Friday, March 27, 2009

I'm My Me


Greetings, salutations, and namaste! I forced myself to churn this week's Pants re-cap out quicker because if I let it slide for a few days I loose my creative edge. So here goes...

Are you kidding me with the ending of this week's episode? Adolescent Ben gets capped in his clavicle by disgruntled and embittered Sayid? Really? He's Our You, the 10th of 17 episodes in Season Five, was one of the most climatic finishes to a LOST ep since the Flash-forward surprise of Season Three's finale. We'll get to that epic ending soon enough, but first things first:

The show began where all good tv shows should...Tikrit, Iraq and we got to see the early makings of Killer Sayid when his older brother couldn't pull the trigger on off-ing a chicken in the family's front yard/desert. Eerily familiar to the scene in Mr. Eko's first back-story that revealed he had been willing to shoot a man his younger brother Yemi was supposed to shoot to spare his brother the painful and jarring experience of taking a life. The continuing theme of purpose and fate can be seen in characters like Sayid and Jack and Locke who all have had to struggle throughout their lives with what they wish they were, and what they actually are.

Sayid is for the most part a nice and honorable man, but he is also very good at and torturing people. He thought that maybe by joining the military, where such things are condoned and often necessary, that his guilt would be asuaged...but it hasn't. And what is worse, since losing his wife after escaping the island, he gives back in to that killer instinct by agreeing to be Ben's personal whack-a-guy specialist.

After we witness Sayid ending chickens, we're wisked away to Mother Russia where, according to Ben, the "last of Widmore's people" that needed to be taken care of is executed by our favorite Iraqi. Sayid couldn't even be bribed by the Russkie. This shows a deeper pathological need to kill than even just "protection for his friends back on the island". Sayid is a troubled dude.

So Ben leaves Sayid in Red Square with no direction or purpose left. We know Sayid then eventually finds his way to a group called Build Our World in the Dominican Republic. This is his attempt to make amends and literally/figuratively rebuild his emotional/spiritual life. But even here, eventually Ben finds him and has a new assignment: go kill a guy. So not really that new. We saw last season that the man parked in front of Hurley's mental institution is eventually shot in the dome by Sayid, who then rudely interrupts a magical game of chess between Hurley and invisible Mr. Eko.

Ben is obviously using Sayid, but I don't really get the whole "all Widmore's people are " line from Linus back in Russia. There's tons of people involved and we know that Widmore keeps pursuing the matter and has other people at his disposal. And what about "the rules" Ben and Widmore talked about last season? I feel like he knew that he couldn't keep pushing Sayid forever, that every person would have their breaking point of not being able to just keep nameless people around the globe. So Ben says, "Take a breather, big guy...we'll get back to this soon" and lets Sayid go do his best Jimmy Carter impression in the Caribbean.

Sayid, after ing the guy in the parked car, and after having it out with Jack and Ben and the rest on the marina, goes for a drink of MacCutcheon Whiskey at a local watering hole. Now this is like the 5th time that brand of booze has been referenced on the show. Widmore had it in his office when Desmond was told to never see Penny again. Charlie used it to get Desmond drunk on the beach. Etc. Etc. There's something important about it, and I think eventually we'll learn that some character we know already will end up being the guy/gal who makes the stuff. There's too many references to ignore its importance/significance.

At that same bar, he bumps in to Ilana, the chick from the second plane crash who brought Sayid eventually to that plane in hand-cuffs. She is a bounty hunter, hired by the family of the guy on the golf course Sayid capped last season. But what gets me is why the family requested Sayid be brought to Guam? That dude Sayid shot, Peter was his name, is Italian and was playing golf in the chain of islands known as Seychelles which is a Republic just north of Madagascar. Guam is on the other side of the world practically, part of the chain of the Mariana Islands (also the general location the fake Oceanic 815 was found). Either Ben or Widmore had hired Ilana, not the family of the victim.

If Ben hired her, or had someone hire her for him, it would make sense because it would be a great way to "convince" Sayid to come on the Ajira Flight 316 with the rest of the gang. If Widmore hired her, that would also make sense because he wants Sayid also to be back on that plane with Locke's body because, if you'll recall with me, Widmore told Locke that if he and the others aren't back on the island when "the war comes, the wrong side will win." Wrong side = presumably Ben and crew. So Ilana is there for a reason, not just returning a killer to the victim's relatives. Which would be weird anyway.

So Sayid is put on the plane with Ilana and ends up being one of the four that makes it off the island and sent back in time. But he is separated from the pack and ends up caught and in Dharma jail awaiting his fate.

So back in 1977, Sayid is questioned by Horace and Radzinsky in his cell but basically refuses to divulge anything worthwhile. Young Ben keeps bringing him sandwiches and even explains why he is helping who he thinks to be a "hostile." We see Ben's dad, Roger, abusing his son physically and emotionally and even Sayid seems to express some concern for the young boy who would grow up to ruin everyone's life. After refusing to talk though, Sayid is brought to some old dude's tee-pee in the jungle. Oldham (not Chad) the r has some secret potion that acts as a truth serum. The title for the episode comes in this scene when Sayid asks who Oldham is and Sawyer says, "He's Our You."

I was shocked at how much Sayid gave up and how little the group seemed to care. I mean, these guys have been threatening that Oldham would make Sayid talk, Sayid talked, and they all dismissed what he said. They're just mad he knew where/what the Pearl and Swan stations were. You'd think the whole "I'm from the future and you will be off-ed by your enemies in the near future cause I've seen your dried up bones in a pit-o-death 30 years from now" thing would have gotten their attention. Either way, the result is a community vote to execute the er Sayid. Like Sawyer says, "Even the moms want you ."

But when Sayid is informed of his fateful fate, he refuses to let Sawyer allow him to escape, insisting he has found his purpose for coming back. This doesn't make a whole lot of sense at first because chances are, at the current rate, he'll be ski before that purpose is realized. But that was before we found out Baby Ben was in cahoots with Sayid to spring him from the Dharama jailhouse. Here we seen Ben's first con: flaming Dharma bus distracts people while he frees "hostile" prisoner Sayid.

Off to the jungle the pair flees, where they run in to Jin-bo out on security detail. See now here I felt that Sayid should just explain to Jin what is going on and ask for his help. For that matter, Sayid really ought to have just talked things out with Sawyer back in the cage and come up with a plan together. Everyone is weird and awkward now back in 1977. Not that this group of castaways has ever been fully able to communicate with each other, but you'd think now would be a good time to start. But Jin gets his wallet handed to him by cut-throat Sayid, and then Young Ben gets a bullet to the chest. Sayid prances off in to the jungle, and the audience is left with mouths agape at the fact that Benjamin Linus, the bug-eyed creepster who has been so central and key to the LOST saga thus far, is likely ....or is he?

There was some other stuff with Kate and Sawyer and Jack and Juliet and Hurley making waffles with weird dipping sauces...but who really cares in light of what happened in this episode, right? All of that Gossip drama will sort itself out and Sawyer and Kate will kiss with either Jack or Juliet walking in on it and by the end Ross and Rachel will get back together anyway. The Love Rhombus will be a site to behold in future episodes, I'm sure.

So let's get to some thoughts/theories:

-Ben hired Ilana to get Sayid on that plane. Since typing about this earlier, I've decided I think it was for sure Ben.

-As Sayid is leaving the Russian's house at the beginning of the episode, the sign on the building he exits is translated to say in English: "Oldham Pharmaceuticals." This is the name of the torturing dude from 1977 Dharma time. Is this just random LOST fun-facts placed to drive people like me insane...or does it have a deeper meaning? All I know is that the dude was listening to a phonograph and that's odd enough for me.

-Juliet mentions that she and Sawyer have been "playing house". Kate said the same thing to Sawyer three years earlier before the Oceanic Six left and the island moved. Juliet actually did stay and play house (even though she has had the chance to leave on a submarine). THIS is what is going to make the Sawyer-Juliet-Kate-Jack connection so complicated. Sawyer finally found a woman who, to quote Blessed Union of Souls, "like's me for me" and hasn't abandoned him.

-Always wanting to get interesting and classic pieces of literature referenced in the show, LOST referenced a book called A Separate Reality by Carlos Castaneda written in 1971. It is supposed to be a work of non-fiction, but that point is contested by many. It is the self-accounted story of Castaneda's time as something of an apprentice to a self-proclaimed sorcerer named Don Juan Matus. This sorcerer claimed that by taking mind-altering he could see realities that no one else knew about. By ingesting "plants" (drugs), Matus was shown a perspective on things few had experienced. Think: Alice in Wonderland. Or, think: Oldham's truth serum he gave Sayid. Take a look at the wikipedia link I have above and see if you can find any more LOST connections to share.

-I know there is a lot of questions surrounding the biggest moment of the episode (and perhaps season so far): Ben getting shot. Basically, we don't know enough yet to make any real predictions. Faraday has said that time cannot be altered, that whatever happened, happened. We saw this with Charlie's fate as Desmond tried to save him repeatedly. We also know that when the island wants someone to stay alive (i.e. Locke being shot, Michael trying to off himself), they cannot perish. But until we know for sure that things can't be altered, until we know if Faraday was right or just quirky...I'll leave the Ben theories alone. It was an awesome scene though.

-In last week's Namaste episode, Sun and Frank are told by Christian Shepard that they are in the future and that, "I'm sorry, but you have a bit of a journey ahead of you." Who wants to bet that they will have to "move the island" themselves and that by doing so it will cause time to skip like the record player analogy and the two groups separated by some 30 years will be brought back together? Just a thought.

-How long till we see Patchey the Russian again? I still think he's alive somewhere.

That's it for now, folks. Wednesday night's upcoming episode is entitled "Whatever Happened, Happened" and should be a real doozy. There will be 17 total episodes this year and the season five finale will air on May 13th, In The Year of Our Lord 2009 and has already been titled "The Incident." If you remember, there has been numerous references in previous seasons to an "incident" that occurred in the original hatch (The Swan). Sounds boring, right?


The Pants of Locke, John

Monday, March 23, 2009

I wanna stay where they say "Namaste"


Namaste! Not the greeting, but the title of the newest LOST episode. I realize I never posted my thoughts on "LaFleur", so I will incorporate some of the things I had prepared for that episode with this one. For further reading on LaFleur, read this Entertainment Weekly wrap-up by Doc Jensen.

I have to say that I actually liked having a week off from LOST. This season's been tremendous thus far and I appreciated the chance to collect my thoughts and prepare for the second-half push that began this past Wednesday night. Namaste was a very solid return for the show and both revealed some very important tidbits of information and foreshadowed what might be on the Dharma-dominated horizon for those who made it back to 1977-Island time.

I must pause here and note that this week's upcoming episode, He's Our You, will feature a character named "Oldham". Chad, I knew you had secrets, but this is too much.


Since we learned this week that the second batch of plane-crashers (Sun, Ben, Lapidus, etc.) have been separated both by the distance between the bigger and smaller island, but by at least 30 years (if not many more), I will separate my thoughts between 1977 time and PSI (Present Island Time).


We left of in LaFleur with Sawyer seeing Jack/Hurley/Kate on a grassy meadow, and this week we hear the first words and awkward glances exchanged between the reunited LOSTies. As Sawyer explains that those who were left behind have joined the Dharma Initiative, Jin, upon learning that Sun is on a plane potentially nearby, bolts for the Flame station (the place we last saw in flames thanks to Locke back in Season Three's episode "Enter 77"). As for Sawyer and the other three, James plans to (and eventually does) bring them in as supposed new Dharma recruits who have just arrived on the infamous submarine.

When Jin goes to the Flame, we meet a character named Radzinksky. Hopefully you recognized both that name and the of the Swan station that he was building when Jin busted in the door. Radzinsky was the name we heard in Season Two during the episode that filled us in on what Desmond had been doing for those three years he was on the island. If you remember, Desmond was hanging out in the hatch with a man named Kelvin (who also happened to be the CIA officer that forced Sayid to become a r back in the first Gulf War). Desmond saw a stain on the ceiling of the hatch and found a map on the blast door (the same one Locke eventually found and used to go on his island crusade in Season Three), and Kelvin filled him in that both the map and stain belonged to a man named Radzinsky who had blown his own brains out before Desmond crashed on the island.

I realize that is a lot to recall and take in, but for those LOST sickies out there, just hearing the name Radzinsky was the equivalent of receiving one of those "Taste Bailouts" that delicious Domino's Pizza is offering during every single stinking commercial break of the NCCA March Madness Tournament.

Radzinsky was building a of the Swan station that he would one day blow his brains out in. Talk about fate...

Getting back to Jin's purpose in coming to the Flame, he insists that Radzinsky find out if a plane has crashed recently. After no news came in about a plane, a motion sensor was triggered and Jin ran out to find not a "hostile", but Sayid in a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air-like purple shirt/blouse trouncing through the underbrush. Having to keep the charade up, Jin acted like he didn't know Sayid and put him in to a locked room until Sawyer could be located and brought in on the situation.

Sawyer has now officially emerged as the "leader" of those who got left behind in 1977. He has fully transformed from selfish con-man to a....well....not-as-selfish con-man? I mean he still is conning an entire island full of people abou this name and the reason he, Juliet, Jin, Faraday, and Miles are even there in the first place. He conned his way in to a high official position of security in the Dharma Initiative. The whole lot of them have been living just as big of a lie as the Oceanic Six were back in the real world. I love that dichotomy in the story-telling of this show. Both groups had to lie, while another group had to die. Or something like that.

Sawyer tells Jack that he was a bad leader because he reacted to instead of thought through situations as they arose. James references Winston Churchill, the legendary British leader during World War II, who became a great leader only after committing many blunders earlier in his life and career. Sawyer's story is somewhat similar. (So far.)

So Jack, Hurley, and Kate elude tough questions and get through the Processing Station and assigned to their new duties. Jack being given the task of "workman" due to his low scores on an aptitude test was priceless. But it is interesting to note that Jack does not really seem all too worried about his lot. I mean he did eventually go to Sawyer and they had their verbal jab-fest about who was the better leader, but Jack isn't his usual worried self since deciding to go back to the island. The tension will be building though between Jack-Kate-Sawyer-Juliet and I can't wait for it.

Faraday is referenced, although not seen, in this episode. Jack asks if Daniel is still there, and Sawyer responds, "Not anymore." Now this obviously means that he is , which I don't think is the case, or that he has left the island on a submarine (perhaps to go back to the real world and figure out a way to "fix" things), or that he is insane and is not mentally "there." My money is on the third option. I bet Faraday has lot his marbles, what with all the things on his mind pertaining to Charlotte Staples, the woman back in England whose brain he fried, and the fashion stress of having to wear a tie that would be too skinny for Olive Oil to pull off.

The final important information from this week's episode was the scene where a creepy little kid brought a creepy little sandwich (with no mustard...what is that dope thinking with no mustard) to Sayid in his creepy little cell. Of course that creepy little kid would grow up one day to be a creepy little bug-eyed man known affectionately as Benry Gale Linus.

Prediction: Sayid tries to kill adolescent Ben.

Present Island Time-

Okay, so first of all, the scene with Lapidus putting the plane down on the Hydra Station island's runway was very cool and well done. I liked how they Incorporated the runway from Season Three that Sawyer and Kate were forced to work on back when they lived in Polar Bear cages and made whoopee like their ship was going down. One wonders whether the Others had Sawyer and Kate building that runway because they knew some day that second plane would crash there with Ben (their leader) on it....along with the fact that Ben knew right away where the outrigger canoes would be, it seems like it was all pre-planned that this would happen.

After the crash, Caesar decides to play the role of leader and dismisses Lapidus' suggestion that the survivors stay on the beach until they can figure out a plan. It was very reminiscent of Season One where different factions disagreed about where the LOSTaways should set up shop. Jack wanted to move inland and find water/shelter, while others, including Sayid, wanted to stay on the beach in hopes of attracting a rescue plane or ship. The people this time agreed with Caesar and decided to move towards what we know to be the Hydra station, scenes we have already seen in previous episodes (Life and of Jeremy Bentham).

Ben starts to creep away from the group as they have this argument, and Sun follows him (and Lapidus follows them both). Sun confronts Ben and they decide to head back to the mail island. Lapidus warns against this decision, and eventually Sun heeds this advice and whacks Ben upside the head something fierce. But before he got his bell rung, Ben said something interesting to Frank the Pilot: "A captain's first responsibility is to his passengers...but I also have people I am responsible for." He then started to give Frank directions as how to get to Othersville eventually, which seemed a nice gesture and very un-Ben-like. But Sun smacks his brains with a paddle and she and Lapidus get off to the main island.

Once there they discover that Othersville has been decimated. The town didn't look just over-grown and old, but destroyed, almost like a went off (or a Smokey Monster went "ape" on the occupants of Othersville). Speaking of Smokey, Sun and Frank heard some initial rumblings from him in the trees as they approached from the dock when their boat landed. It then went away and a minute later those infamous whispers could be heard and Christian Shepard emerged from the Processing Center that has been used many times throughout this show to house imprisoned characters. Was Christian Shepard really there or was it the Black Smoke manifesting itself (like it did as Yemi to Eko is Season Three)?

Jack's not-so-deceased dad helps Sun to learn that her husband is back in 1977 and that she and Frank (and perhaps the others back on the smaller island) have a "long journey" ahead of them.


-Frank and his co-pilot on Aijira 316 hear "the numbers" being broadcasted as they are on their way to crashing the plane on the runway. The voice seems to be American. How bitter-sweet would it be if the voice heard was Hurley's?

-You might have noticed that when Frank/Sun/Christian are in the broken-down version of the Processing Center there is a woman standing in the background in one of the shots. No one has yet confirmed if that was an editing error or was supposed to be another spirit-like character that will later be revealed. Perhaps Claire, who was last seen chilling with Christian in Jacob's cabin?

-Two songs were heard in this episode. The first was one that I have had on my iPod for a long time and couldn't believe they used it. "Ride Captain Ride" by the band Blues Image is being played when Sawyer pulls up to have Jack-Kate-Hurley processed and it contains the lyrics "Ride captain ride upon your mystery ship/ Be amazed at the friends you have here on your trip". I'm not sure how much parsing I need to do for you with those suggestive lyrics as to how they might pertain to this show. Island = Mystery Ship. Friends = LOSTaways (who amazingly are scattered throughout time and then re-discovered when you least expect it). The other song is an original number by the creators/writers of LOST called "Dharma Lady" which was playing during the bbq Dharma was hosting for its newly processed recruits when Sawyer pulled up with Sayid in his VW bus. I'll let you take a look at the lyrics and artwork for the album yourself, but please do note that this was all put together just for a show on ABC. Appreciate the work and thought put in to something like this and hold off on all the "I could never create something 1/100th as creative as this show, but I'll complain about how the only reason they put things like this song in it is to make money and drag the show on forever" comments. ;)

-Ben was once visited by Sayid in a cell when they thought his name was Henry Gale back in Season Two, and now Ben is visiting Sayid in a cell of his own. Nice symmetry.

-Why was Radzinsky so worried about a hostile seeing his of the Swan? Did they have some agreement as part of the truce that Dharma wouldn't build any more? Had the Dharma people found the nuke Jughead somehow and decided to harness its power for the benefit of their research and didn't want the Hostiles to know about this?

-If Ethan was born on the island to that chick from 24 that Horace Goodspeed is married to, how did he survive the Purge and why would he then work with Ben and the Hostiles who had killed his family and friends?

Okay kiddies...that's all I got for now. Next week I'm gonna share some insight on a famous movie that deals with the mythical city of Shangri-La that I recently saw on TCM at like 1am on a Tuesday night. I will dissect some parallels between it and the island. Look forward to that.

Thanks for reading and please post any comments or questions here on the blog.


JL's Pants

Monday, March 2, 2009

Life and Death and Bentham and Locke


Boy, am I just glad Ben didn’t “O.J.” Locke.

A strangling in a seedy L.A. hotel, a celery stalk-like bone-setting in a sleazy Tunisian infirmary, and a reincarnated bald-headed island hero. What more could a blogger ask for?

The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham was the seventh episode of the tremendously exciting Fifth Season and offered a sneak-peak into the time between Locke’s donkey wheel turn in the well and his crash (and re-birth) on the smaller island where the Hydra station (think: bear cages from season three) is located. By the way, that mango did look like the best one Locke has ever tasted.

The episode opened ominously in what quickly became apparent was a Dharma office suite, but what might not have been so apparent was that the man searching through that office looked to know exactly what to be looking for. I think that he (Caesar) is an agent of Widmore’s, sent to crash with the plane on the island and report back to his superiors as to its location. Complicating this plan might be the fact that the island, at the time of this second crash, is back in the days of roughly late 1970’s Dharma when Widmore himself would likely have still been on the island as the leader of the others.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here, so to wrap up the opening sequence, Caesar finds a map, a flashlight, a gun, and lies to the woman (Ilana) who had brought Sayid on the plane in handcuffs about what all he found in the Hydra office. The maps he pulled out of the file cabinet included one that Rousseau eventually has in her possession in season one and another that Faraday brought with him to the island last season. In the episode “The Other Woman” Daniel and Charlotte used that same map to find The Tempest station and de-activate its chemical suicide machine. This means that Faraday, who was working for Widmore before coming to the island, must have received the map from Widmore who had received it from his agent on the island: Caesar. How’s that for detective work?

The crescendo of the opening of this week’s episode clearly was the unveiling of a not-dead Locke, sitting under a black hood on the beach minding his own reincarnated business. For those Star Wars or Star Trek fans out there, the allusions to the way in which they shot Locke’s unveiling need not be pointed out, but for the rest of you, in Star Trek: The Search For Spock the previously deceased Spock is brought back to life on a supernatural planet and when Captain Kirk and the gang finally find him he is unveiled from under a dark hood. In the original Star Wars trilogy there are countless instances of important characters under dark hoods.

The obvious question is this: Is Locke really alive or is this an island manifestation? Did the same thing happen to Christian Shepard after the first crash? In Season One Jack found his dad’s coffin empty, and obviously now Locke’s is as well. My money is on the fact that both are alive and well, but part of the deal with reincarnation on the island is that you can never leave. Locke had such a cool/chilling line before we entered the good old flash-back storytelling technique that most of the rest of the episode follows: “I remember dying.” I remember you dying too, Locke. It’s nice to have you back.

And with that we are brought back to the moment Locke left the island and found himself in the desert of Tunisia, with a camera on him. Tunisia we learn is the “exit” according to Charles Widmore. Widmore and his lackey Matthew Abbadon do their darndest to convince Locke that they, echoing what Ben said about The Others, are “the good guys.” The question as to whether it is Ben or Widmore who is the “bad guy” is becoming a front-and-center issue on the show. I’d have to say that after this episode, the advantage goes to Charles for who might end up being the good guy. Or neither are and they’re all crazy. Us too.

Widmore gives Locke a new name, Jeremy Bentham, and has to be convinced by Locke that Ben didn’t “exile” John as he apparently had done to Widmore at some point in the past. It seems that Widmore and Ben, while very well informed as compared to most other characters on this show, still are out of the loop on many big pieces of information. I’ve been saying for some time that there are competing forces on the island and I think my theory, although not entirely clear or fleshed out yet, is starting to come in to focus. More on this later when Ben “off’s” Locke.

Widmore was the one-time leader on the island, was swindled out of his claim to leadership by the conniving Ben Linus, and now has put all of his efforts in to tracking down his former home and current adversary. He tells Locke that John and the Oceanic Six must go back because “a war is coming, and if you aren’t on that island the wrong side will win.” Huh. Not a very cool set-up for future drama on the best show ever made by humans, right?

To prove how serious he is about being the “good guy”, Charles Widmore offers the services of the creepy Abbadon and access to his own personal fortune (including a private jet). One last thing about the interaction between Locke and Widmore: Charles brings up the fact that it has only been four days since Locke saw the then 17 year old Widmore in the Others camp (back in the Jughead episode). Widmore is blown away by this reality, and so was I because it should be obvious that Richard Alpert might no longer be the “never-ending dude in the jungle”, but simply someone who knows how to time travel. This would explain his showing up throughout the history of this show and always looking the same.

Moving right along, Locke’s first stop is to find the best thing out of Iraq since the term “Fertile Crescent”: Sayid Jarrah. My boy. The guy has gone all Jimmy Carter on us and started building homes in the Dominican Republic. He wants nothing to do with Locke’s plea to return to the island, and seems to be content in making up for past sins (i.e. murdering people for Ben) and time by helping out his fellow man. He must not be a liberal because he actually is doing something to help poor people instead of just talking about it with friends at Starbucks. Too soon?

Next is a detour to check in on Walt, the backgammon-playing wonder boy from seasons 1 and 2 who has now become lurchey and awkward. Walt says he’s been dreaming about Locke (take a number, kid) and he has seen John standing in a suit on a beach with angry people around him. Sounds like a Tuesday in the life of Jeremy Bentham-Locke. Locke leaves Walt alone and rightly points out that “the boy’s been through enough.”

“A lot”? You mean like being lied to even further by you just now about his dad possibly being alive when you know full well that man ended up as chum in the water surrounding the freighter, John?

The next two stops were at Hurley’s Nut House and Kate’s regular house. Hurley was not interested in talking to a live human being and freaked out when he saw Abbadon. For some reason Hurley is the one the island has chosen to send most of its deceased all-stars to. Probably because he is weak and stupid.

Kate pulls her usual ‘tude with Locke and even takes a few cheap shots at the obsessive qualities John continues to display. There are few more attractive women on this planet than Freckles, but she can be a real knob-job sometimes, this being one of them. Kate, umm, hate to be the one to tell you this, but you’re a lying should-be fugitive whose sole talent is looking cute and forlorn (and making horrible decisions based on emotions). Maybe you should just trust Locke here and avoid whatever sad thing happened when you will later go to Jack’s apartment in tears and demand the Good Doctor never ask you about Aaron? Just a thought, toots.

Getting back to Locke’s Blues Brothers-like attempt to reunite the island band…after a number of setbacks he is ready to see his old flame Helen. Oh, well she’s dead. Bummer. At her gravestone Locke laments leaving her and despite Abbadon’s attempt to remind John that every person’s course and path is the one they were supposed to take, Locke insists that things would have been different had he just listened to Helen and dropped the obsession with his dad and past pain/hurt. This story-line helps us understand even more why it is Locke knows what he speaks of when he pleads with Jack to not go down the same short-sighted paths of avoiding reality when its in front of your face.

And speaking of Jack, after Ben caps Abbadon and Locke fails at escaping, John wakes up in a hospital room with the Bearded Wonder leering at him from the shadows. Here we get another great Locke-Jack scene where Jack has had enough of John and crushes his spirit by ending their brief encounter with, “We were never special.” Ouch. That is the LAST thing Locke wants/needs to hear right now when his spirits are down, his quasi-buddy Abbandon is murdered, and he’s had absolutely no success in convincing anyone to come back to the island.

It is here, at wit and emotion’s end, where Locke decides to call the island’s bluff and end his own life in a lonely hotel room. I can’t say enough about this entire scene, from the time Locke begins to prepare the noose until Ben walks out after strangling him. Powerful. Disturbing. Sad. Masterfully acted. All of the above. You could feel Locke’s pain and disillusionment. He had come so far and it seems that every single time he gets back on the right path he is supposed to be walking (i.e. turning the wheel himself and being willing to give his life) he suffers set-backs. The Man of Faith has his tested constantly and in this scene in that hotel room we see a man at his own breaking point. Ben comes in at “just the right moment” and insists that Locke can’t die, that he has too much work to do, and admits to killing Abbadon because Widmore would have had Locke killed before long any way.

Really the toughest thing to watch in this scene was after Locke was convinced to come down off his death ledge and the reality of what he had been about to do to himself seeps in and he can’t help but cry. So sad.

But as Locke’s spirits began to rise as Ben talks and tells of Jack’s purchasing of an airline ticket, John mentions that he is supposed to find an Eloise Hawking. Something snaps in the bug-eyed former Others leader’s head and he strangles Locke to death. Then he sets up the room as if Locke had in fact committed suicide and takes Jin’s ring with him (to use as leverage to get Sun to come back eventually). As he leaves he says “I’ll miss you John…I really will” as if he really thought Locke was dead and that the two would never see each other again. But a week later (or less) he and Jack are in a funeral parlor and Ben is loading Locke in to the back of a van to take him back to the island with them.

Something happens in that interlude that caused Ben to get on board. Or was he on board all along? Maybe the “rules” that Ben and Widmore referenced last season involve prohibitions against suicide. Maybe Ben head Locke say something about Hawking, knew that she used to work with Widmore, assumed that Widmore had converted Locke to his side, and murdered Locke because he thought he was one of the bad guys now. Then Ben might have gone to Ms. Hawking and realized that she could actually help to get them all back and had to eat some crow and work with her.

In that same vein of hypothesizing, here are some thoughts/theories to wrap up this installment of Pants:

-Another option with Ben killing Locke is that he was told that he had to do that by either the island or Jacob. When Ben left the island last season he said, “I hope you are happy Jacob” and perhaps whatever it was that Jacob had told Ben to do (or that Ben knew Jacob would have him do) involved crazy things like murdering JL.

-In Season Three the Others are having Sawyer and Kate help build a runway, which includes the removal of stones and gravel. That is the same island where Locke’s plane crashed this past week on what appeared to be a gravel path. Then there is another plane to consider and that is the one that was still dropping Dharma food in Season Two. What gives?

-The pilot (Lapidus) and “some woman” took one of the outrigger canoes and bolted the first night. One could assume that the woman is either Sun and the two of them are bolting to go find Jin and whoever else they can…or maybe it was just one of the stewardesses that Lapidus had eyes for and they wanted to go start a Swiss Family Robinson-style brood on the main island. If it was Sun though, why did she not get put back on the island? Could the island be sending a signal to those who weren’t transported via bright white light to the lagoon that they aren’t needed or welcome back on the real island?

-Here is some interesting information about Jeremy Bentham (the real guy).

-Hurley is drawing/coloring a Sphinx when Locke visits him at the loony-bin..."sphinx" is Greek for "strangler". Sound familiar?

-Ben killed Locke in the same way that Sawyer killed John's own father in the Black Rock in season three. It even basically happened in the same surprising, spur of hte moment way. If you remember, Sawyer was gonna try and help Anthony Cooper until something Cooper said triggered a reaction in Sawyer that drove him to strangle the old kidney-stealing jerk.

-Why were those outriggers just sitting on the beach on the island where Locke crashed? Who did they belong to and where did those people go? My bet is that they belong to original Others, including Alpert.

I really have more to say overall about this episode and some theories but I have mid-terms this week and am exhausted and my dog (Rudy the Dog) is about to go to the bathroom on my floor. Please feel free to post any of your own here or email me with them. If you really want more, please also read this article from Doc Jensen at Entertainment Weekly. The guy's a genius.

God Bless,