Since we broke with the Season 1 episode centricity and had the title fake out with “Sundown,” all bets are off about who will be the focal character each week…but this episode had no fake out. We got to see flash-sideways Ben and he’s a lot more like you’d expect someone who looks like him to be: meek. The big winner in this week’s flash-sideways cross is Leslie Arzt. I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was to see the perennial bit-player get a role at Ben’s school. Now that I think of it, Alex was a pretty big winner too but I’m getting ahead of myself. As I watched the flash-sideways story unfold, I was trying to figure out if this Ben was going to be ruthless like Island Ben or if he would be more selfless. I was pleased with the answer.
It was nice seeing Ben taking care of the still living Roger Linus and it was believable for Roger to be sorry that he wasn’t able to provide the life that he thought Ben deserved. I found it very interesting to learn that sideways Roger and Ben went to the Island as part of the Dharma Initiative but left, presumably when the pre-Incident evacuation occurred, and never returned. I guess this is more confirmation than revelation since we saw the remains of the Dharmaville in the underwater shot from the season premiere so we already knew it had existed at some point. In any event, in this life, Roger and Ben seem to have a good relationship. Of course, the story would have been incomplete without Alex (I wonder how Danielle Rousseau ended up in Los Angeles…on second thought, I hope no time is wasted on that anecdote) who is still in Ben’s life as one of his brightest students. And of course, we had a nice brief cameo from substitute Locke.
When Alex confided in Ben that Principle Walter Peck (not the principle’s name but that’s how I’ll always remember the actor from his role in “Ghostbusters”) has been getting frisky with the school nurse, I could see the wheels spinning in Ben’s mind. It was pretty evident that he was going to try to manipulate the principle out of his job and take his place. Unfortunately, sideways Ben was trumped by the principle’s threat to give Alex a bad college recommendation. I was not sure if sideways Ben could do it, but he resisted the temptation to double down and be responsible for the death of sideways Alex’s dream, but he did it! I’m still wondering how these flash-sideways stories connect to the world where the Island exists, but I have faith. Don’t make me regret it LOST!
Speaking of the Island, a lot of stuff happened but at the same time, we didn’t learn too much new information. As I said earlier, there were a lot of confirmations of things we were pretty sure we knew especially about Richard Alpert, namely that he came to the Island on the Black Rock. When asked why he didn’t age, Alpert said that it was because he was touched by Jacob but that it was more of a curse than a blessing because he couldn’t die by his own hand. Apparently Jacob’s touch is a mixed blessing which really makes me wonder about our candidates. Does this mean that the candidates can’t kill themselves either? I think we saw the Island spare Jack’s life when he let the dynamite wick burn down.
Everybody seems to be having a crisis of faith this season. If this was Jacob’s plan, than mission accomplished! I never thought I would hear Richard say that he wasted his life because Ben told him he had a plan, but Alpert did just that. Of course we’ve known that Jack and Ben have been suffering with their own crises as well since last season. They have been trying to find meaning in their lives after feeling betrayed by the lack of direction they have gotten from the Island/Jacob lately. It was quite a gut punch for Ben when Miles told him that Jacob had hoped he wouldn’t kill him up until the moment that Ben stabbed Jacob in the heart. And what’s the deal with people on TV being able to dig perfectly geometric graves? I mean all Ben had to work with was an oversized hunk of bamboo and he made straighter edges than Pythagoras could have done! I also found it amusing that not only did Miles know that Nikki and Paolo were buried with diamonds, by the end of the episode, he had recovered at least one of them!
I enjoyed the use of the Smoke Monster noise before Locke showed up to tempt Ben into joining his team but I hope that don’t overdo it with that device. Less is more! Apparently Locke and company are heading for Hydra Island but Ben won’t be joining him thanks to Ilana’s forgiveness and acceptance. I want to think that her faith in Jacob, despite his death, actually helped Ben make his choice. My wife doesn’t agree with me, but I think Ben knows full well that Locke’s intentions aren’t good even if Jacob didn’t have the best track record. I loved the reunion scene when Jack and Hurley arrived at the beach camp. They were so happy to see Sun, Miles and Frank, and the musical accompaniment really pushed me over the edge. Michael Giacchino writes a great song! We were supposed to be surprised to see Charles Widmore in a submarine off the coast of the Island watching the beach reunion, but I was spoiled when I noticed the actor’s name in the credits at the beginning of the episode. Still though, we all had to know he’d be showing up sooner or later.
Voice of the Thirteenth Generation