Thursday, April 9, 2009

Move over Judge Judy - Make way for Judge Smokey

Locke kicked Ben’s ass. Desmond kicked Ben’s ass. The Temple’s floor kicked Ben’s ass. Smokey, strangely, showed Ben some home movies. And then Alex kicked Ben’s ass. And somehow, although this weasely mofo deserved an ass whupping more than anyone – ever – I wound up feeling a little bad for him. He’s a manipulator, and he manipulated me from the screen. Bastard. Someone get Michael Emerson an Emmy. Pls.

Lost 5x12: Dead is Dead

Island, 1977:
Charles Widmore, looking more like a Mediterranean soap opera star than a conniving Brit, fumes as he enters what looks like it could be an encampment in any time. In fact, I think it was intended to appear that it could have been Black Rock, native inhabitants, or earlier. However, it’s 1977, and Richard has just returned from The Temple with Little Ben. Charles accuses Richard of potentially blowing their cover, but he says that Jacob wanted it that way.

Island, 2007:
John gently wakes Ben, who looks a little panicked – “Oh God! You’re alive!”. He says, “because it’s one thing to believe it, John. It’s another thing to see it.” He says he was going to the main island to be judged – by the smoke monster – for breaking the rules. (Judge Smokey, coming to ABC, Weekdays at 4pm.)

Ben makes his way out to the beach, and some of the Ajira survivors are trying to carry a metal crate. No idea what is in the crate.

Guesses from the interwebs and friends on what’s in the crate:
• John Locke’s unopened coffin
• Nuclear warhead
• Ammunition for the “war” that’s about to come to the island
• The body of Charles Widmore
• Marcellus Wallace’s soul
• Gwyneth Paltrow’s head
• Obama's stimulus package for the island

Caesar approaches Ben to ask what he knows about Locke. Ben denies knowing him. (Like Simon denied knowing Jesus before he was crucified? He did look at John when he woke up and said, “My God!”)

Island, 1988:
Ben with an era-appropriate new wave ‘do (and looking frankly a little Pee Wee Herman-esque with dark hair) and young Ethan are poised to go after Rousseau – apparently on orders from Charles. When he enters her hut, though, he’s startled to see she has a baby. He takes Alex and says, “If you want your child to live, every time you hear whispers, you run the other way.”

Why would she need to run away from the whispers to keep Alex – and not herself – alive? Would the whispers somehow otherwise reunite her with Alex?

Island, 2007:
Ben is in his office, looking at a picture of him and Alex. He folds it and puts it into his pocket. (Call back to Desmond and his pic of Penny. John chides Ben for being a little corporate for leading from behind a desk, and then looks badass as he sits in Ben’s chair and demands they talk about the elephant in the room – why Ben killed John. Ben pauses. It seemed to me that he was trying to come up with the answer. He says it was the only way to get John back to the island, that otherwise the rest of the O6 wouldn’t have gone back. He stopped him from killing himself because he needed the information. He seems like he’s nervous and coming up with the story on the fly. Not like Ben really. John says he’s going to help Ben be judged and is going with him.

Geek alert: On and behind Ben’s desk are some unusual items – including an animal skull, a stuffed bird (a hawk? Hawks were commonly associated with the Egyptian god Horus, who had a hawk's head), and a what looks to me, anyway, like a leather-bound ledger (Could this be Tovard Hanso’s ledger from the Black Rock that Widmore won at auction?).

Back on the beach, Ben shoots Caesar for trying to stop them from taking the outrigger. Ben shoots Caesar when he demands more answers and then throws John the shotgun. Ben is back. As they reach the dock, John methodically puts on his – Christian’s – shoes. I assume he took them off because they had to walk the canoe out into the surf, but it seemed very pointed.

Question: Wasn’t the dock destroyed when Locke “blew up” the sub?

Island, 1988:
Charles is frustrated with Ben that he didn’t kill Rousseau, but he shoots back that Widmore didn’t tell him that she had a baby. Widmore says he should have killed her too, and Ben offers the baby to him for him to do it. Charles walks off and he and Richard look at each other knowingly.

Island, 2007:
Locke and Ben make their way up to New Otherton. John questions why they moved up there in the first place instead of living in the jungle – that it doesn’t seem like something the island would have wanted. Ben says, “you don’t have the first idea what this island wants.” John replies, “Are you sure about that?” John is Ben now. He seems in control and connected to the island and with a deeper understanding of the island than Ben has.

They see a light in Ben’s old house and he enters. Sun and Lapidus are inside. Lapidus shows them the photo Christian gave them and Ben seems genuinely surprised to see it. She says that Christian told them to wait there for John Locke. Ben tells them to look outside.

Geek alert: The Risk game was still on the table where it’d been left, and the portrait of Ben’s mom, Emily, was on the bedroom wall.

Locke explains his presence to them as best he can, and Lapidus is dumbfounded and says he’s going back to the plane to try to get help. But Sun stays to have Locke help find Jin. Locke tells Ben to “get to it” and on with the judging. Ben reveals his secret hieroglyph-adorned chamber and descends into it. He comes upon what looks like a murky cesspool and uncorks it. The muddy water drains and Ben says he’s waiting.

Island, 1988:
Ben’s pushing a young Alex on the swing. I’m guessing she’s about 4 years old. Richard says Charles is about to leave. Widmore is being escorted to the sub in cuffs. He’s being banished because he broke the rules – having a family off the island. But Ben says he’ll protect the island at all costs. Charles says that the island may want Alex dead one day. And then he leaves with a dismissive, “I’ll be seeing you, boy.”

Island, 2007:
Sun says that Jack must have lied about John being dead. Ben says Locke was indeed dead, but then lies and says that he had no idea John would come back to life- that he’s never seen anyone come back to life here.

John emerges from the jungle and Ben says the monster hasn’t come – it’s not a train – but John says he knows where to find it. Ben’s bug eyes bug even further.

Island, 2007:
Ben asks how John knows, and Locke says he just does. Locke says that Ben doesn’t to blindly follow others on faith and Ben agrees. They arrive at the wall surrounding The Temple. Locke says they’re not going in, they’re going under it. Ben asks Sun to tell Desmond he’s sorry if he doesn’t make it back. Ben descends into the hole.

Los Angeles, 2007:
Desmond sees Ben on the dock and Ben shoots him. He approaches Penny and says "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." “Hello, my name is Benjamin Linus,” as he's about to shoot her. But Ben is surprised to see little Charlie. He hesitates and appears to re-think it, but Desmond jumps him and beats the crap out of him and dumps him into the water.

Island, 2007:
Lapidus makes it back to the Hydra Island and he confronts Ilana. She says, “What lies in the shadow of the statue?” He doesn’t understand the question and she cold cocks him with the butt of her rifle. She tells one of the other Ajira survivors that they’re all going.

Question: Ilana’s “What lies in the shadow of the statue?” question. Was this a security question/test, like Desmond's “What did one snowman say to the other?” joke.

Under The Temple, Ben tells Locke that he killed Alex – that’s what he will be judged for. Ben walks ahead, but falls through the floor and lands in a chamber below. Heiroglyphs abound. He walks up to what looks like it might be an altar and looks at a glyph of what appears to be the Egyptian god of the afterlife, Anubis, staring down the smoke monster. Just then, Judge Smokey enters the court and surrounds Ben. He sees scenes of his life and primarily of Alex, including the betrayal of her. And just as mysteriously as it entered, Smokey disappears.

Geek alert: Rather than subtle and hidden, the effects played out almost a little cheesily. Could this be them paying homage to The Wizard of Oz, and the scene with Dorothy in the tornado, when people fly by Dorothy's window? After all, Ben did name himself Henry Gale, Dorothy's uncle's name, when he was still lying about his past, and said he arrived on the island in a hot air balloon.

Geek alert: I have the internets and a poster on Ack Attack's page to thank for this, but could Smokey be Ammit, Egyptian bringer of divine retribution, a creature that devoured those heavy with wrongdoing.

Suddenly Alex appears. Ben apologizes and she grabs him by the neck and demands that he listen to and follow John Locke. Ben starts to cry and Alex is gone. Locke arrives with some vines to pull him up he tells John, “it let me live.”

So what did you think? I was thrilled with this episode. Awesome story, tons of mythology, and lots of Ben getting his ass kicked. Post below with your thoughts.

- Sean Salo


jenn11 said...

Great episode. Doesn't that kind of look like Penny in the picture on the wall in the scene with Locke and Sun? The writers made Ben seem a little less evil and more compassionate and caring in this episode. Now you wonder if he really is good and everything he has done has been to protect the island from bad people.

Antony said...

Loved the episode. I wished we could have spent more time inside the underground chamber - I wanted to look for more clues!! Could the Temple possibly be an underground pyramid?

Lisa said...

i loved this episode, particularly when Ben shot Cesar because that's what I want to do every time that guy is on-screen.

Sean said...

@ Jenn11 - it toggles back and forth from hating Ben to trusting him doesn't it?

@ Antony - love that idea!

@ Lisa - ha

Phil said...

Other references to wizard of oz- locke called Ben the man behind the curtain...makes alot of sense that his judgement would be in a tornado.
The other point you reminded me of was how the others sent locke to kill his father. He couldn't do it but got sawyer to kill him. Exactly how ben eventually got widmores peeps to kill rouseau and alex.

Sean said...

@ Phil - are you saying Ben had Widmore's people kill Alex? He certainly didn't want that, did he? You got some 'splainin' to do.

Phil said...

He didn't really fight too hard against her dying. And rousseau was killed by them as well.