Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Lost episode recap – “Dead Is Dead” (S5E12) airdate 4/8/09

Welcome to the Ben and Locke show, my friends:

Island. A man a-horseback - there are horses on the Island? – reins in at the Others’ encampment. After dismounting, the rider stomps up to Richard, furious that Richard has brought young Ben here. Richard says that Jacob wanted it and the Island chooses who the Island chooses. The rider backs off a little, not happy, and goes into one of the yurts to see young Ben. He tells the now-conscious young Ben that he’ll be fine, he’s among friends. Ben asks after his father and the rider says he’ll see him soon; Ben struggles, groaning in pain as he does, saying that he doesn’t want to go back to the Initiative. The rider settles him back, saying that just because he “lives with them doesn’t mean [he] can’t be one of us. It saved your life.” Ben asks who this kind man with the British accent might be. Rider: “I’m Charles, Charles Widmore.”

Flash to now, Ben awakening from his oar-induced unconsciousness to see Locke at his bedside. Ben starts to ramble, saying that he knew this would happen – Locke being resurrected. When Locke asks why then Ben seems so surprised to see him if he knew it would happen, Ben’s like, duh, it’s one thing to believe it; it’s another to actually see it. He goes on to say that he broke the rules, returning to the Island after turning the wheel, and he’s got to answer for what he did – to be judged. Locke: “Judged? By whom?” Ben tells him that they don’t even have a word for it, but they (the Others, I guess) call it the Monster. Ooooh – are we finally going to learn something about the Smoke Monster?

ReMax commercial with a “Sold” sign out front of a house? Okay, fine, why haven’t you sold MINE yet? Grrrrrr …

Island, Jr., Ajira wreck. The Survivors 2.0 are busy on the beach as Ben shows up. They’re trying to move some stuff, according to Ilana, and don’t need Ben’s help. He finds some water and Caesar approaches him. They both observe Locke down at the water’s edge. Caesar asks Ben what he thinks of Locke; Ben’s all, “We-e-e-e-l-l-l…” and Caesar tells him that Locke says Ben killed him [Locke]. “He looks all right to me,” pouts Ben, then goes on to poison Caesar’s already suspicious mind by saying that he doesn’t remember Locke from the flight … maybe he was already here on the junior island, and maybe he’s a lunatic, and dangerous. Caesar frowns, concerned, and then shows Ben the sawed-off shotgun he’s got shoved in his drawers and tells Ben not to worry as he’s got his back. Ben sticks out his hand and shakes Caesar’s, very pleased to meet him. Yeesh – fresh meat for Ben to manipulate, God help them all.

Flashback to some time after 1977 but before now: Ben with a hairpiece, Ethan as a preteen, both spying on a beach encampment. A baby cries – it’s Danielle, and Alex as a newborn. Holding Danielle off at gunpoint, Ben picks up the baby. He tells Danielle that he’ll kill her if she follows him and, if she wants l’enfant to live, “Every time you hear whispers, you’ll run the other way.” He takes off with the bebe and poor Danielle just whimpers, not quite yet the completely crazed badass she will become.

Flash forward to Junior Island. Locke catches Ben rummaging through an office in one of the abandoned buildings: he’s has found a photo of himself with Alex. Ben asks what Locke wants and Locke says that perhaps they should talk about the elephant in the room. You know, Ben killing him and all. Ben: “It was the only way to get you back to the Island, with as many of those who left as possible.” He reminds Locke of his failure to convince the O6 to come back, so he [Ben] had to step up. Locke asks why, if he was about to kill himself anyway, did Ben feel it necessary to intrude and murder him? Ben needed “critical information” that would have died with Locke … “and once I had it, well, I just didn’t have time to talk you into hanging yourself again.” Friend Mouse: ha! Ben admits that he took a shortcut but it worked – Locke is here and alive, and the rest of them are back too, somewhere … it was in the best interest of the Island. Locke deadpans: “I was just looking for an apology.” He continues, saying that he’s decided to help Ben in his quest to be judged – if everything Ben’s done has been in the best interest of the Island then surely the Monster will be understanding. Ben’s expression: Oh, shit.

Down on the beach, Ben and Locke are uncovering a canoe to go over to the Island when Caesar and a bunch of other guys interrupt. You know, I don’t actually remember seeing that many other people on the plane, but I guess don’t really care. Caesar asks Ben why he’s going with crazy Locke and Ben says that Locke didn’t really give him a choice, wearing a put-upon expression to help his case. Locke watches him thoughtfully. Caesar says that he’s in charge and Locke isn’t going anywhere until he tells them how he knows so much about the islands. Locke disagrees so Caesar starts rummaging in his pants (?!) until Ben waves the sawed-off shotgun in his face: “You looking for this?” Then, matter of factly, he shoots Caesar point-blank in the chest, sending him crashing into the sand. The other guys back up, suddenly very scared. Locke looks thoughtful again. Ben announces that he and the “gentleman” are going to take one of the canoes to the Island and everyone else can just kiss his ass, basically. Then he tosses the gun to Locke: “Consider that my apology.” Awesome. Ben is totally evil and not to be trusted, but he is awesome.

Locke and Ben tie up on the dock at the Island. Locke notes the other canoe and Ben tells him that Sun and Frank Lapidus took it. Locke asks if Sun hurt Ben’s arm as well as his head when she whacked him with the paddle. Ben: “No, someone else hurt my arm.” You know, a lot of fans are concerned that Ben’s pre-Ajira flight injuries arose from an assassination attempt on Penny Widmore Hume; I hope that’s not true because I love me some Desmond & Penny, but hopefully at some point we’ll find out how Ben got so beat up. Locke: “You just make friends wherever you go.” They’re heading to Ben’s old house because Ben says that’s the only place he can summon the Smoke Monster. “I’ll either be forgiven. Or I won’t.” Locke thinks that Ben is lying about what he wants to be judged for: not for leaving the Island and coming back, but for killing his daughter. Ben gets grumpy at that.

Flashback: Hairpiece Ben and preteen Ethan rendezvous with the Others. Current leader Charles Widmore is not happy that they brought the baby back, saying that their job was to exterminate “that woman.” Ben says that she’s no threat, what with being insane and all, pluswhich Charles didn’t tell him that there was a baby. Charles says kill it. Ben: “Is that what Jacob wants? Then here she is – you do it.” And he holds Alex out to Widmore, who walks away. From across the fire, a quiet (and so, so pretty) Richard Alpert catches Ben’s gaze and holds it.

Flash forward. Ben and Locke stroll into the Dharma compound. Locke asks whose idea it was for the Others to move into the compound once they had wiped out the Dharmites – was it Ben’s idea? Ben asks, archly, if Locke disapproves. Locke: “Doesn’t seem like something the Island would want.” Ben: “You don’t know the first thing about what the Island wants.” Locke: “Are you sure about that?” After they finish comparing penis length, Ben sees a shadow moving through the cabin that used to be his – in Alex’s old room.

He goes to check it out: it’s Sun, of course. Frank is there too, and they want to know WTF is going on. So does Ben, so they show him the 1977 photograph with Sawyer, Juliet, Jack et al. Ben is floored and clearly not expecting (or remembering) this: “Your friends were in the Dharma Initiative?” He asks where they got the photograph and Sun tells him that an “old man” named Christian showed it to them (Ben is even more stunned at Christian’s name) and told them to wait here, in this house, for John Locke. Frank: “But considering he’s dead, we ain’t holding our breath.” Ben: “Well, you might want to look outside.” Frank glowers and Sun looks – there’s Locke and he gives them a teeny little wave. Hee.

Oh my word – these spring sweeps episodes sure do make me type a LOT.

The four of them reconnoiter in Ben’s cabin. Sun looks suspicious, Locke beatific, Ben fascinated, Frank like he needs a drink: “As long as the dead guy says there’s a reason, I guess everything’s going to be peachy … the only ones here to help us [get your friends back from 30 years ago] is a murderer and a guy who can’t seem to remember how he got out of a coffin.” My goodness – Frank is totally vying with Miles for a place in my heart, it seems. Frank pleads with Sun to just go back to the Ajira plane but Locke says that if she leaves, she’ll never see Jin again. He’s got some ideas on how to find him. Frank insists that he’s leaving but Sun gently tells him that she must stay, must find her husband. He tells her to watch her back – not a problem, I don’t think – and leaves. Sun wants to get right to the finding-Jin part but Locke says that Ben has something to do first. Ben, thinking “asshole”: “Right – better get to it.”

He pulls aside a bookcase, opening a door to a closet, and then opens a secret sliding door that reveals a stone doorway with hieroglyphics carved into it. He pushes this stone door open, which leads to a stone staircase that goes down to a tunnel. Taking a kerosene lantern, he crawls a short ways through the tunnel until he reaches a mud puddle. He reaches into the mud puddle and pulls out a stopper of some sorts so that the water drains down into a hole. This, apparently, is the hole from which the Smoke Monster will emerge. Ben steps back and announces, “I’ll be outside.”

Flashback, Hairpiece Ben pushing prepubescent Alex on a swing set. Richard stops by to let Ben know that the submarine is about to leave. “You don’t have to see him off, Ben,” says Richard, noting Ben’s sour expression. “Yes, I do.” Ben goes to the dock and says goodbye to Widmore. Widmore sneers that Ben is just here to gloat but Ben tells him that he brought it upon himself: Widmore left the Island regularly, had a daughter with an outsider – in essence, broke the rules. Widmore snarls that Ben is usurping what’s his; Ben retorts that he’ll play by the rules and will sacrifice anything to protect the Island. Widmore: “You wouldn’t sacrifice Alex.” Ben: “You’re the one who wanted her dead, Charles, not the Island.” Widmore says that he hopes he’s right, because if the Island wants her dead, one day she’ll be dead. And then Ben will be standing right where Widmore is, realizing that he cannot fight the inevitable: “I’ll be seeing you, boy.”

Flash forward to now, Sun sitting on the porch of Ben’s Dharma cottage. Ben comes out and asks where Locke is. Sun replies that he said he had something to do – and she didn’t ask what. She goes on to say that Jack must have lied as Locke obviously couldn’t have been dead. Ben steps close to her and says, no, really, he was dead. She asks if he knew this would happen, Locke resurrecting. Ben says that he didn’t know for sure – he’s seen the Island do miraculous things but never once something like this. “Dead is dead. You don’t get to come back from that, not even here. So the fact that John Locke is walking around this Island scares the living hell out of me.” They hear a rustle in the bushes and he tells her that she should go inside since what’s about to come out of the jungle is something he can’t control.

And, right on cue, out steps Locke. He wants to know if he missed the Monster it and when told that nothing’s happened yet, notes that last time it didn’t take this long. Ben snaps, “It’s not a train, John. It doesn’t run on a schedule.” Well, says Locke, then perhaps Mohammed should go to the mountain. Ben protests that he doesn’t know where the Monster is; Locke grins that he does. Again, Ben = grumpy. Locke makes them some torches and tells a quiet Sun that this is all strange for him too, but he’s still the same man he’s always been. Ben joins them and they head off into the jungle.

Flashback to the day of the Ajira flight. Ben phones Widmore, gloating that today is the day he returns to the Island. Widmore tells him that it doesn’t work like that: you don’t get to go back, he’s spent twenty years trying, to no avail. Ben says that he’ll succeed where Widmore failed, just as soon as he kills Penny. In fact, he’s in the marina, looking at her boat. Widmore: “Don’t you dare!” Ben hangs up.

Flash forward to the Island. As they trudge through the jungle, Ben grouses about how Locke knows where the Smoke Monster lives. Locke loves that there’s something on this Island that Ben doesn’t know about. Ben agrees, not liking it at all. A little further on, Ben thinks he recognizes where they are: the Temple, where Richard took him to be healed. Locke says that he hopes that the Island is as generous this time. Sun: what Temple? As Ben walks eagerly forward, Locke harshes his buzz by pausing at the well and says that they’re not going into the Temple – they’re going under it.

Ben looks a little shaken and asks Sun to do him a favor: if she ever gets off the Island (again), tell Desmond that he’s sorry. Sun wants to know sorry for what, but Ben just says, “He’ll know.” Ooooooh – he better not have killed sweet Penny! Eyes bugging, Ben climbs first into the well, Locke behind him.

Flash back to the marina. Ben approaches Penny’s boat, hand reaching into a shoulder holster. Lovely Desmond is behind him, however, unloading their car, and shouts out at him. Ben turns and shoots Des square in the grocery bag. Desmond falls. Penny screams her husband’s name from the boat as Ben stalks resolutely towards her. He raises the gun and tells her to hold still. He apologizes for her being caught up in all of this but her father is a terrible human being and responsible for the death of his daughter, which is why he is here. Just then Penny and Desmond’s son Charlie pokes his head out of the sailboat’s cabin. Penny tells him to go back below but Ben pauses, just for a moment, not realizing there was a child. Penny begs Ben not to hurt her son; Ben lowers the gun; and Desmond fucking tackles him, throws the gun into the harbor and BEATS the living shit out of him, finally tossing him in the water as well. Love love love Desmond!

Junior Island. Frank has made his way back and, just as he beaches the canoe, an Ajira passenger runs up to him, babbling that “Ilana and three of the others” have found guns and say they are in charge now. Oh shit, thinks Frank. When he walks up to them, Ilana has a firearm trained on him and asks, “What lies in the shadow of the statue?” Frank: Um, what? So she clocks him and orders her lackeys to tie him up and take him with them. Ooooh #3: the four-toed statue!!!

Island, cave. Locke fires up the torches, passing one to Ben. They head deeper into the tunnel, Locke leading the way. Ben admits that Locke was right about why he needs to be judged – he did end up killing Alex and now he has to answer for that. There’s a quaver in his voice that almost makes me think he’s telling the truth. Ben thanks Locke for leading him this far but he can take it from here, and he’ll meet Locke outside if he manages to live through this … then he crashes through the stone floor to another room below. Locke says he’ll find something to get him out and runs off. Ben pulls himself to his feet painfully: he’s in an antechamber, carved with hieroglyphics. There’s an altar, carved with a snake and a jackal, and then the Smoke Monster comes out of a stone grating in the floor. Ben’s torch goes out and the Smoke Monster surrounds him.

As the smoke swirls, making those clicking, growling noises, Ben sees visions of Alex, as a baby, a child, a teenager, pleading with him, her final moment when Kimi shot her. He cringes, humbled and horrified, crying, and the Smoke Monster dissipates.

“Daddy?” From behind him, Alex appears. Her hair is super-big but she otherwise looks pretty good for being, you know, dead. Ben apologizes, crying again. Alex looks at him tenderly, saying that she knows he’s sorry. Then she f’ing grabs him and slams him hard against the wall, telling him that she knows he’s going to try to kill Locke again and if he does, she will hunt him down and destroy him: “You will listen to every word John Locke says and you will follow every word. Say it! Say you’ll follow him!” “I will,” whimpers Ben. “He’s lying,” says Mr. Mouse. The scary Alex-thing is appeased and disappears and then it’s as though no time has passed and Locke is there with a vine or a rope to pull Ben out of the pit. “What happened?” Locke asks. Ben moans: “It let me live.”

Previously on Lost / next time on Lost

Thursday morning addendum: So this morning, as we were eating our oatmeal (don't skip breakfast, kids - most important meal of the day!), Mr. Mouse asks me if the Losties are now in ancient Egypt. I replied, no, Locke and Ben were in a subterranean temple - to which Mr. Mouse grunted, "Ugh. I don't know how you can watch that show," and stomped off. (Mr. Mouse likes educational t.v. like the history of dirt, or those opposing neanderthal theories.) But he did get me thinking that yes, the hieroglyphics on the Temple did look a little like corrupted Egyptian writing; and the carving of the snake and the jackal ... maybe Jacob = Jackal = Anubis, the jackal-headed god of the dead. And I remembered from my recent reading of Neil Gaiman's American Gods that when a soul dies, it goes to Anubis to be weighed on a set of scales [judged] to determine what its afterlife will be. Plus there's the whole thing where Sawyer, Juliet et al. saw the four-toed statue in its entirety in one of those flashes - and it kind of looked like Horus, another Egyptian god - so maybe Mr. Mouse is onto something here. Man, if this show becomes entrenched in Egyptian mythology as well as its own, my head may explode.

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