Lost: Down the Hatch – The unbearable lightness of Ben

Chris Kirkman

Chris Kirkman

“Whatever Happened, Happened” Recap and Analysis …

Previously, on Lost: Sawyer. Cassidy. Baby. Con. Kate. Copter. Whisper. SPLASH! Kidnap. Lawyer. Carole. Island. Past. Ben. Sayid. Van. CRASH! Escape. Jungle. Run. Jin? WHACK! BLAM! Thud. Thonk!

This week on Lost: Okay, this week it’s time for me to be fast and furious (in theaters today!), so bear with me. Let’s roll!

After Kate gets off the Island, she goes to see Cassidy – Sawyer’s ex and mother of his daughter, Clementine – and spills the beans. Cassidy calls Sawyer a son of a bitch and a coward for jumping off the chopper. Kate hands Cassidy money, but she doesn’t want it since it’s dirty blood money from the Oceanic settlement.

Later, later, like 2007 later, Kate leaves the docks where Sun has Ben at gunpoint and decides, despite the shock of potential gunfire around her “son,” that it’s okay to stop off at the local supermart for some chocolate milk. Aaron doesn’t want chocolate milk, dammit, he wants a juice box. So, somewhere between aisle three and aisle five, Kate loses Aaron. That kid is damn slippery. Anyone else have a problem with this scenario? Did your mom ever lose you in the grocery store as a child? Hell no, when you were Aaron’s age, your mom got a shopping cart even if she was going in there just to pick up panty hose and you were in the cart, standing up at the front, playing King of the World like Leonardo fucking DiCaprio. You know it’s true. Anyways, she gets all frantic and sees someone who looks a lot like Claire walking toward the exit with Aaron. She grabs him and holds him close. Next time, use a cart Kate. Moms everywhere agree.

A little later, like when it’s time to go back to the Island later, Kate visits Carole Littleton and tells her the truth about little Aaron. She’s a bit shocked, understandably. Kate tells Carole that she is going back to the Island to find Claire (really? Really Kate? Like, seriously?) and that Aaron is two doors down. Kate then goes off to tell the little dude goodbye and she boo hoos quite a bit and, for a second, my heart actually melts for Kate.


Damn you for making me care!

Hey, alright, back on the Island in good old 1977 now! Baby Ben’s been shot! Sayid’s run off! Jin’s unconscious! Dogs and cats … living together … mass hysteria!

Jin wakes up and finds that baby Ben has suffered the first of many beatdowns he will receive in life. Ben is still alive – yep, we all figured as much – so Jin scoops him up and loads him into the Dharmamobile.


This has absolutely nothing to do with the price of tea in China, I just thought it was a cool shot.

Back at Dharmaville, Horace has cooked up this crazy theory that someone in Dharma must’ve helped Sayid escape. While he and Sawyer (as LeFleur) are checking out the cell and security cameras, everyone else is on clean-up duty, straightening up the place after a flaming Dharmamobile took out a bungalow. Roger Linus asks for the wench’s help with … oh, hahahah, wait, he asked for Kate’s help with the winch, my bad, and I can swear that Kate makes flirty freckle face with him. Ew, Kate. Just ew. In the middle of flirty freckle face action, Jin drives up and drags out a bloodied boyhood Ben. To the infirmary!

Kate visits Sawyer down at the Dharma jail, looking for answers to what happened to boy Ben. Horace shows up and they have to play it cool, so Kate can get out while the getting’s good. Horace finds some keys in the jail cell lock and says that only three people have keys like that, two of them being Roger Linus and new guy, Jack. Sawyer orders Miles to go watch over Jack, Kate and Hurley, and make sure they don’t leave their bungalow until he can straighten up the town.

In the infirmary, lovely Juliet tries desperately to save boy Ben’s life, but the tween has lost a lot of blood and it’s not looking good. If only there was a trained surgeon on the Island! Wait, there is? Oh yeah, Jack! Somebody get Jack! Oh good, Sawyer’s gonna get Jack. Surely he’ll help.


“hufffff … No way, man … like, that requires me getting up, and, like, caring and stuff. Besides, Horace has, like, some amazing shit growing back over near the Arrow. It’s totally premo. Oh, hey, could you, like, throw me the Dharma chips on your way out? Righteous.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the bungalow, Hurley is channeling his inner Marty McFly, and I’m having a little deja vù of my own.


Hurley, waiting to see if his hand would disappear a la Marty’s picture in Back to the Future, just like I mentioned in last week’s analysis. Oh, he’s talking about mutable timeline theory, just for the record.

Hurley and Miles then get in a heavy discussion about the implications and repercussions of mucking about in the past. If anyone would like a more detailed recap of what and all was discussed during their temporal pow wow, feel free to look back at my analyses of the entire last two seasons. It’s pretty much all right there, in black and white.

Back to Jack, Kate tells him that she can’t believe he won’t help and that she doesn’t like the new him. Jack just does a little head bob thing, does two snaps in the air and tells her that she didn’t like the old him, either. Oh no, he didn’t! You just been served, bitch. Kate decides she’s had enough and leaves to go help Juliet in the infirmary, despite the protests of Miles.

Back in the infirmary, little Ben isn’t looking so hot. Kate shows up and offers her blood to help Ben, since she’s a universal donor. That’d be type O negative for all you completists out there.


“Now, Kate, you just lie back for a couple of hours. He’s lost a lot of blood, so I figure we’ll need about 4 or 5 liters …”*

While Kate is waiting to get her “I Donated Blood” sticker and the free cookie, Roger comes in and there comes flirty freckle face, again. What does she have for Uncle Rico, anyway? Roger takes a seat and laments that he wasn’t exactly the world’s greatest father, and that Ben took his keys to let Sayid out.

Back at the Oceanic bungalow, Miles continues to try and get Hurley to understand the laws of time travel, and it makes me kind of glad that I just get to write about this complicated crap without someone going “but … but … but …” the whole time.


“Aha! But, dude, that guy on HoboTrashcan.com said that we’re, like, all connected by temperamental string and stuff and that there’s a chance one of us could leap back in time into a woman’s body to set right what went wrong … or something like that. Let’s just see if Jack has any more of that stuff around here.”

After Kate gives a little less than the four liters that Juliet needs, Juliet informs Kate that little Ben isn’t going to make it without some help. She suggest that the Others might be able to do something. The Others! What a stellar idea! So, Juliet helps Kate get little Ben into a Dharmamobile, and off Kate goes, to the sonic fence. It’s not long before Sawyer catches up to her, though. Figuring that he’s come to stop her from giving Ben over to the Others, she plants her feet and gets all Miss Tuffpants. Sawyer tells her that he’s not there to stop her, though, he’s there to help … BUT, he’s there because Juliet asked him to be there, not because Kate might need his help. Sawyer loves Juliet! Oh, there is justice on the Island, after all.

Sawyer deactivates the sonic fence, drags little Ben out of the van and he and Kate set off into the jungle of mystery, looking for the Hostile’s M.A.S.H.

Meanwhile, back in Dharmaville, Juliet is tearing into the Oceanic bungalow and she is pissed. Good god, it’s hot. She tells Hurley and Miles to take their temporal wanking elsewhere and rushes them out the door, before storming into the bathroom to catch Jack … in a towel? Oh, c’mon! Juliet closes the door and lets it all spill out. She demands to know why Jack wouldn’t help her or Ben, and why he’s come back to the Island, after all. Jack thinks for a minute and simply says that he knows he was supposed to come back to the Island, but he doesn’t know why just yet. Careful there, Jack … you’re starting to sound like Locke. FINALLY.


“What? Help? Yeah, like, sorry but I just had take a shower, man … there were, like, spiders and shit on me.”

Back in the jungle of mystery, Kate and Sawyer are carrying Ben deeper and deeper into Hostile territory. Since Kate is there, it’s not long before they find themselves at gunpoint, and Sawyer demands to see Richard Alpert. Kate and Sawyer are escorted further into the jungle until Richard appears. Richard recognizes Sawyer, but doesn’t register Kate. It’s okay, though, says Sawyer, she’s with him. Sawyer tells Richard that they have come for his help because the boy has been shot. Richard asks if the boy is Benjamin Linus and Sawyer raises an eyebrow, wondering if the two have met before. At any rate, Richard agrees to help Ben, but if he does, Ben will never be the same. He will be changed, losing his innocence and forever becoming one of Them. Oh, and he won’t remember any of this, or how R2 saved the Republic again, or even master Obi-Wan.

Richard takes Ben in his arms, and one of the Others tells him that Ellie and Charles won’t be too pleased. Well, well, Mrs. Hawking and Mr. Widmore do end up together as speculated. Anywho, Richard says that they’re not the boss of him and he takes off with Ben through the jungle. He comes out into a clearing and there’s the Temple, in all its styrofoam glory. Richard walks up to the Temple wall, flips a magic switch that opens a stone door, and carries little Benjamin Linus off to meet his pod, and his destiny.

Cue the … WAITAMINUTE.

Back on the Island in current time (well, show current time, you know what I mean), we see big Ben curled up inside the Hydra station, sleeping peacefully after having been conked on the head for the 81st time. The camera pans up to reveal a figure beside the cot, looking down on Ben. It’s Locke, who, when Ben opens his eyes, grins that wonderful mischievous grin and welcomes Ben back to the land of the living.


You just can’t keep a good man down. Hey, buddy. We’ve missed you.

And NOW … cue the thonk!

This was a nice, solid episode. Not a lot of totally mind-blowing moments, but a good time, overall. Surprisingly, despite the humorous lesson in temporal mechanics given by Miles, there’s not really a whole lot of time theory to rehash in the analysis. As any of you who have read the column for awhile now know, pretty much everything they’ve said has come up at one point or another. Anyone new to the party who needs a temporal fix should just go back and re-read my analyses for this season. Oh, hush, you’ll like it.

Well, despite no new temporal shenanigans, there are definitely a couple of things that came into sharper focus after that episode. Most importantly, more of the structure and operations of the Others were revealed, as well as how the Temple and Cerberus play a role. Let’s take a trip down the Other rabbit hole now and see what we’ve got, so far.

THANK YOU FOR SMOKING
Ah, Ol’ Smokey, old buddy. Cerberus doesn’t even appear in this episode and yet his amorphous mark is all over it. As soon as Richard took Ben into the Temple to be “fixed,” I immediately started thinking back to the cerberus vent and how Ol’ Smokey dragged Montand – a member of Rousseau’s science team – kicking and screaming into the Temple. His friends had no recourse but to follow, and a couple of months later we find that they’ve all been converted into pod people that Danielle has no choice but to gun down. Cerberus has been referred to as a “security system” for the Island, and that would be one hell of a security system – if you have a problem with a bunch of people on the Island, get Ol’ Smokey to grab a few of them, drag them through a cerberus vent and into the Temple, where they attend Orientation on how to be a full member of the Others. Once they come out of the Temple, they’re fully on the Other train, ready to do just about anything to protect the Island. They are, as Richard puts it, forever changed.


“Oh, hey, look … he’s got that damned blast door map out, again.” I do, indeed! It’s my favorite show prop of all time. Anyway, on this map there are certain locations with markings such as CVII and CVIII – as we’ve covered before, those stand for Cerberus Vents. There’s a pretty important one at the Temple, and one that we’ve all seen with our own eyes not too far from the Swan. What’s that vent? We’ll take a look at that in a second.

Now, within the context of that set of principles which might govern Cerberus, we can go back and cross-reference that with encounters that our main players have had with Ol’ Smokey to try and get a clearer picture. Let’s start with Locke, and the Cerberus Vent I mentioned above.

Waaay back in season one, in “Walkabout,” Locke encounters Ol’ Smokey for the first time in the jungle. We don’t get to see Cerberus just then, but we see Locke from its perspective, as it looms over him. Later, he recalls that he had looked into the eye of the Island, and what he saw was beautiful. We know now that Ol’ Smokey was analyzing Locke, looking for something that it could take back and, possibly receive orders in regards to.


Locke’s first encounter with the “eye of the Island.” Yup, it’s a pissed off giraffe.

Locke encounters Cerberus a second time during season one, only this time Ol’ Smokey doesn’t seem as benign as in his first encounter. As a matter of fact, Cerberus grabs Locke and tries to drag him down a “hole.” This, we now know, is our first encounter with a Cerberus Vent.


Jack, being helpful, back when he wasn’t being quite as much of an asshole.


You always remember your first time. *sigh*


With all the daddy issues cropping up amongst our favorites on the Island, it only makes sense that there should be a balancing force – an all-encompassing mother figure, someone to take care of the little ones, pat their heads, and kiss their boo boos. I just never in a million years imagined that it would be Kate. This week’s drink recipe honors the Island’s most unlikely mother figure, castaway, kidnapee, amateur tracker, fugitive and, well, emotional terrorist.

MOTHER’S MILK

  • 1 ounce cinnamon schnapps
  • 1 ounce butterscotch schnapps
  • 1 ounce milk

Get yourself a couple of tall shot glass, preferably ones with pink elephants or blue storks or something on it. Carefully pour the two schnapps and the milk into a cocktail shaker with two or three soothing cubes of ice. Gently cradle the shaker and rock it back and forth. Sing a lullaby, if you want. Slowly strain the mother’s milk into two shot glasses, and drink when cranky or hungry. Oh, and try and keep your mind out of the gutter, children.

Later, after Jack was able to pull Locke up out of the Cerberus vent, Locke remarked that he didn’t think that the smoke was trying to harm him. That sounded like the ravings of a half-mad man back then, but it makes a ton of sense, now – whatever Cerberus saw in Locke during their first encounter, it knew that the Island needed him and Cerberus would have to get Locke down into one of those hidey holes and then over to the Temple for orientation. I believe that’s what Ol’ Smokey had planned to do, and I think that’s Ol’ Smokey’s true purpose – not to be the weapon of the Island, but to take the future protectors over to the processing center to be weaponized. Cerberus is but one being, seemingly, but an army of loyal and expendable soldiers is many.

Further proof for this comes from Cerberus’s encounter with Mr. Eko in season two and season three. During their first encounter, Cerberus “scans” Eko, much like it did with Locke, and we see many of Eko’s memories in flashes within the smoke. Later, during “The Cost of Living” in season three, Eko encounters Cerberus again, in the form of his brother, Yemi. Yemi asks Eko to confess and atone for his sins, and Eko tells him that he’s not sorry for anything. This vexes Ol’ Smokey greatly, and later Cerberus grabs him and slams him against the ground and up against a tree, killing him. This shows that Cerberus acts as a conduit for judging those that come to the Island – whether they are worthy of being its servants and protectors or whether they pose a threat. Locke’s love for the Island and his search for purpose made him a perfect candidate for indoctrination, and, indeed, for leadership of the Others. After the Swan was destroyed and Eko lost his way a bit, it was Eko’s unwavering belief that there was nothing wrong with his past actions that put him in dangerous opposition to the constructs of the Island. And, so, he had to die, rather than being sucked down a Cerberus Vent.

A couple of niggling questions remain. The timing and events that occurred with Locke after his attempted kidnapping by Ol’ Smokey in season one are a bit off. After that, Locke never really had another encounter with Cerberus, and his long, strange trip to becoming one of the Others had to be set in motion by Ben, posing as Henry Gale. Second, it seems as though Cerberus is not an autonomous entity, so the question remains: who, ultimately, controls the beast? We saw towards the end of season four that Ben can call upon Cerberus from a secret room in one of the bungalows, but in season three, in “Left Behind,” after Kate and Juliet are chased by Ol’ Smokey and repelled by the sonic fence, Juliet tells Kate that they (the Others) don’t know exactly what Ol’ Smokey is, but it doesn’t like the fences. Was Juliet lying? Or was she intentionally kept in the dark because Ben – and Richard – are probably two of the few to know the truth about everything?

There’s more – lots more – but we should move on.

CHARLES IN CHARGE
So, we learn for certain in this episode, that Charles and “Ellie” are in charge of the Others in 1977. I think it’s safe to assume that the Charles and Ellie referenced are Charles Widmore and Eloise Hawking. Are they a couple? Back in my analysis for “The Little Prince,” I postulated that Charles had to eventually leave the Island because his wife was preggers and he wanted to save her. I also figured that Eloise might just well be Charles’ wife – or ex – since they both have history with the Island and are connected. Of course, they could just be co-leaders, no romance involved at all. The important thing to note, however, is that they both seem to share in the leadership of the Others at this point.

Which brings us to an interesting point about the hierarchy of the Others. Why is there a shift in leadership from time to time? And what role, ultimately, do Jacob and Richard Alpert play?

We know, for certain, that Jacob has been around for a long, long time. When Sawyer, Locke and the gang jump back to 1954 in “Jughead,” Locke gets Richard’s attention by telling him that Jacob sent him. That indicates that Jacob has been at the height of the Island infrastructure for at least 50+ years. We know that Richard isn’t fully in charge, as he has often deferred to the wishes and plans of the current leader of the Others, such as Ben. However, he has his own autonomy, of a sort, because in this episode, he doesn’t care about the opinions of the current leaders of the Others – Ellie and Charles. That could be because of his autonomous nature, but it could also be because he no longer agrees with the leadership of Charles and Ellie, and he takes it upon himself to save Ben, indoctrinate him and guarantee he continue to be the right-hand man on the Island. The same goes for Locke – when Ben starts to go rogue, Richard transitions into a guide, of sorts, for Locke, and tells him that he is destined to lead the Others.

As for the direct report to Jacob, it can only be speculated that Charles and Ellie, at some point, became full leaders and counseled with Jacob. In 1954, it appeared that young Charles and Ellie may not have assumed the mantle of leaders just yet. Richard seemed to be in charge of the group when Locke spoke to all of them, but it almost seemed as though he was acting as more of a mentor, or, perhaps, a baby sitter.

As to who may have acted as leader prior to Charles and Ellie is anyone’s guess. Did Magnus Hanso – captain of the Black Rock – once become a member and a possible leader after he was shipwrecked on the Island? Was Richard a member of that crew, or is he even older than that? Who is Jacob? Future Jack/Locke/Ben/ who returned to the past and became Jacob? Or is he somehow an ethereal manifestation of the Island itself? Maybe he’s Ol’ Smokey. I’m hoping that we get to learn more about Jacob and the Others by the time the finale rolls around. If you all have thoughts, send them my way.

WE DON’T EVEN HAVE TO THINK FOURTH-DIMENSIONALLY
So, after all that postulating last week, it came down to the simplest explanation: Young Ben didn’t hit the ground and die after Sayid shot him. Most everyone agreed with me that that would probably be the outcome, and would corroborate that the prevailing temporal theory on Lost, at least for the time being, is static timeline theory. As mentioned, Miles attempts to explain the basics of this theory to the consternation of Hurley, who is just not thinking fourth-dimensionally. Hurley even asks that question that was nagging us from static timeline theory – if it all happened just as it happened, why doesn’t Ben remember anything or anybody? That was a pretty big aha that Miles couldn’t rectify, and, honestly neither could I. We did find out later, however, that nobody remembers what happens to them after they are taken into the Temple and laid down next to one of them pods until their evil pod twin pops out. Invasion of the Body Snatchers, people, try to keep up.

DAMN, WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?
Since I am holed up in my secret underground lair for the two days it takes to write this post, I sometimes miss something really cool on the Internets. It’s usually okay, though, because I’ll come around to that way of thinking eventually, and that’s just the way I work. However, sometimes someone sends me a tidbit or an idea that is too cool to ignore and I not only have to see it, I have to share it.

So, you remember the comic book that Richard brings as one of the items for young Locke to choose from in “Cabin Fever,” last season? That one right up there? Yeah, that one. Well, in that comic, there is a short story called “March Has 32 Days.” In that story, set in 1956, a man fails to inspect a bridge, which later collapses. This man, John, wishes that he could go back in time and change the outcome of the bridge collapse. He blacks out and comes to on that same day – March 31. John sets off to inspect the bridge, but is delayed by a friend who tells him that the bridge has been inspected and is fine. John sets off on his errand to take his wife to the airport, just as in the last time he lived through this day, but decides that he needs to check the bridge anyway to prevent the same thing from happening. He reaches the bridge, finds the flaw and prevents the bridge from collapsing, thereby changing the events of the past.

The story obviously correlates to the show and the fan’s constant debate on the mutability of time and the events in the past. I find it fascinating that the story, from a comic no less, could have such parallels with the events on the Island, and it was introduced in the middle of last season. Nice thinking ahead on the parts of the creative team.

Oh, and another fun tidbit? This episode was broadcast on April 1st. That’s March 32nd. Pretty cool, huh?

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. As usual, I had a hundred more things running through my brain, but the time has come to put this analysis to bed. I wanted to get a full transcript of Miles and Hurley’s time theory conversation on here for all of you, but I didn’t have the time, and there is no transcript yet written for this episode. Maybe I’ll pull it and post it here next week. I’d be interested in reading over it. I thought it was hilarious. Oh, and plagiaristic, of course. All I’m asking is for a creative credit, guys. Is that so wrong?

I jest. Until next time, keep thinking those good thoughts, and if you have an epiphany, tell me something good.

Namaste.

*That’s a little medical humor, there. Y’see, the body only holds about four to six liters of blood, and … well, you get it. Wow, that joke was way up there … you’d better go look at it again. I’ll bet you even forgot about the asterisk, didn’t you? For shame.

Chris Kirkman is a graphic designer/photographer/journalist/geek extraordinaire with way too many Bruce Campbell movies in his library. Michael Emerson, Lost’s Benjamin Linus, called Kirkman’s recaps “one of the smartest articles I’ve ever read about what goes on on our show.” Kirkman 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 ckirkman@hobotrashcan.com.

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