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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Lost - Apocalypse Now

(Episode: The Shape of Things to Come. Spoilers Ahead.)

Widmore's commando forces are now on the island, and they've struck Locke's faction. Known survivors are Hurley, Sawyer, Claire, Aaron, captive Miles Straume, former captive Ben, and Locke himself. Three are confirmed dead, but probably everyone else at The Barracks was killed.

In the standoff with the commando leader Ben confirms what we knew all along, that Alex was taken from Rousseau when she was an infant. This scene hints at something else that is confirmed in the last flash-forward: Ben and Widmore have been in contact with each other before. Ben expected Widmore (though his commando proxies) to play by a certain set of rules; thus when the commando leader shot Alex, Ben makes that remark, "he changed the rules".

But why does Ben say he can't kill Widmore? Even money says we won't have that explained this season - or next. But he does intend to destroy his organization, one agent at a time, and successfully manipulates Sayid into working for him. Hopefully Sayid is smart enough to know that he still can't trust Ben, and that he'll use his position to work against both Widmore and his employer.

We learn something else from that last flash-forward: Widmore doesn't know where the island is, even though he had control over it once before (through DHARMA, unless there's yet another previous tenant we don't know about). Key DHARMA personnel certainly knew how to find it.

Ben unleashes his secret weapon to save their hides - he summons the Smoke Monster! Apparently Rousseau was right all along when she said it was a security system. Smokey vanquishes most of the commandos; one appears in the preview for next week's episode.

Since Smokey's controls are accessible through The Barracks, obviously it was built by DHARMA. It serves as a patrol, ignoring DHARMA vehicles such as the one driven by Ben's dad, and staying out of the fenced area that marks DHARMA's only above-ground installation. But Smokey seems to also be working for Jacob, given its peculiar interactions with the Lostaways.

Jack's getting sick, and the preview says it's appendicitis. Fortunately they have another MD on the island in Juliet, otherwise the closest substitute at hand is the resident dentist. Extracting an appendix isn't exactly like extracting a molar...

Kudos to Bernard for his Morse Code skills - he catches Faraday's lie about the ship transmission. The mad scientist is such a bad liar, anyway - If I ever play poker, I want Faraday as an opponent.

Joining Bernard among the Heroes of the Week are Sawyer, for rescuing Claire, and Hurley, for defusing the gun standoff between Sawyer and Locke. Hurley is the Sam Gamgee of the island, a humble marshmallowy sort of a guy on the surface, but when the chips are down he's a lot tougher than most people realize.

This season will end with people actually getting off the island. The public will know of six survivors: Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Aaron, and Sun. Claire will be separated from her son, either by dying or by some other means. The Oceanic Six will think that Jin is dead, but he will actually survive, and will be working once again for Mr. Paik.

This episode is set in December 2004; the island departure should occur before month-end or in early January. In October of 2005 Ben will leave the island, probably by means of the mysterious conveyance he once dubbed the magic box. He will wind up in the Tunisian desert; recall that prior to her mission Charlotte Lewis had discovered in that same desert a polar bear wearing a DHARMA collar.

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