There’s a reason Michael Emerson already has an Emmy. In last night’s episode of Lost, Emerson got a huge acting showcase, bigger than any one he’s had before, and he nailed it. From the emotion seeing Alex killed to the rage and fury in the now immortal line, “He changed the rules,” it was a fantastic performance.
Before we get into the Easter Eggs from last night, I’d like to discuss what Lost is about. “The Shape of Things to Come” was an appropriate title, as the entire purpose of the series is beginning to take shape. Yes, I could talk about the shocking revelation that Ben controls Smokey, the Black Smoke Monster (the implications of which are massive) or the alleged fact that Danielle Rousseau is in fact dead (which I still refuse to buy). But what interests me more is what Lost is about.
In the first season, it seemed as if the show was about these people, the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815, how they would survive on the island and how they would get off. Subsequent seasons revealed there was far more to the island, yet fundamentally, the importance of the survivors was still front and center. That is no longer the case.
Did the B-story matter in this episode? No. Jack and Kate have nothing to do with what this show is really about. The scene between Charles Widmore and Benjamin Linus revealed that, in fact, Lost is about ownership of the island. It’s about the place, not the people. And honestly, I don’t know if this is a good thing.
The perfection of season 1 came from the fact that it was a true character study, obsessed with creating these deep, complicated people. Now it’s all about mysteries. In the first season and a half, Ben and Widmore were nowhere, and yet their conflict seems to be the whole driving force of the series. I do love the mystery and the science fiction elements the writers are crafting, but really, when you think about it, what did that entire first season have to do with what the show has become?
Just something to ponder. We can discuss this episode by itself, or in relation to this season, all we want. But put it in context. I want you to think about that first season, then think about what you saw last night, and try to connect the dots. It’s an impossible task.
The Easter Eggs from this episode include some smaller allusions and one big, glowing neon sign pointing fans in the direction of the truth about how Ben gets off the island.
#1 – Polar Bears in Tunisia
As Ben said, this wasn’t his first trip to Tunisia. In fact, at his hotel, he’s a preferred guest under the name Dean Moriarty (the main character in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road), an alias fans recognized as the passport bearing this name was first spied when Sayid dug around Ben’s things in “The Economist.”
Tunisia is also known to fans as the location of the mysterious DHARMA polar bear bones Charlotte found in “Confirmed Dead.” It doesn’t seem illogical to draw the conclusion that on one of his previous trips, Ben probably brought along a pet. Either that, or Tunisia just happens to be a fixed location where DHARMA can teleport things to.
What does teleportation have to do with anything, you might ask? Click “Next” to see Easter Egg #2 and find out.
#2 – Teleportation in Tunisia
When Ben came to in the Sahara Desert, something was noticeably wrong with him, and if, like me, time and space travel is one of your pet theories, you probably assumed he teleported there. You’re not crazy.
Zooming in on Ben’s parka, the name “Halliwax” is written on it. Last summer at Comic-Con, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse unveiled the Orchid Station video, in which Dr. Marvin Candle, claiming to be “Edgar Halliwax” spoke about the dangers of the Orchid Station, and he freaked out when a bunny appeared out of nowhere.
It has long been surmised that Orchid has to do with time and space travel, that the bunny magically teleported there from another time. Given Ben’s parka, it’s easy to assume that he used the technology to teleport himself either through time or space (or both) to get off the island. His arm was bleeding, so he most likely left in a hurry.
The other mystery is the DHARMA symbol on Ben’s parka, which doesn’t resemble any DHARMA symbol we’ve seen before, so let’s just catalog it under “Things to Remember” for now.
#3 – Rachmaninoff
Early in the episode, before the attack, Ben was showing off his pianist skills. Undoubtedly, while he was playing it, you asked yourself, “What is that song, and what does it mean?” Well, maybe you don’t, but that’s how I watch Lost.
To answer your question, the piece was Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude in C-Sharp Minor.” Its significance is that among its various titles are “The Burning of Moscow” and “The Day of Judgment.” As this song was being played just moments before Widmore’s men sieged the Barracks, this little performance was certainly a prelude to the war, and since Ben was forced to make the ultimate decision and the ultimate sacrifice, it was his day of judgment.
#4 – Risk
Risk is one of the greatest board games ever. The previews for last night’s episode teased Hurley’s big line, “We’re all gonna die,” so it was a classic Lost bait-and-switch when it turned out he was talking about his and Sawyer’s Risk armies.
Most importantly, there was another line that undoubtedly raised a few eyebrows. Hurley complained that Locke was letting Sawyer take Australia, whining, “Australia is the key to the whole game.” First, anyone who’s ever played Risk knows this is 100 percent incorrect. While Australia is a nice little place to have, owning it traps you in southeast Asia until the other players are strong enough to go in for the kill.
Therefore, we must discern if this statement is meaningful or misdirection. I have to go with misdirection, because while Australia is important inasmuch as it’s the place Oceanic Flight 815 departed from, I doubt it’s the key to anything. However, the line was probably just written to raise speculation and cause fans to debate its meaning, which I guess I’m doing, so congratulations, Lost writers, you win. But it’s not because you have Australia.
#5 – Doug and Jerome
I’ll admit it, I laughed a little bit when three Lost redshirts were killed in succession by Widmore’s men while Sawyer was magically able to elude all those bullets. But to the show’s credit, those weren’t just any redshirts, they were reliable members of the Lost cast.
You probably don’t know them, as the two men who were killed are background characters with no lines before tonight, but they’ve both been around since the first season. Excluding the Nikki/Paulo debacle, Lost is pretty good at continuity among background actors. The first one to get shot was Doug, played Sean Douglas Hoban.
The other man who tried to help the woman was Jerome, played by Jim Mazzarella. Jerome has been in the background of all the major events. He was there at Hurley’s golf tournament. He attended the funerals of Boone, Nikki and Paulo. He briefly helped Bernard build his “S.O.S.” sign. It’s just proof that in spite of Nikki and Paulo, Lost really does have actors who have been there since the beginning.
-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Images courtesy of Lost-Media)