Key Points from "Dr. Linus"
Season 6, Episode 7
Episode Air Date: 03/09/10
I was dubious when Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse called season six a bookend to season one. That seemed a little convenient seeing as season one is when "Lost's" pop culture relevance reached its zenith. But now I see that Darlton were being more overt in those season one comparisons. Many of the characters are literally going back to where they began. And frankly, I like it. This episode's final scene was a shout-out to those slo-mo reunion moments we used to see at the beach camp. Back before Dharma and donkey wheels and time traveling, it really was just a bunch of screwed up people trying to survive another day on a mysterious tropical island. I'm not saying all we've experienced since those simpler days was worthless -- I truly love what the show has become -- but I really enjoyed that callback and I won't mind seeing more of that kind of thing as the final episodes unfold.
As for the episode at hand ... I was shocked to look up at the 20-minute mark and see how much running time was left. This felt like a two-parter! There's a lot to parse, so let's get to it.
The good news -- can't believe I'm saying this, given the guy's history -- is that Ben is still with us. It looked pretty bleak for a while there, with Ilana forcing Ben to dig his own grave after Miles revealed Jacob's true killer (that would be Ben). But 11th-hour help from Flocke and a tearful monologue from Ben led to a temporary stay of execution. We'll see how long that holds up, however. Ben admitted the island is his Precious -- more important to him than Alex -- and I imagine its siren song will sing in his ears again before all is said and done. That's doubly true now since Flocke dangled a future position as the island's steward (a role that may be powerless, however). Ben looked like a drooling schnauzer staring down a steak after Flocke made that offer. And despite Ben's weepy self-actualization, I have deep doubts our dear Mr. Linus can so easily set aside his power-mad cravings. The Linus will rise again!
Other developments and observations from the 2007 island scenes included ...
-- Ilana tells Sun she's supposed to protect the six remaining candidates: Sun or Jin (Ilana doesn't know which), Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley and Sayid. That last guy seems a little iffy, though. Ilana also informs Sun that she'll find out what all this candidate business means if Sun is "selected." And that leads to two questions: Who's on the selection committee? And, will a dance-off be part of the elimination process? (Please say yes ... please say yes.)
-- Speaking of Ilana ... who is this chick? We know she's a devoted Jacobin; she considered the guy a "father" after all. We know she's reasonably good with Latin ... and bounty hunting ... and kicking guys in the head with knee-high boots. But that's the extent of it. We still don't know why Jacob visited her in that hospital. Nor do we know how she recovered from what appeared to be significant facial injuries (I'm assuming Jacob had a role in that, but that's not confirmed). Heck, we don't even know if her current appearance matches her previous appearance. It's entirely possible she looked completely different years ago.
-- Nikki and Paulo make a guest appearance of sorts. Miles not only knows about their buried diamonds, but at some point he actually digs up the stones. Not sure how he did that. Maybe his ghost whispering has blossomed into full-on telekinesis.
-- Now then, this final bit is aimed at all you complainers. All those "we don't get any answers" layabouts! How you feelin' now? Chagrined, perhaps? A little sheepish? I hear tonight's crow is particularly delicious ...
In this episode we finally unlock one of the show's biggest mysteries. A huge reveal. Epic, really. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, then shame ... on ... you.
Okay. I'm kidding. I just think it's funny that back when we were first introduced to Frank Lapidus, there was a decent amount of ambiguity and ominousness (if that's a word) surrounding his absence from Oceanic 815. He was slated to pilot that ill-fated flight, and that seemed important. Was he up to no good? Did Richard Alpert slip a Roofie in his scotch the night before? But now that we're in the sixth season and time is running short, we discover in this episode that Frank's excuse was quite pedestrian: he overslept. That's it. Dude missed his wake-up call. So have at you, answer mongers!
-- One last thing: Jacob wasn't lying when he said someone else is coming to the island. And now we know that someone is Charles Widmore. He's steaming in via sneaky submarine and it appears his arrival is imminent.
Ben's flash-sideways segment lacked the angst of Sayid's or the surprise of Jack's, but it was just so damn interesting to watch Ben Linus -- sorry, Dr. Benjamin Linus -- in an alternate reality. It's now clear -- abundantly clear -- that the island really brought out the worst in this guy.
And how do we know this? Because in Ben's alt timeline he's presented with a delicious power play: blackmail his boss and assume the rightful role as high school principal. All the Ben Linus issues and tics are at play here: the inflated self worth, the aroma of victimization, those buggy eyes (made worse by coke-bottle spectacles). And yet, when it comes down to seizing power or giving his favorite student, Alex Rousseau, a shot at Yale, he chooses to help Alex. If that's not redemption, I don't know what is.
Ben's flash-sideways scenes also offered a juicy nugget of alt-island information. We learn that Ben and his alive-but-ailing father, Roger, were part of Dharma. They were on the island. At some point they left and resettled in Los Angeles, but we don't know why they left or when. Perhaps in this alt timeline, young Ben and Roger evacuated when the electromagnetic pocket under the Swan station started to give way (if that still happened). And perhaps -- total conjecture here -- that same electromagnetic pocket is responsible for the alt version of the island sinking to the bottom of the ocean.
Oh Jack, you wily bugger! It took six seasons, but you're finally growing wise to the island's wacky rules! In one of Jack's best scenes, he challenges Richard to dynamite roulette. And he correctly assumes that since his name was in Jacob's lighthouse, and since Jacob deems Jack oh-so-important, there's no way an old stick of Black Rock dynamite is going to cut his island destiny short. And he's right. Think about that. Jack is right. When's the last time that happened?
The Black Rock scene was also a fantastic set up. We got a hint of Richard's past -- just enough to know that Jacob is the one who gave him eternal youth -- but it's still unclear how, when or why this happened. And Richard is completely strung out, now. Even his guyliner is vulnerable. He dutifully (and stupidly) served Jacob for untold years because he was promised eventual answers and purpose. But with his boss gone and resolution seemingly gone with him, Richard just wants to end all this nonsense. His rock-bottom state might finally yield some info.
A few closing questions and observations:
- Best Line: "This like a Terminator thing? You a cyborg? A vampire?" -- Hurley to Richard, asking about his eternal youth.
- Second Best Line: "Want to try another stick?" -- Jack to Richard.
- Third Best Line: "You make friends easy, doncha?" -- Frank to Ben.
- If Flocke is to be believed, he's going to initiate Operation Get the Hell Out from a base camp at the Hydra Station. But what's so special about the small island? Is it the bear cages? I know they're brimming with aphrodisiac fish biscuits (see "bear cage sex" in SE0306), but beyond that I can't see the importance.
- Unearthing alt-Ben's latent megalomania didn't appear to be alt Locke's intention -- and ultimately alt Ben kept it in check -- but it was interesting to see Locke acting as the inadvertent catalyst for alt-Ben's power play.
- After watching Leslie Arzt in action in the alt timeline, I'm kinda glad he blew up. He's an ass in every universe.
- Has anyone spotted the name "Linus" on the lighthouse wheel or Flocke's cave? Was Ben ever a candidate?
That's all I've got!
"Recon" -- The sparse details suggest we're in for a Sawyer-centric episode. Airs Tuesday, March 16, 2010 at 9 p.m. on ABC.
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