Last year, one of my favorite episodes was ‘Not in Portland’. This was the episode that filled in Juliet’s back story and showed us how the good doctor came to the island. We got to see Ben’s Brave New World through her virgin eyes and really experience the wonder of the island and the community that DHARMA had established there. In addition, this is the episode that furthered the time travel talk originated in the Desmond episode ‘Flashes Before Your Eyes’ – with Juliet being recruited by that mysterious company Mittelos Bioscience (Mittelos is an anagram of Lost Time). Also, although Juliet was shown to arrive via sub – she was drugged ahead of the trip by Richard Alpert who warned her that it was a necessary procedure. “The ride there can be a bit bumpy.”
On that topic, EW posted an article yesterday where they went to producer Damon Lindelof with their interpretation of last week’s ‘The Constant’. Lindelof vets most of what they write (and by nature – confirms our speculation as well). Anyway, it was interesting so I thought I’d repost it here.
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO DESMOND?
In ”The Constant,” Desmond became ”unstuck in time” after flying through a thundercloud crackling with strange electricity. He experienced something like time travel, though not bodily time travel; instead, his consciousness shuttled between two different time periods, Island present 2004 and Desmond’s past 1996. But here’s the tricky twist: Desmond’s Island-present mind wasn’t the one doing the time traveling. When Desmond got hit with Island magic, his consciousness got knocked off-line and was replaced by his 1996 self. It was this older Desmond consciousness that toggled between present and past throughout the episode. Once Desmond ’96 completed the errand of getting Penny’s phone number so he could call her on Christmas Eve 2004, Desmond’s present-day mind came back online, but rebooted with the new memories created by his time-travel adventure. I know: tricky stuff. But I had the chance to run all this by Damon Lindelof — and he says this interpretation is correct.
Anyway, the point of all of this is last night’s Juliet-centric episode slightly disappointed me on two fronts. First, I’ve come to expect a lot of mythology movement from her episodes and in this episode, I thought the story spun its wheels a bit. The second is after the dizzying highs of last week’s Desmond episode, a let down was to be expected. It wasn’t a bad episode by any stretch but not as superb as we’ve come to expect either.
With that said, on with the show.
1. In Juliet’s back story we learned that she was previously linked to Goodwin – albeit as The Other Woman. Goodwin is married to the island’s therapist who angrily confronts Juliet on her indiscretions. The twist is, she doesn’t care that Goodwin is tramping it up – rather she is concerned that Goodwin’s affection for Juliet will end in his demise. As she puts it – “It’s not you who I am afraid will hurt him. It’s Ben.”
2. Earlier in the episode, Juliet is told that Ben is really taken by Juliet. The therapist Harper says, “Of course, you look just like her.” Who is this mysterious her? My guess is Ben’s childhood friend – all grown up. Could she have survived the original Purge and morphed from Ben’s playmate to lifemate? My guess is she may be one of the victims of the island’s negative effects on pregnant women. Perhaps this explains Ben’s drive to correct this catastrophe – he has a personal stake having lost his “wife” and child to the island’s destructive force.
3. I thought it was a nice touch that during Juliet’s flashbacks we got little bits and pieces of the flip side to events we saw depicted in ‘The Other 48 Days’. For instance, we now know the children were taken because they were “on the list” – recalling Jacob’s infamous list of ‘good people.’ During that dinner scene with Ben, he expresses his gratitude for how well Juliet has bonded with the children – Zack and Emma – who she says “Keep asking about their Mom in L.A.” Of course, the bug-eyed bastard raises the creepiness factor when he replies “In time, they’ll stop asking.”
4. Our frequent contributor Chris brought this up last week when he asked where Ben’s people were. This week, Locke echoed those comments. If you recall, Richard Alpert was leading the people “to a very old place” – some ancient part of the island. This occurred in the episode last season when Ben led Locke to Jacob’s shack. In the season finale, Ben ordered several members to the beach for a raid and ordered Richard to bring the rest to the “temple”. So that’s where they are going and that’s why there hasn’t been a rescue. Plus, it’s pretty much been implied that The Others are glad to be rid of Ben.
5. Well, some of them. In one WTF moment, the whispers returned and with them whisked in Harper who came bearing a message from Ben. Was Harper a ghost – sent by Ben? She seemed to arrive and depart with the whispers which in the past have heralded the arrival of Ghost Walt and Jacob’s Haunted Love Shack. Or, do the whispers mask ‘teleportation’?
6. Harper’s message was that Faraday and Charlotte were headed to a power station – The Tempest – to gas the entire island. Of course, as with everything Ben reveals, that was merely a shade of the truth. In reality, they were headed there to render the gas harmless. What’s the purpose of that gas. Did the Dharma Initiative install it as a fail safe should anyone ever breach the island?
7. If so, that explains Faraday and Charlotte knowing about it and having that be one of their prime directives. As we learned on that Red Sox tape (how could Ben tape over the ’04 victory?) – Charles Widemore is the owner of the freighter and is searching for the island to exploit its unique properties.
8. While Ben is usually one conniving bastard, I think he was telling the truth to Locke for once, and I think this neatly explain his psychology. He will do anything to protect the island, including kill mass numbers of people. For Ben, the island is paramount to all. His tale of finding Jesus in some mold underscores it. If people would flock to genuflect before a grilled cheese, what would they do (and pay) for a genuine Fantasy Island that grants infinite healing powers? Widemore is a business man and his role and intent is purely corporate. He intends to profit from the island – if only he could find it. I’ll say this much – with the end in site, Lost has really begun to drop some answers on us. Of course, many more mysteries remain, but it was nice to finally put a face to the freighter folk.
9. Well, all but Ben’s mole. Although now we know that Locke knows. “You’re going to want to sit down for this”. From the trailer, I’d say we find out his identity next week. I’m calling it as Michael. Ben gave him specific coordinates to leave the island but we never saw the rest of their exchange. This could have been part of his deal to get Walt off the island. We’ll see.
10. Ben’s island saving mania had truly driven him mad. That final exchange with Juliet – “Because You’re Mine” is all you need to know about how crazy he really is. But – despite his psychotic bent, I still think he’s one of the good guys.
Charles Widemore. Now there’s your Big Bad!!!