Hello my dear friends -
I've got all sorts of bad news for you, so let's just get straight to it.
ARREST THIS MAN
Those of you connected to me on Facebook and/or following me on Twitter are already aware of this situation, but for the rest of you, allow me to provide a brief summary of how I've been spending 90% of my time since Thursday afternoon. I haven't been working on this episode recap, that's for sure. No, instead of writing, I've been filing copyright infringement claims and talking to intellectual property attorneys after it was brought to my attention (thank you, thank you, THANK YOU reader "Andre from Germany") that a video blogger who goes by "Seanie B" (yes, I feel silly writing that) has been passing off parts of my posts, and other Lost recappers' posts, as his own. As in, word for word. As in, over 20% of the content in one of this guy's videos came directly from Long Live Locke. And it is much, much worse for Vozzek69, who also writes (like I do) for DarkUFO's site. Vozzek69's content has been lifted by Seanie B since episode one of this season, and there's a good chance that some of his Season Four posts have been plagiarized as well (it takes a long time to document these things, so we're still going through the videos).
I intend to write more about this whole mess in a separate post sometime soon, but as of right now the situation has not yet been worked out to my satisfaction. You can see proof of Seanie B's blatant plagiarism at my good friend Jon Lachonis' DocArzt & Friends site. It is not possible for me to thank Jon enough for all that he has done to help bring this issue to light and support me and Vozzek69 in our quest to resolve this situation. Jon went spectacularly above and beyond in putting together a side-by-side comparison of my blog and Seanie B's video, and I guarantee your jaw will drop when you watch it. (For those of you who use Digg, please Digg this article.) Anyone who commentates on Lost is bound to mention ideas or theories that others have already thought of or written about, but that's not what we're referring to here. We're talking about shameless, word-for-word content theft from copyrighted sites, which is illegal. Trust me, I've checked into it.
Since it's now 4 PM on Easter Sunday and I'm just starting this recap (whereas on a typical week by this point I would have already put in about twelve solid hours of writing), my take on "Dead is Dead" is going to be shorter and less in-depth than usual. I actually considered reader CCW's suggestion that I "only write about how hot Desmond is" from here on out so that Seanie B is less likely to steal my work. But honestly, not only am I mentally and physically exhausted from dealing with this unfortunate situation for the better part of 72 hours, but I also simply don't feel like writing. To make things even worse, Walgreens and CVS are sold out of Cadbury creme eggs, so I can't even drown my sorrows in chocolate.
So, thank you for understanding why this post isn't all that inspired and currently doesn't have any screencaps (I may add some later, but they take more time than I have to upload right now). If you've been reading my recaps for any length of time, then you know how much work I put into them. You know I do this because I love the show -- I don't make any money whatsoever off of this site. You know that I think the online community of Lost fans is a group I'm very proud to be a part of, and the outpouring of support I've received over the past three days is a testament to what intelligent, thoughtful and ethical people are out there watching this series. That's why it had to be a priority for me this weekend to help stop someone who was illegally passing off my content and my friends' content (and artwork) as his own. After all, as Mr. Benjamin Linus has been known to say, "We're the good guys!"
OK... on to "Dead is Dead." From the messages I've been receiving, it seems that a lot of people didn't like this episode. However, I'm in the camp that did. How could I not enjoy Ben and Locke bickering for the better part of an hour?
A HORSE IS A HORSE
I'm sure I wasn't the only one who cocked her head to the side and said, "Huh?" as Long-Haired Widmore galloped through the Hostiles' camp on a noble steed. I really wasn't expecting that Chuck On a Horse would kick off this episode, and immediately wondered if perhaps I'd accidentally switched over to some channel that was airing one of the many Robin Hood movies. But no, it was Lost, and the action was still in 1977, right after "Whatever Happened, Happened" left off.
Widmore caught wind that Richard had saved "one of them," and cold-busted over to confront the Ageless One about it. Richard was in no mood to let such an unkempt man give him the business, though. "Jacob wanted it done. The Island chooses who the Island chooses. You know that," he replied coolly.
Can we take Richard at his word? Was he really instructed by Jacob to save Little Ben? Adult Ben told Locke that he was the only Other who had ever communicated with Jacob. This could of course simply be Ben's 4,223rd lie, but if he was telling the truth for once, then that means Richard acted on his own when he brought Ben to The Temple. It's not like we saw or heard a creepy "Saaaaave hiiiimmmm" whisper. Yet, on the other hand, Richard clearly knew who Jacob was back in 1954 when Locke name-dropped him, so chances are that Ben was lying and Richard has been in touch with Jacob from the very beginning (whenever that was).
Since almost everything about Jacob remains a mystery, we're probably not going to get clarity on his interaction and relationship with any of the other characters any time soon.
THE GIRL IS MINE
YEP, SHE'S MINE
First I was surprised to see Widmore on a horse, then I was surprised to see that he actually treated Little Ben pretty kindly when the two future-enemies first met. He ensured Little Ben that even though they'd have to return him to Dharmaland, Ben would always be one of the Hostiles.
The next flashback we see is in either 1988 or 1989, and Rousseau is alone in her tent with newborn Baby Alex. I was certainly expecting the whole kidnapping scene to go down a lot differently than it did, weren't you? I had envisioned dozens of Hostiles descending upon Rousseau's tent -- perhaps even with Harry Potter-like Invisibility Cloaks on or something -- and then some sort of magical force would freeze Rousseau while she watched in horror as her daughter vanished in front of her eyes. Instead, it was an approximately 23-year-old Ben who did the deed calmly and quickly, all within less than a few minutes. And Pre-Teen Ethan was with him, of all people.
That didn't make the scene any less heartbreaking to watch, though.
Ben and Ethan return with Baby Alex to the Hostiles' camp. Widmore is not happy about this at all, and said that Ben should "kill it"... "it" being poor little Alex. After I heard those two words, all notions I ever had that Widmore might be the good guy evaporated. I now am confident that he is a... what's the word? It starts with a "b"... and ends with "astard"...?
Ben drops the J-bomb and tests Widmore by saying, "Is killing this baby what Jacob wants? Then here she is. You do it." But we all know Widmore let Alex live... albeit only for sixteen more years.
A few things to note/question from these scenes:
1) Although it wasn't explicitly stated, I can only assume (from what we know transpired in other episodes) that both Ben and Ethan were still living in the Barracks at that point in time, and that their interaction with and visiting of the Hostiles was on the down-low, and only during the wee hours.
2) Since Pre-Teen Ethan is accepted among the Hostiles, that either confirms the suspicions that his mom Amy is an Other, or something else happened with Ethan between 1977-1988 that we don't know about yet.
3) Ben took Alex to live with him in the Barracks. If he was still posing as a Dharma member, though, how in the heck did he explain suddenly having a baby?
4) Finally, as Ben told Rousseau to "run the other way" whenever she heard whispers, does that definitively tie the Others to the whispers? Are we ever going to get any more information about the whispers... like why they're only heard at certain times, how they're able to repeat phrases from a character's off-Island life, or who exactly is making them? I'm not so sure we will... this may be one of those mysteries left unexplained at the end of the series.
IF I NEVER SEE YOUR FACE AGAIN
I DON'T MIND
Next, we see Ben and what looks to be a five or six-year-old Alex bonding on the swing set in the Barracks. Richard interrupts them to inform Ben that Widmore's about to go buh-bye. As the Hostiles are using Dharma's sub to ship Widmore back to the mainland, we can assume this scene takes place at some point after the 1992 Purge.
Just like The Swiping of Alex, The Banishment of Widmore wasn't exactly what I thought it would be. Many of us had assumed that he'd turned the Frozen Donkey Wheel, and that's why he could never find the Island again. At the very least I figured there would be some sort of hocus-pocus element to getting Charles off of his favorite rock. But no, he was just handcuffed and escorted down the dock and into the submarine, never to return.
Not before he had these ominous words for Ben, though...
WIDMORE: Are you quite certain you want to do this, Benjamin?
BEN: You left the Island regularly. You had a daughter with an outsider. You broke the rules, Charles.
WIDMORE: And what makes you think you deserve to take what's mine?
BEN: Because I won't be selfish. Because I'll sacrifice anything to protect this Island.
WIDMORE: You wouldn't sacrifice Alex.
BEN: You're the one who wanted her dead, Charles, not the Island.
WIDMORE: I hope you're right, Benjamin, because if you aren't, and it is the Island that wants her dead, she'll be dead. And one day, you'll be standing where I'm standing now. You'll be the one being banished, and then you'll finally realize that you cannot fight the inevitable. I'll be seeing you, boy.
I definitely got chills during the "she'll be dead" part.
What's going on here? (And just to make some of what I'm going to say below a little easier to write out, let's assume Widmore left the Island in 1993, even though we have no concrete proof of that.)
1) Between 1993 and 2004, something must have changed with the Others' "rules," because we all know that Ben, Tom/Zeke and Richard have left the Island before. Perhaps if anyone left on "Others Business" it was OK, but if Charles was going to shore just to, um, get his freak on, then that was not OK.
2) On that note, who was this "outsider" he had a child (presumably Penny) with? Could it be Ellie/Ms. Hawking -- was she gone from the Island by that time? And would she really ever be considered an outsider since she was not only a Hostile in 1954, but also seemed to be working on behalf of the Island when she met Desmond in 1996, and then obviously when she helped get the O5 on Ajira 316 in 2007? If Ellie is Widmore's sister, as many have theorized, then perhaps the identity of Widmore's wife/lover is unimportant. All that matters is that the Hostiles frowned upon his involvement with this mystery woman.
3) Were Rousseau and Alex truly "not meant to live"? Why would the Island want them dead? Were their murders the universe's or Island's way of course-correcting what should have happened sixteen years prior? Or were their deaths what most of us saw them as: awful events that can be blamed on Widmore (and Keamy)?
WAITING FOR YOUR CHANGE OF HEART
IT JUST TAKES A BEAT
TO TURN IT AROUND
By the time we got to the scene with Ben at the marina, I was beside myself with glee over how awesome all of the flashbacks had been. There's no denying that some serious pieces of the puzzle fell into place in this episode. But because (during the real-time events) Ben had told Sun to pass along his apologies should she ever see Desmond again, I was bracing for something horrible to go down once Ben aimed his gun at Penny.
Thankfully, Little Charlie ran out onto the deck of Our Mutual Friend in all of his mop-headed glory, and Ben hesitated just long enough to allow Desmond to spring on him and pummel him senseless. Speaking of Desmond, did anyone else think that the reason there was no blood when Ben fired at him wasn't because of a strategically placed can of beans, but rather because the Island won't let him die? That maybe Ms. Hawking knew what she was talking about in "316" when she said the Island's not done with him yet?
Now, before I end with my analysis of the flashbacks, I have to bring up one more thing. Let's rewind a little bit and talk about the scene where Ben called Widmore to inform him that he was about to kill Penny in revenge for Alex's death. During their tense chat, Ben also told Widmore that he would be returning to the Island later that same day, to which Charles replied, "The Island won't let you come back, trust me. I've spent almost 20 years trying to return."
I wouldn't have thought twice about this line until reader JH-Z sent me a message and asked why the math didn't add up. Don't know what she's talking about? Consider this:
- It was probably 1993 or 1994 when Charles was banished from the Island. We know this because we know Alex was sixteen when she was killed, and she was definitely killed in 2004. The fact that she looked to be about six years old when Ben was pushing her on the swing is in line with this.
- So Alex's timeline makes sense... but Widmore's definitely does not. Miles stated earlier this season that Widmore had been looking for the Island for twenty years. Now Charles just repeated this same number to Ben on the phone. But, um, twenty years from 1993 would be the year 2013. So what in the @#(#*$(&*@ is going on?!?!
My dear friends, I'm at a loss. Because of the drama I referenced at the beginning of this post, I have not have a chance to investigate this mystery at all. So I put it out there for you to think about... and I'm sure you'll let me know if another Lost blog has cracked it. Off of the top of my head, the only two high-level explanations I can think of are: 1) It's another innocent goof, similar to what happened with Charlotte's age, or 2) it is a huge clue. Since Charles repeated the "twenty years" line in this episode, though, I have to think it's a clue. But my mind can't process anything beyond that. Sorry!
Consider the flashbacks covered... now onto the Island.
Ben woke up to find Alive Locke looking down at him. Talk about awkward... but of course Ben quickly recovered and claimed that he figured Locke would probably bounce back from his murder-by-strangulation. Then he's like, "But don't you judge me... let's let The Monster judge me." (Did anyone feel a bit weird hearing two grown men talk about "The Monster" throughout the episode? I mean, I know "Smokey" isn't any better, but I really wish the writers had chosen to give Ben a clue about the real name for The Monster. Like "Cerberus" or whatever else we've all been thinking it might really be called.)
In the very next scene, Ben was up to his old tricks, trying to convince Caesar that Locke is one suspicious bald dude. I was totally shocked... I had really thought that Ben would be on his best behavior once he realized that the Island brought Locke back to life. However, a few scenes later, everything made sense; Ben had taken the sawed-off shotgun from Caesar during their little chat, and then used it to kill him when he stood in the way of Locke and Ben heading out to the main Island.
Color me surprised once more -- I certainly did not expect Caesar to leave us so soon. We may still see a flashback on him or something, but I sure was totally off in my "He's Our You" recap, in which I proposed that Caesar, not Ilana, was going to be the Important New Character. I'll get to her a little bit later, though.
THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN
Ben and Locke made it safely to the main Island, and Locke waited outside while Ben went into his old home to see why a light was on. Now -- trust me -- I have not forgotten that Ben is a master manipulator and serial liar, but I honestly believe that he did not know: 1) who Christian was (when Frank referenced him) or 2) that some of the 815ers were in living among Dharma members in the '70s (when he saw the orientation picture Sun handed him). Could Ben truly be unaware of the time travel the 815ers have experienced? And does that mean that they were all gone by the time he returned to Dharmasville as a young boy?
Locke joined the group inside, and when Frank saw that he was no longer dead, he's like "THAT'S IT! If I don't find me a bottle of Jack Daniels right quick, I'm going to spontaneously combust!" He must've figured his chances of coming across the hard stuff would be better back on Hydra island, so he bid adieu to Sun and ran off before anything else supernatural could happen.
Before I move on from this scene, I have to share one thought that popped into my mind when I heard Sun say that Christian told her that if she wanted to see her husband again, she'd have to wait for Locke. I couldn't help but wonder if the torch was being passed, so to speak, from one Island Zombie to another. Now, you all know that I personally do not want to believe that Locke might not be 100% alive anymore. But I have to keep what I want to happen and what I think could be happening separate... and between Sun's comment and some of the other things that I'll talk about shortly, I have to begrudgingly admit that Locke might not be as flesh and blood as he once was.
I'VE BEEN A BAD, BAD GIRL
Let's jump back to Hydra for a moment. Frank makes his way up the beach, and he's all, "For the love of God, has anyone found the stash of mini-bottles of booze from the plane yet?" But the rest of the 316ers had much bigger issues to worry about. Ilana and some meathead dude (and I think two other guys) were now armed with rifles, and were working on opening a huge metal crate.
Frank is asked, "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" and he's like, "Are you serious? Is this a joke? Dammit, I thought Ben and Locke were the freak-shows... why did I come back here?" But it was too late for our favorite pilot... he was taken to be tied up.
Obviously the riddle Ilana rattled off was similar to the "What did one snowman say to the other snowman?" joke that both Kelvin and Desmond posed to Swan hatch intruders. Does that mean that Ilana is part of a "new Dharma" that's attempting to re-establish itself on the Island? That would definitely jibe with the events of last summer's Comic-Con, where Dharma was looking for fresh recruits (yes, it was all an elaborate marketing effort for the show, but you get my point).
Regardless of what group Ilana represents, how did they find out about Ajira 316, what's in the crate, and what are they going to do now? Is this all part of "the war" that's coming to the Island, which Widmore warned Locke about?
All I know for sure is that I do not like Ilana, and that thick-necked guy is already bugging me, too. They better not hurt our Frank or there will be hell to pay!
SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES
And now for the climactic finale...
Locke tells Sun that he can't help her find Jin until Ben checks "GET JUDGED BY SMOKEY" off of his to-do list. Next, a bunch of exceedingly bizarre things happen:
1) Ben goes into his secret room and calls Smokey by draining out a nasty pool of slop. ?!?
2) Locke walks off into the jungle after he apparently told Sun that he had something to take care of. ?!?
3) Ben tells Sun that he has never seen the Island bring somebody back to life, and the fact that it seems to have done just that with Locke frightens the holy hell out of him. ?!?
4) Ben warns Sun that something is about to come out of the jungle that he can't control, and so she better take cover inside. Shortly thereafter... Locke comes out of the jungle. ?!?
And then finally, the scene we'd all been waiting for. Bring on Smokey!
Locke says that they're going to have to go under the Temple in order for Ben to accomplish his task. I don't have the brain-power right now to process what that could mean, but I'm sure it means something. Just like I'm sure it means something that Locke knew where to go to find Smokey in the first place, and Ben didn't.
Sun, who tagged along, falls behind once the two men head underground. Ben tumbles through a break in the structure, and while Locke runs off to find a vine for Ben to pull himself up with, Ben explores the chamber he's landed in. Hieroglyphics abound, and the camera focuses on one that appears to be Smokey and The Statue God in a face-off. Even though I was aboard the Taweret Theory Train in my "LaFleur" write-up, I'll admit that if the four-toed statue is meant to be the same Egyptian god depicted in the carving Ben saw in this episode, then it's most likely Anubis.
Ben didn't get much more time to snoop around, though, because up rose Smokey through a vent in the floor. As a cloud of black smoke surrounded him, Ben's life literally flashed before his eyes, just like we saw happen when Mr. Eko had his first face-off with the monster. I have to admit, there was a teeny, teeny part of me that was worried that this was the last we'd see of Mr. Linus. But then a voice inside my head said, "Are you a freakin' idiot? Because the producers aren't -- Michael Emerson has scored two Emmy nominations for his role on this show -- he ain't goin' nowhere."
And sure enough, he survived. But he wasn't totally in the clear until Apparition Alex had her way with him. "I don't care WHAT baldy tells you to do... you will do it and you will like it! And you will stop plotting his second death, fool!"
Ben's like, "Geez, OK, I get it... ohandbythewayI'msorryIletKeamykillyou." And then Alex was gone.
Mysteriously, as soon as Smokey and Apparition Alex vanished, Locke reappeared, adding credence to the theory that Locke might either BE Smokey or somehow be controlling him. I certainly hope it's not the former, but definitely think the latter is a possibility. However, before Locke was on the Island, and before Christian was on the Island, we saw Smokey attack Danielle's group. So if a person controls/summons/unleashes Smokey, who was controlling him then? That's why I think it may just be a coincidence that Locke's appearances and disappearances were seemingly timed with Smokey's coming and goings.
That's it, folks! Be sure you read the section after the Best Lines for a note about the timing of my next post...
BEST LINES OF THE EPISODE
BEN: What has he told you?
CAESAR: When you were out cold, he was watching over you. And he said you killed him.BEN: I killed him? Really? 'Cause he looks fine to me.
LOCKE: Well, Ben, I was hoping that you and I could talk about the elephant in the room.
BEN: I assume you're referring to the fact that I killed you.
LOCKE: Looks like we're not the first ones who decided to tie up here.
BEN: That would be Sun and Lapidus. I showed 'em where the boats were, and Sun thanked me by smashing me on the head with a paddle.
BEN: No. Someone else hurt my arm.
LOCKE: You just make friends everywhere you go, don't ya?
BEN: The man was unarmed because I'd stolen his gun--the gun he was going to use to kill you. I couldn't let that happen.
LOCKE: No sense in me dying twice, right?
BEN: You're welcome.
BEN (looks at 1977 Dharma orientation picture): Of course not. Where did you get this? Who gave this to you?LAPIDUS: We met some crazy old man outside. He said his name was Christian. [e: This probably wasn't meant to be funny, but I thought it was.]
SUN: What you're saying, it's... impossible.
LOCKE: But here I am. I don't know how, I don't know why, but I'm sure there's a very good reason for it.LAPIDUS: As long as the dead guy says there's a reason, well, then I guess everything's gonna be just peachy. And forget about the fact that the rest of your people are supposedly 30 years ago... now the only ones who are here to help us are a murderer and a guy who can't seem to remember how the hell he got out of a coffin.
LOCKE: You don't like this, do you?
LOCKE: Having to ask questions that you don't know the answers to, blindly following someone in the hopes that they'll lead you to whatever it is you're looking for.
BEN: No, John, I don't like it at all.
LOCKE: Well, now you know what it was like to be me.
LOCKE: What happened?
BEN: It let me live.
- I will be traveling this coming weekend and the one after that, so I will not have my recap of the April 15 episode up by Monday, April 20, and am not exactly sure when it will be done. But that's OK, because there's not a new episode on April 22.
- Instead, there's a clip show entitled "The Story of the Oceanic Six" that will air on the 22nd, and during that time I will be joining Ryan from Zap2It's Guide to Lost for a live chat about our favorite show. As soon as I have the final details about that chat, I will post them so that you can hopefully join us and banter about the show with other Lost fans in real-time. (Side note: Ryan wrote a very nice article about the Seanie B plagiarism drama here, please check it out.)
Thanks again to everyone who wrote me messages of support over the last few days. I haven't been able to respond to all of them, but I have definitely read each and every one, and you have no idea how much they've meant to me.
Enjoy the show on Wednesday, and be sure to check back early next week for details about the live chat.