Lost: The Man from Tallahassee

I’m not normally given to outbursts of swearing, but Holy Shit! what an episode! Lost: The Man from Tallahassee might just have been the best episode I’ve seen in this or any season.

I promise, no more hyperbole tonight, but I was honestly floored. How could an episode that promises to answer the question of Locke’s injuries live up to the hype? But it did and then some.

On to my thoughts:

  • Did the end of the Ben/Rousseau relationship start the “purge”?
  • We’ve still got some inconsistencies in stories here. Rousseau claims to have been on the island 16 years and Ben says he’s been there all his life.

    Who’s lying? Are both stories accurate? Was there once peace and inter-mingling of the “tribes”?

    Better yet, is their child (love child?) what brokered the peace instead? This almost seems more likely. She gave up her child to ensure her own freedom/life.

  • The Submarine
  • Clearly, shooting so near Pearl Harbor has advantages in finding subs to use for filming, but I’m more interested in Ben’s subterfuge. How does he manage to lie extemporaneously with such speed and ease?

    He’s truly a great leader because the breadth and depth of his lies are very narrow. He parses the phrases he hears and says down to the definite article.

    The man could teach a class in manipulation.

    That said, it was nice of Locke to at least acknowledge he had been deceived. We can debate whether or not he knew he was a pawn, but I’m taking it on faith that he did but he was overwhelmed by vengeance/hatred at his father and so he had to act accordingly, even if it helped Ben.

    And I don’t think Locke sees Ben as evil. Locke really thinks he has the inside track to “understanding” the island and used his “connection” to great effect this episode.

    Plus, is Ben providing the same kind of presence to his “people” that Locke provides to the Losties. Do they both have just enough clout/power/cult of personality to get by?

  • Locke as GWB (stop reading this if you don’t like the politics)
    1. Both have daddy issues
    2. Where daddy is smarter, more successful, etc.

    3. Both believe they speak w/ a higher power
    4. Divine providence and all that jazz

    5. Both have feigned military service
    6. Natch

    7. Both want the world to be black and white
    8. And are surprised/annoyed/stymied by shades of grey

  • Mr. Friendly’s role
  • I’m really unclear about his allegiances. He seems fairly chummy with Jack and to a lesser degree Juliet, but I don’t know how loyal he is to Ben.

    It seems to me like Mr. Friendly ranked behind Ethan, Goodwin, Ms. Clugh and even Juliet and her “recruiter” Richard Alpert (who pushed Ben’s wheelchair in The Man from Tallahassee).

    Maybe it has something to do with rank or years of service/time of recruitment, but I see Tom (aka Mr. Friendly) as something of a breakaway here, just like Jack.

    I honestly believe Jack, Kate and Sayid get pitched back to the Losties and Locke takes Jack’s position in the Other hierarchy. Better yet, he’s (Locke) the one picked to spread their message back to the Losties.

  • The Man from Tallahassee
  • While it could be construed as referring to Richard Alpert, I’m fairly certain it’s meant to be Anthony Cooper/Adam Seward, conman extraordinaire and Locke’s biological dad.

    I’m unclear about this “box” and whether or not we actually saw it tonight (I don’t think we did) but Ben claims it produced Locke’s dad, though I don’t think he appeared bound and gagged to a chair automatically.

    I will say that I think this “box” might actually be some kind of portal. Another potential entrance/exit to the island that works in mysterious ways. I realize I’m crossing over into Stargate territory here, but with this show, I wouldn’t put it past them.

    Ben seems to be accepting Locke into some kind of inner circle of confidence (catch the hidden double meaning). I have to wonder just a little bit about how fortuitous it is that this “box” produced the bane of Locke’s existence.

    Be that as it may, I still maintain that Ben is honestly impressed by Locke’s abilities/connection to the island and that it represents a step up from his/their own communion with nature.

    Do I think Locke kills his dad or extracts some old testament biblical revenge? I honestly don’t know. Here, again, we have manipulation and subterfuge and I think Locke’s reptile brain, whatever it decides, wins out over all other concerns.

    He’s like the proto-hominids of yore. An ape-man walking erect (ha!). He can be trusted only to follow his heart even while claiming his head is god-like.

    I’m really on a rant-y roll here, so I’ll stop typing.

Other good bits:

8 stories in Locke’s fall. Those damn numbers!

Who else thought Locke’s dad would just frame him for murder?

Who thinks Sawyer killed Peter Talbot (since Sawyer and Anthony Cooper/Adam Seward go way back)?

Who thinks Sayid gets tortured?

What to make of Locke’s apology to Alex and Sayid’s bit about “you look like your mother”? I maintain that Ben/Alex/Rousseau get heavy exploration before this season ends and we find out more details of the rift there. See above.

G’night folks. Additions and updates as they occur to me.

14 thoughts on “Lost: The Man from Tallahassee

  1. The scheming behind the stories this season is just un-fucking-believable. Getting it so that Jack gets to be a spinal surgeon on a timetable that reunites Locke with Ben when Ben is in a wheelchair? And that’s just the point on the sword.

    Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson are so amazing that the looks in their eyes alone are good enough buttons to go out on for virtually every act break on the show. Good lord.

  2. I don’t think there has to be any lying on the part of Danielle or Ben. Maybe Ben is not Alex’s biological father and instead he’s simply the man that raised her. She wouldn’t know the difference and more than likely neither would most of the “recruits.”

  3. Hunter Maxin says:

    We’ve come to the point now, haven’t we, were we have to seriously explore the line of thought of the Island being “alive” (for lack of a better explanation), and start dealing with the fact that it, well, “wants” something.

    The key, it seems to me, to unraveling all of this, is understanding not only that the castaways were inter-related prior to arriving on the island, and not even just connecting the dots as to how they were related to one another, BUT WHY.

    I’m not saying we have those answers, but are we really asking the question? I, for one, have been holding out for a more rationale explanation, not because I would dislike this line of thought, but because I just assumed the answer would be more, well rationale.

    At this point, the only alternative is that Ben (or whomever) wants them to think the Island is an (at least) semi-conscious entity…which is of course also worth exploring.

    Either way, it is impossible to ignore that the events that led them to the island, and the lives they live on it, were set in motion a long time before that flight. It was important, in a much larger sense, that Locke broke his back, but also how he broke his back, and by whom for something to come.

    It seems that the Island – or someone controlling the Island (which I’m not even going to get into at this point) – is building towards a confluence of some kind, but that the gears were set in motion a long time ago.

  4. I agree that more and more the Island seems live and aware. The black smoke monster is the island. Your stargate reference made me think that they need to begin looking for a crashed spaceship and that the island is the representation of an Alien intelligence that is from a post singularity world.

  5. @dpb: I think having Alex merely kidnapped is too easy. I truly believe that she provided aid and comfort to one side in the fight between Dharma and The Others/Hostiles and had to broker a deal to get out of hot water.

    Also, is it too weird to imagine that she might have been a guinea pig, inseminated with some kind of genetic experiment from one side or the other?

    @Hunter: I LOVE this theory!

    The Island as Krakoa from X-Men mythology and everyone living there as mutants.

    Additionally, and I’ll update the post to reflect this, I’m beginning to think that Ben has some kind of “future sight” akin to Desmond. He can clearly see the chess moves before the board is setup and move the pieces to fit his needs.

    I think we have to believe him when he said that the island brought Jack just when he needed a spinal surgeon and that Locke showed up at precisely the right moment. Either those things were revealed to him by the island/his power OR he can use the island to predict future outcomes.

    I’m having a tough time putting it in text, but I think Ben has some of the “powers” (see X-Men reference above) that Desmond and Locke do.

    Now all we have to figure out is who else is similarly affected. Time for a Rose episode?

  6. Hunter Maxin says:

    At this time, I’m leaning in the other direction…not that Ben and the Others, or others on the Island, for that matter are inherently “gifted,” but that the island gifts them as the island sees fit, to suit its purposes.

    Locke temporarily losing his legs in S1.

    Also, Ben’s inability to heal now.

    Both of these are indicative of either “punishment” or “need” based on some unrevealed larger puzzle that, for lack of a better explanation, the Island seems to be “running.”

    I now raise the possibility that the “sickness” (heretofore completely underdeveloped) may have been real (in contrast to my post from last week regarding Danielle), but another method of control – temporary even – used by the island (or, again, those controlling it) for their ends.

    There are probably numerous examples that can be applied to this theory.

    Which isn’t to say that Ben doesn’t have sight, though I tend to believe he’s just awesomely devious and intelligent.

    At any rate, I keep coming back to the dual notions of “fate” and “free will” that have led all of our characters here, and the motivations that The Island (or whomever controls it) in this scenario seem to need Ben for something yet to come, but under its own terms.

    IF Jack fell out of the sky to save Ben – because the Island refused to heal him itself BUT still wanted him alive…

    If the Island gave Ben a misguided Locke to solve his problem of JAck and Juliet’s departure (a problem created by the need to have Jack save Ben when the island wouldn’t)…

    Then aren’t we saying that Island is manipulating (amongst others) Ben to a particular place for a very specific reason.

    I have so much more to say on this, but I fear this post will get too long to absorb at once.

  7. I think, since the Island and the Others are somehow out of time as a means of studying the ability to alter the values of the Valenzetti Equation (possibly by altering factors on alternate Earths and then measuring the results), this explains why the Others know so much about everyone on Flight 815. It’s not that these people were put on that plane, per se, but that the Others have gone back and done the research on the people who did eventually crash on the island.

    The Others are attempting to alter variables over time to control the future of mankind. They want to shape our fate, despite a cosmic force of quasi-destiny. But if they’re shaping the fate of the Castaways, are they in control of their own fates or not?

  8. Hunter Maxin says:

    @ Will – See…I think the Equation is, to some degree, a red herring, because it was Dharam attempting to do that, not the Others.

    We don’t have to agree on this yet, given the evidence at hand, but I am firmly in the camp that believes Bakunin…There were 2 distinct groups (The Others and Dharma), and what we’re dealing with now are the Others. Maybe some of Dharma survived, in one way or another, but I’m leaning towards no.

    The value of the Island is why both groups came (if not affirmative BROUGHT by the Island – one has to ask how either group knew of an invisibile Island unless it wanted to be found) and for different reasons (not completely clear).

    Uiltimately, I believe the value in understand the Dharma Initiative is understanding their motivations as a means to understanding the nature of the Island, not to understanding the current course of events happening on the island now.

    I hope that makes sense.

    What I think is extremely valuable in what you said, though (God, I hope this doesn’t come across as patronizing as it sounds in my head, because it kind of does and I don’t mean it that way)…is that who is the dog and who is the tail in this.

    Dharma, the Others, the castaways, Ben, even Jacob…are they all pawns in a larger scheme that exists above or beyond them (and therefore bereft of free will in this) or are some of them in control and robbing the others (lowercase “o”) of their free will.

    As in, who’s zooming who?

  9. Hunter Maxin says:

    @ Seth:

    I’m confused on 1 single point from the post.

    My understanding is that it is possible that Cooper IS Sawyer.

    But I have no indication (or memory) that James Ford knows Cooper, or has ever worked with him.

    Refresh my memory if I’m just forgetting.

  10. @ Seth, I like the idea that Ben/Danielle were together and that their parting of ways was symbolic of [or even caused] the Dharma/Other split but I don’t think I buy it. I think either Ben isn’t really her biodad or [much less likely, given how much they actually look] Alex isn’t Danielle’s Alex.

    I _did_ totally think that Cooper was going to frame Locke though.

    @ Hunter, I think you might be wrong in assuming that just because Dharma ≠ [not equals sign, in case that doesn’t show up] Others, that means Others ≠ [not equals, again] Hanso. At least now. For me, presuming that Lost Experience was canon, the fact that Hanso seemed to have “darkened” in its purpose fits nicely with the Dharma v. Others conflict. Perhaps Hanso and the Others are [now at least] on the same side and Dharma is all by itself.

  11. Heh. I just saw that you too ran out of hyperbole when describing the episode. How funny. I really wasn’t copying you when I said that in my post. :)

  12. @ Hunter, I was just asking if Sawyer had ever seen proto Sawyer also. I _was_ thinking that they probably never did. But as I was typing this… I started asking myself then how would Sawyer have ever known what happened or that Sawyer was the name of the man. I’m guessing now that the two _have_ met. Anyone wanna lay money on the two running into each other before the end of the season?

  13. Hunter Maxin says:

    Re: My 2 Sawyers

    If they had met – or if James Ford even knew what the real Sawyer looked like – he wouldn’t have killed Meredith Grey’s dad in Australia, which, if I’m not mistaken, was days before the crash.

    I’m not entrely sure why Ford knows the name Sawyer.

    But, I don’t even think Vegas would take odds on whether Ford and Cooper meet…it’s inevitable…especially if Kate is officially taken hostage again, because you know Sawyer’s coming to get her.

    I also have to admit, that I’m not really “up” on the Lost Experience aspect of the story. It never occured to me that the Others were a “hostile” faction of the DI.

    I’d still lean against it though. Just my gut.

  14. @ Hunter, you’re right about killing the wrong “Sawyer” in Australia! Dang! I’m just as puzzled as you are then about how he knows about the whole scenario and all. Good call on how Sawyer will meet proto Sawyer too. As for the whole Others being a split from the DI, I’m with you. I just wanted to point out that it might not be the only option.

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