When you watch an ongoing show like Lost, where every episode runs into the next and the plot is constantly evolving, it sometimes becomes hard to pick one episode out from another. As a result, whenever you see a good episode, there’s a tendency to think “Wow, that was one of the best Lost episodes ever!”
Then an episode like this week’s comes along, and you’re reminded what it looks like when you’re watching something that’s ACTUALLY one of the best episodes ever. Dead Is Dead: easily one of Lost‘s top 5 episodes.
It’s been a while since we had a Ben-centric flashback – not since Season 3’s The Man Behind The Curtain – so it’s good to finally see more of Ben’s past after he helped ‘purge’ the Dharma Initiative. The episode serves to finally humanise Ben – after years as little more than a cold, mercenary figure, we get the chance to see Ben as he is alone, stripped of all facade, as the monster judges him. Of particular interest is his reaction to seeing Alex shot, compared with the dispassionate front he had to present at the time. The only bad part about the scene was the third-rate effects on the monster’s internals.
Still, it’s not all about effects and set pieces – as ever, the plot takes precedence. Seeing Ben expressly forbidden from killing Locke is an interesting development. He’s already tried to dispatch Johnny-boy twice, and failed both times. Will he be able to resist a third stab at it, even when given an instruction from his dead daughter? We’ve seen indications in the past that the leadership of the Others rotates, and in this episode we actually see Widmore being ousted by Ben. Now Ben has been told by the island, essentially, to make way for Locke. Widmore’s warning to Ben that one day “you’ll be standing where I am” is particularly worth listening to, because metaphorically speaking, that day feels closer than ever.
However, of all this episode’s revelations, it’s the newly tooled-up and organised 316ies, lead by Ilana, presenting the most interesting new development – what, exactly, are they up to? Was that a ‘security question’ Ilena was asking? Are they employed by Widmore? Or do they represent a new faction altogether? And is Caesar still alive, or simply another nod towards the theory that you can’t be Hispanic on the island without heading for a grisly end?
In any case, this episode was top-notch in almost every way, not short of classic Lost moments, whether it was Ben confronting Penny, stealing Alex or shooting Caesar. A strong story, brilliant acted, and a really good look at another piece of the Smoke Monster puzzle – there’s not a lot to criticise, and ultimately, that’s the way I like my Lost to be.
Check out a review of episode 11 here.