John Locke went tilting at windmills last night, and paid the price. The maybe-delusional/maybe-not/probably-both knight errant of Lost screwed on his Don Quixote and went on his greatest quest yet: convincing the world-weary, spiritually-defeated Oceanic 6 that they were special; that they were meant for greater adventures and grander purposes; that they belonged back on the Island. Alas, just as ''the knight of the sad countenance'' of Cervantes' mock-heroic epic was met wherever he went with derision and much physical punishment, Locke, too, was greeted with heaps of scorn and physical battery. Still, it was Locke who laughed last. In the wake of a journey that tested his faith and left him for dead, the Holy Fool found himself born again on the sandy shores of his heavenly home — or at least, just across the water from it, over on Hydra Island, the Maui-sequel Purgatory which orbits the Paradise-or-Inferno(?) riddle of the (Big) Island. Continuing the season's time loop theme (figurative and literal), Locke celebrated by doing what he did the first time around — biting into a juicy mango and telling a complete stranger his big secret, which this time around was this: I used to be dead. Now I am alive. Fancy that.
FLASH FOWARD TO THE END OF THE ARTICLE
DESTINATION NO. 6: THIS PLACE IS DEATH/BEN The episode's best scene — and one of the best scenes the series has ever given us. It began with Locke in his skuzzy hotel room writing his Jack-addressed suicide note/bitter parting shot. Locke had been totally destroyed by going 0 for 6 on his back-to-the-Island recruitment drive. Each encounter had chipped away at his faith and self-esteem, so much so that by the end, you got the sense that Locke saw himself the way everyone else saw him. Which is exactly what happens in Don Quixote, too...oh, but another time.
And so, Locke made himself a noose out of an extension cord and was on the verge of killing himself when Ben barged in. Presented with the greatest challenge in his career as cajoler, manipulator, and seducer, the great snake of Lost rose to the occasion as he coaxed Locke off the ledge. ''You have no idea how important you are,'' he said. ''You've got too much work to do.'' Of course, our rooting interest here was pretty complicated, in a marvelously ironic way. After all, we knew that Locke actually needed to die to fulfill his Island-saving destiny. But Ben succeeded, and managed to talk Locke off his cross...and then he went and made good on Hurley's subliminal foreshadowing and sphinxed him to death with the extension cord. But why? Why save him, then brutally kill him? Does the Island's resurrection power not work on suicides? Was Ben actually doing Locke a favor by murdering him, i.e., helping him fulfill the requirement of dying in such a way that wouldn't deny him a shot at living again in paradise? Hard to say. Ben's decision seemed to be tied to two bits of news, which seemed to come as complete surprises: (1) The revelation that Jin was alive; and even more so (2) That Locke needed to seek out Eloise Hawking for help in getting back to the Island. The words ''Eloise Hawking'' seemed to function almost like a psychotic trigger, and Ben seemed to snap, either out of reflex or some quick realization that he had no choice: He had to kill Locke; he could not allow him to meet Ms. Hawking. I was struck by Ben's melancholy goodbye: ''I'll miss you, John. I really will.'' Are we really to believe that Ben had no idea Locke would live again once he was back on the Island? Or might there have been more nuance in Ben's salutation. Maybe the Resurrected Locke is profoundly different than the Old Locke; perhaps Ben was grieving the loss of the latter.
One last thought about Ben: Very Tony Soprano, didn't you think?
What did you think of Ben's bait-and-switch? How do you think he feels about Ms. Hawking? Who's the bigger rogue: Widmore or Ben? Do you think Born Again Locke is any different from Old Island Locke? Heck: Do you even think he's born again? Could be some Christian Shephard-esque poltergeist?
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Posted by Art with Jimmy at 2/26/2009 09:29:00 PM