“Your fear of being a father is greater than your fear of jumping out of a helicopter and drowning?”
Straight to the recap!
- We learn what Sawyer whispered into Kate’s ear in the season four finale: He wanted her to look after Clementine, Sawyer’s daughter with Cassidy.
- Upon learning this, Cassidy responds, “What a coward.” (Kind of harsh, no?)
- Chalk one up for female intuition: Cassidy knows Aaron isn’t Kate’s son.
- Ben is hemorrhaging blood and Jin rushes him back to Dharma camp. Juliet starts operating on him but Jack refuses to. Kate: If you don’t help Ben, then he’ll die! Jack: “Then he dies.”
- Articulating the confusion of millions of viewers, Hurley pulls out a Back To The Future reference as he looks at his own hand to make sure it’s not disappearing. He then grills Miles as to what happens to Future Ben, and by extension everyone else, if Little Ben doesn’t survive. (Finally, someone is asking some questions around here!)
- In Jack’s absence, Kate steps up to save Ben’s life by donating blood. Then she patiently listens while Roger Linus gives a soliloquy entitled, “I Didn’t Turn Out To Be The Greatest Dad Ever.”
- Juliet floats the idea that The Others might save Ben.
- Kate runs with that idea and drives Ben to the sonic fence. Sawyer shows up too. They start marching Ben into hostile territory.
- Juliet confronts Jack as he steps out of the shower, noting that he hasn’t exactly delivered on the Hippocratic oath since returning to the island. (Jack appears to put his shirt on before he’s dried himself, which we find bizarre.)
- In 2007, Kate loses Aaron for a moment in the supermarket, then has a heart-to-heart with Cassidy. This leads to her returning Aaron to his grandmother.
- Back on the island, Sawyer and Kate deliver Ben to Richard Alpert, who says he can cure Ben but at a cost: “He will always be one of us.”
- A subordinate confronts Alpert and suggests he run this by Ellie and Charles first. Alpert shoots back, “I don’t answer to them.”
- Alpert disappears with Ben into a tree.
- Future Ben wakes up in the infirmary to find John Locke is not dead anymore.
John’s words to Ben at the end of the episode — “Welcome back to the land of the living” — raise the question: Was Ben in some sense dead (or maybe in a coma?) until he was healed by Alpert back in 1977?
We’re reluctant to delve too deep into that (or any) question tonight, because as the comic Hurley-Miles dialogue taught us, the writers are toying with us. That scene was a poke in the eye to anyone and everyone who has hypothesized as to how exactly this time travel conundrum will play out. Hurley starts out asking the very pertinent questions about how Young Ben’s and Future Ben’s fates are tied together, and the ramifications for everyone if Young Ben dies. Miles deflects these queries at first, then begins to stumble as Hurley continues pestering him. (When Juliet walks in later to confront Jack, it’s clear Hurley and Miles are still talking circles around one another.) The message was obvious: The show’s going on whether you understand it or not. Just enjoy the ride.
It’s a testament to the writers that we allow them to jerk us around like this and still keep coming back for more. In less skilled hands, the constant misdirection and outright absurdity of the show could easily breed resentment from the viewer at being yanked around all the time. What exactly do the “Lost” writers think when they read discussion boards about the show? Do they chortle at all the harebrained theories? (Or do they see some and think, “That’s pretty good! Let’s work that in next season”?) It’s a curious relationship between writer and viewer, one prone to deception but also dependent on trust. So how much can they get away with and still have us trust them? At this late stage there’s the growing weight of expectation that they’d better be taking us somewhere worth going. But if we’ve followed them this far, they know we trust them. So who knows what they’ll try next?