Center of Attention

You’ll have to forgive my brevity, as I’m a bit under the weather with influenza at the moment. No thematic discussions or exhaustive, pseudo-scientific analyses this week.

island
You can’t get shots like this on a soundstage

Read on for the Quick Hits.

Quick Hits

  • The concept of time was messed with sufficiently last week that it shouldn’t necessarily be a surprise that the show returned to the flashback format this week. I like that the writers don’t feel bound by any such plot device. The first three seasons were crafted to set up a certain set of perceptions and assumptions. The final three will explain what’s actually behind those perceptions and assumptions, and conventions must be broken to do so.
  • We’re introduced to another in the seemingly endless supply of Dharma stations. I’d guessed last week that it would be The Orchid, but that turned out to be incorrect. Instead, it’s The Tempest, the island’s power station/mass execution method.

    tempest

    The now-familiar and up-to-date Dharma station tally:

    • The Swan (imploded)
    • The Flame (exploded)
    • The Pearl (buried)
    • The Hydra (de-animaled)
    • The Broom Closet (emptied)
    • The Staff (doctored)
    • The Arrow (dirtied)
    • The Looking Glass (hydrated)
    • The Tempest (de-gassed)

    I’m holding off on adding Orchid to that list until whenever it eventually appears in the show proper. (The Dharma video in the YouTube link above, for those who don’t pay meticulous attention to my Lost posts, was aired during a ComiCon convention out in San Diego last summer, at which some of the show creators and actors appeared.)

  • “The Tempest,” of course, is one of William Shakespeare’s best known plays.

    Prospero, a potent magician, lives on a desolate isle with his virginal daughter, Miranda. He’s in exile, banished from his duchy by his usurping brother and the King of Naples. Providence brings these enemies near; aided by his vassal the spirit Ariel, Prospero conjures a tempest to wreck the Italian ship. The king’s son, thinking all others lost, becomes Prospero’s prisoner, falling in love with Miranda and she with him. Prospero’s brother and the king wander the island, as do a drunken cook and sailor, who conspire with Caliban, Prospero’s beastly slave, to murder Prospero. Prospero wants reason to triumph, Ariel wants his freedom, Miranda a husband; the sailors want to dance. [IMDb]

    Feel free to apply that to our island and the Jack/Kate/Sawyer/Juliet love quadrangle.

  • We now know how Ben was able to mass murder the members of the Dharma Initiative during The Purge, using The Tempest as a mass-dispersal unit for the same toxic gas he killed his father with. One wonders if the original purpose of the station’s dispersal capabilities were meant for such deadly designs, or if it was simply a way to water plants. A safety measure in place to guard against the “Hostiles” that the Initiative regularly reckoned with on the island? (By the way, did anyone notice that the word “hostile” was uttered three times in tonight’s episode?)

    burn

    One may also wonder why Ben had Goodwin working on the station (remember his chemical burn). Routine maintenance or preparations for another dispersal? This occurred before Flight 815 crashed on the island, so who would Ben have been planning to use the gas on? A story yet to be told, perhaps.

  • The Tempest logo, for completeness’ sake:

    tempest

  • The freighter crew certainly has more than their fair share of intel about the island, right down to the existence, placement and purpose of all those aforementioned Dharma stations.

    map
    Does this mean “UNKNOWN?” is uncharted?

    Where did that level of knowledge come from? Does Charles Widmore have his own man on the island, much like Ben’s “man on the boat?”

  • Speaking of Widmore, we have our confirmation that he’s the head (or a major part of) the conspiracy seeking the island and doing whatever it takes to make sure it’s the only group that finds it and then exploits it.

    widmore

    I say “confirmation” knowing full well that the video shown Locke came from Ben, the master manipulator. Who’s the bad guy? I’ve halfheartedly maintained that Ben might end up being the real “good guy,” and I’ll stick with that for now. Mr. Widmore’s the megalomaniac everyone needs to be worried about for the moment.

  • Introducing the Other psychotherapist, “Harper.” We find out she’s Goodwin’s wife, though the marriage has likely been on the rocks for a while, evidenced by Goodwin telling Juliet that he’s been sleeping on the couch for more than a year. I don’t have much more to say about the character itself; what interests me is her appearance to Juliet and Jack in the jungle, preceeded by the mysterious whispers various castaways have heard a few times. Harper told Juliet that she was sent to deliver a “message from Ben.” That message was that she needed to kill Faraday and Charlotte and prevent them from releasing the gas. This turns out to be a lie, but more importantly, how in the world is Ben communicating with the remaining Others?

    harper

    We do know Ben has all kinds of stuff hidden in his place, the money, the passports, the suits, the wall safes, the underground dungeon, etc. It stands to reason he might have some communications equipment hidden somewhere in his cell. Or is the explanation more of a metaphysical nature? Psychic communication? Harper’s sudden, split-second disappearance makes me think it wasn’t actually the shrink but ole’ smokey himself, Cerberus.

  • The combination to Ben’s safe holding Widmore’s video and file: 36-15-28. Significance? (I got nothin’.)
  • Some brief discussion of the dying pregnant women phenomenon on tonight’s episode, with Juliet telling Ben that the fetuses’ immune system appears to turn against them as soon as it’s triggered in the second trimester. Does this somehow tie in with the island’s selective healing powers (the chief examples being John Locke being able to walk while Ben’s tumor grew malignant)?
  • Whatever kind of guy Ben turns out to be (valiant island defender or delusional psychopath), Juliet is sure to throw in with whatever side is trying to take him down. Ben’s having sent Goodwin to his death cemented her position.

    corpse

    I wonder if this might put her at odds with Jack at some point? That assumes Jack will eventually come around to Ben’s way of thinking, which I have a feeling he just might, if he turns out to be one of the “good guys.”

  • Whichever way Ben swings, he’s got Locked wrapped firmly around his finger. Locke freed Ben after the Other told him about Widmore and the identity of his “man on the boat.”

    ben free

    I keep saying it’s Michael, and I think the fact that Ben told Locke he needed to “sit down first” before he told him is further evidence of that. There’d be no reason to use such a phrase unless the identity of that man would be a shock to Locke. I suppose that could mean the man on the boat is Frank Stallone or Jesus himself, but I think Michael is the most likely candidate to garner that kind of forewarning.

  • Ben mentions two of the kidnapped Tail section kids, Zach and Emma, who were taken because they were on “the List.” Jacob’s list. No analysis; just reiterating.

Other Stuff from Other Sites
Nada; though I enjoyed Doc Jensen’s always-enlightening article from Entertainment Weekly Online.

So…right…excuse the “brevity” of that sprawling post. See you next week for the pre-hiatus finale. I’m off to consume mass quantities of antibiotics and orange juice.

Updated: March 7, 2008 — 2:32 am

2 Comments

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  1. As always, thanks for all the goodies I miss.

    As for the hiatus finale…next week already? I’m already going into withdrawal!!!

    As for who is Ben’s man on the boat? hmmm, whoever it is, is obviously being manipulated by Ben, for good or for bad….

  2. Word has it I was wrong about next week being the finale; they’ll go to episode 8 before the hiatus.

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