Wednesday, October 28, 2009

3.13 The Man from Tallahassee

Follow along! The episode guide for “The Man From Tallahassee” is in Finding Lost — Season 3, pp. 101-106.

Locke might have gone off the deep end in season 3, but in this episode, the one where we finally see how Locke ended up in a wheelchair, I just can’t find enough synonyms for “amazing” to describe Terry O’Quinn’s performance. His reaction when he is placed in the wheelchair for the first time leaves me gutted every time I see it.

Fun things I noticed:
• I love that moment in the beginning where Jack looks like the traitor (and the fact that Locke, of all people, is the only one willing to give him the benefit of the doubt).
• “I’m from Ontario.” Must be evil!! Of course, if they’re in Tustin, then he could mean Ontario, California (trust me, when you’re from Ontario, Canada you rarely say “Ontario” and just say “Canada” or “Toronto” if you’re in a city that’s recognized internationally). Ethan was also from Ontario, interestingly.
• Jack coming in to talk to Kate is similar to Juliet coming in to talk to Jack.
• Alex seems socially awkward, just like Karl always did, which is fitting. I mean, they were never allowed to watch TV (Karl’s never heard of the Brady Bunch) and there weren’t very many other people their age, so what precedent would they have had for what social behaviour is? I’ve always thought this was a very subtle but meaningful touch about their characters.
• Ooh, that Locke and Ben scene is ELECTRIC when they’re both one-upping each other about the island. LOVE IT.
• That perspective of Locke peering down the hole foreshadows that this will explode (because of Locke) just like the hatch did.
• I don’t think I’ve ever noticed that extra-gooey squish when Locke lands before. Ick. It reminds me of something I read years ago that was talking about how they get that juicy noise in a low-budget horror film (or in live theatre) when someone’s hand is cut off – the actor pulls their wrist up into the shirt and holds a bunch of celery, and the fake hand is attached to the end of the celery. The other actor cuts the bunch of celery and CRUNCH, you get that satisfying and disgusting sound.

Things that have new meaning:
• Someone asked last week what the flower was that Hurley put on Libby’s grave, and I pointed out that it’s the same flower that’s in the “garden” where Yemi confronts Eko right before Eko dies, and that it signifies death for me because of it. And here, again, the flower is in the flower shop where Locke confronts his father. We know Cooper will end up dead, and Locke will soon be paralyzed, so maybe the flower really does symbolize something bad on the show.
• Locke’s “You got anything to eat” to Ben echoes Henry Gale’s line, “You guys got any milk?” from season 2. Both have just said something to unnerve the other person, and then rub it in their face by delivering a flippant line right after.
• That look between Locke and Jack is priceless. I couldn’t help but think of Jack holding a gun to Locke’s head at the beginning of season 4 and pulling the trigger.
• This ranks as one of the all-time best endings of Lost. And the way he said, “Dad?” immediately brings to mind the ending of the S2 episode where Michael is on the computer, and the final word of the episode is “Dad?” from Walt.


Marebabe said...

That was a fun fake-out at the beginning. We were supposed to assume that Locke was in his wheelchair.

Ben: “We don’t have a code for ‘There’s a man in my closet with a gun to my daughter’s head.’ Although we obviously should.” Love it love it!!

The verbal sparring between Ben and Locke is wonderful. Nikki, you called it “electric”, and I think that sums it up nicely. They are both very astute in their questioning of each other. And it’s clear that there is some real understanding between them, which makes them pretty evenly matched as opponents. At least in this episode. Further on, we know that Ben will gain the upper hand as the master manipulator, and Locke will end up pitiful, and dead, although not necessarily in that order. (That is so weird to think about!) But for now (on the Island, not in the flashback), Locke seems very insightful and shrewd, and at least as clever as Ben.

I used to wonder if the eighth-floor window through which Locke plummeted was in Cooper’s high-rise condo (or as Nikki said in her book, apartment), or in a hotel suite. Because we know that, in the past, he has preferred to live in a rather posh and secure gated mansion, complete with a guard out front. Why would he give up his mansion in favor of an apartment? Just asking. Also, regarding the apartment number, 3801, MAYBE instead of indicating the 38th floor, it could possibly mean Building 3, 8th floor, apartment 1. Some residential complexes are so massive that they include many separate buildings.

The police would certainly have investigated a thing like Locke’s fall, right? And since Locke survived it, he would’ve been questioned about how it happened. He certainly had every opportunity to point to Anthony Cooper and accuse him of attempted murder. But we’ve never heard anything about Cooper getting his comeuppance for this heinous crime. If Locke claimed that he accidentally crashed through the window and fell, I really, really want to know WHY.

There are two other possibilities that I just thought of. One is that Cooper immediately fled and became a fugitive-on-the-run like Kate. (But that would’ve made it much harder for Ben’s goons to find him and haul him to the Island’s Magic Box. Hmm…) The other is that Locke was already long dead, and it was really the Man in Black disguised as Locke, except that Jacob didn’t realize it when he touched Locke and apparently revived him, and I don’t know what I’m going on about...

Marebabe said...

Back on the Island, how did Danielle manage to stay hidden and not speak when she first saw teenage Alex in this ep? Amazing.

I love that great line spoken by John’s physical therapist/nurse who introduced him to his wheelchair: “I don’t wanna hear about what you can’t do.” I’m thinking that this is likely the person who taught John to say, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do.”

I never noticed before that the hallway that Ben and Locke go down to see Cooper looks exactly like the hallway outside Rachel’s apartment in “Not in Portland”. I think this is probably like them using the same arched courtyard to represent Oxford, Desmond’s monastery, and Charlie’s and Liam’s church. It’s like the same bit players being spotted in different roles by sharp-eyed fans. The showrunners are trying to economize as much as possible, so some things (and actors) get used more than once.

Anonymous said...

Apparently the police did question Locke and he did turn in his dad, because those two detectives were at his bedside telling him Cooper the coop.

What I'd like to know is how Ben knew to have "the man in Tallahassee" on "standby" in case he needed him to manipulate Locke. Is he also keeping tabs on other Losties' enemies, relatives, whatever, to have pulled in just in case he needs them for some bit of manipulation? That seemed a bit too contrived.

I love the way Ben delivers his most sarcastic (and hilarious) lines with a completely straight face and blase tone, as if he's commenting on the weather.

The Question Mark said...

Another fantastic episode!

One thing that I thought was odd, though, was Richard's behaviour here; maybe it's just me, but his character seems inconsistent here when compared to the rest of the series.
He runs into Ben's room with Tom to report that Kate & Sayid have breached the Barracks, & later he unlocks Locke's cuffs and says, "Are you gonna try anything stupid?" Then he proceeds to wheel Ben down the hall, open the door, and reveal Cooper.
It seems like Richard is running around doing grunt work in this episode, stuff that Ryan or Danny Pickett would normally be doing, and he's rather off-putting and aggressive while doing it. But in every other episode of LOST, Richard is extremely charming, well-mannered, calm, and SO above the kind of stuff he was doing here. Mr. Alpert is one of my top 3 favourite characters after Locke & Ben, so it was a bit odd seeing him like this.

Also, it seemed like he managed to grab Cooper WAY too fast. He left the Island, found Cooper, abducted him, and brought him back, but it all happened within the span of a few hours. Is this due to the fact that time moves differently on the Island?

Marebabe said...

@studiorose: When you're right, you're right! (Duh.) I totally spaced out on the scene with the detectives talking to Locke. Thanks for pointing that out. And I agree with you and Question Mark about how FAST they were able to produce Cooper in the Magic Box. Good point, QM, about how time may indeed be moving differently on the Island. That could account for how quickly things happened. Or... maybe it was really magic!

Gillian Whitfield said...

This is my anniversary episode! It was the first episode I ever saw. It's also one of my favourite episodes from season 3

Jazzygirl said...

LOVED this one. I loved what everyone else has said, but also for me, some of the best writing and acting is when Ben, Richard and John are all together. My fav line? "Well John, you gone and done it now." The delivery is the best! He could win an Emmy just from delivering that line! LOL
Okay here's what I don't get...WHY doesn't Richard recognize Locke as the leader? Shouldn't he at this point? Help?

Hunter said...

I don't think they went to abduct Cooper once Locke showed up. I'm pretty sure he was already there. Remember, Richard has known about Locke for over 50 years at this point and has visited him several times. Once 815 crashed on the island, I assume they realized they'd need a way to test Locke or make him prove himself. They'd probably had Cooper there for several weeks.

I thought the scene where Locke is scolding Ben for his use of electricity and plumbing sounded a lot like it could've been the man in black. Locke says that if Ben knew what the island really was, they wouldn't be living in there comfy homes. It's as if he knows the others used to live outdoors (for a reason), but Ben convinced them to move into Dharmaville.

JS said...

@Hunter - you bring up a point I have wondered about. Ben says Jacob doesn't like technology, but we know Jacob uses technology – He flies on planes, and uses candy machines, etc. And we have speculated that the person in the cabin was MiB, not Jacob. So it makes sense that it is MiB doesn't like technology, and Jacob is the one who "appreciates" progress. Locke is communing with MiB during all his time on the island. So it makes sense Locke is admonishing Ben for using technology. Though I don’t think he knows what the island “is all about”.

The verbal sparring is excellent, and the look on Locke’s face is priceless, after acting so tough. The thing that bugs me the most – after all this, he still calls him Dad!

Fred said...

It's neat that when Peter Talbot came by to talk to Locke, Locke was watching Expose: I distinctly heard reference to the "Cobra". Another one of those wierd connections between Locke and icons of popular culture.
There was that plug of Adam Seward to Ontario, again with Canada (Nikki has a bunch of these in her book). So I guess Canada is where the bad stuff comes from, and Tallahassee is where it gets played out.

@Marebabe: Agree with you on the fake out of Locke and walking, especially since he was seeking Govt. assistance. It must apply to Locke's depression/anger issues after losing the kidney. So does this make Locke "crazy," and if it puts him in this category, that's Hurley, Claire, (might we call Rousseau also in this category), and Locke.

Also, just like Eko and Yemi among the red flowers, Cooper and Locke in the florist meet with the same red flowers between them.

When kate asks Jack about the children and other people taken, Jack says their "safe", not "OK" or "alright." He's using the same word Ben and the Others use. Does Jack know anything beyond just seeing them beyond his cage?

Noticed when Locke opened the fridge in Ben's barrack there was a lot of cans with the Dharma label. Are they still dropping food on the island? Where did all this stuff come from? Locke says of Ben and the Others, "You're cheating," and then calls him a Pharisee. But in no time (next Season), Locke is hunkered down in the barracks, with a plate of chicken.

How right Ben was in reading Locke's fear of Cooper not getting to the island. And then he brings him there. Yes, I do believe this is the real Anthony Cooper.

Rebecca T. said...

@Nikki: Locke’s “You got anything to eat” to Ben echoes Henry Gale’s line, “You guys got any milk?” from season 2.

Totally. I LOVE this line and the whole back and forth between the two of them. Ben is just so wonderfully manipulatively sarcastically horrible. He makes me smile every time he comes on screen.

@marebabe: Ben: “We don’t have a code for ‘There’s a man in my closet with a gun to my daughter’s head.’ Although we obviously should.”

That is probably my top favorite line for this episode. :D

Re: Richard. I've always gotten the feeling that he is kind of "2nd in command" to whomever is leading at the moment. I can't think of specifics off the top of my head, but he often runs errands for the leader - Ben, Charles, Locke. jmo

Rebecca T. said...

Is it just me, or did Peter Talbott look an awful lot like the kid cop form "Further Instructions"? I know he's not the same, but he's got the same kind of face.

Here is proof that Ben also has an eidetic memory. I understand that this information is given to them, but his ability to spout off so much information is quite remarkable.

Deflated Ghost Chicken in Ben's Fridge!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ben's question about John knowing the Island better than him reminded me of young Widmore's line about an "old man" (John) really knowing the Island better than him.

I ♥ Ben's pjs

I wonder if the MiB could have taken over Locke if he hadn't killed his father. (yes, I know that he didn't actually do it, but he orchestrated it) Is it possible MiB ever had control of some sort over Ben since Ben killed his father?

Lost is just too scrumptious for words. I LOVE how crazy they can go and we all eat it up. Who ever expected that Ben would open the door and Locke's DAD would be there? And who, but Lost fans, would argue and evaluate and justify the rationality behind it. :D

Anonymous said...

Sonshine...OMG, Ben's pajamas! They seemed rather ridiculous, but then, Ben hardly seems the type to throw a ratty T-shirt on with his tighty-whities to wear to bed. Still, they were rather staid for an evil mastermind. I would have expected something very tailored, in silk, and a robe with his initials embroidered on them.

Rebecca T. said...

No, that's way over the top for Ben. His jammies are perfect - that boy-next-door look he pulls off. All the while being an evil mastermind :D

Marebabe said...

@studiorose: Reading your description of silky jammies with monograms and such made me think of Charles Widmore! I don't know what to make of this (if indeed it means anything at all). Mostly at this point, I just think that if Charles and/or Ben heard anyone saying out loud that they were in any way alike would cause both men to grind their teeth and mutter in disgust.

crazyinlost said...

@Fred- I too caught that Locke was watching Expose! lol Leading us up to the next episode!
Also, did anyone else notice that Locke's hair was different? There seemed to be more on top of his head, and it was wavy, instead of the straight-as-a-board look from flashbacks past.

@Nikki-I agree with you-that look on Jack's face when Locke blew up the sub...if looks could kill...AND Locke even looked scared!

Did anyone else notice that the whisky (or is it whiskey) poured by A.C. was McCutcheon!

Locke stated to Ben that he felt his back break. Does that mean he wasn't dead when Jacob touched him? Or did he die within seconds of hitting the ground? Or is it just a continuity error?

crazyinlost said...

@JS-I dont think Locke can help himself. He will always be looking for his father's approval,(which IMO, is why he couldnt kill his father) it's just his personality.

Ali Bags said...

@ Sonshinemusic "I wonder if the MiB could have taken over Locke if he hadn't killed his father. (yes, I know that he didn't actually do it, but he orchestrated it) Is it possible MiB ever had control of some sort over Ben since Ben killed his father?"

I don't know if this has already been discussed but Locke behaves so strangely from season 3 onwards that I can't help thinking he's already been taken over by the MiB in some way - the only problem is I can't work out how this would work and why he needs to die eventually.

Debi said...

There's probably a deep psychological meaning to the fact that the box was supposed to deliver whatever you wanted most (according to Ben), but what it delivered was Locke's dad - presumably the item Locke wanted least.
I'm also beginning to wonder (jumping ahead, I know) if it has always been true that one must kill one's father to gain leadership on the island, or is this just a test devised by Ben to justify his own actions? Did Ellie kill her father?
I dislike Expose, not because of N&P, but because it was such a let down after this great episode.

crazyinlost said...

@Ali Bags-maybe John died with the hatch implosion? Or does he just have new purpose now after being shown he was wrong with the hatch implosion...just a thought

Rebecca T. said...

I definitely have played with the idea of John being possessed at various points. The only thing that I can't explain, though, is how his body would end up on the Ajira flight if the MiB was already impersonating him. Because of this it seems that MiB had to have come in after/during the Ajira crash. (though I have certainly tried to think of some explanation)

Austin Gorton said...

WHY doesn't Richard recognize Locke as the leader? Shouldn't he at this point? Help?

He should, and there's no indication he DOESN'T, at least in terms of knowing Locke traveled through time and might have leadership potential in him. At this point, though, he has administered the young Locke the leadership test, which Locke failed. Plus, Ben's right there...I doubt Richard can be like "oh, hey, Locke's here now. Seeya Ben."

So while Richard certainly is aware of Locke, and that he has the potential for Other leadership, he can't exactly lead a coup against Ben right now. Though obviously, in the next few episodes, we'll see Richard help Locke undermine Ben's leadership, and thanks to season five, we now know a little bit of why Richard does this.

Susan said...

re John's strange behavior, sure he seems to be acting strangely in season 3, but really it's just a continuation of what he's been doing all along -- acting in his own best interests based on his current beliefs. Blowing up the sub is no different from blowing up the hatch or the Flame. When he joins the Others, when he gets Sawyer to kill Cooper, when he kills Naomi, it's all part of John's desparate quest to be special. The truly tragic part of John's story is that he pushed away the one person who thought he was special - Helen.

Nikki Stafford said...

Re: Ben's PJs... Ben is the boy who never quite grew up, and it's like every move he makes you could see a cunning 12-year-old making. So I agree, those PJs are absolutely perfect for the character. I think the only thing that would have been even MORE perfect is if they'd been footie pajamas. Hahahahaha!!

Marebabe said...

@Nikki: It wasn't the image of Ben wearing footie pajamas that had me howling with laughter. It was the sudden realization of what the fans (including myself) would've made of that. Can you say, "mountain out of a mole-hill?"

Ali Bags said...

Are 'footie' pyjamas PJs in a football teams' colours or PJs with feet? (Sorry, a I'm a Brit)

Nikki Stafford said...

Ali: Sorry! Footies are PJs with feet in them. Picture sleepers for infants, only with bigger kids wearing them. (They sell them for adults, too... I've wanted a pair for ages!) ;)

Rebecca T. said...

hee hee hee. I totally have this picture in my head now of Ben with footie pajamas and a ragged teddy bear under one arm, with his thumb in his mouth....

crazyinlost said...

@Nikki-I had a pair of footie pj's a few years ago. I got them up at Whistler at the Cow's ice cream store and they had, can you guess, cows on them! Lots of fun!

Anonymous said...

"John, can you help me into my wheelchair? I'd like to retain some dignity."

"Too late, Ben. I already saw the teddy bear."

Ali Bags said...

I am sitting in Hong Kong where it is still 29 degrees and even thinking about footie PJs is making me sweat. I think footie PJs might be a bit much on the Island as well.

I guess you could have footie footie PJs (that would be footie PJs in your team colours)

You may have gathered I am rather fascinated by the concept - and it is nice to know that there are still new things to discover even at my advanced age.

crazyinlost said...

@Ali Bags-when you say 29 degrees, I'm assuming (I know, not a good thing) you mean celcius. Could be confusing for us from the
"Colonies" over here on the other side of the pond. That's below freezing for us!

Blam said...

I know there haven't been any comments here for two weeks, but, dang it, I took notes and I aim to use 'em. Of course, I'm not sure how much I have to add at this point...

Blam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blam said...

When Lost began, Terry O'Quinn was really only familiar to me as hard-nosed authority figures on Alias, The X-Files, and so forth. Even after his eye-opening turn as the enigmatic, knife-wielding, boar-hunting Locke in the early episodes, I had no idea of the range he would show as the writers simultaneously revealed Locke's backstory and his post-crash Island journey in seasons to come. As frustrating as it was for viewers (and, if I recall, for O'Quinn himself at times) to see Locke flounder when his faith was shaken or become like a man possessed -- no Esau reference intended -- in sabotaging his fellow castaways' efforts in the name of keeping everyone on the Island, it was fascinating to experience not only O'Quinn's range but the extent to which the writers were willing to test our sympathies for the show's protagonists.

Blam said...

I don't know which is the better line, the "two giant hamsters" remark that you cite in the book, Nikki, or the one quoted by Marebabe in the first comment, but it's telling that they're both Ben's. You can only imagine the glee in the writers' room when they realized what they had in Michael Emerson. If there isn't already a YouTube video anthologizing such stuff, there surely will be when the series ends; heck, I'd probably pay good money for a charming little hardcover of I'm a Pisces: The Sarcastic Wit of Benjamin Linus.

Rebecca T. said...

@Blam: I'd probably pay good money for a charming little hardcover of I'm a Pisces: The Sarcastic Wit of Benjamin Linus.

Oh, I SO would. The only thing with a book would be that half or all of the greatness of his lines are his delivery. He can say the simplest line ("I lied") and make it phenomenal.

Maybe one of those button books - you know where you push the button and it plays the quote. Now THAT would be fantastic :)