Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dead is Dead

The title (and Ben's line that it comes from) puzzles me, because everything that happens on LOST seems to indicate that dead is NOT, in fact, dead. People come back all the time, from Charlie to Christian Shephard to Yemi to Locke. So can we discount what Ben said as a lie? The guy is a compulsive liar after all and stretches the truth even when it's not necessary. Or is there some truth to it? Maybe the people we think are alive aren't as alive as we think. (Princess Bride: "I do not think it means what you think it means"?)

There were some pretty big moments in this episode and lots of Island mythology. We saw Ben kidnapping Alex, with the new information that he didn't set out to take her. He was supposed to kill Rousseau but when he realized she had a baby he had mercy on them both and just took Alex. We don't see the merciful side of Ben a lot, but apparently at one point he had one. And it resurfaces when Ben is preparing to shoot Penny Widmore. When young Charlie Hume emerges from the boat (named "Our Mutual Friend" after the Dickens novel Desmond always carried with him) it causes Ben to rethink murdering her just long enough for Desmond to wake up and give him a walloping. I'm so glad Penny is alive! For a minute I thought Ben would be successful and Penny's death would provoke Desmond to go back to the Island too, but I'm glad I was wrong. If no one else ends up happy at the end of the series, I hope Penny and Desmond do.

Funny moment of the night was when Ben tells Sun "what's about to come out of that jungle is something I can't control" expecting the smoke monster...and out walks Locke. What he said is no less true, as he comes to find out.

Another major event in Island mythology was Charles Widmore being banished, apparently for having a daughter (Penny probably) with an "outsider." More Old Testament overtones there. Charles predicted that one day Ben would have to choose between his loyalty to the Island and his love for his daughter.

And the climax of the episode...Ben confronting the smoke monster.

First Ben summons the monster, apparently by letting water go down a drain. (Someone on the forum commented "looks like the SM lives in the u-bend like Moaning Myrtle.") When Ben said he was calling the smoke monster to be "judged" I thought it might be similar to when Eko was killed and the monster revolved around him, with flashes of light and images from his life. It was almost exactly the same, although Ben seemed a lot more scared than Eko did (maybe because he knew what was going to happen?)

The picture above the monster's "vent" appears to be the Egyptian god Anubis being judged by the monster. Guess who else looks like Anubis? Yep - the 4 toed statue.

I am really intrigued by what they're doing w/all the Egyptian references. Is it something about the Island's origins? Or just to indicate that it has been around for a long, long time? If so, could any of the characters have been around for this long - like Richard or Jacob?

The big question for me in this scene is why Ben was allowed to live. It seems the monster decided that it was his fault that Alex was killed. With so much blood on his hands, why wouldn't he be condemned to die? The Island must still have work for him to do. The whole experience reminded me of Saul's conversion in the Bible. It looks like Ben is now a true believer in Locke's authority.

More questions: What is going on with Ilana and Bram? Have they been "infected" like Rousseau's crew? What was Locke doing out in the jungle? Does Ben know how people are resurrected on the Island? Where the heck are Rose, Bernard, and Claire?

Added: I was reading up about Anubis and found this interesting tidbit:

Other Names: Eater of the Dead, the Devourer.

Patron of: destruction of the souls of the wicked.

Appearance: a demon with the head of crocodile, the torso of a leopard and the hindquarters of a hippopotamus.

Description: Ammit sits beneath the Scales of Justice before the throne of Osiris where she waits for the daily flow of souls to come before Osiris for judgement. During the Judging of the Heart, if the deeds of the soul being judged are found to be more wicked than good, Anubis feeds the soul to Ammit. This results in the total annihilation of the person, and there is no hope of further existence.


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