Flash Sideways Story
Once again, I had trouble with the flash sideways story. My main beef again is not knowing how invested we should be in these. A big fan theory now is that these sideways stories will be the life that everyone is given once they leave the island, either through Man in Black or once the entire conflict between Jacob and Man in Black is resolved. Last week's episode with Sayid seemed to hint strongly at this with Nadia being alive in Sayid's story but with the twist that Sayid isn't with her.
This week, we follow Dr. Ben Linus as he tries to blackmail the principal so he can have "the big job." We run into a lot of old faces, and it's hard to not just say, oh cool it's Dr. Arzt or hey, there's Alex (who is a student of Ben's). Ben's blackmail scheme doesn't pan out as the principal turns it around on him by hurting Alex's chances of going to Yale. Old school Ben would have found a way around this, but Dr. Linus gives in, and Alex gets her letter of recommendation, while Ben goes back to being just a teacher. He does get out of covering detention though and reforming the science club.
I guess this story was told to show us that in the sideways world, Ben isn't cut out to be the cunning manipulator he's been on the island. We also got a bit of sideways island history from Uncle Rico himself, Roger Linus. Ben's dad, who is bad off and needing to be on oxygen, reminisces about signing up for the DHARMA Initiative and wondering what would have happened if they stayed on the island. Hmm, so in this new timeline, there was still DHARMA and Ben grew up on the island. Can we assume the same for Ethan Goodspeed? We still need to learn what happened to the island after they left. Maybe they evacuated just before The Incident.
Return to the Black Rock
After their adventure to the Lighthouse, Jack is ready to go back to the Temple, but Hurley is hesitant because Jacob told him about the bad things that are happening there. Suddenly Richard appears and leads them to the Black Rock. Jack asks him where he came from and Richard replies you wouldn't believe me if I told you. Does he mean where he came from just a bit ago, which he confirms to have been the Temple, or does he mean originally, like in the Black Rock itself? Or was there a place that he was just before running into Jack and Hurley that they wouldn't have believed? Later, they get to the Black Rock, and it's clear to Jack that Richard has been there before. He tells Jack that after all the time he's been on the island, this is the first time he's been back.
So Lost fans, there you have it. We can forget about the guesses that Richard was Egyptian. We can quit looking into Man in Black's comment about Richard being out of those chains. It now appears that Richard indeed arrived on the island via the Black Rock, and from the way he examined the chains, he was a slave on the ship. It'll still be cool to see Richard's backstory on the show, but we can put to rest all the other crazy theories about his origin. The other notable thing about his return to the ship is that he went there to die, which brings me to ...
Richard tells Jack and Hurley that the reason he is like he is, i.e. ageless, is because Jacob touched him. He said it's supposed to be a gift, but its more of a curse. Is there more to Richard's
agelessness than just a touch from Jacob? Remember that when Jacob visited Ilana, he wore gloves to make sure he didn't touch her, but he touched Jack, Locke, Sawyer, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Jin and Sun when he visited them. Does this mean that everyone he touched is ageless like Richard?
It turns out Richard isn't really immortal, as he can and wants to die. He just can't die by his own hand. I wonder what would have happened if Ben hadn't been the one that killed Locke. Would Locke's suicide plan have not worked since Jacob had touched him? Why did Richard blindly follow Jacob all these years if he never was given the details of Jacob's plan? Seems like it would be tough to do everything Jacob wanted if you didn't know why, but then again, he did provide the gift of agelessness to him.
Jack is still angry at Jacob and wants answers, but he's becoming more accepting. Seeing the scene between him and Richard was great. Richard was nervous and ready to die, but Jack knew that it wouldn't work. He realizes that he was brought to the island for a reason and is now eager to find out what that reason is. This is such a change from early Lost Jack. He would have never believe he was brought there for a purpose, but now he's fully buying into what Jacob and the island are selling. He's becoming more and more the candidate that Jacob hoped he would be.
The Redeeming of Ben Linus
The bulk of the on island story focused on the redemption of Ben Linus. We picked up with him just after his visit to Sayid in "Sundown" and his catching up with Team Ilana. We soon learned why Ilana picked up Jacob's ashes, as she had be suspicious about who killed Jacob. She probably knew that Man in Black couldn't kill Jacob without a loophole, so she gets Miles to confirm her suspicions. Finally, Miles is given something to do in season 6.
Once the group arrives back at the beach site, which was Ben's idea, the trouble continues for Ben. Ilana restrains him to a tree and makes him dig his own grave. She told Ben that Jacob was the closest thing to a father she's had. Wonder what she meant by that. Does she not have a father? How long has she been a part of Team Jacob and how does one become so close to Jacob in the first place, especially off island?
Miles paid Ben a visit and filled him in on Jacob's final thoughts. Turns out Jacob thought more of Ben, right until the knife went through his heart, he hoped he was wrong about him. These words hit Ben hard, and he starts to realize that all his service to Jacob and the island did mean something.
Not long after, Man in Black appears and releases Ben. He tells him about a gun 200 yards away and that he could get the jump on Ilana. He tells Ben about his plan to leave from the Hydra island and presents him with something he's always wanted, control of the island. Ben decides to go, and he makes a run for it.
Lots of juiciness here. Miles' information from Jacob shows Ben that he wasn't just being used by Jacob and that Jacob did see more in him. But then Man in Black gives him the proposal of his lifetime, to be in control of the island. Ben figures that he can't stay and continue digging his own grave so he decides to deal with the devil once again. Curious that Man in Black's group is headed to the Hydra island. Are they going to leave via flight 316?
Ilana caught up to Ben, but he did make it to the rifle first, so he now has the upper hand. But what follows is Michael Emerson at his best. He is torn emotionally and tells Ilana about Alex being killed and his motivation behind killing Jacob. Ilana asks him what he wants and where he will go. Ben is going to go with Locke because he's the only one who will have him. Ilana tells him that I'll have you and starts walking back to the beach.
With Ilana seemingly forgiving him and Ben making the decision to return to the beach, what does that mean for Man in Black's plan? Was leaving the island in Ben's care ever really part of his plan, or did he say that just to get Ben to follow him again? Does this prove that Jacob was wrong about Ben, and he really is one of the good guys?
There was some awkwardness when Ben arrived back at the beach, but that soon passed with Jack, Hurley and Richard making their way to "where it all began." Now we have our two teams, one at the beach site and one headed for the Hydra. But wait, what if there's another team or at least another member of one of these teams? Glad you asked:
Another Sub for Locke to Blow Up?
The final scene of "Dr. Linus" showed a submarine just below the surface. We follow the periscope and find none other than Charles Widmore himself. Someone on the sub tells him that there are people on the beach and asks if they should stop? Widmore replies, no proceed as planned. Whoa!
So what is Widmore's plan? Has he come to do some damage to those on the island or to the island itself? Did he crew believe that there would be no one on the island? The questioning of whether they should stop made it sound like they'd be bombing the island or something, but why would Widmore want to bomb the island? Remember, he told Locke that a war was coming to the island. Many thought it was the war between Ben and Widmore, but did he know about Jacob and Man in Black? Another question is how did he find the island? Was Eloise Hawking involved? How did he know what bearing to take? So many questions and only nine episodes left.
One of the first things I thought when they returned to the beach was that we'd see the outrigger scene soon. You know, the one from last year when they were time traveling and decided to take one of the outriggers from the beach camp. They were traveling to the Orchid and someone started shooting at the time traveling Losties from another outrigger. Then Juliette shot back and appeared to hit someone. Well, that group will probably be someone from either Team Jacob or maybe Team Locke traveling to the Hydra Island.
Ilana knows about the candidates and says there are six left: Sun or Jin, Jack, Hurley, Sayid, Sawyer and Kate. Are these the six she is referring to? Strange that Richard doesn't seem to know anything about the candidates, and Ilana knows everything.
Is it safe to assume that Danielle Rousseau is Alex's mother? Why are they in Los Angeles? Is Danielle not a French scientist in this new timeline?
Ben tells the others that Sayid killed Dogen and the interpreter, so this confirms he is aware of those two characters from the Temple.
How many people are left of the Others off island? Ben told Miles that he had a vast network of people, and he could still get him his $3.2 million. Lucky for Miles, he can commune with the dead and is aware of the $8 million in diamonds buried with Nikki and Paulo. He's seen examining one of them toward the end of the episode.
Other recaps and analysis on "Dr. Linus":
- Lostpedia Dr. Linus
- Doc Jensen's initial reaction; Doc Jensen's full recap; Recap Addition
- The Watcher
- Washington Post's Dueling Analysis
- What's Alan Watching
- Zap2It Recap
- JOpionionated Initial Thoughts & Theories
- Things I Noticed by Vozzek
- Geronimo Jack's Beard
*Photos from Lost-Media.com and GetLostPodcast