By Chris Kirkman
“The Shape of Things to Come” Recap and Analysis …
Whew, what an episode. Does anyone remember a more action-packed episode than this past one? I didn’t think so. We got a fair sprinkling of mind-skewing revelations, lots of explosions, the first use of a space-time transportation device and even Ol’ Smokey came out to play – BIG TIME. Let’s just get on with it, shall we?
Previously, on Lost …
Miles is still a captive of Locke, and the Ghostbuster and his people are still only there for Private Benjamin. Speaking of Benjy, his mole on the boat turned out to be -GASP- Michael, who, in turn, realized that he really had bitten off more than he could chew this time around, what with all the psychos with guns on board that freighter. Rousseau, Alex and Carl set out for the temple, only to have Frenchy and the boyfriend get picked off by snipers, while Alex was left to plead for her life by finally admitting that she’s Ben’s daughter.
And now, The Shape of Things To Come.
Back on the bitch – I MEAN BEACH – Kate’s letting her slut – I MEAN SHIRT – hang low while she washes off a bit while waving to Jack. She has that usual “I just alienated Sawyer so I need you to be interested in me again so I can still be a part of the cool team” grin on her face. Jack, being a complete tool, falls for it and gets all googly-eyed back. DUDE, you have Juliet. Grow some, will you?
In honor of the epic ass-kickingness of this episode, I want to present one of the ass-kickingest drinks I’ve come across in my many, many years of drowning my liver. This drink is an homage both to the tempest that is looming over the horizon for the survivors, Ben, Desmond and Penny, as well as to Ol’ Smokey him/her/itself. Just take it easy on these, especially if you follow the recipe to the letter – if you have one too many, you won’t remember your name, much less all the damn loose ends floating about in the Lost mythos.
The Dark and Stormy
- 2 oz. Gosling’s Black Seal rum
- 8 oz. Ginger beer
- Wedge of lime (optional)
Grab a tall glass, a Collins glass would be preferable, and put some ice in there. Pour in the Gosling’s, then slowly pour in the ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wedge. Kick back and imagine you’re in the Caribbean and a monster storm is coming in. Two drinks in and you won’t care if your hut falls down around you.
Hey, they don’t have to be difficult recipes in order to be good. The hardest part of this recipe is gathering the ingredients – finding true ginger beer can be difficult. Look for Barritts, you’ll sometimes find it in the best liquor stores. Don’t give up; this is one drink recipe that’s worth the trouble. Cheers!
Anywho, Jack’s not feeling too swift and goes in search of some antibiotics, which can only mean that he’s got early onset of appendicitis. Sure, we get to know that in the previews for next week, but c’mon – desert island, Jack’s the doc, his tummy hurts. You knew somebody was eventually going to have to do an appendectomy with a sharpened toothbrush.
Suddenly we hear barking. It’s Vincent! Timmy’s stuck in the well again! Go get Paw! Nah, wait, it’s just Bernard yelping about some body down at the seashore. Everyone rushes to help, only to find that it’s the good doctor from the freighter, his throat slit, dead as a door nail.
Cut to a concerned Hurley – concerned, that is, that Sawyer is making a mistake, doing what he wants, causing he and James to fight amongst themselves. Locke tells Hugo that it’s Sawyer’s choice to make – and Sawyer’s choice is to attack Siberia. In Risk, of course. Hurley can’t believe that Sawyer’s just going to give Locke Australia. “Australia’s the key to the whole game,” says Hurley. As any good game geek knows, Hurley’s mostly right. Of course, it’s also a smartly-written reference to everyone from Oceanic 815 flying from Down Under. And attacking Siberia, James? Duuuude, haven’t you ever heard of Napoleon and Hitler?
But I digress. We’re back in the jungle now, and Alex is at the hands of some camouflaged heavies. They’re at the security gate, and they want Alex to turn the fence off. She does.
The phone rings back at camp Locke. A phone? Locke answers. The female voice of the island is on the other end, spouting out “Code 14-J.” He thinks it’s for Ben, he says. Ben, meanwhile, being the ever-sensitive psychotic, is tickling the ivories, at least until Locke bursts in. “What’s code 14-J?” John asks.
“Where did you hear that?” asks a bug-eyed Ben, as he jumps from the piano bench and pulls a sawed-off shotgun. “They’re here,” he says, as he hands Sawyer the gun and makes for the door.
Instead of outside, we now cut to Ben – or more precisely, his eyes. He’s shivering, out of breath and lying in the middle of a cracked, sandy area while wearing a parka. The fresh steam of icy cold quickly evaporating in the heat flies off his coat, just as if he had stepped out of Doc Brown’s trailer. Ben has the Tempest Dharma station logo on his parka, and the subtitle quickly informs us that this is the Sahara Desert. Ben pukes. Yeah, transspatial teleportation will take a lot out of you. This is obviously a flash-something-or-other.
Two men approach quickly on horseback, speaking Arabic. Ben stands and holds them off, asking if they speak English. He then transitions into several different dialects, trying to communicate. One of the men dismounts and heads toward him, quickly stripping him of his coat and patting him down. He’s clean except for something in his pocket. Ben clumsily brings the object out, smiles and gestures as if it’s nothing. And then he extends the club, beats the ever-loving snot out of the Bedouin and uses the man’s gun to mow down the guy still on horseback. The second man, rolls on the ground shouting “Surrender! Surrender!”
“Oh, so you do speak English,” says Ben before he cold-cocks him with the butt of the gun. BAD. ASS.
Ben’s arm is hurt, so he bandages it quickly, mounts up and rides off on one of the horses.
Back in Camp Locke, Ben, Locke and Sawyer are making their way quickly to another hut, while Ben tries to explain that the code means one of his people has been captured. It’s time to hunker down in Ben’s bungalow, but Sawyer needs to get Claire first. Ben holds Locke back, saying that whatever happens, he needs John to live.
Back on the beach, Jack and Daniel are playing the usual “time’s a relative term” game once again, until Juliet decides the sat phone is a bit more important than the guy lying in the sand with his throat slit. Dan informs them that the sat phone is useless because they can’t really broadcast anything except tone squelch. Bernard reminds him that it could still be used as a telegraph, and Kate takes Dan in search of some of the plane wreckage to fix that right up.
It’s all action back at Ben’s Bungalow, as he and John fortify the front door. Hurley’s there with Aaron, asking how Sawyer’s going to get back in. “He’s not,” says Ben.
Speaking of James, he’s running around camp trying to find Claire. Sawyer asks Nameless Oceanic Survivor Number One if he’s seen Claire, and is answered with a spray of the guy’s blood in his face as Nameless is taken down by a sniper. Sawyer returns fire, as more and more extras pour out of the house and straight into the line of fire, like a bunch of dumbasses. Sawyer makes a run for it, using the playground as cover, rounds the corner to Claire’s house – and is leveled by the blast of the rocket that slams into it. We haven’t had that much explosive action since Arnst got a little too excited with the dynamite.
Back in Tunisia – Oops, I spoiled it – Ben is checking into a hotel with one of his secret identities. He introduces himself as Dean Moriarty, this time. For those of you who may not recognize that name, it’s a reference to a book that has come up a couple of times during my discussion of Lost – On The Road, by Jack Kerouac. More on that later. The name and his passport garner quite the reaction from the desk clerk, as she’s speechless for a moment. Ben asks for the date. “October 24,” she says. “2005?” asks Ben. But, of course. What year WOULD it be, Benjamin? Sayid is on the tellie down in the lobby and Ben watches as Sayid simply says amidst the press, “Please, I just want to bury my wife.” Hrmmm.
Back on the island, Locke and Ben are still putting up defenses in Fort Linus. Locke wants answers as to why he has to live. Ben explains that the only person that can help us now is Jacob, and Locke can hear what he has to say. Locke doesn’t know where the cabin is, though. It’s okay, says Ben, because Hurley does.
Outside, Sawyer’s managed to pick himself up despite being almost blown to hell and back. He moves to the wreckage to find Claire half-buried under some boards. She’s unconcious, but okay. That is one tough broad. JEEEzum. Sawyer scoops her up and makes a run for Ben’s house, kicking at the front door, demanding to be let in. Ben and Locke are standing around with guns drawn, but Hurley’s a man of action as he grabs an ottoman and sends it flying through the front window so Sawyer and Claire can get in. Yeehaw, we got some action here!
So … Sawyer’s a little pissed. Understandably so, I mean he and Claire almost got blowed up because of Ben’s crafty ass. James grabs Ben’s collar and wants to throw him out the front door … when the front door bell rings. Polite little mercenaries, that’s for sure. Turns out, though, it’s not a bunch of thugs – it’s only Miles, who’s been sent in with a walkie for Ben.
We’re in Tikrit, now, and there’s a funeral procession for Nadia, Sayid’s long-lost love. Apparently, the wife he was referring to was Nadia, who’s now riding the pine express. Oh, and look, it’s Ben. Surprise, surprise. He quickly makes his way up to the rooftops and starts snapping pictures of a man watching the whole procession, along with Sayid. Sayid’s spidey sense starts tingling and he looks up to see Ben, who decides it’s time to hightail it out of Iraq.
Sayid catches him in the alley, but he thinks Ben is a photojournalist, there to spy on him in his homeland. He finally recognizes the right old bastard and wants to know how the hell he got off the island. Ben makes up some dumbass story about using Desmond’s old boat to head to Singapore and blah blah blah. Ben then starts up on the whole Widmore angle once again. The man Ben was really spying on works for Widmore, and that same man was last seen speeding away from the area where Nadia was killed. Looks like Sayid’s pissed, and definitely on board the ol’ Ben Special. Next stop, Murderville, population quite a few.
Fort Linus once again. Miles informs Ben that he should really, really talk to these guys because they have a hostage – it’s Alex. This gets Ben’s attention. He grabs the walkie and hears Keamy’s mongoloid voice on the other end. He instructs Ben to head to the front window, where Ben sees Keamy standing right out in the front yard, looking like he just stepped out of Commando with Schwarzenegger. He’s smarmy, as always. He lays out his demands for Ben, which basically entails come out with your hands up and nobody gets hurt. You know, the usual. It’s right up there with the Miranda rights for most often quoted phrase in a movie with cops or hostages. Ben, of course, doesn’t believe him, mostly because he knows every little thing about Martin Christopher Keamy – and what he knows ain’t good. He’s been a bad, bad man, and I don’t mean just because he likes shooting dinner plates from the bow of a ship.
Keamy’s heard enough, and whistles for one of his men to bring Alex out. Keamy throws her to her knees and puts a pistol to the back of her head. “Get your ass out here right now, or I’m going to kill your daughter.”
Ben does some thinking. “I’d like to present a counterproposal. You and your friends turn around, walk back to your helicopter, you fly away and forget that you ever heard of this island.”
Keamy thinks about it for, oh, a millisecond, and then tells Alex to tell her daddy goodbye. Alex gets on the horn and begs for her daddy’s help. Ben tells her to relax, that he’s got all of this under control.
“She’s not my daughter. I stole her from an insane woman when she was a baby. She’s a pawn, nothing more. She means nothing to me. I’m not coming out of this house, so if you want to kill her go ahead and …”
Alex joins her mother.
And from the look on Ben’s face, it’s game on, motherfuckers.
“He changed the rules.”
“What, who?” says Locke.
Ben’s face changes to stone cold calculation as he makes his way to a secret hatch that closes behind him. Sawyer pounds on the door, but it’s solid. Inside, Ben moves aside some clothes and pushes open yet another secret hatch – a big, stone door, and he stalks inside, obviously full of rage and revenge.
Back in the Middle East, Ben is now stalking the man who he says is responsible for Nadia’s death. Ben sips his tea until the man tries to give him the slip. Ben makes his way quickly through the marketplace trying to keep up, and wanders into an alley. The assassin grabs him and throws him up against the wall. “Who are you and why are you following me?” the assassin asks.
“My name is Benjamin Linus and I need you to take a message to Mr. Widmore,” says Ben, nonchalantly.
“And what message is that?” the assassin asks, before getting blown away by Sayid. Sayid empties his gun into the man. “That should do it,” says Ben, and starts to walk away before Sayid stops him.
Ben tells Sayid to just walk away and get on with his life. Sayid says he doesn’t have a life. “I spent the last eight years of my life looking for the woman I love. I finally found her and married her, and then I buried her yesterday. So don’t tell me this isn’t my war.” More revenge. Oh, this is getting good. “Benjamin, who is next.”
“I’ll be in touch,” says Ben, who turns and walks away with a gleefully psychotic gleam in his eye.
Back on the island, Claire’s finally up and about. Like I said, tough, tough broad. Ben comes striding out of his hidey hole and is stared down by Sawyer. “Excuse me, James,” Ben says. He explains that they have to do exactly as he says, that on his order, they have to leave the house and head directly for the tree line.
“You mean toward the guys with guns,” says Hurley, dubiously.
“No,” says Ben. “We want to be as far away from them as possible.” Then, the ground starts shaking. All hell is breaking loose outside, and they all leap to the window to see Ol’ Smokey tearing ass (or whatever approximates its ass) across the compound toward the treeline. It looks like a giant, smoking freight train and it is BOOKING.
Ben gives the word and the group heads outside. There’s a lot of gunfire and screaming, and the roaring, sometimes mechanical ratcheting that usually accompanies a Cerberus attack. One merc comes fleeing from the brush, but he’s soon swooped up in a giant, smoky tendril. That’s about when everyone decides it might be time to run.
Ben stays behind, telling them that he’ll catch up. Locke wants to know where he’s going.
“I have to say goodbye to my daughter, John.” Locke nods and hands him a gun. Amidst the chaos in the trees, Ben slowly walks over to Alex’s body and kneels. He breaks into tears, closes her eyes and kisses her forehead, telling her goodbye.
Back on the beach, Dan has taken up resident Professorship and has crafted a telegraph out of the old satphone, some bits from the wreckage and a golf club. I thought I saw a coconut or two, but I could have been mistaken. Jack wants to know what he’s saying. Dan tells him he’s asking what happened to the doctor. A message comes back in Morse. Dan waits until the end and translates: They’re not sure what happened to the doctor, but their friends are fine and the helicopter is coming back in the morning.
Bernard interjects. Dan’s lying. What the message REALLY said was “What are you talking about? The doctor is fine.” Well, well, Bernard knows Morse code.
Jack’s not happy. He wants to know why Dan’s lying and gets a little grabby. “Were you ever going to take us off this island?!”
Dan searches for the right words, but instead just simply says, “No.”
Jack doubles over in pain, and wanders over a few steps, sweating and feverish.
Back with Locke and the gang, Ben rejoins them in the jungle. Locke says he’s sorry about Alex. Ben appreciates that. All formalities aside, though, Locke’s not happy that Ben lied to him about not knowing what the smoke monster was. Ben just tells him that Jacob can fill in all the blanks when they reach the cabin. This is the final straw for Sawyer, and he rounds up Claire, Miles and Hurley and starts to head back to the beach. Locke draws his gun. “Hugo stays with us.”
Sawyer pulls his pistol and we’ve got a classic Mexican standoff. Hurley agrees to go with Locke, if everyone will put their guns down. Eventually, they do. Hurley tells Sawyer that he’ll catch up with them eventually.
“If you harm so much as one hair on his curly head, I’ll kill you,” warns Sawyer.
“Fair enough,” says Locke.
Sawyer and the others head off into the brush, while John, Hurley and Ben head off in search of Jacob and his magical cabin.
Flash forward once again, this time in jolly old England. London, to be precise. Ben steps from a cab, looking dapper. He bullshits his way past the front desk clerk and makes his way to the elevator, where he produces a key that allows him access to the penthouse. Three guesses who he’s headed to see.
Ben makes his way into the darkened penthouse and tells Charles to wake up. Widmore turns on a light and sits up in bed.
“I wondered when you were going to show up. I see you’ve been getting more sun,” says Charles.
“Iraq is lovely this time of year,” quips Ben.
Widmore pours himself a glass of his and Desmond’s favorite scotch and asks if Ben is there to kill him. Ben says that they both know he can’t do that. Ben is here because Charles murdered his daughter.
“We both know that I didn’t murder your daughter, Benjamin. You did.” Hear that clanging? That’s one big ol’ pair of brass balls.
Widmore continues. “You creep into my bedroom in the dead of night, like a rat, and have the audacity to pretend that you’re the victim? I know who you are, boy. What you are. I know that everything you have you took from me. Once again I ask you, why are you here?”
“I’m here, Charles, to tell you that I’m here to kill your daughter,” says Ben, coldly. “Penelope, is it? And once she’s gone, once she’s’ dead, then you’ll understand how I feel. And you’ll wish you hadn’t changed the rules.”
“You’ll never find her,” says Widmore, unfazed. “That island’s mine, Benjamin. It always was. It will be again.”
“But you’ll never find it.”
“Then I suppose the hunt is on for both of us.”
“I suppose it is,” says Ben, finally. “Sleep tight, Charles.”
Cue the THONK!
Next week, on Lost: Jack gets appendicitis. Oh, gee, how riveting. We just found out that Ben is ON A MURDER SPREE LOOKING FOR PENNY and we have to care about the island’s biggest blowhard? Sometimes I wish I could summon Ol’ Smokey to smack around some Lost producers.
Well, holee majolee, what an episode. As far as episodes eager to be dissected, this ain’t the biggest, and yet it gave us all a lot of material to chew on. It truly lived up to its name – “The Shape of Things to Come.” Let’s take a quick look at some of the highlights and things to keep in mind in the weeks to come.
And he does it completely without a Scotty …
I guess we know how Ben and some of his Others have been so easily gallivanting around the globe – they’ve got transporter technology! I suppose you’re all expecting some big, elaborate graphic describing exactly how this could be achieved, but I have to admit that I’m outside the loop on this one. Shifting quantum states of matter is a bit outside even my fevered threshold, unless you’re talking about shifting that state along space-time. Don’t ask how it’s different, it just is. Still, I suppose if you could shift something along an extra dimension – in previous instances, time – I suppose you could also figure out a way to shift something along the first four dimensions and end up transporting great distances, although I would imagine the calibration needed to land exactly where you wanted would be a daunting task.
Theoretically, one could shift spatially along a rotating sphere – Earth – if you created a sort of stasis bubble around yourself that essentially froze your matter in time. Or, perhaps, it could be done much like how refracted light could be turned into a loop that turns back onto itself. But I’m talking way out of my ass here. The important thing to think about here is not really the how, it’s more the what’s this mean to the island? Well, if it were possible to shift a person along the curvature of the earth, couldn’t it also be possible to shift another mass, as well, even if it were by miniscule amounts? Imagine, if you will, an apparatus that was designed to harness the near-magical might of electromagnetic forces on an island. Now, imagine that those forces are built up into the machine in such a way to cause a quantum phase shift on a massive scale every so often. Let’s just say that every, oh, 108 minutes or so, enough energy would be built up in this apparatus to phase shift a large area, essentially rendering it outside the conventional continuum, therefore making it pretty much cease to exist except for a small window of time at the beginning of the next cycle. Now, imagine if there was a safety switch in place that released that energy before it overloaded the machinery, perhaps manned by a two-person team in a hatch under the ground…
Again, just talking out my ass. At any rate, I think we know how those polar bear remains that Charlotte found in the desert really got there. They had the same Dharma insignia that Ben was wearing, in case you missed it.
Now laughing friends deride / Tears I can not hide / Oh, so I smile and say / When a lovely flame dies / Smoke gets in your eyes
Um, some of you may have noticed a certain smokey monster appeared in this episode. I know, I know, it was only there for a split second, and you had to squint to notice it, but …
Okay, seriously, holy crap. Never have we been afforded a better view of Ol’ Smokey, or Cerberus, or the security system, or whatever you want to call it. And we STILL don’t know what the hell it really is. Do any of you remember the good old days when we thought it was a big ol’ T-Rex stomping through the jungle? Or a massive group of nanobots? Anything but just a corporeal mass of smoke that can read thoughts, sense fear and rend you limb from limb. The only thing we know for sure after watching this episode is that Ben has some method of either calling Ol’ Smokey from its depths or partially controlling its actions. If what we’ve learned so far about the mechanics of the island are true, the security fence is in place to keep both the living and the, well, smokey dead away from the Dharma compound. That means that Ben somehow alerted Cerberus that some troublemakers were up to no good out in the brush and it was able to penetrate the security fence and enter the compound. Ben certainly didn’t seem very afraid of Cerberus, which means that he also knows a lot more about the island’s main security system than he’s always let on.
Personally, I think Cerberus is an ancient holdover from the island – an archetypal manifestation of the centuries of energy and spirits that have ebbed and flowed across its surface. In many ways, as we’ve seen in so many episodes, the island itself seems to be aware, possibly even having its own consciousness. Perhaps in the same way, Jacob is a manifestation of the island, as well – its mouthpiece, if you will, choosing to appear to different people in whatever way would best allow it to communicate. Right now, it’s utilizing Christian Shephard’s spirit or soul or countenance because his is the strongest and most recent addition to the soul bank. That is, of course, if Christian is really dead.
Yeah, it’s all just a bit of hokum to toss around the old noggin’ for the time being, but, like most other things on the island, you have to keep trudging along and learn to look past all the smoke and mirrors.
The Holy Goof as Supervillain
Ol’ Benjamin is an obvious bibliophile, and, as such, has taken on many a moniker from some more famous readings. When we first meet Ben, he’s taken on the name of Dorothy’s uncle from The Wizard of Oz – Henry Gale. Now, we know he’s also gone by the name of “Dean Moriarty,” a name with two possible literary references.
To many, the most obvious reference would be to Professor Moriarty of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes tales. Although the criminal mastermind is only truly referenced in two of Doyle’s Holmes stories, he became the archetype for the modern archvillain, even supposedly causing Holmes to plunge to his death while trying to stop him and his machinations. Personally, I think that this alias doesn’t quite fit in with Ben’s self-identity. Ben considers himself one of the “good guys,” no matter to what ends he goes to advance his agenda. The attribution of the evil mastermind that is this Moriarty would seem to be what those of us looking outside of Ben’s actions would likely affix.
More likely, however, the alias is a reference to the epic, rambling “hero” of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, especially if viewed from Ben’s perspective. In the first half of the story, we learn of the protagonist’s near-worship of Dean Moriarty, the son of an alcoholic who yearned to grow behind the social restraints placed on him from his past and his circumstances. Later in the story, Dean is seen more through the eyes of a realist, and Dean’s failings nearly betray his status of this legendary hero. Still, in the end, Kerouac reminisces of his travels and it’s Dean who is at the forefront of his mind. It seems that Ben identifies with both the early and late versions of Dean in the story – triumphing over the adversity and control of his indifferent, alcoholic father, and yet, still yearning to better himself as leader of his new people, the Others, and the death of his mother during his childbirth.
I’ve said it before, people, I’ll say it again. Go and read. It’s worth it.
As the old Klingon proverb states …
Revenge is a dish best served cold. Cold, however, is not how I would describe how the storyline is shaping up in this new development. Now that we know that Ben is after Penny, this whole this is going to get white HOT, and I personally cannot wait to see the final showdown between Ben and Desmond. This season just keeps getting better and better.
And that’s all I have for now. Until next time, keep thinking those thoughts and if you hit an epiphany, tell me something good.
Chris Kirkman is a graphic designer/photographer/journalist/geek extraordinaire with way too many Bruce Campbell movies in his library. He is still hoping that Lost will end when Bob Newhart wakes up next to Suzanne Pleshette, complaining of a strange, strange dream. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.