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September 5, 2015

Lost: The Man Behind the Curtain

by Erin Martell, posted May 10th 2007 1:29AM
Michael Emerson(S03E20) Ben celebrates his birthday in odd ways, doesn't he? We finally got a glimpse of Ben's personal history with the island and with his father. Yet another Lost character with Daddy issues! I think I would have issues, too, if my Dad was Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite.

The Beach
I'm going to get this story line out of the way first since the real action this week was in the jungle. Thanks to Sawyer, the rest of the 815ers were alerted to Naomi's presence and to Juliet's plans. We also got to hear Ben's response to Juliet's latest report. When Juliet told Sawyer to play the rest of the tape, I was expecting its contents to make her appear more sympathetic, not less. I suppose honesty was her only option at that point.

Juliet was, at least, up front with Jack about her involvement in Ben's kidnapping scheme. Was it just me, or did Jack seem to have a bit of an attitude when he admitted withholding information from everyone? He hadn't "decided what to do about it yet?" Really? I don't see much of a gray area where kidnapping is involved. Sun should be furious. If Sawyer's fake kidnapping merited a slap, Jack should get a lot worse. The beach scenes were mostly a tease that ended with the promise of "catching up." I didn't mind the lack of progress with this story line since the Locke-Ben plot brought so much action and so many answers.

The Flashback
Much like the Others themselves, the Others' flashbacks are great at manipulating emotions. Juliet's flashbacks have made me sympathize with her (at least temporarily), and Ben's past was equally sad (for a while). Ben was born off the island to Emily and Roger Linus. Emily's early labor ended up killing her, a fact that Roger used to hurt Ben throughout his life. He was brought to the island by Horace Goodspeed and Olivia, the young couple that stopped to help Roger when Emily died.

Roger Linus took a job with the DHARMA Initiative and was less than pleased with his position as a Work Man. It was interesting to see DHARMA in its heyday, before The Purge. The group was devoted to a life of peace, yet they fought regularly with the Hostiles, the island's "original inhabitants." Ben's early life on the island wasn't all bad, though. He had a little girlfriend named Annie, the only one who remembered his birthday.

The island also helped Ben to see his dead mother, who happened to be wearing the same outfit as the doll that Annie gave him. These visions of dead relatives always seem to come at a meaningful time (Eko's brother, Jack's father), and Ben's vision was no different. His mother led him past the sonic fence to Richard Alpert. Why did Richard look exactly the same age when Ben was a child? Are the Hostiles older than they look?

Ben's patience paid off when the Hostiles' plan was carried out. By cooperating with the Hostiles he betrayed his entire community, his father, and, presumably, Annie. We can only assume that she was gassed along with the rest of the DHARMA members. Ben showed a small amount of remorse when he saw Horace's body, but was cold-blooded when it came to killing Roger. The old man barely got to taste his beer before Ben gassed him in his VW bus. I guess ABC really does frown on drinking and driving.

The Jungle
On to the main event! To start, I am glad that the Mikhail situation was finally explained. He was never dead; the pylons were not set at a lethal level, plain and simple. Patchy showed up at the Others' camp just in time to get a major butt-whoopin' from John Locke. How many 815ers have beaten up Mikhail at this point? Someone should really keep track. Locke was not in the mood to mess around this week. He demanded answers from Ben, and even accused him of being the island's real puppet master. The "man behind the curtain" scene was one of several scenes that made me fall back in love with Terry O'Quinn's portrayal of Locke.

Eventually, Ben agreed to take Locke to Jacob, but not without warning him that Jacob would be angry. Ben may have lied about being born on the island, but he was right on about that anger. Jacob apparently lives Unabomber-style in a technology-free cabin. From what I could see, the cabin contained a painting of a dog, four jars of red stuff, and one very empty chair. I didn't know what to think when Ben started talking to that empty chair, and neither did Locke.

As Locke was storming out of Jacob's cabin, he heard Jacob utter the words "Help me." I must have watched the next minute a dozen times by now, and I still don't know what I saw. Locke's use of the flashlight caused Jacob to throw some sort of telekinetic tantrum. He broke windows, started fires, and pushed Ben against the wall, all from the comfort of his chair. It looked like he was in his chair the entire time, since Ben leaned over the chair just before he was pushed. And please, someone, tell me you saw that quick flash of a man's silhouette after Ben was knocked against the wall! Who was it? A lot of people believe that Alpert is Jacob, and the silhouette didn't look entirely unlike him.

Locke had to leave Jacob's cabin without answers, but he and Ben made one final stop on their way back to the camp. Ben showed Locke the open grave of all the DHARMA members that he helped the Hostiles kill. He had nothing but contempt for the members' inability to coexist with the Hostiles, and believed that he was smart enough to eliminate anyone who stood in his way. Unfortunately, Locke was given the same brutal treatment. Ben shot Locke in the chest, and left him for dead.

Was Locke's ability to hear Jacob that much of a threat to Ben? It was clear that his position among the Others was unstable due to Locke's presence, especially after Richard and Tom ignored Ben's orders during the Locke-Mikhail fight. Even Alex helped Locke by giving him a gun before he went to see Jacob. Was it the same gun that Ben used to kill him? I lost track of it during the scene in Jacob's cabin. I genuinely don't want Locke to be dead; he's the only worthy opponent that Ben has. Will he be saved, or will he go the way of the DHARMA Initiative?

Final comments/questions:

  • Emily, Ben's mother, was played by Carrie Preston, Michael Emerson's real-life wife. That's not weird at all.
  • Roger and Emily were hiking 32 miles outside of Portland, which is where Alpert claimed that Mittelos Bioscience was located. Strange coincidence, eh?
  • Who takes their seven-months-pregnant wife hiking in the woods, anyway?
  • Is Ben obsessed with the pregnancy issue because of what happened to his mother?
  • As Olivia was teaching the DHARMA students about volcanoes, it was revealed that the island's volcano erupted at one point. Is the volcano dormant now? Locke noticed a weird, sandy powder near Jacob's cabin. Does he live near the volcano?
  • "It's kinda hard to celebrate on the day you killed your Mom." Does Hallmark make that card yet?
  • 7 out of 7It was pretty harsh of Ben to use his pet rabbit to test out the sonic fence. What is it with Ben and white rabbits?

This episode has to get a 7 out of 7. Serious kudos to Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson for their brilliant performances in this episode. I cannot wait for next week's "Greatest Hits."

(Lost - S03E20) How do you rate this episode?
1 - Worst24 (1.1%)
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447 (2.2%)
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7 - Best1426 (66.0%)

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I don't know if anyone remembers but Ben and Juliet talk about Annie in a previous episode. Annie was one of the first women she was brought there to save and couldn't. I can remember the exact quote but it was to the effect "I couldn't save Annie or any of the other women . . . " When she was pleading to go home to her sister.

May 14 2007 at 10:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hot zizzy

"We never actually see his father dead"
Yeah we do, in the episode where Hurley found the bus the father's body was in there.

May 12 2007 at 5:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

all I know is that so far I've really only seen one person display anything remotely similar to telekinetic abilities, and that's Walt.

And where did Walt and Michael really go? It they had made it back to civilization then that would throw a wrench into the whole "all the people on the plane are dead" thing.

But I really have no explanation for how Jacob could Walt other than to say that it would solve the whole problem of the actor playing Walt aging.

May 12 2007 at 1:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

LC -

Last night I thought Locke fell into the pit after drawing his knife - now i'm sure after reviewing in slo motion.
Check it out - still don't know if my theory about alex is any good but worth a spin.?. Also still see a resmblence in profile of Horace and Jacob!?!

From another site - rumors running rampant that producers confirmed Annie = Kate.

May 11 2007 at 9:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think that Jacob is actually Ben's father. Maybe Ben never actually killed him, maybe he saved him before it was too late. We never actually see his father dead, also when he got back to the camp and they asked him if they wanted him to go pick up his dad's body he said no. Ben has been keeping him captive for all these years, that's why he asked Locke to help him and also why Ben was so concerned about what he said to Locke. Lastly the conversation that Ben had with Jacob sounded like a conversation one he might have with his father, seemed he was being repramanded for bring Locke to see him.

May 11 2007 at 8:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wonder how the gassing of the Dharma Initiate was done. Ben was in the enclosed van when he released the canister of gas. When he returned to the barracks, he found the people outside,dead. I got the impression that the gas worked pretty much instantaneously. I don't think there would have been time to have people run outside or go sit on a bench like Horace was. Ben and the hostiles were wearing gas masks but no protective clothing. Obviously they were not worried about absorbing any toxins through the skin. If gas was released into the atmosphere how would it have been dispursed. Plane, helicopter,bomb, etc. I was also quite surprised that the bodies were left in an open pit. The fact that the pit was not covered over was disturbing. Obviously this attack or plan was in the works for a long time. It had to be planned quite closely. To just dump the bodies and walk away, seems so careless. I can see why Ben would have wanted his father unburied, but the whole group. I also wondered if Annie was ever real or not. I think when Ben came to the Island, he was desperately lonely. He could have fabricated a friend. The two dolls that she made and gave him for his birthday looked like he might have made them himself. This may have been the only way he knew how to cope with his father's neglect and abuse. He could have disassociated, split personality. God knows how many Ben's there could exist in his mind. I am fairly convinced that Ben is mightily threatened by Locke and the thought of being exposed to the group as a fraud and losing his control and supremacy of the "Others" on the island. I can see the anger & rage just building inside of him. Just my observations.

May 11 2007 at 2:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There is so much guessing as to which person we have seen already that might be Jacob. Personally I think when we see him, it will be someone we have never seen before. I mean why does he have to be someone we already met? I can say with certainty that it is not Locke. First, the dude has hair. I don't think a person trapped in a house who shuns technology would be vain enough to wear a wig. Second, there was a closeup of his eye, just before Locke ran. It was Brown. Both Locke and Ben have Blue eyes so the close up was Jacob's.


Locke still had his gun on him. he just wasn't fast enough on the draw to shoot Ben, who had his own gun.

May 11 2007 at 12:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There is no way what I am about to write is correct, but when I first saw the stills of Jacob I immediately thought he looked Danny who killed by Juliet on the Beach. Again, no way that is who it is.

I really think that the only person who could be Jacob that we have been introduced to in some way is Alvar Hanso, otherwise I think it is someone that we have not seen yet. Although, the argument that Richard is Jacob is compelling.

Despite the fact that Richard was on the Island before meeting Ben, his statement that Ben recruited him could still be true. Once Ben joined the Hostiles, it is reasonable to assume that he acquired his power by convincing them to research much of what Dharma was doing and "recruited" them for the work" or at least got Richard to buy in.

Someone mentioned that the Hostiles thought Ben was special because he saw his mom; I think that the Hostiles likely intended to draw someone out that they could turn in order to get access to the outside and provided a manifestation of his mom. In order to do this they would not have had to know anything about Ben, but they could (and likely do) have some sort of mechanism that shows the greatest desire (for lack of a better word) of the individual (like Eko's manifestation).

Conversely, it is apparent that they knew who Ben was because Richard said called Ben "Ben" in the jungle without any introduction. So this opens a whole new bag of worms. My theory: the hostiles are not "natives" but were brought to the Island, likely by Hanso, who is both head of Dharma and the Hostiles. Dharma community is the "test" community to represent a typical community who will be threatened by "annhialation via some disease/plague/mutualy assured distruction/alien takeover or whatever. The key to saving the world is the island or is on the Island. Hostiles are using the Dharma folks as test subjects to figure out a solution. The gassing is/was one of the solutions to take to the world to either save it or, more likely, to purge it of the less desirables. (creating a "master race/society" of desirable personalities or peoples). If you have seen some of the Lost Experience videos this would make more sense, if you haven't seen them you are probably completely lost.

Finally, think KevinC's theory about Ben and Locke being brothers in neat and interesting, would be a great twist. However, it is highly unlikely. Bummer.

May 11 2007 at 9:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just a thought - Could the gun that Ben used to shoot John be the one Alex gave John. If so she may have guessed that Ben would try to kill Locke and loaded the gun with blanks that injure but don't kill. Could be a more simple explanation of why Locke isn't be dead.

May 11 2007 at 8:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Kate saw the horse on two different occasions. On one of them, Sawyer was with her and saw the horse also. I don't think that was why they were on "the list". Ben said he finds out what the "emotional investment" is in a person and uses that to get what he wants. He wanted Jack to operate on him and Jack's emotional investment was Kate. Since Kate cared about Jack and Sawyer, Ben played the mind game with Kate by having Sawyer beaten to make her vulnerable to him. They grew closer because of it and Ben used that to make Jack want to leave the island. Jack made the deal with Ben that he could leave the island after he operated on him. There is nothing that gets by Ben and that's what makes him have the upper hand.

I think Locke is a threat to Ben and that's why Ben yielded to Locke's demand to see Jacob but don't for a minute think that Ben doesn't know what he is doing. The minute Ben was truthful to Locke by admitting he wasn't born on that island, I knew he would kill (or try to) Locke. I think he didn't finish off Locke because this is a test to see if "Jacob" will save Locke.

I'm not so sure that "Jacob" is really in that house. As we have learned from the past, the Others have many bells and whistles to make outsiders think things exist that really don't - like the fake camp and the costumes that the Others were wearing. Ben is the best actor among the Others and was certainly convincing when he was Henry Gale the prisoner of the Swan Hatch. And weren't we all shocked to see him as the leader when he walked down that dock?

When Locke announced that Ben and he were going to see Jacob, I was intrigued to see the looks on the faces of Richard, Tom and Alex. I couldn't tell if that was surprise or confusion. Made me think that maybe Jacob didn't exist or had existed but was their hero long gone or maybe was standing right there (Richard) and wondering why Ben and Locke were going somewhere to see him.

I have long suspected Juilet, Tom, Richard, Goodman and Ethan to be in league with each other to try to overthrow Ben. When Locke was beating Mikhail and Ben yelled to Richard (as if he expected him to stop them) and Richard and Tom just stood there, I am thinking I may be right. Who knows, though..... things aren't always as they seem.....

As far as the aging of Ben and his father, remember, they weren't born on the island. If there is a slowing of aging, it would seem to be those who were born there. That wouldn't explain Richard unless he was lying to Juilet when he said that Ben had recruited him. He certainly seems to be the same age now that he was when he met young Ben.

I didn't notice his clothes being the same type as Rousseau's so I will have to watch it again. If he was from that expedition, he and Rousseau wouldn't be born on the island but he still didn't seem to age ; yet, Alex who was conceived and born off the island has grown into a teenager. If Richard was Jacob, and could manifest himself to those he wants to communicate with, as someone suggested, then he could make himself the same age.

Locke will live!!!!!

May 11 2007 at 7:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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