The Man Behind the Curtain

Season 3, Ep 20, Aired 5/9/07
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  • Episode Description
  • After bringing his father's body to Ben, Locke demands to see Jacob, the leader of the Others. Meanwhile, Sawyer returns to camp with the tape recorder, causing everyone to finally confront Jack and Juliet.

  • Cast & Crew
  • Daniel Dae Kim

    Jin Kwon

  • Dominic Monaghan

    Charlie Pace

  • Elizabeth Mitchell

    Juliet Burke

  • Emilie de Ravin

    Claire Littleton

  • Evangeline Lilly

    Kate Austen

  • Fan Reviews (139)
  • FINALLY!!! After 29 episodes of watching Michael Emerson ignite our televison screens, his character, Ben Linus got his first ever flashback episode! And it is awesome!

    By martync7, Jan 24, 2009

  • A peek behind the curtain reveals some of the biggest and best moments of the series

    By DavidB226Morris, Jan 03, 2010

  • Revised!!!

    By Dante_Edy, Jul 13, 2009

  • Wow

    By oceanic6, Nov 18, 2008

  • A Ben-centric episode.

    By Writer2000, Nov 13, 2008

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (22)

    • Locke: You don't know anything about the island, do ya? You just made it all up. Ben: (to the chair) Jacob, please. I can't hear him if you're gonna talk over what he's saying. Locke: Shut up! You're putting on a show for me? Or, do you - Do you really think there's someone there? Ben: I know there's someone there. Locke: You don't know anything. Ben: I'm sorry you feel that way, John. And I'm sorry you're too limited to see. Locke: You're pathetic.

    • Ben: Something you should know, John, before we go. Whether or not you think he's the Wizard of Oz, I can assure you that Jacob is very very real. And we're gonna go see him, and he's not gonna like it. In fact I have a feeling he's going to be very angry. And that's why my hand was shaking because this is not a man you go and see. This is a man who summons you. Locke: Well I guess there's a first time for everything.

    • Ben: What did Jacob say to you? Locke: (dying in the ditch) Why did you do this? Ben: Because you heard him. Now, I need to know what he said. Locke: "Help me." Ben: John, I'm not going to ask you again. What did he say to you!? Locke: He said, "Help me." Ben: Well I certainly hope he helps you, John!

    • (Locke and Ben are standing over a large open grave of bodies wearing Dharma suits) Ben: This is where I came from, John. These are my people - the Dharma Initiative. They came here seeking harmony, but they couldn't coexist with the island's original inhabitants. When it became clear that one side had to go, one side had to be "purged", I did what I had to do. I was one of the people that was smart enough to make sure that I didn't end up in that ditch. Which makes me considerably smarter than you, John. (Ben pulls out a gun and shoots John in the stomach)

    • Ben: Do you really think it's my fault that [my mother] died? Roger: What do I know? Why do you keep looking at your watch? You got a date? Listen, if it makes you feel any better, I will do my best to remember your birthday next year. Ben: I don't think that's gonna happen, Dad. Roger: What do you mean? Ben: You know, I've missed her too. Maybe as much as you have. But the difference is that, for as long as I can remember, I've had to put up with you. And doing that required a tremendous amount of patience. Goodbye, Dad. (Ben puts on a gas mask and opens a poisonous gas grenade in the van. Roger dies)

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    Notes (10)

    • The commentary from the Season 3 DVD states that a line was cut in post production where Ben said "And I thought I was getting a cake" when Alex wished him happy birthday after handing Locke the gun.

    • The vegetation shown in Ben's first flashback is not correct for Oregon.

    • Cars of 1963 or older were asked for the Portland scene.

    • Although he plays his father; Jon Gries is actually 3 years younger than Michael Emerson who plays Ben.

    • International Air Dates: Belgium: November 5, 2007 on VT4 The Netherlands: November 9, 2007 on Net 5 New Zealand: June 13, 2007 on TV2 Spain: Monday November 26, 2007 on FOX TV Spain Finland: Thursday, December 27, 2007 on Nelonen Macedonia: Sunday, January 13, 2008 on A1 The Czech Republic: Sunday, January 20, 2008 on TV Nova Lithuania: Thursday, January 24, 2008 on LTV Germany: Monday, February 4, 2008 on Pro7 Denmark: May 30, 2007 on Kanal 5

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    Trivia (35)

    • Numbers: The Others were said to be coming "The day after tomorrow". If we take that literally, that is 2 days, or 48 hours.

    • In the classroom scene, there is a scientific inaccuracy where Olivia is performing an experiment to illustrate how lava is made. The ingredients she says she is using are water and what she refers to as "bicarbonate". Sodium bicarbonate mixed with water does not cause the foaming reaction that is depicted in the scene. To create that reaction with bicarbonate, the experiment requires an acid, which when combined with the bicarbonate base, neutralize each other and form carbon dioxide bubbles. Also, while some carbon dioxide may escape from volcanoes, the cause of a real volcanic eruption is quite different, despite Olivia's claim that the same reaction causes volcanic activity.

    • Goof: After the purge, Ben approaches a dead Horace sitting on the bench. We see his hand is on the top of the bench, but when Ben walks away Horace's hand had moved. Also, there is a body lying on the ground, on the left side of the frame, with the head toward the bench, facing the fence. When Ben walks away from Horace, the body has rotated so the feet are toward the bench, back facing the fence.

    • Whispers can be heard which decode as: (From the jungle after young Ben passes the fence): "disobeys you" "because the moment's bad/rare" "that's what I mean" "It's heavy" "don't worry" "I looked through them" - "Your hope is here" "there ain't no turning around" "turn to that screen" "Don't forget him" "Is anyone awake" "We should take him" - "What's happening" "If we go over there we might be able to see him but I don't know" "Did you hear about him" "Is anyone on" (At the fence at night): "(..tell you) I'm glad you decided to see me" "Because I love him" "That's right, that's what I mean/need" "(unknown)" "Don't worry about it" "You're the one ..." - "Talk to him" "Tell him that you're his mother" "Tell him to be patient" "That'll just make it worse" - "What's happening" "If we can go over there we might be able to see it, but I don't know" "Help us come through the fence" "We're sending one, don't argue"

    • Carrie Preston, who plays Ben Linus' mother Emily, is the real-life wife of Michael Emerson, who plays Ben.

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    Allusions (4)

    • "Shambala": Three Dog Night's song "Shambala" plays again as Ben and Roger drive out to the overlook, tying back to the song's (and van's) appearance in "Tricia Tanaka Is Dead." The song is about a mythical kingdom called Shambala, which can be considered a metaphor for a spiritual path one might follow.

    • Young Ben follows his white rabbit through the fence, so he can leave the realm he knows. This is a refference to Alice In Wonderland.

    • Chatty Cathy: Roger comments that Ben is usually a "Chatty Cathy" in the morning during the final flashback of the episode. "Chatty Cathy" is the name of a doll manufactured by the Mattel Corporation in 1959. The doll was revolutionary because it spoke 11 pre-programmed phrases when a string on her back was pulled.

    • The title of this episode refers to L. Frank Baum's novel, and the 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz, where it turns out that the Great and Powerful Oz is just a man behind a curtain. Locke, believing that there is no Jacob, accuses Ben of making him up, and therefore being Oz, the man behind the curtain. Also, Ben's mother's name is Emily, like Dorothy's aunt (Aunt Em).

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