This is my least favorite episode ever I think, aside from the one featuring the hideous actor types who ended up getting buried alive (Nikki and Paulo).
I’m not a fan of the John Locke character, he is so weak willed and easily influenced. And yet…you can’t help feeling sorry for him sometimes, and there are times when he is just so nice and so decent that you want to like him. All of that is in this episode as he tries to convince the Oceanic Six to return to the Island.
The question on everyone’s mind the day after the episode aired was…who is the good guy? We all really would like there to be a good guy and bad guy here twisting these people’s lives and hopes constantly (not to mention the audiences hopes).
After watching the episode a second time, I don’t think there is a good guy involved at all. Charles Widmore and Ben seemed equally determined to use John to try to get the Six back if it could be done. Neither was really going to let him live once he had done this work, or failed in it. Having Widmore and Ben know that Richard Alpert had said John must die sealed his fate.
Widmore assigned Abbadon to him, and had Abbadon browbeating and demeaning John at every step, browbeating and demeaning being Charles’ stock in trade…remember his techniques with Desmond. Despite how earnest he sounded, he hit John right up front with Abbadon himself, and with the dreaded and hated wheelchair. I’m sure Widmore expected John to kill himself all along with a bit of nudging.
Ben of course put on one of his slimiest shows of sympathy ever before killing John himself. I thought the first time around watching the show it was a combination of hearing Jin was alive and the mention of Mrs. Hawking that snapped Ben to the deed. But if you watch he is speculative but still cajoling until Mrs Hawking is mentioned, then his voice gets all tight and he goes for the ol’ cord.
That aside, I think John, his old buddy Ben and the other people from the flight
316 plane are on the other island “Hydra”.
I think Caesar is there looking for something very specific in the Dharma Initiative files and he is an agent on the island for either Charles Widmore or Eloise Hawking. I thought he seemed particularly interested in a set of drawings with equation type stuff, so my guess for him would be Eloise.
Illana (the other new regular) I’ll guess is also an agent-in-place for one or the other of those characters. We’ll temporarily assign her to Charles Widmore.
I think they are all in the time of the Dharma Initiative in the seventies, and that something key to the Island happened then that needs to be fixed or repeated. (Aha, could it be that his is when Eloise and Charles were tricked into exile and they think to change that?) I think Hawking might have been able to calculate not just an entrance for return to the island, but she hoped to be able to send them to a particular time period.
I wouldn’t be surprised to find both Mrs. Hawking and Charles Widmore on the Island, younger, as this plays out. There’s the battle Charles spoke of, in part, with Caesar helping one side and Illana working to help the other. Most interesting if that is correct.
All speculation, but in under the deadline before this week’s episode airs!
Side note: The illustration for this post is a picture of the real philosopher Jeremy Bentham who had himself sort of mummified and put in this case. Kind of gross.