So LOST was really bopping us on the head with symbolism last night, huh?
But, to be fair, the show confirmed many suspicions and gave a few answers.
I should start by saying I LOVE Ben. I love Ben when he's evil and conniving and calculating and squinty. I'm not so in love with him when he's begging or desperate or crying, as he was last night, but I can give props where due for character development.
Let's start with some of last night's revelations:
1. The Island hasn't been underwater for very long.
In Sideways land, Ben's father (who seemed to be a very good father in this world) revealed he regretting leaving the Island. To which I say, "WHAT THE WHAT?" Apparently, the island has only been underwater for, minimum, 30 years and Roger might not even know it was underwater.
2. Richard DID come on the Black Rock.
Suspicions confirmed! When the Lockeness Monster told Richard it was good see him "out of those chains," it confirmed many's idea that he referred to the chains that held slaves on the 19th century ship. Intriguingly, the Black Rock was probably the ship cruising toward the island in the season finale last year, when we first met the Man in Black and Jacob.
Richard looks like he could be anything from Egyptian to Argentinian, but I'd like to imagine his ship was coming from Northern Africa. Tunisia has been a previous setting for off-Island action, from when Charlotte excavated a Dharma polar bear, and possibly when Locke landed back in the world.
3. Richard was touched by Jacob.
And doomed to live forever! So what's that about? It was an interesting allusion to the struggle people have to trust in God. Man has always struggled to find a purpose in life, and Richard was especially struggling with that when he said, "I devoted my life, longer than you can possibly imagine, in service of a man who told me everything that was happening happened for a reason."
BUT THEN Jacob (or coincidence...or something else) gave Richard reason to have faith, when the light on the dynamite fizzled before Richard and Jack could be blown to bits.
4. The candidates are indeed meant to protect the Island.
Ilana was almost laughably forthcoming when Sun pressed her for details about her potential "candidacy." Yes, there are candidates she has sworn to protect. Yes, they would be replacing Jacob as Protector of the Island. How many are there? Oh, six. Kinda like the Oceanic Six, perhaps? Who can say.
My question is: Why couldn't Jacob do it? Did he know the day would come that he could be killed by the MIB? By "Protect the Island" does he just mean he needs a prophet? Does the island need to be protected from Widmore, a man whose overwhelming desire for power got him booted off the island?
Now, let's move on to talk about Ben.
Like Locke and Jack before him, Ben's Sideways life showed a man with similar fatal flaws (need to feel needed, power-hungry, loneliness) who was able to find redemption by sacrificing his own power play to help a student.
But not any old student ... the girl who would be his daughter on the Island. I thought this was almost TOO much. I mean, he's already working with Arnzt and Locke. We had to throw Alex in the mix, too? Also...why would Rousseau be living in America? If she weren't on the island, wouldn't she be somewhere in France, baking croissants with her hubby?
But that's all beside the point. The point is, in that world he was able to do what he couldn't on the island: recognize what matters.
I thought the opening scene of Ben teaching the students about Napolean's exile to Elba (AN ISLAND) was a bit heavy handed, but I still enjoyed it. Especially when he said, "Exile wasn't his worst fate. What was truly devastating was his loss of power."
Other fun line: When Locke told Ben, "If the man in charge doesn't care about this place, maybe it's time for a change." Kinda like how the Man in Black decided it was time for a regime change? Oh the darkness that lies in the hearts of men...
What was most intriguing to me was that in the Island world, Ben also found redemption. And Jack seems to be more at peace, too. Could this be an intersection of worldviews?
What were your thoughts on this week's episode? How about the season so far? I know at least one of my friends isn't feeling this season; I think the Sideways storytelling seems either genius or disastrous, but I'm reserving judgment until the end.