Thursday, May 10, 2007

Lost - Season 3, Episode 20 - "The Man Behind the Curtain" Recap/Review

The infamous Jacob. Is he the method behind all the madness? Is he evil? Is he The Monster? Is he a survivor of the Dharma Initiative? Is he real or another manifestation of the Island?

I don't know! That's why I'm asking you.

But, seriously, last night's episode was frustrating and fascinating in much the same way as a lot of the third season of Lost is. We finally got answers to a lot of questions about The Others, Dharma, and Ben, but the storyline on the beach side of the island, in regards to Juliet and the incoming invasion was seriously ignored. Honestly, I'm not sure how I felt about last night's episode (especially the ending!), but maybe I'll figure out how I feel by the end of my recap.

The episode starts with one of Lost's longterm fascinations: pregnancy! A couple we've never seen before are in the woods in the midst of labor. It's not one of those natural pregnancy things, they're obviously unprepared and scared. The woman gives birth and then seems to be in a very unhealthy state. The man tells her to hold the baby tight while he carries her out to safety. They run through the woods and finally come out along a highway. A sign nearby reads, Portland 32. The man sets his dying wife onto the ground. The man flags down a couple in a convertible. The other couple are shocked by this scene and try to help, but the woman is passing out. She tells her husband to name the baby Benjamin before dying by the side of the road.

Next we see Ben in his tent looking at a handmade wooden doll of a girl. Richard Alpert comes in and asks if Ben wants him to deliver another tape. Ben is surprised. “I recorded that yesterday!” and then storms out of the tent. He calls for Tom but Tom’s gaze is fixed elsewhere. Ben looks in the same direction and sees John Locke coming forward with his father’s body in a bag on his back. He drops the bag on the ground and tells Ben he’s here for some answers.

John and Ben go into Ben’s tent and Ben pours them both a drink. John doesn’t touch it, though. John then demands answers to all his questions about the Island. But Ben is defensive. He says he’s not the real leader of the Others and that another, a man named Jacob, is in charge. John says, “So take me to Jacob!” But Ben, of course, doesn’t want to comply. He says that Jacob only talks to him. But John challenges him and calls him a liar. “How do you know I’m lying?” Ben asks. “Because,” John says, “If you were telling the truth, your hand wouldn’t be shaking.”

In familiar Flashback land, Young Ben walks across a dock from the Galaga sub (wow, we’re seeing a lot more of that thing than I thought) with his father and a whole gaggle of other wide-eyed newcomers. They’re greeted by a sign that says NAMASTE! (Indian for “Shalom”) and smiling jump-suited women laying lays on the people’s heads (META!). Young Ben and his dad meet Horace, the man who stopped by the side of the road when Ben’s mother died.He had gotten Ben’s dad a job here. They proceed to Registration and Processing where Young Ben is mesmerized by a TV playing a video of Dr. Hanso describing the Barracks and that a sonic fence protects them from the “hostiles.” As the camera is panning away, you can hear Dr. Hanso saying that teams will receive a code to disable the fence. Ben then meets a young girl who also introduces herself as “Annie” and welcomes him to the island. Meanwhile, Ben’s father receives a jumpsuit that says, “Roger. Work Man,” and he’s pissed. He says he’s here to help with “important” research, not be a janitor. Looks like he should have read the fine print…

Back at the beach, Sawyer hides in some bushes until he spots Sayid. He jumps out, looking sweaty and traumatized. Sayid wonders what happened to him. Sawyer says he was with Locke and he has proof that Juliet is a traitor!

In the Others’ camp, a man comes running out of the jungle shouting, “Ben! Ben!” Surprise, surprise. It’s Mikhail, the amazing undying Russian spy dude. Ben emerges from his tent and greets him with passive, “I thought you were dead.” Mikhail says the fence was not set to a lethal level (riiigghhhtt..) Then Locke emerges from the same tent but doesn’t say anything. Mikhail looks at him and snarls, “What is he doing here?”

Then Mikhail tells Ben that he ran into some of Locke’s people in the woods, they were caring for a woman who just crash landed on the Island. And she has a Satellite phone, to which Ben seemed extremely interested. Mikhail recommended they go get her now but John interceded and said, “No. We’re going to see Jacob.” Everyone in the Others’ camp tensed up at that moment. Mikhail wonders aloud why Ben’s taking orders from him. John responds by jumping up and beginning to pummel Mikhail. Ben shouts for Tom or Richard to intervene, but strangely they do nothing.

At a watering hole nearby, Ben and Locke are filling up canteens when Alex shows up (another random character we haven't seen in.. how long?) and informs John that if he's going to be going to see Jacob, he's going to "need this." And hands him a gun. She then says, "Happy Birthday, Dad," to Ben and walks away.

In flashback-land, Young Ben is in a classroom in the Others' camp. The teacher is describing volcanoes, specifically a volcano on this island. Suddenly, the ground rumbles and the teacher grabs a rifle and tells all the kids to get in their positions. Later, Young Ben is in bed when he hears his father arguing with Horace. He steps to the door and overhears his father say that he wants more money because he didn't sign on to drive through shoot-outs, otherwise he'll leave. Gordon aruges that this best place for Ben. His father says, "I don't care about that!" Young Ben then shuts the door but his father bursts in a moment later and accuses him of being a noosy little brat. Traumatized, Young Ben starts to cry and then sees an image of his mother.

Back at the beach camp, Locke and Sawyer go looking for Juliet but she's not there. Kate shows up and tells them her and Jack left after she told Jack all about Noami. Sayid is angry, "Why would you do that, Kate?" he asks calmly. Kate says he has a right to know. But she doesn't know where they went.

Back to Young Ben. He's sitting on swings with Annie. She hands him a box with two wooden dolls inside, one male, one female. Now they'll always have each other, she says. Ben goes back to his house and sees his father drunk on Dharma beer. He begins to take off his shoes and help him when his father wakes up and starts to berate him and blame him for killing his mother. Young Ben runs out of the house and into the woods. He flies through the jungle until he reaches the sonic fence. On the other side, he sees his mother in a blue dress. "Mom?" he says. She tells him she wants him to be with her, but now's not the right time. Then she disappears.

At the beach, the Losties are gathering and talking about Jack and Juliet. Sayid says he can't be trusted but the others are not convinced. "It's Jack," Sun says simply. Sawyer plays the tape as soon as Jack and Juliet show up. Juliet says, "turn the tape around and press play." Sawyer scoffs, probably pissed he didn't think of that himself, and presses play. On the tape is Ben talking about how his people are going to come in two days and take some of the women. All this confirms Juliet's status as an Other and so Sayid confronts him about it. Jack says he only just learned she's still working for Ben and that he hadn't decided what to do.. yet. He then says, "We have some catching up to do," and the show cuts to commercial (like Shawn said earlier, we'll have to wait till next week to see what happens after this fiery exchange..)

In flashback-land, Young Ben approaches the sonic fence with a small piece of paper with a code written on it. He punches in the cone in the pylon and then takes out a white rabbit from his bag. He drops the rabbit on the floor and lets it walk forward, testing the fence's status. It's off, thankfully. Ben walks into the jungle. Soon enough, he hears the whispers (which we haven't heard since Mr. Eko was killed near the Pearl station). And then someone approaches him. It's Richard Alpert! He doesn't look like he's aged at all. Ben asks him if he's a hostile. Richard doesn't really reply. But then Ben he wants to stay and join them. He says he hates his people. Richard smiles and says calmly, "That can happen. But you'll have to be very patient."

On the way to Jacob's house, Ben and Locke walk over a gray-ish substance in the floor. (Volcanic ash?) Finally, they reach a camouflaged house at the top of a hill. Ben says that Jacob is like Locke, he doesn't like technology. They turn off their flashlights and Ben turns on a kerosene lamp. They walk into the house. Locke's attention is pulled by some strange jars with dark liquid in them and a very weird painting of a dog. There's an empty (?) chair in the center of the room and Ben starts to talk to the chair as if he's having a conversation.

John whispers, "You're crazy." Ben is completely dumbfounded. He points, "he's right there!" Locke just shakes his head and goes to leave when he hears a gravely voice say, "Help me." John, surprised, turns out and pulls out his flashlight and the whole room goes nuts! Doors and windows start to pound and things start to fly. Ben grabs the chair and says, "You've had your fun, now stop!" but only gets thrown back into the wall. In all the craziness, a faint image of a man (seen at the top of this post) is visible for a split second. John and Ben flee the house.

Walking back from the house, John and Ben debate the reality of what they saw. John says he won't be fooled by some parlor trick and he wants Ben to take him back to the camp. Ben then admits some truth about him. He says he's a liar. He wasn't born on the island like he told his people (and us, through Jack..way back in the beginning of the season) and he wants to show John where, in fact, he came from.

In flashback land, an older Ben (still looking young, though), wearing the same kind of coveralls as his father, looks at the wooden doll, signaling it's his birthday (again). He goes outside and helps his father load some cases of beer into a familiar blue and white van. He reminds his father it's his birthday. His father, old and gray, is disappointed in himself and says they'll do their work early in the day and then go somewhere secluded, down a couple beers, and talk. Ben says he'd like that.

At the mouth of a large canyon, Ben's father stops the van and they start to drink. Ben keeps glancing down at his watch and his father notices. He jokes, "You have a date to get to it?" Ben says, "No." He then takes out a gas mask and pulls it on his head. He grabs a canister of poison gas from his bag and gases his father to death.

Next, we see Ben with his mask still on walk into the Barracks. Bodies lie all over the ground, his former people. He sees a dead Horace on a bench and shuts his eyes for the last time. Other people in masks emerge and stop near Ben. One of them is Richard. He consults his watch and then pulls off his mask while the Others start pulling the bodies away. Richard asks if they should go get his father's body. Ben shakes his head. "Leave him out there."

Back to the present, John and Ben come upon a large open hole. Inside, the skeletons of Dharma people. Ben says, "These are my people. The Dharma Initiative. They came here looking for harmony but couldn't even exist with the original inhabitants of the island." John is shocked by the grisly scene and lets his guard down for a moment. Ben says, "I did everything I could to make sure I didn't end up in that ditch." John then turns around and Ben shoots him in the chest. John falls into the ditch. As he lies dying, Ben demands to know what Jacob told him. John whispers, "Help me..." before the episode ends, leaving a major cliffhanger.

* * *

Well, after going through all that, I have to admit, I actually liked this episode. It was frustrating we didn't see more of what was happenning on the beach camp, but there was so much interesting stuff with Ben and the Others and Dharma and Jacob. It's almost too much for one episode! But it's great LOST and a wonderful way to prepare for the last two explosive episodes. As for the question of whether John Locke is actually dead, I really really hope not.

Till next week, thanks for reading everybody!

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Blogger kovoor36 said...

you think they'd kill locke? without us knowing why he is so special and has powers or soemthing on this island??? i kind of hope jack is one of the 5 to this season. i think he sucks!! 2 more left!

May 10, 2007 10:24 PM  

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