Namaste! Wednesday's episode of Lost fills in the time gap between when Locke leaves the island with Christian Shephard's help via the frozen donkey wheel to the time when "Jeremy Bentham" dies. We see Locke's unsuccessful attempts to convince Sayid, Kate, Hurley and Jack to return to the island. Plus, we have new Others! Like Ben and Juliet before them, the sinister, clearheaded Caesar and Ilana have a mission, it seems, but they're unlikely to be forthcoming about it any time soon, what with all the pointed questioning and firearms. I also have a few theories! So let's get to "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham," shall we?
We open on Caesar rifling through a Dharma office. He doesn't seem satisfied with the old copies of Life magazine and the random papers bearing notations about time and space, but when he finds a gun strapped to the underside of the desk, that puts a smile on his face. Ilana is there too, and though there's a suspicious vibe between them, they appear to be working toward the same goal. He tosses her a flashlight (or is it?). They exposit that Roxanne was scouting just south of here, that there's a very large group, and that they found a man in a suit.
On the beach, Suit Man is revealed to be a very-much-alive John Locke, and he's surrounded by a very large group indeed. What, did they stock the plane with New Others? I could have sworn they were the only ones on the plane last week, but you are all smarter than me, and saw other Others. The group on the beach found some boats, but one is missing because "the pilot" and "some woman" (I'll explain the need for quotes below) took off in one. The next morning, John reveals to Ilana that he remembers dying.
HORSE WITH NO NAME
Whoosh! We're back to the scene when John left the island, and like Ben before him, he is spit out into the Tunisian desert, gruesome leg injury intact. (So yeah, it's not a spike sticking out of his leg, it's a — heave! — bone.) Locke sees that there are surveillance cameras, and in short order, a convenient band of Bedouins arrives to ferry lame Locke off to a hospital. (For what it's worth, their truck's license plate reads "342, something in Arabic, 6346." Loosely translated, I believe it says "Carlton and Damon own your asses until 2010, suckers!")
Meanwhile, back at Tunisia General, the mysterious Matthew Abaddon is there! A painful-looking procedure — which includes sedation, biting down on a stick and the nausea-inducing realignment of the stray bone — renders Locke unconscious. When he comes to, Charles Widmore is there, just like that. "Nice to see you again, John," he says, which sends my mind reeling about how the Lostaways actually are changing history, no matter what Daniel Faraday says. Widmore remembers meeting Locke when he was just 17 (an event that Locke remembers happening four days ago), but it's unclear if Rousseau remembered Jin, since she was nuttier than a fruitcake.
It's at this point that I wonder, if Widmore had all his secret-squirrel cams in place, why didn't he immediately apprehend Ben when he took his similar trip through the "exit"? It's possible that he set up the cameras after Ben snuck out, whenever that was, since we've now discovered that time passes in radically different ways on and off the island. A matter of days after the island moved, three years have elapsed in the outside world. So who knows when Ben actually arrived, right?
It's also at this point that I pick up a figurative stick and draw a figurative line in the figurative sand — figuratively speaking. On one side is Charles Widmore; on the other is Benjamin Linus. Choose a side, people, because it appears that it's these opposing nemeses who will define the remainder of the series. As difficult as Darlton has made this choice, I'm thinking you'll agree with me when I say that it's making me nuttier than Rousseau to not know who to believe.
Widmore exposits that Ben had him exiled, and tricked him into leaving the island. "I was their leader," Widmore reveals. Locke, in turn, reveals that Ben had no influence on his decision to leave the island, that he chose to leave, which makes me laugh heartily.
After all, Locke's mystical frame of mind is such that his gullibility knows no bounds. Think for a second about all the dubious people that John has chosen to believe: his father; those drug dealers and that grifter; Matthew Abaddon; a spectral Walt; Ben; Mr. Eko; Richard; Daniel Faraday; and Christian, to name several. He hasn't made a single decision without someone telling him that it's his destiny or whatever. It's at this point that I have to re-emphasize that Darlton is messing with us, presenting us with one unreliable source after another.
Widmore tells Locke that the Oceanic 6 lied about what happened. He, as Ben did to Jack a few weeks ago, tells Locke that he has to convince them all to go back, which Locke already knows, but wonders why Widmore would be working toward the same goal as, say, Ben. "Because there's a war coming, John, and if you're not back on the island when that happens, the wrong side is going to win," he drops like Jughead. Feel free to speculate who the imminent warring factions might be. For now, I'm going to make like Switzerland and sit back and listen.
It's Widmore that sets Locke up with his alias, and jokes that he named him Jeremy Bentham after the British philosopher since his parents obviously had a similar sense of humor. He gives him an international phone, a dossier containing the Oceanic 6's whereabouts and the services of a chauffeur, Abaddon. "What makes you think I'm so special?" Locke asks Widmore. "Because you are," he replies, which isn't a very inspiring send-off.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
First stop: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where Sayid is working with the selfless folks of Build Our World erecting houses or something. He tells John he was manipulated by Ben, and that Nadia was murdered nine months after they were rescued. So he says no, he is not going back.
Next stop: New York, New York, the city so nice they named it twice, where Locke finds Walt Lloyd, Michael's son, who is all growed up. "The boy's gotten big," Abaddon says, and we all laugh with the producers' little wink at Malcolm David Kelly's inconvenient growth spurt. There's a nice moment where you are meant to remember the heartwarming rapport the pair shared back in the day, and it makes me realize how far we've all come.
Walt reveals that he isn't surprised to see Locke because he's been dreaming about him, specifically him on the island wearing a suit surrounded by people who wanted to hurt him (uh-oh, that sounds familiar). Locke lies and tells Walt that last he heard, Michael was on a freighter near the island. "The boy has been through enough," Locke tells Abaddon when his driver chides him for not being very good at the old recruiting racket. It's kind of sweet, but the fact remains that Locke is 0-for-2. Oh, also, Ben is there tailing Locke and Abaddon.
Next stop: Santa Rosa, Calif., where Locke has a funny exchange with Hurley. "So you didn't make it. It's cool, no biggie," Hurley says, obviously fully adjusted to his dead-seeing abilities at this point. Surprise! Hurley is not going back to the island, and when he realizes that creepy Abaddon is with Locke, he freaks out and runs away. 0-for-3, dude.
"What exactly do you do for Mr. Widmore?" Locke asks Abaddon, who reminds John that they've met before, when Abaddon-as-hospital-orderly convinced Locke to go on a walkabout in Australia. Locke remembers. "I help people get to where they need to get to, John," Abaddon responds ominously.
Next stop: Los Angeles, where Kate is all: N-O. For added effect, she belittles John. "I think about you sometimes. I think about how desperate you were to stay on that island, and then I realized, it was all because you didn't love anybody," she spits. Locke tells her about Helen, but Kate is still all: Nein, Non, Nay, Negatory, Nyet.
Next stop: Santa Monica, Calif., where Abaddon takes Locke to Helen's grave. Bummer. Abaddon says that she died of a brain aneurysm, and that she's where she's meant to be, and nothing Locke could have done would have changed that. Maybe this show has heightened my sense of paranoia, but I have a feeling that this whole scenario might have been staged for Locke's benefit, and that Helen is actually married to an orthodontist in San Luis Obispo or something, since "reunited and it feels so good" would be an unwelcome distraction to Widmore's Operation Go Baaack.
At this point, Abaddon is shot, Pulp Fiction-style, splat, all over the windshield, and appears to be dead. (I say appears because, well, it is Lost after all, and after speaking with Lance Reddick last week, I have bigger ideas about Matthew Abaddon, ideas that a simple bullet cannot slay. I mean, the guy's last name isn't Smith.) A suddenly nimble Locke hops into the front seat and burns rubber. Just as he's about to make a clean getaway, he gets in a car accident, and he's off to the hospital again!
Final stop: Jack's hospital, and obviously the good doc isn't happy to see his faith-blathering nemesis. They argue about fate vs. probability like they're at a meeting of the Tight-Ass Pretentious Philosophers Club, but to no avail. Jack's answer to the "lonely old man" is no, even after John tells him that his dead dad says hey.
SUICIDE IS PAINLESS
Then we see Locke write his fateful note to Jack. He throws the phone away, and unpacks the electrical cord and tools he picked up at Suicide Depot, makes a really weak-looking noose, and... there's a knock at the door, and it's Ben.
A clearly frantic Ben convinces Locke to get down from his perch, and they chat for a bit, allowing us to get Ben's side of this convoluted story. Ben says that he killed Abaddon because it was only a matter of time before he killed Locke. He reveals that Widmore is using Locke, and that Widmore is the reason that Ben moved the island. "I had to keep him away so you could lead," he offers, and my BS detector starts beeping.
"There is no helping me; I'm a failure," Locke whines. "Couldn't get a single one of them to come back." Ben, seeing an opportunity to appeal to Locke's ego, echoes Widmore's assertions that Locke is special. He also tells him that Jack booked a ticket to Sydney, which I think we're supposed to understand is the beginning of Jack's "try to crash on the island" plan that Sad Beardo Jack undertook at the end of Season 3.
Ben suggests that they try talking to Sun, and John (foolishly?) reveals that Jin is alive, tells him about the wedding ring, and lets it slip that Eloise Hawking is the person who can help them get back to the island. "Do you know her?" John asks. "Yes, John, I know her," Ben replies, and with the reflexes of a jungle cat, strangles and kills Locke dispassionately.
In the next scene, Michael Emerson channels Martha Stewart-as-CSI, and stages a suicide scene so real, so devoid of any conflicting evidence, it's no wonder the newspapers didn't reveal Jeremy Bentham's cause of death. "I'll miss you, John; I really will," Ben says as he departs the scene of the crime. These final words make me wonder if Ben actually believes that returning to the island will resurrect Locke, or if he offed him so that he could regain control of The Others once they return.
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT
Back to the "present" (ha-ha) on the island, John tells Caesar about the Dharma Initiative, and that he was on the island for 100 days and then came back. Since Locke is good at saying puzzling things, Caesar has a puzzle for him. He explains that he saw some people — including Hurley — disappear from the plane when that white light flashed.
Here's a thought: Up until this point, one could assume that once whatever happened on board Ajira Flight 316, all the survivors would end up in the same place — or rather, at the same time. But what if the Oceanic 6 operates under different rules? What if Kate, Jack, Sun, Sayid and Hurley all flashed back to the 1970s, as their meeting last week with Jin would seem to indicate, and all the others on the plane — Ben, Locke, Lapidus, our new friends Caesar and Ilana — flashed somewhere else in time entirely?
Although Lapidus is essentially the secret seventh member of the Oceanic 6 (like Stu Sutcliffe to the Beatles), he wasn't in the original crash, which would negate his requirement to participate in the "make everything seem like it was before" plan. And while Ilana reports that "the pilot" took one of the boats, we all know that every plane has two pilots. What do you think? I really like the idea, but at this point, I'm not sure what stranding these two groups in time would accomplish, narratively speaking.
Locke, on the other hand, doesn't need my stinkin' theory. He says he thinks he might know how he came to be there, but that he has to find his friends. Caesar says the long-gone pilot has the passenger manifest, but also that there are other injured survivors. And... hello! There's Ben among them, all bloodied as usual. "You know him?" Caesar asks. "Yeah, he's the man who killed me," Locke replies. Thump!
ABC apparently doesn't buy my two-separate-flashes theory, as there Sun and Ben are in the same shot. Damn! They also tease what appears to be a Sawyer-Kate reunion, but is surely not, it being a misleading network promo and all.
What did you think? More importantly, who do you believe is telling the truth amidst all this nonsense? Was it good to see Abaddon and Walt again? And for whom do you think our new friends Caesar and Ilana are working — and to what end?
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