Lost Season 6 Episode 7: Dr. Linus
We’ve been frustrated all season regarding the fate and the actions of two characters. Sun, who has now spent close to a dozen episodes standing around wondering what’s going on and not doing anything, and Ben, who went from being a son of a bitch and a brilliant tactician who always has a plan to being a pathetic, powerless pawn. Our main complaint regarding both characters was that they’re simply not being used to their best advantage. It’s just no fun watching a powerless Ben stumbling around clueless and scared. It should be, because usually it’s cathartic watching a villain get their comeuppance, but Ben was never a simple villain on this show. He’s always been far more complicated than that.
The writers chucked subtlety out the window as B-timeline Ben instructed his students on the final fate of Napoleon and the reference couldn’t have been more clear as we watched A-timeline Ben literally dig his own grave: the island’s little Napoleon had lost all his power. But sometimes, subtlety isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and by the end, when Ben made his tearful confession to Ilana, our tiny little grinch hearts grew ten sizes bigger and all we wanted to do was hug the little genocidal dictator and tell him it was gonna be alright. MAJOR kudos to Michael Emerson, who always jockeyed for position with Terry O’Quinn as the best actor by far in the Lost ensemble.
So B-Ben is a powerless man, but he’s also a man with a seemingly loving relationship with his father, as he served the old man organic frozen dinners because he’s “trying to keep him alive” and changes his oxygen tank for him (a callback to the fact that A-Ben killed his father with poison gas). He’s also a man who, unlike his A counterpart, chose the life of Alex over his own ambitions and smiled as she walked off with her future ahead of her, as his own future remained as bleak as it ever was.
Or not? After all, we still got to see a spark of the old Ben as he got the nasty principal to re-assign detention to someone else, against his will. Ben, in any timeline, is a master manipulator. It’s just that the Ben of the B-timeline actually has love in his life and therefore, a moral center that prevents him from putting his needs before the needs of the people he cares about.
As an aside, can we just say as two raving homosexuals that Tania Raymonde, who plays Alex, is insanely hot? Her scenes with Ben were terribly sweet and it’s to the credit of both actors that they managed to depict a close and even loving relationship between a teacher and student without injecting any creepy sexual overtones to it.
But here’s the thing: It’s interesting to note that the person in the B-timeline who pushed Ben into pursuing power was John Locke. Interesting because it was UNLocke, or Smokey, who pushed Ben into doing the same thing: killing the chieftain to take his power. Now, this could have been just an interesting parallel but it got our minds racing and that’s never a good thing. Insane theory time.
We posited last week that it’s possible that the B-timeline is where all the characters from the A-timeline got their wishes. Claire will be with her baby, Sayid will be with Nadia, Jack will be a better man than his father, etc. It’s a theory that other writers have put forth as well and in the last week it’s become the dominant theory about the B timeline. So yay us for figuring that out on our own. BUT. What about this? What if the Locke in the B timeline isn’t Locke at all, but Smokey? After all, he did a very Smokey-like thing this episode by manipulating Ben like that. What if what we’ve all been assuming is an alternate timeline is no such thing and is in fact the final fate of all the characters we’ve been following all along? What if UNLocke didn’t just take over John Locke’s body in the A-timeline, but is continuing to wear it in the B timeline, convincing everyone that he’s the real John Locke? What if the climax this show is leading up to doesn’t take place on the island at all but instead will take place in L.A. as the survivors slowly come to realize what’s happened and face off against UnLocke, who may not even be paralyzed at all?
Okay, it’s a crazy theory, we admit. But something about that B-Locke just doesn’t feel right to us. A little too creepily self-assured for our tastes. And it’s notable that he apparently has a relationship with his con artist father. What if the B timeline is one long con by Smokey?
In other island news, Jack has made the full transition from man of science to man of faith. He was VERY Locke-like (the old Locke, the one who believed that the island had a purpose for him) as he played chicken with Richard Alpert and a stick of dynamite. It was a good moment for Jack and by the end of the episode he appears to have come back into his leadership role with ease.
Another aside: Hurley continues to voice every crazy fan theory ever espoused in the last 5 years as he asks Richard if he is either a cyborg or a vampire. We can check those two plus “zombie” off the list. What other nerd theories will we hear from him? But we’ve been racking our brains and we can’t remember any scene where Richard and Hurley ever met and yet Hurley seemed to know who he was and even what he looked like 30 years ago. Are we wrong or did the writers drop the ball on that one?
Oh to hell with it, everything from this point on will be an aside. We’re not even going to try to be linear anymore. And why should we? It’s not like there’s a linear narrative going on. Let’s do this:
*A masterful use of Miles and his abilities this episode. Not only picking up Jacob’s last thoughts to point the finger at Ben, but mentioning the 8 million dollars in diamonds buried with Nikki and Paolo. For a split second, we thought he was going to cover for Ben, but Miles is that rare character on Lost who basically says what he thinks and has no agenda outside of survival anymore. At least we think so. He has been awfully “go along to get along” ever since they landed in the 70s, but he started out as a character with a very selfish agenda and we wonder if he’s going to return to that. That shot of him at the end with the diamonds was perfectly in character but now we’re wondering if the diamonds have a part to play in the overall story and weren’t just a callback to what’s generally considered one of the worst episodes of the series.
*”Who knows what you could have become?” asks B-Roger of his son. That could pretty much be the tagline for this entire season so far. But here’s another thing: This was the first mention of the DHARMA initiative by anyone in the B timeline. So Roger and Ben WERE on the island. Okay, but this opens up more questions (of course): Was Ben shot by Sayid in this timeline? Magic 8 Ball says “Probably not.” Why? Because why would Roger speak so fondly of their time on the island? And remember: Ben was saved from dying by essentially being “Othered.” Richard told Kate and Sawyer that if he saved Baby Ben, he’d always be one of them and never be the same. We think it’s safe to say that B-timeline Ben never went through that since he seems so loving and unselfish. But when (and why) did they leave the island, then? And when (and why) did the island sink to the bottom of the ocean?
*Another instance of the “mirror” motif as we get a shot of Ben’s reflection in the microwave. We forgot to mention it in last week’s writeup but we got the same thing with Sayid reflected in the glass of the door as he was waiting for Nadia to open it.
*Ilana says, “Jacob was the closest thing I ever had to a father.” Okay, seriously. People better start asking questions of this girl because now they’re all following her around with no idea of who the hell she is. Sure, Sun got her to reveal a little but we basically knew everything she told her.
*Richard says “When Jacob touches you it’s a gift,” explaining his seeming immortality. Remember, Jacob touched all of the “candidates” plus Kate, who is apparently not a candidate but still has some purpose yet to be revealed.
*We called it when we said they’d be returning to the beach again as a callback to Season 1. Although they’re seriously fudging the size of the island this season. Treks that used to take days in past seasons seem to take no time at all. People can walk from the statue to the beach to the temple to the Black Rock in mere hours, it seems.
*Of course the return to the beach only reminded of us of the scene last season when the time-skipping survivors found an outrigger there with an Ajira bottle in it and stole it, only to be chased by people in another outrigger, one of whom Juliet shot. We still haven’t found out who that is, but we get a feeling it’s going to be tragic and ironic. Like Sawyer or Kate or someone like that.
*Speaking of Ajira…Smokey told grave-digging Ben to meet him on Hydra Island after he escaped. What’s on Hydra island (besides bear cages)? A big honkin’ plane, that’s what. Plus whatever survivors there are left from Ajira 316. Smokey’s potential army just got a lot bigger and his way off the island just became a little more plausible.
*Another nice callback to previous seasons was the return of an old favorite: various survivors on the beach moving in slow motion as the music swells, leading to an emotional slo-mo reunion. We admit it, it still works. We got a lump in our throat as Hurley and Sun ran into each other’s arms and couldn’t help remembering another scene that put a lump in our throat: Hurley and Sun at Jin’s grave. Hurley was the only survivor who came to see Sun after Ji Yeon was born and it was nice to see a reflection of that relationship.
And finally, we called it: CHARLES WIDMORE, bitches! We can’t even guess what his agenda is. Is he on the Smokey side or the …uh…non-Smokey side (which we guess we’ll name Jack as their leader)? We’re thinking he’s in opposition to Smokey. The only thing that can make his return to the island more delicious is if Penny, Desmond, and Mrs. Hawkings are all on that sub with him.