Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lost “Dr. Linus “ Recap & Review

Photo from ABC

Lost lost some momentum with this mostly dull episode which focused on the story of Ben Linus (Michael Emerson). While Michael Emerson is a fine actor and is excellent in the role of Ben Linus, Ben has never been one of my favorite characters in the show, maybe because he is the one that I have come to trust the least. The episode covers Ben’s “present” time on the Island, along with his “other” time as a school teacher who has a doctorate in history. It also covered a secondary story with Jack (Matthew Fox), Hurley (Jorge Garcia), and Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell ), and somehow this story never seemed to fit in well with Ben’s story and it made the episode seem very disjointed or choppy. We also see that Alex (Tania Raymonde), while dead on the Island, is alive and well in Ben’s life as one of Ben’s star students.

But the glimpse into Ben’s alternate life really didn’t offer much except the fact that the mousy and apparent mild mannered school teacher has a nasty streak in him when he plans to overthrow the principal and take over his job, behavior not too much different that the Ben Linus we know from the Island. I was far more interested in the story of Richard Alpert and the fact that both he and Jack seemed immune to death – at least for now –possibly until their final purpose in this who plan is revealed.

Here’s what happened:
We picked up the action from the previous week where everyone was fleeing the smoke monster who killed everyone left at the temple. Ben runs in to Ilana (Zuleikha Robinson), Sun (Yunjin Kim), Frank (Jeff Fahey), and Miles (Ken Leung) and tells them that Sayid killed Dogen and his interpreter, and they decide to let him tag along as they head back to the beach for safety.

But in Ben’s life as a school teacher, he is teaching a history class about an island where everything changed called “Elba”, where Napoleon faced his greatest test and said when Napoleon lost his power, "he might as well have been dead." This seems to be symbolic of the tests that Ben himself would face not only in his life as a teacher, but on the Island as well. When he gets assigned the task of supervising detention by the creepy Principal Reynolds, Ben decides to take control. Getting a little encouragement from substitute teacher John Locke (Terry O’Quinn), Ben looks to stage a coup and overthrow the principal. Ben also is seen tending to his ailing father Roger, who looks much older than when we last saw him on the Island. Surprisingly, Roger makes references to their time on the Island with “that damned Dharma Initiative,” Roger lamenting how things could have been different, and wonders what Ben would have become. When the doorbell rings, Ben opens it to see Alex there, and she appears to be his star history pupil, and she needs his tutoring help. The next day, when he helps her with test preparations, he gives her much encouragement for her to get into Yale, but she is skeptical, thinking it doubtful that the principal will give her the glowing letter of recommendation she needs. She also gives Ben some juicy details about the Reynolds having a little fling with the school nurse, and you can see the plan hatching in Ben’s head, despite the fact he promised Alex he wouldn’t say anything.

Meanwhile, back on the Island, Ilana had Miles get his usual vibes off Jacob’s remains, and Miles tells everyone that it was Ben who killed Jacob. This turns Ilana against Ben, and she later forces him to dig his own grave, and she intends to kill him. We also find that Ilana knows that “Kwon” is on of the names on the list of people who she is supposed to protect, and says she isn’t sure if it Sun, or Jin, or both, that she must protect, saying there are only 6 people left on that list.

In another area on the island, Jack and Hurley are trying to find their way to the temple, and Hurley clearly is stalling, trying to keep Jack from there. When they run into Richard, he tells them he will take them there, but instead takes them to Black Rock. It’s there where Richard tells them that he has been around for a long long time, he can’t die and can’t kill himself. He devoted his whole existence to Jacob and now Jacob is dead and his reason for doing all of it now is gone and he has no purpose. He tries to get Jack to light a fuse on some dynamite, and Jack does so, but Jack also believes that he will not die from it either. Jack explains to Richard about the lighthouse and his name being etched on the wheel and seeing his house in the mirror, and knows that he has been watched since he was a kid. He knows he is on the Island for a reason, and it wasn’t to be blown up sitting next to Richard. Richard is a bit shocked and Jack gleefully relieved that the fuse goes out just about an inch before it reached the dynamite. Clearly, there are still plans for both of them, and Jack tells Richard they will go back to where they started.

While Ben is digging his own grave on the island, back in his other life, he has convinced a fellow teacher to hack Reynolds’ emails and Ben confronts Reynolds with the incriminating evidence of Reynolds’ behavior, telling Reynolds he wants him to resign and appoint Ben as his replacement. But Reynolds trumps Ben and shows him the glowing letter he was planning on writing about Alex, which would not happen if Ben wants Reynolds to follow through on resigning. We later find that Ben chose the option where Alex gets her wish and gets the glowing letter of recommendation to Yale from Reynolds, and Ben is back being a plain old teacher.

On the Island, Ben is given a chance to save himself when Locke approaches him, who magically unlocks Ben’s chains which are restraining him, and tells him where there is a gun, and all Ben had to do was be a part of his group. Ben takes off into the jungle and Ilana races to follow, meeting up with Ben who is pointing the gun he found at her. But rather than shoot her, he spills his guts about what he is feeling, saying he watched his daughter die because he chose the Island over her, and he did it "all in the name of Jacob, I sacrificed everything for him, and he didn't even care." He admitted he killed Jacob because he was afraid of losing power, but that all that really mattered is gone now. He tells her he will just go to Locke, as “he's the only one that'll have me." Ilana surprised him and says she'd have him, and as she turns and walks away, he follows her back to the beach. There, he begins to help Sun work on a shelter.

While setting up camp on the beach, the group is happy to see Jack and Hurley arrive, along with Richard. While Jack and Hurley are greeted with hugs, Richard stands back and watches. What they don’t know is out in the ocean, a submarine has raised its periscope with its sights on the beach, a crew member reporting that there are people there. The man hearing this news is none other than Charles Widmore, who closes the episode when he tells them to "proceed as planned."

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