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