Monday, March 2, 2009

Explaining LOST - The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham

“The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham”


Now I’ve been looking forward to this episode for quite a while. They released this title a matter of months ago and I was shocked that they were going to tell this story so early in the season. Even after seeing if I have no idea what major thing they are going to cover for the season finale or even the series finale. Yet we have time to speculate about that later. Now let’s deal with Locke…or Bentham.

We open in a house on the island. Caesar, the man who gave his condolences to Jack at the airport is snooping around. He’s going through books and such. Old issues of Life. He breaks in and checks out some wacky looking maps and documents. One the camera focuses on for a bit is the EXACT same map Faraday had in his journal. He, of course, finds a gun and keeps it and then lies about it. He’s going to fit in so well on this show. Elena tells him to stop searching for clues and tells him to come check out this dude in the water in a suit. They walk over to the beach to find a bunch of people chillin’ out by a fire and our good friend John Locke. Who doesn’t look dead. At all. Was anyone surprised by this? One maybe, two? Okay, let’s move on.

Locke is back on the beach admiring an island from affair. A rather large island in fact, but more on that later. Elena gives him something to drink. Locke looks at the long boats that we’ve seen in previous episodes and asks whose they are. Elena says that they were here when they got here. There was one more, but the pilot and a girl took one. Yes! Lapidus is alive! Now if he would only grow his beard back. Speaking of lack of hair, Locke is enjoying being back on the island. He wants a passenger list to see which of his friends actually made it onto the plane. Elena questions why Locke was on the plane. He smiles and says that he remembers dying. Then in a LOST twist, she actually walks away from a direct answer.

We flash on back to Locke turning the frozen donkey wheel, which continues to be a awesome concept. He wakes up lying on the ground in Tunisia. Yep, we return to Tunisia. This is where Ben got off the island and where Charlotte found a polar bear skeleton with a Dharma symbol on its collar. Locke looks around and sees a camera pointing right at him. He yells for help, but the camera doesn’t respond. Because it’s a camera. It eventually becomes night and Locke hasn’t moved an inch because he has a boo-boo. Lame. A car does drive up next to him and a bunch of men take him away and throw him into the back of a truck. He’s taken to a very lame looking hospital that doesn’t seem very clean. They give him a bunch of pills and nasty looking water. Oh, but wait! It’s Abbaddon overlooking everything. This has been the creepy dude who visited Hurley in the mental hospital asking if “they” were still alive; he also was the one who got Locke on Oceanic 815. Yuck. They just popped that bone back into place.

Oh, but wait! It’s Widmore! That sorta evil man…who’s being very nice to Locke. He’s the one who treated the wounds and arranged for all of this. Widmore knew that Locke would be there because that spot is the “exit” for the island. Now I would make a Being John Malkovich reference here, but it would be for nothing because I’m positive that none of you regular readers have seen that movie. So I’ll just move on. Widmore chats about how he feared that Ben would trick Locke into leaving the island just like he did to him. So Ben made Widmore leave…Apparently Widmore was their leader for three decades and then exiled by Ben. Widmore assumes that Ben exiled Locke, but Locke says no no Farmer Joe. (Paraphrasing). Widmore truly seems shocked that he chose to leave willingly. I don’t think Widmore thinks that you can return after you leave. Locke also learns that it’s going to be tricky to bring back his friends since it’s been three years, but Widmore says that he will do everything in his power to help him. What? He says there’s a war coming and if he’s not back on the island when it starts then the wrong side will win. What? Are you kiddin’ me? Who is fighting in this war? Is it Ben vs. Widmore because both of them want Locke and friends to return to the island? Is there’s another sorta evil or completely evil dude out there? Shouldn’t we know this as we enter the last season and a half to know who the villain is? I love this show.

Locke is looking over his alias that Widmore set up. (Alias is also a show created by J.J. Abrams? OMG CONNECTIONS!) Widmore set up the name Jeremy Bentham (Totally saw that coming), who was a British philosopher who was inspired by the other philosopher John Locke. Widmore says that his parents must have had a sense of humor when naming him so this fits. I do like how the characters were aware of this and it wasn’t just there for the fans. Widmore also set him up with info about everyone, a trusty cell phone and a driver: Mr. Matthew Abbaddon. Locke questions if Widmore is the one who’s lying and not Ben. Widmore counters by saying that he hasn’t tried to kill him. Touché. Widmore says that he sent a freighter of killers to remove Ben so that Locke can lead. Yeah, I don’t believe that entirely. Widmore also says that he won’t let Locke die so we know he’s not telling the truth about that. Locke hobbles over to the car and look how nice Abbaddon is by having a wheelchair for him to roll around in. 

They start their car ride with Locke looking rather ticked. Abbaddon asks him if there’s anyone he wants him to find for him. Locke just scowls and so they board a plane to Santo Domingo where Sayid is working for the Peace Corps or something like it. Today they weren’t teaching the residents how to play basketball, but he was building a house. I guess that’s good too. Sayid is annoyed that Locke is asking him to go back. He says that Ben manipulated him for two years into thinking that he was protecting those they left behind. So he figures Locke is just spiting out more of the same. Except not literally because that would be gross. So Locke strikes out with Sayid, but we do get the groundwork for a cool mystery. What made Sayid leave Ben’s services, go to South America to do peaceful work, and then leave that life to kill and save Hurley? There are some really interesting pieces missing.

Anywho, Locke now heads over to New York. That makes two plane rides with zero crashes. His average is getting better. Locke finally asks Abbaddon to look up his ex-girlfriend, Helen. She left him early on in the show when he was too obsessed with his father to do anything else. In his defense, he did steal his kidney. Yet Locke gets out of the car to say howdy to Walt. Another scene I really liked because we forget how close Walt and Locke were back in Season One. He was more of a father to that kid than Michael was no matter how much he tried. Walt has been having dreams about Locke, which is sweet and creepy at the same time. Talking about dreams is all about tone. You can say it to a girl in a flirty manner or you can creepily say it in a stalkerish manner. Luckily Walt went with the latter. He said that Locke was wearing a suit on the beach and people who want to hurt him surround him. Locke laughs and figures that can’t be considered a warning or foreshadowing and thinks nothing of it. Stupid, stupid Locke. Locke also lies and doesn’t tell him that Michael is still alive. Their conversation is awkward, but it is how it would be. I thought it was a very well done and simple interaction. Yet Locke didn’t invite Walt back to the island and Abbaddon does bring up that Locke is now 0-2. Yet who’s that? It’s Ben looking pissed! I love Ben.

So Locke now travels to Santa Rosa, CA to visit Hurley. If I worked for this show, I would have him going across a map a la Indiana Jones. Yet another reason why I don’t write for the show. This scene is great because Hurley automatically assumes that Locke is dead, which confuses Locke to no end. It’s not until someone else acknowledges him for Hurley to freak out. It seems like Hurley is willing to talk about going to the island until he sees Abbaddon, who like I mentioned freaked him out when he visited Hurley last year.  This makes Hurley cover his ears and insist on being escorted back in. Abbaddon is getting annoyed. Locke finally asks him what Abbaddon does. He says “I help people get to where they need to get to.” This is such a great character. I sure can’t wait to see a lot more of him throughout this series.

Anywho, now Locke heads over to Kate who says no. At this point, I think they are just saying that due to peer pressure. Kate decides to bluntly judge Locke by talking about how obsessed he is about that island. She assumes it’s because he’s never loved anyone. Locke has this great mini-monologue where he says very little but he expresses some happiness in recalling his time spent with Helen. Happiness and regret. Kate continues to be a bitch, but this leads to Locke really wanting to see Helen again. Abbaddon tries to lie and says that he can’t find Helen. Yet he knows where she is.

She’s sadly dead and they visit her tombstone. She died of a brain aneurism in 2006 while he was on the island. This leads to an absolutely fantastic conversation about destiny. Abbaddon says her path lead here. He brings forth the question to Locke. Richard said he’s going to die. Is that inevitable or is that a choice? We’ll find out that result a little later. Abbaddon is packing up Locke’s wheelchair WHEN HE GETS SHOT AND FALLS THROUGH THE BACK OF THE CAR! What?!?! Locke tries to drive away but is a terrible driver. Oh, his leg’s hurt. Lame excuse. He gets hit by two different car and gets knocked unconscious. That was an exciting minute.

Locke awakens in a LA hospital, but WHICH LA hospital. The one that Jack Shepherd works at. I really like how they did that. This is the beginning of the downfall of Jack and he isn’t looking so good and isn’t so happy to see Locke. Each line is performed with so much weight behind them. I’m not even going to bother summing up this scene, because I would just write the transcript. I’ve loved how so many of the characters this episode truly question if Locke is “special.” Jack says they are just delusions UNTIL Locke says the powerful words “Your father says hello.” This is the one thing that would make Jack come back. We see the mental meltdown start for Jack. Both of the characters feel so desperate during this scene and it’s really a tour-de-force acting for both of them. I can’t wait for the reuniting scene of Christian and Jack.

This conversation leads Locke to become suicidal. Perhaps it is all for naught and he writes the infamous note for Jack. This scene is very simplistic in nature, but so well done. It is Locke hobbling around the room and tying an extension cord around the ceiling and his neck. The way it’s shot and acted is so powerful. He is all ready to step off the table when he hears a knock at the door—and it’s Ben! Ben is looking all classy and immediately tries to stop Locke from jumping off the table. We find out that Ben is also keeping an eye on everyone. He says he is here to protect him and by doing so he had to shoot Abbaddon because Widmore is…evil or something. I have no idea who’s the bad guy. I know it’s not Ben because Ben is awesome. Locke has lost all faith in himself until he hears that Jack booked a ticket to Sydney and back. Ben continues to say that Locke has too much work to do as he unties the cord. He helps Locke down from the table has he cries. Ben tries to give him a pep talk saying he’ll help him out. Ben also seems really shocked that Jin is alive. We see him calculating in a very Ben-like fashion. Then Locke also mentions Eloise Hawking and that makes Ben very curious. THEN BEN STRANGLES LOCKE! What is up with Ben killing off the most likable characters this episode? Man I’m getting chills again with this scene open in the other window. So why did Ben stop Locke from killing himself only to murder him? Did he want another notch on his belt or was it because of what Locke said? Was Jin being alive make a difference or was it Ms. Hawking? Or was it because of the way he died. We’ve noticed that the island doesn’t seem to like suicide on the show as Desmond, Jack and Michael were all stopped mysteriously right before they tried to die.

Ben proceeds to dust away all the fingerprints from the room and returns Locke to the noose. He’s really good at doing this. Too good? Yeah, probably. What isn’t Ben good at? Besides not getting beat up? He also takes Jin’s wedding ring and goes on his way. Before he goes he gets a little choked up and says “I’ll miss you John. I really will.” Does he not think that Locke will come back to life or does he think that he won’t be on the island to see him?

We flash back to the island as Locke informs Caesar briefly about the Dharma Initiative. The papers Caesar was looking had the Hydra symbol on it, the animal research station. Locke informs Caesar that he’s been on this island for a while before. Caesar has a big question for Locke. When the plane was really shaking, there was a bright light appeared and Hurley disappeared along with some other people. Locke doesn’t know, but he thinks he knows how we can find out. The passenger list was taken with Lapidus. Locke searches the injuried to see if he recognizes anyone and of course he does. His murderer. The one and only…BENJAMIN LINUS. How I love him.

Yet him being there brings up a lot of questions. Why did certain people flash to Dharma time (Jack, Kate, Hurley) and others didn’t (Ben and Locke)? Also when are Sayid and Sun? Also which woman did Lapidus run off with and where did they go? Now here’s something I actually did figure out. When the plane landed (Rather well I might add) was on the runway that Kate and Sawyer were mysteriously building when they were kidnapped by the Others back in Season Three. Also the Hydra station is on the smaller island which means Ajira Flight 316 is on the smaller island just two miles out from the main island, which is what Locke was actually staring at. I would imagine that they would be in 2008, but nothing on this show is for sure. This episode did a very good job about continuing to put all of the pieces in place but still made it very emotional for the characters. Great stuff as usual. This may end up being the best season yet, which for this show is extremely impressive.

1 comment:

  1. Waiting, with bated breath, for the next installment....