takes a trip back to clarify Ben’s
nebulous past and reveal the long awaited connection between the others and the cornerstone of LOST
mythology: The Dharma Initiative. The episode also promised the revelation of the mysterious Jacob, the consequences of Juliet’s tape that Sawyer
now possesses, and a shattering ending that will leave fans in a tailspin for the rest of the season.
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“The Man Behind the Curtain” was essentially two episodes in one, each with its own distinct narrative. Perhaps in later episodes we will see some connective tissue form between these segments, as a matter of fact I would guarantee it; for now, however, they stand apart as the story of two men’s journeys, one for truth, and one for something beyond reason.
Ben’s life begins in tragedy. His mother goes into premature labor while on a hike with her husband, Roger, and gives birth to Ben under what appears to be the island’s jungle canopy. Ben did tell us he was “born” on the island, after all, right? We will quickly learn that this is not the case when a frantic Roger, carrying his hemorrhaging wife and new born son in his arms, stumbles onto a freeway and waves down a car. Emily, Ben’s mother, dies in his arms. As fate would have it, this all occurs before a couple who we will learn are very connected to the Dharma initiative, Horace and Olivia; two strangers who randomly stopped to help.
Ten years later, Horace brings Roger and Ben to the island to live and work for the Dharma Initiative. Roger becomes a janitor and Ben attends grade school with the rest of the Dharma kiddies. We don’t get much of a feel for what Dharma is up to on the island, only that they know there are forces (note plural) that emit from the island that come from nowhere else.
Ben’s young life is far from ideal. His father is a neglectful drunk who acknowledges the lad's birthday as the “day you killed your mother,” and Ben’s childhood is filled with panic alarms announcing the arrival of “the hostiles,” and a vague sense of a conspiracy writhing behind the hippy-esque compound. Soon Ben begins to have visions of his deceased mother and is lead out to the jungle, beyond the sonar fence, where he meets his first ‘Other,’ the man we know as Richard Alpert. Yes, he has not aged. He tells Richard he has seen his mother, and Richard is interested in this. Ben tells him he wants to come with them, Alpert says that is possible, but it will take time.
Flash forward about twenty years. Ben is the age we know him at, but he is still about twenty years in the past (so much for the Dharma Timeline as we know it.) Ben earns his spot in the others by killing his own dad with noxious gas while the rest of the “others” purge the barracks of the rest of the Dharma folks. Yup, looks like Ben is the last of the Dharma initiative.
The present day island story is all about John Locke. He arrives with Cooper's body and demands to know the secrets of the island. Mikhail shows up and talks about Naomi, but John kicks his butt and says “me first.” Ben hesitantly agrees to introduce John to Jacob. They go on a hike that takes them to a run down cabin in the woods, they enter. Ben tells Locke not to us his flashlight as Jacob does not like technology. Once inside, Ben begins talking to an empty rocking chair. Locke accuses Ben of being Whacko – not that huge of a reach – and then turns to leave. From nowhere a disembodied voice says “Help Me.”
Locke turns, completely freaked, and turns on his flashlight. At this point the place goes crazy ala Swan melt down; stuff flying everywhere, fire, mayhem, ghostly figures appearing for brief moments. Locke escapes, Ben is shortly behind him. He tells John “That was Jacob.”
Back at the beach we get just brief exposition that Juliet
is found out and that Jack
was aware and hadn’t told anybody because he was working on a plan. Now THAT is teamwork, way to go Jack. Whoever gets killed in the finale, their blood is now on your hands.
Speaking of killed. Ben decides to bring Locke to a mass grave. It is an open pit of skeletons in Dharma suits. Ben gives Locke the abridged version of his story then promptly shoots Locke. Locke falls in the pit and Ben demands, interestingly, to know what Jacob said to him. So Ben, who The Others believe talks to Jacob, is actually not able to talk to Jacob at all, at least not anymore. Or has he just been fooling the others all along? A sad, neglected little boy desperately trying to bring back the woman who gave her life bringing him into the world?
- Jon lachonis, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Copyright ABC)