Sorry I’m a day late on this. I’m assuming at this point just about everything has been worked out, so you probably don’t need anything from me. Cool. Bye!
Ah, who am I kidding. I’ll stand in an empty room and blather on if no one else is there. I’m just having an extremely busy week and didn’t have any time to write up anything yesterday. It’s not like I didn’t have something to say. (HA!)
I was going to devote this column to talking about Miles and Hurley’s argument about time travel, but I’m sure that’s been talked to death. And to be honest, the reaction of some of my readers on my blog post on this week’s episode in the beginning was, “Oh my GOD I couldn’t stand Hurley in that scene…” which is when I had to come on, raise my hand tentatively and say, “Um… maybe I’ve watched Back to the Future a dozen too many times, but I, um, am a little, er, lost too?” And then three of my most avid readers wrote up some brilliant analogies to explain it to the dingbats among us. Forget Miles and his rather lame explanation. Hurley would have understood immediately if he’d had humanebean, Teebore, and Blam explaining it to him. Thanks, guys! Now I completely understand why “whatever happened, happened.” Brilliant! (If you, like me, were still a little foggy on the issues, come on over to my blog, where I posted their analogies separately for everyone to read. After reading what they had to say, I feel like I could teach a course on the stuff. Maybe.)
I still want to talk about a separate aspect of this, however. Last week I speculated that Ben will be turned into the monster he’s become because of Sayid. Now Alpert has seemingly discredited that theory by suggesting that Ben won’t remember any of “this.” But what does he mean by “this”? Going into the Temple? Being carried into the woods? Being part of the DI? From what we saw in “Man Behind the Curtain,” Ben is still a member of the DI, still knows who is father is. However, he said that he was born on the island, and we took that to be a lie. Maybe it wasn’t. Maybe he is referring to the “rebirth” he’s about to experience via Richard and the Temple.
I think, even if he doesn’t remember Sayid shooting him, the group of survivors still went back to turn him into who he became. If Sayid hadn’t shot him, and Jin brought him back to the camp, and Kate gave him her blood, and Jack refused to operate on him (!!), and Kate and Sawyer took him to Alpert, he never would have become the Benjamin Linus we know and love to hate. But I think it would be more fun to think that Ben DOES retain a memory of Sayid shooting him. When Sayid first walks into the armory, Ben is doing a brilliant job of convincing everyone that he is Henry Gale, who arrived on a balloon, etc. etc. I think it’s a pretty easy leap to suggest he knew who Sayid was the moment he walked through that door, not only because of watching him on the Pearl station monitors for weeks at that point, but because of his encounter with him as a child. I would love to think that his revenge was to use Nadia’s death to turn Sayid into a coldhearted murderer, knowing he was taking away Sayid’s humanity. In much the same way that it seems Alpert is about to take his. If Ben knows that whatever happened, happened, then he knows he cannot change history. So he knows Sayid will always come back to that island to shoot him. So it’s not like he’s going to waste his time trying to make that NOT happen. He might as well ruin a person while he’s at it.
I said on my blog that two lines haunt me from season 4: One being Widmore’s line, “I know who you are, boy, WHAT you are…” and Harper’s line, “You remind him of her,” when talking to Juliet. Now I wonder if those lines are about to be answers in next week’s episode. Widmore refers to Ben as a boy, which is what he was when he was taken to the Temple, but he also says WHAT you are, as if he’s a thing, no longer living. Notice how many times the Others want the “bodies” of dead people? Are they reviving them? Could Locke and Christian be the products of their actions? And what about Harper’s line? In “Whatever Happened, Happened,” we have a rare moment of sympathy for a bad parent, and Roger says in the end, a boy needs his mother. Cut to Juliet leaning over him and taking care of him. Will he grow up seeing her as the only person who showed him compassion the way a mother would? And when we joked about his Oedipal tendencies in season 3 and 4 (exacerbated by the fact Emerson’s wife was playing his mother), could they have been more real than we originally imagined? Juliet reminds him of her because she IS her.
I love this show. While this episode seemed like a confirmation of many things we’d already figured out – where Aaron went, why Kate returned to the island, what Sawyer said to her before he jumped – it’s just a good feeling to GET that confirmation, and it gave us enough new material to keep us talking for weeks. Months. Years.
Nikki Stafford is the author of the Finding Lost series of books, which offer episode-by-episode guides to each season. The guide to season 4 is now available at Amazon.com. She posts regularly on her television blog, Nik at Nite.