Lost, "Dr. Linus": Elba

Quick Take: Lost, "Dr. Linus"
"How different would it have been? The island still got you in the end." – Ben to Lapidus


Review: Lost, "Dr. Linus"
(S0606) Does anyone doubt that Michael Emerson, who plays Ben Linus (one of the most intriguing "bad guys" to grace television of ever) fully deserves his own show post-Lost. And that's another way to say, a Ben-focused episode, yes!

I mentioned a few reviews back how epic it is to see evil mastermind Ben (who has wonderfully been taken down many pegs over the last season or so) as a super ordinary high school teacher in the alternate reality "flash sideways." So simply seeing him in front of a classroom at the front of "Dr. Linus" talking Napolean and his exile to the isle of Elba was right up any good Lost super geek's alley.

The interplay between Locke (Terry O' Quinn) and Ben in the flash sideways is downright brilliant in that it mirrors the huge and intricate history of those characters and the show so strongly. Again, we're seeing five-plus seasons pay off now, and in an extremely effective way. For those critics who feel we're still "not getting enough answers," I would retort that this is entertainment and television at its highest level, so at least try to sit back and enjoy the (thrillingly bumpy) ride.

Seeing Ben care for his ailing father is sad and bizarre and wonderful. Wonderful in that we're seeing a frustrated, giving, and completely ordinary man here, so contrary to the complex figure we've come to know over on the island. The father's discussion of the lost promise in returning from the island and the Dharma Initiative is a key piece of information too in that it leads us to believe that this is storyline of what might/could/will happen when things are "set right" (or set off?) on the "main storyline" or "current reality." Or something!

The interaction between Ben and Lapidus is fascinating on a few different levels. Lapidus mentions that he was supposed to be the pilot of ill fated Oceanic #815, but that he overslept. Ben recognizes right away that the island "needed" Lapidus for some reason, and by hook or by crook, there's Lapidus on the beach.

Equally fascinating and even more emotional is Ben's climactic showdown on the beach with "Jacob's bodyguard." Ben tearfully recalls how he allowed his daughter Alex to die in favor of the interests of the island, but has now realized what was truly important was now… lost.

Back in the flash sideways, Ben again has a choice of sorts with regards to Alex. Perhaps the choice he makes there says a lot about the nature of what the show stands for, of good vs. evil, of choice vs. predestination.

Perhaps at its core Lost is about some very traditional and fundamental themes after all.

Other thoughts on "Dr. Linus":

  • "I'm fine, by the way." – Ben Linus (Michael Emerson). Ben / Emerson does sarcastic like no one else on television.
  • "It's Dr. Linus, actually." – Ben
  • I know I've seen the Principal Reynolds before, and I know he had that same sneering, condescending vibe in other things I've seen him in. Almost makes you feel bad for poor Ben! History Club is just for you, indeed.
  • In the midst of a intricate web of storylines and intrigue, of course Richard (Nestor Carbonell) would show up! When asked how he arrived, he says, "you wouldn't believe me." I believe!
  • "At least he's not stalling." – Jack (Matthew Fox) to Hurley (Hugo Reyes)
  • "How different would it have been? The island still got you in the end." – Ben to Lapidus (Jeff Fahey)
  • I wonder what happens when pilots oversleep / call in sick for flights. Wonder if that contributes to delayed flights ever?
  • Great to see Alex (Tania Raymonde), Ben's daughter in the main storyline, back on this episode. Her interactions with her now teacher Dr. Linus in the flash sideways speak volumes about their history and relationship in this "ordinary" world of alternate reality.
  • Man, falling asleep on a cot in your high school nurse's office and waking up to overhear your principal "doing it"? Wow.
  • "Not exactly tearing it up on the digging front, are you?" Miles (Ken Leung) to Ben. Miles may rival Ben for the sarcasm!
  • You have to love cryptic Richard. He lets Jack and Hurley that 1) Don't believe what dead/undead/omnipotent Jacob (Mark Pelligrino) has to say and 2) he is headed to the ancient pirate ship to "die."
  • Hello submarine, and Mr. Widmore (Alan Dale)!

    Recap: Lost, "Dr. Linus"
    Ben deals with the consequences of an uncovered lie.

    From Around the Web: Lost, "Dr. Linus"

  • Chicago Tribune: "Dr. Linus" was a lot of things -- a tautly constructed and thus very satisfying episode of TV, an acting showcase for the awe-inspiring Michael Emerson, a heartbreaking story about potential (wasted and otherwise) and personal sacrifice (wasted and otherwise), an hour that filled in some a few gaps in the mythology and so on.
  • TV with Alan Sepinwall: For now, I'm sticking with my theory that the flash-sideways are an epilogue in advance - that this is where and when the characters all wound up in the aftermath of the war between Smokey and Jacob's forces. (I have no idea if I'm right, nor will I be upset either way when the reveal comes, but right now it's important for me to have some idea of what the alt-timeline scenes mean, even if it turns out I'm completely wrong. Otherwise, there's no weight to them this late in the "real world" timeline.) 
  • Fun fact from IMDB: Richard has showed up in 35 episodes of Lost so far. 
  • By Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader"

    About the author

    Eric is the publisher and revered leader of TV Geek Army… at least in his own mind. TV Geek Army is a place for serious TV reviews and news for serious fans of great television. Contact: eric-[at]-tvgeekarmy.com 

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