“The Other Woman” (or as I like to call it, the worst episode of Lost season 4 so far) answered a few questions while, for the most part, not raising too many others. For this, it should be celebrated. However, it also followed the soap opera that is the romantic entanglements of the major players, which is not the reason most people love Lost.
I get that there are Jaters and Skaters and maybe Jackiets (is that the right term?), but with so many mysteries surrounding the island, the love lives of these people seems trivial. What’s more, “The Other Woman” committed a serious faux pas in my book by turning Ben (Michael Emerson) into a petulant child.
Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps we will learn there’s more to the Ben/Juliet dynamic than just his possessive love because she reminds him of “her” (aka, Ben’s childhood Dharma gal pal Annie, we assume). But really, that’s not the Ben we’ve grown to know and love. The Ben I know doesn’t get bogged down or distracted by petty romantic squabbles, he doesn’t let his emotions play any role in his decisions. Ben is a cold, calculating dictator whose motivations are purely about self preservation (I’m willing to extend that to the preservation of the island, which he likely views as an extension of himself).
Yes, we learned all about a new Dharma station with a toxic gas that is clearly the same stuff Ben used at the behest of the Hostiles to help kill the Dharma Initiative. And yes, we learned that Charles Widmore is, more likely than not, the Economist, Ben’s rival. And, based on Ben’s conversation with Locke and the previews for next week’s episode, we can be 99.9 percent certain that Ben’s spy on the boat is exactly who we’ve thought it was all along.
Speaking if Charles Widmore’s involvement, knowing that the freighter is his, things are beginning to click, such as the map Daniel Faraday used to find The Tempest that you can see above. You may have wondered where he got that map from. Well, we just saw Charles Widmore purchase the Black Rock journal at auction, and since it crashed on the island, it would make sense that the captain, Magnus Hanso, would draw maps of the island in his journal, and that is what Charles Widmore used to track down the island. This is just one of many things in this episode that makes sense once you tie it in to the things we’ve seen previously this season.
#2 – The Tempest
In this episode of Lost we are introduced to a new Dharma station, The Tempest. Now for a lesson in literature. The Tempest is a play by William Shakespeare about Prospero, a sorcerer who raises a storm that causes a ship full of his enemies (one of whom is his brother Antonio) to crash on his mysterious island. He is on the island with his daughter Miranda and he holds dominion over a deformed creature named Caliban and a spirit named Ariel.
If we want to draw conclusions, I first assumed Prospero was Ben, but that doesn’t seem quite right. So instead, I’ll let my mind go off on a tangent that paints Jacob as Prospero. Only he’s not actually named Jacob, he is, in reality, Alvar Hanso, who might actually be the same person as Magnus Hanso, captain of the Black Rock and founder of the Dharma Initiative. Given that he was, at one time, business partners with Charles Widmore, this would make Widmore Antonio. Then Ariel and Caliban would be Ben and the Black Smoke Monster, minions of Jacob.
This is all mindless speculation. Perhaps Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse simply used The Tempest because it’s a play about a mysterious island with magic and a crashed ship. Maybe there’s no deeper significance than the obvious plot points. Or maybe Jacob is Charles Widmore’s long lost brother or former business partner.
#3 – Harper’s Diploma
For a slightly tamer Easter Egg, the opening therapy scene provided a little clue as to Harper Stanhope’s background. First, let me just congratulate the show on some more beautiful misdirection. First we see sand, so we think it’s on the island. Then we see a therapist’s office, so we assume it’s off the island. Then Tom shows up, and we know it’s on the island.
The important information, however, is that Harper’s diploma on the wall has what appears to be the logo for the Hanso Foundation. Is that like some lame correspondence college? Does the island have a university? This raises more questions of allegiances. Who are the Hostiles and who are the Dharma people? Is there overlap? The more we learn of the Black Rock, the more we begin to assume Magnus Hanso is either a member or the originator of the Hostiles, the island natives. But Alvar Hanso founded Dharma. Could it be that the Hostiles and the Dharma Initiative members are all part of some larger conspiracy? I’ll warn you right now, going down the Hanso rabbit hole is a dangerous and frustrating proposition for any amateur Lost conspiracy theorist.
#4 – Rabbits
If you didn’t follow this year’s Comic-Con, then you may have wondered why Ben asked whether the rabbit have a number on it. If you did pay attention, you know that question is a whole lot more important than John Locke could have possibly realized.
At Comic-Con, Lost fans were treated to a special orientation video from the Orchid, a new station that does “highly volatile and potentially dangerous” research. And it involves rabbits with numbers painted on them.
During the video, everyone freaks the hell out when an extra rabbit suddenly appears out of nowhere, and everyone is quite concerned to keep the two rabbits apart from one another. There’s talk of a shift set to negative 20, and given what we learned in last week’s episode, it’s not hard to surmise that the Orchid station is experimenting in some time travel experiments. Knowing that time travel involves radiation, it’s no wonder Ben would be considered about eating a radioactive rabbit.
#5 – Whispers
Last week’s episode did a lot to open our eyes. Now that we know about time travel and the perception of time on the island being different than actual time off the island, some things are beginning to make sense, most notably, the whispers in the jungle and the appearance of people from out of nowhere.
I was reminded of an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in which the Enterprise gets stuck in a time loop, and at night, Beverly Crusher hears a series of whispers, which they discover are remnants of the previous time loops, echoes from the same time. Tonight, when Juliet heard the whispers, that all clicked for me, and I realized that the sound of whispers is actually the time outside the island catching up to the perceived time on the island.
What’s more, how do these people keep showing up in the middle of the jungle and vanish just as quickly. At first I was certain Harper was a ghost, then Jack saw her. No, there are no ghosts on this island, just people temporarily unstuck in time. The Others are probably using the research from the Orchid about shifting to transport people in space and time. The problem is that this requires them to apply real time to the island time, so the whispers are the residue of the shift.
It all makes perfect sense. How didn’t we see this all before? Perhaps the leap in logic to time travel was something we largely refused to accept as fact before it was shown to us last week. But just like that, the mystery of the whispers and the appearance of figures in the middle of the jungle is answered, if only you’ll put all the pieces together.