Thursday, May 10, 2007

The man behind the curtain

This week's "Lost" brought to mind an episode from the now defunct HBO series "Carnivale", in which Jonesy was convinced that Sampson had invented Management in order to bolster his authority. Similarly, on "Lost", Locke believed that Ben had made up Jacob to keep the rest of the Others under his thumb. Both Jonesy and Locke were wrong.

This was a great episode, revealing much about the island's mythology but raising many more questions. We now know that Ben was not born on the island, but the rest of the Others must know as well. So why did he tell Jack, and initially Locke, that he had been born there? And now that we know for sure that the Others--except for Ben--were not part of the Dharma Initiative, where did they came from? It was implied that the Others do not age, at least not rapidly, given that Richard first encountered Ben when he was a boy, but Richard was already a grown man. Plus, after revealing that it was his birthday, Ben said to Richard, "Remember birthdays?"

It's also become clear that Ben fears Locke, and I suspect that Ben did not think that Locke would be able to see or hear Jacob. The fact that he did seems further evidence that Locke has a deep connection to the island, which could undermine Ben's authority. I think Ben wanted to take Locke to see Jacob, figuring he could not see Jacob, which might have demonstrated to the Others that Locke was not particularly special.

Finally, Ben is now the second person that I can recall who has seen the dead on the island, the first being Jack, who saw his dead father roaming the island. (Let's not forget that Jack found his father's casket empty.) I'm not sure what this means, but I suspect it marked Ben as special to the Others.

UPDATE: Great minds think alike:

The scene references both the aforementioned "Psycho" as well as "Harvey", but most specifically reminded me of HBO’s long-canceled "Carnivàle" where “Management” would remain hidden away in his trailer, calling the shots despite all outwardly appearances that he lacked physical form.

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