Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dan In My Dream (Dance Little Jean, Jimmy Ibbotson)

There's been entirely too little Desmond in season five of LOST. I'm hoping the next episode rectifies that a bit. In the meantime, here's a little something, to the tune of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Dance Little Jean, reflecting on his appearance earlier in the season.

Dan in My Dream

I joined a boat race for my honor,
And I never thought that I would be marooned,
But then a storm sidetracked me,
And Kelvin kept me helplessly entombed.
So I was praying for some answers,
And I swore that if I ever could depart,
I would never think again about the Island
That I loathed with all my heart.

Then my depression turned to panic.
I heard somebody pounding on my door.
When I cocked my gun and greeted him,
It seemed to me that I'd seen him before.
But as he rushed to spill his secrets, Pen,
I couldn't comprehend what he could mean.
Then he told me that I had to meet
His mother, and I woke from the dream.

Well, it was Dan in my dream, but I don't know how.
What made me forget that moment until now?
Dan in my dream, a strange memory.
Oh, why can't that blasted Island just be done with me?

I don't want to go to Oxford.
We've been careful to avoid your father's net.
What if listening to Dan leads us right to him
And amplifies his threat?
But I owe my life to Faraday,
So even though this may be a mistake,
I will do just what he said to
For faith and fate and friends I can't forsake.

Yeah, I saw Dan in my dream, but I don't know how.
What made me forget that moment until now?
Dan in my dream, a strange memory.
Oh, why can't that blasted Island just be done with me?
Tell me, why can't that blasted Island just be done with me?

Dance Little Jean

"It All Could've Been Avoided If They'd Just, You Know, Communicated..."

After all the heaviness of Dead Is Dead, Some Like It Hoth felt like a bit of a reprieve. Yes, there were corpses and impending electromagnetic disasters to deal with, but in some way this was season five's Tricia Tanaka is Dead. Male bonding with Hurley in the Dharma van (which happens to have a body in it). Father-son reconciliation. Fun 70s music. Miles' back story was darker than Hurley's, but it brought him to the same basic place - an opportunity to reconcile with the father who abandoned him. I was so glad that Hurley gave his dad a second chance, and it was especially touching to hear him talk about him here, acknowledging what he gave up to return to the Island. Hurley left his parents, while Miles has a chance to reclaim his.

Dr. Chang came across as really cranky, but threatening Hurley with the LOST equivalent of Bantha poo-doo was more silly than threatening. (And I loved how Hurley insisted he liked working in the kitchen!) Chang's got a lot on his mind; he knows things are going sour, and they're about to get worse. They're meddlin' with things that ought not be meddled with. I don't think his wife told Miles the whole story, but then she probably didn't know the whole story either. At least we were able to see that Chang was a devoted dad. I presume he gave his wife and son the boot because he was trying to save their lives. It looks like Miles and his father might just have the chance to get to know each other a bit now after all.

Hurley was just lovely in this episode. He really knows how to get under Miles' skin, but never in a malicious way. I thought their chatter throughout their excursion was a hoot, and Hurley continued to demonstrate what a nice guy he is. Making sandwiches for the Orchid folks. Carpooling to be earth-friendly. Worrying his sandwiches might be unsafe to eat. Trying to help Miles reconnect with his dad. Oh, and of course, wanting to save George Lucas the headache of working out The Empire Strikes Back for himself.

Yes, Star Wars played an even larger role here than I expected, with all the buddy banter presumably the inspiration for the Some Like It Hot part of the title. In this season, The Little Prince was the only other episode whose title wasn't lifted directly from dialogue or obvious plot points. Hoth is not a pleasant planet, and I wondered if we might be in for some nastiness involving polar bears or sub-zero temperatures, but in retrospect the title feels purely playful. The idea of sending that script to George Lucas is so absurd and simultaneously sweet - and I wonder what other improvements Hurley had in store? You know, you'd think a guy who lets Chewy swoop in and nab Han's glory would have a little more time for the Ewoks. Frankly, I was sure Hurley, such a teddy bear himself, would side with me on this issue. So while his Luke-Darth-inspired pep talk was fantastic, I think I died inside a little inside when he so thoroughly dismissed my beloved Ewoks. Hmph. (Also, if his version of Empire ends with Luke and Darth in bear hug, I doubt Lucas would be too grateful - way to truncate the trilogy, Hurley!)

I wonder if we're going to hear more about Hurley's "I see dead people" stuff now. It doesn't seem he's done it since returning to the Island - but does that have something to do with why he can see Jacob? Or was it just indicative of him cracking up back at the hospital? Miles' abilities seem almost more like Fringe than Ghost Whisperer. It would seem he's not communicating so much as extracting, taking a trip into the personal Pensieve of each victim he discovers. I was sure he was faking it when he talked to the man who'd lost his son, and I was hoping he'd give the money back; doing so was the decent thing to do, but I hadn't expected him to turn the act into an opportunity to lecture a bereaved father over perceived negligence. The poor dads on this show never seem to get a break. Still, Miles had a point.

Five-year-old Miles was adorable, and I felt so sorry for the poor kid. I loved, though, that as he was embarking upon a life littered with Sixth Sense-style trauma, he lifted up a statue of a white rabbit to retrieve the apartment key. Down the rabbit hole we go! As if Alice in Wonderland weren't enough, I think I got a whiff of Peter Pan via Spielberg with his super-pierced young adult get-up, which reminded me forcefully of rebellious Lost Boy Rufio from Hook, a movie that, as much as anything, is about father issues that are resolved through a trip to a mysterious island.

My focus was most definitely on Miles and Hurley in this episode, so the rest of the characters faded somewhat into the background for me. Jack and Kate probably would've been better off not talking to Roger. Ben's absence is a major problem that's really going to blow up in their faces now that Mr. Linus knows he's disappeared. The "he ran away when my back was turned" argument is awfully weak. And the security tape Phil saw is just a hair shy of disaster. How are they supposed to keep him quiet? Everything looks like it's about to blow up in the castaways' faces; it seems it's time for an escape strategy. I don't Horace is too wise to the situation yet, but I doubt he'll be in the dark for long.

I wonder if we're going to find our way back to Ilana and Bram in The Variable. The flashback would seem to indicate that Bram is working against Widmore rather than for him, which makes it seem as though he and Ilana might actually have come to the Island on Ben's orders. (Incidentally, I'm mildly befuddled by the notion of a fish taco and trying to remember if LOST mentioned them before; I recall being bemused by a reference to them somewhere before...) I want to know what that's all about, of course, but I'm much more interested in Daniel, who has finally popped up again, looking considerably healthier than last time, albeit wearing an ominous black jumper. Just from the title, The Variable sounds very much like a bookend to The Constant, and TV Guide seems to confirm that Daniel will be heavily involved, so that's something to be excited about. Another Daniel-Desmond team-up is almost guaranteed to be a frontrunner for favorite episode of the season.

Of course, we have to wait until next week for that, which as I understand it will be the 100th episode. That seems significant, but since there's some kind of special on tonight, maybe they're counting that as number 100. The recap fests haven't really been anything to cheer about so far, but I get the impression that there will be a little more to this one. Here's hoping. Till then, I shall be sitting in my cozy living room, dreaming up scathing retorts about my favorite Endor residents...

The Thinker (The Tinker, John Reynolds)

I've really missed Daniel, my favorite season-four addition to the cast, in these last few episodes of LOST, so I'm very much looking forward to the next episode, in which he seems likely to play a central role. He's a reflection by him, addressing a just-departed Desmond, to the tune of the Irish Rovers' The Tinker, inspired by the episode The Constant.

The Thinker

'Tis a thinker I am, a pondering man
Accustomed to sounding bizarre,
Always dodging defeat while the Oxford elite
Sit and sully my name in the bar.

Though I shrug off the sneers I've received from my peers
When they should have been doling out praise,
I am stung by each slight, so I keep out of sight,
Seeking proof in a rat and a maze.

So thank you for showing that I'm not a liar,
That my theories are really true,
That I've not been misled by these thoughts in my head.
For your validation, thank you.

Though I'm hardly insane, I'll admit that the brain
Underneath all my scraggly hair
Has been jolted and jarred and repeatedly scarred
By the tests that I run in my lair.

So thank you for showing that I'm not a liar,
That my theories are really true,
That I've not been misled by these thoughts in my head.
For your validation, thank you.

You restored my resolve when you entered my life,
Bringing meaning to all that I've done.
Though you're already leaving, our fates are entwined,
And our kinship has only begun.

When you're settled in time, leave some room in your mind
To remember our meeting here, please.
I intend to depend on your being my friend
If I end up like Eloise.

So thank you for showing that I'm not a liar,
That my theories are really true,
That I've not been misled by these thoughts in my head.
For your validation, thank you.

So thank you for showing that I'm not a liar,
That my theories are really true,
That I've not been misled by these thoughts in my head.
For your validation, thank you.

The Tinker

Thursday, April 9, 2009

"You Just Make Friends Everywhere You Go, Don't Ya?"

Dead Is Dead was another fantastic Ben episode, and probably his least depressing one yet. Oh, some of it was a downer, but most of the really unpleasant stuff harkened back to The Shape of Things to Come. I find it very interesting that Ben willingly sought out the Smoke Monster. Of course, I suppose he figured he'd have to contend with Smokey at some point, and it would be better to do it as much on his own terms as possible. Still, it seems a bit unlike Ben to walk into such a life-threatening situation. Which just goes to show what a big load he needed to get off his chest. Ben was genuinely sorry.

I never really blamed Ben for Alex's death because I thought, and I figured he also thought, that once Keamy had him, he'd just go ahead and kill Alex anyway, along with John and everybody else huddled in the house. Maybe I'm being too hard on Keamy, but he just seemed like a killing machine. Ben certainly didn't want Keamy to kill Alex; he was trying to use psychology on him like he does on everybody else, and he made a fatal error in judgment. Yes, he could have tried delivering himself to the mercenaries. I would've liked to see some sort of heroic daughter-saving gesture from him, and maybe it would have worked. But I'm not convinced. If the castaways hadn't delayed in passing on the cryptic warning that Keamy was coming, might Ben have had time to summon Smokey before he got there? Or would he have feared that the wild, unpredictable Monster would prove just as dangerous to Alex as to the mercenaries?

Anyway, while I don't hold Ben truly responsible for his daughter's death, I don't hold Charles responsible either. Is it possible that he gave Keamy direct orders to abduct Alex? Maybe. But the fact that Alex was Ben's daughter was the only thing that kept her alive when Karl and Danielle got shot. Keamy's blood lust was such that all he wanted to do was eradicate anyone who came in his path, but he saw her as his bargaining chip. His mission was to extract Ben; Charles wasn't forcing him, from thousands of miles away, to leave a trail of destruction in his wake. By sending Keamy there, Charles bears a bit of the blame. By failing to surrender himself, Ben bears a bit of the blame. But Keamy was the main culprit, and Ben already had his revenge on him, getting Michael and who-knows-who-else killed in the process.

Ben felt guilty about Alex's death from the beginning. He told Locke he had his daughter's blood all over his hands. But he also blamed Charles. And he blamed Charles more than he blamed himself. I think that maybe it wasn't until he came face to face with Penny and almost pulled the trigger that he truly realized how useless it was to go on blaming his old nemesis. I thought that scene was beautifully done. I knew it was coming from the moment Charles sent Desmond to L.A. And I was worried. I knew the confrontation had to occur; they wouldn't just let something like that drop. But I hoped Ben would be thwarted in his efforts, and even more than that, I hoped he would change his mind. Well, he was certainly thwarted. But even if Desmond hadn't come rushing at him and beaten him to a pulp, I don't think he was going to shoot. He had lowered his gun. Seeing Charlie had awakened his humanity.

I love the fact that the name of the boat was Our Mutual Friend. At first, I thought Ben was referring to Penny by that name, and I chuckled at the appropriateness, but then I realized he was referring to the boat. If Jughead revealed the name already, I'd forgotten... I am a little surprised that Charles didn't go to L.A. himself; if Ms Hawking had a way back to the Island, wouldn't he think that Ben would track her down? Or why didn't he at least say to Desmond, "Hey! Watch out for Ben!"? If there was even a chance Ben would be in the city at the same time as his daughter, I would think he would want to stop anything from happening. In that respect, if Penny had died, he probably should have felt as guilty about it as Ben did about Alex. I still don't know what was gained by Desmond going to L.A. Doesn't seem to have served any purpose at all, except to nearly get his wife killed. And if Charles and Eloise are on the same team, then what are their plans for the castaways, and how do they differ from Ben's plans? Whose are worse?

How devious of them to break up the big showdown with a scene from the present in which Ben says to Sun, "Tell Desmond Hume I'm sorry." There was such an ominous finality about that request. It fit in with Ben's remorseful tone, but more importantly, it implied that he had succeeded in his personal vendetta (though I did breathe a small sigh of relief, since it also implied that Desmond was all right). When they returned to the scene at the dock, Penny's fate seemed sealed. So what a relief to see how it actually played out! What it reminded me of more than anything else was Sawyer's very first flashback. Sawyer had been about to con that couple out of massive amounts of money, and the only thing that stopped him from doing it was seeing their young son and realizing that he didn't want to risk ruining this kid's life the way the original Sawyer had done to him.

Maybe Ben saw a little of himself in Charlie; having grown up without a mother, perhaps he didn't want to put Penny's son through that. But more likely, he was thinking about his encounter with Danielle, how Charles would have had him kill her, and kill the baby too had he known there was one. The sight of the child snapped him back to his senses. Killing Penny would not be a victory against Charles; it would just mean sinking further into depravity. Ben's done a lot of awful things, but he has a conscience. Thankfully, it showed itself in this episode. I was surprised to see that Ben was the one who kidnapped Alex, in part because Danielle didn't seem to recognize him in that capacity when she caught him in season two. But then, she didn't recognize Jin either. But kidnapping Alex seemed a lot less sinister when he was saving her life. Of course, one might argue that he could have simply left Alex with Danielle and walked away, but the fact remains that he had orders to kill and he didn't follow them. And if Charles wanted to try killing off Danielle again, she'd be a lot harder to track down without a baby in tow. (Ironically, Danielle did end up being a threat to the Others; she led Jack to the explosives and helped him pull off the plan that wiped out ten Others on the beach and ultimately brought the mercenaries to the Island. But I'd rather not think about that just now...)

At the time of Alex's kidnapping, Ethan must have been about 11 years old. This was before the Purge, but he was already hanging around with the Hostiles. Did he go back and forth like Ben did, or did he live in the jungle full-time? And what about Alex? It would seem like she would've had to stay in the jungle, but Ben couldn't have stayed away from Dharma for such long stretches of time, could he? For the first four years of her life, was she perhaps raised by Richard as well as Ben? He certainly seemed to be close to her in their brief scene together, a sort of favorite uncle figure. I'm glad we got that one blissful childhood moment showing that there was a time when Alex thought Ben was a very good dad indeed. Interesting that two of Ben's happiest moments occurred at that swing set. I was also surprised that Charles left the Island by submarine. I'd gotten the impression he left the same way Ben and John did. Alex looked about six to me, and the Others seemed comfortably settled in the Dharma buildings, which suggests that the Purge was Charles's idea, or perhaps Richard's, as I originally thought. I think I'm leaning towards Charles now. Richard seems to avoid violence unless he deems it absolutely necessary, whereas Charles doesn't appear too concerned about hurting people.

It would appear that Charles had a foothold in "the real world" for some time, though I don't know how he was able to come and go so freely without use of the submarine, which he only would have had for the last couple of years. Surely he couldn't have built up his empire that quickly? The scene between Flashes Before Your Eyes happened in 1996 at the latest, four years after the Purge; he seemed much too well-established as a business tycoon to have only gotten started in 1992. In any case, he must have had limited contact with Penny for many of those years. Did she ever live on the Island herself, or was she conceived in England when Charles was off gallavanting? And who was her mother? Also, if Charles was so desperate to get back to the Island, why didn't he just get on the Kahana himself and chopper down with the science team?

I was really looking forward to seeing Smokey in this episode, but I was equally excited at the prospect of more Ben-John scenes. John acted about the way I expected him to in this episode: calm, curious, amused. I liked his slightly put-out, "I was just hoping for an apology"; honestly, Ben, was that so much to ask? The explanation Ben gave for why he talked John down and then killed him makes a fair amount of sense, but according to Smokey, Ben's been planning to murder John yet again, and this time the reason can't be so noble. If noble's the right word for it; he was probably more concerned about getting back to the Island himself than getting the others back. In John's presence, Ben appeared to be happy that John was walking and talking again, but he told Sun he wasn't pleased at all. I love that when he uttered the big preview line - "What's about to come out of that jungle is something I can't control" - what came out of the jungle was John Locke. Ha! Maybe Ben won't have such an easy time manipulating him anymore. In any event, John's presence seems to have complicated things...

Ben claims to have had no idea that the castaways were in the Dharma Initiative. If he's telling the truth, that suggests that his memory wipe in the Temple was fairly extensive and that Sawyer, Jack, Hurley, Jin, Kate, Juliet and Miles will have left before little Ben gets back from his holiday with the Hostiles. Of course, it's entirely possible that he's lying. Speaking of the Temple, how did John know how to get there? Did his Spidey senses just start tingling? Also, the Temple is where Ben told Alex, Danielle and Karl to go, and where he told Richard and the gang to go before that. As John and Ben are leaving, might they encounter some Others? Richard might really be a big help right now.

I was a little surprised that we didn't really get any insight into exactly what happened to Ben in the Temple when he was a kid. When he awoke and spoke to Charles, he didn't seem evil; he just didn't want to go back to his father. He wouldn't have felt badly about taking the keys anymore because he didn't remember taking them, and that's a shame because pre-Temple Ben and remorseful Roger might just have been inspired to resolve their issues. I suppose when Ben gets back Roger will take a stab at it but Ben won't be as responsive as he might previously have been. Anyway, I would've liked to know more about what Ben experienced there, but maybe we'll see some of that in an episode to come. I did love the adult Ben Temple scene, though. It was so spooky, the way Smokey slowly seeped out of the floor, surrounding Ben before facing him directly. It was terrifying but oddly beautiful, especially when it silently slipped away. Off course, Ben didn't get off scot-free. For a moment, I thought there might be an affectionate moment of reconciliation between Ben and Alex, but of course it wasn't really Alex, it was just the most fitting form for Smokey to take. A cruel apparition, but certainly appropriate. Ben's life was spared, but he's on thin ice. So is he going to follow John now like a good little boy, or is he going to throw caution to the wind? He'd be a fool to ignore that threat, and now that he's got a new lease on life, here's hoping he'll turn over a new leaf.

His behavior toward Caesar was baffling and frustrating. What exactly was he trying to accomplish there? Make the guy totally suspicious of John, compel him to confront John about leaving, then shoot him to stop him from getting in the way of their trip to Big Island. What was the point? And gosh, if that's what Ben does to guys who have his back... Well, we couldn't have him emerge from this episode entirely smelling like roses, could we? Was he hoping that Caesar would kill John, but changed tactics when John insisted on joining him on his excursion? I don't know, but I wish he'd quit sowing seeds of discord; he seems to have left the 316 survivors in quite a mess. Frank never should have gone with Sun; he should've taken Ben back to the crash site with him and resumed his role as leader. Because things would be a lot better with Frank in charge instead of Caesar and Ilana. She definitely seems to know more than she's telling. What was all that shadow of the statue business about? Is she working for Widmore? And did Caesar survive that surprise attack, or was his "friend" Ben the Brutus to his Julius Caesar?

Ben still has a deeply dangerous streak, but he and John make a formidable team, so I hope their alliance survives. I don't suppose the two of them and Sun will be in any hurry to go back to Alcatraz, so it looks like we've got further fragmenting. I don't have any idea how John's supposed to get Sun back to the 70s, or Jin to the present, and I suspect he doesn't either; now would be a good time for a helpful tip or two from Christian or Richard. I'm guessing that won't happen next week. The previews seem to indicate we'll be back in the thick of things in Dharmaville. I love the title Some Like It Hoth because it reminds me of The Empire Strikes Back; I somehow doubt, however, that we're going to be seeing frozen Tauntauns. It's probably a quote from Sawyer or Hurley; Sawyer seems to be the big Star Wars buff, but Hurley's pretty up on pop culture too. Next week could focus on him, perhaps, letting us know how he ended up on that plane, among other things. I think I might be leaning towards Miles, though; he's only had one flashback so far, and he had to share the episode with Daniel, Charlotte, Frank and Naomi. Miles is due. Maybe we'll find out whether he really was born on the Island and get to see his odd talents in action. Are we going to see Sayid again, and what will be the fallout from Kate and Sawyer taking Ben to the Hostile hospital? I'm looking forward to it, especially if we get a whole lot of witty banter between Miles and Hurley again, but I think Dead Is Dead will be a tough act to follow, and I think the Emmys might just come calling for Michael Emerson again this year.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Waiting With Hurley to See If My Hand Disappears...

Not a peep out of Daniel in Whatever Happened, Happened. Sigh. But we sure found out a lot about Kate, and most of it cast her in a more sympathetic light than she's been in for a while. I pretty much figured that Sawyer's whisper to Kate on the chopper was about Clementine, so it wasn't a huge surprise to me to see her show up on Cassidy's doorstep, but that little reunion was nice nonetheless, even though Cassidy is exceedingly bitter. I thought her analysis of Sawyer's helicopter heroics was pretty harsh, though it does seem as though there was some truth to it. Sawyer didn't exactly deny it, did he? But I'm glad Kate and Cassidy kept in contact; Kate really needed a friend she could confide in, and she was able to get to know Clementine and report back to Sawyer with news of his daughter. I think New Sawyer would probably be a great dad; it's a shame he's probably not going to get that chance with Clementine.

It was sweet to hear Kate singing Catch a Falling Star to Aaron, knowing what the song meant to Claire. Fellow professional liar Cassidy could see right through Kate's lie about Aaron being her son; makes you wonder who else might have been suspicious. The woman in the grocery store looked a lot like Claire, which freaked out an already panicked Kate. That was a scary scene, since I figured that one of the following had happened to Aaron: Kate had left him with someone (presumably Cassidy or Mrs. Littleton) or someone had abducted him. It was starting to look like the abduction theory would win out. Dropping Aaron with his grandmother seems like a good idea, though that was an awful lot to dump in the poor woman's lap at once. "You have a grandson! And your daughter might be alive, so even though you don't know each other at all, you get to take care of him while I go look for her. Did I mention I have no idea how I'm getting back?"

Finding Claire is going to be awfully complicated now that Kate and Claire are three decades apart from each other. I suppose the search won't start in earnest until next season. But I'm glad that's why she went back. It seems so much nobler than simply wanting to return to Sawyer since Jack broke her heart. Still, Sawyer isn't exactly off the table. He claimed he was only helping her with Ben for Juliet's sake, which reminded me of Jack sticking up for Sawyer in the season three finale because he loved Kate. I think Sawyer was telling the truth about his motivations, mostly, but he also couldn't stand to leave Kate alone and in danger. It was pretty foolish of her not to accept Juliet's offer of help. Considerate, probably, but still not too bright. But in this episode, I think for the first time since season three, Sawyer called Kate "Freckles," and that can't be a good sign for the longevity of his current relationship...

So why was Kate so determined to save Ben? Was she, like Hurley, considering all of the staggering time-space continuum consequences? No, I don't think she was. I think that she, like Juliet, couldn't bear to stand by and let a kid die, even if that kid was Ben, and I think her conversations with Roger made her feel all the more sympathetic. Because Roger was ever so much more likable in this episode. Yes, he was veering laughably close to hitting on Kate; can you imagine those two as a couple? But the point is that we saw him actually carrying on a civil conversation with somebody, and we saw him deeply remorseful for the mistakes he had made as a father that drove Ben to break Sayid out of jail and try to join the Hostiles. I tend not to think of Roger as being terribly bright, but he really hit the nail on the head with figuring out what happened to Ben. It made me wish that Jack had just burst in there and saved Ben's life again. If he'd done that, maybe the future would have changed, but for the better; maybe Ben and Roger would have healed the rift between them and Ben would stop being so desperate to leave and would have developed into a much more grounded person. Roger and young Ben both seem ready to make amends at this point.

But now it seems that history is indeed repeating itself. Richard seemed reluctant to take Ben and turn him into a Hostile. The loss of innocence he spoke of must be the first step in creating the Ben we all know. With such a dramatic change in demeanor, it didn't surprise me that much to hear that a loss of memory would be involved, though to what extent? Will he only forget the shooting, or will he forget everything that happened to him in the first twelve years of his life? Maybe, for instance, he honestly believes that he was born on the Island. What if, by the time Ben returns to the Dharma Initiative, the castaways have moved elsewhere? Maybe he has no memory of their interaction at all, and they actually were the strangers to him that they seemed to be in season two. I think that him remembering them in the future would set up all sorts of interesting possibilities, but I suppose it would be simpler if he just forgot the whole thing, or rather had his memory modified to exclude certain people and events. What about Annie? In 2004, he knew that the doll she gave him was a birthday present. Did he remember the circumstances under which he received it?

I'm excited about the prospect of another Ben-centric episode next. The previews certainly seem to imply that we're getting one. I presume that we'll see what befalls little Ben in the Temple, perhaps as a flashback from modern-day Ben; maybe we'll see the 1977-era Hostiles but not the castaways, though I'd think we might see him return to the village, since we know that has to happen. Might we see some familiar faces among the Hostiles? Mr. Friendly, perhaps, for one? Richard mentioned Charles and Ellie, who presumably is Eloise Hawking. Both of them are evidently in positions of authority. What if Charles' exile occurs at this point, as a result of what Richard does to save Ben? Could that be possible? And knowing he can't get back at Richard, who seems to be immortal and indestructible, Charles instead sets his sights on Ben? And where does Penny fit into all this? She must have been born by now; I figure she must have been at least in her early twenties when she and Desmond met, and that was in the early 90s. Is she on the Island?

Speaking of Penny, I imagine we'll also find out how the big show-down with Ben went down. Of course, I'm hoping that Ben came calling but before he could do any damage, Desmond beat him up and sent him packing. That may be overly optimistic, however. Here's hoping it's not. Ben episodes are always fascinating, and with the promise of Smokey, I think we're going to get a hearty helping of mythology with Dead Is Dead. I'm guessing the title refers to John, but it could also refer to Ben, I suppose; what if Ben isn't healed but resurrected in that Temple, making him and John even more alike? Or maybe we'll finally get a little insight into Christian. At any rate, I'm guessing that once John finds out Ben's got a date with Smokey, he's going to be too intent to see that confrontation to get in the way. I suspect that he'll insist on tagging along with Ben for the big trial, though I'm not sure how much he'll actually be able to see. Could this be curtains for Ben Linus? After all the scrambling to save his life in the past, will he get pulverized in the future?

There was a lot of pretty heavy stuff happening in this episode, so I'm glad that we got the moments of levity with Miles and Hurley. I love how Hurley was raising all of the objections to the time travel premise that we have been. The reference to Back to the Future was the perfect way to kick things off. The debate was a great way for the writers to lighten the atmosphere while admitting, "Yeah, we know this is a lot to swallow..." And Hurley presented some pretty convincing arguments for their being able to change the future, though by the end of the episode, I was leaning towards Miles' camp. I see now that the season finale is called The Incident, which is interesting, since that seems to have been the event that necessitated the pushing of the button in the Swan hatch. The season three and season four finales had a lot of parallels; I'm guessing season two and season five will as well. But we've still got several episodes to go before that happens. In the meantime, any chance of seeing Rose, Bernard, Vincent or Daniel again? And is Jacob going to finally show up, or will we have to wait until season six for him to make an appearance? The questions are still piling up, but for the moment, I'm content with the promise of more Smokey...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Once and Future Ben

I wrote this poem today in response to a poetry month writing prompt. Of course, knowing LOST was on in a few hours, I had my favorite show on the brain. Tonight's episode seems to have answered a question or two about Ben, but the mysteries are only beginning to be unraveled. How much did Ben know about what was about to happen when he hopped the plane back to the Island? Did he realize what he'd been pruning Sayid to do? We shall see...

The Once and Future Ben

A broken man with malice in his heart
Sits calmly in his seat and reads a book
That hints at epic journeys. But a look
Into his eyes does not reveal the part
That he will shortly play. Does he suspect
The doom that he has brought upon the lad
He loves and loathes, the boy whose bitter dad
Was caustic in his efforts to connect?
"Whatever happened, happened," so they say.
Then does the man recall the treachery
That, for another, still is yet to be?
Or did his past unfold another way?
Did bloodied Ben facilitate a crime
Defining the direction of his youth,
Or, when we are presented with the truth,
Will we discover that the course of time
Is not so fixed as many would insist?
A child is shot by one consumed with wrath.
Perhaps this sets him on the villain's path;
Perhaps he simply ceases to exist.