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LostZone: Dr. Linus or Dr. Dolittle?

March 11, 2010

LostZone: Dr. Linus or Dr. Dolittle?
By Louis Bedigian

Minor mysteries and Richard’s on-island escapades supersede Ben Linus’ weak flash sideways.

To paraphrase Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump, “Lost is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re gonna get.”

This week, as we bit into “Dr. Linus,” the final episode dedicated to Ben, the bitter taste was almost too much to bear. At the end of the show, we were once again reminded that there are only nine episodes left until the finale. How is it that Lost has managed to make us feel like that number should be smaller? How is it that after years of waiting for answers we are still subjected to mind-numbing stall tactics that are typically employed by shows that have no idea when the end will come? If “Dr. Linus” had been on par with “Lighthouse,” it would have been applauded for delivering a relevant story that killed time respectably. Instead, we got an episode that wasted an entire hour to show us that, in the sideways world, Ben would have been a better man.

Wow. Thank you, Lost writers! Thank you for taking the time to build a pointless story with a predictable conclusion.

The only redeeming parts of the episode were the few (and all too brief) moments with Richard, whose anger over Jacob’s demise led to hints for what’s to come during his long-awaited episode, set to air on March 25.

 
The Richard/Black Rock revelations are coming!…in two weeks.

Claire and Co., MIA

The smoke monster happily showed his face again, but Crazy Claire and her fugitive protector, Kate, were nowhere in sight. Darth Sayid was also absent, but that’s probably because he was off killing younglings.

After thinking about Claire’s mysterious personality fluctuations, I’ve come to the conclusion that the truth is indeed right in front of us and that she has been sick (“infected”) from the beginning. When the Others took her and injected her belly with the vaccine (which was for Aaron, but trace amounts would inevitably reach Claire), her dazed-out reaction was a side effect because she was already ill. But since she was not yet under Fake Locke’s control, her reaction was silly and serene.

When we see her in “Cabin Fever” with her father – who I believe was actually the ghost of Christian and not Jacob or the smoke monster as many fans predict – she is just beginning to become symptomatic. With the smoke monster nowhere in sight, her evil side had not yet kicked in. Thus, she appeared to be very calm but also a bit strange (just as she reacted to the shot), as if her mind wasn’t entirely her own.

Now that Fake Locke has her in his clutches, her serenity has been replaced by insanity.

 
“Duuuude, I like totally have no idea where the temple is.”

The Hydra Mystery

Remember the atrocious Jack-in-a-cell episodes from Season Three? Viewers may have been bored by the imprisoning nonsense, but the underwater location where he was being held – known as the Hydra Station – might actually have a purpose.

Fake Locke plans to head there after rounding up his crew, which goes right back to the one-word hint the producers gave about the finale: water. But what is it about water or merely the Hydra Station that has intrigued the smoke monster? 

There are two likely (but very broad) possibilities: something mechanical or magical. Almost every station on the island had at least one feature: surveillance, electromagnetic discharge, communication with the outside world, etc. But after Jack became “friends” with the Others and agreed to operate on Ben, we didn’t see too much of the Hydra Station.

That’s about to change, but why? If it’s mechanical, we could assume it’s a watercraft of some sort, perhaps one more powerful than a submarine. However, that would be way too simplistic for Lost. A device for time travel would be more complex, but the show has already done that. Teleportation seems unlikely. Experimentation? Hmmm – would Fake Locke really take the time to conduct an experiment before taking off? Or could it be that one of the Dharma Initiative’s existing experiments was successful and Fake Locke wants to take advantage of that?

All things likely, however, it’s something as simple as magic or unexplainable science. The Swan Station was built because of the unique electromagnetic energy that was found beneath the soil; perhaps the Hydra Station was built for a similar reason – to take advantage of (or cover up) some powerful anomaly that has yet to be revealed on the show.

That being the case, you can bet the smoke monster is planning to use that power, whatever it may be, to destroy the people on the island. This may be the real reason why Jacob has spent so many years searching for a candidate: to help defend the island and its people against one final, unfathomable battle.

 
If Charlie looks upset, it’s because he’s wondering how many more
episodes will end before he returns to the show.

The Doctor Is In and We Want Out

Sideways Ben, whose teacher alter ego likes to be called Dr. Linus, lives a rather boring life off the island. He’s a teacher at a school with Locke and Arzt, which should have led to some very interesting scenes (it didn’t).

The whole point of his scenario is to show that, when push comes to shove, Ben will do the right thing this time around. Yeah, I said “this time around” because this episode pretty much confirms the belief that the flash sideways are from the future. If they weren’t, the writers wouldn’t have spent so much time reminding us of how awful Ben was in his first life, only to choose to help his unofficial daughter, Alex (who miraculously appears as Dr. Linus’ student), during his second chance.

In the sideways world, Ben has to choose between helping himself or his favorite student. As expected, he ultimately decides to help Alex – a point that could have been conveyed in a couple of minutes. Lost fans know this better than anyone: rather than fleshing out Dogen’s tale in “Sundown,” we learned his whole life story in less than 120 seconds.

If there’s any part of these flash sideways that is worth noting, it’s that Ben’s father (who lives with him in the sideways world) confirmed that, despite the island being under water in 2004, the Dharma Initiative still existed in the 70s. That little tidbit also confirms that the island wasn’t submerged until after The Incident – an outcome that most could have assumed, but given the number of changes that have occurred in the sideways world, anything was possible.

What we don’t know is why Ben and his dad left the island, or how it was even possible for them to leave. But given the content in this week’s episode, I doubt anyone cares.

 
Sorry Ben, there’s only room for one doctor in the sideways world. (Two if you count Juliet.)

Widmore’s Return

Now that we know that Charles Widmore is indeed the man coming to the island, we are faced with a few important questions: Why is Jacob interested in his return? As far as we know, Widmore isn’t much better than the power-hungry smoke monster. Does Jacob believe he’ll be an asset in the end?

Also, what event occurred that allowed him to find and return to the island? Dogen or Jacob’s death? The destruction of the temple? Or something we haven’t seen?

Finally, does Widmore have any more knowledge regarding Jacob than Ben? Or is he unknowingly a puppet in this massive island scheme?

* * *

LostZone – Previous Installments

March 4, 2010: Sayid’s Fall to the Dark Side

February 25, 2010: Claire’s (Freaky? Psychotic!?) Return and Sideways Significance with Jack Shephard

February 18, 2010: Giving Meaning to the Numbers, 4 8 15 16 23 42

February 11, 2010: Season Three Stall Tactics and Claire’s Disappearance Explained!?

February 4, 2010: Thoughts and Theories From the Mind-Blowing Season Six Premiere

February 1, 2010: Are Lost and Final Fantasy VII Unofficially Connected?

* * *

LostZone is an ngoing feature on GameZone aimed at discussing the show’s most breathtaking moments (and, if necessary, its most depressing bombs) while dissecting its most intriguing mysteries.

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