Thoughts On ‘Lost’ Episode 7 “Dr. Linus”

It was so nice to sit back and watch the amazing acting of Michael Emerson again. He has kind of been a peripheral character this season and it was great to see his incredible skills back in the fold.

First off let me tell you about the first big twist of this episode…it was was directed by Mario Van Peebles! He was kind of a b-movie and tv actor in the eighties and nineties and it just came as a surprise to see his name as director in the credits. But his resume does include several tv shows and besides he did a great job with this episode, so he’s welcome back to “Lost” anytime.

Now, Benjamin Linus. A man who has been the evil genius of the show, always backstabbing, conniving and finding a way toward personal gain. Until the end of last season, when he kind of broke down on his “own personal Jesus” to quote a Depeche Mode song and killed Jacob. Now, Ben is a broken man (still lying), but looking for redemption over the death of his daughter.

His on-island tale was just as interesting as his off…but let’s start off.

Ben is a European history teacher at a high school in California. The same high school that employs Lesley Artz and the substitute John Locke. We start out with Ben giving a speech to his class about the island of Elba. A Tuscan island in Italy where Napoleon was exiled after being removed as the emperor of France. Ben tells the class that Napoleon was devastated because he was a man who had lost his power and without power…well, what’s the point. Essentially, the exact same situation Ben is facing on-island now. More on that in a moment.

After class, Principal Reynolds (played by William Atherton, I don’t think I’ve seen him since he was trying to shut down the Ghost Busters) tells Ben that history club will have to take a backseat to detention duty. Unhappy with this arrangement, Ben complains to Doc Artz. Locke is also nearby and pipes in by telling Ben something similar to what he tells him as Smocke on-island about Jacob last season “If you don’t like the man in charge, maybe it’s time for a change.” And adds that he’s “listening.” Something that Smocke has been doing to all of our characters this season, telling them he’s got the answers and can help them.

At home, Ben is cooking dinner with…his father. Instead of committing patricide, Ben is actually sustaining his father’s life by providing him with oxygen tanks and organic grub. During the conversation, his father informs Ben that he always wanted good things for him and maybe it would have been better if they stayed on the island with the Dharma Initiative. Very interesting. So, the DI did exist even in this flash sideways world. Not a huge surprise, since we did see their village underwater at the very beginning of the season. But, the timeline of when Ben and his pop took off is interesting. It’s possible it happened just before Juliet blew it to the bottom of the ocean, but that would seem a bit odd since Ben seems to like his father and would have also been revived by Richard and the miracle bath in the temple in that scenario. I’m guessing something happened before that, prompting them to leave. Although, it could be pointless to exam that, since chances are we will never find out.

Door bell rings. Guess who? It’s your “daughter” Alex. In sideways world she is not his daughter, but his student. Ben wants the best for Alex, but he also wants to become principal. So, when Alex reveals that Principal Reynolds has been fooling around with the school nurse on school property, evil scheming Ben jumps at the chance to unseat his rival. But as we have seen with many of our off-island sideways Losties, life is a little better and they’ve perhaps subconsciously learned from their on-island mistakes. Ben has the chance to take over as principal with some lascivious emails, but the principal does hold some cards. Namely writing Alex a recommendation letter to Yale. However, unlike his decision in season four’s “Shape of things to come” when Ben allows Keamy to kill Alex, Ben puts his daughter first and does not show the naughty emails to the school board.

Ending his off-island adventure, Ben does what many of our Lost friends have done this year share a knowing glance or stare. He gives Alex a long look, knowing he gave up power to give his “daughter” a better life.

Foot note…Where was Rousseau??? Was kind of hoping to see her pop up in this episode.

On-island things were a lot more bleak. Ben rejoins the group of Llana, Miles, Lapidus and Sun and instantly tries to lie about who killed Jacob. Using the ash she took from the shadow of the statue, Llana asks Miles to ask Jacob who killed him. Oops. Sorry lying Ben you’re outed.

Llana claims Jacob was the closest thing to a father she ever had and puts Ben to work digging his own grave back at the beach’s cemetery hill. During his work, Ben gets a few visitors. Miles tells him that Jacob said he was hoping the entire time he was “wrong” about you and that you wouldn’t stab him. Even in death, Jacob seems to be meddling. Later, our other island God shows up, Smocke. He tells Ben there is a gun in the jungle and he can join him and the others at the Hydra station by breaking free. Smocke adds Ben will be able to take over the island and mentally unlocks Ben’s chains, Jedi-style. Ben makes a run for it and turns the tables on Llana with the rifle. Here, Michael Emerson really turns it on by lashing out at why he hated Jacob. Why many people seem to hate Jacob, they feel used and ignored. I guess this could be seen as an allegory for how many of us feel at one time or another…Why me? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why does God let it happen?

If this is the case, then Jacob is on the good side and Smocke would fit as the tempting devil, making promises and possibly never keeping them. Although, I’m still not convinced that’s the case.

Ben eventually puts down his gun and appears ready to head over to camp Smocke, but Llana asks him why he’s going to follow him. He answers, he’s the only one who wants me. But Llana says I want you. Amazed, Ben finally feels a sense of redemption and follows. It would seem Ben has finally seen the light and it would make for a great finale for our character. The only problem, there’s still 11 episodes left and that leaves time for one more Ben backstabbing bad choice. Will that actually happen? Not sure. I say it’s 50/50.

Especially since his enemy is returning. Just after the happy reunion on the beach with Jack, Hurley, Richard and the rest of our Jacob crew, a submarine emerges in the water and our Ben’s old rival and founding Other, Charles Widmore is on it. Widmore is indirectly responsible for Alex’s death because he hired the mercenary Keamy to go find Ben on the island. Ben later in Season 5’s “Dead is Dead” swears to kill Widmore’s daughter Penny, but only ends of shooting Desmond and can’t bring himself to kill her because they have a son Charlie. Widmore foretold to Locke in Season 5’s “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” that a war was coming to the island and indeed this appears to be it.

The side story on-island, Richard’s immortality because Jacob touched him. He wants to commit suicide because like many of the “chosen ones” he feels neglected and lied to by Jacob. But just because he wants to kill himself doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. And Jack the una-bomber shows him just how infallible they both are. He lights a stick of dynamite and watches it burn, only to have it magically go out right before the wick reaches the TNT. So, does this mean none of our Losties can be killed? It appears that way, at least for the ones Jacob has touched. Kate, Jack, Sun, Jin, Sawyer, Hurley and Sayid. Although, one could argue that in last season’s finale, Jacob also touched Locke and he died. Perhaps the “touch” only applies to on-island living, off it you’re free to die at will.

A couple of questions…

1. Did Smocke actually want Ben to leave and take over the island? Or was he just trying to get Ben to kill Llana because he can’t? Telling him “Don’t hesitate, you know she won’t.” Perhaps he can’t kill her because she has the ashes of Jacob on her.

2. Are we going to get a Richard flashback? Or was tonight’s explanation of his character it?

3. What’s the point of having Miles steal the diamonds out of Nikki and Paulo’s grave? Didn’t really seem to fit. Wonder if that’s going to be used somewhere down the line.

4. Llana’s connection to Jacob. He was “the closest thing to a father” she’s ever had, but why?

5. If Widmore’s not heading to the beach, is he heading to Hydra island to meet up with Smocke and Co.?

I think that’s it for now. Sorry this was half a day late.

Until next time “Lost” fans…

posted by Seth Szilagyi in Lost and have No Comments

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