And to think that I couldn’t wait for this episode to be over so “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” would come fast. This episode repeatedly hit me completely by surprise – like a drive-by on a foggy night, or that uncle with his baseball bat. Or, you know, something less creepy.
So how do you tell a story like this one? You need to take seven people and get them to reunite and start working on a greater goal. The problem is: these people are all over the place and have no reason to help the one that’s trying to reunite them in the first place. You give them their own reasons for wanting to go back. Which means you have to tell their stories. Which means you actually have to take time to do so. LOST just wants those people back on the island, so what do they do? They just throw everyone on the plane in the most suspicious circumstances ever (Kate losing Aaron, Ben bloody and beaten – again, Hurley with a guitar, Sayid with – get this – a sky marshall, oh and let’s not forget that Latino that has absolutely nothing to do with this all which makes it extra suspicious). And then you casually hint: “oh, them? We’ll tell you about them later.” It seems so logical while I’m writing it, but it rocked me off my feet.
This episode had so many little things: Jack waking up in the jungle, pilot-style, beardless Lapidus, and last but not least the wonderfully executed tension surrounding Locke’s suicide note. They could have made it long, pages long, but – in typical LOST style – they opted for “less is more”: one sentence that cut through my (and Jack’s) bones. John made some questionable decisions at times, but it looks like he’s finally starting to get to Jack. Now I’m sure that in the next episode, we’ll be seeing Locke at his lowest.
There were some brilliant performances in this episode. I was shocked when Ben – who displayed another layer of emotions we didn’t think he had – called Jack, bathing in blood, scared. I was moved when Jack was putting on Locke’s shoes (nice to see the tennis shoes being explained). I screamed when Desmond yelled how he lost four years of his life by listening to Hawking – I was hoping they wouldn’t forget. And when they all came together on that airplane… I couldn’t wait to see it crash. Which it didn’t.
Question 3 appears to be resolved. Everyone – except for Aaron, thank God; and Desmond, damn you God – gets back. We don’t know how yet, except for the fact that they went by airplane. This episode also made me ponder about Question 6 – whether our crew ended up on the island by accident. We always thought they did (because Desmond didn’t push the button) but if they have to recreate the conditions of their own crash in order to get back to the island, doesn’t that mean that those conditions might have caused the first one in the first place? …My head hurts.
I think this episode – and probably also the next – will be the middle ones of this season. They provide the starting track for the rest of the season, with everyone back on the island and with bigger goals to be accomplished. This episode was very, very low on complicated mindfucks – in comparison to the first five – but it delivered a more than solid character arc with an unexpected … well, start, seeing how they told their story. This was truly the best season five episode yet. I can’t wait until the next!
John Locke: “I wish you had believed me.”