Lost

Season 3 Episode 20

The Man Behind the Curtain

5
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM May 09, 2007 on ABC
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (139)

9.6
out of 10
Average
1,762 votes
  • 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!

    10
    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.
  • Oh my Jacob!

    10
    The Brig earned a 10/10. So this one earns a 11/10.

    Honestly... this changed everything. This episode changed the way we look at Lost. Not just the entire plot, but certain characters too.

    This episode is the true gamechanger.

    The third 10/10 of the season, and it's very well earned.

    A Ben flashback. Can you believe it? a BEN!!! flashback. How long have we waited for this? Well, since season 2 episode 14. And it finally happens. And it doesn't let us down.

    Every single thing about this episode rocked. Starting with the flashbacks: seeing Dharma active. Seeing how Ben had daddy issues. Seeing how little Ben was a quiet, insecure boy. Seeing how he joined the "Others". Seeing the PURGE! Seeing Richard in the same condition as 20 years later..... and so much more. Still, the most shocking moment for me had to be Ben killing his father as a part of the purge. You know, last episode, Locke had his father killed, but even though Locke's father was probably worse than Ben's, he still couldn't do it himself. Ben? Without thinking twice. The island portion... oh my god, where do I start? I think this episode helped alot in making Ben a little easier to relate to. The fact that Alex hates him, the fact that his people are no longer listening to him as much as they used to, and the fact that John Locke is commanding him makes him a little more human.

    Even the biggest bosses answer to someone. Since 3x6 we've heard many references to a mysterious man called Jacob. And oh boy. OH BOY. We meet Jacob. Or do we?

    According to Ben, only the chosen ones can interact with Jacob. We can't see Jacob. Locke can't see him.... but at the very last moment he hears someone saying... "Help me."

    Jacob? Yes. For a brief moment, we get to see Jacob, the island's god too. A man sitting in a chair with a huge beard who doesn't like technology. Sitting in a creepy cabin sourrounded by ash. If anything, this was the most horroristic scene of Lost so far. And the bravest one too. An invisible man? How far can the writers go? Evidently, very far. But there's no doubt in me that all this is planned. So I enjoyed this for what it is. And even after the Jacob scene, it wasn'T over.

    I guess Ben shooting Locke was one of the most unexcepted things to happen in the episode(right after the reveal of Jacob) . And it makes sense. Ben's final test for Locke was wether he can interact with Jacob or not. He could. So Ben's position is in danger.... and logically, he shoots Locke. But why not finish him once and for all? Why just leave him bleed out?

    Is it possible that Ben also wants to test the island / Jacob? If Locke comes to life, then he know that Locke is indeed who the island wants in Ben's place. But if he doesn't.... he's not.

    Overall, an incredible episode. The plot is completetly changed. As for character development, there was plenty, even though not as much as usual. But it's okay. Ben is an epic character, so it's understandable that the writers are taking their time with him. I thought his relationship as a kid with Annie was interesting, and it just makes me wonder what happened to her... One of the very best episodes of the show.
  • Was this the best episode ever?

    10
    Wow.
    Never has an episode of Lost ever has me falling asleep thinking about it, waking up thinking about it and then spending most of my day thinking about it.
    There were so many things that made the epsiode great.
    *First Jacob who I didn't nortice the first time but when I slowed it down as tehy told me to do on he website I did a girly little "ahh" noise as I saw him. And the voice saying "help me".
    *I also comppletely didn't recognise Richard in his "younger" form which wasn't much younger and just a little hairyer.
    *I'm glad that the Tricia Tanaka storyline of teh car has finally been given some relevance.
    *I was really shocked at the ending of Locke being shot and then when he said to Locke "what did he say" and Locke said "help me". I really hope that Locke isn't dead. Generally on tv shows if there is any doubt that a person is maybe dead or not, generally it is not, and hopefully "the island" might save him. But then again, Paolo & Nikki, Shannon. Oh and that reminds me, while were on the subject on death...
    *I was glad that Patchys resurection was explained, even if it was crap. I don't see why people like him so much, i don't see anything great about him, lets hope he's on eof the "five" which I'll talk about later.
    *Ben's mum, that was quite sad and more proof that all of these people like Dave, Jacks Dad, Yemi & Kate's horse aren't there by accident.
    *The opening sequence. I wish that I hadn't known that it was Ben's flashback week because otherwise I wouldn't have guessed what it was. However when they fell out of the forest and into Portland and we realized that Ben had lied about where he was born that was really good.
    *Sun hearing the tape of Juliet talking about her. That was good to see the camps reaction.

    I honestly cant stop thinking about this and so I've got to put it somewhere in my favpiurite episode list. I'm going to make one and then add it in.

    1.Flashes Before Your Eyes
    2.Deus Ex Machines
    3.Dave
    4.Two For The Road
    5.Live Together Die Alone
    6.The Other 48 Days
    7.Exodus
    8.Expose
    9.Numbers
    10.Catch 22
    11.Maternity Leave
    12.Walkabout

    Wow, you would not believe how long that took me
    So that's
    Series 1: 4
    Series 2: 5
    Series 3: 3
    I thought i prefured series 1, oh well, i suppose Pilot would be 13.
    So I recon this episode would go

    1.Flashes Before Your Eyes 3
    2.Deus Ex Machines 1
    3.**The Man Behind The Curtain** 3
    4.Dave 2
    5.Two For The Road 2
    6.Live Together Die Alone 2
    7.The Other 48 Days 2
    8.Exodus 1
    9.Expose 2
    10.Numbers 1
    11.Catch 22 3
    12.Maternity Leave 2
    13.Walkabout 1
    14.Pilot 1

    That episode was brilliant and one of the best ever.

    So the "five". Five people are going to die, we already have 1.Anthony Cooper
    So could it be 2.Locke
    I hope it's not. I recon if Locke dies it will be in the "final showdown". His character does seem to have run it's course as his flashbacks have answered just about every question.
    I'm sure that the producers promised something big with Rose & Bernard this series, i could be wrong but I'm going to say
    3. & 4. Rose & Bernard
    And number 5. hmmm. I think Charlie is too obvious. Maybe Naomi, even though I like her.

    Anyway two episodes left. Who will live who will die, actually i haven't considered any others dieing? hmmm
    Will Penny find Des or will naomi's radio not work.
    Will Juliet betray Jack or stick by him?
    Will I shut up now... alright

    Brilliant epsiode!
    LOST RULES!
  • So we wanted answers?Ok we got them . What i can say.Probably the best episode of all seasons

    10
    So we wanted answers?Ok we got them . What i can say.Probably the best episode of all seasons.
    We got massive informations about the dharma initiative.We go tons of info about ben.We found out about the workman that we saw dead.Also about the poison and the breathing masks that the people from the hatch had to wear to go out.
    What other?ohhhhh.Only special people can see dead close people in the island.So Jack who saw his father is special.Another great revelation is that the hostiles or the original occupants of the island don't grow old.
    What i can say if 2 episodes from the end of the third season we get so many answers we have to wait for really big questions for the finale
  • And just like that, we get what is probably the best episode of this season... "Wow!" That's the only word left on anyone's mind...

    9.7
    Ben has always been that character that you wish you knew more about. Luckily, when this episode came around, our wishes were finally granted. With the childhood of Ben delved upon and the problems he had as well as the mysteries of Jacob and the Purge revealed, you get a sense that LOST may be starting to become one mystery that you never saw coming.

    I think this episode really relies on its beautiful balance of the flashback and the on-island story. Both have equal importance and both get equal camera-time and script. Lucky for us, both are just as impressive. With Ben finally showing us who he truly is, the manipulative and evil booger we thought he was, but worse, we still feel for his character after the guilt his father gives him and the way he is detached seem to ruin his psychological state.

    Ben is a character I hope we see much, much more of. His flashback contained a lot of information, but it left a huge gap in what occurred when he first met Richard Alpert (who has seemed to not age somehow). His childhood friend, Abby, is also a character we meet through his flashback, along with Roger Linus, Ben's father. Both characters have contrasting feelings towards Ben as Roger shows his painful fatherhood responsibilities after blaming Ben for the death of his wife during child labor and as Abby shows care for him, remembering his birthday and showing it through her own gifts. Then, the reveal that the Dharma Initiative was brought down by Ben and the Hostiles during the purge is just something remarkable in a sense (especially with that whole Ben theme music).

    Also, the idea of Jacob in the episode becomes more relevant and more mysterious when we learn that Jacob is some sort of soul or invisible man. Unfortunately, when Locke can't hear or see Jacob, he gets frustrated at Ben, leading him to his own shocking shooting before the corpses of the Dharma Initiative. Of course, we all hope (and have a feeling) that Locke will make it out of this, but from the looks of things, who knows? This sort of Two for the Road ending just gives the episode its own merits as an episode that has a little bit of everything. There's mystery, emotions, character development, reveals, and of course, questions. Sometimes, we may be a bit fearful for the questions, but for me, I find them all the better. Yes, The Man Behind the Curtain is a LOST classic that we'll love and cherish for times to come. With the shocking ending and many revealing areas of Ben and Dharma given, you can't do anything but simply enjoy the episode. The only thing I have against it is the possibility that this just may be the end for the greatest character of all time, John Locke.
  • Excellent episode. The exposition of Ben very much sets the tone for defining the nature of the Others. Perfect episode - no (explained below), but significant. One of the critical episodes of the series...

    9.6
    First off, I'll get out of the way why I don't think this episode was perfect, because it was close, and I'll explain why further. The scene with Jacob was shocking, exciting, and a little creepy, but was a bit too much "Blair Witch" for me...the cabin in the woods, the apparent ghost, etc. This is distinctly different from what Lost has been. Lost succeeds by artfully balancing the line between mysticism and science/science fiction. That segment was seemingly mysticism to the extreme. But everything else - wow! Questions, answers, and observations:

    -Ben lies. Not completely surprising, but when he lied about being Henry Gale, that was more of an "undercover" operation. Yet he has consistently insisted his word is good, and that he doesn't really lie about meaningful things. Here, he lied about several meaningful things, like being born on the island, and has done so to his own people. Did he lie to his people about the purge?

    -Mikhael previously states that what he said about the purge was true, even if he lied about other things. But Mikhael stated that the purge was about Dharma attacking the hostiles. Here, we saw the hostiles attacked Dharma. Of course, the assumption is only the Dharma folks in the barracks have been killed, and perhaps the remaining Dharma people will assault the hostiles. So Mikhael could have still been telling the truth or lying, but Ben could have lied to all the Others about the nature of the purge.

    -The Roger Workman that Hurley found was Ben's father. Neat tie in.

    -Was Ben's girlfriend killed in the purge?

    -Did Locke die? In my review last week, I predicted Locke would die before the season ended. I don't know if that will happen, but I don't think he died here. If he did, I think the producers would have been a lot more clear about it. We would have seen Locke's last breath, and there wouldn't be any vagueness about it. Certainly, the simple explanation may become that his healing will happen as it did for Mikhael, especially since Locke seems to be able to recover from significant injuries (like paralysis).

    -Visions and voices have happened on the island for a long time. Young Ben saw the vision of a deceased loved one as several of the survivors have, and young Ben hears the strange voices as well.

    -Ben has daddy issues too, much like most of the crash survivors.

    -Ben's position of leadership is very fragile. We even saw Tom unresponsive to Ben's instructions here, when Locke presented himself as being important.

    -Juliet is working with the real good guys, but only changed her mind to do so after her experience with Sun.

    -Does Jacob exist, and if so, what the heck is he? I liked the idea of Ben really being nuts and just thinking he saw a Jacob. An actual invisible leader will be intriguing, but a bit over the top for me.

    -Who are the hostiles? How are they the original inhabitants? Was the hostile young Ben met the father of modern Ben's sidekick?

    -Was the vision of Ben's mother really the monster?

    The story of Ben was powerful emotionally, seeing his "bad person" father blame him for his mother's death. So Ben searches for something else to grasp onto, something meaningful, so it makes sense that the cultish hostiles may be appealing. Young Ben probably feels insignificant and a nuisance, and whatever the mission of the cult is, Ben likely is drawn to it, as it makes him feel important. And at some point, he obviously assumes a more significant role within it. But deep down, Ben knows he is not this and is extremely insecure. Being born on the island is something he has said with such pride, it's something he's obviously conveyed as significant. Yet he knows it's a lie. Whether or not Jacob is real, Ben has created a fantasy about himself, and does anything to hang onto it.

    The Others have adapted some of these characteristics, such as this sense of self importance. The whole idea of being identified as "good people" isn't enough to turn them into the obsessed cultists they are. So there has to be something else, and a belief of a worldly significance would probably do the trick. Though, I am troubled hearing that only Ben has met Jacob. For the crash survivors who have become Others, like Cindy, to be swayed so quickly, as in a matter of weeks, it would seem their involvement would have been more than hearing about Jacob from Ben. And even hearing someone like Mikhael so convincingly speak of Jacob as a great man, that seems like it would have required him at least meeting Jacob. Still, there's enough not told to hope that some of these gaps can eventually be filled in.

    It is also interesting that the Others' concept of allowing only good people is validated by what happened to the Dharma people. It was Dharma's willingness to let a bad person (Ben's father) join them that ultimately lead to their demise. Ben's father's treatment of of Ben lead Ben to be open to becoming part of the cult and assisting in a mass murder (which was a powerful scene, if not a bit cliched, a la 70's movies about crazy cults).

    What I realized in watching this episode is that I missed having one of the likeable characters (the survivors) be the center of the flashback. I was certainly sympathetic for young Ben, but seeing him turn into a psychopath mass murderer definitely kept him in the unlikable category.

    Finally, I've explained why I very firmly believe Locke did not die here, but why I think he will die soon (perhaps in the season finale): Locke has come full circle and is fully balanced. His character has nowhere to go. He's eradicated his primary demon (his father), and he is truly balanced: both a man of science and man of faith. The old Locke would have grasped onto otherwordly concepts, like the ghostly Jacob. Yet, though he still seems to be open to out of the norm concepts, he now displays rational skepticism (as opposed to skepticisim built from disillusionment, like the end of last season).

    So much revealed in this episode, and its fast pace, full of story made it a great episode to watch, but just a little less than perfect. Still loved it. The final two of the season should be exhilarating.
  • Overall, this was a strong episode with a number of implications for the overall mythology and the rest of the third season.

    8.0
    If one looks at the entire series as one massive story arc (or set of arcs thereof), then the classic storytelling progression applies. The end of this season brings the series to about 60% completion. This puts this material firmly in the complication phase, when initial mysteries are resolved, unlocking deeper and more important mysteries in the process. This episode is a perfect example of this process.

    A number of things are revealed in this episode, though much of the information comes through the filter of a devious and clever mind. It’s hard to know where the truth ends and the deception begins. And it’s not just a matter of deceiving others; Ben seems to be equally adept at deceiving himself. However, in this case, the new information fits with existing revelations, so some conclusions can be made.

    If his memories are accurate, several matters are clarified. Ben was not born on the island, at least not in the literal sense. The circumstances of his birth explain his extreme interest in fertility issues. The resulting relationship with his father (Roger from “Tricia Tanaka is Dead”, which is a nice bit of continuity) left him searching for a purpose in the world. That desire came during his time with the Dharma Initiative, which is how he came to be on the island.

    This is all straightforward, but considering that this is “Lost”, it’s just the beginning. Two things were already present on the island at the time of the Dharma Initiative: the Others, who are confirmed as the original inhabitants of the island, and whatever force manifests the hopes and fears of the inhabitants of the island (seemingly related to the “monster”).

    The Others were then termed the “hostiles”, and their nature is still mysterious as ever. For one thing, they seem to have a rather diverse racial and ethnic profile for inhabitants of a South Pacific island, which supports the idea that the Others were drawn to the island and then absorbed over time into the existing population.

    More importantly, the evidence seems to suggest that the Others have extended life spans. Richard looks the same now as he did decades earlier, and Ben notes that Richard may not even remember what it’s like to have a birthday. Keeping in mind the Life Extension experiments by the Hanso Foundation, and that aspect of the interest in the island makes sense. It also explains why Richard would consider fertility issues to be a “novelty”; functionally immortal people aren’t quite so concerned about adding to the population, especially when they can just bring new people to the island on their own terms.

    This brings up an interesting question: if the Others are so attuned to the island that they are this long-lived, why would they allow Ben to serve as their leader? There must be something specific about Ben that led them to this decision, and looking back at the series to date, there are some interesting possibilities. Not only that, but Ben’s interest in Locke may be explained in the process.

    Ben sees his mother on the island, despite the fact that he’s dead, and he hears the same kind of whispers and voices associated with the Others since the very beginning. Richard seems genuinely shocked that Ben saw his dead mother, and that implies that he was seen as special and valued. To become one of the Others, he waits for the right moment to affect the downfall and purge of the Dharma Initiative, complete with the murder of his own father.

    This is an interesting parallel with Locke. Ben considered Locke’s relationship to the island to be special, and in order for Locke to be trusted, he needed to overcome his issues by killing his father. Ben is essentially asking for Locke to do as he once did, and perhaps Ben even sees Locke as someone following in his footsteps. Whether he sees that as a blessing or a threat is hard to determine.

    Part of what makes Ben special is his ability to interact with Jacob. Jacob has been referenced as the true leader of the Others, the one pulling the strings, yet Ben is the only one who appears to take direction from him. This episode sheds some light on Jacob, and it is one of the most bizarre and intriguing twists in quite some time. For an extended period, it even seems as if Ben is psychotic.

    The truth is far more complex, and may revive one of the more popular theories from the first season. That theory posed the possibility that the island is controlled, to some degree, by a non-corporeal intelligence, and that the Others’ desire for children is related in some way to this entity. The entity was often linked to the “monster”, especially in later episodes when survivors would see people who were dead or unable to be on the island in any logical manner.

    Some of those who study parapsychology raise the possibility that ghosts are consciousnesses that are intact and operating on different frequency. Interaction with these entities is made possible in areas with unusual electromagnetic properties, according to the conjecture. If this is the case, wouldn’t the island be one of the most likely places for such interaction? It might also explain why technology is problematic when dealing with Jacob, and why his location is marked and specific.

    The question of Jacob’s origin would still be on the table. Even if Jacob is some kind of non-corporeal intelligence existing out of phase with normal perception, how did he get that way? And how does that relate to the appearances of the dead on the island? If the Others do have extended lifetimes, as it seems they do, one possibility is that those living on the island eventually transition into this other form of existence.

    If that’s the case, then one might wonder how many of the Others have transitioned. Could they be the source of the whispers in certain parts of the island? Unseen individuals who are still alive in some sense, but now longer operating on the same “plane”? Taken further, could the “monster” be an expression or extension of this phenomenon? After all, the philosophy of the Others (a harsh and lethal demand for personal growth and redemption) is strikingly similar to the apparent motivation of the “monster”.

    Whatever the case, Ben seems genuinely threatened by Locke’s demand to see Jacob and his apparent communication with him. Add that to the clear challenge to Ben’s control over the Others, something Ben has always seen as tenuous, and Ben has every reason to shoot Locke. Of course, Ben conveniently shoots Locke in a non-lethal location. Locke could still die, of course, but there’s just as much reason to think that Locke will survive. He’d just be out of commission long enough for Ben to execute his plan against the JackLocke tribe.

    Back on the beach, the anticipated showdown between Jack and Juliet and just about everyone else finally takes place, but it’s not much to speak of, since the Ben/Locke plot dominates. In short, it’s confirmed that Jack and Juliet are working together to stage a defense against the Others’ incursion, but they’ve been keeping those plans to themselves. The rest of the leadership (Sawyer, Sayid, and Desmond) is not pleased, especially since Jack seems to think his decision is the only one that matters. This is likely to erupt into a major conflict through the end of the season.
  • The Leader revealed.

    10
    It seems ten is my new favorite number. I could not help but give this episode the highest score, it is certainly one of the best Lost episodes. Locke is by far my favorite character, so I may be a bit biased. The dramatic end I will not even speak of, it is so horrid.
    Powerful and powerless, scary and afraid, invisible and seen; the infamous Jacob is revealed. This was a creepy scene, which only Ben could pull off. It leaves so many questions about the Others and their Leader. I wish that John had simply thrown Ben out the door and talked to Jacob himself, but what can you do. The surprise of the episode was Richard. This was a much better introduction of a character than Nikki and Paulo. Truly out of the blue. I’m so intrigued by him now, more so than the mysterious Jacob. His back-story has to be amazing, not to mention how he got from the hostile to the man who recruited Juliet.
    Through a young Ben, we finally watch the purge, lead it seems, by Richard. Glad as I am to get some insight into Dharma, the Hostiles and the purge, it feels as though there are more questions now than ever. Could it truly be that Ben was able to manipulate so many events on the island? What is his hold on Jacob? Where did Richard and the Hostiles come from? All the unanswered questions have me hyped for the finale.
  • I can't believe it!!

    10
    I’m in disbelief. I’m in shock. I’m…speechless. They killed John Locke!!!! Our beloved, lying, scheming, Man of Faith! I almost want to say, “how dare they!” But I’ll try to refrain from doing that, the reason being, I do have faith in TPTB. And to be fair, we were warned. And I could feel it in my bones that a big death was on its way. I mean, they can’t just keep killing off side characters that come in halfway through the series (Boone and Shannon being the exceptions).

    We asked for answers, and boy, did we get them. Seeing Ben as a child was very interesting, to say the least. I even felt sorry for the poor guy! The daddy issues on this show never seem to stop. The entire setup DHARMA had (the school, applying for jobs) was strange. Civilized, but strange. We Finally learned about the infamous “purge”, and it was headed by the one and only Ben. When they showed Ben killing his father (Roger Work Man!) I immediately thought of Ben trying to make Locke kill his father. Did Ben do that so he wouldn’t feel guilty, so he wouldn’t feel like he was the only one committing such an atrocity? Who knows, but that’s what came to mind.

    And what in the fricking world is with Jacob?! I felt like I was watching a ghost movie. Knowing Ben, I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole thing was a setup to scare Locke and lure him to his death. But with Ben being so extremely difficult to read, for all we know he seriously was seeing someone in that chair. I couldn’t tell if the “help me” guy was Ben or another guy in the shadows (although that’s what it looked like). Either way, it feels like the supernatural is visiting Lost for a while.

    That last scene was perfectly set up. The pit was creeeepy! As soon as Ben said “I was smarter than you” I knew Locke was a goner. But my jaw still dropped to the floor when the bullet went through him. I think somewhere in the corners of my brain there’s the fleeting hope that Locke will pull a Mikhail and ‘come back alive’, but we were promised at least 5 deaths. Unfortunately, I think that’s a promise the writers are going to keep.

    Well, my heart rate has slowed down, but now the aftermath beings. What to expect, I have no idea anymore. All I know is that Lost isn’t playing any games. It’s all business from hereon out. RIP John Locke.

    **Edit: Ok, maybe Locke isn’t dead. But whatever, this is my initial reaction. We’ll have to wait and see! :P
  • Bens a liar, murderer, loner and maybe he's even keeping Losts most mysterious name as a prisoner. And John Locke....you better get out that pit!?!

    9.7
    A brilliant episode focusing upon Ben and mainly his childhood on the island. Micheal Emerson excells once again as the main 'other, however Lockes return with Cooper in a bag which leads to the entrance of Jacob.

    I have to say, i was expecting a big reveal of Jacob, which didnt exactly happen, but boy, oh boy, the scene in Jacobs hut was one spooky scene.

    Lockes focus is where all fans like him, on his quest for answers, and i hope that Jacobs words dont signal the end of the great John Locke, as without him then it may take the full six seasons to discover anything.
    But i'm confident theres more from good ol' John than a grave just yet.

    Elsewhere, Jack contines to frustrate with the fact he never tells anyone anything, yet Sawyers return from 'The Brig', means that i'm sure we'll find out his involvement in Juliets plans next week. Keep it up Lost, an excellent episode. And Richard Alpert, dont seem to be getting that much older, but im sure thats a story for another day on 'Lost Island.'
  • There was aleast 3 times where I jumped from my sit. Oh snap that was good.

    10
    the episode started off really good and then ended with a bang. the whole ben backstory is not that much different from everyelses stories, everyone had issues with their parents, but ben dad what an ahole. didnt he say something like happy birthday son todays the day u killed ur mom. like honestly that was cruel. that guy richard whats up with that. he was a hostile didnt see that one coming. and jacob what the hell was going on there, hes invisble or a spirit or something. all i got to say awesome episode cant wait for the final episodes and i have to watch this episode aleast another 2 times.
  • A 10 with plus!!! +10 :D

    10
    This was the gr8est episode from this season! Finaly the mistery with Ben was reavealed! Things like: he wasn't born on the island like we use to think until now, his mom died when he was born, and he didn't had a good relation with his father! That's why he show no mercy with Locke's father! But after all of this, i still feel pity for him!
    What was I curious about it was if Anne, Ben's friend in his childhood ... how could Ben let her die in that way, and put her on that pit with the people from Dharma initiative!

    I feel much better now, seeing that Jack is "back together" on his "lostie team" and things are going to get better for them! I finaly think that I will like Juliet a little more.
    I hope they'll have a good plan! Now that they'll work together ... everything should be perfect! And I have no doubt with this!

    Well, now ... about the last scene from the episode! At the begining i toth that Ben's crazy, like Locke said, but then I've heard that words "HELP ME", that was spooky! In that moment I`ve stoped to believe that Jacob is just Ben's immaginary friend! After this, everything was nice and perfect, until Ben shoot Locke! With all this, I don't think that Locke will die! Because he's not ment to die like this, i mean ... he should be dead by now! Just remember how many time he was ... almost dieing!
  • A Ben-centric episode.

    10
    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.
  • Oh My God!

    10
    Locke returns to the Others and Ben begrudgingly takes Locke to meet the Others' mysterious leader Jacob. Locke is unable to see Jacob, but can hear him, with Ben shooting him because of this. The survivors' mistrust of Jack peaks when Juliet is exposed as a mole, however Juliet in turn reveals that has been working with Jack against the Others. Flashbacks show when Ben first came to the island as a boy as part of the Dharma Initiative. Ben conspires with the Others, at least one of whom does not age in the next thirty years, and kills most of Dharma. Many questions were answered in this episode and it is my favourite of the third season, I really liked the part with Jacob.
  • A Few More Answer To Add To The Book.

    10
    Excellent Episode! Finally We Got To Meet The Infamous Jacob! Although It Was Only a Glimpse Of a Shadowed Outline, We Got To Learn His Personality. He Turned Evil On Locke & Ben Because Locke Turned On His Torch (Flashlight)! Hopefully We Get More Answer On Him Soon. And Locke Was Stupid Enough To Get Himself Put In That Pitt. And Yes I Am Keeping My Fingers Crossed For "Jacob" To Help Him. Back To The Original Beach Now And Jack Is Starting To Come Back Into His Usual Ways, Although He Does Have Some Anger Towards The Rest Of The Losties Not Trusting Him. Who Could Blame Him Though? Hopefully Mor Answers Next Episode! Great Episode, I Loved It! 10 Out Of 10!
  • With so many answers come many more questions...

    10
    I have one word: WOW! I can't even begin to describe how amazing this episode was! There were so many answers, and those answers caused more questions! I love it! The ending was so shocking. Ben's past was very interesting. Who would've known that he was Dharma? I really started to like Ben in this episode, but then at the end, it all changed. After I saw him allow all of those innocent people to die, and he killed his father, I went right back to hating him. Then to top it off, he "Kills" Locke! I really hope that Locke isn't dead. I hope we find out before next season. Everything about this episode was absolutely perfect!!! The Jacob scene was awesome!! I really thought Ben was insane for a minute! WOW, season 3 just keeps getting better and better!
  • OMG that just happened!

    9.9
    Wow, wow, and wow. That episode tonight of Lost was one of the best episodes of Lost in along time. I don't know what to say about it. Everything is slowly starting to boil down to the season finale. We have now learned what there is to learn about Ben in this episode about him and some of the stuff was pretty revealing about him. At the main camp, it's going to be interesting to see what happens now with Jack and Juliet. It seems to me no one is going to trust Jack anymore, or if they are they are going to keep a close watch on him. Whatever happens there is going to explode. I for one don't think Locke is dead. The island has always, always watched out for Locke mostly because Locke believes in the island. I am starting to think Lost is about belief. Whatever you believe in will be tested and if you pass the test you will be rewarded. Time and time again Locke has been tested and tested, and each time he has passed. I think the island will somehow help him out. I don't know if we will see him in the next episode but I would bank on it that we will see him in the season finale in some way shape or form.
  • Plot: Locke shows the others whose boss, and forces Ben to take him to meet the mysterious Jacob. Ben is really weird, and the island is still mysterious. Nobody seems surprised. For TV reviews www.lifereviewed.com

    9.5
    Plot: Locke shows the others whose boss, and forces Ben to take him to meet the mysterious Jacob. Ben is really weird, and the island is still mysterious. Nobody seems surprised.

    This is another great installment for the season. The writers of 24 could learn a thing or two hear about keeping things interesting for more than the first four episodes! We get to learn a lot about Ben’s past and the organizational structure of the others. Of course, in true lost fashion, with one answer, come a million new questions that we can only hope will eventually be resolved.

    The flashbacks focus on Ben’s childhood. Ben was not born on the island, and he has been misleading people for some reason. Ironically, Ben was born in Portland, which is where Juliet was recruited. Being a demon spawn, Ben’s mother does not survive the birth. Ben’s father never forgives him for inadvertently causing the death of his wife. This baby/mother complex may shed some light on Ben’s current obsession with fertility studies on the island. The crazy one’s always have mother issues!

    Ben and his dad are recruited to work for the Dharma initiative and move to the island. The Dharma folks are interested in studying the natural wonders of the island, but for some reason find themselves at war with the “hostiles” or natives. When was the last time you saw a white dude born in the Southern Pacific? While the reasons for the conflict remain unexplained, we can easily determine which side is cooler. The natives have mysterious powers and don’t age, the Dharma initiative is a bunch of hippy scientists. I don’t know about you, but can someone please hand me a gas mask, I know where my loyalties lie. It would appear that Ben was placed in charge of the others because he can see dead people or some equally useless power. Have people learned nothing from “Ghost Whisper”? Dead people are constantly asking you to do crap for them. It gets old pretty damn quick. Ben isn’t the only special guy on the island. The others are interested in making Locke there new leader. He passes their “kill your father” test which is becoming the standard on most job applications these days, and demands some answers. Ben begrudgingly agrees to take Locke to see the real leader, a man named Jacob. While it may have appeared that Ben had gone crazy, there really is a Jacob. Sensing that his leadership is under attack and that Locke’s powers may rival his own waning skills; Ben shoots him and dumps him in a mass grave. What is this Serbia? Hmm perhaps it’s too soon for genocide humor. Parting Thought: If you strike me down, I will only grow stronger! www.lifereviewed.com
  • They're setting the stage...

    9.5
    Wow! This episode had so much that I don't even know where to begin! Lost has done it again. I finish this episode thirsting for more. And I feel that even though this episode is so revealling, each and every revelation they give us leaves us with more doubts than certainties. I really don't know how to feel anymore. For instance, I love Juliet and I have "faith" that, in the end, she is a good person but still I get that tiny little doubt that she may just be someone who'll do anything to get off the island, even betray her new sweetheart.

    Jack, on the other hand, was pissing me off in the last episodes because he was being such an ass, especially with Kate. And still, even though near the end of the episode he seems to know what's going on and have a plan to save his mates, I still didn't like the way he talked to them. He just feels to bossy. I guess he just feels like he's the man, now that he has a pretty hot blonde by his side.

    Locke, the other character that I was "kinda" starting not to like (and that as nothing to do with the actor that portrays him. He deserves every award he can get.) ended up being shot by Ben as they seem to be fighting for the top-prophet-of-the-block spot and Ben, as we are shown through his flashbacks, is a person who is not afraid to use any means necessary to achieve his goals.

    We also meet Jacob. Do we really? We do hear a voice but... I don't know. This series already had so many twists and turns that, as I said before, I just don't know what to think anymore. "Hollow Man, The Return" isn't exactly what I was expecting but I believe this whole thing has a good explanation. The stage is set for a breathtaking season finale, but we all know it'll end up in a cliffhanger and that almost physically hurts :). As a friend of mine told me today at lunch something like "2010? We're still so far away from understanding all of this... what if something happens and I die in the meantime? I'd die without knowing what all of this is??". That's the kind of effect Lost has on its fans. And it's no small feat!
  • A little insight to who Ben is.

    9.3
    At first i really did not like the idea of having an episode based around Ben. For the fact the he was not a survivor of the crash and because he is the so called leader of the others. Putting my first reaction aside the episode was really good but I did not like the ending. I was happy that we got a little insight to who the Darma Initiative is and why they are no longer on the island. I can not believe that Ben's father blamed him for his mother death and the Ben killed his father. I hope that Locke is not dead.
  • Five steps about this episode that make U think forward about Lost.

    9.3
    1) Ben told John (The Brig) about the Others think he is "Special". For this, John had to kill his own father.
    2) Ben push John but he just can´t kill. Ben enjoy that because he´s supposed to be the "Special" and he really kill his father.
    3) John, for Ben´s surprise, came back with his father´s body.
    4) Ben want to test John to see if he can see/hear anything from Jacob because only a "Special" could do.
    5) John hear Jacob and that made Ben angry about it because he might loosing his power in front the Others and try to Kill John to see if Jacob will help him (like, maybe, he helped Ben sometimes).
  • Invisible men, patricide, and Eugene Tooms

    9.3
    So Ben had a rough childhood...does that give him the right to kill off his father and a whole group of his, for lack of a better term, co-workers (including the man who once played Eugene Tooms on the X-Files)? I guess we'll have to wait and see. This is one of those eps that, for me, didn't really stand on its own, but I accept it because it's obviously made to help set up the big finale. It was nice to see some of Ben's backstory, but I am sure there is a lot more to come. Who are the Hostiles? Why did it take twenty or thirty some-odd years before they were ready to kill the Dharma workers? Why did it look like at least one of the Hostiles just never seems to age?

    Don't even get me started on the Invisible Jacob. WTF? I REALLY want to know how they're going to explain this one. And if they really do kill off John Locke now that he's grown his cohones back, I'll be very upset. That said, I can't wait to see Charlie's death next week? Is that bad?
  • Wow

    9.0
    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.
  • Great episode!Didn't watch one like this in a looong time

    9.0
    Very good episode! I really like the flashbacks about Ben it was time to know a little more about his story.We find out that he become the person he is now because of the hate he accumulated for so many years against his father among other things.We also find out how he became an Other and kill all members of the Dharma iniciative and the part Richard plays in his life. We find out why Jack was protecting Juliette so much. And poor John but he had it coming ,he was going all over bossing around, it was obvious that Ben wasn't going to allow this.We don't know if he is dead or what but it looks like it ,because there is not much storyline left for him. I certainly don't want to but we will just have to wait. What about Jacob?Is he real?Is he another one of Ben's inventions?I think that an invisible man is too much for the show ,we have our hands full already with the monster and the shadow. Can't wait for Greatest Hits!!
  • Another great episode, although the flashback story felt a bit incomplete.

    8.0
    Obviously, this episode has been anticipated for a long time. Ben's arrival in the middle of season two kick started the season and he has since become a valuable part of the ensemble. With his various manipulations and mind games, it can be almost impossible to determine when he is honest and when he is playing another game. So, as his character sees his role in The Others in jeopardy, it makes sense to explain how he became the leader. It seems like these flashbacks were originally going to be for the finale, which would fit past season themes, but the news of a definitive end date could've made them switch things around, still holding a major card for the finale. As a result, there are a lot of blanks to be filled, but that seems to promise that there will be plenty of Ben in the future.

    It's not a big surprise to learn that Ben wasn't born on the island (even if there was no way he could remember his birth), but his words could be reinterpreted. Being "born" on the island doesn't necessarily mean a natural birth like Aaron's, but a spiritual one like being "born again". His alliance with The Hostiles made him into the man he is, even if he's holding residual resentment towards his abusive father.

    Like nearly every character, Ben's dad has issues with his father. The death of his mother after giving birth to Ben hung over his head so much that his father wouldn't let him have even a good birthday without bringing up that fact in the least sensitive manner possible. This explains Ben's behavior in "The Brig" when Locke was faced with his own abusive father and Ben tried to convince him to do it, as well as Ben's obsession with fertility. It also wouldn't be hard to believe, with what was revealed in "One of Us", that Ben could somehow manifest a situation where all pregnant women died. The island has done similar things before to other characters, particularly Walt. Perhaps the fertility solution will only be solved when Ben dies or resolves his issues.

    Juliet served to show us how The Others would bring in someone to join them. It turns out Ben was brought in similarly, but his active choice showed his "commitment". It's still unclear what it is like for someone born into the Others, or if any of them apply to that term. Richard would be the closest as he is the only prominent Other seen as part of the Hostiles, but not much is known about his history. Time has been explored before, but this episode introduces a whole new element with Richard's history. He has not aged since he first met Ben in the 70s, yet Ben has grown up. There have been hints that The Others, at least those who devote themselves to their beliefs, may have some ability to control time and space (see the reversed audio from Room 23). Ben remarking about remembering birthdays could be read as Richard being so old he has lost count of his real age. Ben's aging, as well as his illness, could be major hints to his lack of ability to truly lead The Others.

    Ben's mother (who oddly enough was played by Michael Emerson's real life wife) appearing before him and leading him to the sonic fence could be chronologically the earliest occurrence of The Monster. This vision intrigued Richard and is likely what got him to become the eventual leader. It's not hard to believe that The Others would wait for a Chosen one and no one had such an experience. However, we've seen The Monster manifest itself as many people or things to other characters, so eventually The Others would have such encounters. With Locke's miraculous recovery, it places him on top as potential successors because he is the "real deal". Since Ben became the leader after assimilating, it wouldn't be hard to believe that Locke could do the same.

    Unlike last season, this episode is the first true look at how Dharma operated on the island. The open mindedness of hippie scientists is shown with Horace, but hints are dropped throughout of more nefarious undertakings, such as the shoot out Roger finds himself in while on a routine delivery. There is still some meat in the Dharma story.

    While described as natives, The Others during the purge had access to tools and weapons that couldn't be made on the island. The gas canister lacked the always prominent Dharma logo, so it could be implied that The Others didn't steal it for their plan. Perhaps Mittelos existed and had prior access to the island, but quickly clashed with Dharma over their inhabitation.

    It's been presumed that the pair working in The Swan, possibly Radsinksy and/or Kelvin, were unaffected by the Purge, as their post demands isolation and Ben may have not known about it. Considering how little was mentioned about other Dharma stations in "Live Together, Die Alone", not to mention Kelvin and Desmond's behavior, it's reasonable to conclude that as correct. As far as they knew, no one was coming to take their place, and Kelvin got lucky when Desmond washed ashore, and could be trusted as an outsider. How they found out their associates died is another question, but that could point to Kelvin and/or Radsinsky being Others like Mikhail, who still adorned the Dharma gear.

    While Ben felt that humiliating Locke in the previous episode would be enough to get him off the track of joining The Others, he underestimated how desperate Locke wanted to commune with the island, as we saw within that episode. Knowing he has the upper hand, Locke underwrites everything Ben says, especially when he can yell it to everyone in the camp. Payback is sweet for Locke, who comes to believe none of what Ben says is real and that Ben is this episode's eponymous character.

    Although Ben's grip as leader may be tenuous, Jacob is very real. The scene at the cabin was a trip. Initially, Ben appears crazy to have an impassioned dialogue with an empty chair, but there are more than tricks in the shack. The brief glimpse of Jacob, both through video and high definition pictures, has been posted throughout the internet, so it's easy to analyze. The forehead resembles Locke, but a close up of an eye during the chaos resembled Desmond. The idea of someone we already know being Jacob is hardly new, but this shot adds some credence to various theories.

    The ash line, as well as the small pile on the chair in the shack, is another discussable subject. Some believe it's an inert version of The Monster. However, it seems more likely that it would be something used to keep Jacob contained. His request for help to Locke could suggest that Ben is holding him prisoner because his power prevents him from crossing a line of ash.

    Why Jacob reached out to Locke is a major question. Did he mean help as in assistance, like taking over as the human element of the Others or to uncover some element of the island? Did he mean the popular interpretation, that he was in dire need of assistance and Locke was the only person to help him. As more is revealed about Jacob, this should become clear.

    With Jacob contacting Locke without Ben knowing, Ben goes to extremes to stay a leader. By shooting Locke and leaving him in the mass grave (some of whom appear to have been shot as well), he hopes to keep his position and ensure Locke dies before anyone will be able to find him. Of course, considering his wound was in his abdomen (perhaps near where his kidney used to be), the island's healing properties as well as Locke's importance, there is no chance it'll be the last of him.

    While "Tricia Tanaka Is Dead" appeared to be a filler episode, it actually gave us a hint of what would happen in this episode. The episode confirms that Ben's father drove the Dharma van Hurley found. Answering that question added some darkness to the upbeat Hurley episode. Initial thoughts made Roger sympathetic, a possible victim of an "incident". However, this episode changes that by showing us how horrible he was to his son.

    Back on the main beach, things grow tense as Sawyer returns with the evidence incriminating Juliet. It gets worse when Naomi and her news that they are presumed dead becomes common knowledge. While they are powerless against informing people that they are alive, the believed confirmation of Juliet's treachery threatens to tear the castaways apart. This certainly warrants the question of why Jack wouldn't be open to telling his trusted friends this information in hopes that they would collaborate on a plan. It comes off as unusual.

    The biggest problem with this episode is its incompleteness. In Ben's flashbacks, he goes from being a preteen to an adult with little explanation for the interim years. Perhaps this episode was meant to be a two hour episode, with additional flashbacks detailing his assimilation and perhaps offering insights to other incidents on the island (like Rousseau's expedition and the abduction of Alex). This type of jump is similar to Jesus in The Bible, who is seen as a newborn, a preteen and an adult similarly. It also ties into previous moments, such as seeing Ben tied up in a Christ-like pose when he was in The Swan last season. Why they would go for Christ metaphors for Ben is unclear and slightly odd (especially considering the father-son relationship), but may make sense or be discredited after we see more from him.

    Annie is another loose end that stopped more than ended. It's not clear whether she was among the purge, as Ben would likely stop to remember her as he did with Horace. One popular theory I like is that Annie is Danielle (Annie could be a short form). There seemed to be some hint of history when they've interacted in the past. It also helps that Michael Emerson and Mira Furlan share the same birthday, only a year apart.

    As the season wraps up, major conflicts come to a head. This episode had plenty of surprises, as well as some questions answered in the process. While Ben's flashbacks felt incomplete, the result on his character in the present was still compelling. The stakes are ratcheted high with Naomi becoming known to both camps and with the planned invasion of the beach imminent. This kind of payoff is what we've been waiting for, and the build up has been superb.
  • A peek behind the curtain reveals some of the biggest and best moments of the series

    10
    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:10
  • After watching this episode, who can honestly say Lost isn't the best show on TV?

    10
    WOW, what more can I even say besides the fact that this episode totally kicked a$$!!! In fact, this episode was so good it might've just made the 3rd season my favorite season, replacing Season 1. These last few episodes have just been killer: One of Us, Catch-22, The Brig, and now this!! Well, let's just get a couple things straight:

    1. Damon and Carlton DO keep their promises. Does anyone even remember the mini-season now?

    2. Let us laugh in the face of all those losers who didn't have the faith to continue with LOST. Man, are they missing out!!

    Ben Flashbacks!- This episode was great in delivering an awesome Ben-flashback while at the same time wrapping up the history of the DHARMA Intitiative. Sure, there's still a lot of inovation for new stories dealing with the "Purge" and Dharma's reign on the island, but could they really have summarized the DHARMA story any better? I think we now, for the most part, understand exactly how the DI lived on the island. Now all we need to learn is what the hell they we're doing exactly.

    Jacob? Is that You?- We also got a glimpse at what appeared to be an empty chair. No wait, that's not an empty chair! That's er...Jacob? Unless you were lucky enough to catch the milisecond glimpse of Jacob, you're probably deep into your own theories by now about what exactly IS Jacob. And that's great. LOST has always been about encouraging fan-theories and conspiracies. I'm so glad that we've gotten out of Fall 2006 because you know if they had shown this back then, it would have been no theories and all complaints. Once again, isn't it great that this show has come back to its former glory?

    Locke and Ben- Locke and Ben have always had an interesting chemistry and this episode was no different. The best part was, I think that Locke proved himself to the Others as being a person who might just be more of a leader than Ben. I think that Ben noticing this and the fact that even Jacob acknowledged Locke, led him to the conclusion that Locke very well might someday challenge Ben's rule over the Others. So realizing this, Ben does the unthinkable, and well...I don't have to say it.

    Let's just put it this way..

    When Locke gets back up, he's gonna have a little bug to squash.
  • Jacob...who the hell are you?

    10
    The most fantastic episode since Man from Tallahassee. Ben's flashback is insightful to DHARMA, he joins every other Lostie on the Daddy Trouble list, and more importantly we learn what happened during the Purge and that the others (minus Ben) were originally the Hostiles. In real time, Ben takes Locke to go see Jacob. I won't lie, I was up out of my seat once again. During the whole Jacob scene I was dying with anticipation as to whether we'd see him or not, and for a brief second...we did. I've heard rumors that Jacob is Locke in another timeline , or that Ben is skitzo, or even that Jacob is not real, because they are all in a mental home. My opinion is that Jacob is the overseer of the island, and he is being held by Ben (hence the ash circle we saw). When he asks Locke for help, he wants Locke to rescue him from Ben's captivity. Also, John Locke is not dead. Or at least I really really really hope not.
  • This was the best!

    10
    Oh my God! This episode and The Brig were the best obes of the seasont so far! We learned so much about ben,ljacob,the island. I cant believe it. And so much good stuff is going on the beach with the woman. Are they dead? Is there a ship coming? Can they be rescued? Is Locke dead? We will see!
    Rock on Lost!Rock on Lost!Rock on Lost!Rock on Lost!Rock on Lost!Rock on Lost!Rock on Lost!Rock on Lost!Rock on Lost!Rock on Lost!Rock on Lost!Rock on Lost!Rock on Lost!Rock on Lost!Rock on Lost!Rock on Lost!Rock on Lost!Rock on Lost!Rock on Lost!

    Only three more!
  • great episode

    10
    John Locke leaves the shipwreck and heads back to the camp of the others. Sawyer goes back to the camp of the survivors and he speaks Sayid. Sawyer tells him about the recording on the tape recorder that he brought with him. This episode is a Ben episode, we get to learn the history of Ben right from his birth up to the point where he grows up in the island. So much happens there and we get to learn about it for the very first time. It's a really interesting episode, this episode shows all kinds of stuff happening at once. It's really good.
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