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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Lost - Ben Is More Screwed Up Than Sylar

(Episode: The Man Behind the Curtain. Spoilers ahead.)

Okay, who else thought of Norman Bates when seeing Ben standing by that rocking chair?

Props to the show for giving a simple explanation as to Mikhail's survival - the sonic fence was on the stun setting, as it were.

It's a shame Libby is dead, cuz Ben needs a shrink. His mom died in childbirth and his dad blames him for her death. Ouch. Now we know why he's so obsessed with fertility research. Perhaps his childhood friend Annie was an unfortunate victim of the island's curse on pregnant women.

Jack is not a leader. And he should consider himself lucky for not getting lynched. He brings an Other into the camp, spends time with her, shields her from answering any questions, tells Kate that Juliet told him something without revealing that something, and walks away with Juliet to parts unknown. WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE HIT HIM? When Sawyer plays the tape, Juliet saves Jack's hide when she tells Sawyer to play the B side, which reveals Ben's instructions.

So the tape getting into Locke's hands was Locke's doing and not Ben's manipulation as I had first guessed. It seemed sloppy for Ben to allow Locke to hear the tape, and stupid to tell him about his kidnapping plans.

At Domenico Bettinelli's I entered a comment (currently pending moderation) pondering the mystery of Jacob and the Monster:

I had to watch the show a second time on the VCR to see the appearance of Jacob - that scene happened so fast.

My first impression is that Jacob is the man behind the curtain - that Jacob is the force behind (drum roll) the Smoke Monster. Ben sees a guy in a rocker that Locke doesn't see. Where has this happened before? In the episode "Dave," where Hurley sees a guy that Libby doesn't.

Smokey is the prime suspect behind the apparitions on the island. If so, the Monster must have access to some sort of telepathic ability; this seems the likeliest explanation for the fact that the Monster has appeared as a person (or a horse) known only to one person on the island.

This could explain how the Others were able to collect highly detailed dossiers on the Flight 815 survivors - Jacob is their source. The Others may have no idea how Jacob is getting that information; if Ben connects the dots between Jacob and the apparition of his mother, he may know a lot.

But why does the Monster behave differently toward different people? It leaves Eko alone on one occasion and kills him on another. As "Dave" it tried to get Hurley to kill himself. In smoke form it hovered over Kate and Juliet without harming them. It appears in dreams. It left Locke unharmed on one occasion, tried to drag him down a hole on another, and as Jacob spoke a couple of words that Ben couldn't hear. All those years it ignored those microbuses that drove around the island.

(How could those VWs drive around the island unmolested by the Hostiles? And how was DHARMA able to build all those installations with the Hostiles present? Maybe DHARMA lied about who got to the island first.)

I have a working theory. The Smoke Monster was originally just what Rousseau said it was - a security system, most likely built by DHARMA and preprogrammed to ignore sonic barriers and vans. One day Jacob took it over.

But who and what is Jacob? One of DHARMA's fields of study was parapsychology; maybe Jacob is a parapsychology experiment gone wrong. He/it could be something along the lines of the thought monster in the old movie Forbidden Planet, for all I know.

About those did they get hold of poison gas? Why the archaic clothing? And how did they get on the island? Some say they're descended from the crew of the Black Rock, but as Lostpedia points out, "not to [sic] many slave trading ships that carried women." Women can't conceive and survive on the island anyway. And the Hostiles speak 21st-century English. The clothing may be a ruse, to give DHARMA the impression that they're more primitive than they really are.

Here's another mystery. Ben was a boy of 10-ish years old when he first met Richard Alpert (the Mittelos agent who recruited Juliet). That was probably around thirty years ago. Since then Alpert seems to have not aged. That's something that the Others, especially Ben, would have noticed.

One more thing about Jacob: his shadowy profile from the time he was briefly visible resembles that of Locke (with a lot more hair). Some say Jacob is Locke, but I'm sticking with my original hunch. Per theory, Ben may be aware that Jacob can take any form. Perhaps Ben saw Jacob briefly take the form of a younger Locke.

As for the ring of dirt around the cabin, I thought it might be volcanic ash - or gunpowder. The Black Rock would certainly have the latter if it had cannon. I hope the significance of Locke's discovery reveals itself shortly.

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