1) Let's start with the fact that up until this episode Dr. Ben Linus was known as the leader of the 'Others' and the keeper of the Island from being revealed to the world. This was his job. We all knew him as very cunning, relentless man who was living on the Island in the village surrounded by the electo-magnetic fence, which we all saw at the beginning of season 2 (if i'm not mistaken) when the 'Others' saw the plane divided in 2 pieces and crash, then Ben sent some of his men to infiltrate the survivors. THAT was his life before the crash.
So, back to our Episode 7, in which we see Ben's life, had the plane never crashed the Island, i would expect to see our Ben in that village working those birth issues that Juliet was brought to solve, or to see whatever daily life he had THERE.
But what in the name of God is he doing outside the Island, teaching in school?
2) Let's proceed with why does Alex refer to Ben as Dr. Linus instead of 'father'?
And why does Alex give such a worm treat to Ben, when we all remember how she hated him in the first seasons, right after the plane crash.
3) Last, but not least, in our Episode 7, Ben is giving up his dream of becoming a school principal, in favor of some recommendation letter for Alex, when we all know well that he was a self utilitarian person from day 1, and we all remember how he even sacrificed his daughter to save his ass when those mafia guys, sent by Charles Widmore, came to kill him. Now, ok he was sorry for this later and so on.. but that doesn't change the fact that during the entire show Ben had always and consistently took care of his own skin, in the first place.
4) In addition, when we saw the future lives of our survivors, had the plane never crashed the Island, THOSE characters did stay within the script. Shepard stayed the good old spinal surgeon, Kate stayed the same outlaw we knew earlier, Hurley still that same lottery winner, and the list goes on.. only Ben Linus for some reason had to become some school teacher and so incoherent.
In my personal conclusion, i find this episode to be very inconsistent with the real history of Ben in this series, and inconsistent with his own character behavior as well.
Remember back in Season 1, when life on Lost was simple? A group of men, women, children and a dog named Vincent crashed on a mysterious island, and they were trying to get off by building a raft and keeping signal fires burning? I'll admit, and I'm sure I won't be the first to admit it, I miss the simple days of Lost, when plot development was sometimes passed over in place of character development. It was nice to learn about these characters for the first time, and as the show continued, I feel as if the whole flashback dynamic stopped working, mostly because it was simply reiterating what we already knew about these characters. The introduction of the flash-forward was cool for awhile, but it became dull after awhile.. I still don't know if it's because I just grew sick of the whole "jumping back and forth to the past or future" schtick or if I just grew sick of hearing the word "flash-forward" from ABC's other serial drama. Either way, earlier Lost episodes benefited from being able to take characters we didn't know much about and using flashbacks to fill in the blank spaces.
Tonight's episode of Lost, "Dr. Linus," reminded me of how great Lost can be when it takes a step back from the convoluted plot-twists, mythology-heavy scenes and pointless expository dialogue scenes and focuses on character development. You may ask yourself, "How can a show that's been on the air for six years find new ways to develop characters? Don't we already know enough about them?" When it becomes to Benjamin Linus, I don't think there's any characters on television that has such a twisted, confusing and eerie history. I could watch an entire show based simply on his past. He's such a morally ambiguous character, making his choices and decisions that much more interesting; is he doing something out of the good of his heart, or because of the greed in his soul? Fortunately, although people may think they have Ben Linus pegged as the villain, I think tonight's side-flashes and Island-plot helped dispel those rumors; instead, we got an emotional story that hinged completely on Ben and his actions on and off the Island.
I'm calling it right now: Michael Emerson will be nominated once again for the Best Supporting Actor Emmy, and I'm willing to bet 108 dollars that he'll win it too. As good as Terry O'Quinn is, his character has changed too much for my liking. He's lost that emotion that made him stand-out at the beginning of the show. Ben, however, has consistently delivered one solid scene after the other, and tonight, we got to see him interact with his daughter once more, a story-line ripe with possible moments for Ben to redeem himself in the eyes of fans who see him as nothing more than a snake. However, this wasn't the Island-Alex we got to see; in Ben's side-flash, he's a respected teacher who tutors his student, played by Alex. Some of these side-flashes have been hit or miss, but tonight's was easily one of the best. Also in this side-flash was Ben's power struggle: he wants more than anything to have the principal's job so he can make changes that are more to his liking. He resorts to blackmail, a typical Ben Linus tactic, but what makes this side-flash so excellent is how we see Linus change. Instead of following in the footsteps of previous episodes, we actually see Ben choose love and family over power. I know, the man who actually murdered his own father in order to move up on the totem pole actually passes up an opportunity to be more powerful? Sounds a bit fishy, but that's the beauty of this episode. The writers were able to take a character who's personality has appeared unwavering and completely changed the dynamic of his character. The scene with Ben and Ilana in the woods was heart-breaking, and showed Ben at his most vulnerable. Of course, he could've been lying, and nobody would put it against him (he's a survivor in every sense of the word), but he seemed to be completely genuine in that scene. It was very well-done.
Besides focusing on Ben, there wasn't too much else going on in the episode except for one short but extremely important scene between Jack and Richard. We learn that Richard is completely terrified by this fake-Locke guy, and as a result, he's going to attempt to kill himself. We learn that Richard is blessed (or cursed) with the gift of immortality, but there's a loophole: while you cannot die by your hand, you can die by somebody else's hand. Therefore, he asks Jack for assistance in dying. However, Richard slips a key piece of information: when Jacob touches you, you're blessed/cursed with the gift of very long life. Jack seems to believe he's been touched by Jacob as well, along with everybody else he's spent time with on the Island, and therefore sits with Richard in front of dynamite that is ten seconds away from exploding, completely believing that it will not explode and that they will not die. For a man who once put a gun to Locke's head and pulled the trigger for his beliefs and the way he ran things, Jack has certainly made quite the change since Season 4. He's become more erratic, paranoid and much more of a man of faith. He's almost like Locke now, without the bald head, knives or father who pushed him from a seven-story building. It'll be interesting to see how Jack evolves from here; he's certainly changed quite a lot since Season 1.
And it wouldn't be Lost without an ending that leaves you scratching your head, or in the case of "Dr. Linus," screaming at your television for making you wait another week for a resolution. Seeing that Widmore found the island is extremely important, especially since we've had it driven into our head that if Widmore finds the island, things will NOT be good. It'll be interesting to see how much Widmore knows and what he'll do to regain supremacy on the Island.
It's really a shame that long-time fans of the show are complaining about the writers taking their time in giving us answers. I'm sure we'll get plenty of answers on what exactly is going on in this show, but anybody expecting to be given answers to every question is foolish. Lost has always been a show that's built its reputation around being misleading and misdirecting their audience, and I'm willing to bet that the finale will leave some important questions unanswered. However, the show has never been about answering all of the questions. The showrunners said that Lost was about exploring the involvement of these specific characters with the history of the Island. If we want to see what happened in the past on the Island, it'd have to be a different show; this show focuses on a set of characters we've come to grow and love over six years, and tonight's episode was a perfect example of how great Lost is at making episodes that are both character-driven and well-written.
Yep , it's true . Benjamin Linus with 10 sec he can really steal the show . with one emotional face he really can blow up your minds ! . his confrontation scene with Illana was THE BEST scene i ever saw in Lost since " we have to go back Kate , we have to go back " .
it's a redemption episode for Ben and Richard . and an Amazing scene at the beach when they all together and Hugging each other a Little of joy from season 1 . and i Notice something ! that this season is complex of answering some answers and a character development with Sawyer , Kate , Jack , Ben , Sayid and the others will come . as always an EMMY nominations for Ben , Jack , Locke and Sawyer so far ! . and with all this we have to have a weekly cliff hanger ! amazing show .. 10/10 .
Ben digs his own grave; Richard and Jack test their mortality; Locke continues the recruiting process; in flash sideways, Ben makes a power play but freezes up when Alex Rousseau's future is on the line.
I know I am going to get a ton more "Thumbs Down" than "Thumbs Up" for this review, but... *yawn*. This episode was dull and uninspiring. I'm really sorry, but that's the way I feel about it!
First of all, top notch acting from Michael Emerson. The scene when he was crying, and told Ilana the Locke was the only one who would accept him, was priceless. Emerson handles himself very well when his character shows vulnerability, which is a nice turn after playing such an evil, manipulative character for the past four years. Also, I am really enjoying Zuleikha Robinson's presence on the show. I can't pinpoint it, but something about that woman is ridiculously appealing.
Unfortunately, this episode said very little for the storyline. It was basically a Ben redemption story, which slowed down the exciting pace introduced in last week's episode, "Sundown," to a turtle crawl. While I know it was necessary to give Ben some proper character development this season, did we really have to watch a whole hour of nothing BUT that?
The episode was predictable and weak. Who really thought Richard and Jack would explode? Nobody. Who immediately realized that Ben and Ilana would bond over the memory of Ben's daughter, Alex? Everybody. The only unexpected part of the episode was when Miles acknowledged Nikki and Paulo from Season 3!
The flash sideways were really dull, as well. Ben's relationship with Alex was very sweet, and his play at the role of principal was entertaining for viewers. In the end, however, the writers could have scrawled, "Ben is not evil in the flash sideways" on a piece of paper, flashed it for about ten seconds, and have told the same story they did in the flash sideway scenes of "Dr. Linus." In "Lighthouse," they showed Jack in a brand new role as a father, in "The Substitute," they showed a Locke who could accept his limitations and embrace his gifts. In "Dr. Linus," they merely showed a Ben who is not evil. There was nothing surprising or interesting about this character study. It was so simple and missed the layers that usually make the character stories of "Lost" so interesting.
Oh well, I suppose some people out there would give this episode a 10/10. Personally, I am hoping for more interesting character development in the future. Sorry, rabid "Lost" give-reviews-below-9/10-a-Thumbs-Down fans! I guess you should get ready to click, up at the top right of my review! LOL
Without a doubt this was the embodiment of Lost in one single episode, the best episode of the season so far, and hopefully the bar has been raised for the remainder of the season to deliver such brilliance week in week out! ***Spoiler Alert!!!!!!!!
WOW!! that was suspensful, emotional, heartpounding, and simply Vintage Lost. The emotional parts were touching and brought that season 1 feel back to us. Any and every Ben Linus episode has been a 10 so far in my mind, and this one delivers because we see the good Ben both on and off the island, and we can see him repenting and regretting his actions and the way that he always wanted to be. Not the Sinister, devious mastermind that has menaced and at the same time enteratined us so far. I absolutely loved the Miles/Ben scene where Miles simply states the facts that "linus killed him" and then the look on Ben's face.... that was crazy!. Richard Alpert FINALLY gave us a bit of insight on his "gift" given by Jacob, (didn't go as far in depth as i would've liked) but Jack is now beginning to see that he might have some power of his own. He can't kill himself, and doesn't seem to die. So is it true that anyone that jacob touched was 'blessed'/'cursed' in some way? Who are the six remaining candidates??!?
It was nice seeing Alex and how Dr.Linus handled his ultimatum. Well done Benny!!!
On the Island it's apparent that Locke or "evil incarnate' is recruiting as much as possible, and the question still lingers ..Where in the heck is SAWYER?!?!?!? Sayid, Claire and the crew are on the wrong team it seems like. Great cliff hanger finale with Widmore!! (where's Eloise Hawking?) !!?!?!?!?!?
Cannot wait till next week, only 9 weeks left of Lost :( ..enjoy every moment people!!!
Alright for those who did not like this episode I can immediately guess why: there were no answers and the main plotline of LOST didn't really go anywhere besides us pretty much seeing Team Jacob form before our eyes and Richard IS from the Black Rock.
I understand your frustrations; actually I was a little frustrated too. Before the episode aired I was hyped about this Ben-centric episode because I just knew that there was going to be great acting and a lot of mythology like in the Ben-centric episodes "The Man Behind the Curtain" from season 3 and "Dead is Dead" from season 5. Well I was half right in my assumptions as there was great acting, but I was wrong in the fact that I didn't expect much more from this episode.
This had to be one of the most emotionally charged and poignant episodes in the LOST cannon. There was so much on the line for so many characters in this episode. Lets not even start with Ben who was the centric character of the episode, lets begin with Richard. WOW was this guy on the edge or what? In the episode Richard portrayed a man that was at the end of his rope. He had nothing left to hope for as everyone he knows on the island is either dead, including Jacob, has switched sides, or has killed Jacob (Ben). The guy was suicidal and couldn't even kill himself (thank goodness). Here comes in Jack and Hurley who Richard had found in hopes that they would be the ones to do him the favor of ending his life.
Then suddenly the audience is revealed to something: Jack has changed! It seems that the long stare into the ocean has actually done Jack some good as he has now regained faith in his path and found new faith in Jacob. The scene where he sits in the Black Rock and lights the dynamite with Richard was amazing and scary at the same time as you were fearfully hoping that LOST would not go and pull a LOST where the dynamite ends up blowing up anyway. In this scene Jack saves Richard's life and his faith. By the way: Hurley was amazingly funny.
Now let's go to Ben and Ilana; in a really good parallel in the episode both of these characters seem to be at a very critical point in their lives as Richard and Jack are. There is much to be said about Ben's cry out for mercy and Ilana's decision not to kill him. I think the act would have been so detrimental to Ilana's character and of course it would have been detrimental to Ben's character if he had killed her; and once again Michael Emerson gives us an incredible performance in both the sideways and island stories. Ben's decision in the sideways and island stories does so much for the CHARACTER; here is a man who we can assume was one of the most powerful in the World if we believe in the importance of the island and his desicion to basically give up that power for the love of a student (his island timeline daughter ALEX!)and his plea for mercy has permanently turned Ben into one of the good guys a fact that I am very glad of.
But one thing to worry about in this is the arrival of Widemore; will his presence bring back the old Ben? I don't think so but we shall see. So TRUE LOST fans who are just as invested in the characters as we are in answers, this episode was a triumph even though there could have been more answers i agree. The emotional moments and character development in this episode is what makes LOST so great and I hope most fans still believe that. AND DONT WORRY, BE PATIENT the answers are coming and I don't think they'll need as much time to explain them as everyone thinks.
A Ben episode? How could this be bad? Well, I wouldn't call it bad, but for a show heading toward its finale, which is about 2 1/2 months away, things do not appear to be wrapping up. I remarked in a previous review that this just feels like another season and am not confident in there being a satisfactory ending for the series we all know and love. This episode advanced absolutely nothing and did not even feature flashbacks that were that interesting. Ben Linus as a teacher was funny for a short cameo last week, but as a whole episode? Not my cup of tea.
...And one of my all time favorite episodes of Lost. Every Bencentric episode seems to push this shows storytelling further than ever before, and this one is no different.
We learn a bit about Dr. Linus in the flash sideways', and his love for Alex is still present here, along with it seems, a love for leading as well(he would love to become the principal) Through the course of this episodes events, though, Ben must decide which one is more important to him, just as he did in season five(Ben chose the island over Alex then). While back in present time/reality, Ben is literally digging his own grave. So poetic for a master leader/manipulator to be brought down so low to the point where he's forced into his own death.
I won't spoil the end, but I'll say this: I've noticed that a person seems to be connected between realities. If they are shown to be good in the alternate one then they join Jacob's cause in the normal one(what is normal anyway?), while if they are shown to be evil, then they seem to join Smocke(evil Locke). It even works for people like Jin, who is captured within each reality.
The lines have been drawn and the sides are taking shape much faster at this point so I can't wait for next weeks episode.
Ok I must say that this episode blowed my mind, it was so powerful even tough it didnt have action scenes it was so emotional an captivating that left you wanting for more.
After the massacre at the temple- Ben is confronted with the truth about Jacob's death and now he is being captive diging his own grave. Richard meets with Hurley and Jack and they all go to the Black Rock.
In the episode there where 3 scenes in the island that I must all include in these review
1. After Locke's appearance to Ben. Ben is offered a chance to escape and join Locke's team. He escapes from the beach (followed by Ilana). Then Here it comes this scene was so powerful.
Ben says: I must explain what I did. My daughter died because I chose the Island all in the name of Jacob. And he didnt seem to care.Im going to Locke beacuse all I ever wanted is for someone to have me.
Ilanas answer; "Ill have you" that was AMAZING! I love that part and Ben's reaction like how she really forgives him I love LOST.
2. After they arrive to the Black Rock we see a Richard that the only thing he wants now that Jacob is dead is being killed.Jack scene with Richard was also amazing seeing a Richard that lost all his way not knowing what to do and Jack being the one that confronts him telling that they have a greater purpose was Awesome!
3.Finally the third scene in the island that also was great was the ending of course. Even though they didnt talk there much. It just felt so good I had that feeling from season 1. Sun meeting with Hurley and Jack was purely emotional. Now in the Flash-sideway Ben's story as a teacher- we see him choosing if he wants Power or the good of others even if he will still be Powerless. I didnt know how it will end. But it was perfect Ben did chose to help her student (Alex) instead of becoming the school principal that.
Notes: 1.It seems that in the flashsideways Ben and his dad lived on the island but they left. I wonder when did they left and what exactly caused the island to go underwater?
2.Miles comment that Jacob wanted to be wrong about Linus, that he really was a good guy. That was very cool.
3.Ilana Mentions the candidates being six:
Is Kate one of them? is Sayid still a candidate?
Does Sun and Jin count as one?
Sun, Jin, Jack, Hurley, Sawyer, Sayid.
End Setting: Beach-> Jack, Hurley, Sun, Richard, Ben, Ilana, Miles, Lapidus
Hydra Station->Locke, Claire, Sawyer, Jin, Sayid, others...
Final thought after getting a glimpse of hope from the good guys. Someone arrives to the island... Withmore!!! Cant wait to see what will happen next thanks for reading
Alright well this was a great episode minus the flash-sideways. The whole episode I am saying what the **** there going to kill ben?! Then out of no where..guess who....Locke. Helps ben get free, he spills his guts then goes back. WHen jack and richard run into richard was cool because after the destruction of the temple it is basically a free for all with the the losties and all others who didnt follow locke. This episode would have been one of the best if it ended with "Aye Brotha raise the sub!!". We already know michael had his encounters with death and couldnt die..did jacob touch him too? Well finally jack realizes he is here for a reason.
As far as character development goes, this might be the most epically significant 'centric' LOST has ever put together. I mean, Ben, BEN- a character many consider to be one of the best villains in television history, may have been all but completely redeemed in Dr. Linus. This was certainly my favorite of Michael Emmerson's work since "The Shape of Things to Come."
It was a blast getting a glimpse of the man formerly known as Henry Gale ranting about trivial matters in a teacher's lounge back in 'The Substitute', but here we get the full measure of this 'sideways' story, which for me, was completely self-contained and completely worked; with a beginning, middle and end, and not too much by way of loose ends or biding mysteries. Ben here is portrayed as something of a pathetic wimp (something I always felt like he would be in the 'real world') but he's got a doctorate and a passion for the students; he clearly has the ambition, and potential to be so much greater than he is- kind of like Locke. Speaking of Locke, it was this lowly substitute that put Dr. Linus on his path in this episode. "Who's gonna listen to me?" John raises his hand, "I'm listening." The connection these two men will always have with each other in Lost's universe(s) is one of the greatest strengths of the show.
Alterna-land sees a few other interesting relationships for Ben. He cares for his father Roger (fantastic makeup) and mythology-wise, this was the only real bit to chew on. They did indeed join the Dharma initiative, but fascinatingly, they left it eventually, and now wonder if things would have been better if they stayed. Layered. Very layered.
The highlight for me, though, was Ben's positive relationship with Alex. In this world, poor Rousseau (I NEED to see what this woman looks like not surrounded by jungle!) is working two jobs, and Alex is a star student shooting for college recommendations. And she's smoking hot. Seeing Ben and Alex together in a positive manner was a delight, and like Locke, there certainly seems to be a 'cosmic truth' to Ben's genuine connection with the girl, daughter or not. She is very important to him. And she's smoking hot. He cared for her enough to sacrifice his chance to move to a position of power in his life. The complete opposite of what happened in The Shape of Things to come. The power theme was also used as a metaphor during his Napoleon lesson. Dr. Linus is a good teacher! Unlike Dr. Arzt- who will fail you for confusing genus with species, lol! On the island, Ben was even more powerless, and was ratted out for killing Jacob by Miles. "Uh oh!" Ben tried a few of his usual manipulative tricks, but he has seriously lost his touch, and soon found himself literally digging his own grave, overseen by a vengeful Ilana. I think this episode will be remembered for sort of being the 'death' of the old evil Ben we've come to know and love. This dude has become confused, scared, desperate, remorseful...and utterly lost. The best scene came at the climax, where Ben confessed about why he killed Jacob, (I did sympathize with his plight) and that he'd go with Locke because 'he's the only one who'd have him'. Moving. Ilana's forgivness was kind of awesome, though, and it, with the return of Jack and Hurley helps to cement that these are clearly the 'good guys' assembling against the bad guys. Case in point: In the other camp everyone's killing each other. This will be an epic showdown (we're already more than 1/3rd done!) Our castaways have split camps before (S4), but something tells me this will be a bigger deal... Of course I would be remiss not to mention Jack and Richard's moment in the Black Rock. Richard wants to die, after a lifetime(s) of servitude to Jacob without any answers. So I guess he treated the viewers the same way. He continued to be vague and explain absolutely nothing even when being directly asked at the risk of blowing up with dynamite. Honestly, this was the frustrating, weaker part of the ep for me. Why doesn't he age? He can't tell us. Why didn't they blow up? No one knows. Jack's a candidate, but that still doesn't explain anything. Richard's flustered and now, all of a sudden says don't trust Jacob. Doesn't give a reason though. We get one f'ing nugget of info: when Jacob touches you it is a 'gift'. Thanks. Many probably already deduced that. What is the gift? Still no answer. Are Hurley and Jack ageless now too? String along the Lost obsessive if you want, but I must repeat: we're more than 1/3 through this final season! Just answer the damn question! Anyway, aside from that, Dr. Linus was awesome through and through. Arzt and his parking spaces, smokin hot Alex, with the cameos we've seen so far, (Rose, Keamy, Boone) this got me thinking about who else I'd like to see one more time before the show wraps:
Mikhail. Patchy was my favorite of The Others.
Clementine. I want to see how Sawyer's daughter turned out.
Mr. Eko. The only main character who has not been seen post-death.
JJ Abrams. Not his show anymore, but come on, I'd like to see it's co-creator involved in the final season in some way.
This episode was the classic episode with the one fans says: "ehhh!! I want answers and nothing else" No friends!! I want a "good tv show" and lost always fulfilled my expectations (with the exception of 5 chapters of season 3 and some of the 4). Away in the future this season 6 will be awesome!!, remember that! Lost in the future will be the "perfect art" of television, the mother of future shows (like "The Prisoner" in the 60`s. The bad things you say now are only result of "too much expectative" because the season 6 has everything, not what the public expected (but lost never gave us what we expected, its the surprise effect)and the public will see that thing in future. This its a tv show for the future, remember. Cheers for "Lost, The Prisoner and Stephen King!"
Ben its great, lockee its scare now, jackk have charisma now, and everything HAPPEN FOR A REASON ;)
As always, Michael Emerson is excellent, but that's not new. Here, he both makes us feel sorry for him, and believe in his burgeoning redemption, and, in the flash-sideways, offers an unexpected twist ( which SHOULD be the point to the flash-siedways ), choosing Alex over power this time. The school setting was quite mundane compared to the power struggles among the Others, but it worked beautifully as a metaphor - and in both realities, Ben was tempted by John Locke, which is a bonus. On top of that, we had great scenes from Richard Alpert, who really emerges as a tragic figure, some callbacks to the past ( the Black Rock, Nikki and Paulo ... ) and an exciting cliffhanger. And really, who doesn't want more Arzt ? Another great episode !!!
At the end of the episode, I said to myself, "This had a classic LOST feel to it," and it really did. Heartfelt scene at the end between Ben and Ilana with Ben confessing what he did to Jacob and his confessions rather saving the island than Alex, his daughter. Michael Emerson deserves an Emmy nomination for that one scene. Another reason it had that classic LOST feel to it was the slow motion camera when Jack, Hurley, and Richard return to the island everyone hugs each other, except Ben and Richard. How can you not like that? To top off the classic LOST feel was the weekly cliff hanger at the end in the submarine with Charles Widmore on the island. Is he going to help the people on the island or is he going to side with Locke? What's he doing on the island? Definitely the best episode of the season so far. Everything about it was great. The island time and the sideway-flash story.
A deal with Locke. In Sundown Sayid did a Faustian bargain. He could have rejected it but instead he decided to follow his troubled heart and accepted. Dr. Linus was a bit similar as Ben has always been a character oscillating between good and evil. One minute he's Dr Jekyll, the next he turns into Mr Hyde. Such a strange case was perfectly covered in The Constant, featuring Desmond Hume, but this time it was very different as it was about Linus the history teacher and Linus the island defender outcast.
The story used the same dual pattern as the past episodes. Linus really reminded me of Bill Gates as a teacher and it was quite funny at first but soon I forgot all about it as Michael Emerson performance was excellent, as always. The substitute, John Locke, was also featured and I really liked how their only dialog was a direct reference to what was occuring on the island. Indeed all along Ben had to make choices, hard ones. What would you be capable of doing to seize an opportunity ? It was quite interesting to watch Linus answering that bugging question because we all had or will have to answer it ourself one day.
So the urban arc was great but the island one was even better. First as expected the temple was no more and we saw the characters running wild in the jungle wondering where to escape. How can you survive such an abomination ? Should you have joined its team instead ? What's the point of being a Candidate when you're dead ? So the survivors had to think fast and move even faster. But don't get me wrong the episode wasn't as dark and brutal as Sundown. In fact it was far much more peaceful than I expected. The calm before the storm ? I don't know what will happen next but as often the cliffhanger really intrigued me even if I found it rushed. As for Ben of the jungle his story mirrored the teacher's one, even more than in the past episodes. The matter what he chose, good or evil, his character development leaded to some very emotional moments and Emerson's acting reached heaven or hell at times. His destiny is so captivating that I didn't know if I wanted him to conclusively become Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde.
To sum things up the eternal battle between good and evil will never stop to fascinate us. And when it's so well directed, written and acted you can only applause. Moreover we all know Lost is not an all black or white show so I'm sure either Dr Green or Mr Red will come back with a vengeance. But his twisted profile reminded me so much of Desmond that I can't wait to watch his featured episode. I don't know when it will air nor even if it will ever do and I don't want to know it because Lost is all about the mystery. We saw him in LA X for a few split seconds in the plane beside Jack and then he vanished. The world for a Penny !
A most pivotal episode revolves on the choices that matters the most: on Richard's case the choices led him to a life he just can't quit from no matter how much he would like to, on Ilana's case to the candidates she is supposed to protect and the father figure she couldn't save, on Jack's to come to terms with the fact that the choices had already been made for him and on one Ben Linus's case, well...the choice remains the same.
Ben is teaching European history when Principal Reynolds takes away the one thing it matters the most to him, his after-school History Club, but on the island he loses something worse as Miles reveals that, even at his final moments, Jacob was the only one who ever had faith in him. As his father, Roger Linus, wonders what their lives would be like should they have stayed on the Dharma Initiative, Ilana forces Ben to dig up his own grave for he killed Jacob, the closest thing to a father for her.
And yet is faced with the decision to lose his power that Ben realizes he already lost what mattered the most (Alex), he gives up after one final attempt to escape and explains Ilana that he knows no one will have him now that Jacob is gone, only thing is: he is wrong. Ilana does take him because that's what Jacob would have done.
As Ben Linus finds redemption on the island, the school teacher gives up the ultimate power play in order to protect the one thing that matters the most in this or every reality, once that Alex's future is safe, he walks away unaware of the fact that he has finally put his daughter first.
" It's good to see you without those chains Richard" That's the first thing that came to my mind when he entered the Black Rock.I don't know if I missed something or if it was pretty obvious but I just realized that Richard arrived to the island in the Black Rock , that's why he touches the chains and says that he has been there before , this is shocking news to me . The boat Jacob and Smocke watch coming to the island is probably the Black Rock too , we should probably have more news about this with Mr. Widmore's arrival to the island. Excellent acting by Michael Emerson specially in the confrontation with Illana.
This episode was perfectly good and even reminiscences of the days of old in the first season. The episodes showed what Ben has been seeking throughout the entire LOST history and that was acceptance, via that be from his father, the others, Jacob or the island itself. He has always seemed to have the desire of be accepted and not be the stranger looking in. Did he get his wish? In a way he did. Ben now a broke man, relinquish of power and with no means or desire to gain that power back has become a small fish in a big pond. But when his life becomes under threat does the old Ben, the master of manipulation come out, finding and using any ploy at his disposal for his life not to be ended by the distraught Ilana. And when came the standoff of Ben & Ilana in the jungle, you couldn't tell which way Ben would swing, and then we saw Ben do something that he has never done before on the show of LOST, he was open and he was honest. And I think that stunned more the audience than Ilana as he told her of the regrets and the mistake he had made. So when Ilana accepted him to be in the Jacob group, Ben lowered his gun, followed of his own free-will not looking for any power plays, nothing and to Ben that was as okay as he was happy of finally being accepted.
I tell you who was not happy in this episode and that was Richard. Richard in this episode was suicidal, looking for a way to end the torment of being Jacob's no.1 servant. Ever close are we getting of finding out his history and of being almost certain that he came to the island via the black rock. And if it were not for a kick-ass Jack who has ditched his free-will beliefs and gone on to follow his destiny, does Richard forget his misery and follows one of the candidates.
At the end of the episode we got to saw a quintessential season one episode ending, with a happy ending with hugs and handshakes, with everyone smiling. Then suddenly came the revelation, Widmore's back. With Widmore's brief appearance, the show has given us a taste on what the next couple of episodes will be, and with that taste I can't wait, see you next week.
After the slaughter that ended the previous episode, it's no big surprise that this story was a bit more personal in nature. It continued the ongoing theme of choice, consequence, and redemption, both in the "Lost Prime" and "Lost X" versions of the story. And as it has been all season, the central character is more at peace in one than the other.
Benjamin Linus remains one of the most complicated characters in modern televised fiction. His particular brand of villainy is a wonder to behold. In many ways, Ben is not evil in his motivations. He is not trying to pull off some dastardly scheme or destroy the world. Instead, he has always been concerned with control over his world. To that end, Ben has done everything possible to maintain power over those around him.
Protecting the island was a reflection of that desire. Being the leader of the Others was the pinnacle of power on the island, at least as he had come to understand it. With Richard believing that Ben was chosen by Jacob, there was no one in a position to question his authority. It's little wonder that he did so many terrible things when his control was threatened.
But that is why redemption for Ben Linus was never going to be a true possibility until now. He had to be placed in a position with no control over his fate at all, and presented with a choice. That moment in front of Jacob couldn't be that choice, because it was an uninformed moment. That's not the case in this episode. Ben may not have all the answers, but he knows enough to realize the nature of the choice in front of him.
There is a fitting irony in the notion that Ben's path, so long defined by the manipulations of Jacob's rival, might actually be in the service of Jacob. Whatever anger and resentment that might have come out of Alex's death has washed away. It's unlikely that he will ever be trusted, of course, and that suggests a grand sacrifice on Ben's part before the story is complete.
In "Lost X", of course, the balance is opposite. Instead of sacrificing Alex in the name of preserving his source of power, however unintentional, Ben X sacrifices his power for Alex's sake. And this is despite a life which might have pushed him to take that chance and take control. He gained enough leverage to get just as much as he wanted, and for him, that was enough.
All of that is in keeping with the trend with all the "Lost X" segments this season. Regardless of how bad the situation might be, the characters have managed to find peace with who they are and their lot in life. Michael Emerson managed to capture both versions of Ben Linus perfectly. This is, without a doubt, one of his best performances.
The episode was filled with small but significant hints as to the nature of various mysteries still unexplained. As usual, there is more than enough information for a bit of speculation.
What was missing from Ben's life in "Lost X" was the pathological resentment that came from dealing with his father's emotional abuse for years. The implication is that something changed in terms of Ben's father. He still took Ben to the island to work for the Dharma Initiative, but he was willing to admit that he made a mistake and left before the island sank.
Based on Ethan's presence at the hospital as Dr. Goodspeed, there was a point in the timeline where at least some of the Dharma Initiative left the island, if not all of them. Without Sawyer and the rest of the time-travelers to warn them to evacuate, some other factor had to be in play. If the Incident was still something that happened, perhaps the nature of it was such that it slowly sank the island, leaving the Dharma personnel with enough time to leave.
The presence of Danielle Rousseau and Alex in Los Angeles, in the same general community as Ben Linus, Arzt, and John Locke, further supports the theory that the island sank due to that timeline's version of the Incident in 1977. There was no island to lure the scientific expedition towards, after all!
Yet the changes to Ben's father would seem to suggest that the branching point was before 1977. The timing is still unclear. One possibility is that it's more than just the absence of Jacob's intervention in the lives of these familiar characters; Jacob may not have intervened in anyone's life. There may never have been a search for Candidates, or the right person was found much earlier in the timeline. Another possibility is that the branching point is closer to the 1950s, since the intervention of the Oceanic survivors during the time traveling in the fifth season began in that era. If the Oceanic crash never happened, the time travel wouldn't have happened.
The Incident was related to the electromagnetic anomaly at the site of the Swan Station. It was said in the fifth season that the temporal anomaly on the island, at the site of the Orchid Station, was linked to the electromagnetic anomaly in some manner. This was seen in the unusual time/space effect around the island, the same one that made it so hard to find and that caused madness and death in those "unstuck" by leaving the island improperly.
The electromagnetic properties of the island were also mentioned as a possible explanation for the miraculous healing experienced by Rose, Locke, and several others. Yet there were instances, such as Ben's cancer, in which the island was unable to cure a disease. It all seems to fit together with Richard's claim, in this episode, that Jacob's touch brought on a kind of immortality. Jacob's chosen would seem to live forever and wouldn't be allowed to kill themselves; they could, of course, die through accident or murder.
As an aside, this also connects into the many comments in the first season regarding the miraculous survival of so many passengers on Oceanic 815. Sayid in particular questioned how they could have survived with a relative lack of major injuries. A lot of people have survived under questionable circumstances, throughout the course of the series.
The nature of the electromagnetic and temporal anomalies seems to create a "bubble" around the island. This, in turn, appears to create something of a containment field; it's safe to enter, but not so safe to exit. That sounds like something that could have been used to keep Jacob's rival from leaving the island. More to the point, it also suggests that the unusual properties of the island are linked directly to Jacob himself. Jacob and the anomalies may, in fact, be one and the same.
The point is that this could explain why the Incident led to the two timelines, and why one seems to be a timeline in which Jacob never intervened in the lives of the familiar characters. In "Lost Prime", the Incident never fully dispersed the enormous source of electromagnetic energy. Instead, it was still strong enough that the Swan Station was built, along with the "button", to keep it from a massive discharge.
In other words, Jacob was still viable in the "Lost Prime" timeline, and this is evident from the subsequent events. Jacob and his rival continued their long debate over the true nature of humanity, leading to the final few Candidates and the final conflict to come.
In the "Lost X" timeline, however, it appears that Jacob is not active and the island is underwater. Perhaps in the "Lost X" timeline, the Incident weakened Jacob enough that he did eventually disperse. The island, no longer within its protective "bubble" that allowed movement through time/space, could have slowly sank beneath the surface.
The implication is that "Lost X" is a timeline in which Jacob's rival could very well be free. If that's the case, then it further supports the existing notion that Jacob's interference in the lives of his Candidates is not a good thing, and that Jacob may be doing more harm than good. In fact, while this is being framed as a battle between good and evil, it's really beginning to feel more like two sides of a debate over the value of free will that doesn't necessarily have a "right" or "wrong" side.
Of course, there is the small matter of why Jacob and his rival came to the island in the first place. Jacob could have sacrificed himself to contain his rival, knowing that his rival would have to rely on the darker impulses of human nature to escape, based on the "rules". In that case, the debate is incidental: it merely informs the methods used by each side. Jacob needs to rely on the better angels of human nature, and Jacob's rival needs the opposite.
It seems logical to assume that the effect of the Incident in both these speculative scenarios would pertain to Jughead: was there a nuclear component to the Incident or not? One might be tempted to assume that if "Lost X" is a timeline in which Jacob was "destroyed" by the Incident, then that must be the one in which Jughead detonated.
But there is one piece of evidence that suggests the exact opposite. After the Incident, in "Lost Prime", women on the island were unable to conceive and deliver children safely. If the child was conceived off the island, it was a different story, but something about the state of the island after 1977 forced Ben to seek outside help (and thus, Juliet was brought to the island). One popular theory during the fifth season was that Jughead's part in the Incident produced enough of a background radiation problem to affect conception just enough to lead to the problems with reproduction on the island.
On the other hand, there's nothing to suggest that radiation was the source of the reproduction problem. Instead, it could have been due to something far more sinister. It all depends on whether or not Juliet was brought to the island for some purpose beyond Ben's original need for a fertility specialist. Ben's manipulation of Juliet mirrors Jacob's offer to Dogan. Jacob or his rival could very well have caused the reproduction problems for the sole purpose of bringing Juliet to the island. (Hopefully the whole reproductive issue will be one of the questions addressed in some fashion before the end.)
This episode also seemed to confirm that Richard was once a prisoner on the Black Rock, and Jacob's offer to Richard would also seem to connect to the implication in "The Incident" that Jacob and his rival were awaiting the Black Rock on the beach. (How it got into the middle of the island is still a damn good question.) There is also the implication that Richard was a Candidate. (For that matter, there is the implication that Michael was also once a Candidate, since he was unable to kill himself in "Meet Kevin Johnson".) Presumably, the oft-promised episode centering on Richard will confirm or correct some of these assumptions.
Overall, this episode was a good follow-up to the previous strong character study, delivering a near-perfect chapter in the saga of Benjamin Linus. Michael Emerson made the most of his time to shine, and the writers made it clear that this moment will be significant before the end. The final season continues to deliver.
Hi. My english isn´t enough to make a good review. However I want to say something that i see about the performance of Dr. Linus and the facts that take place in paralell in the island. Dr. Linus is a doctor in History, specialized in European History. I think that is important to know that characters with names like Faraday, Locke, Shepard, Hawkings, Sawyer, Austen and more, come from the history. Only Sawyer is not European History but, most of them are in my opinion, kind of "dream word" of Benjamin Linus. One of the great mysteries (and perhaps the key) of one line of this wonderful story i think is the relation between Jakob and Ben. I think that the whole mystery of Lost is more complex but for me one key (one important line) is the oniric word of the main characters. What do you think?
The final season is almost halfway trough. We have some dissapointments, some answers, but this episode is the reason you watch Lost. Main difference for me personally was that I felt the emotion in this episode again. We see dr. Linus in the alt/ff/whatever beeing a teacher and facing a difficult decision: Will he go for his own succes or will he protect the ones that are close to him?
At the end of the show we see Dr. Linus pick a side when it comes to Jacob / MiB ( good vs. bad, whatever good and bad turns out to be). This perticular scene is epic. It's filled with emotion, brilliant acting and backed up with a good script. After this scene I felt some kind of relieve. We see a new Ben. A little dissapointment was maybe the overall plot. No big spoilers or what so ever. But you will forget that right away. What a brilliant episode! And outstanding acting by Michael Emerson. Why not give him the Emmy right away?
Ben deals with the consequences of an uncovered lie.
I think I will write a shorter review for Dr Linus because there is so much to talk about and I'm a bit lazy to talk about everything that was good about the episode I will just say that this episode of Lost was my favourite of the season so far, lets face it Ben episodes are like Locke episodes they never dissapoint. The acting from Emerson was once again superb, Ben's conversation with Ilana near the end was acted with perfection well done Michael Emerson. I wish we see more of Ben this season because he has not had much screen time until this episode. Other than this my favourite scenes where the ones with Richard, Jack and Hurley.
This episode was very well directed, the acting was phenomenal and in a way it was also revealing (although maybe not what most LOST fans were looking for in terms of revealing more answers to the dozens of questions that still remain unanswered). It was revealing because we learn why Benjamin Linus is the way he is. Moreover, we have seen him as a tyrant, a murderer, and a master manipulator from the first time he joined the show but this episode finally revealed the real Benjamin Linus. He is not as evil as we thought-like any loyal soldier would do, he did what he felt was right in order to protect the island and Jacob.
Ben's true nature was revealed in one of arguably the best scenes in LOST history-Ben's scene with Ilana in the forest. Michael Emerson superb in this scene (I agree with many people that he should get the oscar for that performance) because we were able to relate and actually feel pity for his character. Wow, I can't believe I just said that about Ben! But its true. Think about it for a second. Ben did indeed sacrifice everything for Jacob, and when Jacob ignored him and didn't reward him for his efforts, after Ben sacrificed everything for him for the majority of his life, including his own daughter, wouldn't you too be devastated? After Jacob was gone, Ben lost everything. But he finally realized that after Jacob was gone, that the real thing that was missing was Alex. That was such a powerful scene, even Ilana felt sorry for him and just a few moments earlier she was ready to kill him. What a turn of events!
Ben finally broke down and everything came out. He was defeated-his life had become meaningless and he felt betrayed and used and he had no one except Locke at that point. We could see it all in his eyes (thanks to Michael Emerson's phenomenal performance). Just typing this out makes me feel sorry for him! Wow, what an amazing show, amazing cast and I hope that LOST goes out with a bang this year and takes all the Oscars.
Michael Emerson plays the Island Linus as a defeated shell of the former Others' leader, having his significant emotional event and joining the Ghost of Jacob party. In the sideways story he is a career resricted History teacher making a Ben-type play for the principal's job, egged on by sub teacher realLocke and fellow staffer Arzt. An interesting reveal shows Linus and his ill father Roger, lamenting leaving the Island way back when. All in all a big character development for Ben. They're going somewhere with the sideways storyline overall but in this case it was a closed end episode, no dangling soap opera plotting and seems Linus is better off, in both timelines.
I really liked that this episode had quite many things and connections with old things.. Black Rock was visited again (I really enjoyed that storyline on season 1) and Jack has got some really interesting believes and believing so strong that risking his life.
But most of the episode went for Ben.. and to be honest, I have never liked him.. but the flashback.. and the whole thing with Ilana.. and he telling that Jacob killed her daughter and he did not do anything to stop and the whole way we saw on flashbacks the way he treated Alex and what he did for her. That was quite revealing and eyeopening on the char point.
Benjamin 'Henry Gale' Linus has consistently proven to be one of the most interesting characters that Lost has on its decidedly lengthy roster. Ever since he made his grand entrance mid-season two, falling out of a balloon and into the Hatch-obsessed lives of our favourite castaways, he's baffled, beguiled, intrigued, frustrated and downright mesmerised every last one of us, roping us in to a tragic story of misspent, underappreciated youth and desperately power-hungry adulthood. Michael Emerson has truly made the character his own, to the extent that it's hard to conceive of the show without him, despite the fact that we spent an entire year and a half unaware of his existence. And it's a further testament to the strength of his ability as an actor that he manages to generate ambiguity with every line, ambivalent emotions with every nuance. After almost four seasons, we still approach his character apprehensively, refusing to trust his assertions and uncertain of his motives, even with the most insignificant of decisions. This rich tapestry is what makes the guy so much fun, and it's why, when the news was released that hour seven of this final season would be titled 'Dr. Linus', fanboys, casual viewers and pervy-Other-fanciers alike jumped for joy, rejoicing in the possibility of something truly captivating.
And to be fair, that's pretty much what we get. Kitsis and Horowitz's script is a distinctly well-structured piece, counterpointing a notably unusual 'flash sideways' with a character-building on-Island narrative that allows the viewer to appreciate the depth and complexity inherent in Ben's methodical, but substantitive, transformation. This juxtaposition proves to be somewhat enlightening, allowing us to see that really, deep down, good ol' Linus does have a moral centre, a functioning heart. The story first illustrates this through the minutiae of the 'what if...?' scenario, wherein Ben has wound up teaching AP History at a local school. Dressed in conventional faculty garb and organising an after-hours club for truly enthusiastic students, this Benjamin Linus appears to be the antithesis of the man we've come to know and sorta love, lacking the spinelessness and tenacity demonstrated by the so-called leader of the Others. The principal cuts him down when he tries to defend his club, and he appears defeated, resorting to making underhanded comments once the guy's walked away ("it's Dr. Linus!") and moaning to his aging father, who actually seems to be remotely interested in what his son has to say, unlike the man whose life was essentially torn apart by the DHARMA Initiative. It's a somewhat intriguing development this, since the dialogue indicates that the pair did go there, all those years ago, but that they left; a decision that hints at an altogether different reason for the deviationin the outcome of events to the idea that Juliet simply succeeded in detonating the bomb. Still, as is perhaps to be expected, it doesn't take long for Ben's cunning to make an appearance and, significantly, as the suggestion of a coup is planted in his head by one John 'No, I'm Not Smokey' Locke, the cogs begin to turn, plans begin to be drawn and soon enough, Linus is relishing every last morsel of gossip that Alex, his young protege, can throw at him. While this plot can occasionally seem a little superfluous, lacking somewhat in the riproaring stakes, it is, nevertheless, perfectly in tune with the character, befitting of his established proclivities. It is also one of the more thematically interesting of the 'flash sideways' to date, precisely because its beats generally aren't ones that we've procrastinated over substantially before. Whereas we spent an entire three years (and probably more) focusing on the psychological ennui of the core Losties, we've never really explored Ben's 'issues' in any significant detail, having only been subjected to three Linus-centric episodes in the show's history, only one of which was a flashback (season three's tremendous 'The Man Behind the Curtain'). Consequently, a concentration on his obsession with power is far more intriguing than an exploration of Kate's penchant for running away or Jack's daddy issues.
The ultimate conclusion of the narrative - that Linus really isn't such a bad ol' chap after all, and that when faced with a sticky moral decision, he may just come down on the side of good - is a particularly satisfying one. The pay-off works distinctly well in the flash-sideways as the outcome is never particularly obvious; there are no signposts to indicate that he will ultimately choose to ease the pressure on the principal. Granted, he goes ahead with his blackmailing attempt, craving the desk for his own, and it is only when the man makes a counter-threat of his own that he begins to back down, but it's the nature of the threat that matters most. The principal strikes at Linus's compassion for his protege, at his desire to see those that have a gift for his subject actually succeed. And of course, the fact that this individual happens to be Alex Rousseau only adds a greater level of potency to events. On Island, Alex was his adopted child; off, well, who knows exactly what her situation is? Intriguingly, we're left with very little information in this regard, which is perhaps a good sign for a future episode. It's certainly pleasing to see the actress back after such a substantial absence, and while it does seem a bit of a stretch that she just so happens to effectively be on Linus's doorstep, it's highly likely that there's more going on here; that somehow, the DHARMA Initiative/Island connection may still play a role in aligning the lives of the characters. Importantly, she is the thread connecting this story to on-Island Ben's narrative, as it becomes evident, from the epiphianic conversation that he has with Illyana, that the execution of his daughter has been the driving force for his transformation. It still cuts right to the heart of his being, still traumatises after all these years. Emerson is unequivocally brilliant in this scene, perfectly pitching the character's emotions to provide the most potent level of resonance, making his confession that "no one will have [him]" truly heartbreaking. In a hugely significant moment, Ben actually turns his back on UnLocke, reinforcing his loyalty to Jacob (and through him, the Island), despite Smokey issuing him probably the most attractive offer he could hope to receive: leadership of the Island. Given his penchant for power, that's no small feat, but it doesn't seem an unusual decision. Instead, this reads as the logical conclusion of a journey that began many seasons ago, providing a wonderfully satisfying 'fist in the air' moment: Ben actually did the right thing for once! Get. The f**k. In. Of course, whether anyone will truly appreciate it is another matter altogether; for all Illyana stops shackling him and forcing him to dig his own grave (morbid, much?), and the jibes from the others cease (Sun lets him help!), when Jack and Hurley are reunited with their long-lost pals in a scene out of season one, complete with moderately cheesy piano underscore and slow motion camera movements, he's still on the periphery, forced to look in as everyone else experiences serendippity and euphoria. He's still, essentially, an outcast... but perhaps that will change, with time.
The episode's other major talking point is the all-too-brief sequence of scenes between Jack, Hurley and the ever-beguiling Richard. Finally, we get some idea as to the character's history, establishing that his perpetual youth was a 'gift' from Jacob, and that, as with Dogan and probably countless others, the man was instructed to abandon his life in order to come to the Island... a decision for which he would ultimately be rewarded, but that sadly, Jacob never got round to bothering to tell him. Yet again, we have a character whose loyalties are being tested, who is beginning to question the motivations and machinations of an individual who is supposed to be a force for good, which only serves to strengthen the complexity of the narrative. It's a somewhat interesting decision to have Jack direct Richard back onto his path, to restore at least a portion of his faith, in a scene that says a great deal about the purpose of the fatal crash of Flight 815. As the dynamite is unable to detonate, we are once again reminded that these characters are on-Island for a very distinct reason, that they've essentially been directed there, which ties back to the cameo appearances that Jacob made in their earlier lives in the season five finale. Granted, the 'dynamite detonation' sequence lacks a certain level of dramatic tension because Jack's life is never in any actual danger (come on... are you telling me that Matthew Fox is going to snuff it at this stage of the game? Please! Season finale at the earliest!), but this still remains a distinctly intriguing sequence; about as intriguing, it should be said, as the idea that Jacob was 'the closest thing that [Illyana] had to a father' or that Widmore has finally managed to locate the Island. This would undoubtedly have been a killer cliffhanger, the sort that leaves you desperate for more, if the production crew hadn't decided to include Alan Dale's name in the opening credits, thereby spoiling the fact that he makes an appearance for any viewers who are aware as to which role he plays, causing us to spend the majority of 'Dr. Linus' anticipating his arrival. When he hadn't shown up by the forty minute mark, it kinda became obvious where he was going to make an appearance. Oh Lost, when will you learn? (Probably at the same time that the writers cotton on to the fact that Sun's only line of dialogue is "have you seen my husband?"... and thanks to the guy who writes the TV.com Lost reviews for that one.)
'Dr. Linus' is another strong episode from a show that continues to impress, even at this very late stage in the game. For arguably the first time since 'LA X', the content of the 'flash sideways' never feels underwhelming, and this is largely thanks to its concentration on a character with whom we have spent very little time in seasons past. Ben Linus is arguably one of the most fascinating creatures that Lost has ever thrown our way, and Michael Emerson could well be the most talented shark in the show's quite considerable acting pool. Once again, he rises to every challenge with the most delectable of aplomb, and pulls off a multi-layered and highly effective performance that perfectly delineates the journey that the character has undertaken since those fatal moments in 'The Shape of Things To Come'. There's an intriguing B-storyline that edges things forward for Jack, Hurley and Richard, and for all the cliffhanger is ruined by a poor production decision, it nevertheless remains solid enough to make us yearn for more. This may not reach the lofty heights of 'Sundown' and 'The Substitute', but it's damn impressive all the same. Keep it coming, Lost. Don't do a 'Tricia Tanaka' on us now.
Compared to last week's action packed episode this was a lot slower paced. However that gave some much needed time to get some great character building moments. This week we had the first flash-sideways for a non-flight 815 passenger and it was a good one! So let's dive straight into the off island story.
Firstly after not getting any real info about what happened to the island in the alternate universe we got a great nugget of information from Ben's dad (still alive and well… ok alive anyway) that they had been on the island and left. Of course when analyzed that doesn't really cross off many theories as to why the island is underwater but it was nice to have the island acknowledged.
What the off island story did have was another great story! Having seen Ben as a teacher in "The Substitute" we knew an interesting story was coming, and it didn't disappoint. I remember hearing someone say it'd be cool if Widmore turned out to be the principle, but who they got in the end was even better! Ghostbusters and Die Hard's William Atherton was great as Principle Reynolds. Lost has a tendency to get cool famous genre actors, who are also perfectly suited to the role they play. And as far as fan-boy faves go we had the return of Dr. Arzt. I was a bit disappointed that we didn't get more of Locke in the flash-sideways, but Arzt still did well as someone to play off Ben. The advantage of using Arzt than a new character (which may have been more believable) is that the audience is already invested in the guy allowing for a more immersive experience.
And another familiar face was Alex. While not her father here he was an authority figure and the two still worked nicely on screen together. As had always been the case on the island, Alex herself wasn't that interesting, but how she influenced the plot was vital. As we saw last week, Sayid couldn't change who he is and the same thing happened here with Ben, just to a less murderous extent. The master manipulator saw an opportunity to take the principle's position and went for it. It was all very entertaining to watch and culminated with Ben having a similar choice as he'd had on the island regarding Alex. That we didn't initially see his decision over Alex's future nicely kept the suspense going for a while, but in the end he chose her future over his own. While it was a nice moment my only complaint is that it doesn't resonate the same way it would've had it been the "real" Ben. While his relationship with Alex didn't go into the questionable territory of him having more than just a professional interest in her, by not having the same connection as a father and daughter it didn't hit home quite as well as it could've.
On the island things picked up right after the previous episode with Ben rejoining the rest of the gang after escaping from the temple. It's a shame we didn't get a bit more information on what Dogan's overall position was amongst the Others. Ben had been the leader and yet Dogan appeared to know more about Jacob than him. It's a minor point that I'm not going to lose sleep over, but it would've been nice to have cleared it up.
It would seem Illana didn't believe that fake Locke had killed Jacob and so had Miles find out what had happened to him. Although we did get a line from Ben about acknowledging the existence of psychics I hope Miles' ability will get explained by the end of the series. Still that doesn't affect this episode and did work nicely to set the main threat up. Illana's still a mystery at this point. Cleary she has a link to Jacob that presumably is separate to the Others, and we got a bit of information from her here. Having seen that she recognised Jacob in last season's finale the line that he was like a father to her was buyable enough that you could understand her hatred towards Ben. That said simply how highly Jacob's held would've been enough to give reason for a vendetta against the ex leader of the Others. Having him dig his own grave was a bit of a dodgy visual, mainly due to the event it makes you think of. That said I didn't dislike Illana because of it, as you could understand her perspective.
While this was going on Jack and Hurley ran into Richard and we got a couple of very entertaining scenes out of it. Seeing the Black Rock again was nice, as was basically confirming that it's how Richard got to the island (would still like to know who it ended up in the middle of the jungle). As always Hurely was fantastic, asking all the questions the audience would be thinking, without going overboard with it. His shock and fear at Jack's decision to stay with Richard and the lit dynamite was great. Which led into a very cool scene. Part of me wanted to have Richard remove the fuse from the dynamite before it could get to it as it just going out seems a bit too supernatural for my liking. However I can't deny it was a very cool moment and a big bit of character development for Jack, while also putting a quick end to Richard's suicidal thoughts.
As for the other main characters who were featured we got little character moments from each of them. Frank revealed why he didn't fly 815 in the end; although I think if they'd had a few more episodes his story would've been a bit more epic than just sleeping in! Miles' nod to the ever despised Nikki and Paulo was cool, although not a big fan of him digging up the diamonds (although guess if no one else wanted them). There was also Richard's comment about being touched by Jacob. Presuming he means this literally does this mean Hurley, Jack and co are also immortal now? Probably not but things are nicely starting to come together.
So with help from fake Locke (who's apparently telekinetic) Ben escapes from Illana and has the choice to kill her. But he doesn't and instead spills his guts out towards her. It was a well delivered scene (as you'd expect from the brilliant Michael Emerson) and enough for Illana to let him live. It worked because we knew why he killed Jacob, and could kind of understand it. So given the same information to Illana her forgiving him worked.
Ben still doesn't seem to be a full part of the group (as seen by how he was basically ignored during the reunion scene), but he's getting there. The ending with Jack, Hurley and Richard getting to the beach was very reminiscent of the many reunion scenes that have been played there over the course of the show. But it was still nice (although Hurley hugging Miles seemed a bit much as it'd only been a say since he last saw him!) and a decent way to end the character building episode. But that wasn't quite it. Suddenly we saw that they were all being watched from a submarine. As soon as the sub appeared we knew who was inside it, and it was an awesome moment! It was a great setup that seemed appropriate to end the episode on.
So in truth not a lot happened in this episode, but that's ok. Ben killing Jacob had to come out eventually and it's good that it's been dealt with now; and it was dealt with well here. Add to that some cool character moments, a great alternate reality story and a very sweet ending and we had another great episode of Lost.
I love Ben eps. He's my favourite charactor. Everything about him is spot on, in paticular the way he is portrayed by Michael Emmerson. He deserves a second emmy after his performance here. Its steller. It helps to disguise a slight dissapointment; once again I'm truley fed up of these Flash-Sideways.
I agree with an article written on here; teacher Ben was boring, and his whole I'm going to steal the Headteacher job really did feel like filler. The Flash-Backs and Flash-Forwards had a purpose and as we have yet to discover what the purpose behind the sideways is I'm bored of them. I loved pretty much everything about this episode but I couldn't help but feel the plot advanced nowhere. We have ten eps to go and there are still tonnes of questions to be answered (if they don't answer why the Chinease people were so weird in SIASL I will cry ;). This was a very strong ep but all it succeeded in doing is reuniting some of the losties and bringing back a certain Charles Widmore. Probably the weakest Ben ep but I was expecting it to be. Dissapointing really but I didn't want to see Ben, a man who we never knew was a good guy or a bad one, as a pretty pathetic teacher. Shame his last ep had to be about this.
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