Lost - Season 3, Episode 13 - The Man From Tallahassee
Well, last night’s episode wasn’t quite up to caliber as the previous weeks. There were some strange happenings and more than a few scenes when I wanted to yell at the TV, but the chain reaction of events that will follow this episode will be very interesting to watch.
The episode starts with a flashback. John Locke is meeting with a woman in a government office. She’s asking him questions to ascertain whether the government should continue to pay his disability. John’s lower half is blocked by her desk and a wall partition so we don’t know whether this is pre- or post- wheelchair. The lady asks him if he still goes to therapy (again, we’re left to wonder, psychical or emotional?) and John, defiant, says No. The lady grabs the nearest stamp and purposefully stamps his form, denying him further disability insurance. John stands up and walks away.
On the island, we see Danielle Rosseau, Sayid, Kate, and Locke staring in gaping-mouth awe at Jack playing catch with Mr. Friendly and talking to Juliet. Danielle, in her typical way, says nothing and walks away to do her own thing. The three remaining follow Jack with binoculars and see him talking to Ben and going into his own room.
Kate is shocked. She believes Jack is drugged or being coerced in some way. Locke tries to reassure her. He says when he first saw Jack, he was running around helping people while one half of a plane burning above his head. So, Locke figures they should trust him. Sayid is ready to go back, saying Jack might not want to get rescued, but Kate is not ready to leave Jack behind.
They wait till nightfall and then approach the Barracks. Sayid and Locke guard outside while Kate walks in through an unlocked door. She hears music, a sorrowful piano tune. She walks down a hall to find Jack playing piano by himself. The look on her face – that of shock and disgust – is priceless. She waits a long time until Jack notices her. Finally, she says, “Hi.”
Jack jumps up. “What are you doing here?!” he shouts. He points up at a camera. “They’re watching me!”
Immediately, a nearby door is thrust upon and a few gun-toting guys come in with a captive Sayid. They take Kate prisoner and demand to know if anybody else is with them. She says No, of course.
(Aside #1: So, this whole “Let’s attack The Others!” and then get captured before the next commercial break thing is getting old. And what did I tell these guys about starting episodes with flashbacks?!)
Back in the past, a young man comes to see a younger, scruffier, John Locke at his depressing little apartment. He introduces himself as Peter Talbot and says his mother is about to marry a man named Adam Seward, but Peter doesn’t trust the man, so he did some snooping and found out the man’s real name is Anthony Cooper and John donated a kidney to him. Peter wants to know why. He seems genuine, he wants to trust this man, but he can’t. He wants John to say nice things about him. But John just says he doesn’t know the man and that the donation was anonymous.
Back at the Barracks, Ben is awakened by John Locke appearing in his room with a raised gun. Ben tells him he doesn’t need the gun, but John says he does. He wants to know where the submarine is. Ben says, “What submarine?” John smiles and says he knows about from Mikhail, whom he killed. Ben, of course, is not happy to hear that, but his focus is quickly returned to the moment when his daughter, Alex, enters the room and John takes her prisoner. There’s a knock on the door, it’s Mr. Friendly and Richard Alpert (the man who recruited Juliet in Miami). John and Alex go hide in the closet. (The closet? Really? Is this Friends?) Ben asks to see “The man from Tallahassee” and they leave.
John and Alex emerge from the closet and John demands that Alex go fetch Sayid’s pack. Ben agrees. He asks John to help him get into his wheelchair. But then he starts to pester John with questions, like, “How will you pilot the submarine?” A few moments later, Ben says that if John knows Mikhail, then he obviously found the communications center and the C-4. He figures out that John intends to blow up the submarine (like he blew up the Flame, and the Hatch, twice!). John laughs him off. “You don’t know me,” he says. Ben counters, “But I do know you, John Locke, I know you spent four years in a wheelchair before coming to this island.”
Back to the past (and – in case you didn’t watch the previews – that little comment from Ben would have told you that this was the episode we finally find out how John got into that wheelchair), John goes to see his father, Anthony Cooper, while Anthony and his fiancé are picking flowers for their wedding. John, angry, demands Anthony call off the wedding and leave the city immediately. He’s not going to let him con someone else like he conned him out of a kidney.
On the island, Kate is in a room with a pool table and video game machines. She’s trying to free her handcuffed hands from behind her back (she’s had lots of experience with this, lately) and succeeds. The door opens and Mr. Friendly gives her an un-friendly look and lets Jack in. Jack, mysterious as always, brings over a chair and stares at her. Kate asks him if he’s “with them now.” Jack shakes his head. “I’m not with anybody,” he says. He tries to comfort Kate, saying he has a plan that is beneficial to everyone. He’s leaving the island, per Ben’s promise, and he will come back with help to free everyone. Kate, obviously, doesn’t believe him.
In Ben’s room, John and Ben are reminiscing about when Ben was being held captive in the Swan station. Ben says he wanted to ask John so much about how he recovered. John says, “So ask me now.” Ben asks him if his ability to walk returned immediately upon arriving. John says Yes. John smiles again. He figures out that Ben is unhappy with his recovery, that if the Island has magical powers, why hasn’t those powers helped Ben recover quicker. Then, John asks Ben if he has any food.
Outside, Alex goes to a playground. Sayid is handcuffed to a metal railing. She goes to the guard and says her father asked for Sayid’s pack. The guard agrees (nobody bothered to check the pack, huh? Okay then…). Alex is about to leave when she notices Sayid staring at her. “What?” she says. Sayid whispers, “You look so much like your mother.” Alex is shocked. “My mother is dead.” But Sayid says, “I’m sure that’s what they told you.”
Back in the past, Locke returns to his apartment only to be met by two detectives. They ask him questions about Peter Talbot. Locke denies knowing him and then changes his mind, thinking it might not be a good idea to lie to police officers. They inform him that Peter Talbot is dead and that his family is worth about $200 million.
In Ben’s house, Locke is wheeling him into the living room. Ben says there’s some leftovers in the fridge. John finds a plate of chicken along with your usual Dharma Products. He asks Ben how they have electricity. Ben jokes that they have two giant hamsters underground. After that bit of humor, Ben gets serious and asks John not to destroy the submarine. He says it would cause a major problem for his people. He reveals that he was born on this island, but “many” of his people were not and that the ability to leave the Island is important to keeping them loyal.
Ben tries to entice John with the mysteries of the island. He says there is very large box somewhere that can manifest anything one might wish. (Aside: That goes along with many Lost theories about manifestations on the island, for instance the horse that Kate saw and the visions Mr. Eko had of his brother.) John then accuses Ben of being a hypocrite. He says the Others use guns and keep chicken leftovers and are not fully devoted to the Island. Ben shoots back that he has been here his entire life, how could John possibly “know” the Island better than he does. John says, “Because you’re in a wheelchair and I’m not.”
Back in the real world, John goes to see his father in a fancy high rise apartment that belongs to the Talbot. There’s glass windows everywhere overlooking a city. John is angry. He wants to know if Anthony killed Peter Talbot. He, of course, denies it. John then asks him what he’s still doing here when he promised John that he would leave. Anthony says his fiancé called off the wedding and he’s just trying to figure out a way to make some profit before he leaves. John isn’t happy with his answer. He threatens to tell Mrs. Talbot everything.
John’s father attacks John and pushes him out a window. John goes crashing through the glass and falls eight stories to the grass below.
In Ben’s house, Alex returns with the bag of C-4 and now John demands she take him to the submarine. Ben tries once more to change Locke’s mind about destroying the submarine. He says every since the anomaly made the sky turn purple, the underwater beacon that signals the island hasn’t worked. Whether he destroys the sub or not, it can never return, so why waste the energy? But Locke is determined (and the Lost writers can’t let their hero leave the show.) Alex leads Locke through the woods to an unguarded dock and the submarine and Locke gets in.
(Aside #2: Whoa there! There’s five guards on a bound Sayid but not one person guarding the submarine? Can you say PLOT HOLE?!)
Back in Ben’s house, Jack and Juliet come in and ask for one last favor. Jack wants his friends released and Ben, of course, agrees, saying “I’ll release them after you leave the Island.” Uh-oh.
In flashback land, the two detectives go to see John Locke in a hospital bed. He looks awful. His face is all kinds of shades of blue and red. They ask him questions about his father and says they know that Adam Cooper left to Mexico and that’s the last they heard of him. A nurse comes in and, despite John’s reluctance, lifts him and carries him into a wheelchair. John, knowing he will probably spend the rest of his life in this chair, starts to cry.
Near the dock, a soaked John Locke walks towards the jungle. A group of Others leading Jack and Juliet stop him and take him captive. John gives Jack a long look and says, “I’m sorry,” right before the submarine explodes behind them.
Next, we see Locke handcuffed to the ceiling in some industrial closet. Ben and Richard Alpert go to see him. Ben is overjoyed. He says that John did him a favor by destroying the sub. He doesn’t look weak in front of his people and now he gets to keep Jack and Juliet around. He asks Locke what it felt when his own father tried to kill him. Ben says he knows why John destroyed the submarine. He’s afraid of his father and this is the one place he can’t find him. Locke is unresponsive. He doesn’t feel like playing Ben’s mindgames.
They lead John down some wet corridors to a large metal door. They open the door and inside, John’s father, Anthony Cooper is bound and gagged.
Okay then. Although the episode was interesting as always and paced well, many of the revelations were weak. Everyone guessed John’s father caused him to be paralyzed way back in the first season, it just took them three Locke-centered episodes to get there. And John’s pyromaniac tendencies are getting a little ridiculous. Why must he blow up everything? The unguarded sub bugs me a lot, too. Also, I think the writers could have tried to be a little more inventive with the character of Peter Talbot and his murder.
As for Anthony Cooper being on the island, well, if it’s really him and not a manifestion of some kind, it will ring false, but then again there’s been so much this season that is unrealistic, what’s one more crazy coincidence?
The truth is, LOST is a science fiction series. And with any science fiction series, a level of creative license is crucial. In Star Trek, the characters use to spout pages of technobabble to make the storylines make a slim kind of sense (it was especially funny when dealing with time travel stuff). Lost is no different and shouldn’t be penalized for stretching their storylines. As my father likes to say, “We’ll see what happens.”
Images from Lost-Media.com. Helpful recap reminders from the quick-as-heck Lostpedia.