Thursday, May 10, 2007

What I'm Watching -- Lost Episode 20, "The Man Behind The Curtain"

Spoilers of Lost Episode 20, The Man Behind The Curtain, are straight ahead, so if you haven't watched the show yet, or are visiting the site for the first time following a link from an Anaheim Ducks blog and asking "Why on earth was there a link on the Ducks blog to this funny sounding blog without any hockey content?" check out my Detroit Red Wings/Anaheim Ducks Western Conference Finals Preview instead. You can then follow on to the Lost analysis of tonight's incredible episode after the jump, placed here to ensure anybody who doesn't want to be spoiled, isn't (but fair warning, you'll miss the video of Evangeline Lilly on Jimmy Kimmel tonight). So if you want to read on, follow the link below to the full post.

Okay, still with me? Wow. What an episode. Locke died? Well, it didn't look good, after being shot by Ben. And Locke is my absolute favorite character on Lost, as I've been a huge Terry O'Quinn fan since his days as Director Kendall on Alias. And he had a stint on The West Wing. So that makes him 3-3. And his character on Lost is (was?) so interesting and his connection to the island so vital that you just couldn't see him dying. But, at the same time, him dying on the island does make sense, I just thought that it would be the island taking Locke, like it did Eko, not Ben killing him. But, the way the story was told, Ben killing Locke made perfect sense.

The Man Behind The Curtain was all about the journey that Ben and Locke took to visit "Jacob", the mysterious and potentially made-up man that Ben answers to. And in so doing, we learned about Ben's past (he wasn't born on the island as he claimed, he was brought to the island by his father (played by Jon Gries of The Pretender fame, another underrated show but that's a story for another day) who came to work for the Dharma Initiative, his mother died in childbirth which Ben's father always blamed Ben for, and when the "hostiles" killed all the remaining Dhrama Initiative people, Ben killed his own father and joined the "hostiles"). It also told us what happened the Dharma Initiative (all its members were killed by the Others) and what Dharma was (a research group studying the mysteries of the island).

We also met the mysterious Jacob, who appeared just to be a figment of Ben's imagination until Locke shined a flashlight in Jacob's underdeveloped house and it started practically exploding at the seems and a voice cried out "Help me." And according to screen captures from the message boards, there actually was a physical incarnation of Jacob as well, as you can see here:

I'm not sure how I feel about the Jacob reveal. It was interesting, and mystifying, that's for sure. Had it been in all in Ben's head, that would have been one thing, but with the voice, and now the pictures from the broadcast of a physical being inside the house, I don't know what to think. I did have a few questions though about the whole Ben flashback.

If Ben, as a child, ran into Richard (the doctor who recruited Juliet to the island and who gave Locke Sawyer's file last week) in the jungle, how is that possible given the timeline? Richard would have to be 20 years older then Ben, and it seems Ben is older then Richard. Maybe we'll get back to the theory of rapid aging of children on the island, but then with Alex, there isn't rapid aging, so I don't know what to think. Maybe just a bad job of makeup? Or was the Richard young Ben saw not the same Richard we know now? Maybe a fellow Lost fan can help me out there. And we still don't know how Ben turned out to be the leader of the group, unless "Jacob" chose him over the rest of the "hostiles". Another Flashback in the future perhaps.

And back to Locke's death. I still don't know how I feel about that, if, and that's a big if he is really dead. As I said, Locke's my favorite character, and he seems so central to the island mythology. But, at the same time, Ben killing him makes a lot of sense because Ben needs to feel as if he is the only person special enough to talk to Jacob or lead the Others, and Locke threatens that by being "more special" then Ben. I'm really going to miss Locke if he is gone, and the show won't be the same without him. My hope is we find out that he's still alive, but it didn't look promising.

Evangeline Lilly, who plays Kate, was on Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight (a very underrated late night show, better then Connan I think), talked about Locke's "death" and was very tight lipped.

The last two episodes the next two weeks should be pretty amazing, with a "game changing" moment promised, and likely even more bloodshed. My hope is that Locke returns from the dead, but we'll see. And I'll be feverishly searching the internet for information on Terry O'Quinn's future on the show, despite not really wanting to spoil the finale for myself, because I just can't help myself. I need to know whether Locke is still alive.

Update 5/10, 8:30 am: So I was hoping I would wake up this morning and found out Locke was still alive. Instead I read he sold his house in Hawaii. Gulp.
Furthermore, Ben shot John in the chest!? Frak!! No, no, nooooooo. The fact that Locke was still breathing (okay, rasping) is a good thing, but I happen to know that Terry O'Quinn recently sold his house in Hawaii. He told me so when I was on the set in Hawaii, saying he wanted more "freedom" and "does better living in hotels." But...gaah! Here's hoping he's talking about a semipermanent residence in a Hawaiian hotel and not anywhere off the island, cause he simply cannot leave this show!

That doesn't sound promising. I still think Locke's connection to the island may save him, but maybe I shouldn't be holding my breath.

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Clever WoT said...

I may have been enough of a pessimist about Lost to stop watching, but even I didn't expect them to do something this stupid. Mr. Eko's death made me mad enough, but cutting Locke out of the show would be devastating.

It's almost like the writers are trying to remove every piece of the show I found interesting.

And just some fun trivia: Terry O'Quinn also played an Admiral-gone-bad in Star Trek The Next Generation.

Scott Warheit said...

Yeah, I'm not sure what they are doing what now. I still think there's a chance Locke isn't dead (it's not as if Terry O'Quinn is doing the talk show rounds talking about leaving the show so obviously they want to keep us in suspense at least a little longer).

As I said, even though Locke is my favorite character, I could almost live with him dying, if it it has almost like a sacrifice to the island, but to be killed by Ben, just so we as fans can hate Ben more and thus be happy when eventually the castaways get their revenge, that's not the best use of Locke's death.

Let's hope in the next two weeks, he comes back, because I don't know if I can wait until next February without knowing whether Locke will be around or not.


Clever WoT said...

It would be insane if they left it as a cliffhanger.

The best case scenario I can think of right now is that Locke isn't dead but that he will no longer be a regular character. Like maybe he'll go nuts and disappear somewhere on the island, only to reemerge Rousseau-style two or three times a season.

With respect to the end-game, I started becoming very pessimistic when I crunched the numbers (this was months ago, mind you). The producers have said they came up with the pitch in the span of about 3 days. Even assuming they worked crazy 18 hour days, that's 54 hours to develop the main overarching plot of the island.

Consider how much time fans have put into thinking about the show. You have millions of viewers spending probably a couple hours a week thinking about the mysteries, and you have tens of thousands collaborating on message boards for many hours per week. All told, you're talking probably tens of millions of hours trying to decode the island.

How likely is it that in those tens of millions of hours, no one has figured it out? And frankly, how likely is it that no one has come up with something better?

I've seriously wondered if the original concept was indeed the island as purgatory, but when people guessed that so early the producers had to scramble and change the plan.


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