Season 3 Episode 20

The Man Behind the Curtain

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM May 09, 2007 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
1,769 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

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.

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  • 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!

    Since his introduction in Season 2's "One of Them", the character of Benjamin Linus [a.k.a Bug-Eyed Bastard] had been crying out for his own episode, and here in Season 3 that moment came. And it didn't disappoint. In fact, it was one of the best episodes of not only Season 3 but the entire series. The episode seemed to ignite the excitement and freshness of the series once felt way back in Season 1. The reason for this could be attributed to one thing: Jacob. Since Season 2, about the same time that Ben was introduced to audiences, another mysterious character was introduced but only in dialogue and never by name. He was referred to as he", "him", "a magnificent man" and an "unforgiving man" and someone who it appears reigns over all the other Others, even Ben. In early season 3 there is a passing reference to someone named "Jacob" and that his List didn't include Jack Shepherd, who was kidnapped by Ben's people. As the season progressed his name kept popping up but with no idea of who or what this person was. Until now!

    The scene when Ben and Locke visit Jacob's cabin is one of the best moments of the series and, interestingly, the first notable moment since Season 2's "Lockdown" where viewers felt the need to rewind, pause, zoom and screen-cap what was going on, if only to reveal who Jacob was. Not everyone picked him out on first viewing but after Ben is thrown against the wall the camera pans back across and for a split second we see a dark figure in the rocking chair, that before was empty. I, myself, haven't studied the figure hard enough to venture a guess as to who that figure might be, that is if it is someone we are already familiar with, Christian Shepherd, for example, or even Locke himself. Jacob's words were "Help me!". If the figure in the chair was in fact Locke then in some way what he said would make some kind of sense. Locke was being warned by himself sitting in the chair of Ben's attempt to murder him. As Locke lies in the Mass Grave later he says to Ben "Help Me!", which Ben, understandably misinterprits as being a plea for help to get him out of the grave. Maybe Jacob was offering a warning to Locke by somehow taking on the form or voice of Locke. That made me wonder whether Jacob is merely the manifestation of the Smoke Monster. We knew that Yemi and a host of other island manifestations were manifested by the Monster. So the Monster [aka Jacob] could have taken on the form of Christian Shepherd or Locke at that precise moment when Locke is about to leave in utter disbelief. Ben warns Locke before they enter that Jacob hates technology, which would make sense also if Jacob is the Monster. The monster hates the sonar security fence, therefore hating a form of technology. The scene in the cabin is one of the scariest moments the show has had, and we haven't had many scary moments for a long time. Ben's flashback is brilliant and reveals a ton of information regarding the DHARMA initiative, the Hostiles and the Purge. It also explains why Ben is obsessed with fertility experiments on the island, as his own Mother died whilst giving birth to him. Of course Emily Linus didn't give birth or die on the island, as Ben had claimed, so the reasons why pregnant women die here is still up for debate. One of the interesting things that is brought up in the flashback is the appearance of Richard Alpert in the jungle when Ben is young. This means that Richard does not age or ages really well, giving viewers another taste of the island's powers. It can heal, manifest whatever you want to appear on it [the Magic Box] and slow down the ageing process. Aside from longer hair, Richard Alpert doesn't appear a day younger than how we see him now. It was revealed that the original "Others" of the island, referred to by DHARMA as the "Hostiles" or the "Natives" were the original inhabitants of the island before the DI scientists even arrived. Could these Hostiles arrived on the island in the Black Rock? Could make sense? Maybe they arrived without intending, just like our Losties and learnt to survive on the island, while being affected by its magical powers.

    This episode also proves that no stone is left unturned. The DHARMA van and "Skeletor" from "Tricia Tanaka is Dead" earlier this season is revisited and we realise that the skeletal remains of "Roger Workman" wasn't just a random DHARMA janitor but the father of Benjamin Linus himself! Amazing loose end tie-up, which proves that even the least vital piece of information introduced in the show at first glance suddenly becomes so vital!

    We now know that DHARMA and the Others are NOT one and the same. It struck me a week after watching this episode that the two tribes brought up the theme of Science vs Faith. DHARMA represented the Science and the Hostiles represented the faith aspect and were probably more invested in the spiritual and metaphysical properties of the island rather than the technological and more science-based properties that DHARMA specialised in. That said, if John Locke and Jack Shepherd existed during these flashback events then Jack would be on the side of DHARMA and Locke on the side of the Hostiles. It is already apparent that Alpert has formed some kind of understanding of Locke. Maybe he, like alot of the Others, want to see a change in the heirarchy and the leadership of the island and therefore see the potential for Locke to come forward carrying Ben's old crown. Ben isn't happy with this new development, as much as he may respect Locke. He can't take the fact that someone, an outsider, may succeed Ben on the Others throne and that is purely the reason why Ben shot Locke, leaving him for dead in the DHARMA mass grave. The fact that Locke heard Jacob was enough motivation for Ben also. For only the leaders of Otherland can hear or see him!

    Ben senses he is losing his grip on his people and he isn't the only one. In a nice parallel Jack too seemed to be losing his leadership grip on the Losties, the issue of trust reaching a head. Jack may have resolved his leadership blip for now and if Locke does die then Ben has resolved his. But can Locke really be left to die? Of course this would be answered by season's end. Ben mentioned that he hopes Jacob will help John, presumably by healing him, just like he presumably healed Locke of his initial paralysis.

    Another nice parallel drawn this time between the flashback and the current island events was The Purge. This season has been slowly building to a war between the Others and the Losties and, therefore, by seeing the Purge of the DHARMA Scientists by the Hostiles in the 1970's, we perfectly set up the promise of a second Purge. But who will win this time? Will the Hostiles take control over the Losties once and for all or does Jack have "what it takes". As long as the ghost of Christian Shepherd doesn't appear to him on the island feeding him doubts we will be okay.

    One thing I noticed that I don't think anyone else has picked up on was regarding the powdery substance that Locke found near the Jacob's Cabin. When Locke picks up some in his fingers and smells it I couldn't help thinking that it was familiar somehow and then it dawned on me. In Season 2's "?" when Eko and Locke find the Beechcraft Locke smells the substance again, declaring it to be salt. Maybe it is the malting skin of the Smoke Monster. Don't forget that the Monster lurked near the Beechcraft later when it killed Eko. Or maybe it was ash still resting from the island's volcano? Or maybe the Smoke Monster is the result of whatever happened to the volcano. Maybe when the volcano erupted it released `ole smokey?! This is my longest review for a very long time and has made me realise what was missing from previous episodes. Sure the quality, since "Enter 77" has been consistently good but this and the last episode has brought back what I loved about the series in Season 1 and the space to allow for deeper introspection and analysis into the metaphysical properties of the island, which were sadly absent through much of the rest of the season. With more to talk and theorise about now, a welcome return to the more spiritual and metaphysical mysteries of the island, gathering anticipation of a second island Purge and the promise of rescue for our Losties the momentum of the series is at an all time high.moreless
  • A peek behind the curtain reveals some of the biggest and best moments of the series

    To say that we've been looking forward to seeing Ben's flashback and finally getting "some frigging answers" would be an understatement to the nth degree.. But unlike the flashbacks we got of Juliet, which have pretty much told us everything we need to know about her, 'The Man Behind the Curtain' seems to be more out of the Season 1 school, giving bits and pieces but not filling us in on the whole. And while we will eventually get more of the blanks filled in (but not til Season 5), once again are major word of mouth is Ben himself. And we all know that he's a liar.

    Locke has called the bluff he made in the previous episode, and brought back his father's body to the camp. You can tell Ben really didn't think he was capable of it in his attitude. And until now, it's only seemed like Ben's grip has been loosening, now we see actual cracks. Mikhail shows up--- and Ben appears as surprised as anyone to see he's still alive--- and warns them about the woman who Desmond's group fished out of the trees. Considering what he tells them, it does raise the question how Mikhail knows all this--- Naomi was unconscious, and God knows nobody at the beach would've told him. We'll let this go for now. In any case when Locke sees Mikhail, he takes right up where the sonar fence left off, beating him to a pulp. Ben yells for Tom and Richard to do something, but they just watch. Looks like the mighty are about to fall. Even Alex--- who has good reason to loathe her father--- goes out of her way to make sure that Locke is armed before swishing him a disdainful 'Happy Birthday."

    So, after nearly a whole season of waiting, Ben finally takes Locke to see Jacob-- the mysterious man that the Others (Ben in particular) have been using as the man behind everything. It's a considerable trek, and its worth noting some of the landmarks. As they walk through the jungle night, they pass a very large line of ash which Ben goes to great trouble to step over. In mythology, a circle of ash is used to keep demons away. It's significance here is hard to figure---- Ben may think that he's keeping others out with it, but it's just as likely that the Others have been using it to keep him sealed inside --- whoever 'him' is. Also, where did the ash come from? We hear mention of a volcano in this episode, but it has never been talked of again-- either in the real world or the flashbacks.

    Finally, they come to an isolated cabin.. As they approached, we hear a faint scream, but no one does anything. Ben gives Locke one last warning that Jacob's not going to be happy to see them. This doesn't frighten Locke, so they go in. They turn off their flashlights, and Ben lights a lantern. Inside, there are jars with fluid, and a portrait of a dog (though he isn't playing poker). Then Ben talks to--- an empty chair. He insists that Jacob is in it (it's a brilliant piece of acting by Michael Emerson) and carries on a long conversation. Locke naturally thinks (like the audience is supposed to) that Ben has gone over the high side, and that all of his planning has been part of a graduated insanity. So Locke starts to leave. And then we hear "Help me." And in a moment that caused people across the country to paused their Tivo's, we see--- someone. Then Locke shines the flashlight on him, and the cabin goes crazy. Branches begin shaking, the jars with fluid go flying across the room, the kerosene lamp all but explodes. Locke is terrified, even though Ben seems perfectly calm (though I'm damn sure this isn't what he expected.) and stumbles out of the cabin. Ben emerges and simply says "That's Jacob."

    By now, the rabid viewer of Lost has seen so much of that cabin that we probably know it inside and out, but we still don't know for sure--- was that really Jacob in that chair? No matter how many times I watch, it looks like an older version of Locke. And if it really was Jacob, why did he cry out 'Help me"? Did he sense that Locke was someone special or was he trying to find a way to shout out to what was keeping him prisoner? We still haven't gotten answers on this (the creators have to address it in Season 6, or they're not doing their jobs) but there's a very good possibility that Ben or Locke (probably both) were being deceived.

    If all this episode delivered was the scene in the cabin, it would be worth the wait. But Ben's flashback is one of the most shocking we've ever had. Ben has had a difficult life. Born two months premature, his early appearance led to his mother's death, and his father's endless contempt for the son who killed him. Ben also lied about being born on the island (he even says so here); rather he came with his father as part of the Dharma Initiative. His father had great ambitions, and was royally pissed when he learned he was just going to be a work man. The only people Ben seemed close to was a girl named Annie and the man who brought them to the island, Horace Goodspeed. Annie seems to be the only person in the world who really loved him (she gave him a birthday present that he is still holding on to nearly thirty years later) and its clear from the way that he watched her before that the feeling was mutual. Which is why it's been very puzzling that we still have no idea what happened to here even now (another question the producers better answer) Horace is more interesting. He doesn't interact with Ben much, but he clearly treats him with more kindness that Roger Linus ever does.

    Then Ben, like certain members of Oceanic 815 will, starts seeing dead people. In this case, he sees his mother. But unlike the others, who try to ignore it, Ben desperately wants to escape the hell he's in. So patiently he finds a way to turn off the sonic fence and runs into the jungle--- where he meets Richard. Richard's hair is bushier than it is in the present, but otherwise he looks exactly the same as he does now. Up until now, we've assumed that Ben was the leader; now it seems Richard has been monitoring him, and seems to consider him 'special', like he'll consider Locke several decades later. He tells Ben he can join them, but he'll have to be very patient. We won't learn for a little while longer what that patience will mean, maybe because it hasn't happened yet. (Confused? You ain't seen nothing yet.) The last flashback takes place in the early 90's. Ben has grown up, and is still a work man. He takes his father to a section of the island near the Pearl station (in the van that Hurley would later discover and bring back) We've seen Ben be ruthless before, but I define you not to be chilled to the bone when he cold-blooded gases his father. Simultaneously, the Dharma purge has taken place, and when Richard asks Ben if they want to move his father's body, Ben just tells him to leave it there. Now we get why they were so big on having him kill his father. He also seems to feel compassion towards Horace (he closes his eyes as if he regretted it) but he has no problem with them throwing all the bodies into a mass grave. God help us, he is a monster.

    But his most brutal trick is yet to come. After the actions in the cabin, Locke tells Ben that he intends to expose him as a fraud to all the others. Ben repays him by taking him to that same mass grave where the Dharma Initiative have been rotting for nearly fifteen years. Locke knows something is coming but reacts to late, and Ben shoots him. But rather than leave him for dead he demands to know what Jacob said to him. (Which either implies he'd never heard Jacob talk before or what happened in the cabin was news to him.) He appears surprised when he hears Jacob's words, but rather than finish Locke off, he leaves him for dead Ben knows about the healing properties of this island, and he never does anything without a reason. So why didn't he finish him off then and there? Maybe like everyone else, he knows Locke is special, and that this is one more test. Maybe he's trying to regroup on what Mikhail told him. Whatever the reason, their story is not even close to being over.

    'The Man Behind the Curtain' is arguably the high point of the season. It reveals Michael Emerson to be one of the premier actors of the shows (he received the first of three consecutive Emmy nods for this episode) and actually gave us a sympathetic portrait of Ben. What happened in the Dharma Initiative shaped him, but there was far more than what we saw in this episode to help turn him into the... person he is today. He may be a monster, but compared to some of what we've seen on this show, he didn't get there alone, and everything he does he does for a reason. But then he is a liar. Isn't he?

    My score:10moreless
  • Revised!!!

    Objective - » Lost maybe 60% completed right now. Mysteries started in Season 1 and 2 with the flashbacks were all revealed, if not, we are at 95% in terms of flashbacks. The mysteries about the others is in 50% at most, since in this Episode is time to Know Jacob, or at least, what Ben want to Show Locke. The mysteries in the Island like the Black Smoke monster or the Rules in the Island are in 30% maybe. The writers trying to tie this all and it seems that the next season things will be more revealing. Was time to put Ben as the Main Character and share his past with the Audience. The two setups already done in the last episodes, pay off in terms of Ben, since the events in the beach need more time to grow.

    Flashbacks -» The beginning, I really don´t Know why was this necessary, maybe to tell this story better, but it seems to be about doing a strong presentation, resulting to alert the audience that Ben will have his flashback in this episode. The moment that Ben was Born, the complication Phase was already done. So we see some scenes during his Childhood, a clever and convenient move by the writers, to allow the secrets that Ben Know, to remain in his pockets. So this only allow us to see what we already Know. Not that I don´t appreciate this move since there a lot of confirmations/information's: Ben was saved by his dead mother (which we already had an idea what could this be and the meaning), Ben didn´t born in the Island, The other or hostiles were there before DI. The climax of his drama was when his father had a nice talk with him, demonstrating that he thinks that Ben is guilt for his mother dead. This lead to a stunning revelation about Richard. The ending only show what Ben is capable off and show too what happened with the Dharma Initiative.

    Locke/Ben Event on The Island -» The beginning was strong, because Locke completed is mission, was time to Know the truth that he and us want to Know. Since the Complication phase was already set, was time to complicate things a little. What Locke did to Mikhail was nice. All the way we have Locke and Ben interaction, nothing that make this a top level interaction, but was not bad also. The climax, the moment of true was really strange, because Jacob is everything that you could not expect. The ending is shocking. The only thing really very well done is the fact that are people that actually thought that Jacob was there and there are people that thought that Ben is playing with Locke, but didn´t like the fact that Locke supposed ears Jacob.

    Sub Plot in The Beach -» The set of the complication phase was already done in the last two episodes, so this was more about trusting Juliet and initiate another complication. With the tape, Juliet has a lot to explain or not.


    1 - Plot Holes: Gold. Didn´t Notice.

    2 - Time and Scenes Management: Bronze. Only if you are a super fan if you didn´t notice how slow this episode tried to be. Not bad, since the revelation can be mind blowing and can make you think that this was worth watching.

    3 - Surprises/Twist/Shocks/Cliffhangers: Gold. Jacob and Richard, well, really surprising. The twist about Juliet was nice. The end is shocking for many and many fans out there.

    4 - Action: Wasn´t necessary.

    5 - Funny: None.

    6 - Drama: Bronze. One Scene in Ben´s Flashbacks.

    7 - Tension/Fear: Bronze. Maybe when you want to see Jacob.

    8 - Excitement Level (curiosity/Mystery/Doubt/Revelations: Gold. You want to see Jacob? Want to Know what will happen to Juliet? Curious about Ben Flashbacks?

    When I originally written this review, I thought that the episode didn´t deserve more than 8. Now that I saw all season 3 episodes again, and compared with other Lost season 3 episodes, I have no doubt that this episode was crucial, the information that Ben´s Flashbacks delivered was that type of only a 9 episode can deliver. Where Ben was born? The others really were there before the DI? Why Ben put a difficult Test like that to Locke (killing his own father)? How the Dharma Initiative leave the Island or what happened to them? And both Richard and Ben´s mother appearance deliver another intriguing questions. So, I think that a episode sometimes have one, two or 3 scenes that make the episode worth watching. This 1-5 scenes, is what we will remember and there is no doubt that this episode at least deserve a 9 because of the surprises and information's inside it?

    Reflection -» There are things confirmed. The Others, Hostiles named by the Dharma Initiative, really were there before Dharma. Other thing is Richard apparent Immortality, this may explain why is impatient about Ben obsession with fatality, since immortal don´t want more population, mainly because they can bring more people.

    Ben obsession is now explained, thought the circumstances of how he born and his relationship with his father. Which can explain why he tell Locke to kill his own father, so then Locke could be prepared and follow his footsteps. Ben saw his dead mother in the Island and that make him special?moreless
  • Wow

    Whilst filling the void until the new season of Lost starts, i came across this classic on DVD and felt compelled to review it:

    'The Man Behind The Curtain', contains so many clues, hints, answers and mysteries, it was practically bursting at the seems. From mass murders to mysterious visits in the night, a new orientation video and an oddly un-aging Richard Alpert, this Ben-centric episode had it all. Ben takes Locke to see Jacob; a mysterious being who Ben claims to take orders from, the dramatic confrontation to follow as well as what happens after turns Locke the skeptic into a true believer. Ben's early life is also shown and despite what he claims (several times) he wasn't born on the island.

    For those who are curious of Ben's early life this episode is like the promise land as we're given almost a blow - by - blow description of Ben's life before he became the one we know and er, love today. These flashbacks may seem slow but are vital in piecing together what we know about Ben and for the lost fanatic, this is more important than entertainment.

    Having this episode centered around Ben and Locke was genius as they're the most intereting and well - acted characters on the show, their scenes light up. The performances of Michael Emerson and Terry O'Cuinn are great as usual. This episode is basically a continuous build - up to the dramatic confrontation with Jacob and it does not disappoint! I recommend not watching it in the dark however, you've been warned. That scene leaves us with more questions than we've had surrounding any previous character but the fact the Jacob is real is concrete. The Man behind the Curtain is a feast for any Lost fan; acting, writing, directing and information - wise it is at it's best and from beginning to end, it has us involved.moreless
  • A Ben-centric episode.

    Let me just start out by saying that as a whole, I absolutely loved this episode. I've been very intrigued by the character Ben ever since they introduced him on the show, so I'm so glad that the writers finally did a Ben-centric episode. It was great getting to see flashbacks of Ben's life and the early days of the Dharma Initiative. I was extremely shocked when Jack told the rest of the plane crash survivors that Juliet had already admitted to him that Ben had ordered to spy on all of the plane crash survivors. That was definitely very surprising. In closing, I thought that this was a very well written, well acted and well made episode of Lost from everyone involve in the making of it, and I can't wait to watch the rest of my Lost: Season Three DVD set so I can find out how the season ends.moreless
Carrie Preston

Carrie Preston


Guest Star

Samantha Mathis

Samantha Mathis


Guest Star

Madeline Carroll

Madeline Carroll


Guest Star

M.C. Gainey

M.C. Gainey

Tom Friendly

Recurring Role

Tania Raymonde

Tania Raymonde

Alex Rousseau

Recurring Role

Andrew Divoff

Andrew Divoff

Mikhail Bakunin

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • 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"
      "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.

    • According to the timeline, the purge occured when Alex was 4 years old, even though she didn't appear during it. 4 is one of "The Numbers".

    • Roger was the skeleton Hurley found in the van in "Tricia Tanaka Is Dead".

    • When young Ben arrived on the island, Roger said "Ah, he don't say much", and Horace responded "That's okay. I bet he will when he has something to say, right Ben?". In "Further Instructions", Locke couldn't speak and Boone (from his vision) told him "Don't worry. You'll speak when you have something worth saying".

    • Horace & Olivia are driving a candy apple red VW Karman Ghia, when they pick up the Linus family, similar in model (year) to the candy apple red VW Beetle that Locke drives in his flashback episodes.

    • Flashback and present events occur 4 times during Ben's birthdays through the years. 4 is one of "The Numbers".

    • When Mikhail informs Ben of Naomi's ship, he says it's 130 kilometers offshore, which is the equivalent of 80 imperial miles (the exact figure is 129 km), whereas Naomi said her ship was 80 nautical miles offshore (148 km).

    • During the scene of Ben approaching the Barracks after he murders his father, the reflection of the microphone can be clearly seen in the glass visor of his gas mask.

    • Ben had a friend named Annie, which was Kate's alias in "Tabula Rasa".

    • Young Ben had 13 volumes of the Golden Book Encyclopedia on his bookshelf. The 13th volume is titled Rabbits to Signaling.

    • When executive producers Jeff Pinker and Jack Bender are credited their names appear in the middle of the screen, instead of at the sides. It probably had to do with the fact that the video with Marvin Candle was being showed.

    • The code that Young Ben enters into the security system is 54439. Also, 4 is one of the numbers.

    • In the scene when Locke is introduced to Jacob, Ben takes in a lantern. However when Jacob becomes angry it causes the lantern to fall to the ground, break, and start a fire. Soon after Locke runs out of the cabin, Ben follows, closes the door and hangs the lantern that just broke back up.

    • Richard Alpert is shown in three different timeframes. The first is when he meets Ben just after Ben's arrival (when Ben is aged 8-12), then as a young man that Ben meets after the bloodshed (when Ben is aged 20-25) and finally in the present (when Ben is in his forties). Between the young Ben and the present, at least 30 years have passed, though Alpert does not appear to age.

    • The opening flashback scene, when Ben is born, is unique as it is the first time we've seen a moment from a character's life that they couldn't have remembered.

    • When Ben shoots Locke, falling into the mass-grave, Locke's fingers and shirt are both covered with blood. In next sequence his fingers are clean and then bloodied again the last scene.

    • Numbers: 4
      The TV playing the Barracks video has 4 knobs.

    • Ben kills his father on his own birthday, therefore both of his parents died on his birthday.

    • The gas grenade prop Ben uses in the van is a repainted ALSG272 CS smoke grenade. The same grenade was used (without the can being repainted) in Left Behind.

    • Ben's Messenger Bag can be seen with a logo for the brand Fossil. That brand was founded in 1984. Ben must be at least in his 40s, making this a mistake.

    • Unlike his father's and other DHARMA members, Ben's DHARMA uniform does not have the characteristic DHARMA symbol.

    • After Ben is thrown back from the chair in the cabin, a silhouetted, long-haired man appears for a split-second in the chair that Ben was talking to and the man is neither Locke nor Ben.

    • Ben is wearing a Timex Indiglo watch. Timex received the patent for the Indiglo® nightlight in 1988, but according to the Timex website, "The company introduced the industry's first electroluminescent watch face in 1992". This means that the purge would have had to have occurred during, or after, 1992. However, one must take into account that the Others kidnap Alex in 1988, and not only was she not shown but Rousseau apparently doesn't recall ever meeting DHARMA. Furthermore, in the Lost Experience, Hugh McIntyre stated that the DHARMA Initiative funding was cut in 1987. Thus, the watch clue might be a production error.

    • When the camera shows one of the skeletons in the mass grave, it can be seen that it has a bullet hole in the head.

    • Mikhail tells Ben about Penelope's ship and its location, however Naomi did not tell him about the ship nor the two facts (130 clicks and "west") that he knew.

    • The town Ben was born in is 32 miles outside of Portland. There's a town called "Gale's Creek" that's exactly 32 miles outside of Portland, Oregon. Henry Gale is Ben's previous alias.

    • The ongoing theme of characters with bad fathers continues in this episode. As well with Ben, some of these characters with father issues include Jack, Kate, Locke, Sun, Hurley and Claire.

    • In the Bible, Jacob has a son called Benjamin. Ironically, the Biblical Benjamin also resulted in his mother Rachel's death.

    • Numbers: 4, 8, 23.

      According to the sign near the road, Ben is born 32 miles outside of Portland. (4 x 8 = 32, and 32 reversed is 23)

    • Both Ben and Locke's mothers share the name Emily.

    • Numbers: 4, 15, 16

      When Ben and his father are in the van and he looks at his watch, the times displayed are 4:00:15 and 4:00:16.

  • 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)

    • Ben: (to an empty chair) Jacob, this is John. (to Locke) Aren't you going to say, "Hello," John?
      Locke: What?
      Ben: (to the chair) I told you he wouldn't.
      Locke: Who - What are you talking about?
      Ben: You can't see him?
      Locke: See who?
      Ben: Jacob. He's sitting right here, in this chair. (to the chair) Yes, I know, but he insisted.
      Locke: What is this?
      Ben: You wanted the secrets of the island, well here they are. This is the man who can answer every single - (to the chair) I am not. He made me bring him here. Did you think that that was my - Sir, may I finish?
      Locke: You're crazy.

    • Richard: So, you wanna tell me what you're doing in the middle of the jungle all by yourself?
      Ben: I left home... and I'm looking for my mom.
      Richard: You think she's out here?
      Ben: You wouldn't believe me.
      Richard: Try me.
      Ben: She's dead.
      Richard: Did she die here, on the island?
      Ben: No. When I was a baby.
      Richard: Did you see her out here, Ben, in the jungle?
      Ben: She talked to me.
      Richard: What did she say?
      Ben: That I couldn't come with her. She said that it wasn't time yet.
      Richard: You should go home now, your people will be looking for you.
      Ben: I don't want to go back there! I hate it there! Take me with you.
      Richard: Maybe that can happen. Maybe. But if that's what you really want, Ben, if that's what you want, I want you to think about that. And you're gonna have to be very, very patient.

    • Juliet: You wanna burn me at the stake, here I am. But first, turn the tape over, press play.
      (Sawyer does so)
      Recording: Juliet, it's Ben. I'm sending three teams to extract Kwon the night after tomorrow. We won't have time to run Austen's sample; so, if you determine that she or anyone else is pregnant, mark their tents and we'll take them too. Good luck.
      Juliet: The night I saw your baby on the ultrasound, I told Jack about what they were making me do.
      Sayid: Why didn't you tell us?
      Jack: Because I hadn't decided what to do about it yet.

    • Sayid: We kept [Naomi] a secret to keep her safe.
      Kate: Safe from what, Sayid?
      Sayid: Safe from Jack. He spent a week with the Others. And he brought one of them back with him. Here, amongst us. And every time we try to get answers from this woman, he prevents her from giving them!
      Sun: But it's Jack, he would never do anything to hurt us. And Juliet, I believe she's a good person.
      Sawyer: Good person, huh? And you're basing that on what? Wouldn't involve her taking you to one of their medical stations would it now, Mrs. Kwon?

    • Horace: Hey, man, I heard you ran into a little trouble.
      Roger: We're driving back from the Flame and we hear this huge explosion. Next thing I know, there's a siren wailing and we're driving through the middle of a shoot out!
      Horace: Look, we're having some skirmishes with the natives.
      Roger: What do you mean "natives?"
      Horace: Well, we're not exactly sure who they are.
      Roger: Well, this ain't what I signed up for!
      Horace: Roger, I did you a favor, man. You were having trouble finding work and don't forget about Ben. He's getting a quality education.
      Roger: I don't give a damn about his education! If I'm gonna get shot at, I want hazard pay.

    • Ben: You know, you didn't have to beat Mikhail senseless to make your point, John.
      Locke: Yes, I did.

    • Ben: Where have you been, Mikhail?
      Mikhail: I encountered several of his people in the jungle. They had an injured woman with them. Apparently, she had just parachuted onto the island.
      Ben: What!?
      Mikhail: Her helo crashed in the water. She says her ship is approximately 130 clicks to the West of us. She has a radio telephone.
      Ben: Where is she now?
      Mikhail: I assume they have taken her back to their camp.
      Ben: We'll be visiting their camp the day after tomorrow. We'll take care of it then.
      Mikhail: Day after tomorrow? We have to go now.

    • Roger: Work Man? What is this? Work man? I'm a janitor!?
      Opal: I'm sorry Mr. Linus.
      Roger: Goodspeed told me you people were doing experiments changing the world! I didn't come here to clean up after you!
      Opal: Look, if anything else opens up, you can feel free to apply for it.

    • Marvin Candle: (on the orientation video) Welcome to the island. For your own comfort and safety, we ask that you stay within the confines of your new living quarters. Our barracks are surrounded by a high frequency sonar fence to protect us from the island's abundant and diverse wildlife. You are now a member of the Dharma Initiative. (inaudible) Every morning, you will be given a new code which will allow you to cross outside the fence if you so desire. There are properties on this Island that exist nowhere else on Earth. Our mission, is to study these properties for the betterment of mankind and advancement of world peace. Most of you will be working on the main island. Should you be assigned to geological studies, (inaudible)

    • Ben: I was born here on this island. I'm one of the last that was. Most of these people you see: I brought them here. So Jacob talks to me, John. He tells me what to do, trusts me.
      Locke: And no one else has ever seen him.
      Ben: That's right.
      Locke: How convenient.

    • Ben: I know I promised to tell you everything, John, and I wish it was as simple as me taking out a dusty old book and opening it up, (pause) but it's not that simple.
      Locke: How about you just tell me?
      Ben: You probably think I'm the leader of this little community, but that's not entirely true. We all answer to someone, John.
      Locke: And who might that be?
      Ben: His name is Jacob.
      Locke: Okay, then. Take me to Jacob.
      Ben: I can't do that. (Locke gets up) Where are you going?
      Locke: Hell, Ben, if you don't want to take me, maybe someone else will. I'll just go and ask Richard.
      Ben: Why would Richard take you!? He doesn't know where Jacob is. He doesn't talk to Jacob.
      Locke: Well, who talks to him?
      Ben: I do.

    • Locke: You know what I think, Ben? I think there is no Jacob. I think your people are idiots if they think you take orders from someone else. You are the man behind the curtain, the Wizard of Oz, and you're a liar.
      Ben: And what do you base that theory on, John?
      Locke: Because if you were telling the truth, your hand wouldn't be shaking.

    • Ben: What did you hear in there, John? What did Jacob say to you?
      Locke: He didn't say anything to me - you did.
      Ben: What are you talking about?
      Locke: There is no Jacob, Ben! I'm not gonna be taken in by the little ... show you put on last night. You're a fraud! And it's time your people were told the truth. And this is not the way we came!
      Ben: I'm taking us back another way. I wanted to show you something first.
      Locke: I've seen enough!

    • Locke: (to Ben) You said that if I killed my father, you'd tell me everything I wanted to know about the island. (He drops his father's body in front of Ben) So why don't you start at the beginning?

    • Roger: It's your birthday. Sorry I forgot. Kinda hard to celebrate on the day you killed your mom. She was just seven months pregnant, we went for a hike, but you had to come early. Now she's gone and I'm stuck here on this island with you. (drinks some beer) Happy birthday, Ben.

    • Roger: What's the problem now? You're usually Chatty Cathy in the morning.
      Ben: It's my birthday. I don't know why I keep fooling myself into thinking that one of these years you're actually gonna remember.

    • Locke: Ben's not going anywhere with you.
      Mikhail: Excuse me?
      Locke: He and I are going to see Jacob. (The Others surrounding them look shocked)
      Mikhail: Please tell me this isn't true, Benjamin?
      Ben: I'm sorry. I have to deal with this now, John. Our excursion will have to wait.
      Mikhail: Since when do you explain yourself to him, an outsider? (Locke knocks Mikhail to the ground and proceeds to kick and punch him)
      Ben: Tom? Richard? (They both do nothing and Mikhail is knocked out)
      Locke: (to Ben) So when do we leave?

  • 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

    • In real life, Carrie Preston, who plays Ben's mother in this episode, is married to Michael Emerson, who plays Ben.

    • The painting of a dog in Jacob's hut is in fact a painting of executive producer Jack Bender's dog "Lulu".

    • This is the first episode this season to feature every main character in newly shot footage. A previous episode, Exposé, featured every character, but Jack and Sayid were only seen in stock footage.

    • Music: "Shambala" by Three Dog Night

    • A Ben-centric episode.


    • "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).