Television: "Lost" Season Six, Episode Six: "Dr. Linus" Review

3/10/2010 Posted by Admin

Television Review

"Lost" Season Six, Episode Six: "Dr. Linus"

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

There's hardly a more dependable character on "Lost" than Benjamin Linus, drama-wise. His centrics are all complete gold, and six episodes into the final season, we've finally come to yet another Ben-focused episode, and as always, it's a great one.

Spoilers herein.

Ben is a tough character to wrap one's head around. He's responsible for the deaths of dozens of people, including his own daughter's death; he has manipulated, cheated, and lied; and he is the murderer of not only John Locke, but also Jacob, thus allowing the Man in Black to waltz around the island and recruit some of our lovable Losties to his cause. But despite all that, he is a deeply interesting and bizarrely likable character, and though he is at times pathetic and undoubtedly wrong, there is a relatability to him and his story.

"Dr. Linus" picks up right where we left off with Ben in "Sundown," fleeing the temple as the smoke monster tears the place up and Sayid runs off, now turned entirely bad. Ben meets back up with Ilana and company, and she finally confronts him on the death of Jacob. She finds out he is in fact the one who killed him, and as they head back to the old beach camp she says Jacob was like a father to her. When they finally get to the beach, Ilana chains Ben up and starts him digging a grave in the old spot where Shannon, Boone, Nikki, Paulo, etc., have all been buried. Why? So that she'll have a grave to put Ben in when she kills him.

Meanwhile, Jack and Hurley are on their way back to the temple from the lighthouse--Jack completely clueless to the fact that something has gone wrong there and Hurley keeping his mouth shut about it--when Richard appears and tells them what's happened. Despite this bit with Jack, Hurley and Richard being pretty short and unconnected to the main plot with Ben, we get a pretty good deal of much-needed character development for both Jack and Richard. One scene where the two discuss their respective fates on the island as a stick of dynamite sits between them ready to explode is particularly enlightening, and we see that Jack has just about accepted that it's his fate both to be on the island and to survive to see what exactly is going on. We also learn that Richard isn't quite as happy with Jacob as we suspected, and he's gone his entire life (since arriving on the Black Rock, it's further suggested) without really knowing why he's on the island.

And of course, there's the flash-sideways, here following Ben as a European History Teacher trying to snatch up the position of principal from guest star William Atherton's Principal Reynolds. Not much is really going on in the flashes, but we do get yet another intriguing look at the effect of the island's submergence. Ben is still striving to be a leader, but here he seems to be an altogether better person, not quite willing to sacrifice the well-being of others to get what he wants.

The episode isn't particularly eventful, but it serves as great development for Ben, which has been all the more necessary since he murdered Jacob. The best scene in the episode comes near the end when Ben is given the chance (like Sayid and Sawyer) to join the Man in Black. Ben flees from the beach camp to join him, but Ilana stops him. Ben here has a heartfelt moment where he admits to everything wrong that he's done, and how he truly feels terrible for it, that he can never forgive himself, and that going with Flocke is the only thing he has left to do. He says Flocke is the only one that'll have him. The scene ends with quite a simple "I'll have you" from Ilana, and Ben gets the redemption he's been seeking since season five's "Dead is Dead." It speaks levels about him, really--Flocke was able to manipulate Sayid and Sawyer, but somehow he's not able to recruit the one character who has proved the most villainous on the show. Things like this are what make Ben such an amazing character--that and Michael Emerson's consistently brilliant performance, of course.

As low-key as the episode is--it is predominately character-based, after all--it ends with a bang, revealing one more piece of the puzzle and showing someone arriving at the island potentially even more villainous than Ben--Charles Widmore. Is he who Jacob said was coming? Or is there someone else still to arrive? Either way, now that Widmore is on the island, we may finally get some answers about his relationship with Ben and with the Man in Black. Only time will tell.

Grade: A

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