Amazing episode. We learned that otherwise-unscrupulous Ben does have a leetle bit of a moral code, and we got nearly a full hour of Michael Emerson talking and talking and talking some more, and as we know from personal experience, this is the funnest thing ever.
Plus, we did another leg of season five's magical history tour, we learned more about the war between Benry and Widmore, and we saw some old friends we've been very much missing!
If you haven't watched the latest episode of Lost yet, grab a canoe and get out of here. But if you have watched, and you're ready to discharge a double-barreled shotgun of deconstruction, get in here.
The Line: Ben has a moral code, it turns out. He respects the sanctity of childhood and draws the line at killing or endangering kiddos. Baby Ben the battered child grew up to break the cycle of abuse. Interesting...
We Miss You, Alex/Tania! Irony hit us all in the face when Younger Ben imperiously asked Danielle about baby Alex, "Do you want her to live?" Ripping Alex out of her mother's arms did not save her. All of Ben's choices, and his war with Charles Widmore, eventually made him complicit in the death of his daughter. As Ben said, in seeming sincerity, "I did kill Alex, and now I have to answer for that." Yeah. It's true. You do.
Lost Is a Patchwork Quilt Made of Retroactive Continuity and Golden Thread: Danielle's survival as a wild woman alone on the Island for so many years was explained by Ben's protective order: "If you want your child to live, every time you hear whispers, you run the other way."
Bad Robot! According to Ben and what we witnessed with our own eyes, the thing we call the monster (Smokey to his friends) speaks for the Island and passes judgment in a hangin'-judge-Roy-Bean kind of way. A resident of the temple's sub-basement, the monster can apparently be summoned by pulling the drain plug out of the bathtub. (?!!!!)
The Monster's Mysterious Ways: Smokey likes to take the form of a dead person who has been inadvertently left lying around the Island—Yemi for Mr. Eko, Alex for Ben, Christian for the Losties, etc. (All the better to mess with you, my dear.) This would seem to explain why Reiko Aylesworth's character insisted that her dead man-friend be brought back into Dharma territory rather than left out to molder. In addition to the basic human-dignity issues, he would have become another one of the monster's sock puppets.
Last But Not Least: There are monster hieroglyphics!
Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Ass on the Way Out, Charles: Charles Widmore was exiled for the transgressions of leaving the Island regularly (something the Freighters alleged Ben did all the time, too), having a daughter with an outsider (apparently excluding Mrs. Hawking as a candidate for the role of Penny's mom) and generally breaking the rules. (But whose rules? Smokey's? Jacob's?)
Final Score: Ben told Charles, "Where you failed, I'm going to succeed." Ben won the Island round-trip side of things, but failed to even the daughter-killing score, because, well...O Hai Desmond! (Where have you been?!) And then Charlie saved the day again, except this time it's a new Charlie! And to make all that awesomeness even better, Widmore now owes Desmond for saving his daughter Penny's life. We love you, Des! Oh, and in addition to Des pawning Ben, Locke is Ben's boss now, because dead Alex said so.
Both Sides of His Mouth: Did Ben know or not that the Island would revive Locke? The biggest whiff of B.S. came when Ben declared, "Well, I just didn't have time to talk you back into hanging yourself, so I took a shortcut." Honestly, taking a "shortcut" wouldn't be the most outrageous thing Ben's ever done, but that line reeked of desperation. On the other hand, Ben's words to Sun, "I've seen it heal the sick, but never once has it done anything like this," had the ring of truth. Let the record show that all of this works because Memerson is such a wonderful, wonderful actor. No one cares what he says, so long as he keeps talking and smiling that little smile.
For the Record: Silly wigs look better in the dark.
New Kid, Ilana: What new flavor of danger is this? Where does Ilana fit into the cosmology of Lost? "What lies in the shadow of the temple?" That's a passphrase question if ever there was one, and Frank did not have the right answer. By the looks of her tonight, the woman is apparently not just a bounty hunter delivering Sayid to a vengeance-seeking family in Guam.
New Kid, Cesar: Aw, Saïd Taghmaoui got shot! (Dead is dead?) Was he just a red herring all along?
WHAT'S TO COME
MP: Is that stuff about Skate in season six reliable?
Ummm...not to spoil everybody for everything ever, but based on reading Harry Potter up through Half-Blood Prince, I can reliably tell you that Ron and Hermione get together in Deathly Hallows. Either that or everybody dies, but Hermione-Draco? Not ever gonna be canon.
We'll learn next week why Miles (Ken Leung) was really on the freighter (toldja it was an unanswered Q) and get a return visit with bossy freighter babe Naomi (Marsha Thomason), as well as learn how/if he's been on the Island before.
What did you think of Lost's "Dead Is Dead"? Post in the comments!