Redemption for the Devil

Another fantastic episode of Lost last night. That was my favorite "Alt" story yet - Dr. Linus and office politics.

The show has always focused heavily on the fate v. free will debate, with neither side favored so far, as I can tell. Sometimes we're given large doses of Fate; other times, Free Will seems to be the prime consideration.

But consider what we saw last night in the Alt reality: Ben gases his Father, again. This time its helpful oxygen. Ben uses the infidelity of a superior for blackmail, and to gain power. This is how Widmore got exiled - Ben found out he was going off island and had a daughter. This time, however, instead of sacrificing Alex for his own power, Ben defers, instead helping Alex. And so on.

Point being: Sure seems like a foundation of Fate with little dollops of Free Will.

This episode made it pretty clear that Ben will get redeemed, or will walk the path of redemption. Amazing storytelling in that very same character I have hated in the past (when he murdered Locke, for example), I can empathize with now, and even root for. He's not unsympathetic, even though he's kinda the Devil.

We actually learned a lot last night, for example: Seems safe to conclude that Candidates are now immortal, but not invincible. Alpert can't kill himself. This explains one of the bigger niggling mysteries to the show: When Michael was off-island, he tried to kill himself repeatedly, with Mr. Friendly daring him to try, telling him "The Island isn't done with you yet". And what we saw last seemed to confirm that Jack is immortal in this same way, and it seems reasonable to assume the same for Hurley, Sayid, Kate, etc. Anyone touched by Jacob.

The scene where Ben breaks down to Illana was very powerful, I thought. It was also the first time anyone other than Richard has refused an offer from Flocke.


Skramly said...

Yes, I felt bad for Ben when Ilana was making him dig his own grave. Even though he's so smarmy and tricky. But what about that scene in the Black Rock? Awesome! You have to love this Jack for taking a risk like that. Season 1 Jack would never have had anything to do with it. So now we know that the Losties are the same as Richard, immortal with some strange strings attached. I'm wondering what the rules are; Jacob touched some of them (Sawyer and Kate for example) when they were children, and clearly they grew up normally. So at what point was their aging arrested? When they came to the island perhaps? Or reached full adulthood?
I was so glad to see Widmore returning, I really miss the plotlines involving him and his powerful, evil(?) empire.
By the way, where do we know the gangster in last week's Sayid episode from? The one cooking the eggs? He looked so familiar...

Redshirt said...

The gangster from last week - who makes good eggs! - was the evil Martin Keamy, who led the mercenaries aboard the freighter in Season 4.

As for the rules, here's what I think I know: None of the Main Players can kill a candidate, but you can get someone else to do it for you. But it also has to be their choice. Free will seems to be a component of this game. Smokey and Jacob seem to insist on it. I would argue that's a sham, though, especially with Smokey, because he usually knows more than he lets on, thus tricking people into a choice.

It does seem Jacob's touch is the key, but perhaps it's not only immortality he can confer, but also the other "gifts", like Hurley's ability to speak with dead people (which he called a curse, and Jacob called a blessing, just like Richard called his immortality a curse instead of a blessing).

And yes, the Jack and Richard scene with the dynamite was awesome. I think Jack restored Richard's faith right then.