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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lost - School Daze

(Episode: Dr. Linus. Spoilers ahead.)

This episode adds to the theory that the "flash-sideways" segments illustrate what the lives of the Losties - and the island's other non-indigenous population - would have been like if they hadn't been manipulated by Jacob. Ben Linus, Ph. D. is a history professor at a Los Angeles-area high school. The first season's Leslie Arzt is one of his coworkers, a science teacher as we remember him. Alex Rousseau is a promising student who he's been tutoring. It's mentioned that Danielle (not seen) works two jobs to support her family; we don't know the status of Mr. Rousseau.

Ben also cares for his ailing father. The two mention their brief stint on the island; Roger Linus voices regret over leaving. Perhaps in this timeline Roger's initial disillusionment with his work, a sort of custodial assignment, had led him to quit DHARMA.

Ben represents the higher ideals of the teaching profession. He wants the school to put pore resources into building young minds. Principal Reynolds (the first major flash-sideways character we haven't seen anywhere else before) doesn't share that view; he just wants to do what will "get by."

Ben learns from Alex that Reylonds had been fooling around with the school nurse on school property. He talks Arzt into hacking emails to see if the two had shared any incriminating correspondence. Arzt finds the evidence. Ben attempts to blackmail Reynolds into resigning and recommending Ben for replacement. Reynolds says he'll torpedo Alex's college aspirations if he goes down; Ben relents. Ben backs down - and in the end Reynolds submits a positive letter of recommendation for Alex.

In the real timeline, Ilana gives to Miles a bag containing Jacob's ashes. She wants the truth abotu Jacob's death - and gets it. When they get to the old Lostie camp, she forces Ben to dig his own grave at gunpoint.

Fake Locke shows up later and gives him the means to escape - he magically disconnects the makeshift shackle Ilana fashioned from airplane parts, and tells him there's a rifle waiting for him in the jungle. Fake Locke leaves, and Ben goes for it.

He gets to the rifle in time to get the drop on Ilana. He then confesses his frustrations with Jacob and his regret that he gambled with Alex's life to protect the power he gained from the island. He plans to go to the Man in Black because MIB is the only person who'll take him. Somehow, Ilana offers to take him into her camp.

Meanwhile, Jack and Hurley head back to the temple. Hurley had been trying to delay Jack's journey, but did not want to mention that his apprehension is rooted in something Jacob said. They meet Richard, who tells them of the temple aftermath, and that he did not see any of the 815 gang among the dead.

Richard has plans of his own - he wants to die. He had been gifted with agelessness by Jacob, who had told him of a special purpose that he would one day reveal - but would not live to reveal. Richard feels his decades (centuries?) on the island have been a waste.

(Perhaps, in a sense, Jacob wasn't lying about telling him some day. He may have wanted Richard to figure out things for himself as he said he wants of Jack.)

The two follow Richard to the Black Rock. Richard finds a stick of dynamite and asks Jack to light a fuse long enough to allow Jack and Hurley time for escape. Accepting Jacob's gift makes it impossible for Richard to kill himself - but others can kill him.

Jack lights a long fuse, and sits down to talk as Hurley scrams. Jack doesn't think the dynamite will go off. Mentioning what he saw in the lighthouse mirror, Jack says Jacob went through a lot of trouble to get Jack to the island, and from the grave will somehow protect his investment. The fuse fizzles just short of the dynamite.

The three find the party at the old Lostie camp. Before they arrive, Ilana says to Sun that she will help her find Jin. Ilana knows that Kwan is among the names of the six candidates to replace Jacob. Recall the names and their associated numbers:

15 - FORD
42 - KWON
51 - AUSTEN (seen at the lighthouse)

Note that the name Littleton (#313) is crossed out, but Jarrah isn't. Sayid still a canddiate? Or has that been forfeited, and Ilana counts both Kwons separately?

On another note...I have considered an utterly dreadful possibility. Jack will finally get the chance to ask Jacob (or his replacement) for a wish. He will wish that Jacob had left everybody on the island alone - and the flash-sideways are showing us that wish fulfilled.

If yer 401Ks are flexible enough, put it all on ibuprofen.

Update: I forgot to mention the final-seconds plot twist - Widmore's found the island by sub! What will the death of Jacob do to his plans? How much does he (or ANYBODY, for that matter0 really know about Jacob and his Locke-impersonating nemesis?

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