The Man Behind the Curtain

Because Ryan is a slacker, this week’s blog post is by Jen! — I have to admit; I am now very, very nervous. We’re in the last four hours of season three, and in this episode, we encounter an invisible man and another man who appears not to age. We see Ben’sd ead mother, somewhat confirming that Christian Shepherd’s reappearance on the island was not a figment of his son’s imagination. I’m wondering where all this is going.

The Others are much scarier and more threatening than I could have imagined and the survivors’ distrust of each other and lack of communication skills will certainly be their undoing. Jack, the de facto leader of the survivors, is the world’s biggest rube. The fact that such a spineless nitwit is a doctor, let alone that everyone seems to look up to him, is frightening.

Locke is some sort of Messiah. At least, Ben thinks Locke is some sort of Messiah. This scares and angers him. We see that Ben was a sneaky, sadistic S.O.B. from the very beginning, so what he does to Locke at the end of “The Man Behind the Curtain” is shocking, but not surprising. We found out a lot about Ben in this episode, but there’s certainly way more where that come from. Despite what he and Mikhail say, Ben is the most powerful man on the island, at least for now. He feels his power slipping and is resorting to some pretty drastic measures. I still think, despite what went on in Jacob’s cabin, that Ben is pretending to be under the sway of Jacob, whoever he is, and is using Jacob to intimidate his minions.

Few things on TV scare me. That one episode of The X-Files with the malformed lady under the bed made me sleep with the lights on for a week, and just the mention of Bob on Twin Peaks can still send chills up my spine. Other than that, I considered myself relatively scare-proof. Until the Jacob sequence in this episode. That was the scariest moment in the whole series so far. I don’t know who that figure is in the stills making their way ’round the net, but I’m too chicken to figure it out. I got the impression that nobody besides Ben had ever laid eyes on Jacob. The expressions on Tom and Alpert’s faces upon hearing about Locke’s impending visit make me wonder if they doubt Jacob’s existence, too.

Ben’s own daughter seems suspicious of his motives. Has she caught on? Why would Locke need a gun for a visit to someone who has previously been described as a loving, benevolent leader? I think she’s got his number, but how?

Where has Danielle been, anyway, besides looking for dynamite?

A volcano is coming into play. I don’t think the volcano is as dormant as Olivia tells the children it is. The ring of powder around Jacob’s house looks like ash.

Speaking of Alpert, he’s been on that island for quite a while. He asks Ben, “Do you remember birthdays?” — as if he’d stopped keeping track of them long ago. Why does Ben age, but not Alpert? I find it interesting that it seems as if Ben has become his superior.

Who is this Horace character? Is he Gerald De Groot? Horace Goodspeed sounds like an alias to me. Was De Groot in trouble with the law?

So Ben’s mom dies in childbirth, seven months into her pregnancy, much like the rest of the pregnant women under his watch on the island. I don’t know about you guys, but the whole baby/fertility subplot gives me the willies. I really hope Kate is not, in fact, pregnant.

Notes and Notions:

  • Shut up, Kate. Sayid has more on the ball than you and everybody else in your camp combined, so stop talking to him like a child.
  • Locke has got a bad, bad temper. Terry O’ Quinn plays Locke with such a great combination of hapless pathos, magical wisdom, and rage. We’ve been raving about Elizabeth Mitchell and Michael Emerson all season, but Terry can still blow me away, too.
  • I still get a kick out of the fact that everyone on the island has either a dead parent or an evil parent or both. It’s like a big Disney movie, times fifty. I like to think it’s Damon and Carlton’s way of sticking it to the bosses at ABC. But it probably isn’t.
  • How can Uncle Rico be so mean? No, Uncle Rico! Take that back!
  • Like Kate, Ben kills his own father. Locke tells Kate in “Left Behind” that “they” don’t approve of what she’s done. Considering what Ben did to his old man and what ultimately happens to his body, Kate’s murder of her dad doesn’t seem like the kind of thing they should be concerned about. So what is this really all about?
  • “The Man Behind the Curtain” discussions at,, and Pop Candy
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183 Responses to The Man Behind the Curtain

  1. Jen says:

    The blog post is in the works as we speak. It’s been a crazy few days.

  2. bill says:

    i don’t know if locke and jacob are the same—the image does look compelling but what keeps me wondering is the close up of the eyes in the “jacob scene” –whose eyes were they? Both ben and locke have blue eyes and the eyes in that shot are definately brown–i assume they were jacobs eyes.

  3. Dean in Chicago says:

    Welcome Back Jen!!!

    I like the way you think!!!


  4. Connie from Alaska says:

    Great blog, Jen! You and Ryan should trade off more often.

    Just some thoughts:

    Ben, the only surviving member of the Dharma group, was adopted into the Hostiles group. Jacob was the Hostiles’ leader. Ben somehow managed to overpower and contain Jacob at his present location. It could have been with the cooperation of the other Hostiles or without, but it put him in a position of power and control over the other Hostiles. Ben has not been a benevolent leader and the rest of the group is ready for someone new to dethrone Ben and either release Jacob or assume leadership. This would explain Tom’s, Richard’s and the others’ suddenly standoffish attitude toward Ben and intensified interest in Locke.

    Ben’s friend Annie may have also exhibited special abilities that threatened Ben and he may have offed her at some point or she may have been the catalyst that drove him to join the Hostiles in the purge. We will find out later I am sure. I still can’t buy the “Annie is Danielle” theory, although supporters have some good points.

    I love the theory that the Hostiles are survivors or descendents of the Black Rock crew. Many directions this theory could go.

  5. Arad says:

    Maybe. I never liked that idea because it suggests they were fairly aloof to the outside world, not having any contact before people started landing on the island. It would be a far shot to say that just because Rousseua’s boat crashed 16 years ago, they have such a solid infrastructure and technology, weapons, etc.

  6. Fernando says:

    I liked your post as well, Jen. Congratulations! Maybe Ryan would let you write more often in the future.

    I liked your connection of this episode to what Locke had said to Kate a few weeks ago. It really does not make sense that The Others disaprove of her killing her dad, but Ben asked Locke to kill his own father, and he himself gassed his father to death. but we all know that this parent-children dysfunctional relationships have beenplaying a big part in the story. So, I am confident that come 2010, we will understand the whole implications of that.

    I also liked very much what Dan from San Diego posted about Juliet knowing there was a response to her initial message on the tape. she should have been as surprised as anybody else about Sawyer having the tape, but instead she just tells him to play the message on the other side. What really bothered me about this, though, is that Ben’s message seemed to have changed people’s mind about Juliet’s evil-ness. If I was there, no matter what I had heard Ben saying, I still would have pushed the issue of her having infiltrated the camp and reporting back to the Others. but that is just me.

    Finally, I miss the posts of NorCal Matt. I hope to hear/read from him again!


  7. Flugel says:

    just a thought, but with ben being such a compulsive liar (saying he was born on the island etc) could the mass-gassing be yet another lie, hence the skull with the bullethole?

  8. Bill says:

    I have taken the position of not trusting ANYONE or ANYTHING on this program. I assume the flashbacks are faithful to the facts, but everything else is a web of lies and mystery.

    I have no favorite character on the show because I suspect any one of them could turn out to be a turdhead or a hero; then I’d feel stupid for not seeing the clues. At one time I even suspected the dog Vincent was something he wasn’t. And until Vincent has a flashback, I will still suspect him nonetheless.

  9. Dan says:

    go here if you want to be *MASSIVELY* spoiled, you’ll be shocked when you read it, it shocked me senseless 😛

  10. Dan says:

    go here if you want to be *MASSIVELY* spoiled, you’ll be shocked when you read it, it shocked me senseless 😛


  11. Tori says:

    Bill, I think you have the right take on not trusting anyone, and it will be interesting to see what the writers’ eventual rationale is for whipsawing viewers this way. In a way it sucks not to be able to fully bond with any of the characters. Certainly a lot of the characters have con artists for fathers, and it’ll be fascinating to see how the father theme plays out in some sort of bigger-picture way.

    Fernando, I agree that trusting Juliet about the tape seems pretty premature on the part of the Losties–though all the flashbacks indicate Juliet is a good person. She’s somehow under Ben’s sway still, but how/why?

    Also, when Sawyer and Kate were “doing it” in her tent, did anyone initially think it was Nikki and Paolo waking from the “dead”?

    I also think Jen is right on to be as scared as she is– between Jacob, the fact the Others committed cold-blooded genocide, and Sawyer being manipulated into killing Locke’s father when he was dead set (so to speak) against murder… and there’s serious trouble ahead.

    And Dan, can’t do the spoilers– too scared! 🙂

  12. Dave says:

    Juliet is under Ben’s sway because she doesn’t know whether to trust him or not. He has shown her video of her sister (and niece!) and medical records. This could all be fabricated. But if it’s not, he clearly knows where she is and could, say, have her run over by a bus the way Juliet’s ex-husband was. That’s a pretty strong motivator.

    She clearly hates Ben. But she feels as though the repercussions of not believeing or disobeying him are far worse than if she does. He’s a terrorist. He’s a sociopath.

    Maybe the other Losties would be wise to view Ben this way. He lies with reckless abandon, and if they had just been more skeptical/wary when they first met him (e.g. finished him off like Danielle apparently wanetd to), more people would be alive.

  13. Connie from Alaska says:

    Flugel-I am guessing that everything we see in a flashback is the truth…maybe not the whole truth, but not a deliberate lie. I know it is possible for people to lie to themselves and to have false memories, but I trust the writers wouldn’t do us dirty by lying in the flashbacks.

    There were bound to be some Dharma members who were away from camp or escaped during the purge who had to be “dealt with” later with a bullet to the head. Those people would more likely be at the top of the pile in the mass grave.

  14. says:

    This could be the real Jacob. He played the devil in The Stand miniseries, which the producer’s are obsessed with and claim is what inspired Lost.,%20Jamey

  15. NuckinFuts says:

    Dan Says:
    May 15th, 2007 at 4:37 am
    go here if you want to be *MASSIVELY* spoiled, you’ll be shocked when you read it, it shocked me senseless

    Nuckinfuts says:

    You’re killin’ me Smalls.

    I………must…………….not…………… that……but I want to.

    I think I can , I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

  16. Can anyone besides me see the uncanny similarities to Jacob?

    ABC has now taken cross-promotion to a new level.. aaaargh!

  17. Bill says:

    That DID sound like Mike Myers, “help me-e-e.”

  18. Reg in WA says:

    Regarding the sound during the Big/Scary /Jacob/Eye/Fire/Stuff Flying Around scene:

    Wasn’t that the Smoke Monster sound? Sounded like it to me.

    Regarding the Numbers:

    I need some new information about the numbers. Yes, we now know the numbers well enough to spot them when they show up all over the place, in various permutations. That is just the continuing presence of the numbers, however, not more information. It is all what, no why.

    Why those particular numbers? Why use them in the Hatch? Why did Crazy Guy In Booby Hatch with Hurley know them? Why, why, why? (OK, I supposed that Hurley connection is as much a “how” as a “why”…)

    Also, as to the place where Ben was born, it would be quite a feat to find a spot in Hawaii at any time of the year that looks like Portland in December. Whether or not it was a very cold December that year… There would need to be evergreens all over the place, leaves leaves dropped from the deciduous trees, blackberry brambles filling many of the ditches by the roads, etc. If they could have blue-screened in a shot of the Mt. Hood, it would have been better! Of course, Mt. Hood is generally covered in clouds for most of December.

    Disclaimer: I live a couple of hundred miles from Portland, and have only spent one complete winter in Portland. I do, however, get over there several times a winter.

  19. p j says:

    two things… 1)i think in some screencaps showing the whole Jacob scene and the eyeball… that looks like Desmonds… is Desmonds but in some crazy time future or time past … the eyeball is just showing that Desmond is having another ‘flash”… 2) I think “the Others” being obsessed with pregnant women and their children is really just Ben being obsessed over the issue since having the constant burden of his moms death being his fault so hes obsessed the issue.

  20. poover says:

    Thanks for the analysis, Jen! You and Ryan always have such insightful and intelligent thoughts on the show; it helps me formulate the reasosns why I love LOST.

    Bring back your podscast please!

  21. poover says:

    Thanks for the analysis, Jen! You and Ryan always have such insightful and intelligent thoughts on the show; it helps me formulate the reasosns why I love LOST.

    Bring back your podcast please!

  22. Leigh Anne says:

    Jen–thanks for the episode analysis–it was awesome! I have to ask you, though…were we separated at birth? Immediately after the “Jacob/’Help Me!'” scene I thought of the Peacock family, on the “Home” episode of the X-Files. Now episode 3.20 ranks even with “Home” as having one of the scariest scenes on serialized television. Glad you had the same connection and referenced it in your recap. Looking forward to tomorrow night’s episode, and hearing what Ryan has to say this time! Thanks!

  23. paintergirl says:

    Dear Reg in WA,

    For all of you still confused about the numbers, LostPedia does offer an explanation via the “Sri Lanka Video.” It’s part of last summer’s virtual lost experience. It doesn’t help much with the “how” of the numbers, but it does help with the “why” of the numbers.

    I can also see not wanting to look for background information and spoilers outside the show. It is fun to just let the story tell itself, but it also helps to do a little research when you just HAVE TO KNOW!

    Thanks for a great site!

  24. XR15 says:

    Jen, loved the recap/analysis. Thanks!

    One quickie on 54439 (fence code): Lostpedia (I think) has posted that it is 7 x 7777. It seems like the original numbers kind of went the way of the Swan Hatch. Maybe the New Numbers are 7’s.

  25. Bill says:

    7 is a significant number in the Bible. I like it better than 108. I hope the numbers thing gets explained someday. They made such a big deal out of it, then dropped it, as so what?

    I think the Medical Hatch with that blinking and buzzing fluorescent lamp is just as creepy as Jacob’s cabin.

  26. Carly says:

    Okay! tonight we see if Locke is gonna die! This has had me sick all week! I was all in for the idea that this is Locke’s story. Ya know, like Star Wars was Anakin’s story… I was screaming “how the @#$% are you gonna kill JOHN LOCKE!” at the defenseless TV screen…the cats were scared. I have to believe he lives, I mean, there is supposed to be this showdown between The Man of Science and The Man of Faith, right? oh boy! we’ll see!

  27. Lori says:


    Why did you have to post the link! Of course, my finger had a mind of its own and just had to click!

    I will just say this — if this spoiler/synopsis of the final two episodes is accurate, then I can’t think of a more awesome way to end the season.

    I can’t wait to find out!

  28. Tori says:

    Carly– Ditto! I’m a John Locke fan all the way! The pathos of his story and his courage and struggles are too moving to just gratuitiously wipe out.

    Btw, doesn’t it seem to others that Ben didn’t shoot Locke in the kidney area, but rather lower down?

  29. Carly says:

    I couldn’t tell where he shot Locke. Ben’s a weasel who is losing control of his little game. He must remove all opposition…The lying,manipulative, opportunistic little creep just needs to die a horrible death like he inflicted on all the Dharmi…. OOOOh…I can’t wait!

  30. fuber says:

    Question.. why did ben lie about being born on the island? Would it be a big deal if he wasn’t? I would guess that Alpert knows he wasn’t, but there must be a reason. Does he mean that his life really started after the purge?

  31. Dean in Chicago says:

    54439 — The code to the fence…

    I remember hearing that the code changes every morning on one of the videos that played while Ben and his Father “registered” immediately after coming to the island. Does anyone else remember this?

    Jacob = John Locke

    I remember DL and CC speaking of “Jacob being right in front of us” (or something similar) in one of the official podcasts.

    Any thoughts?

  32. Carly says:

    I totally could be convinced that Jacob=Locke. As I said I think it is parallel to Star Wars being Anakin’s story… I think there may be a kind of time loop where Locke has a chance to change his destiny, and Jacob is what he’ll become if he does not succeed…. just a thought….

  33. b says:

    5x4x4x3x9 = 2160
    108×20 = 2160

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