Dr. Linus - B+
While this episode didn't deliver the same punch-you-in-the-gut blow that Sundown did, Dr. Linus still managed to maintain this final season's momentum by answering some age-old questions, generating some chuckles, and dropping some jaws, not to mention evoking a tear or two. Once again I say to thee, well done gentlemen as you have served up yet another juicy episode full of faith, redemption and THE BEACH! Now let's get hashing...
It's Dr. Linus, actually. In sideways world Ben is a lowly history teacher who is frustrated with the man in charge. Principal Reynolds is an administrator, not a teacher, and unlike Dr. Linus his priority is not taking care of the kids. Sideways Linus vents his frustrations over lunch to an equally frustrated and formaldehyde-covered Arnzt (a reference to his dead state on Crap-Hole Island and does this mean that Dr. Linus isn't one of the cool kids either?) and the substitute - Mr. Locke. Ironically, Mr. Locke encourages Dr. Linus to make a change and perhaps become the man in charge.
Roger Workman is sideways. In a moving sideways scene we get to witness Roger, alive (barely) and kicking, being cared for by his doting son Ben. Wow. I did not see that coming. And for the first time this season we get a sideways reference to the island. They were on it at one point many moons ago and Roger still wonders what would have happened if they'd never left. This leads us to believe that they were made to leave before the incident that was conceived of by Daniel and carried out by our Losties in 1977. And in a fun little twist of irony we see a sideways Ben once again gassing his dad only this time it's so that he will continue to live as opposed to the oh-so shocking scene in Man Behind the Curtain (see S3:12) where Ben artfully gasses his poor Roger Workman to death and then aides in taking out the rest of the Dharma Initiative.
And the #42 spot goes to... I was relieved (sorta) to know that Illana is as equally confused about which Kwon applies to the #42 spot on Jacob's list of candidates as we are.
Cheese curds. Hilarious.
The island still got you in the end, didn't it? A very telling line by Ben when Lapidus wonders out loud how different his life would have been had he not over-slept and actually piloted the original flight 815. Another 'What if'. Interesting.
Uh-oh. Body guard Illana was clever enough to get Miles to reveal what the rest of us are still reeling from: It was Island Ben, with the knife, in The Temple who offed her father-figure Jacob. Ben knows he's screwed and even tries to make light of Miles's accusation but Illana knows better and before we know it she has a scared-shitless Ben at gunpoint, chained to a tree and digging his own grave on Boone Hill.
Sideways Ben will do anything to help sideways Alex. I love that Alex is one of Ben's student's in sideways world. She's also one of his brightest. She appeals to him for extra help studying for AP exams and during the study session she unloads the goods on Principal Reynolds. Ben's ticket to the top if you will. She also admits that she needs Reynold's letter of recommendation to get into a good college because she could never afford to go on the 2 salaries that her mom makes (Any guesses as to what 2 - let alone 1 - jobs Rousseau could have? Once again the mind reels).
Miles is a vat of information. I love this guy. Not only is he already staking claim to Nikki and Paulo's 8M in diamonds that are sprinkled in their graves, but he also tells Ben that Jacob's last thoughts in his final moments of life had him hoping that he'd been wrong about Ben and Ben is visibly shaken by the information.
Jacob's touch breeds life eternal. There. He said it. The mystery to Ageless Richard revealed. Jacob's touch gave him 'the gift' of eternal life and he's not happy about it. Now Jacob's dead so he's ready to die too. Faith no longer in tact, he feels that his entire life no longer has purpose since he will never know what Jacob's plan was for him. Sad. So he enlists the help of the New Jack to end his life with a little help from some dynamite (since he apparently cannot end his own). That makes me wonder that Locke probably would not have been able to successfully hang himself back in the day either. When the New Jack with that new crazed look in his eye accepts the job and even opts to stick for the fireworks, I laughed out loud when Hugo was like Whatever dude, I'll be like a mile away. The fuse not surprisingly fails and armed with the knowledge that Jacob has been watching him since he was a young boy so he must be indestructable, the New Jack now is now a man of faith. Faith that there is a reason for all of it. A reason for them to be there. And where does he wanna go? Back to where it all started. Their island home-sweet-home - back to the beach. And PS, we also learned that Richard more than likely came to the island via The Black Rock - again with the chains.
Ben's shot at sideways redemption: In an attempt to become the man in charge, Dr. Linus tries to blackmail Principal Reynolds but before he can finish his threat, Reynolds one-ups him by pulling up Alex's request for a recommendation to Yale. And then he lays his cards on the table. Ben must choose the potential of power of the potential of Alex. Deja vu. Only this time, Ben gets it right, and chooses Alex. Tug. Well done sideways Ben, you have in fact redeemed your sideways self. Woot.
Ben's shot at island redemption: Flocke appears to a grave digging Ben and offers him what he thinks might be his hearts desire: a shot at being the island man in charge. All he has to do is join his team. He even Jedi mind tricks his chains free for effect and points the way to the nearest gun because it's very important that he kill Illana, the last of the island body guards. With his sideways redemption in tact I was more than disappointed to see him make a run for it but then he surprised me. While holding Illana at gunpoint he bares his soul to her, revealing through tears and an Emmy-worthy monologue that years before he mistakenly chose the island over Alex and that in the end it wasn't the power that mattered most, it was his daughter. Snap Flocke. He begs forgiveness for the death of Jacob and just when I don't think I can take anymore, he then begs for her to let him go to Team Flocke, the only one that will have him. Her response? I'll have you. It just doesn't get any better than that folks. Island Ben has been redeemed by a faithful Illana.
Introducing Team Jacob. Team Jacob is slowly comprising itself with an unexpected cast of characters and poetically it's all being done at the beach. Our beach. Sun is fixing her tarp like old times when the music cues and the montage begins and Jack, Hurley, and Richard are reunited with their new - and old - team mates, and although Richard and Ben are present it's interesting to see how they stand off to the side. Not quite sure how to fit in. But they do and that's what's important.
He's baaaaaack. Just when we start to feel all warm and fuzzy inside, Darlton drops a mini Jughead on us in the form of a periscope attached to a submarine attached to the once banned Mr. Charles Widmore.Whew. Is this who Jacob was referring to would be coming to the island? Is this how Flocke/MIB/Smokey/Evil Incarnate plans to get his team off the island? And where is Desmond dammit?!