Next: “Dead Is Dead” (Episode 5×12)

In terms of character drama, tight writing, memorable performances, and the general art of quality television, “Dead Is Dead” was not the strongest episode of Season 5. But who are we kidding, this was a Ben episode with the smoke monster. With a token mention of the whispers, even. For the mystery and mythology of “LOST,” this week’s episode was a feast. It filled in a few blanks: we see how Alex was taken, we see the exile of Widmore, we see why Ben preempted a suicide with murder, and we see what went down at the dock. And it definitely laid the groundwork for the future: the “smoke monster” is the ultimate judge (and can conjure corporeal people) and it wants Locke to succeed, but Ilana has been “activated,” or something, and something big is afoot.

Doing things in service of the island, and what the island wants, were definitely the themes of the day. Was Alex supposed to live or die? Ben’s sparing Danielle and taking Alex seemed to be the right and compassionate thing (the same compassion that gave him pause on the dock, long enough to let Desmond get the jump on him). Yet if Alex was supposed to live, and Ben caused her death, you’d think the smoke monster would have judged Ben more harshly. Given that Charles Widmore, at his exile, calls Alex’s survival into question, I like the idea that perhaps Alex was always fated to die on the island. Hence Ben only prolonged the inevitable before she reached the end of her path.

But then again, if Alex was fated to die, why does Ben say her death broke “the rules”? And that Widmore was the one who broke them? After all, one of the personal epiphanies Ben apparently has in this episode was that he, not Widmore, killed Alex.

Speaking of “rules,” apparently Widmore’s leaving the island regularly and fathering a child with an outsider is grounds for exile. Who’s the “outsider”? If “Ellie” is Eloise Hawking, she’s an insider, and the mother of Daniel Faraday. So the child is Penny, and the outsider is… someone else. Have we met Penny’s mother somewhere, and just don’t know it?

I like that we see more hints that Ben’s reign as leader of the Others was not all that great, in the island’s eyes. Way back in Season 3, Alpert tells Locke that many of the Others are frustrated with Ben for getting distracted from their greater purpose. Tonight, we hear more of the same. Locke smirks at Ben for leading his people from behind a desk. And Locke also lectures Ben for moving the Others from the jungle to the cozy domestic comforts of Othersville, something the island wouldn’t like. Basically he got distracted by the trappings of “modern life,” and lost touch with the “native” way.

Ben’s knack for lying while sounding completely earnest is deliciously confounding. When he’s seeding Caesar’s mind with doubt about Locke, you’re cursing him, yet at the same time cheering for him for being so good at being bad. The question is, was he surprised to see Locke alive again or not? Jen and I think he was genuinely shocked, and for now we’ll believe him when he tells Sun that “dead is dead,” and that seeing Locke resurrected truly does scare him.

Is future Ben really surprised to see the photo of Jack, Kate, and Hurley in the Dharma Initiative? We haven’t seen young Ben interact with them, but the only way he’d truly not know they were there is if he doesn’t get returned to the Dharma Initiative until after our friends have left. I wouldn’t think the Others would hold onto Ben so long, so that would suggest something happens soon to break up the “Class of 1977.”

It was good to see the return of Confident Locke. I’m somewhat with Ben, though, in questioning how quickly he came to know everything and be so sure of himself. I guess coming back from the dead can do that. But Locke has waffled so many times between resolute and unsure. Is Ben truly going to follow him now? Or, more to the point, could we stomach seeing Ben rattling Locke to his core one more time?

So what lies ahead for Locke? “Reuniting Sun and Jin” would seem to be the next thing on his to-do list. Is that task one of the things that Ghost Alex had in mind when she told Ben to follow Locke’s every word? Or is there a bigger job ahead? I like the idea that, somehow, reuniting Sun and Jin is actually more important than anyone can imagine, that whatever it entails is entwined with Locke’s greater destiny. I just haven’t figured out how.

And obviously Ilana and friends and their mysterious crate will stand between Locke and Ben and Frank and Sun and whatever they have to do.

Notes and Notions:

  • Who is Ilana and company working for? Widmore seems the most likely guess, even though he told Ben there was no way back on the very day Ajira 316 left Los Angeles. If her coded question references “the statue” we’ve seen, it would have to be someone with a deep understanding of the island’s history. Someone who set them up with whatever’s in the crate to do something big.
  • No question the island’s most ancient artifacts are Egyptian in influence, if not origin. The hieroglyphic representation of the smoke monster visiting Anubis was a nice touch. Does this confirm “the statue” was Anubis?
  • We definitely didn’t expect to see Ben shooting Caesar so suddenly. They can’t really be done with him, can they? Jen thinks they are, just to defy our expectations.
  • What’s up with Ilana’s henchmen? Two new guys suddenly get face time and lines? Somehow their introduction seemed more jarring than all the new faces in the Dharma Initiative we saw in the 1970s.
  • The way Ben hesitated upon seeing Charlie on the boat reminded Jen of how Sawyer reacted when he suddenly realized there was a child involved when he was pulling the very first con we’re shown in Season 1. The preservation of young innocents is definitely a theme we’re revisiting, ever since children were taken from the 815 survivors in Season 2.
  • Kudos to the production team for attempting to have a single actor portray the same character across several decades… but Ben’s mid-30s wig tonight was among the worst we’ve seen in a show that’s suffered from a lot of bad wigs (see Jack, Kate, Sun, Boone…).
  • Ben was sent to kill Danielle, but didn’t when he noticed baby Alex. But why take baby Alex? He asks Danielle if she wants her child to live, so I guess he knew things outside the world of the Others weren’t a safe place for an infant. And I guess the whispers were one manifestation of that threat.
  • Keeping track of how many canoes there are and where they end up is becoming a fun puzzle game. Three canoes were hidden on Alcatraz. Frank and Sun take one, Ben and Locke take another. Then Frank returns. That’s two canoes on Alcatraz. We know two canoes end up at the old beach camp on the main island eventually… so how do they get there? Frank makes a break for it, Ilana and friends follow, then chase him around in the jungle long enough for the time jumping team to steal one and get shot at? And keep in mind, that time jumping team includes a Locke, but not the resurrected Locke of Ajira 316. My head hurts.

What did you think? Please comment below, e-mail us at, or call the LostLine at (808) 356-0127 by noon on Friday, April 10.

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176 Responses to Next: “Dead Is Dead” (Episode 5×12)

  1. christy in TX says:

    Give me a piece of that Temple!!!! I want the scoop NOW!
    Do you guys think the title and last week’s title ARE the rules?
    Whatever Happened…Happened, and Dead is Dead?

  2. Knives Monroe says:

    Hm… Rules? I’d imagine so. Perhaps Ben breaking those rules is just a sacrifice that the Island demanded.

  3. greenberry says:

    sounds very old-testament, with Locke perhaps emerging as a “Christ-like” sacrificial figure

  4. @Christy

    They definitely represent rules. The question is to what extent can they be broken? I’m banished to that camp that says they can.

  5. EricFromOhio says:

    Best line so far…

    “It’s not a train, John. It doesn’t run on a schedule.”

  6. Glenn - Just curious says:

    Wow!…Not sure what to make of this one yet. A good flashback Ep, but few reveals that we knew about already.

    I’m starting to believe Ben is really just trying to protect the island, but that he is also selfish which is what ruins his character…he might be one of the good guys after all.

  7. Danie says:

    Two words: Desmond rocks! And John Locke was season 1 Locke again! What an enjoyable episode. Finally got to see the scene where Alex is taken too. Will definitely be watching that one again. Anyone else have a weird feeling about Locke and smokey?

  8. technoprep says:

    can anyone decypher sanskrit! Mahwah ha ha!!!!

  9. Knives Monroe says:

    LOCKE IS BACK!!!!!!!!

  10. Rabbit15 says:

    That was a fantastic episode!

    I noticed that Anubis, the jackal-headed Egyptian god of “ma’at” or “justice” was on the tomb right above the grate where the smoke monster emerged. I think that means that the four-toed statue was of Anubis. Therefore, I think the Island might be some place where people come to be judged. That’s probably not the whole story, but justice is definitely emerging as a major theme here. The smoke monster scene really makes you wonder what it is that Eko saw…

    I also loved how we got to see a semi-humane side of Ben tonight. Sure, he was lying through his teeth to John the whole episode, but it seems like children have a really profound effect on him. I really think he is much more complex than the purely evil, manipulative guy that most people accuse him of being.

  11. Locke suddenly know everything, just like he did in Season 1. Is it me or does anyone else thing Locke now knows how to time shift,possibly anytime he wants to. Whico COULD explain why Locke knew everything in season 1, because Locke NOW goes back and does those things instead. Which would also explain why Christian Shephard thinks Locke will help Sun get to the 70’s.

    Locke is somehow “born again” now, as highlighted by Locke telling Ben that was how he felt.

  12. ChrisinCleveland says:

    Des is Bad Ass Mo Fo

    Locke is a Pimp

    Ceaser’s not dead

    Ilana = others

    Ben has a heart

  13. Sandy in Ojai says:

    Hiya Ryan and Jen and Everybody

    Wow what a eppy!!!!!!!! So glad to see that Ben didnt kill Pen. That would have been so unfair. Ok onto Ben…… I am begining to think that the island started out liking Ben, but he got too power hungry and now is still trying to regain what he had before, hence the warning from Alex/monster that he better do as Locke says because Locke is now the chosen one. But Ben being Ben well that just wont happen so I really think Ben’s days are numbered now. But Ben will take us all for a ride and try to outfox Locke and the island, but he will not win. God I will miss him lol.

    Widmore….. I really think he is the bad one granted we dont know enough but its coming I can feel it, cant you? I also think that those ppl on the plane are more of Widmore’s people and they have a mission ….. Something is in the works there.

    Desmond …… woot what a guy, so now we can look forward on how he sails back to the island. Or he goes back to Elle and she tells him, thats probably what will happen.

    Sure wish I studied Egyptian writings, cause those walls were full of stuff just waiting for us to discover, and when the monster looked at Ben’s life there are pictures in that smoke just couldnt see on reg tv, so will wait for the screen shots woottttttt.


  14. John Fischer says:

    Wow! Now that was the episode I’ve been waiting for. It was so full of information…. but I’m not sure what that information was!

    First of all – thank God that both Desmond and Penny are safe and Desmond rocks for beating the hell out of Ben.

    Secondly – Hail Caesar, we hardly knew ye. We all thought he was set up to be a major character and all he was was a setup for Ben. Ben let Caesar think that Locke was a danger so that he would follow him, only for Ben to use Caesar to regain Locke’s trust and help him get back to the island. Caesar never saw it coming, nor did I.

    Thirdly – Illana and the shadow of the statue. Who is she really and how does she know about the statue and what is in that container that she has taken hold of?

    Fourthly – Alex, are you real or are you a shadow. Are you one like Christian and perhaps Claire? Do the dead become the undead on the island? I’m glad that you held your dad responsible for your death and even happier that you told him he now had to obey John Locke.

    Fifthly – Charles Widmore – how neat to see you on the island in two parts of your life especially as the Widmore we know so well. Why exactly were you banished? Was it really just because you had a baby with an non-islander? That being said, then who is Ellie? If Ellie is not Penny’s mother and your spouse who is she? Is she your sister? Is she still on the island when you get exiled?

    Sixthly – Sun – Great to see you, but your mind has to be spinning. Your husband is in the past, your current company is a murdering liar and a dead man. You have to think you’re in the Twilight Zone.

    Seventhly – Frank – Why did you abandon Sun? and what will your future be back with Illana and her crazy followers? I suspect that Illiana will be involved in the outrigger that shoots at our Losties when they jump in time.

    Finally – Ben tells Locke that “Dead is Dead” but in fact it seems that dead is anything but dead. So, it seems that “Dead is Dead” is just another of Ben’s lies.

  15. Denise says:

    Oh man, I can’t believe you guys have so many hours to go still! I’m going to say that was quite possibly the best episode of the whole series so far. When Ben was walking down the hallway to Alex’s room, the score was so creepy I literally got goosebumps! Caesar getting shot actually made me call out HOLY *&!^! I don’t even hardly know where to begin with this one, but I can’t WAIT to rewatch it again tomorrow online.

  16. Elizabeth says:

    Wow! I am a first time responder, but I had to write down how strange this episode felt to me. I thought it was wonderful, BUT, what is with John Locke? He had that some weird demeanor that Clair had when John saw her with Christian in Jacob’s cabin ( that Horace built!) I am still not convinced that Ben is anything but a liar and a truely bad person. Maybe he is fond of children because someone saved him when he was a child….but he let Alix die… he is moved by all children (except his own?) As for Widmore, he is bad…..and Ben is bad and they are both “Hostiles” so maybe the Dharma folks were the good guys afterall.

    Did anyone think Sun was strange..nothing felt real this week…which is the genius of the writers. I am already counting the minutes to next Wednesday.!

  17. Naga says:

    I think the LOST writers made a huge blunder regarding the timeline here. Widmore said that he has been looking for the island for 20 years in 2004. How is that possible when he was in the island well after 1988 (when danielle got to the island) and after the purge (1992)? He was even transported back to the mainland in the Dharma sub. I am sure Damon and Carlton will have some lame excuse for this, like when the screwed up Charlotte’s birth date.

  18. Dave in AL says:

    Probably one of the best episodes this season. I was really glad to see that Ben did not kill Penny and the fact that he didn’t do it because of Charlie shows that he has been “lost” just like the other characters, that he has to come to grips with his own past and misdeeds. But, wow, to show that Ben at one point was actually a good person, didn’t ever think it was possible see a side of Ben that completely contradicts everything we’ve know about him so far. It certainly puts a little bit clearer perspective on the Benjamin vs. Widmore conflict.

    I just can’t help but to think back during the season 1 episode Pilot Part 2, where Locke and Walt are on the beach and Locke sets up a backgammon set. Locke says to him, “Backgammon is the oldest game in the world. Archeologists found sets when they excavated the ruins of ancient Mesopotamia, 5,000 years old. That’s older than Jesus Christ.” Walt then asks, “Did they have dice and stuff?” Locke responds, “But theirs weren’t made of plastic, their dice were made of bones.” Walt, of course, thinks this is neat: “Cool.” The camera shows Locke holding two of the playing pieces and he says, “Two players, two sides. One is light, one is dark. Walt, do you want to know a secret?”

    That one scene I’ve always felt was more than just a talk between John and Walt, it represents what the most absolute and basic essence of what the story is all about. That is, conflict between two opposing forces and seeking resolution, an end but knowing that the outcome is always the same no matter what (what happens, happens and dead is dead): life/death, young/old, light/dark, winner/loser, faith/science. We don’t know what Locke says to Walt, we assume he tells him about his legs, but what if he knows something else? Though not likely, with what we know now, I have to wonder.

  19. Holli in Jax says:

    I think that this episode proves that Widmore is a liar. Didn’t he tell John that Ben tricked him into leaving the island? It seems he was in fact banished.

  20. Lauren from Parma says:

    Picking up on the smoke monster judgment theme.

    Interesting that John Locke had an encounter with the smoke monster very early in season 1 or 2. If I remember right he said, “I looked into the eye of the Island and what I saw was beautiful.” So he has already been judged by the Island or smoke monster and passed.

  21. EdInDC says:

    Fantastic episode. Key moments for me:

    Ilana and her “shadow of the statue” comment. Eh? Say what? I’m dying to know more now – she seemed so inconsequential, even though she had seduced Sayid and brought him back. Now, we have to assume she was either working for Ben and knew it (and therefore lied on the plane) or has her own agenda. I reckon she’s working for Widmore.

    But I love how they made it seem like both Ilana and Cesar were integral to the plot – but it looks like only Ilana will be. (Then again, who knows – maybe we come not to bury Cesar.)

    Alex showing up: Totally did not see that coming.

    Also, I buy that Ben is lost right now. I believe what he told Sun – that he didn’t expect Locke to be alive, and that it “scares the living hell out of me.” I believe what he told Locke, which is that he thought it would work, but seeing is so much different than just belieiveing (great parallel to his conversation with Jack in the church/Lamppost).

    I think he honestly doesn’t know what’s what. He broke the rules (by letting Alex be killed, or by trying to kill Penny), and so he is out of favour with The Island. But I also wonder now if Locke is not technically alive but more like Alex/Claire/Christian/Charlie. Dead, but “here.”

    Remember, Charlie was “dead” but still “here” – he could slap Hurley upside the head. So he has some sort of corporeal form. I think that’s what’s up with Christian, Claire and now Locke. And Alex, which is why she could ram Ben against the wall.

  22. Michael281 says:

    Maybe I’m the only one, but this episode really left a bad taste in my mouth. It was as if ABC had fired the entire writing staff and hired somebody new to take over and left the new writer to try to figure out where things had been going without any notes from the previous writers. Sure, it’s all still interesting but… I find myself inexplicably disappointed.

  23. Carol says:

    How many television shows do you watch that you actually find yourself saying “Wow” outloud during the episode. Lost does that for me every show this season. When Ben shot Caesar I was shocked, I didn’t see that coming at all. Second Wow, Ben actually has a heart and a soft spot for kids! I suspected Sun in the bedroom, so that wasn’t a surprise. Seeing inside Smokey was cool, loved it!

    Lock is too calm and too serene, like Christian, there is just no emotion there, just a attitude of superiority and knowledge. Very creepy. Note that No one has actually touched John yet, just like Christian.

    re: Penny and Desmond, that isn’t over, I think it went further after he was out of the water.

    I think that the people from the plane getting the guns are Widmore’s people, he set them up on the plane to get them back on the Island, he know about Hawking, so maybe he knew about the flight as well.

    John will turn the donkey wheel to get back to 1977.

    A great episode! Every episode is bittersweet for me now, only one more month to go, it’s going to be a long 9 months.

  24. Venny says:

    Wow. Great episode, loved the learnings we were given, loved the outcomes we received.

    However, I have to say, the whole ‘video playback’ in Smokey… well, seemed a little “hokey.” I so love the show, that when I see silly storytelling techniques I get a little disappointed.

    Still, with so much of my time invested, I’m willing to forgive… like Smokey can. As long as they don’t pull anything like that again 😉


  25. HeyKir in NYC says:

    Hi all!
    First thoughts:
    -Locke looks like he knows all again. Awesome!
    -Ben may just not be the one dimensional, dark soul we thought.
    -What kind of amazing groceries did Desmond buy that blocks bullets?? 🙂

    Yaaay! I love this show!!

  26. Mike says:

    Wow…This should have been the episode where the writers could show off how they planned everything from the pilot episode and show off the genius of their writing skills; but it fell short in so many ways. These writers are very good at setting up mysteries but really bad at answering them. I’m feeling a bit cheated, either that or they just haven’t told “the whole truth”.

    I’ll start with what i liked, since once you read the rest you’re going to ask, well what did this guy like?

    Man, the acting in this episode was so good! I don’t usually comment on acting but the look on Emerson’s face in every shot was brilliant! Kim did amazing as well as Terry and Fahey. Just a solid job all around, i believed everything they said and did.

    I also liked that we’re getting back to the meat of the story. Setting up how they’re going to re-unite with the other Losties. I loved the dynamic between Ben and Locke. Roles have been reversed indeed!

    Now for my rant…The uneasy feeling i’ve been getting all season long was just solidified in this episode. The writers have been spending 4 long seasons developing these intensely interesting and i’m finding it’s like the writers could not be bothered by giving us the full story or a thorough answer to anything. Perhaps this is because there are other underlying things at play that they cannot get into; but i’m thinking that they’re running out of time and the answers i’m getting are a bit flat.

    First Caesar. why set up a character the way they have just to kill him off. Did someone get a DWI again? This was a Nicki and Paulo moment which did not move the plot forward and was just pointless. We kind of already knew Ilana was the mole from the Sayid episode “He’s Our You”; and we knew that Ilana and Caesar were not in cahoots with each other in “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham”. So my assumption was that he was going to be important in other ways, obviously not.

    Then there’s the Rouseau back story in under 3 minutes again. We have waited 4 seasons and many Rouseau episodes for her back story and now it’s pieced together over the course of a season in chopped up bits? It’s almost as if the writers couldn’t be bothered to give us a throrough answer to any given question. She wasn’t acting as crazy as Bad-Wig-Ben portrayed in the very next scene. On the contrary, she’s acting pretty natural for someone who just her baby stolen and her life threatened! I have yet to see Rouseau act anything but sane in these flash backs.

    Next we have Widmore. The others have horses now? I guess the answer to this is that they’ve always had horses and they just like to stalk in the jungle on foot for creepy effect?
    So…Just because the guy was doing a little double dipping off island; and he’s gone…like that! I really would have rather the reason be something other than infidelity. Something about this just doesn’t sit right with me. How the heck does Bad-Wig-Ben know so much about what the island wants? …please fill in blanks writers!

    Now off island with Penny and Desmond. So they set up Ben in “316” as all beat-up and creapy looking just to find out that he doesn’t kill anyone because of the kid. I know they’re trying draw a parallel with Rouseau but this set-up seemed like one big ruse. Don’t waste my time with this non-plot-moving stuff and get on with the story. Just seamed like filler.

    I probably need to stop now, seems like i’m the only one who finds that the answers are just not as thorough as the questions have been and i’d like a little more attention paid to it. What i liked about sesaons 1-3 were the pacing. I like long developed, rich plot lines. Lord of the Rings, for example, does a wonderful job with this; And then Tolkien pays just as much care and attention to answering the questions and resolving every dilemma. I just don’t see that much care being taken in these last few seasons. It’s like the end date has made them rush all the info out.

    For what it’s worth, I truly think this is my favorite show of all time, which is saying a lot coming from a pretty huge Trekkie. I just hope they re-visit some of the answers they have already provided.

    Oh, and Ben did not tell Locke “dead is dead”; he told Sun.

  27. Abby says:

    My brain’s still hurting. I really enjoyed this episode. Love to hate and hate to love Ben. He’s so complex, and Michael Emerson is outstanding!

    I have a whole bunch of questions, maybe some of you can help clarify:

    1) In 1988, Rousseau gives birth to Alex, which Ben then kidnaps, correct? How can Ben be with the Others at that time when the purge has yet to take place? Not to mention his young sidekick Ethan. Could he have been living within Dharma but moonlight as an Other?

    2) How does Widmore leave the island before the purge? Ben mentioned that Charles left the island frequently and had a family outside the island. Did the Others have their own submarine?

    3) “What lies in the shadow of the statue?” Ilana asked Lapidus. Could this be some sort of riddle that identifies “spies” to each other? Could Ilana be working for Widmore and was told to ask this question to people to identify her allies?

    So many other questions, and I can’t wait for explanations! Love LOST, love the podcast!

  28. Mike says:

    Oh, i totally forgot about Alex. I was not crazy about the whole bossing Ben around bit. I know they were trying to parallel Eko and Yemi, but at least Smokey/Yemi was creepy and ethereal. Heck even Christian Sheppard was creepy and mysterious and ethereal. I would have preferred that instead of what we got. I think some one in the writing staff was thinking people like seeing Ben getting the snot kicked out of him but, been there done that. Got back to the creepy mystery stuff. that’s what you’re good at writers.

  29. Todd H from Houston says:

    Most of the posters expressed how I feel about this episode, but I wish to chime in:
    1. I am extremely pleased to see that John Locke has regained Season 1 form, and cannot wait to see what happens with him next. I feel he has been the most compelling force of the show.
    2. Loved the “Oy!” moment when Ben took Ceaser out. I am not for cold-blooded killing; just considered the shock value satisfying 😉 .
    3. Michael Emerson’s performance was exceptional! He’s always done an outstanding job, but I was particularly affected by the Alex interaction and could really sense Ben’s pain.
    Incredible episode and incredible season. I sincerely hope that minimal criticism of this episode surfaces as I feel that “Dead is Dead” gave the fans a lot of what they have been asking for, directly or indirectly as it were.

  30. Carol says:

    I also forgot to mention one of the highlights for me was when Ben told Rousseau that if she wanted to stay alive, she had to run the opposite way whenever she heard whispers. I am dying to know what the whispers are, and who is whispering!

  31. Carol says:

    Do you also think Ben is shocked by the picture in 77 or pretending again?

  32. Carol says:

    Screencap of the Smokey “wall” under the temple

  33. Nate in Ohio says:

    Yet another strong episode. I’m not in the camp that thought it was one of the best Lost episodes ever, but still outstanding.

    A couple of things to point out:

    *1988-Ben steals Alex from Rousseau. 11-year old Ethan is with him. We know that at this time, Ben is still a member of the Dharma Initiative, as the purge didn’t happen until 1992. I think this lends itself to the theory that Amy (Ethan’s mom) is an Other. How else is young Ethan one of the Others? Also, how did it work for Ben to be both an Other and a member of Dharma? Did he come and go as he pleased?

    *Widmore is still on the island at the time of the Purge. Ben is pushing young Alex on the swingset in Dharmaville/New Otherton, before bidding farewell to Widmore. Quite possibly, he is the one that ordered it, as referenced by Ben in Cabin Fever.

    *Ben has a weak spot for mothers & babies-sparing Rousseau and Penny. Is this because Ben himself lost his mother as a baby, and doesn’t want to put anyone else through that kind of pain?

  34. Welshie loves LOST says:

    Wow! Wow! Wow!

    What an awesome episode. Definitely in my top 5 of all LOST episodes!

    I mentioned last week on this blog that I have felt Ben is a Darth Vader like character and this episode made me think I am still on track with that theory. Ben like Darth or Anakin to be accurate is driven by some pretty raw emotions for good and for evil purposes. Power has corrupted Ben overtime obviously and the island is making him pay for this. I can’t tell you how much I loved the Smokey scene and how it reminded me of the ghost smoke a.k.a. wrath of God from the Ark of the Covenant. Someone needs to cast Michael Emerson as a Nazi. He would win an Oscar! I almost thought his face was going to melt! Maybe Lucas is secretly funding this show…nah! Back to Ben, he is I believe good, but selfish and it will be interesting to see whether he does follow John as ordered.

    Poor Caesar met his Brutus! Is he dead? Something tells me the Island won’t let him get blasted so easily. I mean if Baby Ben can take a direct hit to the heart and have it magically turn and hit his right side and then live, then Caesar needs a chance to resurect as well.

    Locke Rocks! That needs to be a T-shirt! Love that the good old John we love is back. I just can’t wait for him to break out his old knife. I wonder if Abadon shipped it back to the island before he got blasted? I can’t wait to see how John masters the frozen donkey wheel… actually I think he will end up using the Magic Box to get back to 1977.

    Elana and her buddies are not Widmore’s! The secret code they are asking for “What stands in the shadow of the statue” has got to be refering to the Donkey Wheel? Maybe it is refering to something inside the Temple? This one is a stumper no doubt! I bet money they are either working for Hanso and the folks in Michigan or for the US Government. I find it hard to believe that Dharma’s founders would just forget about there special projects after the Purge. Maybe Ben has been keeping them thinking that the Dharama’s are still going strong on the island. As far a my US Gov theory goes. Something tells me that a rogue atomic weapon in the South Pacific has not gone forgotten over time. If Elana’s group are Widmore’s. I hope they enable Charles to come back to the Island so he can be judged in Season 6. So what’s in the silver box? My guess is it is some major tech to make the island stop moving or show up on radar.

    I hope we have a Frank Lapedis episode soon! Can’t wait to hear your Podcast and to see more Miles and Hurley next week. Oh yeah… I am glad Penny and Desmond are ok for the time being. Something tells me Desmond is going to end up killing Ben and we will hate him for it… Desmond that is.


  35. DocJKM says:

    Yes, Knives, Locke is back! Seeing him in his suit, looking so polished, back from the dead, staring into Ben, I could not wipe the grin off my face. He has been my favorite character from the beginning. I, like Dave in AL, have wondered about Locke’s secret, confided to Walt, for four years now.

    Michael281- Kind of funny to me. I said the exact same thing you wrote, but about the two previous episodes. They seemed way out of line, written by someone(s) not fully in touch with the show. However, this episode was back in the spirit of things and I found it to be what I had been waiting for. A relief, as I was dreading the possibility of a third dud in a row (for me).

    I like the “shadow of the statue” being an ID question to allow confirmation of a conspirator’s identity. Feels right.

    Terry and Micheal once again showed the magic they weave together, their chemistry is strong. And Michael owned the episode, not the way ‘Kate’ and ‘Sayid’ failed (relatively) in their two previous centric episodes.

    As for the answers not being up to the mysteries, well, I have felt similarly. LOST still has over a season to go, and I think that patience will be rewarded. The answers need to be teased for the most part, and fat juicy reveals will be doled out sparingly until the end. The myriad mysteries will need to be packaged a bit, and some of the packaging may leave some mysteries inadequately resolved, as it should be. But the mythos of this show is strong, and I feel it will plumb the foundations of existance in many ways, as it is doing now. The answers will not please everyone, and not all answers will be provided. To do otherwise would be beneath the concept of not pandering to the lowest common denominator in their viewership.

    I continue to be pleased and amazed at the brilliance of both the show, and its audience (as demonstrated by this podcast, and the castees). What a fantastic ride. What fantastic characters, actors, acting, and writing. Cinematography and Score are also brilliant. We are fortunate that out of the wastelands of television…

    Love the podcast, the bloggers, and you Ryan and Jen.

  36. MLE in Colorado says:

    So points for all who guessed the statue was Anubis- which I think is cool because it reminds me of our dear friend Vincent. I like the connection between Anubis being the guardian of the underworld. Anubis “was said to protect souls as they journeyed there, and thus be the patron of lost souls (and consequently orphans)”

    We know many orphans on this show don’t we!

    Anyway- I like the picture of Annubis and the smoke monster that Ben was looking at just above where old smokey came slithering out of the grate.

    This did remind me of when Ecko was seeing the images from his own life in old smokey- and yes very early on in season 1 Locke was “judged” by smokey himself.

    I do wonder, like others, if smokey manifests himself in the images from their memories…so Alex saying “Listen to Locke” could really be smokey saying “listen to me” meaning Alex and Locke are both somehow manifestations of smokey.

    …and all of you who are saying you are so glad that Des and Penny and baby Charlie are ok…I would hold your proverbial horses…seems that scene may not have completely played out…why was Ben telling Sun to tell Des he was “sorry”. Something more could have happened.

    Also- seems like on the Island Charles may have had Daniel with Ellie and off the Island he had Penny…perhaps as we have said before- there are two mothers.

    I was a little annoyed with the group of folks on the little Island – because I thought- oh crap more people- another group to worry about and wonder about…but I guess we now know who was chasing Sawyer and Juliette et al on the boat that rainy night…

    I can’t wait to see Miles and Marvin Candle next week! 🙂

  37. bclostfan says:

    What an amazing Rollercoster ride “LOST” has taken us on over the last few years. I’m having so much fun watching this show and trying to figure out , what will happen next with the help of this Lost podcast community. Thanks for taking this ride with me.

    What lies in the shadow of the statue????????? I hope you know because I don’t have a clue. (The Temple , The Magic Box , maybe some answers )

    Thank you so much Ryan and Jen.

  38. Batchout says:

    So the smoke monster confronts you with someone you “caused to die?” (remember the hatch counter Heiroglyphics. hmm.)

    Locke sees Boone in the sweat lodge before being judged worthy of speech again, Eko sees Yemi while being judged, Ben sees Alex when being judged, (and Locke the moment he re-crashes on the Island)

    Oh, and count the zigzags in that hieroglyph. Cool.

    Yes, sometimes I feel plots are shortened too much, but the overall balance of a huge ensemble show is important. It took several episodes to get back to Locke, but it was so worth it.
    Maybe Ben was doing some Sayid-doctrine pruning of the herd (and some more self preservation)
    As far as horses, I assume that they would have island fertility problems as well, unless the Smoke Horse got a paint job.

    Blown away, not hating it AT ALL that we got so many connecting pieces,

    and Yerts!

  39. Hugh says:

    can’t locke just turn the wheel the other way and go back in time?

  40. Jenny in CA says:

    Hello Ryan, Jen, and all aboard the boards.

    I still think the statue is not Anubis, despite the picture of Anubis on Smokey’s dog house.

    Now, if my memory serves me, Anubis was the god that weighed the hearts of the dead to determine their place in the afterlife. He essentially judged the souls of the dead. Also, Anubis is always depicted with very long ears.

    I still think the statue is Horus. We’ve seen more of Horus throughout the series. The symbol of Horus was in Swan Station timer. And the name Horace Goodspeed is another allusion.

    And the pharohs of ancient Egypt were supposed to be incarnations of Horus.

    But, that’s my take.

  41. Bonita (from Atlanta) says:

    A whole lotta wow for me this epi. I was almost glad for the commercials so each segment could sink in.

    Could retitle episode: Saving Innocence. Ben “loses” is innocence and is perpetually drawn to saving the Innocent. Brilliant.

    Loved the smokey scene: so Wizard of Oz like when Dorothy was up in the cyclone.

    Locke/Ben scenes were pitch-perfect with much that was funny.

    Still curious why Sun was separated from the other O6’ers. Can’t wait to learn more about Iliana’s group.

    And very eager for Desmond’s return but we may have to wait until next season.

    Thanks R&J for all you do. Maybe this next Hiatus we can look back at some old episodes grouped by theme, character or mythology?

  42. Jenny in CA says:

    And as for Alena and the other Ajira gang, I think their change of heart might be due to Smokey.

    Ben summons Smokey, but he doesn’t show up. Maybe he didn’t visit Ben, but the other guys, eh?

    Just food for thought.

  43. Ben started on the noble path, offering mercy to mother and child when others had none. But somehow, the gifts he received at the cost of his innocence became incompatible with the service the island required. He could not abide a work man’s life beneath him and became the usurping “boy.” He discarded even Alex and was planning to kill Locke yet again all for his own ends. But after this last visit from the creeping fog out of the 10 commandments, I think Ben has finally accepted his dharma, the duty he owes to the divine will. After all, we’re all convinced in the end.

    We can see Widmore making the same leadership errors and employing the same tactics as Ben all in the name of defending the island at any cost. Is there an expiration date on leadership as the abilities conferred by being an other–mastery of languages, super stealth, telepathic whispering, etc–inevitably lead to mission drift and corruption?

    I hate to break it to you, my mutual friends, but I don’t believe we’re finished with the encounter at the docks. I didn’t see Ben’s arm get busted or feel a sin worthy of a deathbed apology.

    I thought it was interesting to note that Ben seemed to be dreaming when Locke roused him at first. Once again, it is the mirror image of when Ben watched over a sleeping Locke in the jungle. (Cabin Fever) At the time, Ben told him “I used to have dreams.”

    @Eric from Ohio. Sorry. Best line ever: “”I just didn’t have time to talk you into hanging yourself again.” Because you know he could have done it!!!You have to watch with awe a powerful villain like that and, for a moment, I really thought they were going to pull the plug on Machiavellian Ben. But if you really think about and believe his conversion, that Ben is now gone for good. A new person and a true servant has taken his place.

  44. Daryl In San Diego says:

    I have been listening to you two for about six months. This is my first response.

    I am thinking “souls.” Young souls, old souls, clean souls, dirty souls. This island definitely has an ability to sort, judge and maybe even recycle them. Maybe the incident has something to do with these kids (new souls), but I can’t put it together quite yet Perhaps the island is jealous of its own and a rule that was broken, damaged its ability to generate new souls pawned on island? Who was the first rule breaker? Charles Whidmore of course. Why would whidmore think the killing of a child would protect the island… twice. Guilt? Did Whidmore conceive Penny on island and then submarine her off despite the rules, causing the island to “clamp down” on offspring? Now, no one can have kids.

    Ben and Rouseau’s kids where spared by Richard and Ben, respectively. Perhaps the island spirits\god grew weary of its human’s frailties but Ben made it a personal mission to raise offspring on island again despite the islands wishes?

  45. Adriano says:

    I thought the episode was great, giving us a yet another perspective on Ben (and by contrast, Widmore). We should know by now that no one is truly good or evil, and each time we learn something new about a character we are reminded how complex they are. And NOBODY is more complex than Ben!

    As for the question, “What stands in the shadow of the statue?” I have this thought: the statue stands in its own shadow, no? Last time I remember a password needed by someone on LOST was the answer to this question, “What did one snowman say to the other snowman?”

  46. Richard from Bournemouth says:

    Hi Ryan and Jen
    Such a great episode with so many things to discuss but I’d like to comment on one small part of it that took my attention and could possibly be of significance.
    Ben is on the dock and calls Widmore to let him know he is going to kill his daughter. As this scene plays out we see Widmore walk past a newspaper vendor. On the side of the sellers stall there are a couple of posters. one is for a Horse & Bridal magazine and the other is a news article referring to a Fox saving a mans life.
    Widmore (the horse and hounds) is definitely the hunt chasing the fox (Ben) who we can now arguably say saved the mans life (Locke)
    I don’t see those posters as random in context to the scene that is taking place and even more so when we look at the episodes as a whole.
    Widmore being shown as unhappy saving young Ben and then the confrontation of Ben with baby Alex and Widmore and finally Ben going to see off Widmore leaving the island after being banished.
    But what i suspect and find more interesting is that i see this as a classic case of misdirection by the writers to keep us focusing on Ben Vs Widmore when they are just ultimately “Island rejects” at this stage. A plot to take us viewers eye quite possibly off the ball of the greater scheme of things to come.

    The other thing that really stood out for me in this episode was the fantastic facial acting throughout. It was a thing of beauty.

    Good luck in trying to get through this episode in your normal podcast time 🙂
    Can’t wait to hear it.

  47. Connie in Alaska says:

    Great episode…I was bouncing up and down in my seat for almost the entire hour. Some thoughts:

    Love tnat Locke is back exuding confidence and strength again. He not only rocks, he IS a rock!

    I think the comment Ben made about the Smoke Monster not being like a train was very funny since that’s EXACTLY what it looked like when he summoned it to deal with Keamy and the Freighter Bullies.

    Loved the look on Ben’s face when dead-Alex outed him for planning to kill Locke AGAIN…is their no end to his scheming and will all those threats be enough to put him on the straight and narrow at last, or will he be plotting how to beat Smokie at his own game before he even gets out of the Temple tunnel?

    The Hostiles seem to live very earthy and low tech…tents, horses, no electricity, out in the woods. For Ben to move them all to Dharmaville, with all its fancy high-falutin gadgets, after the Purge seems to go against the Hostile code for simplified living. Did that work against him somehow later on?

    I think Elana works for Widmore. She is his mole on the Island. Poor Lapidus didn’t have a clue…so sad.

    Why does Ben feel the need to apologize to Desmond….hmmm…

    Finally, Alex was supposed to die at the hand of Ben Linus. As baby-Alex, he had compassion and let her live, as his own daughter no less. But whe was always supposed to die through Ben’s actions. It took awhile, but it finally happened 16 years later. Perhaps that is why Smokie couldn’t find him guilty…Ben had finally done what he was supposed to have done 16 years earlier and was therefore in good standing with the Island at last…at least in this one circumstance.

  48. Connie in Alaska says:

    One more thing…Ben crawls down the Smokie Hole, it’s dirty, dark and mysterious. He comes to a dirty pool of water, releases the drain, the water swirls out revealing a curious looking hole…and Ben says, “I’ll be outside,” gets up and crawls out of the tunnel. Talk about an anti-climax! “I’ll be outside,” just like you would say to your kids as you walk out the door to mow the lawn! I at least expected some ritual incantation, or deep breath of trepidation as Ben steels himself for what’s coming next, but not “I’ll be outside.” I actually laughed out loud it was so funny.

  49. Eva in Estonia says:

    to MLE in Colorado:
    I think Christian, dead Horace, Yemi, Boone, Alex etc are manifestations of Smokey, but Locke is definitely his own self. I really think he’s the only exception to the rule „dead is dead“ (or rather, „Dead is Dead but revived for educational purposes by Smokey LTD). As for Claire, we haven’t really seen her die, have we? Perhaps she just hangs around with Smokey for a while?

    I agree with many that „What lies in the shadow of the statue?“ is similar to „What did one snowman say to the other snowman?“, a code to reveal allies.

    The drain looked like an ancient high-tech toilet.

  50. Terry in Michigan says:

    Excellent episode! I would love to know what your thoughts are as to why the place to summon smokey is in the middle of a Dharma camp? Do you think Dharma knew about it when they built the houses? That is assuming that Dharma built the houses. I can’t picture the smokey summoning room being an add on from when the others moved in.

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