Lost Round-Table: Episode 7, “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham”

We continue with our round-table discussions of Lost. This week, we’re joined by Bridget McGovern, Theresa DeLucci and Melissa Frain. As always, spoilers abound, so stay away from this post if you haven’t watched the latest episode of Lost, “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham.”

Theresa: Guess we know that the other passengers in first class with the Losties did get brought to the Island. Caesar and Ilana (aka. Hot, Slutty Chick from Rome, aka Hot, Slutty Chick from The Namesake) are taking care of injured people from the Ajira flight. Liked the framing device of it, with that nice little reveal at the end.

This episode is surely going into Terry O’Quinn’s Emmy reel. What a great actor. I’m in love with Locke again. I missed the one-character-at-a-time flashback device and Locke had become so one-note in his devotion to the Island faith, I stopped feeling sympathy for him. And what a flashback. Loved the visits paid to Sayid, Hurley, and especially Walt. God, poor kid. No one has the guts to tell him what happened to his father. For three years?! That seems cruel to me. I really hope they do bring Walt back into the fold and tell us why he’s so special. Good to see creepy Abbadon again, too. Briefly. Frakkin’ trigger-happy Ben! And how sad about Locke’s love Helen.

The two key scenes to me, the ones that really made me think were John’s encounters with Charles Widmore in the beginning and Ben at the end. Why am I willing to trust Charles more than Ben? Is it because, aside from the Freighter staff snafu, he hasn’t tried to kill anyone. Aside from Ben. Ben is so self-serving, I just will never trust him. Saying that, I’m still surprised when Ben does something terrible. Like kill Locke! Especially when the man is at his most broken. I always want to believe Ben is working for a higher purpose. But what does it matter if Locke brings everyone back to the Island on Charles’s behalf if Ben wants everyone back on the Island, too?

I still fail to see what’s so great about being the leader of the Island. Obviously it fills that emptiness in Locke’s life, so that’s enough for him. But what appeal did it have for Charles? For Ben? What of this coming war?

Melissa: This week’s episode was indeed full of absolutely amazing acting, but I’ve gotta say…wasn’t hugely excited by tonight. (Mind you, I do have a history of disliking the episodes that the rest of the world seems to love the most.) This whole episode felt a little like they were just filling in the gaps to me–ok, we got to see what exactly Locke said to the Oceanic 6, and we saw him thinking he failed in the whole mission (which, btw, was one of the most amazingly acted scenes I think I’ve seen on this show). But how much of this was really new information? It felt very much like a series of here-is-what-happened-and-for-once-it’s-exactly-what-you-all-thought-it’d-be.

Take the final scene. I was waiting for the huge mindblowing moment at the end there, but was pretty disappointed. I will be surprised if there is anybody in the world who thought it was going to be somebody other than Ben on the bed when the camera panned around.

The most interesting thing we learned this week as far as I’m concerned: all the different sides are trying to get the Oceanic 6 back on the island (and we got confirmation that Widmore led the Others at one point – cool!). But…huh? Ben and Widmore and Ms Hawking and Locke and all of those people are working toward the same goal, but why? What could that mean? Widmore says the “wrong side” will win if they don’t get back, but which is the wrong side if all of the sides we’re aware of want the same thing…?

One last tiny little note: Oh Hurley, I love you so much. When he thought Locke was dead and then realized it wasn’t all just in his head…oh, priceless. Oh, and I’ve always been a fan of Abaddon, so I was excited to see him (not to mention his phenomenal death).

Bridget: I can’t believe I’m writing this, but tonight was actually a relatively straightforward episode, right? Not for any other show, but in terms of the patented craziness of “Lost,” I didn’t feel like many punches were pulled. Basically, Locke spent the episode bouncing between Charles Widmore and Ben Linus like a needy, confused ball in the World’s Most Evil Game of Pong. His longstanding emotional and physical vulnerabilities have come back into play with a vengeance, and it’s impossible to watch his interactions with Ben and Widmore without thinking of his past with his con-man father, Anthony Cooper. And as pathetic as he seemed at points in this episode (Terry O’Quinn’s performance was truly, truly excellent), let’s remember that Locke is not above revenge (even if he has someone else doing his dirty work), so now I guess we get to watch John and Ben extend their sadomasochistic, cat-and-mouse tango beyond the grave. (Well, beyond the coffin, at least.)

Good to know Sayid got in some Habitat for Humanity do-gooding between stints as a ninja-assassin, nice to see Waalllllttt!, as well as the always enjoyably-sinister Matthew Abaddon (while it lasted). Also, now we know that the Oceanic Six survivors were magically raptured out of the plane before it crashed, which is interesting. More than anything, I guess, this episode drove home the sense that there have been larger forces controlling events at every turn, that there is a war coming between these rival powers, and that Locke (and presumably the other survivors) will play a key role in deciding the outcome of the clash. None of that is really news, but it’s good to have details fleshed out a little. So: do we think that Helen’s really dead? What’s up with Locke’s son? And if the pilot (who I’m assuming is Lapidus—must be, right?) took a boat and ran off with “some woman,” who wants to bet it wasn’t some random stewardess? So many larger questions have been brought up, but I can’t even begin to slog through the great Widmore versus Linus debate right now. The only thing that seems clear is that neither one can be trusted. And: don’t ever, ever turn your back on Ben.

Theresa: I don’t even think I know what the sides are! Dharma? Others? Sleestaks?

Bridget: Sleestaks!!! I can’t wait until they show up! With Klingon allies!


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