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May 07, 2008

"Lost" Recap: "The Shape Of Things To Come" (4/24/08)

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BenThis episode was the first after a hiatus of three weeks.  it was the first post-strike episode and also the first episode where formal war was declared between Ben and Charles Widmore.  Lots of things went "Boom."

Last time we saw the Losties, Michael was being exposed by Sayid to the captain of the Mystery Freighter and Alex, after nearly being being shot by the people who killed Karl and Rousseau, surrendered to the enemy.

We open at the beach.  Jack's under the weather and popping pills.  Kate suggests he eat some crackers and then wonders why Sayid and Desmond aren't back yet.  Jack says he's not worried.

Vincent starts barking like crazy and Bernard yells for help from the shoreline.  Kate and Jack get there in time to help Bernard pull a body out of the water.  A crowd that includes Daniel and Charlotte gathers and when they turn the body over, we see it's Doc Ray from the Mystery Freighter.  His throat's been cut.  He didn't last long, did he?

At Chez Ben, Sawyer, Hurley and Locke are sitting around playing Risk.  Hurley's got Aaron on his lap as Sawyer's attacking Siberia.

Out in the jungle, a blindfolded Alex is being led around by guys with guns.  They force her to turn off the security fence to Lockeville.  As soon as she does, a phone at Chez Ben rings.  Locke picks it up and a computerized voice says "Code 14J" over and over.

In another room, Ben's at the piano playing some kind of morose concerto when Locke and Sawyer burst in.  They ask him about the code.  Ben looks panicked and immediately takes a sawed off shotgun from the piano bench.  Locke and Sawyer are suitably stunned.  Ben orders them to go to "the other house" because it's easier to fortify.

Locke's like, "What are you talking about?"

Ben announces, "They're here."

Opening credits.

Flash forward to Ben waking up flat on his back in the Sahara Desert.  He proceeds to throw up and act just like he went through a bad transporter beam on "Star Trek."  He's wearing a jacket with a Dharma insignia and there's a slit in the upper part of his right sleeve.

Two natives ride up on horseback, waving guns around.  They start hurling questions at Ben in Arabic.  Ben plays all scared and dumb, until they start to search him and suddenly, he becomes James "Ben" Bond.  He shoots one of the guys and knocks out the other, but not before unloading a James Bond-like one liner, "So you do know English."

Flashback to Lockeville.  On their way to "the other house," Sawyer asks Ben sarcastically, "So, 14J is the code for the pizza boy?"  Heh.

Ben explains the code was tripped off by one of his people.  Someone who obviously was in enemy hands.

Sawyer insists on going to get Claire, who's sleeping in another house.  Ben says there's not enough time, but Sawyer ignores him.  Good for you Sawyer.

Of course, now that we know Aaron makes it off the island, but we haven't seen Claire, we naturally suspect that something happened to her.  Putting Claire in danger right here is the writers' way of making us worry something's going to happen to her right now.  Oh, you sneaky writers.

After Sawyer leaves, Ben tells Locke to stay close to him if he wants to survive.  The Mercenary Crazies from the Mystery Freighter won't risk Ben getting hurt so being with him is the safest place to be.  I'm not so sure about that, but let him have his little delusions.

At the beach, Jack is questioning Daniel and Charlotte about Doc Ray and when they saw him last.  Jack wants to know if there's any other way to contact the Mystery Freighter.  Daniel says he might be able to do a Mister Wizard, so Kate takes him off to salvage some radio equipment from the plane.

As they go off, Jack tells Bernard he needs to see him.

Back at Lockeville, Ben and Locke are fortifying the house by putting sofas and bookcases against the door.  Hurley watches as he holds a crying Aaron.  When Hurley sees how fortified the door is getting, he asks how Sawyer's going to get in. 

Ben says in that classic Ben way, "He's not."

Outside as Sawyer passes a couple of people on his way to Claire's he warns them to get inside, but it's too late.  Shots start flying everywhere and everyone around Sawyer goes down.  He has to dodge a gauntlet of bullets to get to Claire's house. 

But just as he gets in sight of it, acting like a really good action hero along the way, one of the Mercenary Crazies launches a missile into the house and it disintegrates.  All that's left are charred timber where the house used to be.  Sawyer frantically calls out Claire's name.

Flash forward to Tozeur, Tunisia.  Ben shows up at the Tunisian version of the Hilton and tells the desk clerk he's a preferred guest.  The woman does a double take at that, but checks him in under the alias Dean Moriarty.  Before going to check out his room and make sure he has enough towels, Dean, er...I mean, Ben...asks the desk clerk what date it is.

She says it's October 24th.  Ben asks, "2005?"  She gives him a look before answering, "Yes, 2005."

Satisfied, Ben walks through the hotel lobby and passes a TV.  On it, he sees a news report with Sayid trying to avoid a crush of reporters and photographers.  He's angry and yells at them to let him "bury his wife in peace."

Flashback to Lockeville.  Aaron's still crying and Locke and Ben are still fortifying.  Outside, Claire's house is a collection of charred pickup sticks and after searching around, Sawyer finds Claire dazed, but alive under them.  Claire lives to taught us another day.

Hurley puts the baby in a laundry basket and goes back to the living room.  When Sawyer comes a knocking, carrying Claire in his arms, Hurley attempts to open the door.  Ben pulls a gun on him to prevent him from doing it, so a resourceful Hurley throws a chair through a window so Sawyer and Claire can get in.

When Locke asks how she is, Sawyer says, "She got her bell rung, but she's gonna be all right."   Heh.

After getting Claire safely settled Sawyer wants to know why the Mercenary Crazies are killing the Losties when who they really want is Heir Linus.  Ben says they're trying to make the Losties angry enough to hand him over.  Sawyer thinks that's a cracker jack idea.  Just as he's about to put it into action, the doorbell rings.

Everything stops.

It was kind of like when the phone rang before, it's one of those odd, "ordinary" things we take for granted that under these circumstances is creepy as hell.  I love it.

Anyway, they open the door and there's Miles.  He's got a walkie talkie from one of the MCs and they want to talk to Ben.

Flash forward to Tikrit, Iraq.  Just a note here, I'm glad they gave us titles to tell us where we are 'cause God knows we'd never figure it out otherwise.  And the last thing we need on this show is more confusion.

Okay, so we're in Iraq and Sayid is helping carry his wife's coffin in her funeral procession.  Ben shows up in his best Indiana Jones getup, climbs to the roof of a nearby building and starts snapping pictures.  First of a tall, bald guy who's watching the procession and then of Sayid.  Right then, Sayid glances up and spots the camera.  Ben beats it out of there.

Sayid eventually corners Ben on the street, thinking he's a reporter who followed him to Iraq, but he's stunned to find out the guy he cornered is Ben.  In answer to Sayid's many questions, Ben says he's there to find the man who killed Sayid's wife, the long lost Nadia.  It was the tall, bald man Ben was taking pictures of.  He was in Los Angeles the same day Nadia was killed, three blocks away from where she was killed.

Now look, I know Sayid's grief stricken, but after all that's happened, why the hell would he believe anything Ben said?

Flashback to the Lockeville siege.   Miles tries to distance himself from the Mercenary Crazies by saying he was told they were security to escort Ben once they got him.  He suggests Ben talk to them because the MCs have his daughter as a hostage.

That shakes Ben up right and proper, as the British would say.  At least I think the British would say that. 

Ben takes the walkie talkie and talks to head Mercenary Crazie, Keamy.  Keamy tells Ben that if he comes out, no one in the house will be hurt.  Ben doesn't believe him and cites chapter and verse of Keamy's sordid mercenary past, probably courtesy of Michael.  Ben says he ain't comin' out and that's that.

Keamy tells Ben, if he doesn't come out, he's going to kill Alex who's kneeling on the ground in front of him.

That rodent brain of Ben's start clicking behind his eyes and he offers Keamy a counter proposal:  leave the island and forget you were ever here.

Now really Ben, you didn't think Keamy was going for that, did you?

Keamy gives the walkie talkie to Alex.  She tells Ben they killed Karl and Rousseau, and scared out of her mind, she begs him, "Please..."

Keamy puts the gun to Alex's head and gives Ben him ten seconds.  As Keamy counts down from ten, Ben plays the card I figured he would play in the first place.  Namely that Alex isn't his daughter, he stole her as a baby and he doesn't care about her.


"She means nothing to me," Ben yells.  "I'm not coming out of this house, so if you want to kill her go ahead..." 

And Keamy shoots.

We see Alex on the ground and then we see Ben's face.

Ben's stunned.  I mean, really stunned. 

So am I.  Wow.

Part of me thought that was coming and a bigger part of me thought it wasn't.


After the commercial break we see a shot of Alex lying on the ground.  Ben's still sitting by the window and he's stone faced.

We stay on the shot of Ben's face, zooming in slowly as we hear Sawyer and Locke in the background trying to decide what to do.  They're afraid the MCs are going storm the cabin when it gets dark in about twenty minutes.  Sawyer still wants to "solve it all" by handing Ben over.

"He changed the rules," Ben says.

Then he bolts for a doorway, Sawyer and Locke on his heels.  He goes through a closet door, hits a switch and a secret compartment opens up that has a stone doorway and what looks like ancient Other carvings on it.

Ben goes inside and locks Sawyer, Locke and Hurley out.

Flash forward to Ben at the local Tunisian watering hole and the tall, bald guy is drinking outside.  When the bald guy gets up, Ben follows and I can't help feeling this is very "Alias." 

Ben follows Baldy through a crowded market---is there any other kind in Tunisia?---before the guy turns the tables on him and pulls a gun. 

Baldy wants to know why Ben's following him and after introducing himself, Ben says he has a message from Mr. Widmore.  When Sayid pops up out of nowhere and shoots Baldy more times than there are actual bullets in the gun, Ben feigns surprise.

He then does this elaborate song and dance where he pretends he wants Sayid to go home 'cause this is not his war, blah, blah, blah...and by the end of the conversation, Ben's eating pound cake again so to speak:  Sayid has offered to be Ben's hit man and Ben walks away smiling that reptilian smile of his.

See, once again, I know Sayid is grieving for the wife it took him eight years to find, and then marry, and then lose---flash forward pending---but the Sayid I know, who was on the island with Benjamin Linus and who turned in Michael to Gault because he was working for Benjamin Linus, would not have fallen for that.  Maybe there's some other unknown reason Sayid trusts Ben, but for now, they haven't shown it to us.

Flashback to Ben emerging from what I thought was his escape route.  He passes by Sawyer and says, as  normally as if he were at a cocktail party, "Excuse me, James."

James is understandably incredulous.  "Excuse you?"

Ben wastes no time and tells the group that when he gives the signal, they all have to run from the house to the tree line of the jungle.  Hurley's like, where the Mercenary Crazies are?  Ben's like, no, as far away from them as possible. 

We understand why, almost immediately.  The familiar sounds of the smoke monster echo through the jungle as the house shakes to it's foundation.  It's now dark outside and all we hear in addition to the smoke monster are the screams of the MCs it's chewing to bits.  As Ben gives the signal and everyone runs out of the house, we see one MC actually dragged back into the jungle by the smoke monster.  It's on a Ben-induced rampage, no doubt about it.

As things start to calm down somewhat, Ben orders the others to head for the creek and he'll catch up with them.  John wants to know why he's staying behind. 

"I have to say goodbye to my daughter, John."

Ben approaches Alex's lifeless body and I almost...mind you, almost, feel sorry for him.  And Alex really is dead.  Poor kid.  Ben closes her eyes and kisses her bloody forehead and he's devastated.

He's still a creep, but he's devastated.

I have to say that when Ben sent Rousseau, Karl and Alex to the Temple, after the MC ambush, I thought the reason Ben sent them was to deliberately get Rousseau and Karl killed and out of his way where Alex was concerned.  I guess now I've been proven wrong.

Back on the beach, Daniel "Mr. Wizard" Faraday has a Morse code gizmo up and running.  He sends a message to the ship asking what happened to the doctor.

Signals come back and Jack, Bernard, Juliet, Kate and Charlotte listen in.  Daniel interprets the code, "Friends are fine and the helicopter is coming back in the morning."

Bernard immediately says Daniel's lying.   You see, Bernard knows Morse code and he relays what the message really said was, "What are you talking about?  The doctor is fine."

Jack asks Daniel what that means and why he lied.  When he doesn't get a satisfactory answer, Jack grabs him by the neck.  "Where you ever going take us off this island? " 

Daniel pauses just a second before answering sadly, "No."

Finally the truth.

I'd have hit him.  But instead Jack doubles over in pain, grabbing his lower back.  Uh oh.  If Jack goes down the Losties are really done for.

Out in the jungle, the Lockeville refugees are lighting torches.  All of a sudden, big, bad Miles ain't so big and bad, 'cause when Sawyer tells him he can go meet up with his friends in the jungle, Miles says, "I think I'll stay with you guys for now."  Heh.

When Ben shows up, Locke gives condolences about Alex, but then accuses him of lying about the smoke monster.  Ben tells Locke they can talk about it with Jacob when they get to the cabin.  At this point Sawyer's had enough of all the supernatural stuff and says he, Claire, Aaron and Hurley are going back to the beach.

Locke pulls out a gun and says that's fine and everything, but Hugo's going with him and Ben to find Jacob.  Sawyer and Locke have a little gun to gun standoff until Hurley agrees to go with Locke.  He'll meet Sawyer and the other Lockeville refugees at the beach later.

Sawyer, continuing his adorable protective streak throughout this episode then tells Locke, "You harm so much as one hair on his curly head, I'll kill you."

Aw James, that was so sweet. It was the "harm one hair on his curly head" part.  It made me misty.  No, really.

Locke says, "Fair enough."  And off they go.

Flash forward to London, England.

It's late at night as Ben gets out of a taxi at a fancy apartment building.  He's all dressed up and once again very James Bond-like.  The usual "crazy" that Ben carries around with him is well hidden.  He charms his way---and whoever thought I would use that phrase when referring to Ben---past the desk clerk, into the elevator and then jimmies a lock so he can get to the penthouse.

He enters a darkened bedroom.

"Wake up, Charles."  So informal.  Wow.

Charles Widmore wakes up and doesn't appear surprised to see him.  "I wondered when you were going to show up.  I see you've been getting more sun"

"Iraq is lovely this time of year."

Now it was here I thought, are Ben and Widmore really in cahoots?  Such a weird, yet pleasant greeting, it made me wonder.

Widmore pours himself a scotch from a bottle on his bedside table.  "If you've come here to kill me Benjamin..."

"We both know I can't do that."

"Then why are you here?"

"I'm here Charles, because you murdered my daughter."

Even though this scene is very tense, I find it funny that Widmore's British accent drifts in and out so freely.

"Don't stand there looking at me with those horrible eyes of yours and lay the blame for the death of that poor girl on me.  When we both know very well I didn't murder her at all, Benjamin. You did. "

"No, that's not true."

"Yes, Benjamin. It is.  You creep into my bedroom like a rat and have the audacity to pretend you're a victim.  I know who you are, boy.  What you are.  I know that everything you have, you took from me. So, once again I ask you... why are you here?"

"I'm here Charles to tell you that I'm going to kill your daughter.  Penelope is it?  And once she's gone, once she's dead, then you'll understand how I feel and you'll wish you hadn't changed the rules."

"You'll never find her."

Ben's gives him a look with those horrible eyes that says, "Oh, really?"

"That island's mine Benjamin. It always was.  It will be again."

"But you'll never find it."

"Then I suppose the hunt is on for both of us."

"I suppose it is.  Sleep tight, Charles."


War declared.  Great scene. 

Photo courtesy and copyright ABC


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