Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The redemption of Dr. Linus

"Uh oh!" Miles feels up Jacob’s ash. Richard visits an old haunt of his. Arzt and Ben scheme to overthrow the high school principal. Ben makes it right, sort of, with Alex. And Chas Widmore plays peek-a-boo with the island he's been working so long to get back to. "Cheese curds!"

Lost 6x07: Dr. Linus

As if Michael Emerson needs to justify the Emmy he won earlier this year, this was some killer acting as we see Ben’s redemption both on- and off-island. This was some of the most solid storytelling and writing of the season, if not the series. It felt as though this episode was back to season 1 in many ways – the beach camp, the scene of people returning to the beach in slo-mo, the pacing and character development – and it makes me happy.

Did you rank it high up there? Hit me up with your comment below.

2007, On the island:

Ben meets up with the Ajira crew, and tells them that Dogen and Lennon were killed by Sayid. He knows because “he was standing over their bodies holding a bloody dagger. So yeah, I’m pretty sure.” He recommends they go to the beach, since everyone in the Temple is dead.

Ilana asks Miles to touch the pouch of Jacob’s ash to find out how he died, and Miles uses Ben’s words against him when he says that Ben killed Jacob: “well, he was standing over Jacob’s dead body with a bloody dagger. So, yeah, I’m pretty sure.” As the Ajira folks walk away, Miles gives Ben an “uh oh!”

At the 815 beach camp, Ilana gathers items to use against Ben. She tells Sun that she has to protect her and Jin, because she’s not sure which of them is a Candidate to replace Jacob. There are six Candidates left.

Hurley’s trying to get Jack lost so that they don’t make it to the Temple. Richard appears in the jungle and they follow him instead to the Black Rock.

Ben is searching for useful items, and he comes across one of Sawyer’s girlie mags, and some books. Lapidus tells Ben he was supposed to have flown Flight 815, but Ben says that he’d have gotten to the island either way, apparently. Ben is nostalgic for the days when he was still in power on the island.

Nerd alert: Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister in the mid-late 1800s, was on the cover on the book that Ben found in Sawyer’s former tent. The title appears to be “Justice and Truth In Action”, which is an actual quote from Disraeli, though such a book title doesn’t appear to exist. Quote seems it could apply to Ben’s situation though.

Nerd alert:
Ben doesn’t pick it up, but the other book in the tent was “The Chosen” by Chaim Potok, the title of which is a play on being chosen to be a Candidate, perhaps. The fact that Ben doesn't pick it up seems to be a nod to the fact that Ben isn't a Candidate.

Ilana chains up Ben and forces him at gunpoint to start digging his own grave as punishment for killing Jacob. Miles offers Ben some food, but Ben offers Miles the $3.2million he requested of Ben to keep quiet when the freighter was off shore. Miles asks, “why would I need your money when there are a couple of jabonies under there named Nikki and Paolo (Razzle Dazzle!) who got buried alive with $8million in diamonds on top of them.”

Ben tries to convince Miles that Jacob expected to be killed, but Miles says Jacob was was hoping that he’d been wrong about Ben all along, right up until the second the knife went through his heart. Ilana, tired of the chat break, shoots at Ben to get him digging.

Hurley asks Richard if he’s been time traveling. When he answers no, Hurley asks if he’s a Terminator or a cyborg or a vampire. They arrive at the Black Rock slave ship, and he answers a confused Jack about why they’re there by telling him that Jacob and all the others at the Temple are dead. Hurley confirms it saying that Jacob told him this would be true, and Richard is stung that Jacob didn’t come to see him. In a crisis of faith, Alpert heads into the Black Rock to kill himself.

Was this the first scene that Hurley and Richard have been in together? If there’s another, I can’t think of it as I write this at about 2:30am anyway.

Inside the Black Rock, Jack asks Alpert if he’s ever been in there. “Yes,” Alpert says looking carefully at the handcuffs, which we’re led to believe held him ages ago. “After all the time on this island, this is the first time I’ve ever come back.” Alpert pulls out some dynamite, and says he can’t kill himself because Jacob touched him and gave him a “gift” that Alpert thinks of as a curse. The gift was a long life (full immortality?) if he devoted his life to Jacob in service. After certainly more than 100 years, Alpert feels duped to have been lied to now that Jacob's gone and wants Jack to light the fuse on the ship's dynamite. He does so, but doesn’t leave the ship and demands, instead, some answers from Richard.

Nerd alert: So we’re virtually confirmed that Alpert was a slave on the Black Rock. (I’m still holding out hope that he’s been there even longer and has been walking like an Egyptian on the island for centuries.)

Jack tells Richard that neither of them would die because Jacob was watching him from the Lighthouse, and therefore also special and with a purpose. Jack is 100% convinced this is the case, and the fuse stops burning just short of the dynamite stick. “Alright Jack, you seem to have all the answers…Now what?”, Alpert asks. Jack replies, “We go back to where we started.”

Nerd alert: Richard couldn’t kill himself with Jacob’s touch, Locke couldn’t hang himself in the hotel, and Jack couldn’t jump from the bridge. Michael tried to kill himself with a gun and running his car off a pier, but we never saw him touched by Jacob. But he was set free by Christian.

They head back to the beach where the 815ers started their stay on the island, and we see a trademark slo-mo, beautifully-scored scene of earlier seasons. The general seasons 1 or 2 vibe works big time.

Smokey shimmies his way to Ben and UnLocke’s. He offers Ben a deal to leave the island, but he tempts him by saying that he’ll need someone – Ben – to be in charge of the island. Just then, Ben’s ankle cuff falls open. UnLocke tells Ben where he can find a gun if he runs in the woods.

Ben bolts and gets to the rifle. Ilana catches up with him, but he pulls the gun on her. He tells her that he understands her. He killed Jacob because he was sacrificed for him, and Jacob didn’t even care – he did so to hold on to his power. Ben asks to leave in peace and go with UnLocke, because he’s the only one that’ll have him. Ilana says, “I’ll have you.” Ben turns around and heads back to the beach with her.

At the camp, Ben helps Sun with the tarp on her tent, and we’re introduced to the new selfless Ben Linus. The musical score begins to swell and we see Miles admiring a diamond – one he’d dug up from Nikki and Paolo’s graves, and then we see Jack, Hurley and Richard arrive at the camp.

We get a slo-mo run and embrace between the 815ers and the Ajira folks. And Jack looks off at Ben, standing alone, learning to accept his new role as one of them, vs. the leader.

And then the mindf#&k! Off the shore, we see a periscope rise up from the water and the camera takes us inside of the sub, where we see Charles Widmore!

Nerd alert: Has Jacob been waiting for Widmore and is he the man that he said was coming to the island in the Lighthouse episode?

2004, in Los Angeles:

Ben – or Dr. Linus – is teaching his history class, and he’s sharing the story of Napoleon, who was exiled to the island of Elba where he lost his power. “He might just as well have been dead.” (Sound like anyone we know? Interestingly, we end the episode with another exile FROM the island returning…)

Nerd alert: Elba is an anagram of Abel, as in Cain and Abel. (Thanks Amy D.!) Jacob perhaps as Abel, Man In Black/UnLocke as Cain?

Principal Reynolds tells him he needs to cover detention, despite Ben’s commitment to the history club. In the teacher’s lounge, Ben’s complaining about him to Arzt when Locke overhears them and recommends Ben become principal, sparking a fire in Ben he didn’t know was there.

Nerd alert: Arzt was complaining about formaldehyde on his shirt. After Arzt blew up on the island from the dynamite, Hurley has some Arzt on his shirt.

Dr. Linus is preparing a TV dinner for his father, a much more frail man in his late-60s or so. He tells Ben that he didn’t want a life for him of detention monitoring, and that’s why he signed them up for the Dharma Initiative. “Who knows how different our lives would have been if we’d stayed? Who knows what you would have become?”

Nerd alert:
Nice composition that on the island, Ben killed his father with poison gas after a frank father/son conversation, and in this sideways flash Los Angeles, Ben is caring for his father and saving his live with another gas - oxygen.

A ring at the door and Ben opens it to see Alex Rousseau (!) there, who asks why Ben missed history club. He offers to meet Alex at the school in the morning to tutor her before the AP history exam.

Nerd alert: Alex’s last name was Rousseau, not Montand (her father's name). How did Alex and Rousseau wind up in Los Angeles?

At school the next morning, Ben is quizzing Alex on the East India Trading Company and the Charter Act of 1813. Alex is frustrated and nervous about getting into and paying for college at Yale. He offers to write her a recommendation, but she says that Principal Reynolds, as an alum, needs to write it. Alex tells Ben that Reynolds and the school nurse are having an affair and Ben gets a look of glee that he might be able to use this information against Reynolds.

Nerd alert: The Charter Act of 1813 granted the East India Company control of most of India…a deal that seems a little similar to the deal UnLocke later makes with Ben, no?

Ben tries to recruit Arzt to hack into the school nurse's email.

Arzt’s lesson is on species classification. One of the names on the blackboard is Carl Linnaeus, the father of “species classification”. Interesting, though I’m sure not related, since we don’t know what species Smokey is. Also interesting, though perhaps irrelevant is that Linnaeus was friendly with Swiss philosopher, Rousseau, which may have been a way to just tie back into the fact that Alex Rousseau was a guest in the show. Also, probably a coincidence, but Linnaeus - Linus?

Ben confronts Principal Reynolds with the emails, demanding he step down and recommends Ben for Principal. Reynolds turns the tables on him, showing that Alex needed a recommendation for Yale, and Ben wants Alex to have a good recommendation, that he’ll have to back off and not reveal the emails.

The next day, Alex reveals to Ben that Reynolds wrote the recommendation to Yale, and Ben tells her that they’ve got their old history club slot back. Ben was selfless for once. He finally redeemed himself, most especially to Alex.

So what did you think? Show me some comment love below.

- Sean Salo


Joe B said...

I was wondering when Whidmore would make an appearance.

Wouldn't Ben and his father been on the island when the H-bomb exploded? They shouldn't have a sideways story line - right?

Sean said...

@ Joe B - for whatever reason, in this reality, they left the island. Also, his father seemed much more caring and parental, so there's much more going back further than the flight 815 that is different about these timelines to be seen.