Saturday, March 10, 2018

Lost - The Shape of Things to Come





*** / ****

With The Shape of Things to Come, the flash ahead has Ben awakening in the Sahara Desert, bouncing to and fro like some globetrotting adventurer, from Tunisia to Tikrit; meanwhile his "present self" on-island is holed up in a barracks house with Locke, Hurley, and Aaron, while Sawyer avoids machine gun and missile fire to rescue Claire from her exploded home!

In Meet Kevin Johnson, Michael was quite disconcerted at the sight of Keamy and his associates firing machine guns in a type of skeet shooting exercise on the freighter. So put into our minds is their threat to our heroes on the island. Sent to communicate to Ben is Miles, walkie in hand, as Alex was forcibly taken to the barracks protective shield to turn it off. While Danielle and Karl seemed to have been executed, Alex calling out her being Michael's daughter bought herself some time it seems.


So for me there was a lot to process. The Shape of Things to Come left some wallops I had to absorb and I can only imagine viewers of the time as well. Alex is killed right in the middle of the barracks yard and Ben could do nothing about it. Ben could murmur about how Charles “changed the rules” and call upon the “black smoke monster” to “buy them time” as Keamy and his soldiers were kept at bay because of it, but, nonetheless, Alex shot in the head with little hesitation is quite a shocker. I mean, Karl, Danielle, and Alex taken out in two episodes is rather harsh, don’t you think? Much like Keamy and his men, the writer’s room, it seems, felt it was time to trim some characters. So who better than the compelling Danielle, the gorgeous Alex, and (agreeable minor) Karl, ay? That reaction by Ben (what can you say but bravura to Emerson for that face during this…losing the one person he cares about dearly, unable to negotiate her safety, deprives Ben of rescuing her and keeping himself safe from harm) says it all. He knows that going to Jacob for “advice” is the next step. Thankfully Sawyer has had enough of this shit. I, for one, was glad he finally got fed up with this. Hurley, bless his heart, had no choice but to stay with Locke and Ben because he had seen Jacob’s cabin (and Jack’s “dad” inside it). At least Sawyer, Claire, and Aaron could get away from them. Miles wisely follows Sawyer. So you have Locke and Ben remaining side by side, as Hurley must come along, although he sure would like to be away from both of them.

Jack’s seriously looking worse for wear, though. This guy just wants off the fucking island. He just wants to get off it. That is the irony of the early fourth season episode (and last third season episode) where Jack, off-island, wants to find it and return. But in The Shape of Things to Come, Jack is just sick and tired of this island and all the grief it has brought him. He seems to be sick of some type of “stomach bug”, requesting Bernard to accompany him for a conversation. Later it is determined Bernard knows Morse Code, fortunate and handy when they must call out Daniel for a lie when he receives info from the freighter. This is where Jack learns from Daniel that there was never going to be a rescue. Jack’s face, much like Ben’s before, reacts appropriately…just when it appeared he would be leaving, another disappointment deprives him of such relief. Kate and Jack once again lock eyes, speak briefly but warmly, and leave behind the obvious romantic feelings. Jack had just kissed Juliet previously so Kate’s gaze can only get so far. Sawyer eventually returning to them will only add to the tension.

Ben securing Sayid’s “help” once again returns the “smirk” that Emerson has in his acting bag for certain occasions when the character has something up his sleeve. Ben has a way of getting what he wants. If he didn’t, how could he have ended up in Charles’ Penthouse in London? Ben, in that bedroom, could have killed Charles. But Ben says Charles knows that isn’t possible (interesting choice of words), but because of Alex’s demise, Penelope is now in danger. Lost sure knows how to tie in multiple characters. Alex’ cold-blooded murder by Keamy is such a catalyst in ongoing melodramatic leaps. Through Alex’s body—dumped in a heap and left by Keamy as an example of how far Charles seems willing to go to prove a point—held in Ben’s arms one last time before meeting back up with Locke for their trip to Jacob’s cabin, the ultimate plot of revenge emerges. And even extra irony: through a conversation with Sayid, Ben informs him that he was able to get off the island through a boat arranged by Desmond. Yes, Desmond, the love of Penelope’s life, helped Ben get off the island. So Desmond put Penelope in danger inadvertently…talk about a twist! And Sayid finding Naomi, only to lose her, kills the man responsible (supposedly an “employee” of Widmore) right in front of Ben in Iraq…connected dots from that episode where Sayid locates Ben in a vet office with certain folks on a list. Sayid will work with Ben to kill those involved with the death of his wife. Ben knows Sayid’s need for revenge and that smirk as he walks away from him tells us that great Lost truth so often foretold to us…Ben often does get his way. Even at the cost of Alex’s life, ultimately Ben got off the island. We know that as he, Locke, and Hurley march to Jacob’s cabin, Ben will get off the island. At what cost, that is my question.





Rare moment where Ben breaks, saying goodbye to Alex


Dr. Ray washes ashore, leaving some serious questions.

Locke receives a code that tells of trouble ahead.


* I seriously considered that the alternating pieces on the island weren't "in time" with each other. Ray washing ashore as Jack and his people have questions for Daniel and Charlotte doesn't seem "lock step" with Keamy and his team's raid on the barracks. I could be wrong, but these two pieces on the island felt as if they weren't in communion with each other. As if the body of Dr. Ray washing up on the shore was more than a bit before Keamy and company raid the barracks. The two felt somewhat off from each other. If this isn't so I'll cop to being wrong...it isn't the first time or last I could or will be. Lost has a tendency to toy with time lines and such.

*Ben kissing Alex is a rare moment where he breaks. The levee was eventually going to receive a little flood. But after kissing Alex's head and weeping, Ben went right back into mental beast mode. It was the final straw for Sawyer, though. He's had his fill of Ben...and Locke. If only Hurley could get away as well.

*While I never quite emotionally connected to Alex, probably due to her sporadic inclusion on the show, her frightened face looking up at her father and the subsequent gunshot that tears Ben's soul is gutwrenching. Even if I don't like Ben (he kidnapped her from a crazy mother, he justifies to Keamy, telling him he can still get away unharmed if he lets Alex go), her loss shattered him...he clearly loved her.

*The shotgun hidden in the piano seat and the hidden room behind the bookcase certainly signify that Ben isn't quite the prisoner Locke might consider him. Sawyer's reaction to all of this is priceless.

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