Season 3 Episode 20

The Man Behind the Curtain

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



  • Trivia

    • 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

    • 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

    • 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.

  • Allusions

    • "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).