Season 4 Episode 9

The Shape of Things to Come

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Apr 24, 2008 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (74)

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  • That was.......MASSIVE!

    Talk about a return....after the 5 weeks hiatus and a mixed feeling "Meet Kevin Johnson". Lost returns with a huuuuuuge bang!! Seriously, The Shape of Things to Come IS one of the best episode of lost ever.
    I`ve never, ever seen so much action in a Lost episode, so much revelation in a lost episode and I`ve never felt the characters so unsafe in an episode.
    The boat men ARE bad are here to KILL, that`s for sure. The amount of shocks with all these killings, even Alex died shockingly..they teased a Claire death and I was screaming for Sawyer to get in the freaking house before he gets killed! Add to that Locke, Hugo and Ben are now going to see Jacob while Sawyer and Claire are going back to the beach.
    Also, one of Lost big mysteries revealed. I was shocked when the smoke monster came out, WOW! So looks like it is a security system. HOLY SH*T!! The island plot just took a huge and violent boost!
    And we have a equally shocking flashforward. A Ben flashforward!(just knew it would be epic right then)
    It`s revealed how Ben got out of the island and how Sayid ends up working for him. Revenge unites them. How shocking was it in the desert when Ben killed that guy! And to end it all.....another bang as cliffhanger! Ben is going after Penny!! God damn it! I`m blown away!

    Wish:I hope Sawyer gets back to the beach and beats the crp outa JAck for bring the boat people.:D
  • A rousing start to the second half of the season!

    During this short spring hiatus, I played the new video game "Lost: Via Domus". I was far from impressed, and this episode actually provided me with the reason why all these other media ventures fail. The series is simply too good to duplicate successfully. The long-term payoffs and powerful characters moments are only meaningful within the context of the story arc as a whole.

    Ben warned the survivors of Oceanic 815 that the arrival of the "rescue" boat was the beginning of the end, and after a steady build-up, that prediction has come to pass. The mercenaries have brought the apparently protracted cold war between Ben and Charles Widmore to a new level, "changing the rules" as Ben says, and whatever semblance of security remained has been dashed.

    There's a certain irony in the notion that Team Locke fled to the Barracks to survive, considering that most of them were slaughtered. It also speaks to the reason why Hurley is available for his eventual role as one of the Oceanic 6; at this point, there is no meaningful split between the survivors anymore. It's just a matter of when the war comes to them.

    The mercenaries are after Ben, and as such, the episode revolves around his choices, his responses, and his manipulations. Ben has always been one of the best characters on the series, and this episode reaffirms his role as the "evil mastermind". Even in the face of personal loss, he manages to take control and maintain focus. He absorbs his loss into the greater conflict, which gets more definition in this episode. And of course, Locke remains under his complete control.

    In terms of the standoff at the barracks, the production staff played a nice bit of misdirection. All the pre-episode buzz made it sound like Claire was going to be killed, and given that Aaron is one of the Oceanic 6, this was plausible. Instead, Claire survived the onslaught, and Alex was the truly meaningful casualty. This came as quite the shock, but taken in conjunction with the flash-forward, it fit the parallels within the narrative.

    Of course, now that Alex is dead, there's every reason to assume that Danielle is dead. This is an unfortunate turn of events, and it will certainly add to the accusations of misogyny leveled at the writing staff. Granted, this has been a bloody season overall, but most of the high-profile casualties have been women, granting motivation to the choices of men. There's still quite a bit to go in the season, so things could change quickly, but it will undoubtedly be a cause for criticism. (Then again, Danielle may well survive and Alex's death could push her into new and more-relevant territory. One can always hope.)

    Alex's death, however, does serve to escalate the war between Ben and Widmore. The arrival of Widmore's assault team was already an escalation, but Ben was more or less content to ride it out with the survivors of Oceanic 815 as his cannon fodder. That had obviously changed by the time of the flash-forwards, and this episode covers the shift in Ben's philosophy. Logically speaking, no one else on the island could possibly drive Ben towards sustained violence. His philosophy, for quite some time, has been strength through targeted isolation, after all.

    That includes isolation of information, such as the ability to control (or, at the very least, direct) the Cerberus system ("the smoke monster") to attack the mercenaries. This brings up an interesting question. Has Ben been responsible for previous appearances by the "monster", or has this always been an ace in the hole? It strongly suggests that the Dharma Initiative either created Cerberus or managed to learn enough about it to manipulate it. Whatever the case, this is an intriguing piece of information.

    By the end of the episode, Ben and Locke have convinced Hurley to take them to Jacob. With the season being relatively short (especially after the writers' strike), there's no reason to believe that this will be even slightly protracted. The arc of the season strongly indicates that the Oceanic 6 event will be in the finale, so Hurley must get to the beach in the next few episodes. Locke's search for Jacob must also be resolved. And now, after this episode, it's clear that Ben must arrive at a certain destination: the Orchid Station.

    Ben's appearance in the middle of Tunisia not only connects with the polar bear in "Confirmed Dead", but it connects with the viral "Orchid orientation" video, since he's wearing the uniform of someone named Halliwax. Edgar Halliwax was the name given by the man in the Orchid video that was also known as Mark Wickmund in other Dharma videos. This suggests that the Orchid Station involves a teleportation experiment, which could explain a great number of things. If the electromagnetic anomaly on the island already warps time and space, teleportation is not necessarily a stretch!

    Ben immediately sets out to tap his resources. A date is given (October 2005), which makes it possible that Ben jumped in both space and time. If so, that may be why he was shocked to see Sayid on the news, mourning his wife. With the loss of Alex so recent (at least for him), he understood Sayid's mental state and immediately saw how it could be used to his advantage. It's surprising to learn that Sayid begins his service to Ben voluntarily, even happily. In that respect, Sayid is still master of his own agency, even if Ben is still using him to his own devices.

    Ben's conversation with Charles Widmore is filled with innuendo and tantalizing possibilities. For whatever reason, Ben cannot kill Charles Widmore; instead, he opts to pay Widmore back for the loss of Alex by killing Penny. Setting aside how this should make for some interesting Ben/Desmond conflict, it opens up a stunning line of speculation, one that could change the scope of "Lost" tremendously.

    The original "Hostiles" were the pre-Dharma inhabitants, apparently led by Richard, a man who appears to be long-lived (if not immortal). Ben eventually took control of the Hostiles, eliminating the Dharma Initiative in the process. One might have assumed that Ben took control from Richard, but what if that wasn't the case at all? What if there was once someone who led the Hostiles, someone who lost control of the island because of Ben's connection to Jacob?

    The theory is that Charles Widmore was once the leader of the Hostiles, the original inhabitants of the island, and he is consequently unable to be killed. He could have been there for decades or centuries, perhaps even born on the island. Ben might have sent him away into exile, leaving him to track down any clue he could find to locate the island and take back control. (Not all the details fit yet, but the broad concept is there.)

    That might explain why Widmore might have attempted, perhaps in connection with Thomas Mittlewerk, to take control of the Hanso Foundation and, by extension, the Dharma Initiative. That would have been one source of information on the location of the island. It even lends support to the idea that Widmore manipulated Desmond to participate on the race around the world, on a path that appears to have been designed to take people in the known region of the Pacific where the island is located.

    All of that may be wrong, but it would appear to explain how Ben and Widmore knew each other on a personal level, why their conflict appeared to be relatively old, and why there would have been "rules of engagement". It would also continue to muddy the waters in terms of Ben's claim that his Others are "the good guys".

    It's amazing to think that, on top of all of the items related to Ben, there's still a subplot back on the beach. Jack is starting to feel sick to his stomach, and that is beginning to affect his ability to deal with the treacherous Daniel and Charlotte (who is obviously sitting back waiting to see where the wind blows). Beyond foreshadowing Jack's addiction to pills in the future, this is just set-up for the next episode.

    The schedule for the rest of the season looks pretty tight, in all the right ways. The next episode will focus on Jack, bringing the issues on the beach to a head. The episode after that focuses on Locke, which should be another mythology-driven installment. Then it's the three-hour, two-part season finale, which should be a thrill ride to the next major paradigm change. The second half of the season could go down as one of the best stretches for the series to date.
  • In short, Michael Emerson's Emmy reel.

    Since his introduction, Michael Emerson as Ben has been one of the show's greatest assets. He has become crucial to the story as a worthy adversary of the castaways and a counter to Locke, using his skills at manipulation to get what he wants. If this episode does anything, it solidifies Ben's status as one of the most compelling characters on TV. This episode could be called "Michael Emerson's Emmy Reel". In addition, this first post-strike episode brings the show back with a vengeance: creating an atmosphere of dread, intrigue and a million questions as the stage for the series' end becomes even more complex.

    Ben is an oddity among the flash forward centric characters. With only one flashback episode to date, his back story is still ripe with unknowns to explore. The biggest problem with "The Man Behind the Curtain" was the flashbacks felt incomplete and may have suffered from significant cuts. While this episode doesn't answer any questions posed by that episode, his future is more important in terms of the season's story.

    The questions come the second his flash forward begins. The clear implication is that Ben transported from the island, likely within a few days or weeks from current island time, to October 2005. How does Ben go from the island to the Sahara desert? His story about taking "The Elizabeth" is clearly false. The evidence indicates that he was transported to Africa. The big clues are the steam evaporating off his body, his look of shock and the Dharma parka he wears. The name on it, Halliwax, recalls the Orchid training video released at last year's ComicCon. It may be safe to assume that the station can teleport objects like a human being. The station may be cold, or Ben was preparing to be transported somewhere cold. Some have guessed that the fluid he vomits is the same drink Richard gave Juliet before she arrived on the island, which may be an element in this travel. Ben's position when he wakes up recalls Jack after the plane crash and Locke after The Swan explosion/implosion as well.

    One can assume that when things get even worse on the island, Ben retreats to this station (it will be referred to as The Orchid only if confirmed on the show) and transports off. The polar bear in "Confirmed Dead" might've been chasing him, explaining the arm wound and how a Dharma polar bear wound up around the same location Ben did, albeit far enough into the past to die and decompose when an archeological dig finds it.

    Ben is known for his constant manipulation and strategizing. Whether he's the top of The Others' food chain or regularly beaten to a pulp, he's thinking of how he can use the situation to his advantage. No sooner does he arrive in the future and hear Sayid's name on a television does he figure out how to use Sayid to accomplish his own goals. Some suspect that Ben put the hit on Nadia to persuade Sayid to join him. The problem with that theory would be how he could orchestrate it assuming he traveled ahead in time mid-crisis.

    Sayid working for Ben in the future was one of the biggest shockers of the first half of the season. This episode explains how that happened: Ben manipulated Sayid, grieving over his murdered wife and life long love Nadia. Sayid's major flaw has always been his habit of letting his emotions get the best of him, which is why he was such a brutal torturer. It's evident when he gunned down Bakir, emptying his gun and continuing to pull the trigger (reminiscent of Jack Bauer doing the same to Victor Drazen in the first season of "24").

    Having Nadia killed off camera might've been the result of strike rewriting. Nadia was one of the first elements of Sayid's character shown: she played a crucial role in getting him out of the Republican Guard and on to the island. It would make sense that we'd see her death on camera. Whatever the reason, it's sad to see another romance end in tragedy. Obviously, "Lost" has gone into darker territory this season and that is just symptomatic of that.

    In the present, the long awaited war between the castaways and freighties begins proper with the assault on The Barracks. Of course they exploit the Sword of Damocles hanging over Claire's head by shooting a rocket through her home, only to have her survive with a few cuts and scrapes. Is this teasing meant to be similar to Charlie's frequent brushes with death, or perhaps a hint that she is still alive in the future?

    There is a moment of unintentional humor when Sawyer is attacked. The mercenaries kill three red shirts (one of whom actually had one on) with one kill shot each, but they can't hit Sawyer even if he was leaning on the broad side of a barn. Considering the rest of the episode, Ben's explanation that they wanted to rattle him enough to make him want to give up Ben makes it less silly than it comes off. If that's the case, how do they know Sawyer's personality enough to figure he's the one to do that? With The Others, they had access to all the characters histories, but as far as we know the freighties don't.

    One has to wonder what the mercenaries' plan was had they not encountered Alex since getting access to Ben hinged entirely on her. Many suspected Ben sent her into that ambush knowingly under the assumption that she would not be harmed because of "the rules". Ben has always been in control, so this episode explores the moment when he loses that.

    Each week I think they've finished raising the stakes, but this episode goes further. Alex's murder makes the threat of the freighties real. Ben constantly warned Jack in the finale that contacting the freighter would result in the deaths of everyone on the island, so they had to produce some bodies when they arrived. Karl and Danielle were the first to fall in the last episode and now Alex. With uncertainty hovering over Jin and Claire's heads, more will likely follow.

    Alex's death scene is unrelentingly intense. Audiences have been conditioned to expect the stand off to end without her being harmed at the last second, making that gunshot all the more chilling. Ben denying his love for Alex, with the cracks on his face evident that he is lying, being the last thing Alex will ever hear is heartbreaking. In this episode Michael Emerson did the impossible: he made us feel sorry for Ben. Of course it comes through Alex, a sympathetic character who didn't deserve her horrid fate, but Emerson deserves major credit for that moment.

    Despite being a big part of the public perception of "Lost", the Smoke Monster hasn't appeared much. However, when it does there is something to be learned about it. This episode explains that Ben has some control of it, ruthlessly unleashing it to tear the mercenaries apart. The secret room inside Ben's secret room is also worth noting. With hieroglyphics and its design, it may connect with the various ruins seen elsewhere on the island. It makes sense that Dharma would want to have one of their homes connected to this room, especially if it can activate the Monster. There is also the question of Ben's soiled appearance when he returns, which implies that the passage is unfinished or badly dilapidated.

    Ben wanting to keep Locke and Hurley safe because of their connection makes sense, and may begin to explain why Hurley's one of the Oceanic Six. Possibly Jacob would want someone he chooses to contact off the island when whatever bad events cause the Six to leave. Locke stays to protect the island directly and Ben abandons his plan out of self preservation by escaping to Africa.

    On the beach, Jack's taking the first steps towards the downward spiral he was engulfed in in the flash forwards. Knowing that episode, the signs, like the self medication in secret, are a cause for alarm. The other element occurs when Daniel confesses that the freighter crew has no intention of rescuing the castaways. Ultimately Ben and Locke were right that those on the freighter couldn't be trusted and Jack, who against their wishes, insisted on calling them, has to live with that fact. Neither side ended up well in this situation, since those who tried to avoid the freighter just got massacred or are trekking through the jungle looking for the next step.

    With the cast on the beach relatively small, Bernard gets a moment to shine when he calls out Daniel's lie about the message the freighter relayed. Considering his age, he might've used morse code in combat (his age makes him a likely candidate for a Vietnam veteran). Whatever his connection, it makes sense the castaway to suggest using morse code would know what was being sent. His character has been defined largely through Rose, who hasn't been seen since the premiere, so this is a great way to get him into the story and flesh him out more.

    With all the talk of time irregularities and travel, perhaps the people on the freighter aren't lying about what happened to the doctor and that he is still alive in the freighter's timeline. There have been several references to time working differently off island. Perhaps he's killed towards the end of the season, but the body finds itself ashore now.

    The final scene with Ben and Widmore raises the stakes higher while giving us some insight into their relationship. It seems that Ben and Widmore were once on friendly terms, but that changed when Ben "took" the island. This changes the context of the purge. What was once a war between the natives and an invading force is now seen as a power play: Ben's fell swoop to take the island and cut Widmore off from it.

    Some have theorized that Widmore is one of the "hostiles" or original inhabitants of the island much like Richard has been theorized to be. Perhaps Widmore was a mentor to Ben, who he betrayed to have more control over the island. The past relationship they had could be why they follow rules of engagement over the island. It may explain why Ben can't kill Widmore, but can go after Penelope in retaliation for Alex. Some have theorized that Widmore and Ben are each others constants, which may be interesting. The history behind this relationship will likely be a major element of the series from here to the end.

    It's worth noting that Widmore doesn't have control of the island in the future. Since the end of the finale, it's been assumed that the freighties had control of the island and that Jack felt the need to rescue the castaways from the police state the mercenary side created. Perhaps the ordeal of this season has caused the island to wage war against the people on it. Whatever it is, it adds another level to the Oceanic Six mystery.

    As if the episode didn't raise the stakes enough, Ben closes the episode by threatening to kill Penelope out of revenge. Desmond and Penelope had enough going against them, but now we have to worry about Penelope's survival on top of Desmond getting off the island. Many fans are hoping for a happy ending for this couple and they are certainly making sure they go through hell before they can find happiness. With several romances ending in tragedy, this one would cause a major uproar if it did the same. It does give Desmond, the other major player in this story, a huge motivation. It also may play into Sayid should Ben leave it to him to do it. Sayid bonded with Desmond over being away from a woman they loved in "The Constant", and Ben coercing him to eliminating Penelope may be a turning point in his future timeline. There's potential for some great showdowns and drama here!

    This episode is another knock out. The momentum in the series doesn't miss a beat despite the writers' room being closed because of the strike or the series being off the air for over a month. The episode is a showcase for one of the strongest actors and characters in the show, solidifying his status in the series presumably through the end. The war is on and if this episode and its title are any indicator, there's going to be some dark stuff ahead.
  • Many consider Benjamin Linus the best character on Lost, and in this revealing episode he really comes into his own. While the episode starts out on the beach, it quickly becomes a story about Ben in all aspects and it does not dissapoint.

    Without giving away too much in the episode, this is one of the pinnacle points of the season. The confrontation between the Widmore's people and Ben was something that had to be seen to believe, and Michael Emerson once again shows why he is clearly Emmy worthy of best supporting actor. Instead of being a pure evil being he shows deep emotions, and you begin to see his own battle against Charles Widmore. This was the most action-packed episode of Lost, but yet it kept itself true to form with a deep plot, that the action helped support. The boat was missing from the episode, but while Sayid, Desmond, and Michael are extremely interesting, this episode was too jam-packed to fit it in, and you won't be missing them at all. In many ways, this episode is very much like a season premier, because the remainder of the season is going to be dedicated to the fallout from this battle, and the journey to finally meet Jacob.
  • A phenomenal piece of storytelling that stands out as one of LOST's best. Ever.

    Lost has never been known as an action series, but the scenes here could rival anything seen on 24. The Shape of Things to Come is from top to bottom brilliant, with Michael Emerson giving his best performance to date. This episode unveiled alot, including the meaning of Ben's hidden room, his relationship with the monster, a small taste of the amount of resources he has, the fact that he can handle himself physically, the different languages he speaks, his involvement with Sayid, his ability to time travel, and finally his war with Charles Whidmore.

    Sadly, it also showed us the first time Ben's mind games don't work- and it costs him his daughter.

    Other nice moments include the use of Bernard and the Morse Code situation back at the beach, and just about everything with Sawyer playing "hero of the day."
  • A Ben-centric episode

    All things considered, I absolutely loved this episode because Ben has been one of my favorite characters ever since he was first introduced on the show. I've always been extremely fascinated by his character, so watching this episode was a real treat for me. The flash-forwards of Ben's life were great. Another thing that I really enjoyed about this episode with whole story line with the discovery of the dead body that washed up to the island and Daniel and Charlotte's involvement with that whole story line since I like Daniel and Charlotte so much. It was very nice to see Sawyer acting so concerned about Claire and baby Aaron. I think that Sawyer is such a great character. In closing, I thought that this was a very well written, well acted and well made episode Lost from everyone involved, and I can't wait to watch the rest of season four of Lost.
  • We don't know what the rules are, but they've just been changed

    About the only disappointing thing about this episode is that it's a flashforward involving Ben, not a flashback. But then again, since we saw in 'The Economist' that Ben was off the island, it does make a certain amount of the sense to figure out how and why.. Another disappointment; much like 'The Man Behind the Curtain' this episode raises almost as many questions as it answers. That doesn't change the fact that this is one of the best episodes that this series has ever produced. No question.

    In the teaser, in addition to the comic moment of seeing Locke, Hurley and Sawyer playing Risk, we saw Ben sitting at his piano in a rare moment of peace before everyone comes in to tell him about the phone ringing. This is significant (aside from the fact that Ben has stashed a weapon under the piano bench) because it is the last time we will see him looking relaxed for a very, very long time. And he has reason to be worried, because there's a small, heavily armed group of mercenaries coming for him, with the intention of taking him hostage and killing everyone in their path to get him.

    Because Ben is the focus of this episode, it's worth taking time to recognize the other characters who stand out. First, there's Sawyer, who now proves he really has come a long way. When he decides to save Claire, he goes on it with a force we haven't seen before, sweeping through a waves of bullets in order to rescue here, not even letting the fact that the house get blown up stop him. Then he decides to throw Ben to the vultures, even though the other options aren't that great either., and then when the hurlyburly's done, he decides he isn't sticking around and prepares to lead the survivors of this group (we see three background characters get kill; probably more die offscreen) back to the beach. And when Locke tells Sawyer Hurley's staying with him and Ben, the way he goes after Locke warning them not to harm a hair on his head, we see this isn't the same man who was hoarding medicine on day 1.

    Then there's poor Sayid. As Ben learns in the flashforward, Sayid finally managed to find his beloved Nadia and marry her, but less than a year after his rescue, he will lose her in what seems to be an automobile accident. Ben will tell Sayid that her murder was arranged by Charles Widmore, but as we know very well, Ben can't be trusted. We won't see the accident itself for another season, but it's hard to tell whether it was arranged to kill him or her. However, it really doesn't matter much as far as Sayid's concerned. He's spent years trying to find Nadia, and it's pretty clear that she represented his salvation. But now that he's lost her, he has nothing left. It's pretty clear that Ben is manipulating him from the moment they meet, but Sayid clearly feels he has no other reason to live save for revenge. This thirst for vengeance may ultimately destroy him.

    But it's Ben who's at the center of this episode, and he gets some tremendous moments. It starts with his waking up in Tunisia wearing a parka, and looking like he came out of nowhere. We won't learn how he got there til the end of the season.. But the way that he manages to adjust so quickly to his situation, leads me to believe he's done this before. But giving his actions, it's clear he's playing by a different set of rules.

    And we see why. The leader of the mercenaries, Keamy, tries to find a way to get Ben out of his barricaded house. He decides to use Alex as the hostage. Ben keeps his face hidden, but then he begins to respond by telling Kearny that she means nothing to him. It's clearly a calculated bluff, and Keamy makes him pay for it. Ben is clearly shattered by what has happened, and can not bring himself to move. The moment he leaves the building, he kneels by his daughter (with what I have come to call 'Ben's theme' playing on the soundtrack; kudos to Giacchino for perfectly matching it) he closes his daughters eyes, and weeps. His world has imploded, and the phrase "He changed the rules" means that Ben is going to start playing differently. (Not like he was using Marquis of Queensbury rules before, but still...)

    Which is follows his next action: when he apparently summons the monster. Based on what we now know about it, it's pretty clear that Ben summoned it, but that it also allowed itself to be used. But it runs headlong into this battle, and the bullets that are fired clearly bounce right off it. Furthermore, though it kills a lot of people, there are still a couple who manage to survive. Did the monster deliberately leave them alive? Still not sure yet.
    But of course the scene that had everybody talking was the encounter at the end when Ben walks right into the penthouse of Charles Widmore. Up until now, Ben said that he didn't know why Widmore was seeking the island. Now we have a much clearer idea.

    Ben asks Charles when he started keeping scotch by the bed (Charles still drinks MacCutcheon after all these years), and he tells him, since the nightmares started. Still not sure what that means. Widmore asks Ben if he's here to kill him. Ben replies: "We both know I can't do that." The clearest implication (at least by future events) is that the island has greater plans for both men, and just as in the case of Michael, won't let either of them die. Ben then says Widmore murdered his daughter, Widmore replies that he didn't kill that poor girl, as if to suggest that Alex meant nothing to Ben, which we now know for certain is not true. Ben then tells Charles he didn't kill Alex, but as we will find out, he believes this too. Widmore then tells Ben I know who you are boy. What you are. I know everything you have you took from me." We'll eventually find out that their history goes back over thirty years, so it makes sense Widmore does call him boy. He also thinks that he took the island from him. That, however, assumes that the island was his, and it's becoming less clear whether it ever did belong to him. Perhaps he spent so much time on it that he feels he owns it. Ben then says the words that made ice run down everyone's spine: he's going to kill Penny, so that Widmore will know how he feels. Widmore doesn't blink, but he then adds, "You'll never find her." Is it possible that the broach between father and daughter has become so deep that Widmore has now lost track of her, and therefore believes that if he can't find her, this boy can't either? I'm inclined to believe this, as evidence will show that to be true. Then there's one final exchange: Charles says that the island "is mine, it was once and it will be again." Ben tells him it isn't. Charles says that the hunt is on "for both of us", and that is definitely true. It's going to take both men awhile, but each of them will find their way there, and will step over the bodies of anyone in order to do it.

    It's still not clear which of these two men is the villain and which is the victim. The language alone would seem to imply that Ben is the one who has been wronged. But the lighting of the scene is arrange in such a way that Ben appears in black, and Widmore in white, and we know that light and dark have been key themes through this series. However, just because you have two sides in a war, doesn't mean that either of them is right. The survivors of 815 know this better than anybody.

    And even now, they're learning it the hard way. On the beach, a body was up, and it appears to be the ship's doctor, who when we last saw him was fine. Daniel manages to work up the radio so that it can transmit in Morse code. They send a message, and then Bernard reveals that Daniel and Charlotte are liars, and that by extension, there are no plans for rescue. This must be especially galling for Jack to learn that Locke was right after all. And speaking of Jack, no one's gotten sick on this island after over three months, so what does it mean that he's suddenly getting stomach pains. Is the island sending a message that he is not relevant, or is it trying to find a way to keep him here? I think we all know what the answer is.

    'The Shape of Things to Come' features awesome intrigue, memorable confrontations, death-defying action, and Michael Emerson's continued ability to demonstrate why he is one of the finest actors working today. In short, it's everything we've come to expect from Lost, and then some. We seem to be in the middle of a major chess game here, and it seems that everybody has a part to play in it. Question is, who are the players, and how will they get there?
    My score:10
  • Lost is back in a big way. Massive Spoilers

    High hopes for this episode, and it exceeded every single one of them. I don't know what the people who create this show are on, but it's working. Impending Spoilers!

    Ben wakes up in the Sahara desert-in a parka-Halliwax's parka. He is confronted by nomads in the desert who are most interested in him-they hold him up at gunpoint but he manages to get the drop on them with his ever-so-handy ASB Baton. He travels to Tunisia and is a preferred guest at the hotel under the name "Moriarty" (Sherlock Holmes reference anyone?). He checks the date-it is 2005, and sees Sayid on the news mourning Nadia-his wife. He travels to Tikrit and views the funeral snapping shots of a bald man in the crowd. Sayid confronts him and Ben tells him he knows who murdered Nadia. Ben follows this man and is held up by him only to be rescued by Sayid who exacts his vengeance. Sayid wants to get revenge on all involved, but Ben tries to talk him out of it, but Sayid does not relent. Judging by the evil smirk on Ben's face, that is what he wanted. Ben manages to talk his way into a posh London apartment where he meets up with-Charles Widmore! Ben explains that he cannot kill him, but he will make him pay for "changing the rules"-as Ben blames Charles Widmore for Alex's death, he wants payback in the form of Penny's death!

    On the island, Jack has a stomach bug and Kate is looking mighty hot. Daniel is trying to fix the satellite phone with spare parts from the wreckage. Bernard rushes to find Jack as a body has washed ashore. It is the doctor from the freighter and his throat has been slit. Daniel eventually succeeds and sends a morse code message to the freighter about when the survivors will be picked up. Daniel receives a message back saying they will come by tomorrow-Bernard insists that he is lying-Bernard knows morse code as well-they were telling Daniel about the Doctor. Jack is visibly upset and grabs Daniel whom then reveals-the freighter crew did not intend to rescue them.

    At Locke's Camp-Sawyer, Hurley, and Locke play risk when a captured Alex sends a trouble signal through the sonic fence. Locke informs Ben of the trouble code and Ben goes into a panic as he tries to fortify the area. Sawyer goes to get Claire, but the attack happens and 3 "nobodies" are shot and killed-plus Claire's house gets redecorated courtesy of a RPG. Sawyer manages not to get killed and rescues Claire who isn't hurt badly. While Locke, Ben, and Hurley seal up their house, Sawyer brings Claire back after Hurley breaks a window to let them in. Miles shows up with a Walkie for Ben to communicate with the mercenaries. They want Ben to surrender or else they will kill Alex. Ben tries to use his mind games-BUT FAILS! The lead mercenary kills Alex. Ben gets angry, mutters something about "he changed the rules" and rushes into his secret room to a strange looking stone panel. When he emerges he tells everyone to run for the tree line-the earth shakes and SMOKEY appears like a freight train and kills the mercenaries. Ben says goodbye to Alex in a touching moment and they set off to find Jacob-since Hurley now knows where the cabin is.

    This episode was awesome-it had everything from acting, to directing and stellar writing. Give Michael Emerson his awards now-his performance all season has been amazing-tonight was a showcase. He was vengeful, tricky, and emotional-I actually felt bad for him when Alex died. Powerful acting, great dialogue, and a wonderful use of action. They didn't substitute the action sequences for plot and they weren't gratuitous-they were used perfectly. Easily one of the best episodes ever-this is on par with "The Constant".
  • There was a little thing that a lot of people missed here in this episode.

    I think there was a little detail that a lot of people didn't get in this episode. And it was how Ben behaved and reacted in front of Sayid when he told Sayid about the man who killed Nadia (Sayid's wife). After that conversation was over, Ben turned over and smiled. The smile and the way Ben talked to Sayid explained a lot of things. It was really obvious for me that it was Ben who killed Nadia in order to make Sayid angry and pissed off at Charles Widmore and make him join Ben in his war. So, it's typical Ben. He does everything in order to archive his goals.

    Another important thing in this episode was revealed. In the conversation between Widmore and Ben, Widmore says that everything that Ben has got, belongs to Widmore and Ben has taken it from Widmore. This implies that the whole "Darma Int" and the "Island" belonged to Widmore in the first place.
  • Where are the Heroes fans now? Lost crushed em all.

    Mercenary guys = Heroes fans. Black smoke = Lost.

    Good game. Good game.

    Nobody can question now what is the best serialised mythological drama. LOST is. Once again the writers proved their creativity, cleverness and the fact that the show's plot isn't written on the fly.

    I bet Tim Kring is crying his ass off every week Lost airs. "Why can't my show be like that? :("

    The episode's key moments:

    Ben teleporting
    Finding out Dr Ray is dead but actually alive at the same time
    Alex getting head-shot
    The action sequence where 3 redshirts go down
    Smokey killing the mercs
    Ben confronting Widmore

    All that in one episode - Lost owns. Tyvm.
  • Best but sad

    I don't really like the writer's choice on killing Danielle and her daughter, but I think it's a pretty good stepping stone in the fourth season. Possibly some Danielle flashbacks? Anyways, the show is amazing so far . . . and lost really hasn't had a downfall. Let's just hope that season 5 isn't a downfall! It doesn't seem like it, the previews are amazing!

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
  • Extreme WTF-fest brought to your home by the crew and cast of "LOST".

    Let's see...Ben, Locke and Hurley go on a mission to find Mr. Jacob. Ben teleported in the desert. Dr Ray's dead but is not. Alex is killed with a headshot. Jack appears to be sick. The smoke monster is controlled(or can be controlled) by Ben. The smoke monster kills the WHOLE F'N ARMY. We find out how Sayid ended up with Ben. Charles and Ben face off. BEN tells Charles HE'S GOING to KILL Penelope, DESMOND'S ONLY reason to LIVE!


    I'm ill, and I've an exam starting VERY soon, but this episode just made me go INSANE. I would put it under The Constant, but not by much. This episode actually provided more development and OMG scenes, but The Constant was just more epic.

    Anyways. This episode was 10/10. But. I'm not going to be surprised if people will say "this is too sci fi now, SRSLY". We had many sci fi themed episodes, but this... The scene where smokey kills the army.. that was... Wow. Science fiction to the maximum.

    While this episode didn't have too much character development, this time around it wasn't missing as badly as from the rest of the season because the actual events, answers made up for it.

    Bring on next friggin week!
  • Just another reason this is the best show on network television.

    This episode is the benchmark for which all other episodes should be judged. this is in part thanks to the excellent pacing and directing by Jack Bender. Ben's story gets more and more fascinating each time the touch on it and the fact that he can be so hated in one scene and pitiful the next is something to be said. Michael Emerson has really established himself as a standalone great on this series and I only hope he can find more work after lost. This ep featured lots of violence, which has been prevalent this season and its implemented well except fro the three randoms that get killed meaninglessly. There is more than one shocking episode this episode and anyone thinking they know what will happen will be extremely surprised. A side story involving Jack getting sick is originated here and will be elaborated next episode. It will be interested to see how it develops. Overall, a really fine piece of TV with great acting, convincing acting and an ending that will chill you to the bone and create more conflict within the lost universe. 10/10.
  • Smokey is back!

    Lost is back with one of its best episodes yet! It had everything: suspence, drama, mystery and revelations!
    Ben's flashforward/timetravelling was very interesting from the very beginning when he appeared in the Sahara Desert, since the last scene where he meets Charles Widmore! In his Flashforward we can see how Sayid started to co-operate with Ben and how it all began.
    On the island, specifically at the beach, a dead body is found at the shore, and as it appears the man is Ray,the doctor from the freighter. When they communicate with the freighter to inform them what happened, they reply that "the doctor is fine" !
    Meanwhile,at the barracks, some of Charle's Widmore associates come against Ben and the rest. They start shooting people and they explode Claire's house but luckily for her Sawyer was there to pull her out of the ruins and save her. After a while, Keamy brings Alex and threatens to kill her if Ben does not surrender. Ben thinks that he has eveything under control but he is mistaken and when he refuses to surrender Keamy murders Alex in cold blond. When Ben realizes what just happened, he enters a secret room and calls the smoke monster. Émmediately, the smoke monster comes and kills all the enemies.
    In the very last scene,in Ben's flashforward when he meets Charle Widmore,Ben asserts him that he is going to kill his daughter,just like he did to his daughter,so that he can feel how it is like to loose her.
    Perfect episode with many surprises and lots of suspence! Can's wait to see the next one!
  • One of the best episodes ever! Lost is, and always will be, the best TV show of all-time! The magnificent plotting will rule the TV shows industry.

    One error in the show. When Ben is flash-backing, he watches a news report on Saed. The headline indicates his name and headlines written in Arabic with each single letter separated and discontinuous. However Arabic words are written in one word and continuously. There was also another error in one of the previous episodes showed in the earlier seasons. Don't remember which episode exactly, but it was Saed-centric episode. Where is shows him back in his old days at Iraq during the Sadam regime. It was showing Saed having a conversation with the army general and being blackmailed by him, by showing him a video of what is supposed to be his home country. However the Video shown is actually a shot taken in Afghanistan during the US invasion. Nevertheless, I still love this show !
  • This is the best episode of Season four! The writers have been holding out on us.

    This episode is the best of Season four because- - well, it had everything. Ben is one of my favourite characters on Lost, the only character I like better than Ben is Sawyer. The only part I didn't like was the "Alex execution" part. But I think Michael Emerson should win an award for his portrayal of Ben in this episode. The stuff at the beach was good too, but for me, the best part was when Ben confronts Widmore in the final flash-forward and when the monster attacks the freighter team. This episode deserves an Emmy. (I know I'm rambling and I'm sorry)It was that good.
  • The Shape of Things to Come was absolutely amazing!

    If people read this review and haven't seen the episode, there may be possible spoilers.

    I cannot believe they killed Alex. I actually cried when that happened. Charles Widmore is an untrusted a**hole. I really dont like him. The doctor from the ship being the washed up body didn't suprise me as much as I thought it would. I was expecting someone like that to come. Ben's flash-forward sure was messed up, but it was decent. When Sawyer found Claire after the explosion of the other building, I thought she was dead. I was about to cry there. Overall, I thought this episode was very well written, and I loved it.
  • Very impressive

    This was amazing episode. The last one was really mood ruiner but this one - it was huge, massive, so much mystery, action and.. I do not know. I have never felt much good feelings about Ben but this episode really opened him as a person who does have feelings, who is human.

    This episode answers for us why Sayid works for Ben and even thought I am not sure if Ben was not the person who killed Nadia in the first place because he is like little child - trying to get everything he wants with any means necessary

    The fight on the island, that smoke monster.. executing Alex (what was cruel.. killing her and Rousseaux was very cruel) all the lies what surround them. It was such a massive and very good episode.

    I liked it.. a lot..
  • Oh my God... It was so good.

    This episode was one of the most intresting episodes of all the show,it gives alot of hidden informations,it have thescence of power,and it kinda decides the fath of all the peoples on the islind.

    there is the most importanat thing at the last scene when ben and charles are talking,chalres sayed that the island was his and it will be agaian that means he knew all along about the island and then ben got over there and took every thing under his control the way we know how and saw it in the prevous seasons...

    We know how did sayd joyned ben in his quest of revenge...

    as all of us knows this show makes alot of questions in our mind,alot of questions and some little answers so...

    will ben get to penelopy and will he take her out?!

    how does all of these people dye on the island?!as we know there are only 6 whom sourvived.

    will they kill chalres?!

    how will jacob help all of them to get out of these troubles?!

    what is jacob!what is the smoke?
    and alot of lots of qoestions I cant mention all ofthem here...
    lets figoure out what are the answers.

    but for the last question that I wrote...I belive that the smoke is kinda of mestical things like elves or demons or may be and Jacob is there master.
  • Ben travels trough time, convinces Sayid to help him win his war and promises murder on a night bed. What a Bentastic episode!

    So LOST is back, for six more episodes. I'm pretty sure the pace the story line will take will be amazingly fast... comparing to the three previous seasons.
    I mean there was really a lot of information in "The shape of things to come".
    I'm now defenitly a fan of the theory that Ben and Charles are some sort of Angel and Demon fighting over the control of the island and ultimately also over the universe.
    I have no idea about the stand of jacob, the monster and the whispers. and i also have no clue who of the two is the good and who is the bad guy, if there is actually something like that. i mean so far we know that both man have done some terrible things to achieve their goals (ben for example did the purge; charles hired keamy and let the world believe oceanic crashed in the ocean).
    anyway, lets get back to the episode. probably the most obvious revealing was that ben somehow can make contact with jacob or the monster and ask it for help.
    i think we are going to find out more about that in the episode cabin fever, when locke, hurley and ben go and find jacob.
    a not so obvious revealing that raises plenty of new questions was that supposedly there are some sort of "rules" of how to win the control over the island. so, some things are allowd and some things are not.
    who defines those rules? my best guess: jacob and with him the smoke monster.
    so what happens if you change the rules? is the "game" going out of order? probably not, else ben would have killed charles and for some reason he couldn't.
    well all that was very promising, revealing and exciting.

    a bit less believable even ridiculous was how easy it was for ben to convince sayid. i mean jarrah does not even want some sort of proof that bakir and with him widmore killed his beloved wife. he just simply believes ben and a photo of the bad guy.. that was weak!
    even weaker were the gun fire sequences with sawyer. i mean come on! three poor losties have to die in a row, every time sawyer screams something like "watch out" or "go inside", three times too late, but somehow no bullet hits him and he can find shelter behind a picnic table.. AAhh, too much fiction in that scene. they should just have let him and also claire die! i mean where the heck whas she? somehow outside the house? wandering a bit around?
    that was just some lazy try of the producers to let us think that claire is in danger because we know that somehow kate will take care of aaron in the future. i'm pretty sure they will do this quite a few times more (defenitely in the next episode). and they are going to do it also with jin. as he is assumed dead as well.
    quite the same trick the used with charlie last season. i'm a 100% sure that in the end claire and jin are going to die! and they will do it in a way that we first think that they are safe, just to let them suddenly be killed afterwards.
    so.. i don't know. i have mixed feelings about lost in general. i still like it a lot. but sometimes i just get the feeling it is a bit cheesy.. i don't know.. just soemhow i seem to get no satisfaction.
    i guess the stakes are a bit too high!
    well, let my know whethter or not you share the same feeling.
    sincerely yours!
  • I am not sure if I loved or hated it!

    As often with the show,I asked myself if this was brillant or was this the show that will make me finally quit it. Should I stay up for this? Seeing Ben in Tunsia, Iraq and in the last scene was hard. He can be so evil and sly in the world of the island. In the real world he looks so out of place and dorky. Also, the last scene was like the first Jacob scene or the John Locke's father on the island scene. I don't know if I could really buy something so foolish. What made me most mad was how much a tool Sayid is made into. This is a guy who is a human lie detector test and now he is being totally played by a guy he made the first time he saw him in prison in the second season. It is like when the good guy wrestler struggles with one bad guy for a half-hour match one week and then faces the same bad guy with two other bad teamates the next week, yet the good guy beats all three even though he struggled to beat one last week. It was just so contrived. I can take the fantasy of Lost, but the character contradictions are so silly. I still think I liked it because a crazy connection to Whitmore is being further developed, but hard to swallow.
  • Welcome to the War, John!

    This episode without a doubt has jumped into my top five, right behind Through the Looking Glass and The Constant Overall, the episode had everything in it that we could have wanted. The episode was amazing in every way, shape, and form. Every scene in the flash was amazing and the island scenes were just as good. Begin with the flash, which we didnt find out was a forward until Ben asked the woman what year it was. We now have an approximate timeline of events for the show. It seems as if he was in the middle of something as his flash made it seem like he was kind of surprised to be in the desert somewhat. He had an injury on his arm and was wearing a big puffy jacket. Im sure we will see at some point what aspect of the island allows him to teleport like that. He then kills the two guys and steals there horses - that scene was amazing. Follow that up with a complete story of Ben / Sayid and you have a really good flash right there. But the writers took it a step further and even showed the scene with Ben and Charles, whcih was in my opinion the best scene fo the episode. They didnt do anything to try and WTF us, it was just an amazing scene from beginning to end. I normaly dont bring up the lighting of scenes, but the half light / half dark face of the both of them was really good. It also sets up a really good plot for Sayid to go after Penelope, cant wait to see how sayid responds to that piece of information.

    The island scenes with Jack and company took the intensity down a little bit from the other side of the island, which was a good thing. Benard calls out Daniel for lying, which I thought was interesting. Jack is getting sick seemingly out of nowhere, that seems a bit random but should be interesting to see where it goes in the next episode. Lockes camp had the most intense parts of this episode from beginning to end. There was no scene that didnt go way over my expectations. Sawyer in the middle of a gun battle / killing three randoms? Love it. House explostion? Love it. Ben / Keamy / Alex scene - amazing. What an amazing scene by Ben. Once again he goes off on someone and tells them their life story. I love those scenes. The killing of Alex was actually quite surprising, I didnt see it coming and I did actually feel a little sad. It all works really well for what they are setting up in the future. Overall, third best episode of the entire show for me without a doubt! Incredable!
  • This is a perfect Lost episode. We got the most intense revelations in the whole series, there was a lot of action, and a lot of characters shifted their loyalty.

    For a moment there, I thought they would never make a better episode than the one where Desmond conscience time travels, but they did with this one! this is a perfect Lost episode. We got the most intense revelations in the whole series, there was a lot of action, and a lot of characters shifted their loyalty. What else can a lost fan ask? Did I mentioned the black smoke monster kicked ass?

    This is a fine example of what good plots for a tv series should be like. Every detail was perfect, even from the start with Ben's piano song.
  • Still Lost with Lost and I like it. A big puzzle to put together. Good luck everyone! LaCa90027

    There are so many "grey" areas to fill in...what a Great Show LOST is. I like the fact that these few episodes on season four have been mysterious and there is still so much more to know. I look forward to seeing the next few shows until the end. The 10pm time slot is a big change but avid fans will adjust. I wish you all a fun and exciting time this Season 4. I am still LOST with LOST and I like it. What a big puzzle to put together. Good luck everyone in solving it! Thank you to the Producers, Directors, the Actors and especially the WRITERS for making amends and for keeping the show going. LaCa90027
  • Picks you up and doesn't let you go.

    The episode starts and so does the action. And the suspence keeps you going through the whole episode. We got more than enough juicy bits throughout the episode. We also got to see a whole new side of Ben after Alex was murdered.(I couldn't tell, was Keamy killed by Smokey or not?)

    And then of course, there is the scene where Smokey comes and kills the intruders. That scene was absolutely AWESOME! I guess all the Redshirts that went with Locke are dead now. (BTW, I am still not convinced that Danielle is dead. It'll take more than Alex's word to convince me of that. I think she'll be back wanting revenge for the people who killed her daughter) And then of course, Ben's flashforward. HE'S GOING AFTER PENNY! The hunt has begun! Lost is back, and better than ever!

    This is what good television is all about! Edge-of-your seat, suspenceful drama, answers to questions, a healthy dose of character development, mindblowing storytelling, and terrific acting. If "The Shape of Things to Come" is any indication of what we have to look forward to from Lost, I think "The Shape of Things to Come" fortells that Lost is going to get better than it's ever been.
  • absolutely incredible from start to finish. this one will be talked about for a while.

    For the first time, we get a clear sense of Ben's emotion. It's obvious, as it's been for most of us, that Ben isn't the "villain", and he does in fact have a heart. Sawyer shows us his heroic side in a daring rescue amidst gunfire, Hurley steps up, Miles joins team Locke, and the conflict between Locke and Ben becomes even more enthralling. The only con about this episode was the slightly boring island sequence between jack and kate---but that's expected. in any case, i think this is one of the best episodes in a long time, and is right up there with season 1.
  • Ben: It's very important that you survive what's about to happen here John, so I need you to stay close to me. Locke: And why would I do that? Ben: Because people that are coming won't risk hurting me. You want to live? I'm your best chance.

    Locke's camp comes under attack, and Jack tries to discover the identity of a body that has washed ashore. In flashforwards, Ben recruits Sayid as his assassin and confronts Charles Widmore. I have to say this episode of Lost is one of the best episodes I have ever seen, it was action packed and fast paced. Even back at the beach was interesting. Every character was awesome in the episode Ben was great and I think it was the first time I have ever felt sorry for the guy. The smoke monster scene was amazing. Sawyer and Locke showdown at the end was great.The final seen was astonishing I was shocked Desmond isn't going to happy. As a whole "The shape of things to come" was a spectacular episode, that rivals "The constant" and all the over great episodes of Lost.
  • After this mini hiatus, Lost came back will full force and made one of the Best episodes produced in Lost!!!!

    Plot Details/Objective -» Lost returns for more six episodes and of course, we will have the climax of the season 4. With only Jack and Locke to focus in FF and FB, there was one empty focus, since the season finale will be divided in 3 episodes. Their choosing could not be better. Ben is the focus , both in present and future, and the objective was to brought the tension of this war.

    What I Like/Disliked -» All the Scenes in this episode. Loved when Ben summons the Smoke Monster.


    Presentation -» (9/10). The presentation already starts to build the upcoming war.

    Complication Phase -» (10/10). Spectacular. Sawyer, Locke, Hurley and Ben all in great danger. The tension here was great.

    Climax -» (10/10). When Ben summons the Smoke monster and when he says goodbye to his daughter, simply perfect.

    Cliffhanger/Ending -» (10/10). The ending was superb, if not perfect. The dialogues played there was great.

    Flash-forward's -» (10/10). There is not any OMG scenes, but all the scenes is very well played and informative. The first scene was awesome. The ending was perfect, Poor Desmond.

    Time and Scenes Management -» (10/10). Even if there was scene propositional made for buying time, was all worth.

    Dialogues -» (10/10). The highlights of this was the final dialogues in the FF.

    Action /Adventure -» (10/10). Awesome scene in the beginning of the FF. This episode is filled with action and then you have the fantastic scene of the Black Smoke Monster.

    Drama/Emotions -» (10/10). The way that Ben daughter is shoot, Ben facial expressions is something priceless. Even if he is the villain, is difficult to not feel sorry for him.

    Suspense/Tension -» (10/10). This episode is filled with tension.

    Mystery/Curiosity/Doubts/Hints -» (10/10). More mysteries, one hint, and again it is impossible to not be curious about this episode.

    Surprise/Twists -» (10/10). This full appearance of the Smoke Monster is simple a great surprise. Claire survival was a surprise too. The ending was a nice surprise.

    After this mini hiatus, Lost came back will full force and made one of the Best episodes produced in Lost.
  • If the actor who plays Ben, is ignored at the Emmy's after this performance... something is seriously wrong.

    This episode had me completely enthralled. From the John Doe who washed up on the beach to the execution style shootings of like 6 of The Others, this episode was phenomenal. On the beach we find out that the freighter isn't really there to take them off the island, thanks in part to a lying Daniel who was caught red handed, making up what said in a Morse Code message. At Locke's camp we saw some awesome dynamics between Hurley, Sawyer, Aaron and Claire (who I thought was a goner). But the best and most surprising turn of events was the death of Alex. Ben's reaction to her heartless killing was mesmerizing... and he didn't say a word. After trying unsuccessfully to convince her captors that she didn't matter to him, she is shot, which apparently sets off a chain of events that lasts even after Ben leaves the island. Michael Emerson was amazing, the rest of the cast was awesome as usual, and I think this may have been the best episode of the season. Well done.
  • This is a bit more like it!

    Now we get to see a bit more of what drives Ben rather than just seeing him as a creepy, manipulative control freak. When "The Others" first began giving the Oceanic 815 survivors grief, we only perceived them from the crash survivor's point of view. As we learn more and more about Ben Linus and his crew, we come to realize that their only goal is to protect the island and the mysterious Jacob. The fact that he is willing to sacrifice people to achieve this goal paints him as the traditional "villain". Since we do not fully comprehend the nature of the island or Jacob, and given this show's propensity for misleading the audience as to the intentions and allegiances of the various cast members, it's altogether possible that Ben is the most heroic person on the island.

    Wouldn't that be a hoot?
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