Thursday, September 10, 2009

2.14 One of Them

Follow along! The episode guide for “One of Them” is in Finding Lost, pp. 256-259.

BENRY!!! Michael Emerson’s first appearance on the show. Oh, how I have waited for this episode!! In seasons 4 and 5, every time Ben Linus is on my screen I’m just on the edge of my seat, waiting for some zinger to come from him. (“I’m a Pisces.”) But here we see him not as the master of oozing sarcasm, but as scared, pathetic Henry Gale From Minnesota… and it’s BRILLIANT to watch. Knowing he’s actually Ben, knowing he’s an Other who’s been tracking them all from the beginning, knowing that he’s lying with every word that he says and enjoying every second of the torture makes these scenes absolutely delicious to watch now. Emerson didn’t really develop this character over four seasons – he’d nailed him from the very beginning, and you can see in the way he holds his mouth or a look on his face or a tiny smirk that passes ever-so-quickly that he’s lying. We know his tells now, but at the time, it wasn’t clear if Sayid was wrong and possibly torturing an innocent man. Instead, he’s torturing the very man who will later bring him to ruin, the man who he’d gone back in time to attempt to kill.

Fun things I noticed:
• You can tell that Iraq is green-screened, but it’s freakin’ impressive nonetheless.
• It’s interesting to see both Sayid and Sawyer connected to Kate through her parents – Sawyer is served dinner by Diane Austen, and Sayid is recruited by Sam Austen.
• I’m seriously amazed at how young Sayid looks just by putting shorter hair on Naveen Andrews. I’m sure I say it all the time, but it’s really believable.

Things that have new meaning:
• So here’s the big question for me, and everyone will have their own opinion on it at this point: Do you think Ben recognized Sayid the moment Sayid approached him in the net? Did he remember him as the man who’d shot him and left him for dead when he was only about 14 or 15 years old? If Miles is right, and 1977 is their present, but Ben’s past, then it means by the time Sayid sees him in the net, he’d already shot Ben 25 years earlier. Does Ben remember that, or when Richard Alpert took him to the Temple, did it wipe that memory from him?
• Sayid is shocked by Rousseau shooting Ben, yet he will eventually do it, too (and, by some timelines, he’s already done it).
• I mention this all the time, but in S5 Ben says, “You’re a killer, Sayid.” One of the reasons he says this is because that’s how Sayid introduced himself to Ben in the very beginning, looking him right in the eye and saying, “I’m a torturer,” as if that’s who he is, what he is, and everything he’ll ever be.
• How much do you LOVE watching Ben turn the tables throughout this scene? Sayid’s constantly coming to the brink, and Ben turns things and says, “Did you lose someone you love?? Tell me about it,” and Sayid, who has a crap detector that’s sharper than most, falls for it and tells Ben everything. It’s amazing to watch.
• When the army door slowly closes and Jack tells Sayid to stop while Sayid’s screaming that Henry’s lying, at the time it seemed like Ben was looking at Sayid in bafflement. But now you can see the knowing, cunning look in his eyes. He’s putting the doubt in their minds, and where’s there’s doubt, there is tension, and Ben THRIVES on tension.
• Who is Kelvin? It’s still one of the big mysteries. He says to Sayid that one day he’ll need to get some information from someone and now he knows how to do it. Is he a time traveler? Is he an innocent member of the DI when he’s in the hatch with Desmond or is he there on purpose, as part of some larger purpose? What does he know?


Gillian Whitfield said...

This is without a doubt, one of my favourite episodes of the series. Michael Emerson is to thank for that. Even when he was known as "Henry", his character has always intrigued me. Ben is one of my favourite characters.

The flashbacks are really well done. I thought it was cool to see Kelvin Inman again, knowing that he was Desmond/Radzinsky's partner in the Swan.

Jo Thornley said...

I am watching Lost again with my dad, who's never seen it before, and I couldn't WAIT for this episode. I found the flashbacks really boring, I find all of Sayid's flashbacks really boring, but the on-island stuff totally made up for it. I love Ben...

Marebabe said...

Written by Darlton, this episode has some of the best and most complex character moments in the entire series. The intensity of the Jack/Locke showdown while Sayid pounds on Henry’s face... well, all of the adjectives in my personal word-hoard are too feeble to describe it.

Sayid’s quiet “Have you forgotten?” speech to Charlie at the end is such a brilliant contrast to the violence that went before. Yet it’s just as intense.

“We’re gonna have a Locke problem.” You said it, Doc!

Nikki, your mention of the green screen used in the Iraq scenes reminded me of a technical question that has gone unanswered for me for many years, simply because I have never been in a conversation with anyone who would know. Readers, here it is: Why do filmmakers sometimes use a blue screen, and other times a green screen for FX shots? Is there a difference, or do they just use whatever the crew has handy? Could the same special effects be achieved if they used an orange screen or a purple screen?

Jazzygirl said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this episode for all the same reasons you guys did. And in reading Nikki's newest comments on it, I DID watch it from a new lens when Ben was being beaten. I remember the first time, I was skeptical but he IS convincing. Though I did think it a tad unbelievable that a seasoned torturer/inquirer like Sayid would let the tables be turned by spouting emotional stuff. I mean, I get why he did. But it almost violated his true character, I think anyway. Inconsisten is I guess what I'm saying.
I 100% believe the Others were watching from the Pearl and planned the whole capture of Ben, etc. They have Michael and the plan was for Michael to free Ben and bring those four to the Others. I wonder though if Ben knew Danielle would shoot him with an arrow though? That's a hard pill to swallow, no?
Nikki, I have to admit, I DIDN'T think about the fact that Ben might recognize Sayid as his adolescent shooter. I'll have to think about THAT one for a while.

Susan said...

Here we go again with the beating of someone who may or may not be guilty of what they are being accused of. Lucky for Sayid he turns out to be right this time.

That Tariq is a lovely guy, isn't he? "Kill yourself so I can go free -- then you will be a hero." Sheesh.

Yay Kelvin, one of my favorite background characters, moreso because of Clancy Brown than because of any redeeming qualities that Kelvin himself has.

That tree frog scene annoys me for some reason. It is reminiscent of the boar scene in season 1, except that was tied to Sawyer's guilt over murdering an innocent man. This one seems to be an attempt at humor, but falls flat for me because of the long con that Sawyer has just pulled on the entire camp. The only part I like is when Hurley says, "At least everyone likes me dude."

I think Ben did recognize Sayid, partly because it would be really cool if he did. I don't know if the writers had it planned this early, probably not, but there is nothing in the scene that argues against it. If Ben is, as some believe, captured on purpose, then he would hide his recognition of any of them (which in this case would pretty much be Sayid and Jack, I don't think he saw any of the other time travelers).

Batcabbage said...

Ben is without doubt my favourite character in Lost, and this introduction to him was probably the most intriguing new character development throughout the five series we have so far. I know it's jumping ahead a little (well, a lot!), but the journey from here where we first meet Benry (love that moniker, Nik!) to what he'll eventually do in the finale of season 5 makes me think that Maybesau/Man In Black/Randall Flagg (I know he's not RF, but the character so reminds me of him) was the primary influence in Ben's life that lead him to fulfil the Man in Black's wish to be rid of Jacob. That Ben's whole life as the leader of the Others is just a move by MIB to checkmate Jacob. Which is the reason (I think) that Jacob never spoke to Ben. Sorry, off topic of the episode, I know, but seeing Ben's introduction just stirs up these thoughts for me.

Great write up, Nik!

tiasabita said...

OMG, Ben's here finally! Love that creepy yet glorious face peering out of the net, reminds me so much of Jack Nicholson and the axe-smashed door in The Shining! You are so right, Nikki - Michael Emerson hit the ground running with Ben's character! He just has to remember Sayid cuz as Susan says 'it would be really cool if he did'! But how hard would it be to knowingly set yourself up for so much pain and suffering? I guess for the greater good? And Sayid going all gooey so easily also bothered me - just like when Jack got all sappy with Desmond about Sara instead of asking, 'What exactly the hell is goin on here, Brotha?'

Why don't they fill their water bottles up from the sink in the hatch? Why do they still get their water from the holding 'tank' on the beach?

How did Sam Austen get all his scars?

Just a nitpick about when Sam asked Sayid if he'd ever done any translating. Translating is done with the written word while interpreting is done with the spoken word. The two do not always go hand in hand - they are two very different skill sets. Just a tidbit - certainly not important to the story!:)

Loving me some rewatch!

Fred said...

I have to admit this episode had more impact when it was first aired somewhere in 2006, coming up in the middle of the Bush adminstration's second term. Iraq was so much in the backdrop, the whole Abu Graib affair, and questions arising out of the practice of Rendition. Now that we've left that period, it is kinda hard to re-establish the gut feeling I once had the first time seeing this. Maybe Sayid's comment to Charlie is also to the general audience, not to forget.

I also wonder about Sayid. He is shown the footage of the gassing (sarin) of his village, people he knows. Then let out on the border of Iraq, he makes his way home and happily accepts a position in the Iraqi Republican Guard???? I understand he has few options, but I wouldn't think he'd jump at the chance to be Saddam's 'good soldier' in the Guard. It doesn't make sense in terms of character, but it does in terms of storyline.

Notice Danielle asks Sayid to trust her. That was one of the themes in the last episode, the breakdown of trust. That trust is broken down even more through Sayid's torturing Ben--oh, and if I was Locke I'd have told Jack, okay let's see what happens if the timer goes to zero. Of course Jack is so wrapped up in Jack he'd probably never have noticed the walls were caving in.

This was the episode that really made me hate Sawyer (he redeemed himself later). But when he crushed the frog, I really hated him.

Batcabbage said...

Re Kelvin: I think he's one of the best cameo's in Lost (I love Brother Justin), and I think that he's going to be one of those mysteries that doesn't get cleared up by the end of season 6. Which is both a shame and a blessing really. Sure, he's intriguing and we want to know more, but I wouldn't necessarily mind if he remained a mystery. Seeing him again makes me wish HBO would let awesome shows run their course (Carnivale, Deadwood, I'm looking in your direction....)

The Question Mark said...

@ Nikki:
Does Ben remember Sayid? I think so. Until you mentioned the possibility that the Temple may have wiped his mind, I'd never considered that, but it's certainly plausible.
However, Ben always seems to be 2 steps ahead of the Losties, and what better reason for him to be like that than the fact that the knows where/when they will end up.

Plus, in one of the later Season 2 episodes, I remember Benry speaks to somebody (I think it was Ana Lucia or Locke), and he makes a negative comment about "Sayid and his fists". There's something in the tone of his voice when he says "fists" that makes it clear that he detests Sayid and thinks him a violent, implacable man. I think remembering being shot by that same man as a child would certainly help fuel feelings like this.

Anonymous said...

The first time I saw this episode, I was apprehensive about the level of violence. Did Sawyer just crush a frog to death? Was Sayid actually going to use those pliers? (And would we have to watch?) I had doubts about Benry's innocence until I remembered that it was Rousseau who told them he was one of them. Who better to know? But, in hindsight, wouldn't it have behooved her to mention that this was the same S.O.B. who, with a bad wig on, stole her baby 16 years earlier? Not like she'd forget *that* face, amIright? Then there wouldn't have been any question in anyone's mind. Must've been satisfying for her to shoot him with the arrow. Hmmm...maybe her plan the whole time was to have Sayid torture him for having kidnapped Alex.

LOVED the scene where the numbers went to zero while Locke, filled with panic, screws up the data entry over and over again. On the first watch, I was absolutely mesmerized by the Egyptian type symbols that appeared and that foreboding, foundation-shaking rumble. One of the most suspenseful and nerve-wracking moments of the entire show!

One question I do have, though, is why, exactly, presuming Benry allowed himself to be captured, did he do it? There seemed to be no advantage to having yet another spy in the Losties' camp; they already have complete dossiers on everyone and know exactly what resources they have and don't have. So what's the point?

Scott said...

@ Questionmark:
I think the simplest answer to why Ben allowed himself to be captured was to gather intel to allow him to manipulate Jack into the surgery. Ben needed to do it himself, because it was essentially a complete selfish need that was going against what the island actually wanted (presumably making him die from his illness).

Anonymous said...

IIRC, "how and why Ben got caught in Danielle's trap" was supposed to be answered in Season 5 but was cut because of the strike, so maybe we'll see it in Season 6.

Nikki Stafford said...

studiorose: why, exactly, presuming Benry allowed himself to be captured, did he do it? There seemed to be no advantage to having yet another spy in the Losties' camp; they already have complete dossiers on everyone and know exactly what resources they have and don't have. So what's the point?

I was thinking about this myself as I was watching it, and running the events to come through my head. One thought was that if Ben weren't captured, then the Others wouldn't have a reason to want Michael to go to the hatch and bring the others back with him. But then I thought sure they would -- they still want the other 4, and they could have just told him to do it without Ben being there. But I think the best explanation is what Scott said: that he's there watching all of them and gathering intel. Remember when Jack was in the cages and Cindy showed up with the kids and said, "We're here to watch"? That seems to be what the Others do. They watch from the trees, they watch from the jungles, they watch them on monitors (remember how we'll later see Ben and Juliet in rags watching the goings-on of the Swan station on the monitors at the Pearl?) So he's there to watch all of them.

Ben's strength is manipulation. In the episodes to come, we'll see him push John Locke to a point where he begins doubting his own convictions. He'll create so much tension Jack's head will be spinning. He's not there as a catalyst; when he leaves, almost everyone in that camp will be completely different.

It's like he needs them to know that he was there, in their midst, and they believed he was a good guy and fed him. He needs them to question Sayid's judgment, and then when he leaves, they'll all finally look at Sayid like he was right all along and they'll question themselves. Maybe, if he DOES remember Sayid shooting him, he's there to bring out the torturer in the guy, to make him face the worst parts of himself, because he needs to see what it'll take if he's going to use him as a hitman later (something tells me Ben always has a handle on what will happen later).

It'll be interesting if, as grubstreet suggests, we'll actually see the reason in S6.

Joan Crawford said...

This episode is the best ever because we get to watch Sayid put in his Torcha Scrunchie. Which was, for those of you unaware, the Hottest. Thing. Ever. Love watching Daddy get ready for work! Hahahaha!

variabull said...

If Ben got caught (big IF, Ben always has a plan), he gets caught in what I think of as an "Alex" trap seeded by a doll (remember Kate and Jack caught up in a trap). Perhaps it was seeded by a carved wooden doll similar to young Ben's birthday present.

If there was a moment of recognition for Ben I thought it is when Jack pulls Sayid off him and Ben glares at Sayid from the armory. But then again would the person that Ben has become necessarily think of the shooting as a bad thing (depending on his memory of Annie and how that all turned out)?

Ben may have considered himself a "dead man walking", so if taking the arrow would ensure his contact with Jack, so be it.

Doesn't Sayid's motivations for torture (Sawyer, Tariq, Ben) come down to revenge. Isn't he coping with his own problems, displacing his negative emotions by inflicting pain on someone else. The victim becomes a symbol for him of everything that is negative in his life. Remember that Stanford Experiment that inadvertently demonstrated how easily people chosen at random to be "jailers" could become torturers.

Recurring themes, blood on hands, personnel records.

Was Tariq killed? Wouldn't he have to have been killed for Sayid to continue to serve in the army? Did anybody question who was filming the sarin attack? Usually these atrocities are filmed after the fact.

Dharma seemed to be a pretty mixed bag of scientists, New-Agers and wingnuts...I still don't buy Kelvin as a disenchanted spook who had sent too many men to their deaths. More likely he was a mole like Locke's young cop at the commune.

Shirley said...

Nikki, you mentioned the episode where Ben and Juliet are in the Pearl station, watching Jack on the monitor -- I just happened to have watched that one yesterday (I've gotten ahead in the rewatch). It's "Expose," and Paulo is in the bathroom when they look in the monitor. They talk about getting Jack to do the surgery, and Juliet asks him how -- Ben says, "Michael of course." And then he talks about how he manipulates people into doing what he wants.

Just thought I'd throw that in...

Jenn said...

No way did Benry get trapped by accident. Uh uh. Ben would never let that happen. He got himself trapped there on purpose, for sure. He would be curious about the Losties, and rather than just introducing himself like a regular person, he has to concoct some insanely evil/villainous plan that involves lies and violence. (Not that he'd be able to easily introduce himself after the whole "Mr. Friendly, This is OUR island,' we're taking the boy" fiasco.)
But you guys know what I mean. Ben never does things the "normal" way. He always does it the "super-villain" way. Evan planting Ethan and Goodwin was very "sinister" of Ben. When Ethan and Goodwin both got offed, Ben decided to plant himself, as Benry. There's just no way Ben got caught in a trap, and then conveniently ended up in the Losties' camp.
BTW, know this comment is full of "Ben is a super-villain" blah blah blah. But that is why I LOVE him! Without super-villains, life would be so boring! :)

Jenn said...

Oh ya, and @ Joan Crawford:

Torcha Scrunchie! The hottest accessory for time-travel Island getaways!


Teebore said...

Does Ben remember that, or when Richard Alpert took him to the Temple, did it wipe that memory from him?

I really, really, really, REALLY hope that adult Ben remembers Sayid shooting young Ben.

I absolutely love the subtext in this episode if you think that Ben is being tortured by the man who shot him as a child. You almost wonder if part of Ben's plan is to get tortured by Sayid, to bring out that part of Sayid, to start him down the path that will lead him to shoot Ben, which puts Ben on the path of Other leadership.

Take away Ben's memory of the shooting, and this episode loses all that wonderful, gooey, time-travel-y subtext.

But I'm fairly certain that Richard's line about Ben not remembering was intended to be a catch-all line meant to establish that Ben wouldn't remember the details of his childhood shooting, including the presence of all the time traveling Losties in the DI.

I could be wrong about that. I hope I'm wrong about it. But I doubt it (or, of course, Richard's line was the last word on the subject we're going to get, and we'll be spending endless years debating whether or not it means that Ben forgot Sayid shot him).

I absolutely hate the tree frog subplot in this one. It's hard to watch, knowing what's coming. Moreso than his long con, "I'm the Sheriff" stuff in the last episode, squashing that frog is the thing that made me say "look, Sawyer as the rogue-ish anti-hero who can be a dick sometimes is fun, but Sawyer as a straight-up dick is just not cool, at all."

Also, Marebabe, "word-hoard"=the awesome.

Fred said...

@Teebore:"Take away Ben's memory of the shooting, and this episode loses all that wonderful, gooey, time-travel-y subtext."

Considering Michael Emerson was only supposed to be on the show for a number of episodes, I think we can safely assume the writers had no intention of even considering Ben's memory of Sayid. So while we may look for some visual cues indicating Ben remembers Sayid, I don't think we'll find any. I think it is just one of those cases where Cuse and Lindelhof realized the impact Emerson had on the audience, and so they kept him on.

Which leads me to wonder, imagine LOST without Ben? Where was it originally going? Was Widmore supposed to be the villain? Even Richard was supposed to be a bit part. And Mathew Fox was supposed to disappear in the pilot episode. Yikes!! I shouldn't go any further. Next thing I'll be considering "Casablanca" without Humphrey Bogart (I think it was Ronald Reagan they had in mind).

Teebore said...


Oh, yeah, I know Emerson was originally only meant to be on the show for four episodes or so (I wonder if the original plan was to have him actually BE Henry Gale, or what the original plan was?).

What I meant by subtext wasn't anything in Emerson's performance (since he obviously wasn't aware of the future plot line at the time) but just the fact that, as an audience member aware of future events, I can watch that scene knowing that Ben the character is aware that the man torturing him will one day soon go back in time and put Ben on the path that led him to being "captured" and tortured in the first place.

I like to keep that in mind when watching those scenes, even if the actor didn't intentionally impart any of that knowledge into his performance of the character.

JW said...

Teebore, maybe I'm cynical, but I don't think there really were any longterm plans for Lost at this point, and the writers were simply laying down threads to work with later. And I'm probably belaboring this point, but Alaska has nothing on the second season of Lost when it comes to bridges to nowhere.

But for those of you who jumped on the bandwagon late, it was even worse than that! You probably assume that ABC figured out pretty quickly that Lost isn't "Leave it to Beaver" and that the episodes had to air like they do today: in order, once a week. You'd be wrong.

The first season, ABC aired repeats throughout the season. One week Claire would be abducted and Charlie would almost die, and the next week they'd be joking on the beach together about peanut butter. Then the week after Claire would be gone again and Charlie would be moody.

So the second season comes along, and ABC learned their lesson right? Sorta kinda. They didn't air repeats, but get a load of when the episodes aired:

What Kate Did: November 30
The 23rd Psalm: January 11
The Hunting Party: January 18
Fire + Water: January 25
The Long Con: February 8
One of Them: February 15
Maternity Leave: March 1
The Whole Truth: March 22

Thank God for DVDs.

Marebabe, here's the short answer to your blue screen/green screen question: any color can be used, but usually blue or green are used because these colors aren't found in the subject being shot, and they tend to light the subject well. The choice of a blue or green screen depends on A: whether there's blue or green in the subject being shot (if the subject has blue shirt and you shoot blue screen, the software will take out the shirt along with the backing screen), B: what kind of lighting you want your subject to have, and C: what colors are in your subject along the edges. For example, red doesn't work with with green screen work because you tend to end up with yellow edges where the red meets the green screen. Meanwhile, purple doesn't work well with blue screen work.

JW said...

@Teebore: I want you to know that I understand what you're saying about watching the character rather than the actor. Rereading my prior post, it sounds like I totally missed your point! I get what you're saying, and it's a good way to watch the show.

Anonymous said...

I am so struck with this episode in particular, how different watching the DVD’s now is from watching originally. On original viewing I was trying to keep up, but I think there was so much going on I missed loads, and I often could not see the dark shots well or hear the dialogue. I nearly always missed the subtler moments, and many of the palm to forehead moments. Only when I was sitting watching multiple episodes at a time with a friend who wanted to catch up before season 3 did I start getting a clue. The separation between episodes and the focus of episodes sure didn’t help. I am ashamed to admit it, but I still overlook Kelvin all the time!

As for dropped plot lines: I firmly believe that the beginning and end, basic plot and assorted bits were all planned out in the beginning. However, season 2 is at a point where they did not know how many years this series was going to run. (Imagine if we had another 4 or 5 years to wait for a resolution!!!) I think they started salting in little bits they could take detours with, if necessary, and there was a real possibility that actors would drop out of a long running series, so they needed fall-back possibilities. Alas coming up next is season 3, just full of wheel spinning and stories that add little or nothing to the story. Thank heavens they got the endpoint fixed and seasons 4 and 5 have been great.

I particularly noticed the look exchanged between Sayid and “Henry” and feel that is the moment Sayid decided to kill him for sure. Who knew what when, or recognized whom, is something I play with in my mind all the time. I do remember some comments to the effect that they often do multiple takes to get a variety of reactions from the actors so that they can manipulate the editing to select what meaning they are conveying that the actor is not yet aware of. (Did I make any sense there?) I also think Ben got caught because he wanted to, not with anyone elses support or advice. Just a thought, probably he used Henry Gales astrological sign, so maybe not lying as he was supposed to be Henry:P

Tiasbita you asked why they keep catching water on the beach and don’t use the “hatch” water. I have a bigger question that never occurred to me before: What was Sayid doing rinsing off his lovely chest, head, shoulders etc. in the drinking water! Ewww!

Celandine who can't seem to remember her passwprd

Nikki Stafford said...

Celandine: What was Sayid doing rinsing off his lovely chest, head, shoulders etc. in the drinking water! Ewww!

I bet there are a few people on here who would still drink that water. *cough*

Nikki Stafford said...

Re: Looking for clues in Henry's face.

As has been said, the writers had planned to use Ben Linus for a 3- or 4-episode arc, but Michael Emerson was so stunning they kept him (oh thank the gods for that!) So does this feed into the theory that Darlton really don't have a clue what they're doing, since Ben has become so integral?

No. Not to me. I believe that they always envisioned Ben Linus, they knew that he was going to be the leader of the Others, that he'd have this thing with Widmore, and the whole Jacob thing, yadda yadda, but they didn't link him to this guy in the hatch. In the beginning, I think they figured they'd have this guy as one of the Others who is really good at manipulation, and once they saw Emerson's brilliance, they went, Wait a minute, let's make HIM the leader!

So can we look for signs of recognition on his face? No. I don't think they had thought that far ahead in the story and even considered the time travel back to the 1970s (the song that Hurley and Sayid listen to is a case in point -- at the time Darlton said no way, no how was that time travel, and it was just a joke... in a podcast in season 5, they referenced the scene and said it was absolutely a time loop that had interfered with the 2004 timeline, but they really were listening to a 1945 broadcast. Nice to revise history like that, boys... and I'll take it!)

But can I still look for clues on Emerson's face? Absolutely! Because I'm a fan geek, and it's what I do. I revel in my nerdliness, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I'm looking for clues that were never intended to be there. It's like reading a book and then writing a huge essay on the symbolism of something in the book, and the author somehow reads your paper and says, "Wow. I had no idea I was doing that and didn't intend to, but... cool." Is the symbolism still there? For me? Yes. :)

Joan Crawford said...

@Jenn - I know! Only on Lost would a dude wearing a Torcha Scrunchie be not only acceptable but damn sexy too.

@Nikki - I am not sure who you are referring to, but they sound like a bunch of weirdos! ;)

Susan said...

@ Celandine -- Maybe it's my TV but I have a hard time distinguishing what's going on in the really dark scenes. For example, when the 50s Others captured Sawyer & Juliet, I had no clue what was going on!

re your comment about actors and different takes...I read somewhere that Yunjin Kim was asked to play her early pregnancy scenes as if Jin were the father and also as if he wasn't. So it's believable that they did the same with Michael Emerson.

Marebabe said...

@JW: Thanks for the answer to my blue screen question. Makes total sense now! By the way, Today I ordered your "Lord of the Films" book which Nikki recommended. Looking forward to reading it! And then I'm looking forward to watching the DVD movie trilogy again with new eyes.

@Teebore: Full disclosure time! I got "word-hoard" from Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers". It's from the chapter "The Passage of the Marshes", when Sam woke up from a sleep he never meant to take. "Various reproachful names for himself came to Sam's mind, drawn from the Gaffer's large paternal word-hoard..." I'm one of those Tolkien fans who reads LOTR at least once a year. I've borrowed a good many phrases from Tolkien's books.

SonshineMusic said...

Ack! How can I be so late to the episode I've been waiting for since the beginning of the rewatch?!

I LOVE Michael Emerson/Ben/Henry :)

My notes are inaccessible at the moment so I'll have to come back yet later, but I wanted to throw this in.

I saw an interview with Michael Emerson (online somewhere, maybe, can't remember) where they were talking about how he was only supposed to have a few episode story arc.

It was the episode where Benry is acting all scared of the leader of the Others and the director told him to act as if the leader was the most terrifying person on the face of the planet.
Emerson said, What if I'm the leader?
To which the director was all, ahem. Um. We can't comment on that.

That story always makes me laugh and I think it also shows what an intuitive actor Emerson is :D

The Shout said...

I'm kinda glad that we dont see a look of recognition on Ben's face when he sees Sayid. Presumably if he does remember being shot by him, and knows he was on 815, he was expecting him to be there and maybe even expected to be tortured. Plus he's a grade A liar.

On the subject of looks, watch out for the exchange between Sawyer and Juliet when they first meet in Season 3. Its quite wonderful (yes I'm another one who's raced ahead of schedule).

Katey said...

Gah, I'm so behind. NOOO.

I can't believe I'm days late on the episode where BENRY arrives!! Well, everything's basically been discussed already but.

I've always thought Sayid's flashbacks were interesting in a unique way, but for some reason I never remember them! Looking back on this one I was like "whoah...I don't forgot about this one!" minus Ben of course.

Great episode, I was positively spazzing out the first time I met Ben/Henry trying to wrap my mind around his character. It's like, something deep inside you knows he's bad, that there's something really, really wrong with this guy, but at the same time, the way he has with words--it's like, no matter what your head says, he makes you believe unwittingly. But you know. But you don't know. But you do. You know?

GAH! It's brilliance!
Anyway, I'm swamped with school work ALREADY (I thought Senior year was supposed to be a breeze?) but I'm trying to keep up. Sorry for the episodes I've skipped out on. It makes me sad. :( I hope you missed me. ;)

Loretta said...

I have nothing much to add here, beyond the fact that I'm thrilled to have finally caught up with your rewatch after studying for and taking the bar exam this summer. (Yay for me!)

One interesting thing I did was rewatch most of the first season during a visit with my parents, and my father joined me for the ride. It was fun to watch the show as a veteran viewer with someone who was seeing it for the first time, and remind myself how amazing that first season was. I wish I had counted how many times he was shocked by something.

I'm still impressed by how impeccable a liar Ben is. An answer for every single question.

I also tend to read Alan Sepinwall's blog, and he has this theory that the best leader of the Losties for the first 4 seasons was Sayid, but no one ever paid attention to him. I'm not sure I agree whole-heartedly with this theory, but this episode definitely gives it credence.

Well, looking forward to finally be watching along with you this week!

Nikki Stafford said...

Loretta: Congratulations on the bar exam!! I wish you the best of luck in your lawyerly future (and seeing as some of my favourite people are lawyers, I don't mean that with any sarcasm, like some people would). ;)

I agree about Sayid as a leader. I'm not sure he would be the best (I'd have to think that through all the way) but I definitely think he was someone that should have stepped up as the alpha leader and people would have listened. I remember in my first book making some comment that it was surprising to me that people turned to Jack over Sayid early on, rather than making him the doctor and Sayid the leader. But, being Americans who were still embroiled in a war against Iraq, maybe listening to the guy who used to be in the Republican Guard wasn't high on some lists, unfortunately.

In season 3 I was convinced that he would step up as leader with Jack and Sawyer gone, but Locke seems to play more of that role.

J.W. said...

@Katey: I think you really hit on something when you mentioned the uniqueness of Sayid's flashbacks. Whenever there's a Sayid show, there's just a different feel to Lost. When I first began watching, I didn't like this, but now I find it a nice change of pace.

Katey said...

@ Myself
And I quote: "I don't forgot about this one". Wowww. Okay, today is just not my day. I go back to school and this is what happens? I was going to respond to JW so I went back to read what I'd originally posted and was struck by that wonderful little jem of a typo. Sorry about that one. I swear, I do speak English, mostly. =P

Yeah, that's just something that's always struck me. I mean, every character has a unique pace and feel to their flashbacks, but there's something even more unique in Sayid's, I don't really know why or what it is, I just notice it. Every time I rewatch Sayid episodes, it feels the same, new all over again even though I've seen it before. I like it. :)

SonshineMusic said...

Well, I don't really have much to add to all the great comments here.

I had to wonder this time about the Ben/Danielle connection. Does he know she is Alex's mother (I'm sure he does) and does she remember him as the one that took Alex (I'm pretty sure not). Maybe her subconscious knows and that is why she's so certain he is an Other.

I love her line, "He will lie for a long time." No kidding - how about for the entire time we will know him :P And he is excessively good at lying.

The Sawyer story line did seem a bit redundant, but I think it did show that no matter how much he has convinced himself that he doesn't need anyone else, the truth is he still wants to be part of the group, but he keeps sabotaging it. I love how Hurley tells him off.

It seems like there is an awfully large crack under the door and awfully thin door for a room that's only opened by combination. It seems like it should be, I don't know, more secure.

Susan said...

I think people turned to Jack as leader early on because he saved/doctored many of them, and that tends to lead to a trust in a doctor. So when they didn't know each other well and were faced with crisis after crisis, Jack was the natural choice. Obviously some of them regretted that choice later (cough John cough).

One of the things that makes Ben a great liar is not just his manner, but also he knows when to tell the truth/keep his promises. If he really did lie all the time, who would believe him? But he has John coming back to him all the time, and he even managed to convince Jack and Sun to join with him in season 5, even though they know what he's capable of.

The Rush Blog said...

"Though I did think it a tad unbelievable that a seasoned torturer/inquirer like Sayid would let the tables be turned by spouting emotional stuff. I mean, I get why he did. But it almost violated his true character, I think anyway. Inconsisten is I guess what I'm saying."

I'm not that surprised. Sayid was still grieving over Shannon's death and Ben was a first-class manipulator.