6.7 Lost: Dr. Linus
Personally, I don’t care about Oscars, Emmys or any of those other tedious popularity contests and marketing opportunities dressed up as awards, but if I did, I’d be suggesting someone give one to Michael Emerson immediately. You’re probably getting a bit sick of hearing how great all the acting is in Season 6, but I’ll say it again: this is fantastic stuff, and it just keeps on getting better and better.
Of course, in a series where Kate episodes are good, and Sayid episodes are awesome, we could have easily predicted that a Ben episode would be soul-achingly excellent. And we were not disappointed. The pace of this series makes the events of every week feel like a season finale, and the quality of every episode makes it feels like we’re watching The Constant over and over. It took a while to get here, but dammit, it’s been worth the wait.
After years of being everyone’s favourite bad guy, Ben finally got his redemption in a story that smashed him to bits, then put him back together again. The episode’s high point was undoubtedly the scene with Ilana where Ben explains exactly why he killed Jacob. Yes, it was mainly exposition delivered at gunpoint, but it was the best kind of exposition, burning the past behind it as it advanced both story and character on its way to new pastures. Ben has finally seen the error of his ways. And Ilana might just have forgiven him. Or is it that she just doesn’t want to let Smocke add another disciple to his swelling ranks?
Unfortunately, in TV land, a redemptive arc often means that you’re going to end up as a corpse on the road to the conclusion, and since he’s already dug the grave, it won’t surprise me at all if he doesn’t make it to the end of the series.
Much of the episode dealt with Ben’s ability to manipulate, and what happens when that’s finally taken away from him. In a world where Ben had free rein to use that power to its fullest, he ended up alone, having lost the only things that mattered to him. In the sideways-verse, he hasn’t got half the power he had back on the island, but he does have Alex, and more than that, he’s finally got a chance to be the kind of man that, in the ‘real’ world, he only just realised he could be: a good one. Whether Smocke will be pleased to discover that Jacob was belatedly proven right about Ben or not is another matter.
Interestingly, it seems that all of Jacob’s followers are actually feeling a little resentful. Ilana sympathises with Ben’s loss as a result of following Jacob. In fact, Richard is almost driven to suicide by it, in a particularly memorable scene in which he and Jack play Russian Roulette over a stick of dynamite. Despite the return of some of Matthew Fox’s infamous ‘Jack-ting’ abilities, that scene alone stands as one of the character’s best, especially because it’s so at odds with the man who was once completely unable to take anything on blind faith, much less put his own life in its hands.
As for Richard, well, I never expected him to die. After all, he can’t die without having his own episode, can he? Pirates in Lost, people. It’s what I’ve been waiting for ever since we first saw the Black Rock.
Speaking of the Black Rock, with Widmore back on the scene (and, let’s face it, there was one area where the episode actually did make a mistake – spoiling the reveal in the credits…) it’ll be interesting to see if we finally get some follow up on how the Black Rock ties to Widmore’s family, and thus what his interest in the island is.
Is this who Jacob wanted to reach the island? And if so, why would he want Widmore there? After all, he’s not a candidate. Although, might he be a potential replacement for Smocke? At this point, it’s impossible to guess. But that doesn’t stop us trying.
There’s so much good about this episode, in fact, there’s barely space to mention it all. I haven’t yet touched on the few hints we got about the Dharma Initiative in the sideways-verse, Miles’ excellent comedy moments (and the resolution of his money-grubbing plot) or the fact that something’s going down at the Hydra station. One thing is certain: with each episode improving on the last, a week’s wait has never felt so long.
Check out our review of episode 6 here.