Lost – ‘The Shape of Things to Come’ – 4.9

Is it just me or did that month fly? When Lost went on hiatus we were still under the threat of winter storm activity and now that I write this, the mercury has hit 76 degrees. One would think that the journey from sub-zero temps to pleasant Spring days would take longer, but that calendar page tore itself with reckless abandon. So, the good news is I didn’t miss the show very much because it didn’t seem like it was gone too long.

A lot of that might have to do with how AMAZING last night’s episode was. I’m going to spare y’all the suspense. This one earns 5 Mooninites (a rarity on these pages) and I’m tempted to toss in a few Koopas and an Ebert head for good measure. It was that good.

Anyway, we have a LOT to chew on so without further adieu, on with the show.

1.   We’ll start at the beginning. After all the activity that came later in the show, it would be easy to forget this early pivotal scene but there it was – right there in the middle of the Sahara Desert – proof positive that Ben and company employ teleportation in their big bag of tricks. It’s no accident that Ben appears near Tunisia, the exact same location that Charlotte uncovered the DHARMA polar bear skeleton in the ‘Confirmed Dead’ episode. Of course, Ben’s arrival provides tantalizing clues to his previous whereabouts. For starters, he’s dressed in cold weather gear for his little jaunt to the desert – implying that he either came from a cold locale or the business of time travel/teleportation involves cold temperatures. (Incidentally – his DHARMA parka was inscribed with the name Holliwax which is one of the aliases Dr. Marvin Candle/Mark Wickman (the orientation guy) uses. Also, when Ben comes to he exhales frosty breath.

2.   Now, what’s with his wound? Did he get that before teleporting (was there a struggle before he made it through) or is it an effect of the travel. Also, the fact that he landed in Tunisia when he really needed to go to Iraq makes me think that there are pre-determined landing spots on this Earth – maybe tying in with that theory that there are certain locations on the Earth that contain healing properties (which was revealed in the Rose flashback episode). So, when they travel, they can only go to specific waypoints.

3.   One little note – when Ben checked in at the hotel he made a point of asking what the date was – specifically the year. He seemed relieved when the clerk specified 2005. Maybe this teleportation is still unsteady and there was the possibility that Ben could move to the wrong place in time (kind of like Bruce Willis’ predicament in Twelve Monkeys).

4.   I’m not sure what to make of Ben’s meeting with Sayid. While we got closure on how Sayid came to be in Ben’s employ, I’m not sure if Ben is truly on the up-and-up given that sly smile that pursed his lips after Sayid joined his war. It’s really not too far a stretch to see Ben manipulating events (by having Nadia murdered) in order to contract Sayid into his cause. And what a dark existence everyone is leading. Sayid finally finds his true love and in less than a year, she is murdered. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a fan of this dark direction – but, man, this show is really starting to turn the screws of its characters.

5.   Leading me to Alex’s assassination. My jaw dropped. I never thought she’d be killed that swiftly and suddenly (and cruelly). And her death led to deeper shadings of Ben’s character. That was true remorse he expressed leading me to believe that he really is the “Good Guy” he swears he is. OK so maybe he did not have Nadia killed. All I know is, Keamy’s got some vicious retribution coming his way.

6.   And we know Ben has the means, and the Smoke Monster, to dish it out. So how about that scene? As Hurley said “You mean, you just called thing over?” With Ben’s world shattered, he took action – not before muttering these telling words “He changed the rules” and decided to bend them his own – calling forth swirling black death which raced in like a locomotive and ripped the mercs apart. Of course, it appears some escaped, but that was easily the most impressive Smokey scene yet. The whole staging of the sequence – with the subtle vibrations leading to a full-on earthquake followed by Smokey’s assault was just awesome. Did anyone catch the secret door Ben went through – it was carved with all sorts of hieroglyphics and symbols? A field day for fan sites everywhere.

7.   I think we got some more evidence that Ben is either the false prophet that I’ve pegged him as or he has lost his touch with Jacob as he mentioned that he needed both Hurley (to find him) and Locke (to speak with him) in order to divine what to do next. In two weeks, we get a Locke-centric episode titled ‘Cabin Fever’. Read into that what you will.

8.   There was a telling line in the seemingly innocuous RISK scene. At one point Hurley says “Australia is the key to the game.” We all know where Flight 815 originated from. Actually, I think the whole game of RISK was a metaphor for the battle waging between Ben and Widemore. My take – we’re to read this as the fight for this island is the fight for the world.

9.   Back at the beach, we had the predicament with the washed ashore doctor who apparently is still very much alive on the freighter. Now, we’ve always posited that the island is ‘behind the times’ but if the doc washes ashore dead and is still alive on the freighter, does this imply that time on the island is slippery and that perhaps it is in flux – moving forward and backward in time? Or, whoever responded to the Morse code is simply lying.

10.   As for Jack, I don’t think there is any big mystery with him. Based on where he was favoring himself, I think his appendix is getting ready to burst. Great timing.

11.   And then, there is that potent meeting at the end of the episode, with Ben creeping into Widemore’s bedroom in the dead of night to deliver his ‘eye for an eye’ threat. Widemore had his daughter killed so now Ben is going to kill Penny. Does that mean she is on Sayid’s hit list?

12.   That scene had a lot of nuance to it. First, Widemore greeted Ben with “You know you can’t kill me.” Is Widemore immortal – an effect of the island? He did mention that Ben took the island from him.

13.   My take on that is perhaps Widemore was one of the financiers to the DHARMA initiative – thus when Ben participated in the purge, he effectively took the island from him.

14.   Now Ben says Widemore will never find the island. Remember, this scene is one year in the future and we know Widemore’s group already found the island (and presumably liberated 6 members) so what has transpired to prevent Widemore from ever finding it again?

15.   And where has Widemore hidden Penny?

16.   As Widemore said in his closing statement, “now we both have a quest.”

Next week, the Jack-centric ‘Something Nice Back Home’.

[tv 5.0]
[game 3.0]
[movie 1.0]

Comments now closed (5)

  • Hi Ed. My wife and I think Jack & co make it to the boat and “eliminate” the crew, so that in effect, they were not really liberated and Widemore did not yet find the island, at least not precisely. Also, that site from the previous post mentions Widemore has had an Austrailian accent and an English accent. I had not noticed that, Has anyone else noticed that? And I don’t buy Widemore assasinating Sayid’s wife. Ben’s doing makes more sense. However, my wife thinks that man could have been someone sent to watch Sayid, security like, and nothing more. ?? Nice catch on seeing Ben exhale frosty breath. Happy Birthday Abby!

  • @ Carlos – I like your (and your wife’s) idea about Jack and company taking care of the freighter folk. In fact, what if Jack is the one that kills the doctor and due to the weird time things on the island, he has found the body of someone he won’t kill until later? (Although throat slashing might be a bit extreme for Jack – although, maybe not Sayid.) (On that point – I saw an interview with Damon Lindelof at ew.com where he said something along the same – or more to the point, he said that a body adrift at sea would not follow the exact coordinates needed to avoid the “time” issues).

    Keep up the comments. You’ve got some great ideas!!!

    BTW I’ll have to post that Catwoman cover sometime soon. Good find!!!

  • So, the teleportation thing is looking real good… here’s what I think, they started with using numbered snow rabbits, went on to polar bears and graduated to humans. Makes sense to use cold weather capable animals if it is cold during the journey, right? I think the landing in Tunisia is expected, which is why Ben already had a preferred customer account with that hotel.

    I think it is more plausible that Widemore did kill Nadia rather than Ben. Widemore could be trying to get at the Six survivors to reveal what they know about locating the island. Do agree that Ben’s sly smile meant he worked the situation in his favor though.

    Stunned when Alex was killed. I was in as much disbelief as Ben.

    What was with that door? I mean, it was like the house was built on top of it… doesn’t seem to built into the side of a mountain/hill… felt like he was doing an Indiana Jones moment or something. Very interested to see where that door goes, but obviously it is linked to smokey’s layer, which we know is underground from a past episode.

    Think Ben has also lost some mojo with the island too… after all, how did he end up with the big C if the island heals all, or at the very least, the good people? Although, he did seem to be still healing quickly from his beat down by Jack…

    As for the Ben/Widemore “meeting”, thought it was very well done. Loved the filming so that we only saw one side of each of their faces. Think maybe to show they are each on a side or something. Widemore says the island was once his or that we was there or it was Ben talking about him never finding it again. Anyway, I came away with the thought that he had been there at some point and wanted back. Perhaps he is like Jack and crew and want to get back to that island…

    Anyway, this was easily the best episode of the season, and maybe of the series!