Thursday, April 24, 2008

Lost 4.9: Daughters, Rules, and Some Truth about Ben

We got two rare glimpses into the true nature of Ben tonight in this brutally brilliant episode of Lost - one when he said goodbye to Alex on the island, a second in what we saw on his face in the flashforward second scene with Sayid - and we learned a whole lot about some other crucial things, too.

1. I was wrong when I supposed that Ben might have been the one who shot Rousseau and Karl in Episode 8 (though not wrong at all about Ben's use of murder of innocents to further his agenda - see #2 below). But it was the bad guys on the boat, Widmore's men, who did the deed. Tonight they try to get Ben to surrender by threatening to kill Alex. Ben's tries to outsmart them, by telling them, truthfully, that Alex is not his daughter (and trying to disguise his love for her). Ben's bluff is called, and Alex is shot dead, right in front of his horrified eyes. (Keamy, played with fatal precision by Kevin Durand, does the deed.)

Why Widmore's killers would give up this possible leverage on Ben - even though Ben denied it - is a little surprising. But what is clear, in any case, when Ben says goodbye to his murdered adopted daughter, is how much he loves her. And this sets the stage for what Ben will do once he gets off the island....

2. We already saw some of this earlier this season, with Ben directing Sayid's assassinations of Widmore's men. Tonight we saw how this came to be. The murder of Alex "changed the rules," according to Ben - which presumably didn't include murdering innocent members of your family. Ben is out to kill all of Widmore's associates - and, we find at the very end, Penelope - Widmore's daughter - as well. But Ben, as accomplished a killer as he is, cannot get all of Widmore's people on his own. So he recruits Sayid ... by killing Nadia, Sayid's true love, whom Sayid found and married after getting off the island ... and blaming that killing on Widmore.

We of course do not see Ben kill Nadia. But what possible motive could Widmore have had for killing her? In contrast, Ben had all the motive in the world - he has now enlisted a trained killer, Sayid, as devoted to Widmore's destruction as is Ben.

Superb plotting.

And we also learn something else very crucial at the end of this episode: neither Widmore nor Ben know where the island is.* Why not? Likely because it's shrouded in some sort of space/time continuum distortion.

*(Actually, Jessica just pointed out in the comments that my interpretation of this last scene is likely not correct. Widmore will be searching for the island, Ben for Penny - that's what the two men will be searching for, not both for the island. Still, if Ben is teleporting through space and time off the island, it can't be all that easy for him to get back to, either.)

And that's not all. The smoke monster makes another appearance - apparently at Ben's behest. It seems to kill all the bad guys (but apparently not, according to the coming attractions). And Sawyer is splitting with Locke and heading back to the beach. It was a fine night for Sawyer, by the way - rescuing Claire and trying to protect Hurley from Ben and Locke's plans....

A fine, edge-of-your-seat night for Lost. I've got it on DVR - and liked it so much, I'm going to watch it again right now.

See also...

Further Questions about Lost 4.4: Jack and Aaron, Kate and Sawyer
and More about Season Four: Baby Aaron and the Oceanic Six and More About Lost 4: (ii) Michael and Ben, Good and Evil, Alias Echo

1. Lost's Back Full Paradoxical Blast 4.1 ... 4.2: Five Flashbacks and Three Rational Explanations ... 4.3: Thirty Minutes and Big Ben ... 4.4: Kate and ... ... 4.5 Desmond 1 and Desmond 2 ... 4.6 The True Nature of Ben ... 4.7 Flash Both Ways ... 4.8 Michael and Alex ... 4.10: Almost A Dream Come True ... 4.11 Unlocking Locke

and

2. More Thoughts On Lost 4.1: Those Who Went with Hurley and Those Who Stayed with Jack and Two More Points about Lost 4.1







additional discussion of this episode of Lost in 8-minute podcast






The Plot to Save Socrates


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