This whole season I’ve been claiming that there are 16 episodes for Season 5 and 16 for Season 6 – and then done. I just took a look at a site that keeps the schedule of upcoming episodes and it looks like they’ve added one for this season. According to the latest schedule, Episode 17 airs May 20th. It’s listed as an hour long and we know Lost usually closes things out with a two hour episode so this is subject to change – they may move an episode to that time slot in order to present a two-hour event. Either way, we get 17 hours this season and 16 next season. That’s the good news.
The bad news is we are now 10 deep – meaning there are only 6 or 7 nights left for this season. It’ll be over before you know it. On the flip side, once it’s over it’s practically summer, so I say Bring It On!!!
All right – Let’s get Lost.
1. This was one of those episodes that makes my life easy. While there were flashbacks (or at least – cutaways to events we hadn’t fully seen) the focus of the story stayed primarily on Sayid’s predicament. And while there was precious little movement on the mythological arc, there was certainly high drama near episode’s end – enough for us to ponder and think back over what we already know.
2. Here’s one thing I know – Ben ain’t dead. Yet. (More in a moment).
3. That opening scene, with young Sayid gleefully lining up to choke the chicken (hey, we’ve all been there), neatly set the table for what’s to come. Killing is in his nature. At least, he’s not afraid to shy away from it. The scene paralleled a similar opening in Season 2, when we saw Mr. Ecko as a boy, taking a gun from his brother and executing a man in order to keep Yemi pure. The difference is that years later, Ecko was seeking penance for his lifetime of cruel acts while Sayid is simply trying to hide from instincts that continue to bubble to the surface. seemingly confused as to why the ability to kill comes so naturally to him. Based on his later actions, it makes me wonder if Sayid may soon be judged by the island. We all saw what Smokey did to Ecko.
4. So young Ben continues to bring Sayid sandwiches and some reading material. I didn’t catch the full title of the book but it looked sci-fi and had something to do with altered time or dimensions. One thing the Lost writers love to do is layer the subtext through prop details and they’ve used books on a number of occasions as little Easter Eggs. As long as we don’t get an extended shot of Sawyer mooning over Stephenie Meyer’s dreamy Edward, I’m all for it as it adds to the puzzle element of the show.
5. Anyway, Ben’s first visit is innocent enough. Ben lets Sayid know that he’s been in contact with the Hostiles and gives a shout back to his meeting with Richard in the woods. We learn that it’s been 4 years since that event happened so here’s a timeline check. It’s 1977 now. The Ben/Richard meeting was 1973 – a year before LaFleur and his cronies bunked up with the DHARMA Initiative. That puts Ben’s arrival on the island somewhere in that ballpark – ’72 or ’73. He had been there long enough to hate it, so I’m guessing a year or so.
6. Of course, what he really hates is his Dad – good old Roger Workman (or Roger Linus) who was first played by Calista Flockhart (behind the wheel of that Little Miss DHARMA van) until Lazlo from Real Genius took over the role. Anyway, Sayid appears to share kinship with young Ben Linus, seeing that the two may have been cut from the same cloth – sons of bad Dads.
7. The crux of the episode focused on Horace’s attempts to get some information from their captured hostile. Sayid’s resistance leads Horace to take things to the “next level” – bringing him to the mysterious Oldham. Oldham, described by Sawyer as a “nut job”, lives in a Tee-Pee on the outskirts of Othersville, listening to Smooth Jazz and pining for his long lost brother Darryl and his other long lost brother Darryl. Maybe this crazy Iraqi has been “hunting” in Vermont?
8. “He’s Our You” – Sawyer/LaFleur helpfully tipped Sayid that he was facing interrogation – he was going to be served some 70’s pentothal to get him to talk and who better to exploit mind altering substances to get someone to give it up than grubby hippies.
9. That was actually a great scene with veteran character actor William Sanderson playing Oldham – DHARMA’s interrogator. He brings a nice folksy blend of quirk and menace (the same vibe I used to get off Sarah Palin). Anyway, through his serum, Sayid tells all. The different Hatches. The two plane crashes. The truth about LaFleur. And they don’t believe a damned word he says. Let this be a lesson. If you close out a true confession with “I am from the Future” no amount of cold-hard facts will stand. Al Gore learned that the hard way in An Inconvenient Truth.
10. Back on the home front, Juliet looked longingly at Jack and Kate and spied storm clouds on the horizon. I actually feel for her and Sawyer. They really did have a nice situation there. “It’s over, isn’t it? Us. Playing house.” Like I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I could see myself tuning in weekly to catch LaFleur Follies. But, Jack and company aren’t back more than one day and all hell breaks loose.
11. “Three years and no flaming buses. Y’all are here one day.” – Great line.
12. Before I focus on the end, I need to cover one more loose thread. A few weeks ago, when we all assumed Sayid was in custody for his crimes, someone asked why he was being sent to Guam. Now we know that the woman traveling with him was not a marshal but a bounty hunter who had tracked Sayid down. So, we know she’s deadly which might not help Locke’s situation in the present time.
13. Another thing to note. When we first saw Ben following the Ajira crash, it was an end of episode reveal – where Locke was introduced by Caesar to the various victims of the crash. Locke mentioned that this is the man who killed him. Last week, we saw events that took place ahead of Locke’s resurrection and Ben was up and mobile until Sun smashed him in the back of the head. Not a big deal but it does fill in the blanks a bit. It wasn’t the plane crash that sent him to sick bay, it was Sun.
14. So, back to young Ben. Like I said – he ain’t dead. Yet. In fact, I doubt he dies from Sayid’s shot. If anything, I think this is going to force our covert surgeon from his overalls into scrubs – which will likely raise some questions based on his aptitude scores. It basically sets up a multi-layered dilemma. You have Jack weighing the risk of exposing LaFleur’s cover story as well as the inherent moral dilemma of saving the life of a little Harry Potter who will one day grow up and become Voldemort. Anyway, that’s my guess as to how this plays out. From a dramatic standpoint, it’s rich with potential.
15. Essentially, this is that proverbial time travel question. If you could go back in time, would you undo future wrongs knowing you could potentially damage timelines? Would you kill Hitler? Apparently, Sayid would. His chance meeting with young Ben awakened him to a purpose that his life seemed lacking. Suddenly, he had faith. The island had sent him there to rid it of this pox. At least, that’s Sayid’s interpretation.
16. And while I do not think young Ben will die, I do find it incredibly gutsy that the producers and writers had his character shoot an innocent kid in cold blood. Like I said, I think Sayid may have a visit with the judgmental Smokey in his future.
17. One last thing I wanted to cover – the whole issue of time travel and what can and cannot be done in the past. Daniel says “What Happened, Happened” and a lot of people get worked up on little details like if Danielle met Jin in the past then why doesn’t she recognize him in the present. First, time travel isn’t reality. Sure, there are theories out there but face it people, I’m not writing this to you from May 2010. If I were, then I’d be able to tell you that the Losties do make it off the island and finally find a new Earth to inhabit. (Oh wait – wrong show).
So, my feeling on time travel as a device is that you can choose to adopt any time travel conceit as long as you stick to the rules that YOU create as I do not believe we can apply real world laws of Physics and Nature to fantastic concepts. As long as the creators play by their own rules, I’ll be tripping alongside them.
I think the Lost version of time travel has been fairly consistent. Essentially – time travel does exist and as we’ve seen, contrary to Faraday’s original belief, you can do things in the past that may echo to the future as memories. Think of time as a line. When you time travel, you don’t bee-bop back on that straight line, what you do is branch off on a tangent. Basically – you took an off ramp. So, Desmond wouldn’t remember Faraday banging on the hatch door once upon a time, the first time he met him, because it hadn’t happened yet. But when Faraday did do it later, Desmond suddenly has a memory of it.
So, the same applies to Ben being shot. The 2007 Ben – to this point – would have no prior knowledge of Sayid shooting him because until last night, it hadn’t happened. But, Sayid took an off-ramp, shot him, and now from this point forward, I think Ben will have memory of that – even if it’s just something that haunts his dreams. Also, I think that scene earlier this season (where Locke was shot by Ethan during a time trip and retained his injury when he popped out) will return. If Ben does live, as I am 99.9% sure he will, my guess is he’ll have a brand new surgical scar. It’s Sweeps Month so ABC will do anything to show some skin even if it’s bare-chested Benjamin Linus.
That’s enough for now. Let me know what you guys have.
See you next week for Episode 5.11 – ‘Whatever Happened, Happened’.