Thursday, April 9, 2009

"Dead Is Dead"

After watching what can only be described as one of the most-awesomest episodes ever, the realization hit me... I will be in some serious mourning when "Lost" is over.

In my opinion, "Dead Is Dead" just proves this show is one of the finest hours of television. This Ben-centric episode was not only my favorite of Season 5... but may just be my favorite episode of the entire show (well, so far). We were treated to seeing the (all too brief) return of Desmond and Penny, more of Widmore's time on the Island... and some mighty fine acting from Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn.

Dear Emmy Voters: It is high time the brilliant Michael Emerson gets the recognition he deserves. Thank you.

Oh, another way I know it's a good episode is when I receive text messages from Lula such as:
  • "So good. Loving it."
  • "This RULES! So good!"
  • "Dude, this is awesome!"

OK, time to get on with this recap. I want to start with Widmore. Charles was not too happy with He of the Heavily-lined Eyes for bringing Lil' Ben into their temple... Widmore didn't care that it was "just a boy" who was dying. But when Alpert said, "Jacob wanted it done... the Island chooses who the Island chooses, you know that", Widmore seemed to accept Lil' Ben would be one of them.

The next time we see Widmore, it's when Ben returns to their camp with the baby Alex. Widmore again shows no love towards kids when he orders Ben to kill Alex. Yeesh, what does this guy have against children?

Widmore's banishment from the Island was an interesting scene. We learn Widmore has been exiled for "breaking the rules" (leaving the Island regularly and having a daughter with an outsider). We know the daughter to be Penny... so this would mean Ellie/Eloise is not Penny's mother. Unless... Ellie/Eloise was also banished from the Island at some point prior to this, and is therefore considered to be an "outsider".

The last we see of Widmore in this episode is when he's received a phone call from Ben, who is at the marina in Los Angeles. Ben tells Widmore he's going back to the Island, but first he's going to kill Widmore's daughter.

Which leads me to Desmond and Penny! I was euphoric to see my favorite couple... yet anxious at the same time, afraid of what was going to happen...

Seriously, this scene was hard for me to watch...

I had to keep my hand over my mouth, lest my screams of "No! No! Nnnooooooo!!!!" wake up my sleeping children.

Before Ben can off Penny, Little Charlie appears:

Now, I do think Ben wouldn't have gone through with his plans to kill Penny. But he does hesitate, and we get to see that it was Des who beat the living daylights out of Ben.

So we've seen Ben refuse to kill Danielle and Baby Alex... and then he can't (or won't) kill Penny because of Little Charlie... who knew Badass Ben was a big ol' softie when it comes to moms and kids?

I'm going to touch base on what went down with Sun and Lapidus before moving onto the meat of the episode (i.e, Ben, Locke and Smokey).

What I found interesting about this whole scene was that Ben did not know Jack, Kate, Hurley, et al. were in the Dharma Initiative...

...but later he does remember he was healed by the Temple as a kid. Hmmm...

Lapidus is all, "peace out, crazy sauce... I'm not sticking around here with a murderer and a dead guy" and leaves to go back to the Hydra. When he gets there, Lapidus is told by a Red Shirt that Ilana and three others have found guns and have taken over. When Lapidus confronts Ilana (who is wrestling with the same crate we saw earlier in the episode), she asks him "What lies in the shadow of the statue?"

Marshallette-turned-bounty-hunter-chick say what?!

"What lies in the shadow of the statue?" has to be some sort of riddle/password. Unfortunately for Lapidus, he doesn't know the answer, so this earns him a rifle-butt to the head.

Ilana tells the other guy with her to "get everyone else, tell them it's time"... get who else? And "it's time" for what? There's more to Ilana than we first thought. Who is she really working for? What is in the crate?

One more thing about Ilana and her cronies... I think it's safe to guess these are the ones who were in the outrigger, chasing Locke, Sawyer, Juliet and the other time-trippers back in episode 4 ("The Little Prince).

Alright, it's time for the main course (also known as why Michael Emerson deserves an Emmy).

When Ben wakes to find none other than "I-used-to-be-dead" Locke staring him down, he is obviously surprised.

Locke calls Ben out on this, and Ben covers for his look of utter disbelief by saying "it's one thing to believe it John... it's another thing to see it". Then Ben admits the reason he was trying to make it over to the main island was to be judged by... "the monster".

Ben is a master spinner of tales... do we believe Ben knew Locke would come back?

The scene with Ben and Caesar on the beach, discussing Locke... I thought this was Ben, doing what he does best.  Lying, scheming... manipulating Caesar into doubting what Locke has told him about Ben...

Caesar tells Ben "I got your back" and shows he's packing heat (by means of a sawed-off shotgun).

Later, when Locke finds Ben in hopes to "talk about the elephant in the room"... the fact that it was Ben who killed Locke. Ben's explanation is that Locke had failed to convince the O6 to come back to the island, and that he had to stop Locke from killing himself because Locke had information that would have died with him. Once Ben had the critical info... "well, I just didn't have the time to talk you back into hanging yourself" ...oy, the eye roll Ben does before delivering this line is brilliant! Ben goes on to say he did what he did because it was "in the best interest of the island".

Locke's reply to this was one of the best lines of the episode: "I was just hoping for an apology."

I can honestly say that what happened next... I totally did not see coming! Locke and Ben are trying to take a canoe over to the main island when they are stopped by Caesar. Ben has already planted doubts about Locke in Caesar's mind... so Caesar goes to grab his gun, but...

BAM! Ben shoots Caesar then says to Locke: "Consider that your apology."

No one else has a problem with Ben and Locke taking the canoe... so they're on their merry way to the main island.

It's after they dock at the main island that Locke says he believes Ben is lying about being judged for coming back to the Island after he'd left (which was against the rules)... but rather Ben wants to be judged for killing his daughter.

Which brings us to Ben's judgement day. Ben does summon Smokey... but the monster doesn't show.  So Locke decides they have to go to it, and he knows just where to go.  Into the jungle they trek, finally ending up at the temple.

In the underground chamber Ben has fallen into, we see hieroglyphics all over the walls, including one very important mural:

Is this Anubis bowing down to Smokey?!

I had chills watching the rest of the episode unfold... Smokey rises out of a grate in front of Ben, swirling around him. Ben then sees memories of Alex... from taking her from Danielle, to Alex's death at the hands of Keamy.

Smokey then leaves, but reappears in the form of Alex. Ben apologizes to "Alex", finally admitting it was all his fault.  "Alex" doesn't disagree with this... then brings out her/its own inner-Ninja on Ben by pinning him to a column.  "Alex" tells Ben she/it knows Ben is planning on killing Locke again but he better think twice about doing so.  In fact, "Alex" wants Ben to promise he will follow Locke's orders, otherwise she/Smokey will destroy him. Ben swears he will follow Locke and "Alex" disappears.

The result of Ben's judgement: "It let me live."

For now, Ben... you live, for now. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

Sorry, I got carried away...

OK, everyone... what did you think of this episode? What questions did this episode leave you pondering?


Christina said...

So, I knew a few episodes ago when we saw Ben looking like he'd gotten the crap kicked out of him, that it had been Desmond that dealt the blows. But, how awesome was that scene? And, why does Ben have such a soft spot for kids?

I LOVED Ben's reaction upon waking to find Locke staring at him.

I am a little perplexed as to why Ben doesn't seem to remember the gang being part of the Dharma Initiative. So, apparently, even though the events are the same, the people are not?

Ben and Widmore seem to age at different rates. Widmore appears to have aged considerably by the time he is being banished from the island. But, maybe my time line is a little off as well.

What I loved most of all about this episode is that it finally answered some burning questions. Why Widmore wants to get back to the island, why Widmore and Ben hate each other so much, etc. What annoyed me was the Ilana twist! Who is she? Who sent her there? And, what the hell does "What lies in the shadow of the statue mean?"

Unfortunately, I'll be on nights next week I'll be watching it the next morning, but I can't wait!

Eudae-Mamia said...

I'm going out on a limb by confessing this - but anyone else find the bad ass, sarcastic, all-knowing John Locke to be hawt?

Seriously professing my love for Terry O'Quinn.

Even Hubs, who pretends to not like the show, yet ends up watching it every week, said last night that both Terry and Michael totally make the show.

Also, anyone else get a "weird" vibe from Lawnmower Man Lapidus? Something ain't on the up and up with that one.

Shannon: "Marshallette-turned-bounty-hunter-chick say what?!"


Steph said...

So, when Ilana showed up to "arrest" Sayid (or whatever she called it) I thought that maybe Ben had put her up to as his way of ensuring Sayid was gonna be on that plane.
Now I wonder if in fact it was Ben who got her to do it and if she and some of the other passengers are actually OTHERS...and "What lies at the foot of the statue" is Other code.

So glad that Des, Penny, and little Charlie are okay! I was shouting at Ben not to do it the whole time.

And I liked Locke a lot before, but after this episode, I LOVE him.

Great episode!!!

Heather said...

Oh. My. Stars...Lapidus IS the Lawnmower Man. I'm speechless. I can't say he's aged well. Moving on.

I agree that it was a meaty episode. I was a little disappointed in the smoke judging. I've always thought the smoke monster was really scary, but it was so tame with Ben.

Okay, this comment had no theories, just gripes about the special effects.

Elena said...

Okay...the smoke reappearing as Alex....I would have NEVER thought that. Maybe all these reappearances from dead people have been Smokey all the time. Hmmmm...interesting.

Bradpetehoops said...

Very amazing blog!

Ritch in Love said...

I only have a few minutes but I wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed the development over the past few seasons of Ben and John's relationship. So much so that I sat down last night with Michael, right after and watched the episode with John first trusts Ben by letting him out of the closet in the bunker to help him with the Blast Doors and trusts him to push the button on the computer. Fascinating from the beginning.

CaraBee said...

I definitely enjoyed this weeks episode. While I think Ben is an interesting character, most certainly mysterious, this is the first time that I actually cared about him. They gave him real, relatable feelings. Not killing the baby and holding back on Penny when little Charlie came out. Loved it!

I didn't make the connection that Alex was the smoke monster. Should have spotted that. I just figured she was one more walking dead person. I like Elena's theory that all of the resurrected are actually ole smokey.

I was absolutely shocked when Ben shot Ceaser! I definitely thought he was going to play into a much bigger role. Maybe he still will, the island does funny things.

All in all, a great episode! Great recap, Shannon!

The Royal Family said...

ole smokey could be the walking dead people.......hmmmmmmmmmm

Loved it! and loved that we saw the softer side of ben. He is still a badguy though!

piecemeal people said...

Am I the only person who cannot STAND the "new" island people - Ilana and Caesar, etc.? I have a hard enough time keeping the rest of the cast's stories straight - I don't need to get invested in a whole new bunch of castaways! It's stressing me right out...

Michelle said...

(who is the Lawnmower man? Fill me in)

I knew Desmond would be the one who beat the living daylights out of Ben. (Way to go Des for doing so AFTER being shot)

So Desmond was faced with the task of "finding Faraday's mother" - he was already linked to Eloise in a past season when he was time jumping (when he was the only one who was time jumping) also during which he met Daniel Faraday. I think maybe it is Desmonds job to reunite Penny and Daniel because they are siblings.

Ellie didn't appear to be on the island when Widmore got booted. Maybe she was the one he was leaving the island to see.

Also in a past season didn't Tom "Smiley" leave the island (I think for Michael but I'm not sure) and he was in a hotel room. Anyone remember that? How come certain others (like He of the Heavily Lined Eyes) can leave the island sometimes, but for others its forbidden and punishible by banishment?

I too thought that Ben hired Ilana to get Sayid back to the island. I mean he did hire the lawyer who messed with Kate and Aaron. It would now seem that Ben did not hire Ilana. Who does she work for? Is she an other-Other? Regardless, she leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. I'd love to see Sawyer tell her off and then Juliet kick her bounty-hunting-ass.

Good catch on the hieroglyphics. I noticed smokey depicted but didn't realize that was Anubis.

"What lies in the shadow of the statue?" If Ilana were an other I doubt she'd have statue questions, as the Others seem to know exactly whats up with 1. the island 2. the temple 3. the statue 4. Smokey

How did she know there is a statue? She can't see it from where she is.

Richard told Kate and Sawyer that lil Ben wouldn't remember anything. Well shocker he remembers the temple. He doesn't however remember Sawyer being LaFleur, Jin taking him back to the barrocks after being shot, etc etc. Why the selective memory Ben?

Well I read that next weeks epi introduces us to a new young therapist being brought into the Dharma initiative. It's going to be Harper, obviously. Will she arrive with Goodwin? How will Juliet react to seeing Goodwin again? What will "LaFleur" think of Juliet's reaction if Goodwin shows up?

I also read in the the TV guide that by the May finale there will be a wedding taking place on Lost. HOWEVER, Damon and Carlton said it could be a past wedding flashback, or even a future wedding flashforward, they won't confirm if it is a "present time" (such as Sawyer and Juliet) wedding.

Sorry my comments are always too long aren't they? I'm a big Susser.

Michelle said...

Just posted the Lost Untangled Video for the last epi on the very bottom of my blog. Make sure your speakers are turned up.

If you haven't seen these before they are from and they are 2D spoofs on Lost episodes, and they full recap (in a histerically funny way) the most recent epi

Denise said...

I don't think Ben knew that Locke would "rise again." Sorry, but he looks like he's seen a ghost when he wakes up to see John sitting there.

I think the Ben has a soft spot for children, babies and mothers because of the treatment he received from his father because of his mother's absence.

I think Ilana was hired by Widmore and the Widmore came up with the secret code. One thing I have noticed is that Ilana doesn't seem to concerned that Sayid has disappeared. I think they are Phase 2 of reclaiming the island.

I was a bit disappointed in the Smokey/judgment scene. I didn't think it was intense enough, but maybe that was just me. The Alex part really kicked it up multiple notches.

Lula! said...

Michelle--I love that you are a big susser! (And that you have a New Moon countdown clock on your blog. Just sayin'.)

Shannon--this recap ROCKS IT OUT, girl. Yay you!!!!

Here's my thoughts:

1. Ben is pro-life. I love this. He loves him some kiddoes. Of course he does. Yes, he stole Alex from Danielle, but at least he warned Danielle about the whispers. And did you see the look on Ben's face when he saw lil' Charlie on Des & Penny's boat. Awwww.

2. Lapidus is the lawnmower man (Michelle--that was a movie Jeff Fahey, who plays Lapidus, starred in--back in the early 90's, based on the book by Stephen King), but he is also a porn star. Seriously...dude had his shirt unbuttoned halfway down his chest...a la' Robert Pattinson. (Who is not a porn star--but should be. Ahem.) And something is definitely up with our pilot. Oh, but yes.

3. The heiroglyphics can only mean one of two things: either Smokey is REALLY REALLY REALLY old, or the island peeps have gone to a great deal of trouble to make people believe Smokey is really, really, really old. Honestly, this was the most fascinating aspect of the episode--the whole Temple/Smoke Monster mystery. And it's still a mystery, even though we saw a lot in this episode.

4. It's no coincidence that EMMY kind of sounds like Emerson. As in Michael Emerson, aka Ben. That man deserves a room full of trophies for his portrayal of the man we love and love to hate. Seriously--Ben has always been one of my favorites--even when we knew him as "Henry Gale," in season 2. Genius. The man is genius.

5. Eudae Mama--Yes, my friend--John Locke is hot. Dude was SMOKIN' hot in this episode. His confidence made him even hotter. I was all, "Terry O'Quinn--I totally have a crush on you!!!!" Yes, I actually said this out loud during the episode. Please do not tell Josh Holloway (Sawyer) I said this. Don't want him to think I'm cheating on him.

6. The whole "what lies in the shadow if the statue" is the newest mystery that I want answers to. Shannon--I love your assessment of Ilana: Marshallette-turned-bounty-hunter. Spot-on. Brilliant. Awesome. You WIN!

My 2 favorite lines of the episode:

Ben: This gentleman and I are taking a boat.

(He might as well have said, "And then we'll stop for a spot of tea." I laughed out loud at this. So fabulous.)

and Ben again, after shooting Caesar: Consider THAT my apology.

Seriously--that's one of the times I texted Shannon, going, "THIS RULES!" Loved it.

Can I just say I'm so sad this season is winding down? Man, I so love this show.

Rhea said...

This episode was AWESOME.

I was totally blow away by the Illana chick's riddle-me-this question. I mean, whoa.

And Ben face to face with smokie...AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME.

And Smokie LIKES Locke.

I really can't wait to find out more!

Jo said...

I have to agree that this is by far my favorite of the season and before I didn't really even like Ben that much so odd that an episode all about him would be my fav, but OH so much it is!

Awesome recap!

Shannon said...

Thanks for the positive feedback on the recap! :)

I can't remember where I read this, but originally the character of "Ben" was only supposed to last through season 2. But the audience had such a strong reaction to the character and to Michael Emerson, that the creators decided to keep him around. I'm soooo glad they did!

Heather said...

My head is spinning.

This episode rocked.

Gabe watched it with me. When Ben fell down into the temple, Gabe asked, "Is that Indy Jones?".

Love it. (For those that don't know Gabe, he is only four, and loves scary shows. My older two cowards won't even watch the words come out on the intro...)

Great recap, Shannon. You and Lula make a great team! said...

The whole time I was watching this epi, I was thinking, 'This is the best episode EVER.'. The dialogue was just amazing. I can't even pick a favorite line, there were so many good ones!
I will be very, very sad when LOST is over for good.

Michelle said...

DarkUFO thinks that "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" is a passcode (secret question type thingy)

Why isn't Ilana concerned with where Sayid is? He's gonna be the one who takes her down....or at least I hope.

I need more Jack. So not enough Jack lately.

Michelle said...

DarkUFO thinks that "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" is a passcode (secret question type thingy)

Why isn't Ilana concerned with where Sayid is? He's gonna be the one who takes her down....or at least I hope.

I need more Jack. So not enough Jack lately.

Michelle said...

One thing on Ellie... Widmore was one of the Others, and Ellie was a Dharma Initiative. That - in my mind at least - still keeps her as an Outsider. No?

But Man did Des do a great job there... and how cute with little Charlie?

I just feel like nothing can be trusted now with Ben. And the marshall chick? She needs to be the focus of the next story :)