In the comments last week, I reposted a theory I read on-line that posited the notion that the two time lines we’re seeing this season are more closely related than we previously thought.
At the beginning of the season, it was reasonable to assume that everything we saw on the island was part of the straight chronology – the timeline we’ve been following since the very beginning. So, Oceanic Flight 815 crashed on the island. The pilot was eaten. Hatches were cracked. Tailies were found. Tailies were killed. Secondary islands were discovered. Others became DHARMA became original Others. Shacks rocked. Donkey wheels were spun. Everything got groovy as we did the time warp back to the 70’s. Jughead blew his stack. Jacob lived. Jacob died. MiB Locke began assembling his army. Sawyer called someone tubby. All that happened in one constant timeline – no matter where the island happened to pinball to.
Then there is the second timeline – which we originally thought was an offshoot of this timeline – a line splintered by the detonation of Jughead, thus introducing the concept of alternate dimensions into the sci-fi hodgepodge that Lost peddles in so well. And that seemed to make sense…
But then MiB Locke began his recruitment drive – offering impossible dreams to anyone who would take up arms and follow him off the island. And as the Devil whispered deep into their hearts, mining for more souls, a new theory took form. Perhaps, all of this alternate time line stuff we’re seeing is actually wish fulfillment. In essence, we’re getting a view of the back nine should MiB win. The big reboot – where formerly dead people are now back among the living, loyal followers have been granted that which they most desire, with a bit of a twist. So, Sayid pines for Nadia and while MiB resurrects her, he also places her agonizingly beyond arm’s reach of Sayid – in the embrace of his bro.
It remains to be seen – and there are some holes that need to be plugged – but it’s interesting nonetheless and last night’s Ben-centric episode helped to underscore it a little bit, while also providing a bit of a wrinkle to the theory which I’ll iron out below.
Without further adieu, let’s get Lost.
1. In a twist of my usual formula, I’ll center on the “on-island” stuff first before hitting the alternate time line. So, we opened with Ben running from the temple massacre and quickly coming upon Ilyana and her decimated posse. Ben let’s them all know that Sayid has gone completely to the dark side, having killed Dogen and Lennon, and then Ilyana immediately keys in on other murderous deeds – namely what happened to her father figure, Jacob. Enter our own private Ghost Whisperer, Miles, who quickly intuits that Ben was the man who sunk a dagger deep into Jacob’s heart. Miles leaves Ben with a fitting warning – “Uh oh“.
2. Ilyana calls Jacob the closest thing to a father she’s ever had and I think it’s proper to interpret that with a capital “F”. Given the little bit of back story we have of Ilyana – badly beaten (or burned) in a Russian hospital – she appears to have been a recipient of Jacob’s healing touch. She has pledged her life to follow her Father – to be his protector, as well as that of any candidates he finds along the way. Either way you interpret her meaning, it doesn’t bode well for Ben at the beginning.
3. This leads back to the beach where we get a pretty neat little exchange between Ben and Miles that calls back to Miles’ initial extortion attempt at $3.2 million and weaves in the poor tragic fate of red shirts, Paulo and Nikki – who Miles has gleaned were buried alive by the Losties with $8 million in diamonds. I love that they called back to that episode, which was a neat way to write out two characters that really didn’t work – and even better, that not only does Miles know what happened but as hinted in the final scene, he’s cashed in too.
4. While that part of the exchange was fun, the second bit of intel Miles dropped on Ben was a bit heartbreaking. And this comes in an episode that continues to set Ben up for a little bit of redemption after all the evil this man has done. Anyway, Miles levels Ben with the knowledge that even in those final seconds before Ben plunged the knife deep into Jacob’s heart, Jacob believed that there was some good in Ben – that he would make the right choice. Ben did it out of shattered belief and all this time, Jacob believed in him. And that nails Ben hard.
5. Enter the Machiavellian MiB who frees Ben from his shackles and offers him an instrument of revenge in a bid to join him and his army on the Hydra island. And while Ben initially takes that offer, his encounter with Ilyana changes things – providing a little bit of synchronicity between the alternate timeline tale and the on-island story. In both, we spy a rarity in this boy’s life. Ben makes the right call – choosing to follow Ilyana when she expresses forgiveness and offers to have Ben join her group. That led to a final shot – with everyone reunited on the beach – and while Ben was left out of the slo-mo back-slapping, he is still making small steps to be one of the “good guys”.
6. Although, I am surprised that Charles Widemore didn’t take that opportunity to fire a torpedo at his unsuspecting nemesis. Now we know who Jacob was referring to when he said someone was coming to the island. Now, as bad as Widemore is, I doubt he’s in league with MiB – he covets this island too much. My guess is that as with Ben’s unlikely alliance with Jack, Ilyana and company – Widemore is going to represent the cavalry – providing his former enemy with key tactical support when they take the battle to MiB Locke.
7. In two weeks, we have Richard’s long-awaited back story coming but we got enough of a hint in this episode. As suspected, Richard was a slave aboard the Black Rock – which given the book Ben was looking at in the alternate time line – was a ship in the East India Trading Company fleet. Richard explained that he’s not a cyborg, nor vampire – but is immortal due to Jacob’s gift – his touch. This makes one wonder if Jack and company also possess the same gift – having all been touched by Jacob over the years. We know they were drawn to the island by that touch but are they also immortal – doomed to follow Jacob’s orders and pining for death when their beliefs are shattered?
8. This leads to that potent scene between Jack and Richard where Jack continues to slide from science to faith – putting it all on the line for a stick of dynamite that he knows (believes) will not kill them. The arc Jack has taken from Season 1 to now is huge – and it really does point to Jack being a possible caretaker for the island when all is said and done, presuming MiB’s reboot doesn’t take hold.
9. While it seems like the alternate timeline tales have been completely unrelated to events on the island – aside from a handful of ‘meet cute’ scenarios between supposed dead or unrelated supporting cast members, I hold to the theory I mentioned above and feel that were seeing an MiB-directed reboot for all involved. This is how things end should he win – and while I doubt it represents his complete end game – I think it means that he is off island and that’s not good for anybody. That being said – some characters are finding themselves recast in new roles in MiB’s new take on things – and that’s where we find our intrepid history teacher, Ben.
10. In this alternate take on things, Ben did follow his Dad to the island as part of the DHARMA initiative but things never played out the same way. Ben never became an Other or killed his Dad. His Dad even bemoans the fact that they left the island, saying had they stayed, Ben may have become something great.
11. It appears that Danielle never made it to the island, although she did bring forth Alex – who in this version is a bright, young pupil of Ben’s with her eyes on Yale. The only problem is the dastardly Walter Peck stands in her way – as well as Ben, the Ghostbusters and John McClane too. And although the substitute Locke offers Ben an interesting proposition to take his throne (which neatly echoes MiB’s on-island offer), in both scenarios Ben runs counter to our expectations and chooses wisely – offering to sacrifice his selfish desires for the greater good. He begins to seek and find redemption.
12. That’s what I teased at the beginning. While I think we’re seeing the results of MiB’s do-over, I think Jacob has some sway too. Their age-old battle continues in this new reality and while MiB may be able to torment Sayid with a resurrected Nadia that he still cannot have, Jacob has a loyal foot soldier in Ben, making a bid to better his life. It will be interesting to see if this all plays out the way I think it will.
All right – that’s all I have. See you next week for Episode 6.8 – ‘Recon’.