There’s good news and bad news this week.
The good news is that some of the tenuous connections that have been implied over the last two and a half seasons are looking like they might actually dovetail together and answer a few of the questions that Lost fans have been asking. If Locke’s father is indeed “The Man From Tallahassee” which he certainly seems to be, then there may just be a final confirmation that Locke’s con man Father is the same con man that created con man Sawyer by destroying his family. All indications point to it. There’s further good news in that we are likely going to get a sure to be fantastic scene between Locke and his Father, very soon.
The bad news? Locke’s pop may have come out of a magic box.
A. Magic. Box.
Remember the cat in the box? I’m beginning to regret making the connection.
Episodes like this one are often described as “Pivotal”. The episode when Fonzie jumped the shark was “pivotal” too.
Has Lost lost it? Read on.
This week opens with Locke’s life in someone else’s hands. In this instance the “someone else” is a government bureaucrat who is going to suspend his disability insurance until he returns to therapy. I’ll admit my surprise when Locke stood up and walked out of her cubicle. He was on disability for depression, and at this point in his life he was fully ambulatory.
Nice foreshadowing as the camera follows Locke walking out of the office past a huge shelf unit full of (what else?) boxes.
One thing that the producers, writers and make-up folks have mastered is deflating John Locke’s dignity for the flashback sequences. The formula is a simple one: Add hair.
One close shave later, Locke, Sayid, Kate and Rousseau are right where we left them last week: Watching Jack pal around with the Others, seemingly enjoying himself and their prisoner no more. As they watch, Rousseau grows frustrated and leaves without a word. When they observe Jack shaking hands with a wheelchair bound Ben, Locke sums up the situation in one sentence.
“This is gonna be more complicated than we thought.”
Assuming that Lost has the often projected five season run, this episode was the first episode of the second half of the show’s run. For those that thought that we’d start seeing some resolution to some of the mysteries that have been introduced so far, now that we’re past the mid-way point, I refer you back to Locke’s statement. Don’t expect any big answers just yet, folks. If you want answers, real answers, best hop in your time machine, set it for two years in the future and fire it up. Between now and then, we’re just going to get teased. Mark my words.
Once they notice that Rousseau is gone, the band of three regroup to make plans for Jack’s rescue. While Sayid and Kate argue over the best way to rescue him, Locke gives them pause by reminding them that Jack is supremely logical and self sacrificing. Locke figures that if Jack is shaking hands with the Others, he must have a good reason. A reason they just have to figure out. His approach is to wait until dark, get to Jack when he’s alone and rescue him if he needs rescuing. His plan makes a lot of sense, as far as it goes.
Flash back to Locke in his apartment, eating a tv dinner.
Anyone catch what show was on the tube? I only caught two women’s voices talking about stolen Bolivian gold and an armed man “behind winged victory” which tells us that the scene in question takes place in the Louvre in Paris, none of which seems at all relevant, but I try not to dismiss anything. I’d bet money that whatever the show is, it’s about some kind of con.
A knock at the door proves to be a young man named Peter Talbot. A quick google gives a whole bunch of Peter Talbot’s to choose from, but the three most interesting were Peter Talbot, the Archbishop of Dublin from 1669-1680, a Canadian politician and an M.D. who started a nano-tech firm and holds numerous patents in the field of solid-state chemistry, automated chemical manufacture and nano-materials.
Probably all irrelevant, but being a Lost fan has turned me into a google-aholic every time they add a name to the mythology, so I share.
Talbot wants to talk to Locke about his mother and someone named “Adam Seward” (Google only turned up a football player for the Carolina Panthers) who is courting her. Talbot had a gut feeling about “Seward” and it wasn’t a good feeling, so he checked him out. He knows that “Seward” is actually “Anthony Cooper” and that Locke donated a kidney to him. He’s hoping that the donation means that “Seward” is not the villain that Talbot thinks he is. Locke lies that the donation was an anonymous one.
Night has fallen at the Others’ compound, so Locke deploys Sayid to guard the front door while he goes around the back, sending Kate in alone to confront Jack. Entering the house, Kate finds a neat, tidy home and a fairly neat and tidy Jack playing piano alone. She’s obviously surprised and stands there watching him for a while before he sees her. He tries to send her away, knowing that he’s being watched and that she’s in danger. When the Others burst in and capture her, they bring Sayid in too and demand to know who else is with them. She lies that it was just the two of them.
Ben wakes up and feels the presence of someone else there. He calls out for Alex, but Locke answers the call and comes through the door. Ben tells him that can tell him where Jack is.
“I’m not lookin’ for Jack. I’m lookin’ for the submarine.”
(*Fan side note: You remember the submarine, right? The one that brought Bakunin to the island. The submarine that is able to leave the island but for some reason unable to return without the underwater sonar beacon that is no longer working. Anyone out there who is familiar with my rantings…er, theories about Lost will know about Greybishop’s longstanding “Island in a Bottle” theory. I’ve been saying for as long as I’ve watched the show, the island is somehow physically isolated from the real world, “In a bottle” so to speak. Last weeks tidbit about the sub and the beacon just added to the theory which resulted in a Greybishop Happy Dance in my living room. *)
While Ben lamely tries to deny the submarine’s existence, we know it exists, and so does John.
Alex has the misfortune of picking that moment to check on her Dad, giving Locke the opportunity to take her hostage and use her as leverage against Ben. As he grabs her, Tom comes a knockin’ too. Locke and Alex slip into the closet and watch as Tom delivers the news that “Austen and Jarrah” have found their way into the village and are being held. Tom’s not alone either. Ben asks “Richard” to stay and to bring him “The Man From Tallahassee”.
Locke suspects that “The Man From Tallahassee” might be code for something, but Ben assures him that the Others “…don’t have a code for ‘There’s a man in my closet with a gun to my daughter’s head,’ although we obviously should.” Second best line of the episode.
Locke sends Alex to retrieve Sayid’s pack. She may currently hate Ben, but he’s still her Father and she obviously wants to protect him.
Locke tracks down Cooper and confronts him in a flower shop where Cooper and his pigeon de jour are shopping for flowers for the wedding. Locke uses his knowledge of Cooper and his tactics to force the con man to call off the wedding. He’s not going to let him ruin any more lives, because what Cooper does is “Not Fair” to his victims.
Back in Ben’s room, Ben asks Locke to help him get into his chair, to allow him some dignity. After a pointed remark about dignity and what Locke knows about wanting some dignity, the conversation turns to the submarine and how Locke plans to pilot it.
“For all you know, I was a commander in the Navy.”
Locke doesn’t know that Ben probably has already had “John Locke – A History” discussed at the local Book Club. The look he gets from Ben when he says that is priceless.
Ben knows that there’s every chance that John took explosives from the communications station and that Locke is planning on destroying the submarine. Ben knows Locke. He knows that he was born in California, raised in foster care, wasted years of his life pushing paper at a box factory, that he spent the four years prior to his arrival on the island in a wheelchair and how he ended up in it.
“Tell me John, did it hurt?”
“I felt my back break. What do you think?”
Kate Houdini is working her way out of the restraints that hold her hands behind her back when “I’m Tom, by the way” brings Jack to see her, warning him with a gesture to remember that they’re being observed and listened to.
Jack tries to explain to Kate why he’s acting so comfortably with the Others. Turns out that he made a deal and they’re going to let him go. They’re going to let him go home. He plans to try to bring back help.
She’s got the rack, He’s got the balls.
Ummm, something about Felt and Stick could complete this bad joke.
When she asks how he can trust these people, he reminds her that she told him to trust them when she asked him to save Sawyer’s life. She doesn’t know that Jack saw her bear-ing down on Sawyer…
Juliet comes in and forestalls any further uncomfortable conversation between the two. As he leaves, Jack promises that he will come back for her.
In the parking lot of his building, two police detectives confront Locke and ask him about Peter Talbot. He lies that the young man was a solicitor and that he sent him away. Turns out that Talbot’s family is worth around 200 Million dollars, that he had Locke’s name and address in his pocket and that he’s dead.
As Locke watches the compound through the window, Ben tells him how difficult it was being locked in the hatch, seeing John, knowing about his history and his condition and not being able to ask him about it without giving away his own identity. Now that Locke knows who he is, he suggests Ben ask his questions.
Ben seems uncharacteristically eager to follow John’s lead and starts in with the questions.
“Was it immediate? It started the moment you got here?”
“And you were just walking, the feeling returned right after the crash, that day.”
“That’s what immediate means, Ben.” Best line of the episode.
Locke realizes that Ben isn’t healing as fast as he’d like. Then he follows the logic path that fans have been wondering about for months. How did Ben get sick in the first place?
When he asks that question, Ben deflects with one of his own. “Are you afraid it’ll go away, John? Is that why you want to destroy the submarine? Because you know if you ever leave this island you’ll be back in the chair?”
John knows how to play the “deflect-a-question” game too. “You got anything to eat?”
Alex finds Sayid chained to a swing set (implying that there are children somewhere about) and manages to convince the guy guarding him to give her his pack. When Sayid calls her by name, she’s naturally curious as to how he knows what her name is. He explains that she looks like her mother.
“My Mother is dead.”
“I’m sure that’s what they told you.”
For his trouble, Sayid takes a gun butt to the gut, but he effectively planted some seeds of doubt and dissent in the young woman, which was likely his main intent.
When Locke asks where they get their electricity, Ben answers, “We have two giant hamsters running in massive wheel at our secret underground lair.” Third best line of the episode. When Locke opens the fridge, we see a lot of Dharma brand groceries. Yet another connection between Dharma and the Others, that gives us pause as to the exact relationship between them.
Ben tries to explain that Locke blowing up the submarine will cause problems for him as the leader of his people, since not all of them are “fully committed” to remaining on the island for life. If Locke destroys their one means of returning home, the members of the community who still might want to leave someday will become a problem for Ben. Locke wonders if Ben thinks that’s somehow an incentive for him not to blow up the sub.
Because John is already “fully committed” to staying on the island, he doesn’t need the “illusion” of the possibility of returning to the outside world. Ben wants to show him things he wants to see very badly.
Remember earlier when I mentioned the shark jumping episode of “Happy Days”? I think I hear an outboard motor…
“Picture a box. You know something about boxes, don’t you John? What if I told you that somewhere on this island, there’s a very large box. And whatever you imagined, whatever you wanted to be in it, when you opened that box, there it would be. What would say about that, John?”
And they’re coming up on the ramp. The shark is circling…
“I’d say ‘I hope that box is big enough to imagine yourself up a new submarine’.”
And ladies and gentlemen, you will be relieved to learn that no sharks were jumped. The jump has been waved off. This week.
A magic box? Ben can’t be serious, can he? Really? I hope not. I was just diggin’ the sonic fence because it seemed pretty science fiction-ee. Add a magic, wish fulfilling box and we’re into territory I have a hard time reconciling with my vision of Lost. I hope that this is just another one of Ben’s attempts to manipulate Locke and not an actual object that we will see.
John lets Ben know that he’s angry because by using electricity, running water, guns, communications gear and the like, they’re cheating. They aren’t living as he feels the island inhabitants should. He even calls Ben a “pharisee” which is a word used to describe a sanctimonious, self-righteous, or hypocritical person and that derives from a specific sect of the Jewish religion that differed from and was more strict than the mainstream in its practices. An interesting word choice for a man like Locke. The derivation ultimately comes from an Aramaic word meaning “to separate”. Locke probably feels that by using technology the Others really allow themselves to be separated from the island and its special nature.
When Ben asks him how it is that he, a man only 80 days on the island, could know it better than Ben who was born on the island, Locke’s answer is as simple as it is damning:
“You’re in a wheelchair, and I’m not.”
Alex returns with Sayid’s pack and Locke takes her with him as a guide, trusting that Ben will not raise the alarm because of her presence.
As they head out the door, Ben tells Locke much the same as what Bakunin told him previously. The communications gear is down, so once the sub leaves, it will never be able to return. Alex seems troubled by this revelation.
(*Continuity side note: Jack tells Kate that he’s leaving “First thing in the morning” but Ben tells Locke that the sub is leaving “in less than an hour”. Is Jack trying to deceive Kate or is this just some inconsistent writing?*)
As they head to the sub, Alex tells Locke, “You know he’s manipulating you right?”
“That’s what my Father does, he manipulates people. He makes you think that it’s your idea, but it’s his.”
“I’ll have to keep that in mind.” And you should too, because it’s a concept that is about to become VERY important.
Locke lets Alex go, apologizing for involving her, then heads to the sub. As she heads back to the compound, in the shadows Rousseau watches her go and the look on the French woman’s face tells us that at the very least, she believes that Alex is her daughter.
In a very “Season 1 Cliffhanger-esque” moment, Locke opens the sub’s hatch and peers down into the darkness. He then enters the sub and flips the lights on, apparently looking for a good place to plant the explosives.
Ben is tidying up after his visit with Locke, putting the leftover chicken back in the fridge when Jack and Juliette walk in.
Jack has come to ask for one last favour.
Ben’s typical atypical response? “You don’t knock?” The man is consistent. Never answer a question or offer information when you can ask a question instead.
Jack ignores the jibe and asks his favour. He wants Ben to let his friends go. Ben agrees to let them go, giving his word that he’ll let Jack’s friends go “Just as soon as you’ve left the island.” What was that Alex was saying about manipulating people being what Ben does?
Juliette thanks Ben for keeping his promise. Little does she know that Mr. Blow-Stuff-Up-Every-Week is down at the submarine as they speak…
Locke gets caught coming from the dock and he’s soaking wet. When Jack sees him, he wonders what he’s doing there.
“I’m sorry, Jack.”
“Sorry for what?”
Naturally, John doesn’t have to answer, since the C4 does all his talking.
John confronts Cooper about Talbot’s death. John figures that Cooper is responsible, killing Talbot to silence him before he and Locke told Cooper’s intended about his real intentions. Pouring a glass of MacCutcheon’s Scotch for both of them (with a slight, but visible, hesitation before filling the second glass – hmm…), Cooper tries to calm his son down, explaining that he’s a con man, not a murderer. Peter’s Mother has called off the wedding and now there’s no profit in the game, so it’s over.
John wants to confirm Cooper’s story. Cooper shows him the phone. Then he shows him the quickest way to the ground floor…through the window.
Dude, whoever installed he stunt man break away shatter easily safety
glass in this window is soooooo fired.
In the hospital, the two police officers confirm that Cooper is gone and not likely to come back. He could be anywhere in the world by now.
The two cops leave Locke to the tender mercies of a medical professional who just won’t take no for an answer. He’s going to get Locke out of bed and into the wheelchair, regardless of Locke’s protestations. When Locke whines that he can’t do it, the response is a new twist on an old Locke-ism.
“John, you fell eight stories and survived. I don’t want to hear about what you can’t do.”
And just like that, he’s in the wheelchair. The experience is so overwhelming that Locke is driven to tears.
In a dark room, chained to an overhead pipe, Locke is visited by Ben and Richard, the man we know as Dr. Alpert from Mittelos. When Ben implies that Locke has done something that has put him in serious trouble, Locke responds by telling Ben that he knew all along that Ben wanted him to blow up the sub. That’s why the C4 was still in Sayid’s pack. Ben wanted to destroy the sub and he manipulated Locke into doing it for him.
(*Remember when I said that we should keep in mind that Ben manipulates people AND that Locke says he’ll keep it in mind? Here’s why:
Locke came down the dock soaking wet after planting the explosives. He was inside the sub. Why would he be soaking wet?
Two possibilities come to mind.
The first is that in his effort to destroy the sub, he was very thorough, opening the tanks that hold the ballast water (subs go up and down by regulating how much ballast water they carry with pumps) and planting the C4 in the tank to ensure that the sub would sink. Unlikely but given Locke’s fascination with strategy games, it’s something he might take the extra time and effort to do. Depending on your perspective, it might also be wise because by planting the explosives in the ballast tank, the damage might be repairable in the long run, as opposed to say, blowing up the sub’s engine room. A little arc welding and sheet metal and you might be able to use the craft again.
The second is more devious and the one that I think more likely. I think that Locke used that strategy game knowledge and flooded those ballast tanks, sank the sub and swam to the dock. Then he set of the C4, blowing up enough of the dock to make it seem like he’d blown up the sub. That’s why he’s soaking wet. He had to swim out of a sinking submarine.*)
After Richard releases Locke, Ben explains that if he let Jack go, it would be a sign of weakness that would cause problems for him as the leader. Killing him was also out of the question, because Ben’s word had been given and to break it in that way would also cause him serious problems. Then in rides Locke, his pack full of C4 and his penchant for destruction, solving Ben’s problems without Ben lifting a finger.
“You’re not gonna start talkin’ about the magic box again, are you?”
“No, John. I’m gonna show you what came out of it.”
Ben wonders if John misunderstood his question about the pain John experienced from his accident. He wants to know what it felt like for John to know his own Father tried to kill him. Ben figures that John destroyed the submarine because he’s afraid of Cooper. He’s so afraid that he’s willing to stay on the island because it’s the one place that Cooper can’t get to him. John seems to have “Some communion with this island” which makes him very, very important to Ben.
Ben wants to help Locke.
“Because I’m in a wheelchair and you’re not.”
Richard opens the door that they’ve come upon to reveal…
Get the gimp..
The Man From Tallahassee.
I worry that they might be setting that ramp up for another run at making the jump…