I’m not normally one who does recaps/reviews of episodes of TV, but last night I sat in my office and watched the seventh episode of LOST for this season and I gotta tell you, it was awesome.
Not for the huge mythological answers that came because there weren’t many. Not for the huge action scenes and things blowing up. Not for any of those typical things but for the one thing this show has always been about: the characters.
*** SPOILER ALERT *** If you have not seen this episode, do not read any further. I also have mild spoilers for later in the season near the end.
In keeping with the retro theme this season, this episode was centered around the character of Ben. This is a guy who has gone through quite a bit since his early days as the leader of the others. We’ve watched him manipulate countless individuals to do his bidding. We’ve seen him kill in cold blood and allow others to be killed. And we’ve also seen how his early childhood may have in fact had something to do with how he turned out.
In all of the time in his service to the island, he did as he was asked to by the mysterious Jacob. A man he had never met. In the end, after losing his daughter, and convinced killing Jacob would be the vengeful and right thing to do (by our resident Smokey AKA NotLocke) we saw a man tonite that was indeed very broken.
Ilana was obviously very upset and distraught at finding out Ben had killed Jacob whom she saw as a father figure. Obviously wanting to take out her rage on the man who killed him, she decides to make him dig his own grave. When Ben gets the chance to get away, it results in what I believe to be the single most honest confession Ben Linus ever made. He’s accepted the fact that he was responsible for Alex’s death but that he took it out on Jacob. When offered his old power back by Locke, he figures that’s his only option because no one else would have him. Ilana lowers her gun, says she’d have him, and walks away. With a choice to follow Locke or our beach Losties, Ben joins up with the good guys and for the first time in LOST’s history, it would seem that Ben really is on the right side.
In the flash-sideways world, we see a more conservative Ben but at the same time he seems to be capable of the same things out island Ben is, but he hasn’t used them to much extent thus far. We also see the same genuine caring for Alex and wanting to take care of her. In this world, Ben does the more honourable thing and insures that Alex will have a better chance at Yale, despite knowing that he could have had the principal’s job. It seems that even in the sideways world Ben is finding the good.
This episode was an amazing piece of character development for Ben. Michael Emmerson’s acting in this episode was absolutely superb and since this was likely the last centric episode for him, it was fantastic to see his character come to a real turning point that I think has major potential for the rest of this season. I can’t wait to see what else happens.
In other island events, we saw Richard lure Hurley & Jack to the Black Rock (which I believe is how Richard came to the island). Richard is very upset and wants to kill himself because he’s lost faith in Jacob’s plan. Knowing he can’t kill himself, he asks Jack for help. Jack’s onboard and lights the fuse, literally. The best part of that scene was definitely when the fuse was lit and Jack looks at Richard and says, “ok, let’s talk” and they cut to commercial. I actually jumped out of my seat and was just awestruck and how awesome that was. Jack has really come into knowing that it’s taking drastic actions to get drastic answers.
What I found very profound about this entire story was how Jack is now very much beginning to embrace destiny. This is a guy who never bought into it before, but after seeing what he’s seen, he knows that he was brought there for a reason and he needs to find out what that is. I suspect that Jack is meant to replace Jacob as the island’s protector and that what we will see in future episodes is this coming to fruition. Even if it doesn’t, it will kick ass.
The episode gave us some tidbits. Ilana’s job is to protect the candidates. She knows quite a bit. We know that Jacob gave Richard the gift of long life through his touch so does that imply our losties received the same gift? We also learned that Charles Widmore has found his way back to the island. Although I can’t say for certain, I would bet that either Desmond or Eloise Hawking (or maybe both) are also on that sub. Regardless, I can’t wait to see the look on Ben’s face when Widmore shows up on the shoreline. It is going to be awesome.
All of that having been said, if the episodes continue the way they have been, I have little to no doubt that the show is going to wrap up in a way that has real meaning for the characters, and answers to the most important island and mythology questions. I’ve read some tidbits that say the episode in two weeks is a Richard Alpert flashback which should give us some big reveals and I also read this morning that episode 15 will feature none of the castaways and is rumoured to be all about Jacob & MIB in their youth on the island. When I hear things like this, and see episodes like last nights, I have all the faith in the world that good answers are coming. I can’t wait.