't until Jacob was dead at Ben's hand that old bug eyes finally understood.

Do you see it? If you don't, I am sorry. The rest of LOST is going to be very unpleasant for you. This is how they tell us. We have all the information we need to piece it. I will admit it is almost perverse the extent to which they don't give you direct information. I will admit that it goes too far sometimes, or strains credulity. But this is the LOST we've been dealing with all along.

One last little piece. We know that the Nemesis has appeared to people as people they loved or knew. He appeared to Eko as brother Yemi. He appeared to Hurley as figment of the imagination Dave. He appeared to Ben as . . . Ben's mother, who died just as Ben was being born. Doesn't it seem likely to you that it was this same form he took to use Ben as a corrupting influence on the Jacobians? Do you think that this particular configuration may have had some level of resonance for the Nemesis, who's first island apparition was his own dead mother? Do you think he found some especial poignance in this, or, perhaps, did he instead feel a sweet irony in using the same sort of trusting credulity his idiot brother Jacob had put in their own insane mother as a weapon against him?

So delicious. There is so much history to every set. There are so many layers.

I love it.

One last time before the last time.



mike said...

Had to be Claire that let Sayid out of the well, right? Who else is there? Only other possibilities are truly out of left field, like Rose and Bernand or something. Maybe it was Vincent the Dog.

Redshirt said...

Indeed. Loved this episode.

For all of Ben's truly evil ways - is he a serial killer? - he does have some humanity left in him. Clearly, he longs for a family, to be loved and welcome - hence his weak spot of Alex, in both realities. Smokey plays on this clearly when he takes the form of Alex to convince Ben to follow Flocke; thus, I very much like your idea of Smokey using Ben's Dead Mother as the main influencer.

That said, I don't think Ben ever saw anyone at the cabin, Smokey or otherwise - did he not admit he was faking it the whole time, that is until he took Locke there and things started flying around the room?

One final thought: If Widmore is dead, I'm betting Ben will use Miles to read his last thoughts and get the jump on Smokey. I too think Ben is playing Smokey now with an eye for payback - he does realize he's been used, used worse than Locke was used, and I don't think he can accept that.

I also think he genuinely had an awakening, and we'll see Ben's redemption at the end. I have to assume it will end with his death, which he will probably welcome.

I am in shock/awe that this fantastic story is almost over, in such a satisfying way.

mike said...

Meant to say let DESMOND out of the well, not Sayid.

Julius_Goat said...

I think that Ben realized that he'd never met with Jacob, but I also think that Ben had met with SOMEONE in that cabin.

We know for a solid fact that the Nemesis appeared in that cabin to Locke as Christian Shephard and claimed to speak for Jacob.

We know for a fact that the Nemesis appeared to young Ben Linus in the guise of Ben's dead mother.

We know that Ben somehow managed to get control of the Others, and we know that he regularly invoked Jacob's name to do so.

We know that he was aware of a number of key areas of power on the island, such as the donkey wheel, the hidden cavern leading into Horace Goodspeed's old house, and the monster summoning chamber. We know that SOMEBODY told him that the chamber could be used to summon the monster. We know that Ben now understands that somebody who told him this to have been the monster himself.

We know that upon Locke' arrival, his grip on power was somewhat loosened -- and we now know that it was because Locke had first appeared 50 years before.

We know that Locke used this influence -- with an assist from Alpert -- to force Ben to take him to Jacob.

And we know that, of all places on that island, Ben took Locke to that cabin.

I don't think Ben ever seen it go all poltergeist before. It was that spooky stuff that he said he was "just as surprised as you" about. He also claimed to have never seen Jacob, but that's pretty much in keeping with meeting with the Nemesis in the guise of a dead loved one, who tells him he speaks for Jacob, that it isn't yet time for him to meet with Jacob himself, and that he must be "very patient."

Those are the dots, and that's the picture I see when I connect them.

Mike Maloney said...

I missed it the first time, but penultimate showdown of penultimate destiny is GOLD, Jerry, GOLD. I think that should have been the title of your post.

Anonymous said...

Nice write up, but you played it safe. I was hoping you'd include some bolder predictions for the finale.

Julius_Goat said...

@Annon -- Predictions are forthcoming.

Redshirt said...

That was a key line from this past episode - BEN: "This is where I was told I could summon the monster..."

Because, yes, who would have told him that? Not Alpert, as Richard seemed to mostly in the dark about what was going on with Smokey (heck, Richard didn't even know about Candidates!). There are not many other sources of info on the island other than Richard, apart from Jacob or Smokey.

So, simply by process of elimination, it seems likely it was Smokey feeding him this info, and all the other pieces of information you referenced - the Donkey Wheel, for example.

It's just that, apart from the Ghost who visited young Ben when he was in Dharma, we haven't seen it. Yes, it can be inferred.

Since this is rather new plotline (Ben now realizes he's been a patsy, seeks revenge), I hope they touch on the backstory just a bit more in the last episode. But I doubt it, as there's not much time left.

I'm still really curious about the different aspects of all the ghosts we've seen. Clearly, many (all?) of them are Smokey in disguise; but what about the ghosts that speak to Hurley? What about Jacob/Mib's dead Mother?

It's interesting the effect of two Ghost dead mothers: They turned MIB onto his quest (of destruction, it turns out), and Ben (who was also on a path of destruction, until now?).

Julius_Goat said...

I think that the way they can give one character a single sentence that explains so much is my favorite thing about LOST. That could be a one hour show, but they have other stuff to tell us. So they give Ben that line and leave us to do the math. It's really very well done.

Almost certainly, some ghosts are actually spirits. I think we need to look at what they mean to accomplish to make that determination. For example, Dave, who appeared to Hurley and tried to convince him to kill himself, was almost certainly the Nemesis. Michael, who just appeared to Hurley and convinced him to take everybody to Locke, may well have been the Nemesis, or may have just been a spirit. Richard's wife, who pulled Richard away from the Nemesis' influence, was likely a spirit. The off-island ghosts confuse me.

Anonymous said...

Ben Linus' history of dealings with the smoke monster is causing me to have a very difficult time reconciling Jacob's role as "protector of the light" with his "watch people make choices" experiment.

The Others wiping out the Dharma Initiative is consistent with the former, but not the latter insofar as it implies that Jacob was kinda manipulating the Others into doing his bidding. If he was using the Others as his light protecting minions, why on earth would he let the smoke monster infiltrate their ranks?

Redshirt said...

Also, a somewhat contradictory point regarding the Ben controlled by Smokey hypothesis: Richard. Richard WAS working with Jacob the entire time, and taking orders from Jacob to pass on to Ben - Ben even references this during his murder of Jacob ("All those Lists...").

So, it seems odd to consider Ben getting secret communications from ghosts supposedly speaking on behalf of Jacob, AND getting direct instructions from Jacob via Richard.

Now, this could be resolved easily enough I suppose by Ben assuming he was special and had a special line of communication with Jacob, and that he kept this secret from Richard.

But still, someone did indeed tell Ben about the Smokey Calling Portal, and it certainly was not Richard. So! Who knows...

SirFWALGMan said...

Anonymous said...

"and we now know that it was because Locke had first appeared 50 years before."

What episode did this happen in?

Julius_Goat said...

The Jughead. 1956, Locke walked into Richard Alpert's camp, told him he was their leader, and then vanished in a flash of light.

Anonymous said...

Jughead! Thanks Goat. I was starting to go crazy there for a moment.

Redshirt said...

I just re-watched "Dr. Linus" and I have to believe that Ben's redemption, or change of heart, or opening of his eyes (whatever), is sincere. The episode packed a punch, and while Ben is a liar without peer, his despair seemed very, very real. Couple that despair with the character we see in the Alt-Verse (who seems like a genuinely nice person), and I'm betting on Ben saving the day. He's vendetta to avenge Alex's murder is now firmly focused on Smokey, where it belongs.

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Goat, you have much confusion about the meaning of the terms "beyond question" and "solid fact". At least half the thing you claim are either or both of those two terms, are actually not only not beyond question, but also probably incorrect. At best they are pure conjecture, and of course the writers will never be telling us if you are right or wrong.

Word verification: thelasttwoseasonssuckedtestes

Julius_Goat said...

OK. Where I used those phrases:

"Incidentally, it is beyond question after Ben's talk of "being summoned by the monster" that speculation was correct. Ben met with the Monster in the cabin, and the Monster claimed to speak for Jacob (just as he did when he spoke to Locke as Christian)."

I suppose that this is speculation. It would be better phrased as, "Given the evidence before us, it is most likely that Ben met with the Monster in the cabin . . . etc" or something along those lines. There is speculation and then there is speculation. For example, I could speculate that Vincent the Dog is Jacob in disguise. There's not much reason to think that, but I could certainly speculate it. The excerpt above is the kind of speculation that is based on what we have been shown, and it is a pretty reasonable conclusion to draw. In fact, I would say that it seems to be exactly what we are being told. I am not going to connect the dots yet again, as I have already done so many times. If you don't want to see the pattern, that's your option, of course. Basically, it's not something that is central to the narrative, but the answer is there if you look for it, and it adds up pretty well. One of the things that I appreciate about this show is that it gives a sense of a universe larger than the story it is telling. It is complete and whole all the way to the margins.

As for "solid fact":

"We know for a solid fact that the Nemesis appeared in that cabin to Locke as Christian Shephard and claimed to speak for Jacob."

Well, yes. We do know that for a solid fact. It happened in the episode titled Cabin Fever in Season 4. Ben and Hurley and Locke went to the cabin, seeking Jacob's advice, and they found Christian Shephard there, who claimed to speak for Jacob and told them to move the island. The Nemesis has since confessed to Jack that Christian Shephard's appearances on the island were him -- and, in fact, this solid fact -- that Christian Shephard was in fact the Nemesis in disguise -- was, until that revelation from the Nemesis, a piece of speculation on my part, based on the evidence at hand (the Nemesis can assume the form of the dead, the advice that Christian gave furthered the Nemesis' agenda, etc. etc. etc.). At this point, however, it is not speculation even to a casual viewer. It obviously an inescapably is what happened.

This show asks this level of deduction and precisely this kind of speculative analysis from its viewers. I can promise you first-hand that, if you should decide to try it, you will find the experience rewarding. On the other hand, if you don't like that level of interactivity with a narrative piece, and would instead prefer to have the answers given to you pre-digested, then that is certainly a valid reason to not like the show.

My preference is for the way that LOST has done things. There are many many other shows full of expository dialogue scenes if that is your bag.

Word Verification: rewardscriticalthinking

Anonymous said...

My bold prediction:

Let us begin with the assumption that while time is malleable and can fork off into alternate realities, there is some kind of “mainstream” reality inhabited by humans that is subject to universal forces (also referred to on the show as course corrections) and is the focal point of these higher powers. This mainstream reality is the one that “only ends once”, as Jacob said.

We know the Island is the cork that keeps smokie from entering mainstream reality, infecting it, and having the final act end in darkness consuming light. We also know that Desmond is the "failsafe". It follows that Desmond has the ability to permanently seal off smokie from mainstream human reality (much like he permanently sealed off the EM leak at the hatch site, which up until then only had a stop-gap, i.e. a cork).

It would seem that the way Desmond can do this is by making sideways world the new mainstream reality with everyone in it but smokie, essentially sealing smokie off in a lesser reality that is no longer the platform for universal consequences. It’s almost like just as Jack is the new guardian of light appointee, Desmond has been appointed minister of universal course correction. Maybe he’s like the limo driver for the guardian. Whatever it is, I think their functions work lock step with one another. There is reason to believe that Eloise Hawking has held a similar office.