Some time to kill

Now we’re talkin’. Much of the hiatus since Lost’s last episode a month ago were spent without much thought about the show, something I think was precipitated by the inconsistent quality of the season thus far. I’d almost forgotten there was a new episode until this morning, my interest had waned so much. Well, give all due credit to the brain trust behind Lost, because after tonight’s payoff-of-sorts, I’m back to firm footing on the grounds of Lost fandom, counting the minutes until next Thursday’s episode. I’m all for understated character development most of the time, but it’s nice to get explosions, gun battles, black smoke freight trains, time travel, and a towering hurricane of wanton death and destruction every once in a while too.

smokey
Hell yeah!

Quick Hits

  • Desmond’s not the only Lostie “unstuck in time,” though Ben might have some control over unsticking himself, as he somehow vaulted himself 10 months into the future (October 24, 2005 to be exact), landing smack dab in the middle of the Sahara Desert.

    sahara ben

    Judging by his Orchid Station parka, however, he looked to be ready for a colder clime than a scorched desert. Unsticking one’s self in time isn’t an exact science, perhaps. What we should immediately recall, regardless, is our introduction to Charlotte, one of the members of the Widmore expedition/assault mission based on the freighter. We met her in Tozeur, Tunisia as she helped unearth the remains of a long-dead polar bear sporting a Hydra Station collar. Maybe his departure location was in colder environs…a polar bear habitat perhaps? That could explain the cut on his arm.

    I’m going to leave further time travel discussion for a future episode (the near-future, mind you), as I think we’ll be visiting The Orchid in the next week or two.

  • By now, you should all have watched the Dharma video for The Orchid station sixteen times, since I’ve provided links to it in more than a few posts. Thus, the name on Ben’s Dharma/Orchid parka should be familiar, as it’s the one of the many aliases of everyone’s favorite Dharma orienteer, Dr. Edgar Halliwax (or Marvin Candle or Mark Wickman, or whatever candle-themed namesake you prefer. His varies depending upon which Dharma station orientation video you’re watching).

    halliwax parka

    Okay, really, if you still haven’t seen the Orchid video, here it is. Go ahead and watch; I’ll wait.

    There. Happy?

  • The Kakuna’s doctor washes ashore on the island, bearing a slit throat and some shoddily stitched-up scars on his face. This despite the freighter’s Morse coded response to Daniel: “what are you talking about?; the doctor is fine.”

    dead doc

    So, two questions. 1) Who killed the good doctor and where did he get the scars he must’ve received prior to his death? 2) How can the doc be in two places at once? #1, are the scars are the result of Captain Gault’s strong disciplinarian hand (for a guy the crew seems fearful of, he’s been pretty tame so far), while the death came at the hands of Michael, Desmond or Sayid. Sure, why not.

    Now, #2, Faraday’s shown us there is a significant time discrepancy/bend between the island and everything outside its’ sphere of influence, so the reasoning would be (assuming the person on the other end of the Morse code is being honest) time jumps forward when travelling off the island, and jumps back a bit when travelling to the island. The Orchid station must take advantage of this, somehow harnessing the power of the space-time barrier between the island and the real world and transporting someone like Ben not only to another location, but to another time. Alright, enough time travel discussion already! Save it for next week; I’m sure Faraday will provide a concise explanation to our castaways (and us).

  • Jack looks like he’s got more than just a stomach bug. He seemed to be holding his back when Kate first saw him in distress. Is he developing a tumor on his spine, a la Ben? I’m reaching here, I know, but that was the first thing that popped into my head when I saw that.

    jack holds his back

  • I know that hiatus was a bit long, so maybe my memory’s failing me, but who the hell was that guy carrying wood in Otherville?

    wood guy

    (edit: I forgot there were others from the 815 group that joined up with Locke as well. Forgive me, Doug and Jerome.)

  • The Sayid/Iraq stuff was decent, but it was more of a plot device to fill in some pieces of the story’s puzzle than anything of truly great significance. The Nadia facet of the storyline is now pretty much all filled in; Sayid finally found and married her, only to see her murdered at the hands of an assassin Ben wants him to think works for Widmore. I think we know Ben a little too well to believe he didn’t control every aspect of the events that led up to Sayid committing himself to Ben’s cause.

    ben smiles

    So the Sayid-centric episode we saw weeks ago all has background now. Ben used Sayid’s grief-turned-anger to turn him into his own, personal assassin. The whole affair felt a bit like watching Anakin Skywalker turn to the dark side, inevitably succumbing to the influence of the evil Emperor.

    Nerd.

  • More timeline stuff. I know, I know, enough with the time travel stuff. The concierge at the Tunisian hotel didn’t recognize Ben, but certainly had a reaction to the name on his passport (“Dean Moriarty,” which we saw several episodes ago). He’s got a reputation there, apparently. Ben told her that “it’s been a while” since he was last in Tunisia, and this makes it apparent he’s used the space-time-travel device in The Orchid before.

    What starts to make my head hurt is that, while Tozeur, Tunisia may be the only place The Orchid can transport someone to (his eventual destination was Iraq, after all), whoever uses the station may be able to choose WHEN they want to go to. So, how did Ben arrive at the choice of 10/24/05? Talking too much more about this is going to lead to the kinds of time paradoxes that rend the space-time continuum into pieces. I will not let my humble blog destroy the universe, so I must stop now.

  • Morbid as this may sound, kudos to the writers for having the stones to kill Alex. She was the kind of character that might’ve outlived her usefulness had the show not set an end-date in stone. When you’ve got hours of television to fill, new storylines are at a premium, and they might be inclined to keep her around to fill an episode or two. And then we’d have missed out on Michael Emerson’s riveting reaction to Ben’s adopted daughter’s death.

    ben

    I’m wondering if we’ll get to see an equally-affecting reaction on the part of her mother, Danielle. (I told you last time, I don’t think she’s dead quite yet.) Mommy’s gonna be angry.

  • Speaking of angry, as Ben starts to compose himself after Alex’s death, I got the feeling that he was going into “HULK ANG-RYYYYY!!!! HULK SMASH!” mode against Widmore’s team of mercenaries. While he didn’t turn into a giant green hulk in the throes of ‘roid rage, he did unleash the full destructive might of Cerberus upon them. He disappeared into yet another hidden room inside the house, opening a hieroglyphic-etched door to what we can only assume is the lair of Cerberus. Was it then a matter of flipping a few switches, or did he have a quick chat with Smokey to request the monster smash the trespassers to bits?

    smokey

    Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed the freight train of smoke that turned into a furious maelstrom of certain death. That was one of the show’s “hell yeah” moments; moments we haven’t had too many of lately.

  • Here’s a look at that aforementioned door.

    smokey's door

    I’ll leave it to other sites to blow this up and provide some more analysis, but it clearly must tie in with the island’s old inhabitants, those who were responsible for the rest of the ruins spread across the island.

  • Why is Hurley the only one who can find Jacob’s cabin? Ben found it easily enough before. Is Hurley’s tenuous grip on sanity a factor here? He’s “imagined” plenty before; his asylum buddy Dave and Charlie, for example. Perhaps he has an aptitude for seeing the supernatural the others on the island don’t have.
  • I got a kick out of Sawyer’s protectiveness over Hurley, warning Locke not to “harm a hair on his head.” A long, strange trip it’s been for those two disparate personalities.
  • “PUBLIC WORKS?”

    walkie talkie

  • Hurley’s passing dialogue during the Risk game: “Australia’s the key to the whole game.” I figure this is just a bit teasing wordplay on the part of the show’s writers meant to drive the show’s most obsessive fans into an orgiastic speculatory fervor over its possible interpretations. I’ll take the sane road and assume it’s just means that Outback Steakhouse is the sinister corporation responsible for all the fell deeds on the show. Crikey!
  • Holy freaking commercial breaks, Batman. I desperately miss my DVR. Can ABC get a “very special sponsor” to present the remaining episodes with “limited commercial interruption,” please?
  • As much as I love Ben’s character (he’s pretty much surpassed Locke as the show’s best by this point, yes?), should I be worried that Michael Emerson was slated to be nothing more than a guest-star who stuck around for about eight episodes? What does that say about the oversight of the show and its’ story back when he was introduced? A bit too much flying by the seat of their pants for the writers, I think. Oh well, it’s working out so far, particularly now that there’s a drop-dead date in sight for the show in two years.
  • What is that on the right? Are my eyes playing tricks on me or does that look like the outline of a person amidst the tendrils of smoke (and not one of the mercenaries)?

    smokey

  • Let’s end the Hits with the juicy confrontation between Ben and Widmore in the latter’s darkened penthouse in London. Judging by Widmore’s disheveled look, he’s been holed up in said penthouse for a while now, undoubtedly in reaction to the growing body count Ben and his assassin have racked up while targeting the industrialist’s organization.

    widmore beard

    I’m not sure if Widmore’s reference to increasing his scotch intake “when the nightmares started” is an indication of the island somehow starting to work its’ influence on him via astral projection, or if it was just his way of saying he’s not in a great frame of mind, watching Ben systematically take down his operatives.

    In the same vein, his comment to Ben about knowing “who you are; what you are” is of any significance either. Is Ben actually a robot or ghost himself? Nah, I don’t think so either. Just another way for Widmore to characterize Ben as a megalomaniacal monster.

  • “We both know I can’t do that.” Why can’t Ben kill Widmore? Ben twice in the episode says, “he changed the rules,” first after Alex is killed, and then when confronting Widmore in his apartment. Did these two once have an alliance of some kind? That could explain where Ben got his financial wherewithal. Widmore also alludes to the fact that the island once was his, and shall be again. I can’t wait for the back story on these two.

Other Stuff from Other Sites

  • ”The Shape of Things to Come” also happens to be the title of a famed H.G. Wells book, which also spawned a movie written by the author called, more simply, Things to Come. When I asked the producers what the episode and Wells’ work have in common, they said it basically boils down to one word:

    Basra. [EW]

    Basra is the third-largest city of Iraq with an estimated population of 1,700,000. Basra is the capital of Basrah Province with population of 2,600,000. It is the country’s main port and the capital of the Basra Governorate.

    Baá¹£ra played an important role in early Islamic history, and it was the first city built in Islam 14 A.H (After Hijra) [Wikipedia]

    The Shape of Things to Come is a work of science fiction by H. G. Wells, published in 1933, which speculates on future events from 1933 until the year 2106.

    The book is dominated by Wells’s belief in a world state as the solution to mankind’s problems. Wells successfully predicted the Second World War, although he envisaged it dragging on into the 1960s, being finally ended only by a devastating plague that almost destroys civilisation.

    Eventually, after a century of re-shaping humanity, the dictatorship is overthrown in a completely bloodless coup, the former rulers are sent into a very honourable retirement, and the world state “withers away” as was predicted by Marx. The last part of the book is a detailed description of the Utopian world which emerges. [Wikipedia]

  • Here’s a great look at the door to Smokey’s lair:

    smokey's door

  • The Dharma logo from Ben’s parka, suspected to be The Orchid’s emblem:

    orchid
    [Lostpedia]

Oh, and it’s now 1am. By the time I finish all the screen captures, it will undoubtedly be 2. This new 10pm timeslot ain’t working for me, ABC. I toil for thee, faithful reader.

3 Comments

Add a Comment
  1. Hey! Great blog. I think that the reason that Ben can’t kill Widmore is the same reason why Michael and Jack can’t kill themselves; the island won’t let them. Widmore must have been on the island before because he says something along the lines of, “It was my island before and it will be mine again.”

  2. Did anyone notice that Widmore was speaking with a “different” accent? I believe it was scottish, and in prior episodes either “American”, or possibly English, but not Scottish?

    I think Ben wants Sayid to kill Widmore.

  3. Well, according to Koobie at DocArzt.com, the simplest translation of those Egyptian hieroglyphics on the door is: ”to summon protection.” [EW] [DocArzt]

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