[Note: Due to a new work schedule, I was unable to watch this week’s episode of Lost in time to write the regular Day After column. We’ll cut and paste it in here sometime Thursday after getting caught up. For now, Let’s just call this an Open Thread.]

Is this another week where a below average episode (read: one starring Kate) is saved by the last five minutes? Discuss.


  1. (I’m assuming that if you’re reading the comments that you watched last nights’ episode, if not— avert your eyes!)

    So, it looks as if Jack,
    holier than thou Jack,
    avenging surgeon Jack,

    Inadvertently created the villain, Ben.

    Way to go Jack!

  2. Yeah, the Kate episodes do tend to drag down the series. The time-travel exchange between Hurley and Miles was a definite classic, though, and it’s good to know the writers are aware enough to anticipate the audience’s questions.


    Ok so was Richard taking Ben into the Ruins/Temple where the Smoke Monster lives? That’s what it looked like to me.

  4. @John Dominquez: “Ok so was Richard taking Ben into the Ruins/Temple where the Smoke Monster lives? That’s what it looked like to me.”

    Looked like that to me too.

    So, is there something in the temple that funnels the healing power of the island? And if that’s the case, is it the same healing abilities that cured both Locke & Rose?
    But why does this healing “turn” Ben to “The Dark Side”?
    And why can’t this healing power cure Ben in the future?

    … so many questions…..

  5. Richard J Marcej: “So, is there something in the temple that funnels the healing power of the island? And if that’s the case, is it the same healing abilities that cured both Locke & Rose?
    But why does this healing “turn” Ben to “The Dark Side”?
    And why can’t this healing power cure Ben in the future?”

    I’m thinking that the Smoke Monster corrupts Ben somehow but also somehow gives him a higher level of access to the island. Wasn’t Locke touched by Smokey in an earlier Season but manages to escape?

  6. I love the whole “anti-hubris” element of Jack choosing inaction and therefore causing Ben to become a complete heel, on the logic that Jack realizes no matter what he does, it’s going to end up that way. It makes him responsible, but not really. It’s a neat little concept.

    Also, I thought this was a great Kate episode, for what it’s worth. There was payoff with Clementine, the realization that once again Sawyer ran from responsibility/happiness, Kate’s incredible ability to lie when she’s talking to Calire’s mother, and the interplay in using her relationship with Aaron to explain why she’d go out of her way to save Ben. I think it’s pretty small-sighted at this point to dismiss an episode just because it’s about Jack or Kate. I could see that in seasons 3/4 where there wasn’t a lot of ground to cover, but they’ve moved things forward in a way that it’s no longer an issue.

  7. In the preview for next week’s Ben episode, Ben says something along the lines “I can’t control it” or “I never could control it”. Maybe he means the Smoke Monster.

    What if the Smoke Monster is some kind of embodiment of evil? Or, like something along the lines of Marvel’s swamp creature, the Man Thing.

    Maybe when it contacts a person, the more evil/bad in that person, the more damage the monster inflicts on the person. Mr. Echo may have been in the process of redeeming himself, but when old Smokey contacted him it lashed out at all the killing that Echo had done in the past. Locke, having lead a quiet life, up to that point, was left unscathed by Smokey.

  8. The episode was generally okay, but the Hurley-Miles dialogue was great and Locke’s smile at the end was awesome.

    I hope we’re going to get to see a contrast between the ascendence of Ben as Evil Leader back when he was a kid and his demotion and replacement by Good Leader in the “present” (Locke’s present anyway). Maybe if you force the Island to heal someone, you turn out badly. Those whom the Island seems to have passively healed/restored/redeemed (Rose, Locke, Christian) seem to be decent folk.

    Maybe the Island *refused* to save Ben when he had the tumour on his spine.

    Maybe the Security System/Cerberus is a ruthless moral judge which keeps the Island secure against people that the Island doesn’t want around. The dog Cerberus of mythology allowed the dead to pass but wouldn’t let them leave and killed and ate living flesh. Hmmm

  9. @ matt d: very well put about jack’s anti-hubris. that’s the kind of stuff i enjoy in general, and what jazzes me about lost in particular: am i who i think i am? can i change myself into who i want to be, or is it already decided? the writers have always been exploring this stuff, but especially once the time travel wrinkle was introduced it’s changed the whole discussion even more. jack thinks that no matter what he does, save ben or not, that ben’ll become a bastard, but interestingly enough, ben’s changed because of kate’s compassion — something bad comes from something good. the best laid plans of mice and men and all that. and, on top of all that, he’s also changed not because of any decision that jack, kate, ben, or anyone else has made, but because literally something is done *to* him in the temple to change who he is — sort of this third thing, from outside. i mean, the other people’s choices caused ben to be taken into the temple, but the process itself changes who ben is.

    my head hurts. more coffee.

  10. I dont know if I would put Christian Shephard in the “good category,” given the alcoholism and the poor relationship with Jack and the illegitimate daughter in Australia.

    Non-sequiter: I don’t remember t-shirts being that form fitting in the 1970s as that one Kate is wearing in today’s picture.

  11. >I dont know if I would put Christian Shephard in the “good category,” given the alcoholism and the poor relationship with Jack and the illegitimate daughter in Australia.

    We don’t know all of Christian’s back story. “Good” people become alcoholics and I can’t immediately think of anyone on the Island who hasn’t made a poor relationship decision at some point.

    Yesterday was March 32.

  12. I thought the Hurley-Miles dialogue was fantastic too. But I also thought the scene where Kate said goodbye to Aaron was about the finest the show has had so far; I found that incredibly moving and well done.

  13. Was anyone else reminded of a vampire getting permission to enter someone’s home when Richard was given custody of Ben? Something about the specific phrase he made Sawyer say (can’t remember what it was), and it kind of seemed like he was fighting off a super-evil grin as the deal was made.

    Not trying to say that I think Richard is a vampire in the least, nor that vampires will ever appear on Lost island. Just a similar kind of “once you give me permission, you’re screwed” vibe.

  14. I thought Evangeline Lilly’s acting — as ALL the acting this season — was stellar, and the grief over the whole Aaron situation gave her character a maturity it never had before. Naveen Andrews was great last week, as well.

    I know we’re all obsessed with Sawyer, but Josh Holloway was also faboo. During the whole stealing Ben sequence he glared at Kate in a way that said completely “I’m with Juliet now.”

    Also, Kate and Sawyer have grown throughout their ordeal — they both recognize the need to embrace intimacy. Although Kate is still a “bailer” and Sawyer has decided that settling down on the island with Juliet is just fine.

    This season seems to be about how the “Island 4” — Sawyer, Juliet, Miles and Jin — have found some measure of happiness and fulfillment on the island, while the Oceanic 6 found nothing but emptiness back in the “real world.” Right now it’s looking like they didn’t need to be rescued, as Jack put it…but a swerve is sure to come.

  15. I think it’s interesting everyone’s blaming Ben’s change on Jack. Ben wanted to go to the Others for years and was willing to do anything to get to them. Ben’s father abused him. Sayid shot him. Juliette came up with the plan to take him to the Others. Kate and Sawyer took him to the Others. Alpert took him into the cave. He grew up and became a sociopath- far more vicious and violent than any of the Others appear to be. But it’s all Jack’s fault?

    That’s weird.

    Especially given that, up till now, everyone’s been complaining that Jack was wrong for refusing to accept that the island was “special.” He finally has. And his behavior makes perfect sense. If you accept that there is such a thing as Fate, then why save the life of someone you KNOW doesn’t die? He’s doing exactly what Locke AND Ben always said he should.

  16. From the linked article: ‘…astronomers note with confusion that they have determined that this year, March had 32 days, “and we’ll never know why!” ‘

    Oh dear gods… such utter clueless gibberish… no wonder 1950s funny books were dismissed as drivel for idiots.

  17. @jamesmith3: “I think it’s interesting everyone’s blaming Ben’s change on Jack.”

    Speaking for myself, I wouldn’t blame a change of Ben on Jack, what I would say is that Jack’s non-action steered Ben to where he had no choice but to change- for the bad.

    Just because Ben’s father treated him like crap wouldn’t necessarily mean that Ben would grow up to be a sociopath (if that’s all it took then we’d be up to our necks in sociopath’s!) In fact, despite all of that, young Ben seemed like a normal, curious and restless kid.

    Since the crash, Jack’s been constantly making decisions and taking actions to steer the fates of the other castaways. Since his return he’s taken the stance that he won’t make any decisions, take any actions to further any cause.

    If Jack had saved young Ben, this could have had nothing but a positive effect on Ben AND his father. Last night his dad expressed true concern over the life of his son. There are times that a near tragedy can change relationships, and this could have brought young Ben and his dad closer.

    Not only that, Ben’s perception would have been that a Hostile/Other (Sayid) tried to kill him, while a Dharma doctor (Jack) would have saved his life.

    So, my conclusion is that had Jack saved young Ben, he would have NOT grown into the Ben we know. This act by Jack would have also saved the lives of all the Dharma community, since no angry-hostile friendly Ben means no reason to purge them.

  18. Since Jack is going to be all, “Meh. Whatever happens, happens. I’m just gonna sit around and let it”, I wonder if he’s going to wander off into the jungle to hang out in Jacob’s cabin with his dad and half-sister for the rest of the series? He’s narrative dead weight now. He’s unlikely to hook up with Juliet again, since she and Sawyer seem to be solid, but especially since she and Jack are now on opposite sides of the decision to save Ben; ditto for Kate, and their relationship seems to have run its course a while ago anyway. That only leaves Jack’s family as far as relationships of interest go.

    Meanwhile, he’s no longer Leader; he’s been demoted from Genius Surgeon to Workman and seems content to mope there. Whether or not he’s responsible for turning Ben into a monster, Jack’s gone from being Number One Hero to rather a total loser and a bit of a bore. That could make for an interesting character arc if he gets to redeem himself in the future, but for now I wouldn’t mind seeing him hauling his crabby ass off into the jungle to hang out with Jacob.

  19. @Richard Marcej–

    No, getting abused by your dad is no excuse to grow up and be a killer nutcase. I guess what I’m saying is that Jack is no larger an element in the evolution of Benjamin Linus than any of the other people I mentioned. And I suspect people are focusing on him because he’s kind of an unlikeable jerk. (Sayid is a mass-murderer and an attempted child killer, yet people don’t seem to mind so much.) They’re *all* culpable in an event which– given what the show seems to be saying– would have happened anyway.

    I think there’s still a lot to be done with Jack, by the way, because he’s accepted that he has a destiny, but he still hasn’t figured out what it is. But given that he has a tie to the island as strong as Locke’s (if not stronger), he’s clearly still very important.

    Ms Lilly on the other hand, while she did a great acting job, is saddled with a somewhat boring character, whose only job so far is to be an object of affection.

    (I also don’t get why Kate says they’re responsible for bringing Sayid back. They had nothing to do with it.)

  20. With what’s going on now, I wonder if it’s not what happens that matters (because the what has already happened). It’s why and how. Is there a greater moral good to trying to do the right thing even when you know it won’t turn out well?

    The smoke monster’s been known to judge people. I wonder if it has its own set of morality or if it is a tool for you to be judged through your own view of the world.

    So with that in mind, Jack’s inaction could be damning.

  21. C’mon. We all know what happened in the temple. Alpert took Ben into the dark temple. He said young Ben was going to lose his innocence. I.. don’t think I want to see what happened next. I just thank goodness the US doesn’t have as many gay porn fan comics like they do in Japan. Bad enough Supernatural is big in Japan…

    (Belated April Fools? :p )