Once again, I’m running behind. In a bid to catch up (only two more episodes left this season), I’m going to drop two postings today – one on ‘The Brig’ which aired two weeks ago and the second will focus on last Wednesday’s excellent ‘The Man Behind the Curtain’.
This is not to imply that ‘The Brig’ deserves the short shrift. It was a fascinating episode – a true journey into the heart of darkness that can beat within this show.
All right – on with the show.
1. The visit to The Black Rock was a welcome return. Seeing the ship’s skeletal remains adrift in a sea of foliage served to underscore the fact that Lost really knows how to paint on a large canvas. The world crafted here is big and exciting and that set piece cleverly demonstrated it.
2. Speaking of The Black Rock, you just know that brief interlude between Locke and Rousseau is going to come back soon. Unless Danielle has located another rogue science teacher who needs to ‘blow up real good’ – I have a feeling she’s got a plan to deal with The Others and rescue her daughter with some big time ‘splosions.
3. Before I get into the heart of the episode – the events on board the ship – I need to touch upon the exchange between Richard and Locke as a lot of that and the overall events at The Others camp speak to things that transpire in the next episode. There has been a lot of attention paid to John Locke being looked upon as special to The Others. Cindy, the flight attendant, engages Locke and lets him know that everyone is very excited to have him there. Then, when Locke fails to kill his Dad at Ben’s urging (a test?), Richard confronts Locke and lets him know that Ben did that to embarass him – that Ben may have an ulterior motive to deride Locke. He also lets him know that everyone feels Locke is ‘special’ and implies that perhaps Locke may be able to take Ben’s place as people are seeking a change. This supports that video Juliet made where she implored Jack to kill Ben, and again, once the following episode is viewed it becomes readily apparent why people may want to rid themselves of this phantom menace. More on that in my next post.
4. Another interesting tangent is Anthony Cooper’s insistence that they’re all in Hell, as he believes he died and the first person he confronts is his ‘dead son’. Oh – and “it’s hot here.” What I like about this exchange is it provides some additional support to the news relayed by Naomi that Flight 815 was found and everyone was dead aboard. Do I believe they are dead and in Hell? Not a chance – we’ve seen too much contact with the outside world to contradict that theory – although Cooper does make a convincing argument. He may not be in Hell but he has arrived in some version of Hell.
5. This brings me to Locke’s deception. Once again, The Others prove themseves to be very resourceful, providing Locke with key intel which he uses to coerce Sawyer to kill his Dad, Anthony Cooper a.k.a. Tom Sawyer. That entire sequence, where Sawyer realizes just who Cooper really is, was spine-chilling. You just knew this wasn’t going to end well. Cooper suffered a brutal death and deserved every last second of it. I’m not so sure Sawyer deserved it though. That event has to haunt.
6. In the past, I have railed against those lapsed viewers who claim Lost never answers any questions. Well, in the wake of ‘The Brig’, I read some complaints on the web where people griped that in tying Locke and Sawyer to Cooper – the producers simply provided an answer that astute viewers had already deduced on their own. So they bristle when they don’t get answers and they’re pissed when they do get answers. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.
At the very least, I think they are missing the point of this episode. The Sawyer revelation was not meant to be a big shocking twist. In fact, the writers were playing off of the audiences pre-conceived notions. Knowing the connection that Sawyer had to Locke – well before James Ford figured it out himself – led to a harrowing sequence in the depths of that pirate ship. That’s the number one rule to building suspense. Show the audience a bomb under a table but leave its presence a surprise to the characters seated around it. This episode was all about that ticking time bomb, which John Locke desperately needed to go off so that he could finally purchase his release.
In about 20 minutes (yup, that’s about how long it takes me to write these), ‘The Man Behind the Curtain’.