Lost: The Man Behind the Curtain

HOLY SHIT! If tonight’s episode of Lost, The Man Behind the Curtain, is any indication of what’s to come in the next 3 seasons, I’m in for the long haul!

Before I start the recap, two links of note:

  1. 23
  2. A cool BoingBoing post on the power of the number so important in Lost mythology

  3. A Map for ‘Lost’
  4. Q&A with Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof on charting the course for the end of Lost.

On to the thoughts:

  • The King of Pain
  • It’s no wonder that Ben is so drawn/intertwined with Locke, considering both of their backstories. I guess that means we’ll get a Sawyer/Ben showdown at some point, unless Locke comes back from the dead (near death?) to do the deed himself. All of them with shitty fathers/father figures.

    I’m not convinced he’s fully dead, either. The man walked on immediate contact with island soil, so I think a gunshot – no matter how skillfully placed – isn’t downing him just yet.

    Ben seemed genuinely surprised by the “Save Me” line. Like it was something he hadn’t considered or planned for. And it would take a lot to surprise a man like Ben, constantly playing all the angles and all the people around him.

    This is a man who waited decades to kill off his entire camp – including the woman (I assume they were still in love by this time) Annie – just for some revenge on his father and the potential to commune with his mother. That’s some truly cold, manipulative shit.

    But Ben is no liar. No sir. He just leaves things out. I believe that’s called lying by omission, but don’t call him a liar. Then he goes all Marty McFly on you. Forget Wizard of Oz, I think it’s about time for some Michael J. Fox/Back to the Future references. There’s time travel in this show, right?

    Three more things:

    Has Ben seen his mother since the purge?
    Do children have some special communion with the island (Ben, Walt)?
    How cold was the Roger (Work Man) death and when did you see it coming (at least that his dead body would be in the van)?

  • Badass Locke
  • It’s kinda nice to see the cocksure and rough-hewn Locke again. Not that I didn’t love pensive, unsure Locke, but there’s something about the beating he gave Mikhail and the whole eating-fruit-from-a-knife-while-pretending-he-knows-what’s-going-on that’s appealing.

    Of course, he’s just as clueless as ever and walked right into a mass grave, but we all should have seen it coming (For the record, I didn’t because I was too busy enjoying Old Locke).

    To recap, I think he’s not dead and I seem to think that Jacob, whatever he is, will save him.

  • Jacob
  • I don’t remember much about the biblical Jacob, but Wikipedia does.

    I also don’t remember the Tim Robbins movie Jacob’s Ladder all that well, but I think it turned on the whole “waking up from a dream/living a whole life in the blink of an eye” metaphor.

    One of those is obviously debunked, the other seems more probable given the Lindelof/Old Testament love affair.

    I think it means that Jacob is only half of the man behind the curtain. That he has two aspects or is a twin (a bad twin?).

    Is Jacob the smoke monster? Do the hostiles (whom we’ve called the others) know him at all?

    Which leads to:

  • Richard Alpert, Hostile
  • I was all ready to have a story about the Hostile/Dharma war, but I didn’t think that Ben would be the sole surviving (I’m assuming) living member of the D.I.

    I’m also curious to know why Mikhail and other others would continue to propogate the myth that they themselves were Dharma and that they purged the hostiles.

    Did they/do they still fear Dharma? Do they think the Losties have some connection to that organization? Is the Dharma Initiative/Hanso Foundation still active? Are they coming in wake of the communications station’s destruction?

    I think last Summer’s Lost Experience and Bad Twin novel indicate that the organizations exist, but I question exactly how they’ve been operating.

    Did the new organization (Ben + Hostiles) let D.I. know there was a new sheriff in town? Was there a second purge? How long ago exactly did the first purge (assuming a second) happen?

    Did Mikhail think the boat was a D.I. boat (referring to Naomi)? Did Ben really think him dead? Did Ben really not know about the missing tape?

    We’ve been told about two factions by the producers before. Is it as simple as Ben versus every other other? How deep is any subversion of Ben’s power? How many “hostiles” like Richard Alpert are still alive and well (Tom?)?

  • Juliet and Jack
  • So we’re waiting until next week for the big double/triple cross episode (I assume, yet again).

    Do we really buy Jack’s motives? Or Juliet’s?

    Didn’t you love Juliet’s “turn the tape over” line? I dig double entendre.

    Does the solution have to end in violence? Can’t there just be assimilation? How many will survive (I’m looking at you Locke and Charlie)?

    Will Jacob intervene?

Ok, I’m done. I’m tired and stressed from work/Jenn’s pregnancy/our move (next Tuesday).

Let me have it in the comments.

And I know I left out one question while typing this damned post. When it comes to me in a dream/my morning shower, I’ll update the post or comments.

UPDATE: Since folks are coming here from Google et al searching for “Jacob is Locke” I thought I’d mention the fact that I – and longtime commenter RSL – think it’s a bunch of bunk. Feel free to disagree in the comments, though.

Additionally, lots of you are coming here looking for a picture/screencap of Jacob. Here it is.

13 thoughts on “Lost: The Man Behind the Curtain

  1. Brandon says:

    I enjoyed the write-up. One thing I noticed though, I think Jacob told Locke “Help me”, not “Save Me”. Not that I makes too big of a difference.

    I agree with you, I think Locke with have another expereince with Jacob that will result in him recovering from being shot. I just can’t imagine Lost without Locke.

    Was it just me, or has Richard Alpert not aged at all since he met young Ben?

  2. A couple quick things:

    Shouldn’t Richard have, you know… AGED? What the hell is up with him? Does it have something to do with “lost time?”

    The constant Oz allusions are further evidence in support of the multiple possible worlds notion. But moving from allusion (“the man behind the curtain”) to actual reference (Ben mentions “The Wizard of Oz” by name) bugged me more than is probably reasonable.

    Jacob’s twin is clearly Management, from Carnivale.

  3. Hunter Maxin says:

    A couple of personal notes:

    I simply don’t see a single shred of evidence at all for multiple worlds, time travel, anything along that line. It’s simply out of step with what is happening. Maybe that means I need to find the door, but someone’s gotta explain to me why these things come up here.

    Additionaly, I don’t really know what happened in that cabin last night, but it troubles me deeply.

  4. Hunter Maxin says:

    Here’s a more positive contribution:

    Thought – the Hostiles (the Islands original inhabitants) as descendents of the Black Rock Pirates?

  5. I don’t have a lot to add to your commentary but 1. I think Locke’s actually dead, 2. I do trust Jack/Juliet though I’d love it if I were proved wrong [more than if I were/am right], and 3. Ben _did_ specifically lie when he said he was born on the island. Maybe you meant that when you talked about him lying by omission but that was a direct lie.

  6. E says:

    Quite a few thoughts on your post.

    First of all, if you haven’t read any Robert Anton Wilson, you should. Cosmic Trigger would be my recommendation, although The Illuminatus Trilogy is also a classic. If you dig the craziness of lost, both are worth getting your head around.

    That EW article was fantastic as well. It seems a shame that it took months of negotiation to come up with a plan to end things in a way that benefits the storytelling. Maybe I’m spoiled by Vertigo Comics-style finite ongoings, but there’s probably millions of dollars more riding on Lost than on a comic book. I’m glad they worked it out though. Excited, even.

    I’ve had a nagging feeling for the latter part of this season(-ette), and as of last night it’s a burning itch. Especially considering last night’s episode, I’m really looking forward to a Rousseau flashback. I’m very curious/anxious to find out how she fits in.

    As for Alpert, he hasn’t aged since Suddenly Susan.

  7. Hunter Maxin says:

    RSL – In the words of Obi-wan Kenobi, “it all depends on your point of view.”

    The Ben we know was “born” the moment he betrayed the DI with the purge, much like Darth Vader “betrayed and murdered” Anakin Skywalker. Semantics, I know.

    Slap Bet says Locke lives.

    The more I ruminate on this, I think the Island prolongs the life (or halts agining completely) the second you become in tune with the Island. The Others (Hostiles) are one with the island (a la Jacob, perhaps) and don’t age. Ben stopped aging after his betrayal of Dharma.

    And on that line of thought, I’m more and more convinced that the Others ARE the survivors of the Black Rock. That screenshot of Jacob looks more and more like he’s wearing 17th-18th century garb.

  8. @Hunter – I’ll go one step further and throw out the wild thought that they’re not just descendants, they ARE the pirates, hence the no aging. I don’t _really_ believe this, but it’d be fun (also, the old haircut fits).

    @RSL – you’re right, Ben did lie about the island birth. But I think he’s lying by not telling Locke and the Hostiles/Others the full truth about Jacob and DHARMA.

  9. E says:

    Ooh! and I forgot about the circle of ash(?) surrouding Jacob’s place. In Magic, that’s a way of trapping a spirit. If the circle is broken, the spirit, demon, whatever is set free…

  10. Hunter Maxin says:

    Re: Locke as Jacob…

    I’m assuming a lot of people umped on this because the foreheads are so similar, but the chins are definitiely different. The noses are close, but, again, not the same.

    Of course, there could be prostetics at work here, but I have to concur…Locke is NOT Jacob, Jacob is not Locke.

  11. Yoda Puncher says:

    Hunter: Its clear that you are a republican. Your right wing opinion is getting in the way of the facts.

    Its obvious that Commander Kirk is responsible for the pirates losing their ship and getting stuck on the island.

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