Saturday, May 31, 2008

Jeremy Bentham had a small wake

Well, there it was. The season 4 finale of Lost, "There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3." I was excited as hell to see it, yet I watched it with some caution, knowing that there's no way in hell it could produce another What The Fuck?! moment like last year's flash-forward ending. And even if it tried to do another game changing twist like that, it probably would have been a twist for pure shock and oneupsmanship, rather than as an organic surprise designed to open up the storytelling. So I wasn't expecting to have my mind completely blown like last year, but I was expecting Team Darlton to deliver the goods, and deliver the goods they did. That was emotionally and dramatically satisfying, and as Lost often does, it answered some questions and asked some others.

Plot wise, the big things the finale had to do:
  1. Explain the "move the island" concept (or at the very least, have it "happen").
  2. Get all the players in the proper positions on and off the island to lead us to the rescue of the Oceanic 6.
  3. Get Ben off the island, so he can be the veterinarian "handler" of the world's most dangerous Iraqi assassin.
  4. Handle the "fate" of the island and the freighter, so the future "cover story" of the O6 would withstand some scrutiny for a while
  5. Deal with Keamy and his commandos.
In my book, we were 5 for 5 there:
  1. The big debate was "move the island physically" or "move the island in time?" Or both? I'm not sure we got a definitive answer here, which was okay and gives us much more to ponder. But the island is indeed "gone" from the "helicopter crash survivors on the raft" timeline. It was there, then there was a flash of light, and then POOF! it was gone. Along with the secondary island, the Hydra station. The producers like to use a "code phrase" to represent the plot development of the finale. Last year, the flash forward was referred to as the "snake in the mailbox." That was metaphorical, but this year's code, "frozen donkey wheel," was actually literal. How did the island "move?" We're not sure of all the specifics, but it was instigated by Ben, in an icy basement of the Orchid station, actually spinning a "frozen donkey wheel."
  2. After lots of running around the jungle and helicopter flights, the O6 were all together and ready to be "rescued." For a while Thursday, I was actually suspecting that one of the big reveals would be that the show was playing with us with regard to the timeline on the rescue. We were all anticipating that the resolution to the "Keamy on a killing spree/bomb on the freighter" situations would end with the O6 getting together for rescue. I thought that the show might tease this, but that more would actually happen on the show for another year or so before the O6 wound up together and rescued. Alas, that theory was wrong and they did find their way off the island and ready to get back to civilization, press conferences, drunken binges, ghost chess, hauntings, assassinations, trials, corporate takeovers and other fun stuff.
  3. Somehow, spinning the frozen donkey wheel not only "moved" the island, it got Ben off the island, too. He appeared exactly as he did just prior to waking up in The Sahara in "The Shape of Things to Come," complete with Dharma parka and cut arm. (Though we're never exactly sure of the "whens" on this show, it appears Ben popped up in the desert and made his way to Tunisia about 10 months after he turned the frozen donkey wheel). But Ben warned of a price to be paid for moving the island. Supposedly, the person who moves the island has to "leave" and "never return."
  4. The island disappeared. The freighter blew up and sank. The O6 agreed to a lie and cover story.
  5. The Others appear out of the jungle, at the copter, and engage Keamy and the commandos in a fight. Between the Others and Keamy's amusing game of hacky-sack with a live grenade, the mercs are all put down. Keamy and Sayid engage in one the best TV fistfights I've ever seen, and he's finally shot by Alpert. (Of course, he wasn't quite dead yet, and managed to get to the Orchid, where he's *finally* killed by a momentarily bloodthirsty Ben).
So the plot mechanics all worked out and connected most of the dots, and did so in an engaging and propelling fashion. Then, of course, there was the end. Crazy, fucked up Grizzly Jack going back to the Hoffs/Drawlar funeral home to see the man in the coffin. The man in the coffin was Jeremy Bentham. And someone named "Jeremy Bentham" had talked members of the O6 in an attempt to get them back to the island. This Mr. Bentham had also died under mysterious circumstances, which was ruled a suicide, in his apartment. While Jack is there, Ben appears. Jack tells Ben he got a visit from Bentham, who told him some "very bad things" happened once Jack left the island, and that it was Jack's fault for leaving. Ben knows Jack has been riding planes, hoping they crash and that he can get back to the island. But Ben tells Jack he can't go back to the island alone: "all of you have to go back." Including the dead man in the coffin, Jeremy Bentham, who is revealed as John Locke. Dun-Dun-DUN!

Thoughts, Quotes and Observations:

So will this be the theme of Season 5?

With a little Weekend at Bernie's thrown in for good measure, as Ben and Jack drag around the corpse of John Locke/Jeremy Bentham attempting to "get the band back together?"
  • After the finale of S4, lots of Lostophiles attempted to piece together the scrap of newspaper Jack had, featuring the death announcement. It did indeed contain some pieces to the puzzle, and there was serious speculation that the name was indeed "Jeremy Bentham," given the producers affinity for using the names of philosophers. For more on this dude in history, check here. Interesting, no?
  • We know that the scene at the car between Grizzly Jack and Bitter Kate was about three years from the time the O6 left the island.
  • “What’s the plan Sundance?”
  • Hurley was peeing in the jungle when he was found. I'm shocked that in four seasons, we haven't seen more scenes of jungle pissing.
  • Holy shit is Walt older.
  • “Do you know who did come see me? Jeremy Bentham. I don’t understand why you’re all lying.” Question: does it seem like a bit of a cheat that everyone in the flash-forward is calling Locke "Jeremy Bentham" and not "Locke?" I understand this in order to keep the reveal at the end, but does it make sense in the context of the Losties for them to keep referring to him by his pseudonym and not the name they all called him originally?
  • Ben’s chipper attitude since the jungle fight and Keamy "first" died was hilarious.
  • I know there was originally supposed to be more of the Freighties (Charlotte, Lapidus, Miles and Faraday) that got cut short by the strike, so I hope we get much more of them next season. They're all engaging and interesting in their own right, and nobody (with the possible exception of Ben) gives such twisted and amusing line readings as Miles. And what's up with his comment to Charlotte: "...after all that time you spent trying to get back here." "What do I mean?" Was Charlotte born on the island? There previously for an extended stay? “Would it make any sense if I told you I was still looking for where I was born?” So to take inventory of the Freighties, Lapidus was rescued and going to remain hidden. Charlotte and Miles stayed on the island. And Daniel was in the motorboat with a bunch of redshirts. Did he get moved along with the island? Caught somewhere in between? And will the original plan of Abaddon, who assembled this team (along with Naomi) make any sense eventually?
  • In two hours chock to the brim with quoty goodness, this might have been the best: “If you mean time traveling bunnies, then yes.”
  • "Hey, Kenny Rogers."
  • “You just killed everybody on that boat!” “……So?”
  • “I think visiting hours are over, dude.”
  • Sayid and Hurley did address the "name game," but I don't know that I'm completely satisfied: “And why are you calling him Bentham? His name is…” “Don’t say it.”
  • “Dude. I’ve been having regular conversations with dead people. The last thing I need now is paranoia.”
  • And another creepy and perfect moment: “Checkmate Mr. Eko.”
  • On the boat, we heard the mysterious whispering, got a cameo appearance from Christain Sheppard, and then BOOM! (And it doesn't appear that Harold Perrineau was too happy with being back on the show, only to get beat up and blown up. And for fuck's sake, he has to bring race into it. Asshat. Good riddance, Michael). And was there a video camera in the corner of the freighter engine room?
  • Sun on the copter losing her shit as Jin got left behind was heartbreaking. Sunjin Kim acted the hell out of that scene. As she also did when she, in full CEO badass mode, met up with Charles Widmore. “As you know, we’re not the only ones who left the island.” And remember the "two people" Sun blames for Jin's death? (and put me in the camp who doesn't think Jin is dead) Who are they? Widmore? Her dad? Jack and Lapidus?
  • How cool was it that Aaron didn't cry at all during the helicopter crash? Can't all kids be that quiet?
  • Juliet looked extra spicy on the beach knocking back a bottle of Dharma rum. Meow. I loves me some Juliet. Think we're getting set up for "Sawliet" action next year? And speaking of Sawyer, some enterprising souls have figured out what he whispered to Kate before that smooch with Kate and copter-dive. (Though I think it should be "Albuquerque" instead of "Alabama"). And this sets up one of the recent scenes in the "future" where Jack is pissed that Kate is actually checking in with Clementine at Sawyer's request.
  • How could Keamy's "deadman's switch" keep transmitting from the island, through all the time distortion, and way underground? I can't get a fucking XM radio signal in a parking deck.
  • “Sometimes, good command decisions get compromised by bad emotional responses. I’m sure you’re gonna do a much better job of separating the two than I ever did.” How awesome was the scene with Locke watching the Dharma video (carefully instructing the viewer to never put "inorganic material" in the chamber, as Ben loads it up with everything metal he can find, like he was trying to freak out some type of microwave -- albeit a microwave the folds space and time)? And any theories on why the video Locke was watching suddenly started rewinding? And what was the point of disabling that chamber before turning the frozen donkey wheel? And why was that subterranean chamber frozen? We've been lead to believe that Ben has gotten off the island prior to his Dharma-parka-desert-hopping (Widmore had pictures of him off the island), so was the "chamber" this means? Or is there another way?
  • Remember in the season premiere, when Hurley told Jack at the basketball court that he wished he had chosen to go with Jack instead of Locke? Does this make any sense now? Was Hugo subjected to anything really so awful while he was in New Otherton with Locke? Or could this be referring to yet another "choice" between Jack and Locke that we haven't yet seen? Or just one of those lines designed to heighten the emotions of the scene when they didn't have the whole season mapped out yet?
  • “….so, unless we, like, overlooked it dude? That’s exactly what he did.”
  • How great was it that Penny is the one who rescued the O6? That scene with Des and Penny reuniting was touching, romantic and well done. Of course, just like "true love" in real life, they are probably doomed now. After all, Ben has vowed to take revenge on Charles Widmore by killing his daughter, who happens to be Penny. So who among the O6 (and related) knows about the feud between Ben and Widmore, and the evil machinations of one Charles Widmore? Lapidus does, as does Sayid. Sun will at some point. So does anyone put two and two together and realize that Penny is Widmore's daughter, while they are on her boat?
  • There's been a lot of hubbub about the "lie," and why exactly they have to tell it to "protect everyone." Is it Widmore that's supposed to believe the lie, after he (we think) went to great trouble and expense to fake the crash of 815 and send a team to the island? Won't he know that something is up when he gets no reports from his dead and missing team sent there? And his freighter is gone? And doesn't Sun tip her hand when she tells Widmore that there are others who left the island? I think a fascinating episode next season would be a full hour set in a cabin on The Searcher where those rescued by Penny do nothing but debate the "lie" and the ins and outs of the cover story they had a week to concoct before being put ashore on the other "regular" island.
  • “Then I’ll see ya in another life, brotha.”
  • When flash forward Kate gets that phone call in the middle of the night, a male voice says (in backward masking): "The island needs you. You have to go back before it's too late." She grabs a gun to go check on Aaron, only to find (creepy!) Claire, who warns Kate "Don't you dare bring him back!" Obviously, we're meant to think she's talking about Aaron. But could she be talking about Locke/Bentham? Or someone else? Of course, this too is supposedly a dream Kate wakes up from. And damn, if dead/ghost/childless Claire isn't hot as hell. (Then again, most people are hotter childless, if not necessarily dead and ghostly).


Finally, two amusing Lost tidbits to leave you with:
  1. Evidently, they say "fuck" on the island quite a bit.
  2. The original script from the Lost pilot.
Namaste, y'all.


  1. Did you see this tidbit from Lostpedia?

    It seems they filmed two alternative endings in case of spoilers regarding the identity of Jeremy Bentham...

    It worries me just a little.

  2. I did see that. The only thing that would worry me is if the alternates were in "danger" of being the real plot -- meaning, that they hadn't figured out what they were going to do and filmed "options," one of which would get pulled out of their asses just prior to airing. If it was just done as a safeguard against spoilers, then I'm fine with it.

    Seeing "Locke" in there was a shocker, and would seem to fit more coherently with the big picture, too.