Lost Official Site

The Time:
Wednesdays, 9:00 PM, ABC

The Show:

Oceanic Flight 815 from Sydney to London went down somewhere over the
Pacific, the survivors of the crash found themselves marooned on a
tropical island.  But this is no ordinary island; it has
unusual magnetic, temporal, healing and seemingly supernatural
properties, and is fraught with constant danger.  There is
a mysterious black smoke-like creature, polar bears, and even
apparitions of the dead roaming the forest.  The island is
also the former secret haven of a group called the Dharma Initiative,
who were running experiments utilizing the unique properties of the
island via research stations that dot the landscape.  Now the
Oceanic survivors, led by Dr. Jack Sheppard, Kate Austen, James
“Sawyer” Ford, John Locke, Hugo “Hurley” Reyes, Sayid Jarrah and
others, seek a way to escape the island and its many dangers. 
But there are people, both living on the island and seeking the island
from outside, who are at war for control of it, and the Oceanic
survivors find themselves caught in the middle.  Told via
nonlinear fashion that incorporates flashbacks and flash forwards, Lost is one of the most unique and densely mythological shows on television.

The Stars:

•  Matthew Fox – Dr. Jack Sheppard
•  Evangeline Lilly – Kate Austen
•  Josh Holloway – James “Sawyer” Ford
•  Naveen Andrews – Sayid Jarrah
•  Terry O’Quinn – John Locke
•  Jorge Garcia – Hugo “Hurley” Reyes
•  Daniel Dae Kim – Jin Kwon
•  Yunjin Kim – Sun Kwon
•  Michael Emerson – Benjamin Linus
•  Henry Ian Cusick – Desmond Hume
•  Elizabeth Mitchell – Juliet Burke
•  Jeremy Davies – Daniel Faraday
•  Nestor Carbonell – Richard Alpert
•  Alan Dale – Charles Widmore
•  Reiko Aylesworth – Amy

The Episode:Dead is Dead”

In this Ben-centric episode, we catch up with Ben and Locke as they’re reunited on the Hydra Island.  Ben continues with his plan to go to the main island and be “judged” by Smokey for his crimes.  Surprisingly, Locke isn’t holding a grudge and joins him.  We also see Ben at different parts of his life in the past, including his recovery from being shot by Sayid, his stealing Alex from Rousseau, and his banishing Widmore from the island.  We also learn if Ben made good on a previous threat and what happens at his “trial.”

The Lowdown:

Well, so much for Caesar being an important new character….

Simply a fantastic episode, one of the top two or three of the season I thought.  Lost is really fun when there’s a good Sawyer story going on, but I think Ben and Locke are the best tandem working on the show right now.  They have a lot of good interplay this week and Emerson and O’Quinn give good performances in a variety of situations.  There’s some obvious fill-in-the-blank stuff for Ben, especially in his more recent exploits before they got back to the island, but there’s also some enlightening Ben / Widmore backstory.  The episode also manages to mix in just the slightest amount of dread and tosses in some gallows humor, which is a nice touch.

First of all, Emerson was at the top of his game this week, giving us a lot of good classic Ben stuff in terms of plotting and lying, but also having to deal with the unknown, which I think is something he hasn’t been used to for a long time.  Even after two or three seasons, Emerson is adept at making you guess about Ben.  When he wakes up he looks at Locke, who is watching over him.  Is that surprise and “oh shit!” in his eyes as the wheels turning the second he awakens, or is it genuine awe that he was right about Locke’s resurrection?  If it is the former, he’s as convincing as ever when he explains himself to Locke. 

It does seem like it could be the former, because almost immediately, he’s telling Locke one thing and then telling Caesar and the other 316ers something else, just as he does with Sun.  But if he did know about the resurrection, he may have thought it a necessary evil in order to break the rules to get back to the island, with the full intention of offing Locke – yet again – in order to take back his rightful place as the island’s chosen leader. 

Then there’s Terry O’Quinn who also gives a nicely nuanced performance this week.  Just like there are those questions about Ben’s motives and intentions, Locke is vague in conveying whether he believes even a word that Ben is telling him, or if he’s hep to the jive and playing along.  But their interplay the entire episode was spot on and I especially liked the early stuff such as “I thought we’d talk about the elephant in the room.”  And “Actually I was hoping for an apology.”  It’s also a nice reversal of fortune that Locke is now in the catbird seat and Ben is stumbling around in the dark.  Or as Locke put it, “Now you know what it was like to be me.”

Then there’s how the producers pulled the fast one on us by setting up Caesar as a possible new player.  Establishing him at the airport before the flight, then later going through Ben’s old office, and seemingly becoming the new leader…only to get off the island in a hurry via shotgun.  Probably the most surprising death since Dr. Arzt.  And I loved Ben’s demeanor that entire scene.  “Looking for this?”  “We’re taking the boat.  Anybody else have a problem with that?”  And especially, “Consider that my apology.”  Awesomeness. 

And along those same lines, the 316ers: what’s happening with them?  Suddenly they have weapons…and a code phrase.  Are they more of Widmore’s people or did Smokey make a trip across the pond and turn them like he did Rousseau’s crew?  Interesting.

Now there is an obvious flashback about what Ben was doing right before he got on the plane and how he got all messed up.  There was really no way to hide that since Desmond and Penny were in LA the same time that he was that he was going to go after Penny.  I didn’t think that Penny would be killed, but there was still that creeping doubt.  How that scene played out ultimately doesn’t provide quite as satisfying a resolution to that whole murdered daughters quid pro quo subplot between Widmore and Ben as I’d hoped.  Ben later takes us through how he’s genuinely remorseful for Alex’s death and for planning to kill Penny, but even as that may be so, he’s still plotting against Locke.  The Ben Linus dichotomy continues.  And funnily enough, it’s “Alex” who holds his ass to the fire for it. 

We do get some insights into how the whole Widmore / Ben story came to be, although it’s surprising that there wasn’t nearly as much to how Widmore was forced to leave the island by Ben as i thought there’d be.  As for when Locke and Ben get back to the Barracks, even though we knew who was going to be in the room in Ben’s old house when the light goes on, there’s still that 1% of doubt that the show manages to consistently throw in.  Still, Locke doesn’t seem fazed by anything anymore, and he can see right through Ben’s bullshit on certain levels at least, telling Ben that he knows the real reason Ben wants to be judged – remorse for Alex’s death.  Death seems to agree with Locke.

As for the Smokey / Ben finale, I was getting a distinct Mummy vibe when we discovered Smokey’s lair.  Bunch more Egyptian in that temple room and discovering that Ben’s house was built right on top of part of it was a neat revelation.  And damn if that didn’t look like an Egyptian toilet he was putting his hand into.  Considering that the whole mythology may be based on Egyptian influences, I wouldn’t be surprised if Smokey were some sort of manifestation of Anubis.  And if it weren’t a Christian myth rather than Egyptian, the concept that Richard is actually Cartaphilus ran through my head at some point.

All things considered, very enjoyable episode with some nice surprises and revelations.

9.0 out of 10