Thursday, January 22, 2009

Because We Left (and Lied)


I feel whole again. LOST is back. A Robby divided against itself cannot stand, and I've been incomplete since May 29th of last year when last we saw the greatest show ever made by humans. I think it is safe to say that this week's triumphant return was a ringing success. Because You Left and The Lie were about as good an opening to a season as one could hope. We got to see Locke murdering people again, Hurley gorging his sweaty face, creepy Ben stares and Kate attempting to bolt like the girl we knew pre-island crash. Desmond and Faraday reunite, Constant-style. (Those two should really get an ABC sit-come spin off called "Two Guys, A Hatch, and a Polar Bear".)

It had it all.

I'll break down some of the story-lines from each episode and then give a few thoughts/theories as usual.

I'm just so glad it's back...

"Because You Left"- These words are the answer Ben gives to Jack when our favorite now-you-see-him-bearded-now-you-don't spinal surgeon asks the pertinent and appropriate question "How did we get here? How did this happen?"

But we open the season in the Othersville home of one Dr. Pierre Chang (aka Edgar Halliwax, aka Marvin Candle, aka Mark Wickmund), sometime presumably in the 1970's. Dr. Chang we've seen in multiple Orientation films since season two, but this was the first time we've seen him off-the-cuff and in-person. He's got a wife and a baby (who, being Asian, might end up being either Jin, Sun, or Miles). He's making a video for The Arrow station when he's called to The Orchid due to a problem. Here we see the first time Dharma people found the wheel-of-fortune (and time) that Ben turned last season to "move the island". Obviously Dr. Chang knew what they were looking/drilling for down there and had them design the Orchid upstairs as a misdirection from what was actually underground.

This got me thinking about Chang and some of the higher-up's in the Dharma gang. These people had to have found the island some way. I know they are at war with the hostiles, and are eventually "purged" out of existence, but how did Dharma find this place to begin with? It had to have been someone on the island going to the real world and telling people about it. Maybe this is where Widmore comes in? Maybe Widmore is (or knew) Alvar Hanso, of the Hanso Foundation, that we were told founded/funded Dharma? More on this later

But most important to note from the opening scene was obviously that hardhat-clad Daniel Faraday is putting a shift in for the Dharma tunnel-diggers union some 20-30 years before we've ever seen him on the island. Not to get too far ahead, but I think when we see Faraday it is further down the road of island-skipping time and the skips in time get further and further apart and in one of those skips back Faraday goes to try and learn what the source of the island's time-traveling power is. Hence, he's the same age as we've always seen him, and was down in the belly of The Orchid looking very investigative.

In present island time, as the white light subsides from the sky, Locke finds himself alone a second after being surrounded by his newly appointed Others minions. On the beach, those left behind find that their camp and food and shelter has disappeared. The theory that the island had moved in time came to fruition and the non-Oceanic Six survivors find themselves on the day that Yemi's plane crashed and Desmond was still pushing buttons in the Hatch. Locke goes to see what's what with the plane and ends up shot in the leg by Ethan. The people on the beach, led by Faraday who starts to reveal that he knows basically what is happening, head to find a "landmark" or "constant", preferably one man-made. They head to the hatch and along the way, and just as Ethan's about to shoot an injured John Locke in his bald head, the island skips again.

One thing about the time of day/night when the island skips time...One of the biggest themes of the show since the pilot episode has been light/dark, faith/science, ying/yang, etc., etc. Well, I thought it was interesting and perhaps intentionally symbolic that the future was always during the night and the past was always during the day. Now obviously part of that is for the audience's sake so we have some bearing at where we are in the story. But it also fits into the mold of the light/dark theme of the show. The past is illuminated because it is known and can be "trusted". There are "rules" about the past, according to Faraday's string-cheese theory. But the future, well the future is a different ball of wax. It is dark and mysterious and unknown.

Maybe I'm stretching that one too far, but since I literally can't stretch most parts of my body before running, I indulge on the rhetorical front.

The long and short of it is that the island, Faraday says, should be thought of like a record skipping. It has been dislodged (thanks to Ben's wheel turning escapades). There is a distinct theme of record players since Season Two in the hatch. Dr Chang is listening to one that skips at the beginning of this very episode in fact. The song he is playing is "Shotgun Willie" by Willie Nelson. The lyrics have some correlation to the song Desmond was playing on a Dharma record player in the hatch, "Make Your Own Kind of Music" by Mama Cass. I won't over-analyze things again here, but take a look at the words and post a comment if you see anything worthy of note.

When the island skips ahead, Locke is found by Richard Alpert who knew precisely where Locke would be and what he needed to be told. This Alpert guy is some kind of something, no? Locke is told that because the Oceanic Six left, things are going to be catastrophic for everyone if he (Locke) doesn't go back and bring the Six home again from the real world. To do that, Alpert says ominously, Locke will have to die. We knew he was dead, but to learn that he was foretold to die in order to get the Oceanic Six back is weird, wild stuff. So however it happened, Locke died in the future off the island and knew he had to in order to save things. Score one for The Man of Faith. Alpert also said that he and the Others hadn't disappeared, but that Locke did. More on this later in my thoughts/theories section.

When the island skips back to the past (the writers of the show say it is supposed to be circa 1999 when Yemi's plane crashed), Faraday goes to find Desmond in the hatch. In Faraday's magical book of time/space, he had written "Desmond Hume is my constant." They had met in 1996 which we saw in last year's episode The Constant when Dez went back to give a pony-tailed Faraday the right numbers for his mouse-trap game. It does seem strange and confusing how neither of them would remember that when they first meet on the island, but maybe Faraday does and was downplaying things. He is shy and bizarre. Faraday tells Dez that he is special, that the rules don't apply to him and that he is the only one who can save all of them. Before the light flashes again, he yells for Dez to go back to Oxford for him and find his mother. We don't get her name, but I think I know who it is: Ms Hawking. The old lady who told Desmond not to marry Penny in Season Three, and who we see again at the end of last night's second episode.

To wrap up Because You Left, in the future off the island, Ben begins his attempts at recruiting all of the Oceanic Six to come back to the island. Jack is completely on board and even seems comforted to learn that he will never come back once he returns to the island. He shaves, puts on his suit, and with the help of Ben, flushes the pills (and hopefully some of the pain) of the past three years.

Kate tries to run cause some lawyers come and try to take blood samples in order to prove that Kate either is or isn't Aaron's real mummy (as Claire would obnoxiously say). She doesn't get far and ends up getting an "unknown" call from Sun who she goes to visit in a hotel. Sun says she doesn't blame Kate for what happened. But earlier in the episode, Sun is given a stern talking-to by Charles Widmore at the airport. I think maybe Sun is up to something more devious and had a bigger reason for asking Kate to come by. Maybe Widmore had her do that so that he could have his people watching and tailing Kate (and oh what a tail!).

Hurley and Sayid run into some trouble at the "safe house" that is about as safe as I am liberal. Their story runs into the second episode so I'll talk more about that in a second.

The first episode ends with Dez telling Penny (on yes, her boat) that they're to haul-up anchor and set a course for Oxford, England.


The Lie- We get a larger-than-life-and-necessary serving of Hurley in this second installment of the season opener. To cut through the boring saga of Hurley's emotions issues, he takes knocked-out Sayid back to his parent's house, has his dad take Sayid to Jack, and cries like a woman in front of his mother. His guilt from having to lie for so long gets the best of him. Maybe a ride in a Dharma VW bus will lift his weighty worries?

It is an interesting scene when the Oceanic Six are on Penny's boat discussing what to do about all the lying. Not so much because of their discussion, but that Penny makes it clear that she is not with her dad (so far as we can tell), and that her dad is obsessed with all this island-finding business and will not cease-and-desist no matter what. He is Ben's rival for a reason.

Back on the beach, it is now in the future and as Miles returns with a boar he "found" in the jungle the encampment is bombarded with flaming arrows that kill a few of the survivors. Who is doing the shooting, and if it is the future, why are they pulling a Robin Hood with the arrows? When Juliet and Sawyer are captured by a few of them, the one guy has a Dharma-looking jumpsuit on with the name "Jones" on it and demands to know who they are. The jumpsuit looks like an old Dharma one though. Maybe he and the arrow-brigade are also being shot back and forth in time and are from Dharma circa 1970/80's (opening of the first episode)? Maybe they are Rousseau's crew that she ended up killing? Either way, Locke Rambo's his way to victory and "ends" all three of the people who are about to cut off Juliet's paw. Vintage Locke. Vintage Locke's pants.

Oh, one actually interesting part of Hurley's tale was the bump-in, pull-over visit from Anna Lucia (Libby says hi). Hurley seems to be the most in-tune with the island of all the Oceanic Six. Whether its the island or Jacob or whoever, they know Hurley is the easiest to manipulate and they push the poor guy to his breaking point. Anna Lucia's ghost tells Hurley he's gonna have to step up his game if he is to avoid getting captured "at all costs." Funny, cause the second he has the chance to avoid the cops, with Ben's help, he runs out and turns himself in. Maybe Hurley is wising up and sick of listening to the voices in his head? Or maybe he just ruined everything and should have gone with Ben?

Speaking of the bug-eyed bugger, Ben takes Locke's body to a butcher shop for safe keeping. He obviously has more of "his people" off the island and they are hatching something big. After losing Hugo to the po-po, Ben heads to a church where in the basement our mysterious Ms. Hawking is using retro computer equipment and hanging pieces of chalk (the device is called a Focault Pendulum) over a map to locate where the island has been moving to each time it skips in time. There is a logo on the computer (which looks eerily similar to the ones in the hatches on the island), and the logo appears to be Dharma itself. Perhaps it is from the yet-to-be-discovered Dharma station that is on the map on the blast doors that Locke got his legs (and pants) stuck in during season two. Ms Hawking tells a worried-looking Ben that he has only 70 hours to get everyone together for their journey back to the island.

And so the pieces are in motion for an all-out attempt by Ben and Jack (and whoever else is helping Ben) to get the Oceanic Six together for a reunion tour to the island.


-Last time I said that Charlotte might be Ben's daughter, or the daughter of his child-hood sweetheart Annie. But maybe she is Widmore's daughter and Penny's sister...and when Ben told Widmore that he would kill his daughter to settle the score for Alex's untimely demise, maybe Ben meant Charlotte. Interesting twist?

-Faraday fascinates me. We first see him parachuting out of the sky on a rainy night on the island last season. But his brief back-story shows him in Essex, MA watching the news when the fake wreckage of Oceanic 815 is being shown on the news. There is some woman we can't see in the background and she asks Faraday why he is crying at the sight of the wreckage. Maybe it's cause in his mind he knew he'd be headed there and that he couldn't avoid it. It could be a subconscious thing where because of his previous meeting with Desmond in 1996 he knew sort of what was going to happen but couldn't quite remember all of it yet. Regardless, he tells Desmond in last night's episode that his black book contains all the info he's gathered on Dharma and the island up to that point. But he had never been to the island so far as we know. The opening scene with him in the bowels of the Orchid, like I said earlier, is probably a skip-in-time and at that point he's really still in the future (sort of). I don't think Faraday had been to the island before he parachuted on to it in season four. So how does he know all that stuff about Dharma? He doesn't just say "I know a ton about time/space stuff", he says he knows a lot about Dharma. And Miles makes the comment that "It took Widmore 20 years to find this island last time." How do they know this? They were hired by Naomi who was hired by Abbadon who allegedly works for Widmore. Not sure what to make of all that, but we've more to learn about what went on before and during the hiring process of Lapidus, Charlotte, Miles, and Faraday for their journey on the freighter.

-Ms. Hawking is Faraday's mother. But how does she know Ben? Was she on the island? Were the two of them and Widmore previously all chums and now there has been a falling out and she's helping Ben to defeat Widmore? I think she is more of a guard, or as the writers have said in their podcasts, a "policewoman" who is a guardian of the timeline of history. Obviously there is a lot to digest there and a lot of ambiguity. Basically, I don't think she's "on Ben's side", but is likely more neutral and just wants to keep time/history going.

-Ben's staging a lot of the drama here and his real purpose is just to get himself back to the island. I think they island doesn't want him back so has been sending mixed signals to the Oceanic Six. Claire-ghost tells Kate not to come back. Charlie-ghost tells Hurley to come back. Etc. But then again, the island needs to be "corrected" and Jacob still wants to be "helped" by Locke. There's a lot of mixed messaging going on here (on purpose, obviously).

-There has been a lot of talk about "rules". Ben says there are rules to killing Charles Widmore, and also rules that Widmore broke by killing Alex. Faraday explains some rules for time-travel, using the analogy of a String. Jack is someone who likes to play by the rules. Locke is someone who is okay with breaking some if it's for the "greater good" (however he defines it). I appreciate that about this show: they tackle interesting moral questions like this. How far do we go to follow rules? Should we always follow them? Is it ever okay to break the rules? How far do we go in that direction, even if its for a good cause? Underlying this is the reality that all our decisions have consequences. Sorry for the philosophical tangent.

Alright comrades. That's all I got. Thanks for tuning in, and please, as always, post some comments/questions below.

JL's Pants

Some re-caps from Doc Jensen

Entertainment Weekly's resident LOST expert, Doc Jensen, has three interesting posts in the last few days.

This one was sent out before the season premiere last night and talks about Dr. Marvin Candle from the Orientation films.

Here is Jensen's re-cap of the first episode last night, Because You Left.

And finally, here is his summary of the second episode, The Lie.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

There's No Blog Like "Pants"


And who says good things never come to those who wait?

It’s been nearly 8 months since we last blogged together, but it is finally here…it’s what you’ve been waiting for: JLP’s re-cap of the Season Four Finale is hereby unveiled.

I waited initially to re-hash the finale because I wanted everyone to have a chance to see it and mull it over in his or her own minds first. But summer came upon me like a Dharma spy in the night (to steal my baby) and before I knew it I was busy flying kites, "pickling the Beast" (Beast = Rudy the Dog), and running lemonade stands till the Ides of September. Then election season was upon me and I got mired down in a bog of hope and change. Before I knew it, I was standing in line at Best Buy on December 9th with LOST DVDs in my hands wondering what happened to 2008 and my dignity. So without further fanfare, here goes the 1st installment of John Locke’s Pants in the ’09.


The season finale was really a 3-hour, two-part episode entitled “No Place Like Home”. I will attempt to quickly re-cap the first, one-hour section that was really more of an appetizer for the next week’s two-hour episode that brought the season to a climatic close.

Part 1: “No Place Like Home”: We finally get to see the press conference of the Oceanic Six back in the States. We learn that the survivors have indeed concocted a whopper of a tale that includes Kate saving everyone and only Sun, Hurley, Sayid, Jack, and Baby Aaron making it back. They tell the press that they crashed, swam to an island called Membata in the South Pacific, and eventually floated to a nearby island where they were picked up. Kate is made out to be the heroine of the story so she can use it in her legal case. She also needs Aaron to be her baby so that no one asks what happened to the mother. The press tries poking holes in the story, but everyone basically sticks to it.

As we saw earlier in the season, however, the story and the lies has gotten to each of the survivors’ conscience in the future (except it seems Sun, who has incidentally turned into a ruthless corporate big-shot and purchased the controlling share in her father’s company). They have to lie to protect their friends back on the island from Mr. Widmore, but living a lie is the worst way to live. See: Jack’s penchant for bears and booze and vicadin.

Back in real-time on the Island meanwhile, the helicopter returns loaded with angry mercenaries out for Ben’s blood and whoever else might be in their way. Frank the Pilot attempts to warn the people on the beach to steer clear of the camouflaged menaces he is shuttling back to the island by dropping a backpack with a tracking device in it. This would be like trying to warn me to stay away from Wrigley Field by dropping a bacon-wrapped bleachers ticket in my DQ Butterfinger Blizzard. Nice one, Lapidus.

Jack and Kate find Myles the Ghost Whisperer and Sawyer walking through the jungle with Aaron and no Claire. She’s walked off in the middle of the night and was last seen cold chillin’ in Jacob’s cabin with Christian Shepard (who, btw, looks fantastic for a dead dude). Sawyer and Jack end up going after the copter to see what’s what.

On the beach, Sayid returns in his dingy to start ferrying beach-dwellers back to the boat where he left Desmond the Great. Faraday tells him that Jack and Kate are off in the jungle looking for the copter (which they think Sayid might be in), so Sayid sets off to bring them back to the beach and to the boat. As he’s leaving however, Kate comes out of the jungle and says she’s going back with him to find her two main men.

Somewhere in the jungle, the Three Magi of Hurley, Locke, and Ben are heading towards The Orchid to “move the island” which Ben says is “dangerous and unpredictable….a measure of last resort.” Ben does some Boy Scout tomfoolery with a mirror to warn The Others (remember them?) who apparently have been waiting on a cliff somewhere for that moment when a reflection from a mirror lets them know that it is “so on.” What a patient bunch these Others. What was the contingency plan for if someone’s wristwatch sent the wrong ray in the wrong direction and prematurely caught the right person’s eye?

Eventually the threesome finds their way to the Orchid which for the time being is heavily guarded by the mercenaries (who were told ahead of time by Widmore that if things went haywire on the island, Linus would bolt for the Orchid). Ben’s plan to lure the guards away for Locke to be able to move the island is to give himself up to the soldiers. Jack and Sawyer stumble upon Frank the Pilot who’s been chained to his chariot and he fills them in on the situation with the Orchid. The two of them go after Hurley. Sayid and Kate, who are tracking Jack and Sawyer, get picked up by The Others who have been called by Ben’s mirror magic.

By now the first wave of beach-dwellers have reached the boat and Desmond is trying to figure out what is being “broadcasted” from somewhere on the boat that is not allowing the new captain (old one got shot in the chest earlier) to use his equipment needed to see the reef if the freighter is to go any closer to the island. That “something” is a bomb the size of Buick that (we learn later) has been a “dead-man’s trigger” hooked up to the heartbeat of Keamy. If and when Keamy dies, the boat will explode. Widmore ordered this so that even if Keamy fails his mission, no one will be able to get back and tell the world what has gone on and who is involved.

In one of the episode’s other flash-forwards, after speaking at his dad’s wake, Jack learns for the first time that his dad was two-timing with an Aussie who happened to be Claire’s mum. We’ve known the two are Luke and Leia-related for a while, but Jack looks like he could use a drink and to stay away from a razor for a while after hearing the news. As if the guy with the Savior Complex needed more emotional food on his already-crammed plate. (Side note: the actress who played Claire’s mum was so wretched with her accent that she made me want to cut my ears off so I’d never have to hear her again.)

Part 1 ends with all the different groups around and on the island moving like pieces on a chessboard to the positions for the final act (Part 2). The people on the boat are trying to figure out what to do about a bomb with a radio-controlled trigger. The Others, with captured Sayid and Kate in-tow are moving to go attempt a rescue mission to get Ben back from the soldiers. Jack and Sawyer are on the move to find Hurley. Poetry in motion.

Parts 2 and 3 of “No Place Like Home”:

Ben’s plan (and the reason for all the mirror magic) is to get himself captured by Keamy and the soldiers where then the Others will attack out of nowhere (with the help of Sayid and Kate who they bump into in the jungle and promise to let them go if they will help free Ben by creating a diversion). This all actually works and Ben sets Kate and Sayid free on their way.

Jack and Sawyer, who have been looking for Hurley now at this point, find the Orchid where Locke and Hugo are hanging out. Here we witness one of the pivotal, defining moments of the entire series. The discussion between Locke and Jack, Man of Science vs. Man of Faith, is important to the actual story taking place, but also speaks volumes to the underlying themes of the show since Season One. As usual, Jack wants nothing to do with Locke and his mystical, child-like faith in things like the unseen, fate, destiny, higher powers, and purpose. Jack is a rationalist who feels that everything must be explained, can be explained, in quantifiable terms. Where Locke sees a miracle, Jack sees, at best, pure chance, random luck. Where Locke’s weakness can often be his tumultuous dependence on, and relationship with, faith, Jack is weak because he has none. Locke looks outside himself for guidance, Jack can’t look anywhere but inwards.

Among the fans of this show even there seems to be a similar tension. Some see the show as an interesting story with good character development that while it might contain elements of science fiction, they will be disappointed and turned off if there is supernatural answers for any of the island’s secrets. Others see it is as Locke might, the chance to indulge our imaginations in a drama about the deeper questions/mysteries/miracles of life vicariously through the interactions of these fascinating characters. I’m obviously more in the latter camp, but this doesn’t discredit or besmirch those who see it in the light of the former.

But this discussion between the two Alpha leaders of the Oceanic survivors is classic, vintage LOST at its best. Locke is so close to achieving what he believes is his destiny by following Jacob’s orders to “move the island” and asks Jack not to try and leave, to stay and accept that their fates led them to be on this special island. Metaphorically, during their conversation, the two of them literally stand on opposite sides of a giant pipe running through the greenhouse, as if we needed to be reminded how diametrically opposed these two are in most every way. In actuality, the two of them want the same thing: peace of mind. Locke wants to know that his life matters. Jack wants to know that he is a good person.

Locke wants Jack to stay, reminds him of all that has taken place for the two of them to be where they are at that moment. Locke says that if Jack leaves, the reality of Jack pushing aside such a clear call from destiny will eat away at the Good Doctor…until, as Locke puts it, “you decide to come back.” Show me your foreshadow.

But alas, Jack the Shepard leads his flock away from the Orchid as Ben appears, newly freed and determined to get this island moved ASAP. As he leaves, Locke tells Jack “you’re going to have to lie” in order to “protect the island.” Jack reminds Johnny Boy that it’s an island and doesn’t need protecting, to which Locke responds: “It’s not just an island. It’s a place miracles happen.”

Jack (angrily): There is no such as thing as a miracle
Locke (beaming from ear to ear): Well, we’ll just have to see which of us right.

The scene ends with Ben and Locke going down the elevator (looking mischievously like two kids about to tee-pee someone’s house) and Jack staring after them (looking like a kid who knows the other boys are about to have more fun but whose stubbornness won’t let him go and have a good time like boys ought to from time to time).

For the sake of time, I’ll quickly re-cap the rest of the action here and get to some theories for Season Five starting next week….

Off the island and in the future, Giant Walt comes to see Hurley in the Looney-bin and says that Jeremy Bentham has been to see him. Hurley keeps up the lie that Michael is stuck on the island still.

Back in PSI (present island time), Charlotte Staples Lewis and Myles decide to stay on the island, even after Faraday warns them of the direness of the situation. Myles says something about Charlotte “coming back to the island” as if this was her second time here. I put forward the theory last year when the introduced her character that in light of her name-sake’s Narnia series, and the theme in those books of young people coming back to Narnia after a while that in earth/human years is never the same as in Narnia years, that Charlotte had indeed been to the island before. Perhaps even as a baby…

On the boat, the bomb goes off, Jin is (we can assume) dead in the explosion, as well as Michael. The copter, which had been carrying the Oceanic Six, plus Sawyer (who whispers something to Kate and drops out due to weight constraints) heads back to the island after the explosion only to see it disappear in front of their eyes.

Locke and Ben had gone into the bosom of the Orchid Station, put a bunch of metallic objects in a room the orientation film had said not to put metallic objects in, blown a hole through the wall, Ben gave Locke a farewell pep talk as the new leader of the Others, and turned a giant wheel that created a white light (like the hatch implosion did in season two), and the island sunk beneath the waves. Everyone else is stuck on the island, save the Oceanic Six, Desmond, and Frank the Pilot (all of whom were picked up by Yes Penny’s Boat). The "pep talk" Ben gives to Locke is actually quite touching. These two men who at times have been mortal enemies realize that they have somehow made a connection with each other. Maybe its just from spending so much weird time together. Maybe its cause they could have been friends under different circumstances. Ben has seen Locke as a threat to his leadership and power. Locke has seen Ben as someone who can help him find his destiny perhaps, but who has been less-than-helpful (and shot him in the gut). The handshake between them was a weird blend of emotions for the two of them, and all of us.

We end in the future, where Jack has returned to the funeral parlor to finally unveil who was in the coffin at the end of season three. Jeremy Bentham = John Locke. Bentham was a philosopher who influenced Locke heavily in his thinking and writing.

So Locke is dead, off the island. Ben creepily (as always) walks in on Jack and says that they ALL need to go back to the island. Claire had appeared to Kate and said not to come back and not to bring “him” back. (Aaron, we presume, is the “him” in that sentence…but here’s an interesting theory from Doc Jensen at Entertainment Weekly that says otherwise.) Dead Charlie also told Hurley to tell Jack not to raise “him.” (Again, likely Aaron.)

Quite a fantastic end to season four. Many shocking moments. Some questions answered, but more are created. We know there are only 32 episodes left so the end is in sight so enjoy them. I’ll keep up on weekly posts after each new episode this season and all of us at John Locke’s Pants would like to thank you for your patience and participation. We just do it for the kids, ya know?

Here are a few closing thoughts and theories to wet your whistle:

-The whole scene in the Orchid with Locke and Ben is pretty mind-blowing. The Orchid you might remember was shown in that You Tube-released video with the rabbits appearing out of nowhere and the Namaste-dude form the orientation films yelling to turn off the camera. Obviously there is time-traveling going on here. They have figured out how to harness the power of the island and Dharma had been using it run tests on time travel (like Faraday at Oxford). Ben turns a wheel that looks to me like the kind on an old ship (maybe the Black Rock) that would raise or lower the anchor. Ben warned it was unpredictable and dangerous to move the island, and I think when he put his coat on before going down the hole where the wheel was and said he was going “somewhere cold” that he wasn’t just talking about the room where the wheel was. I think he put the coat on in case he turned it an ended up somewhere crazy like the mountains where Penny had those scientists monitoring electromagnetic waves at the end of Season Two.

-Continuing that line of thought, Ben ends up in Tunisia looking perplexed at where he is, and even needs to get his bearings at the counter of the hotel. He’s been there before, but not for a while, he says to the clerk. He had his secret room full of passports and a hidden door leading to somewhere that can call-up the Smokey Monster thing. Maybe it also leads to wherever it is the people on the island transport themselves back to the real world from. See, I’m not convinced that they actually use that submarine. I think the ones that go back and forth use time traveling and Ben is a frequent flier on that time-plane. Maybe I’m wrong or maybe the submarine was/is real but they can also time travel (or maybe just Ben can/does).

-We will see the submarine again. Locke didn’t blow it up because the Man of Faith wanted to leave himself an “out” should things get weird(er) on the island and he wants to split. Maybe that’s even what he used to come off the island in the future as Jeremy Bentham? That, or he was booted off the island like Ben was. Jack says to Ben in the future that Locke told him that “bad things started to happen” after the Oceanic Six left. Maybe Locke the Chosen One screwed up and got voted off the island?

-Read some of Doc Jensen's thoughts from Entertainment Weekly here. Some pretty good stuff.

-Ben obviously knows what has to be done to get back to the island, which would explain his coming and going with the passports. Part of me thinks that it is all a set-up and Ben let all this happen so that he could return to his demoralized Others-troops with the Oceanic Six and Locke’s body (he so better come back to life). Kind of an “I’m teaching you Others a lesson that my authority isn’t to be questioned and you can’t run things without me” sort of thing. But then the look on Ben’s face when he is moving the island wheel is almost unmistakably one of someone who is pissed/sad/terrified that he has to be the one turning that wheel. He says, “I hope you’re happy, Jacob,” as he is turning the wheel in fact. Sounds like someone who is actually being punished and not just setting people up to me.

-Sun is teaming up with Widmore to hunt Ben down who she blames, along with Jack, for her husband’s death on the boat. She will be a “bad girl” for a while I bet and on Widmore’s side but will eventually come around when she finds out Jin is actually alive on the island. Seeing how Ben and Jack convince Sun and the rest of the Oceanic Six (and we presume Desmond and Frank) to go back will be riveting I’m sure, especially in lieu of Sun’s feisty attitude.

-In the Orchid scene with Locke and Ben, the orientation film talks about the Casmir Effect of the island. Read more about that here. Ben tells Locke that the Dharma people had been doing “silly little experiments” in that station. It seems that so much of what Dharma was doing was considered by the Others to be silly and even evil, hence the Purge. Keamy comes down the elevator and taunts Ben who proceeds to stab him, knowing full well that he has just killed everyone on the boat. Ben, in response to this fact, says “So?” Pretty cold-hearted and evil if you ask me. Ben has said on previous occasions that the Others are the “good guys”, but when he gets mad at people he kills them without discretion. The whole mystery of whether it will be Widmore or Ben who ends up being the “good guy” (or if either of them are) is going to capture a lot of story-line I’d wager in these last two seasons. The scene from this season where Ben and Widmore talk in Widmore’s apartment conveys that these two are obviously enemies but weren’t at one time. Maybe Widmore used to be the leader on the island and Ben took his place? Maybe Widmore and Ben were the “Man of Science v. Man of Faith” duo before Locke and Jack?

-I still think that some of the Others, the ones who do not age (like Richard Alpert), have been on the island for a long time and perhaps were crewmembers on the Black Rock when it crashed and now they are cursed to the island and age slowly or not at all. I know its out there, but the cargo pockets in my John Locke’s Pants are filled with mind-altering drugs that I used to cure Charlie and see Boone in my sweat lodge, so it might be the meds talking.

-Charlotte will turn out to have been born on the island, and is the love child of Ben and his first love, Annie, who we saw playing with a young Ben on the island when he first moved there.

-An extra feature on Season Four DVDs is that they show all the 2-minute mobisodes that were released last summer. I believe they are called “Missing Pieces” and feature more than a dozen sections of the show that we have not yet previously seen. They are worth checking out, but one in particular I found fascinating. It shows that infamous Room 23 that Karl was being brainwashed in back in Season Three. Juliet and Ben are standing outside of it and she tells Ben that Walt is “doing it again” and is a dangerous kid. Ben doesn’t buy it and she takes him outside where we see the window for Room 23 boarded up and about 20 dead birds lying beneath it. Ben looks shocked at the sight himself. If you remember, in Season One we see Walt in Australia with his mom and her fiancĂ©e and he looks at a picture of a bird that he wants to see and suddenly that bird appears and smashes itself against the window Walt is sitting by. We know Walt is special, but not sure to what extent and what exactly that even means. But whatever it is, even Ben is weirded out by it and the Others were willing to let him go after wanting him badly enough to take him off the raft from his father.

-When Sawyer whispered to Kate on the helicopter, he told her to go find his daughter Clementine and look after her. That is whom Kate is talking to when Jack walks in and becomes suspicious. She doesn’t want to tell Jack because she promised Sawyer and because it’s a TV show and it always adds drama to not just tell someone the problem and solve it right there.

-The dead people who appear off the island (i.e. Charlie, Mr. Eko, Jack’s dad) all have their bodies still on the island. I think the Smokey Monster is what is appearing and messing with them, telling them to come back. Maybe the barrier that separates Island-world from Real-world is gone or weakening due to the “move” and now Jacob or the Smokey Monster or whatever the Island’s power is can travel to the real world where before it couldn’t. But then again, Michael wasn’t able to kill himself until his task was done, even back in the real world before the island moved so maybe that power to influence the real world was there all along for Jacob/Smokey/the Island.

-If you guys/gals have any theories on the island moving, please post them in the comments section. For a while I thought maybe it went to the opposite side of the planet, that the anchor-looking wheel Ben turns un-moored the island and it got sucked through to the other side of the planet. Not so sure about that any more. I’m sticking to the anchor theory, but maybe the island doesn’t move in place, but in time. Maybe they’ve gone back to the future and Doc and Marty are hatching some scheme at the Under the Sea dance. Who knows? But regardless, I’d love to hear your thinking on the matter.

And with that, we close out the long-anticipated re-cap for the finale for Season Four. Sorry it took so long. Thanks for reading. If you’re going to eat ranch out of a giant Dharma tub, always remember to bring plenty of leaves. .

Jeremy Bentham’s Trousers