I’ve spent a lot of time mulling over what this episode meant, a task made more difficult at the moment because none of the recaps/theorizing I usually read by this point are posted yet. Curses!
First things first, I have to admit I was underwhelmed by this episode, but I think that’s a normal feeling at this point in the season and given the preview ABC showed us last week. There was not a lot of doubt in my mind that Sayid would try to kill Ben, which should have been the “OH MY GOD” moment of the ep.
Getting past that point though, I had hoped for a little more advance in the story, which we didn’t really get. I suppose now we know that Sayid was being taken to Guam on the orders of the Avellino family (sort of a cop out for getting him on flight 316, but I’ll let it stand) and we also know that Sawyer and Juliet are not really looking to be emancipated from their DHARMA existence. If anything, they want to incorporate Jack, Hurely, Sayid and Kate into their lives and act like nothing has happened.
It’s never a good idea to just assume that things “are” on the Island. I totally understand why Sawyer and Juliet don’t want anything to change, but the Island didn’t bring these folks back so you could go on playing house — which, to her credit, Juliet recognizes. Jack and co. wouldn’t have showed up if there wasn’t something big and important set to happen.
Which I guess brings us to what purpose Sayid served in putting a bullet through Little Ben’s mid-section. Dave, who passively watches the show with me, said at the end of the scene “That was really dumb. Sayid knows better. He should have shot Little Ben in the head.”
Duh. No one on the Island stays dead, particularly if you just shoot them in the stomach. Locke was risen from the dead by Walt and we later found out that the bullet Ben had put in him had gone right through where his kidney should have been. I’ve heard one or two theories about what will happen to Ben, but we should begin with the obvious: Sayid said he didn’t know what purpose it served to bring him back to the Island, but when he met Little Ben he knew. Not being privvy to the “rules” (which, admittedly, we aren’t even sure of yet), Sayid thought that by killing Little Ben in 1977 he could stop so much trouble from happening in the future. We can look at this two ways:
- Sayid didn’t really succeed in killing Ben, because Ben has to live. Whatever happened, happened (incidentally that’s the name of the next episode). Ben will either escape death ala Locke in the DHARMA pit, or be saved. Someone suggested Jack will step in to save Ben’s life, because Jack is after all a spinal surgeon, which will in turn blow their cover with DHARMA or something like that. This would be an ironic turn of events given the Season 3 storyline in which Jack does save Adult Ben’s life from the malignant tumor on Ben’s spine. So, Ben lives, our folks cause a ruckus but get out of 1977 somehow, the Purge goes off as planned in 1992 and life goes on as it should. Ben was always meant, then, to be the Hostile’s leader, etc.
- Of course, this discounts the dilapidated DHARMA barracks where Sun and Lapidus met Christian. Obviously Ben and the Hostiles didn’t take over those Barracks, for them to look the way they did in this new 2007. But DHARMA looks to have still met a hasty and perhaps violent end. Could Sayid have really succeeded in killing Ben, thus setting the world on it’s “correct course,” the one it should always have been on per Mrs. Hawking’s instructions to Desmond? In this scenario, Ben was never meant to participate in the Purge and become the leader of the Hostiles. Widmore was not meant to be exiled by Ben. Ben was meant to die and Sayid went back to do it. The Hostiles, or some other force, still managed to bring an end to the DHARMA Initiative, because that was always supposed to happen.
I’m not really sure which one I buy into, but I am pleased that both scenarios fit in with the “what happened, happened” idea of course correction. My problem with Ben really dying in 1977 is that I’m not sure what happens to the Ben we know in 2007. Does he wither away in the fashion of Back to the Future? Or does he exist, because he’s “always” existed? Talk about crazy. I don’t know!
If the second scenario stands, and the 06 + the Left Behinders are back in 1977 in order to course correct, I hope that they are somehow able to reinvent their lives. It would mean the world as it was in 2004 when they landed on the Island wasn’t really the world that was supposed to exist, and they had to fix it in order to live better and more fulfilling lives. In this way, while in the short run it looks like Juliet and Sawyer’s domesticity is in for trouble, the long run might be well worth it.
I tend to think Ben won’t die, and I like the idea of Jack saving his life, because that seems so Jack. To save the life of someone who has caused him so much pain. But something must “change” for Sun and Lapidus to have seen the Barracks in that state…so we are back to theory square one. So frustrating.
According to a podcast with Damon and Carlton from a few weeks ago, the next episode is going to be Faraday-centric. Thank goodness. I’m anxious to see what’s been going on with him, since we know he saw the frozen donkey wheel but we’ve also been told by Sawyer that he’s not with them anymore. I also heard that the episode after that one is going to be Kate-centric, and help to explain to us what brought Kate back to the Island (and why she decided to hop in the sack with Jack). Lots of good stuff coming up.
But how are they going to reconnect with the present? I’m putting my money on the season finale being about Widmore’s exile from the Island or something like that, which will stop the Losties time-traveling once and for all and place them in the “right” place.