Sunday, June 8, 2008

Season 4 Episode 9
“The Shape of Things To Come”
Written by Brian K. Vaughan & Drew Goddard
Directed by Jack Bender

“I know who you are... what you are. I know that everything you have you took from me.”
-- Charles Widmore to Ben

Okay, this was a pretty moving installment, the first post-strike episode following the 6-week break, so let’s kick off from the Island, shall we?

The doctor from the freighter washes ashore, dead, so a plan is cooked up to fix the NaomiPhone just enough so that they can communicate through Morse code; Daniel plays electronics dude, in the absence of Sayid.
But when Daniel does send the query out regarding the doctor, he says the reply is that the helicopter will be by in the morning.
Turns out though that Bernard knows Morse, and says the reply was actually, What are you talking about? The doctor’s fine. (Hmmmm.)
So this blatant lie pisses Jack off, and he asks Daniel straight out, Were you ever supposed to take us off this Island?
And Daniel says, No. (And I’m going, F*cker! You knew about the “find Ben then kill everyone else” plan? I gave you the benefit of the doubt, Danny-boy! F*cker!)
At that point, it just killed me to see Jack as the realization sinks in that using the NaomiPhone was a monumental mistake, just as Locke had warned…
Poor Jack…

Meanwhile, the people who shot both Rousseau and Karl take Alex to the fence and have her disarm it. (So they really are Widmore’s people, and it wasn’t some evil Ben scheme to get rid of the other two people in Alex’s life… Again, sorry, dude.)
But disarming the fence triggers an alarm, which makes a phone in Ben’s house ring, the call interrupting the game of Risk currently underway (where “Australia’s the key to the whole game”; hrrrmmm). When Locke asks Ben about the recorded message (Code 14-J?), Ben says they need to hunker down at his place.
But Claire is over at her house, so Sawyer goes over there. (Locke is about go with Sawyer, when Ben says, You stay by me, because then you’ll be safe. They won’t harm me, and I need you safe because we have to get to Jacob’s cabin together. Locke later on says, But I can’t even find the cabin. Ben replies, But Hugo can.)
As Sawyer makes his way to Claire’s place, three 815 sock puppets are shot. Some bastard then blasts Claire’s house, and I’m going, Bastard! Claire can’t die! Not like that!
Sawyer searches the flaming wreckage, and finds Claire, alive. (Whew. That future Desmond flash—Claire and Aaron getting on a helicopter—has to happen…)
Sawyer carries her to Ben’s house, and Hurley has to break a window for Sawyer and Claire to get inside. (Ben’s already barricaded the door and refuses to open it.)

Within, a debate immediately explodes between Sawyer and Locke, about just tossing Ben over to the invaders, a discussion that’s interrupted by the doorbell.
It’s Miles at the door, with a walkie for Ben. They want to talk, Miles says. They have your daughter.
Ben then talks with one of the goons that we saw on the freighter, Martin Keamy (Kevin Durand, who played half-man, half-dog Joshua on Dark Angel, and Ashton Kutcher’s cellmate Carlos in The Butterfly Effect; he’ll also be seen as Gabriel in Scott Charles Stewart’s upcoming angel smackdown Legion, as well as the Blob in the Wolverine spin-off film), who takes Alex out and threatens to shoot her if Ben doesn’t surrender. Ben makes a counter-proposal, but Keamy says, You’ve got 10 seconds, or I shoot your daughter.
Ben says, She’s not my daughter. I stole her from an insane woman when she was a baby. She’s a pawn, nothing more. She means nothing to me.
Alex dies, and seriously, for the first time, I felt sorry for Ben. There’s a look of complete devastation as he stares out the window at his dead adoptive daughter, and he says, He changed the rules. (And I go, What? Is this really just a massive chess game to Ben and Widmore?)

Once Ben gets himself together, he enters some secret chamber (locking everyone else out), and when he emerges, he says, When I give the signal, we’re all going to run to the treeline. (Oh, by the way, Claire’s apparently fine.)
Hurley says, What? Towards the guys with guns?
Ben says, Oh, no. We want to stay as far away from them as possible.
Just then, the house starts to shake, like there’s an earthquake, and when they look out the windows, we see Smokey, making its locomotive noises, as it starts attacking the invaders!
Everyone then runs for the treeline, except for Ben, who says he has to say goodbye to his daughter. (And his moment at dead Alex’s side is such a sad, sad moment. I hate Vaughan and Goddard for making me feel for the monster that is Ben…)

When Ben catches up with Locke and company, Locke says he’s sorry that Alex died. He also calls Ben out on the lie (that he didn’t know what Smokey was).
Ben says, You can ask Jacob what it is when we get to the cabin. (Sigh.)
Sawyer says, Screw that. I’m going to the beach and I’m taking Claire and Hurley with me. Locke pulls out a gun and says, Hugo stays with us.
Sawyer says, No way, and pulls out his gun.
Hurley says, Put down your guns. It’s okay. I’ll go with Locke.
Sawyer doesn’t like that one bit, and warns Locke, You harm so much as one hair on his curly head, I’ll kill you. (Another fantastic moment in this episode, as Sawyer clearly displays his protectiveness over Hurley; earlier on, of course, it was with Claire.)
So Sawyer, Claire, Aaron, and Miles head off to the beach, while Locke, Ben, and Hurley are off to find Jacob’s cabin.

Onward ho, flashforward (though we don’t know that right off.)
Ben finds himself in the Sahara Desert, his arm wounded, in a fleece-lined Dharma jacket (that doesn’t look at all like it was made for desert wear). He then goes into deadly bad-a$$ mode as he kills two armed Bedouins and takes a horse to presumably get to civilization.
We next see him at a hotel, where he checks in under the preferred guest name, “Dean Moriarty.”
He then makes it a point to inquire about the date, and that’s when we find out it’s October 24, 2005, and we’re in a flashforward. (Note that Ben makes it a point to confirm the year, as if, well, he wanted to make sure he was in 2005, and why do you think he’d want to do that? Hrrrm…)
He also sees on the TV, a newsbit about Sayid attending the funeral of his wife! (And the reason why Sayid ended up working for Ben begins to crystallize…)

As it turns out, Sayid found Nadia, only to have her die on him, and according to Ben, the man who killed Nadia was working for Charles Widmore. (He also claims that he used Des’ boat to get off the Island, but that smells fishy…)
Later on, it looks like Ben is tailing the purported Widmore assassin, and it looks like the assassin has just caught Ben, but of course, it’s all a set-up, and Sayid shoots his a$$ dead, till the gun is empty.
Ben then walks away, but Sayid stops him. Ben says, It’s over, Sayid. Walk away and mourn your loss. This isn’t your war.
Sayid says, I spent 8 years looking for the woman I loved and I found her, and these people took her away from me. This is my war too…
(And I’m going, Dammit! Sayid asked for it. Then I think, Oh, no, don’t let this be some despicable manipulation on Ben’s part. Not when I actually felt sorry for him for the first time, ever.)
Ben says, Don’t let your despair turn into anger because it’ll never leave you then. I speak from experience.
(And I’m thinking, Oh please, please mean what you’re saying…)
But Sayid wants to join the war, and asks, Who’s next?
Ben then says, I’ll be in touch, and walks away, and I’m going, Don’t smile. Don’t smile. Don’t—F*cker!
The smug, evil bastard smiled. He played Sayid (and me) like a second-hand fiddle. (And I hate Vaughan and Goddard even more for pulling off these astonishing reversals.)

We then close with a coda in London, as Ben makes his way to Widmore’s digs.
It’s a great face-to-face between these adversaries during which we are made to understand that Widmore believes the Island is his, and that Ben merely usurped it from him.
Widmore asks, Are you here to kill me, Benjamin?
And Ben says, We both know I can’t do that.
Ben then says, But you killed my daughter.
Widmore says, Don’t pretend to be the victim here. You killed your daughter. (And I can only assume he meant, You killed her by not just surrendering when you could have.)
Widmore then asks, So if you’re not here to kill me, what are you here for?
Ben says, I’m here to tell you I’m going to kill your daughter (a very audible gasp from yours truly). “Penny,” is it? I’m going to kill her and then you’ll understand what I feel like and regret changing the rules.
And Ben walks away.


Okay, explosive episode which pretty much turns on the astonishing reversals Vaughan and Goddard pull off, by toying with the audience’s emotions toward Ben.
And of course, now that it’s made clear that Ben is targeting Penny, it’s even more evil, the position the writers have put us in.
On the one hand, we can completely see Ben’s side of it, in that he truly did care for Alex, and since Widmore took his daughter away, it would only be fair that he deprive Widmore of his daughter.
But that daughter is Penny, dammit!

Then there’s an ill-attired Ben popping up in the Sahara, asking what year it is.
So is there actual physical time-traveling going on in the Lost-verse, or did Ben teleport from someplace else, and just wanted to ensure he hadn’t also inadvertently moved through time?
And poor Sayid, whose happy ending with Nadia was so cruelly taken away off-screen, and who was manipulated so coldly into becoming Ben’s Crying Freeman…

And there better not be any long-term damage from that house explosion Claire found herself in…
I mean, is it just me, or was her survival a little… miraculous? That house was decimated


(Images courtesy of ABC,, and [images 3 & 4].)

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