e-mail me at billdeg@umich.edu

5/09/2008

lost

Holy smokes, or rather holy smoke monster, Lost is having a season to rival its weird and original first season. For example, has anything in the show's four seasons been as scary as those images of Abbaddon and the ageless Richard Alpert?

Despite all the cool stuff we've learned about the Oceanic 6 and their post-island lives, this has been the season of Ben and Locke. For at least the last season or so, the show has given us much evidence that the two have mirrored fates, twin/rival affinities for the island, dual identities as geeks and macho men, and a mutual and intense rivalry with one another. After their interactions this season, I'm convinced that they are both deeply evil individuals whose wills-to-power have taken over their obedience to "the island" or "Jacob" or whomever the (formerly?) higher power might be. I don't think Ben gives a damn that he killed his daughter. I'm not sure that he was even surprised when the mercenary called his "bluff." Likewise, I don't think Locke would hesitate to sacrifice Hurley or any other beloved individual. Under siege, he was comfortable leaving Claire and Sawyer outside.

From the always-obsessive Entertainment Weekly recap, which offers a mind-blowing reading of last night's episode and is always must reading for any fan:

Locke is born early. At age 5, he takes a test that most likely would have taken him to the Island if he had passed. He didn't. That same year, Benjamin Linus is born. At age 16, Locke is invited to go to a science camp that again would have taken him to the Island. He refused. About that same time, Benjamin Linus and his father joined the Dharma Initiative. The implication, it seems, is that Ben has been walking the path that was originally meant for Locke. Ben was the contingency plan — the course correction — for Locke's altered destiny. But Ben is his own person, of course, and he has done things differently from what Locke would have done, and this, in turn, has created further changes in the original order of things — changes that I think a certain ticked-off, Island-deprived billionaire named Charles Widmore is trying to reverse. The scene at the rehab center between paralyzed adult Locke and his wheelchair pusher, the creepy Matthew Abbaddon — who accepted the description of ''orderly'' with knowing irony — was meant to suggest one way Widmore is scheming to restore the original order: by getting Locke on that Island and taking back the birthright that was supposed to be his.

(Unless I’m getting this reversed: What if Ben was the man of destiny, but for decades, various forces — including Alpert and Widmore-Abbaddon — have been vainly trying to change destiny by getting Locke to the Island to supplant the ├╝ber Other?)

Regardless, here's the twist — the twist that could turn Locke into a mass murderer of sorts. As we saw at the end of the episode, Locke's plan for saving the Island is moving the Island. Now, I have no idea how he intends to do that. But if I'm tracking correctly the weird science Lost has been laying down this season, I wonder if where we're headed is a catastrophic gambit in which Locke will move the Island not only in space but also in time, which I'm guessing will cause some kind of massive retroactive course correction — or, rather, already has enacted a course correction. In fact, I wonder if the secret to many of the metaphysical mysteries of Lost is that all of the show's drama is playing out against the backdrop of a timeline that's in flux — where old history is giving way to new history as the consequences of Locke's future Island-saving actions trickle down through time. And so that wreckage of Oceanic 815 at the bottom of the ocean? That isn't a hoax — at least, not in the new timeline taking hold. That's real. And it will be John the Quantum Ripper's fault.

1 comment:

bonnie lenore kyburz said...

yeah, i've never bought the "hoax" story. there is some wonky space-time business at work. even a simple "strange magnetics" theory doesn't speak to the various plot moves.

i hadn't seen the Ben/Locke conflict in terms of their histories (the flashback re: Locke's "test"), so thanks for posting.

these last 2 episodes have been the best in a long time, for me.