Lost – 3.20 – The Man Behind The Curtain
Previously On Lost: Locke’s evil father mysteriously spawned on the island and was chained to death, ironically freeing both Locke and Sawyer, and resultantly gave Locke the opportunity to learn of the islands secrets as promised by Ben. Juliet’s pregnancy inspection tape was handed from Juliet to Richard to Ben to Locke to Sawyer.
A woman is giving birth in a clearing, her name is Emily, and in her own words the birth is painful. We all read the spoilers and saw the preview announcing that this was going to be a Ben flashback, and logically, this must be his birth on Craphole Island. Emily is in need of some urgent intensive care, and her husband valiantly carries her to – a highway, which either means Ben is lying or none of the Lostaways are particularly observant. A car pulls up to help Emily and Roger (for that is her husband’s name) and we learn they were hiking just outside of Portland. Emily summons enough energy to pull an Amidala and give the name of the boy, Benjamin, and die instantly. Roger is fairly cut up about it but unfortunately doesn’t pull a Vader and scream ‘Noooo’
We come back to the island and Ben is looking over a birthday present, which is a forgotten event to Richard Alpert. Richard asks Ben what to do with Juliet’s tape and a petty argument ensues over past orders. Ben comes out of his tent to appeal to Tom, but Tom is staring dumbly off screen. Everyone on camera stares dumbly off screen. Emerging through the mist of a camp fire is Locke with a dead father draped around his shoulders. Locke exposits what we saw in the previouslies and stares really hard at Ben. Really hard.
Locke and Ben are inside the tent, and Ben is pouring out a MacCutcheon’s whisky into two jars. Uh oh. Nothing ever good happens when a MacCutcheon’s is poured. Ben beats around the bush on enlightening Locke to the answer to the island, and tells Locke of Jacob, the ONE man who Ben answers to, who knows everything. Locke knows from the last episode that Ben has only brought Locke with them because how he was healed and how he generated his evil father. He also knows that Ben was afraid he would be losing his status if everyone hung with Locke, and is wary of everything Ben says, as he has already upstaged him once at the ruin where his father was tied. Locke matter-of-factly brings up Richard, and just like a married couple where one is having an affair, Ben tries to diminish Richard to Locke, and exclaims that he himself is the only one who can contact Jacob, and that he himself is special as he was born on the island, and is ‘one of the last that was’. Locke is sceptical. And so are we – we know Ben wasn’t born on the island, what’s to say Jacob exists. Ben’s shaky hand gives parlance to Locke’s theory.
We FLASHBACK to a perfectly cast boy playing the young Ben, arriving on the island, and there are Dharma vans and young women saying Namaste, this is Dharma in its heyday, and they are all hippies. Roger tells young Ben, that Horace, a Dharma guy was one of the kindly passers-by who did jacksquat to stop Emily from dying. Horace keeps touching Ben, and it is really creepy.
Dr Marvin Candle, the figurehead and public eye Dharma guy, is on another orientation video, and refers to the sonar fence and its protection from the islands wildlife. So the monster was not a Dharma creation? Hmm. Dharma workers are being inoculated, and Roger is not happy about his job, which he is just learning about now – he isn’t very smart. His job is a Work Man, which I have to agree is the most unimaginative job title in the world. He thought was going to be changing the world, but that job is saved for Kelvin and Desmond. Ben is offered an Apollo chocolate by Annie, and tells him he can have as many as he wants. They JUST met. Even a South Londoner like me finds that too forward.
We come back to Midsection Beach, where Sawyer is hiding in some bushes. Sawyer pops his head out of the bush (McLeron resists urge to make joke) and calls Sayid over. Sawyer’s whole story of what he was doing yesterday is summed up in very abrupt two-word sentences. What does matter, he claims, is the tape recorder he has in his hands.
Someone is running, it is Mikhail, and he is raving for Ben. Ben hobbles out and mentions that he thought Mikhail was dead. The sonar pylons were not set to a lethal level it transpires, and you hope Mikhail has now got a newfound respect for life. Mikhail is taken aback to see Locke stroll lackadaisically out of Ben’s tent, after all, Locke did try to kill him. Ben says, without much conviction, that Locke is now one of ‘us’. Mikhail tells Ben about Naomi and the ship. Ben shoots down Mikhail’s urgency, asserting that they will go after Naomi tomorrow. Locke helpfully makes public the deal he has with Ben that they are going to see Jacob. Ben’s eyes bug out even more if possible and it couldn’t be more obvious that he would give anything for Locke to shut his face. This is nothing to the rest of The Others who are all notably shocked. It seems that taking Locke to see Jacob is a very big thing. Ben is caught between a rock and a hard place, and chooses to let down Locke instead of the tribe of super intelligent deadly soldiers he commands. Locke don’t take that kind of jibba jabba and beats the crap out of Mikhail. No one helps Mikhail. Some ‘good guys’ they are.
Back from commercial, and Locke still doesn’t feel any remorse for beating up Mikhail, and why should he? It was only 10 island days ago when Mikhail was holding a gun to his head. Alex turns up to give the most useless gift Locke will ever receive, excluding the gift of a dad. She wishes Ben a happy birthday and strops off.
FLASHBACK to Ben’s old classroom and the blackboard has differentiation algebra and chemistry and geology written on it. The students are getting a fine education, and we learn that Craphole Island has a big, if dormant, Craphole Volcano. I’m thinking that in series 6, the climax of Lost will be where the Black Rock dynamite is used to create a volcanic eruption which will power the island to L.A. The advanced lesson is interrupted by gunfire and sirens. Annie tells Ben not to worry, it’s just the hostiles, whilst looking terrified herself. Explosions go off and Ben barely reacts. He had a weird childhood
Roger is complaining to Horace. The natives are an enigmatic bunch of skirmishers. Roger don’t take that kind of jibba jabba and petulantly throws cans of Dharma Beer around. Roger wants another 30 grand which is a ridiculous request. What’s he gonna spend it on, at Craphole Island, mangoes? Suddenly, Ben’s dead mother appears at the window. Ben falls over in surprise, and is then told off by his dad for not being in bed. Ben weeps. Awww.
Sayid and Sawyer come looking for Juliet. Kate comes up nosing. If I’d be Sawyer I’d be worried – he disappears in the middle of the night from the woman he loves and is gone for a whole day and his welcome return from his rebirth from Kate is ‘What are you doin’?’ Kate tells them Juliet went away after telling her about Naomi. Sawyer is just learning about Naomi. You’d think Sayid would tell Sawyer about her on the way to Juliet’s tent. Sayid is annoyed that Kate did the exact opposite of what he told her to do. Kate suggests that Sayid tell everyone about Naomi. Sayid tells Sawyer to play her the tape. For some reason it looks like a really hard thing for Sawyer to do. He probably wants some rest, he is still barefoot after all.
Ben reiterates that seeing Jacob is very risky. And that Jacob will be angry, hence his shaky hands. Locke and the rest of the world says ‘Enough bullshit! Let’s just see him already,’ They trek off. The other Others are pissed.
FLASHBACK to Ben and Annie on a swingset. He receives a pair of poorly crafted dolls, the ones from the beginning of the episode, so that they ‘never have to be apart from each other’ I hope this is at least a month since they first met, but it’s doubtful, that Annie sure moves fast. Horny slag. Ben comes home to a white trash dad, sleeping on the couch, beer in one hand. Roger wakes up and remembers it’s his son’s birthday. Now the episode before this, I was horrified that anyone’s father could be as big a bastard as Anthony Cooper, but we have a contender: Roger says, ‘Kinda hard to celebrate on the day you killed your mom. She was 7 months pregnant, we were on a hike, but you had to come early. And now she’s gone, and I’m stuck here on this island with you. Happy birthday, Ben’ Ben runs out crying. I’m gonna cry, that was harsh!
He runs through the woods to the sonar fence, and sees his mum again. She tells him not to come closer, and his voice cracks ‘Mooooom…’ The actor playing young Ben is really good. She tells him its not time for them to meet, yet. Ben backs off weeping, then turns and runs home, not before tripping up hilariously over a twig
We come back to Ben walking through the jungle with Locke, it’s night time. Ben makes a point of stepping over some trail of black dust. Locke points his torch at it and inspects it, but it hurried along by Ben
We’re back with the Lostaways, and it’s kind of annoying. At this stage in the story, I’m not caring about whether the world thinks they’re dead, we know they’re not dead, because of the two guys at the listening station. The beach-dwellers argue back and forth and it’s not very interesting, even when Sawyer plays the tape to the camp. Jack returns just in time to everyone’s surprise. Juliet manages not to get killed, yet again, and we hear on the other side of the tape the Others’ plan to kidnap pregnant women. Juliet is now a goody again. Jack reasserts himself as leader, and he has a plaaaaaan.
We are in Ben’s FLASHBACK and he cracks through the security fence, brilliantly, and psychopathically testing on a bunny first. The whispers are back! They have always mystified me, like the numbers, and the monster, and why Hugo’s nickname is Hurley. In fact I think it’s safe to say every possible mystery is in Lost. Ben walks into a clearing where Richard Alpert is standing. Now in the present day, Richard looks younger than Ben, or around the same age. In this flashback where I’m guessing Ben is about 13, Richard looks much much older. In fact about the same age as himself in the present day, only he’s hairier. Ok, NOW every mystery has been written into Lost. They get to know each other, and Richard is rather curious to hear that Ben’s mother is dead but she has been roaming around in the jungle. He tells Ben that he will learn more, but he has to be very, very, very patient. I think that’s a message to the viewers from the writers.
We come back to a shack and Ben and Locke are at their destination. Ben tells Locke to lose the torch; Jacob isn’t a fan of technology. Locke looks round surreptitiously. It is really quite spooky. Ben asks once again if Locke is ready. Locke doesn’t even dignify that with an answer. Ben calls out to Jacob, forewarning his entry, and walks in. There’s a painting of the prop supervisor’s dog and some jars of yellow and red stuff, no idea what they could be. Ben addresses an dirty inanimate chair as Jacob and proceeds to converse with it. Invisible people? Ok, NOW every mystery has been written into Lost. It reminds me of this time when I was on the bus to Camden, and this greasy stubbly guy in an overcoat with scars all over his hands, some still bleeding was saying in an American voice ‘Terry? Is that you Terry?’ then in a very British voice: ‘Suck yer mother’s cl*t’. The two fat Spanish women on either side of him were reacting like Locke; Locke is at first baffled, then angry, then frustrated and despondent, then angry again, then pitiful of mad crazy Ben, then walks away. Then someone, not Ben, sounding like Sawyer, Kelvin, and Lost producer Carlton Cuse rolled into one says ‘Help Meeee’ It was creepy in The Exorcist, forming on Linda Blair’s stomach, it was creepy in Se7en, written on the wall in a paedophilic junkie’s fingerprints, and it’s creepy now. Locke turns back to shine some light on things and all hell breaks loose. Glasses smash, lanterns smash chains rattle, Ben is thrown against the wall. And for eleven frames, we finally see who is sitting in the chair. Locke runs out followed by Ben. ‘What was that?’ asks Locke.
‘That was Jacob’ Ben replies.
BANG! End of the episode. Oh…still ten minutes left. That would have been a great place to end it.
Ben and Locke are still wandering through the jungle. It is the next day. Ben knows Locke heard something, and he wants to know what it was. Locke is not happy, he maintains that Jacob wasn’t real, and tells Ben that he is leading him the wrong way. Ben says he wants to show him something, but Locke isn’t having any of it. Ben admits that he has told some lies, and is about to own up to some of them. And of all the many, many things Ben knows, he chooses to tell Locke something we already know, he wasn’t born on the island. Locke understandably wants to know the truth, and that, Ben says, is what he is going to show him. I’ve got the feeling Ben would have said anything just so Locke could ask a question where he could answer ‘that is what I am going to show you’
FLASHBACK to an adult Ben, with his trusty man’s bag. He’s staring at the wooden doll, and we learn he is a Work Man like his dad. The Work Men have got really taxing jobs – ferrying booze. Ben is pensive and Roger is irritated by this. It’s Ben’s birthday – AGAIN. His dad has mellowed a lot more, at least not to call his son a mother murderer. They drive out, and sup some beers. Ben asks if it is really his fault his mum died. His father shrugs it off, saying ‘What do I know? Why do you keep looking at your watch, got a date?’ Seems Roger Linus steals his phrases from John Locke. Roger decides hey, it’s Ben’s birthday, and promises his son he will remember it next year – Happy Fucking Birthday. Pillock. Ben doesn’t think that will happen. Ben can’t be bothered with his dad anymore. He says goodbye, and gasses his dad. His dad barely reacts. Not till his brain is leaking through his nostrils.
Ben returns to Otherville, his gas mask still on. All his peers are dead. Interestingly, Horace doesn’t seem to have aged much. Richard Alpert has cut his hair, and although he is not is a dashing navy shirt, he still has his sweet gold watch on. Ben wishes for his dad to remain in the Dharma van, while all the other bodies are put into a pit.
A pit, where Locke and Ben are standing over. Locke is thoughtful. Ben tells Locke that he used to be one of them, but was clever enough not to end up like them…
…which makes him cleverer than Locke. And before you can say treefrog, BANG! Locke is shot into the grave pit. Locke is totally confused. ‘Why???’ he asks. ‘Because you heard him’ says Ben. He needs to know what Jacob said to him. Locke tells him but Ben thinks he is taking the mick. Locke frames his answer better, and still Ben confuses ‘me’ indicating Jacob as indicating Locke. Ben leaves Locke dying.
I think we all know whose fault this is, ALEX, the one who suggested taking a GUN along for the journey.
Interesting points raised:
Both Ben’s parents died on his birthday
Locke is surely dead, he will most likely die from infection because a vital organ has been pierced. Although…Locke is actually missing a certain vital organ