Friday, May 11

Lost Friday - "The Man Behind The Curtain."

Lost Friday - The Man Behind The Curtain.
Season 3 - Episode 20: "The Man Behind The Curtain."

Another Lost Friday is upon us. We have much to--

Wait, what? What happened on Wednesday? Seriously? Are you yanking my crank? Are you?

Ladies and gentlemen, every now and again, the clouds part and call a halt to the proverbial dungstorm of lame television dramas, blessing us with something that rekindles our faith in the creative mind and allows us to believe the unbelievable again.

Lost is that special something; if only for about 5 episodes a year. You know, during Sweeps.

Just when you think they're coasting on auto-pilot, just when you think you've got it all figured out, just when you think you frankly don't care anymore; an episode comes along that forces you to spend countless hours awake, speculating and unearthing clues just like when the series first started. Face it; even after 3 years, this show still has the ability to turn you into an uber-nerd. That's amazing and special stuff, right there.

I'm under a lot of stress!
(Suddenly and without warning, Locke's appendix bursts.)

Or maybe you hated this episode. Maybe you thought it was too over-the-top. Too unbelievable. Too dark. Perhaps you have a point, but consider the following- In the course of an hour, Benjamin Linus went from a typical TV bad-guy, to one of the most complex, tortured and flat-out evil characters in television history. This is no small task, considering the emotional depth of the rest of the standout cast. When you're a character that can be hated and felt sorry for at the same time, you've become immortal, as far as I'm concerned.

Like Brian Dunkleman. That poor, sweet, awful man. May he rest in peace.

Oh, and Locke got shot? And we saw Jacob? And he's all invisible and violent and stuff? And the Hostiles don't age? And Ben was part of Dharma, until he and the Hostiles killed everyone off? And it was his birthday? And there were carvings? Carvings made of wood?

THIS... IS... MADNESS!

Look, I don't know where to start and what to say, but we're diving in anyways. Make with The Thick & Meaty!

The Thick & Meaty!

ON THE BIZZ-NEECH:

Sawyer, fresh from nearly lopping Anthony's head off at the Black Rock, confronts Sayid about the tape he procured from Locke. Upon pressing play, Sawyer and Sayid discover the tape is of the Strawberry Alarm Clock single, Incense & Peppermints. They both agree that it's a 'good tune' and figure out a schedule as to who gets to listen to it on what day of the week.

Eventually, Kate arrives and poops all over the party, demanding that Jack hear the tape. She then says that Jack is Santa Claus and can do no wrong. Sayid reaches for his 'decapitating' knife, but Sawyer restrains him, as she's still offering Sawyer no-strings-attached sex.

Speaking of no-strings-attached sex, that brings us to today's Question Of The Week:

Question Of The Week.

What STD's Do Kate and Sawyer now share?

A) DHARM-AIDS.

B
) That one that sets your privates ablaze.

C
) Everytime you blink, you crap your pants for some reason.

D
) The crippling emotional weight of knowing that you engaged in some of the dirtiest, filthist intercourse this side of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love.

E
) All of the above.

The correct answer is, of course, "Everything. They have everything now." Thanks for playing; let's get back to the review.

That night, all of the on-camera extras are pretending to be concerned with Naomi's story, when Sawyer explains Juliet's mole-like behavior by playing the tape. Jack and Juliet then show up and come clean; stating that they knew about the raid all along, and are planning a counter-attack. 15 million people exclaim in unison, "Why in the damn hell toot didn't you tell anyone sooner?"

IN FLASHBACKZ, YO:

(Forgive me in advance, this is the only way it's going to work.......)

They Hurt Me So!
("AAAAAUGH! Kidney stones!")

Okay, so Ben wasn't really born on the island at all. He was born about 32 miles outside of Portland in the middle of the freaking woods. Anyway, his mom knocked off right afterwards, but not before insisting he be named Benjamin; like it was such an important thing to give him one of the most common boy's names in the history of boy's names, right? Anyway, about 10 years later, Ben (looking gayer than ever) and his drunk fool of a dad arrive on the island in search of work, as a favor to Ben's dad by his hippie- and no doubt filthy, friend Horace. Horace works for DHARMA as the island's Head Weed Guy or something, and we get to see a brief video of Dr. Markvin Candlewick welcoming everyone to the island. While Ben starts to chat up the young ladies, his dad is already losing his crap over the fact that he'll be working as a janitor.

One day, while Ben is at school learning about volcanoes or Global Warming or some rubbish, the Hostiles start some wack static with the DHARMA folk, causing the kids to duck-and-cover, and the adults to reach for their strapz and gatz. Later that night, Ben's dad does some more drunken complaining, demanding more money for being around gunfire and spooky, ageless island folk all day. Ben sees the face of his dead mom in the window for a second, and effectively wets himself, despite that fact that he could have never had that kind of a direct, personal relationship with a woman who died when he was 8 seconds old.

Last train for Queer Street leaves in 2 minutes.
("Hmmm, I wonder if I can redecorate the island in pastels. Yay!")

The next day, Ben and Annie are playing on the swings, when Annie gives him a crudely-crafted woodcarving to remember her by. Geez... learn some carpentry, you stupid adorable kid! When he gets home, a drunken Roger let's Ben know that he blames him for the death of Emily. Ben's story is sounding more and more like Voldemort's every week, and that guy's a real douchebag. Ben gets mad and runs around in the jungle, where he sees his mother again on the other side of the Sonic Microwave. He later returns with the deactivation code and a bunny; both escape unharmed. Richard shows up, looking as sexy and disheveled as ever, who tells Ben that he needs to be very patient and not at all from this planet if he wants to join the Hostiles.

Many years later, an older Ben is celebrating his birthday (cake, punch; the usual). After setting up his father, they drive to a secluded location where he finally kills him with a nerve gas. When Ben makes it back to the Barracks, we see that the rest of the hostiles have done this to almost all of the DHARMA members, eventually taking the place over. This is the darkest and most troubling flashback episode I've ever seen, and we've seen people get buried alive.

(Whew. Let's trudge on.)

ON DA REAL-TIME TIP:

But they smell so good!
(Mikhail passes out after an all-night Red Pen binge.)

Ben, looking at Annie's wood carving and reminiscing about when she was brutally nerve-gassed, eventually realizes that Juliet's tape recorder never made it back to the right place. He mentions to Richard that today is his birthday, but Richard doesn't know what that means, due to him being an ageless alien from another dimension. Locke shows up with Anthony's rigid corpse, and boy does he look angry.

Locke looks angry; not the corpse. Sorry about that.

After taking care of his end of the deal, Locke demands that Ben start spilling it about the island, and asks for a trip to Crazy Uncle Jacob's Wacky Shack Of Spooky Delights (patent pending). Ben drags his feet, and Mikhail pops in just to let everyone know that he wasn't vaporized for some stupid reason. This annoys Locke, so he beats the crap out of him and retains the Heavyweight Creepy Old Guy Championship belt.

On the way to Jacob's tea party, Ben and Locke come across a line of powder on the ground, which Ben says is not important; making it about a billion times more important than if he had just kept his fruity mouth shut. They make it to Jacob's front door, and Ben suggests that Locke turn off his flashlight, because He hates technology. You know, I'm starting to think that Jacob is actually my Dad.

He looks great for a thousand years old.
("I haven't shaved in 800 years.")

This is where things start to get all wonky. Ben starts talking to an empty chair. Locke thinks that Ben is crazy, and turns to leave. Locke then hears a disembodied voice and turns back on the flashlight. This angers Jacob, and all hell starts to break loose. Ben gets thrown against a wall, and the image of a man in the chair is briefly shown for about a tenth of a second. They both manage to escape the house after Jacob has calmed down, and Locke runs away until he is a speck on the horizon.

At least, that's what I would have done. Island secrets, my ass; I didn't sign up for invisible talking poltergeists. You can keep your secrets, I don't want them anymore.

The next morning, Ben and Locke take a different route to the camp, where Ben starts spilling it to John. He comes clean and shows Locke the mass grave where all of the post-Purge DHARMA folk were tossed in. He explains the war between the Hostiles and the DHARMA folk, and which side he chose. He then gets all jealous and shoots Locke in the chest for being able to hear Jacob's voice. As we smash cut away, we see Locke slowly fading.

But...you know....he's not really going to die. I mean, seriously....don't be a dumbass, here. It's Locke.

Boy, what an awesome episode. It was disturbing, chock-full of mythology and Kate only got about 2 speaking lines. That's just about perfect in my book. In fact, I can only think of 5 things that would have made this episode even more awesome. Let's go to the list, shall we?

5 Awesome Things...

This week's topic is 5 Awesome Things.....That Would Have Made This Episode Better.

1- Everyone has a pencil-thin mustache, even the women.
2- The entire soundtrack is provided by The Velvet Teen or Jeff Lynne.
3- Complete genocide of a race. Oh, wait...that actually happened? Wow.
4- Full salad bar privileges and valet parking.
5- Claire bitching about her 'bay-bee!'

Wait, scratch that last one.

Put on your game faces, it's time to Break It Down!

Break It Down!

4- Hey, both of Ben's parents died on his birthday! Don't feel bad for Ben, though, because they were both kind of his fault. Oh, and he's unwarrantably evil. This not only makes Ben's birthday December 22, but the Season Finale might very well fall on Christmas 2004.

8- I have yet to figure out why Ben became the leader of the hostiles, when in fact, he seems to just be the newest recruit. Why isn't ageless Richard the leader? Not only is he somewhat immortal, he's beautiful!

15- This Jacob fellow might be a human representation of the Smoke Monster, but I sort of hope it isn't. I mean, so far, most of the big mysteries on the show have been unveiled with some sort of logical explanation. At this juncture, I don't think we're going to make it out of here without some heebie-jeeblie stuff. Not after the incident in the cabin, along with all the dead people we keep seeing pop up on here.

Well...the episode was titled "The Man Behind The Curtain," so maybe not. Much like the Wizard of Oz, Ben could be creating this Jacob character with smoke and mirrors just to throw everyone off and further respect his authority.

Or...maybe he's a nutbag. I don't know anymore.

Where do you put the batteries in this thing?
("Someday bunny, we'll run away to Vegas and finally get married. Someday...")

16- Now that the door has been closed (or nerve-gassed) on the DHARMA thing, we now get to focus on the Hostiles and where they came from. Can't wait; I really wanted a whole other group of people to compulsively obsess over for the next three years. I was just getting comfortable with the DHARMA concept, now this? Screw you, Ben! They just wanted harmony!

23- The Hostiles made Ben kill his father the same way that Ben made Locke kill his own. A gesture of faith and free will to the Hostiles and their cause. It seems pretty old-school, but the Hostiles obviously are old-school. Like, really old-school.

42- I bet that the 'island' will heal Locke's bullet wound. Hopefully, the island will then focus on healing Juliet's crooked face and Jack's fluctuating weight problem.

This episode is over; stop living in the past! Spoiler nerds, divert your eyes! It's time for The Preview!

Episode 20 - Greatest Hits.

4- Episode 21 will be titled "Greatest Hits." It will be Charlie-centric. Expect general wankery and a (hopeful) bloody death to ensue.

8- The official press release from ABC reads: "While Jack devises a plan to do away with 'The Others' once and for all, Sayid uncovers a flaw in their system that could lead to everyone’s rescue. But it requires Charlie to take on a dangerous task that may make Desmond’s premonition come true."

Desmond had better not die. I know that might be the swerve this week, but I'll be sincerely pissed off. Locke too, but that goes without saying.

15- An on-set fan sez: "They are filming in a rainy alley way. Charlie is wearing the same black leather jacket and carrying his guitar just like the flashback scene with Desmond. So this is a continuation of the same day Desmond met Charlie singing on the sidewalk. A lady is being mugged in the alley way... It's Naomi! He saves her from the mugger with the knife. I would assume that Naomi knows Desmond because at this scene, it puts them all in the same general area on the same day. They are also setting up now at the same corner where Desmond and Charlie came upon each other in London, only they have a big "green screen", and they haven't decorated anything else, so I'm assuming they'll be bringing down the rainmaking stuff and Desmond may show up with Charlie and/or Naomi to tie it all together and they will just green screen the rest later in the background."

Thanks for almost forming a complete sentence, there. I'd correct your awful grammar, but I'm lazy and you're an idiot.

Damn you, wicker! I HATE YOU!
("That's it, wicker chair. I've had just about enough of your crap.")

16- There should be at least 4 more deaths this season. Keep that in mind as we get down to the last 2 episodes. Charlie? Desmond? Locke? Sun? Jin? Mr. Weatherby? John Boy? Chief? McCloud!

23- After this episode, we're just down to the 2-hour Season Finale. It will be Jack-centric and titled "Through The Looking Glass." I probably won't watch it; I've got a lot of laundry to do that week.

42- For several weeks now, I was contemplating whether or not I wanted to come back and do Lost Friday for another Season. Now that I hear about the new plan for the remaining 3 seasons, it gives me hope that I'll be able to continue this for 4 months out of the next three years without burning out or murdering someone. Time will tell, I guess.

I'd hate to be the corpse on the bottom of this thing.
(10 years, and you never thought to cover your corpse pile with dirt? Anyone?)

Well, there you have it. Another jam-packed Lost Friday in the books, and another end to a long week. Start the conversation in the comments section, and send all fan mail and erotic photography to communistdance@yahoo.com. If you feel like buying some CDP Merch or making a donation, the links are at the top of the sidebar. As always, when you're finished fantasizing about my literary prowess and muscular arms, head on over to The Coconut Internet and say hello.

Here are links to every Lost Friday this season. Don't forget to tell your Mother you love her this weekend. Otherwise, she might hunt you down and feed chunks of you into the DisPozAll.

-theCDP.

Season 3 Preview
Season 3 - Episode 1 Review
Season 3 - Episode 2 Review
Season 3 - Episode 3 Review
Season 3 - Episode 4 Review
Season 3 - Episode 5 Review
Season 3 - Episode 6 Review
Season 3 - Episode 7 Review
Season 3 - Episode 8 Review
Season 3 - Episode 9 Review
Season 3 - Episode 10 Review
Season 3 - Episode 11 Review
Season 3 - Episode 12 Review
Season 3 - Episode 13 Review
Season 3 - Episode 14 Review
Season 3 - Episode 15 Review
Season 3 - Episode 16 Review
Season 3 - Episode 17 Review
Season 3 - Episode 18 Review
Season 3 - Episode 19 Review

Comments:
Great review! :)
 
Thanks. I was up until midnight doubting my every move, but I think it turned out okay.

(NOTE: I have not seen The Office yet.)
 
I yelled at my tv during this episode. I feel bad. I know it's not the tv's fault. maybe I should buy it some flowers and take it out for a nice steak dinner...

Anyway. The whole "Norman Bates and his Mother" angle, with Ben talking to an empty chair, really ticked me off. And then, just when I was all in a lather over that, things start flying around the room and for the briefest second there was someone in that chair. Sooo...Jacob is what? A ghost. A GHOST!? Are you freaking kidding me? I had to rewind the DVR three times to make sure it really happened. I'm a little disappointed both in the episode and in Locke. Alex gave him a gun for a reason. How did he not see something like this coming? And the answers I got were not enough to quench the insatiable thirst for real answers. Like, where is Richard getting his seemingly endless supply of eyeliner("guyliner!")?
 
I prefer to call it "sexy-liner."

I don't think Jacob is a ghost. I just don't think normal qualities of life like aging, being solid, etc. apply to these people. Why? I don't freakin' know.
 
I know what you're saying, Maus. On a show where even the strangest stuff always seems to have a logical explanation, it's going to be very difficult to get out of this jam without a little hocus pocus and disbelief suspension.

I'm game, but I also recognize the silliness.
 
I think everyone's missing what is perhaps the GREATEST revelation on this episode.

That Uncle Rico is Ben's father!

I was waiting for him to record himself throwing a football or to sit with his arms crossed while examining his biceps. Ok, for the four people who haven't seen Napoleon Dynamite, you think I'm off my rocker (get it ... rocker ... invisible Jacob ... oh I crack myself up).

Actually, I like how we find out that "Roger Workman" whose skeletal head came off in a previous episode, was Ben's father.
 
I didn't watch Napoleon Dynamite, but I laughed heartily once I scanned the IMDB. I like seeing jokes all the way through.

When Roger's head popped off a few weeks ago, it was pretty funny. Now that we know what happened to him...not so much. However, I actually think me might have deserved it a little bit. I mean, Ben's backstory is about as dysfunctional as you can get; the DHARMA psychologists should have seen this coming from a mile away.
 
i thought this episode was really good, mostly because it creeped me out a lot. these things were the most important i learned:

-Dr. Marvin Candle is none other than Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. This is what you find out when you're a college student and it's finals time. Giant ninja turtles on the island? i don't think that's a far stretch.

-Richard (aka eyeliner man) appears to have been the only person to leave the island (when he went to get Juliet), Ben has boasted about having the ability to leave, but it doesn't seem like he has.

-I think Richard knows all about Jacob, too. Someone else has to. I don't think he was discovered by Ben, when Ben appears to be a newer member. Also, when Locke said he'd ask Richard to take him, Ben immediately said 'why would he know!?!?!!?!', if that's not a defense mechanism, i don't know what is.
 
Uh oh...Sherry is in a lot of trouble for not noticing that was the guy from Napoleon Dynamite. Never is she allowed to quote it again!
 
HATHERY- Yup, Sherry blew the call, big time. She's officially banned from constantly quoting and hailing ND as the Funniest Movie Ever Created By The Hands Of Our Lord God.

CAITLIN- I knew there was something I liked about Marvin Candle!

The Others had the ability to come and go from the island thanks to the Submarine, but since Locke made it go boom, that's no longer an option. They can't be too happy about that. For the life of me, I can't remember why Locke thought that was a good idea.

I think that Jacob is one of the Hanso folks, perhaps even Magnus, the original captain of the Black Rock. Furthermore, thanks to the 'no aging' thing, Richard and the rest of the Hostiles might actually have BEEN on that damn boat.
 
they had the ability to leave on the sub, but we don't have any proof that anyone actually did, except for Richard (and possibly Ethan, if he was on the island previously)
 
Fair enough. I think that we're going to get many more Ben-centric episodes over the next 3 seasons, and they ain't getting any less mind-bruising, I'm sure of it.
 
I think Caitlin is right about Richard being the only one to leave the island (at least that we've seen). I don't know if any of those suits who were with Richard when he met up with Juliet live on the island or not.
 
Yeah, it's hard to tell at this point. Maybe he's the only one who knows how to steer a submarine through the fabric of space and time. It can be tricky during rush hour.

I have to go and spend the next 3 hours in a recording booth, as the State of Wisconsin needs my buttery-smooth announcing skills to flesh out their new phone system.

I'll give out the 1-800 number when it's all over, so you can all hear me work my studio magic.
 
also, i want to know how the fall of dharma plays into kelvin/desmond in the swan hatch. did the hostiles forget about them? did they remember them but left them to push the button b/c it needed to be pushed?
 
That is a GREAT point! If Dharma didn't exist when Kelvin/Desmond got there, did the others just give them these tasks to complete as an exercise in futility? Just so they would stay busy and far away? I don't get it. Or maybe they knew they needed SOMEONE to keep working on some of Dharma's experiments, but they sure as heck weren't going to do it. I don't know! You've got me thinking a lot now, and that hurts.
 
Re: The Button

I recall Dr. Balliwick in the training video reference an "incident" that necessitated the button pushing. But then we learned that the hatchers were being watched to see how they responded to stress. Perhaps those hatch-dwelling Dharmas just stayed there, pushing the button without knowing what happened above. When they did get curious about why they hadn't been relieved of their duties, they went topside, noticed that no one was around, and then sealed themselves up and painted Quarrantine on the hatch, fearing a plague.

The question is, why does the island still receive food drops if all the Dharmas have been gone for decades?

Here's my theory about the whole shebang. of course, I was wrong about the cause of Locke's paralysis, but that was just a fluke, I'm sure. i woouldn't consider this a spoiler because I'm pulling it out of my ass.

In Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz (which for my money is much better than the movie; then again, I got the book for free), the Wiz is an admitted humbug--a magician from Omaha who traveled to Oz in a hot air balloon who has been faking his powers to keep himself safe from the Wicked Witch of the East. At the end of the book (just like in the movie), Oz plans on leaving Oz with Dorothy, but the balloon prematurely launches and he rides alone. But my point, and where the book departs from the movie, is that before Oz leaves he names the Scarecrow as the new ruler of Oz.

Now, to Lost. Jacob said "save me" to Locke. Could it be that Jacob is looking to free himself from whatever prison he's in and find a replacement? And who could that replacement be? My guess if Locke. locke could wind up replacing Jacob.

Like I said, an outlandish theory.

Then there's the Biblical implications. Jacob stole the family birthright from his older-by-minutes twin Esau by pretending to be him, thereby fooling his blind Father, Abraham. Could that foreshadow Locke's theft of Ben's rightful inheritance as island guru?
 
Wow, those are some awesome theories!!! The thing about the hatch totally makes sense. Must have been quite a shock when they resurfaced and saw the carnage...
 
Yeah Lott, you're right about the Swan Hatch thing. Once Kelvin popped up and saw all of his dead cohorts, he started doing stealth missions around the island in a biohazard suit, documenting what was left of the place. This is probably also what Rousseau keeps talking about when she mentions "the seekness."

Not all of DHARMA was killed in the Purge; at least not right away. All we saw for sure were a bunch of 'Work Men;' no children, at least. They need those for some reason.

The way that the Lost story is being told is legendary. All these call-backs and call-aheads are mind-boggling to chart and theorize, let alone keep track of and actually write. There's absolutely nothing like it.
 
Yeah, they probably held onto the "good" people and the kids.
 
We'll eventually see what happened to Annie, too.
 
She's probably off carving crappy dolls somewhere.
 
Now that I think about it, Lord Kelvin served in the Gulf War, which was 1991. That means the Purge must have happened within the past 10 years or so. (That's Lost time; it's still 2004 on the island.)

So why all the '70s computers, the rickety VW bus, and the 8-track player? If the Dharma Project was still ongoing as of 1993 or so, why didn't the Dharmas have newer equipment? They should have at least had a copy of Nevermind in the hatch. Everybody has a copy of that.

Here's a continuity question: Rousseau has been on the island for 16 years. That's according to length of time her distress signal has been broadcasting and the age of her daughter. But Ben supposedly raised Alex, who would have been at least 5 years old by the time ben joined the Hostiles. Also, Rousseau killed her lover because he had "the sickness" before she gave birth to Alex--again at least 5 years before the Purge.

Thoughts?
 
DHARMA never appeared to update a lot of their stuff, but I remember seeing a new washer and dryer in the Swan Hatch, among a few other things. I guess they just updated the things that were broken, and lived with the rest. It sort of reminds me of my old High School.

...Nevermind....funny stuff.

That's interesting stuff about Rousseau and the Hostiles. I really have no idea, but I'm intrigued and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
 
I don't know if you guys have already talked about this, but in the Old Testament Benjamin is Jacob's son. Also in the Bible, Benjamin killed his mother, Rachel, during childbirth and with her last breath she named him Benjamin. Just thought it was interesting. : )
 
Vote on whether or not you think Lock is a goner...

Is John Locke dead?
 
There is no way John Locke is dead...no way at all.
 
ANDREA- I've been following all of the Biblical parallels that Lost has toyed with over the past few seasons, and it's always impressing to me. They must have a few people on staff that really know their stuff. Thanks for commenting, and don't be a stranger!
 

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