Lost: “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” Review
The premise of last Wednesday’s episode of Lost was simple: What happened to Jeremy Bentham (John Locke’s alias off the Island) and how did he come to be lying dead in a casket?
The episode filled in that information, but in an effort to answer a question that has begged fans for an answer since it was revealed in the Season 4 Finale that John Locke was neither Jack’s “friend or family” fans were left waiting an extra week to find out what’s next for our favorite Losties. In the episode prior, the season long wait of getting the Oceanic 6 (minus Aaron) back to the Island was finally achieved. Jack, through no knowledge or effort of his own, was joined by an originally unenthusiastic Hurley, Sayid, and Kate along the flight. Sun had already decided that seeing Jin was more important than killing Ben and had been convinced to return a day prior. In that episode’s cliffhanger, a recently arrived Jack, Kate, and Hurley surprisingly run into a gun yielding member of the DHARMA Initiative revealed to be Jin. Suspense ensues and Lost smash cuts to black. Questions followed and fans wanted answers. We ended up getting very little last Wednesday.
While the story of John Locke returning to the outside world was entertaining, it did not reveal much that we had already not known. For months, we could only speculate that John spent countless hours and pushed himself to the limit to convince everyone to return to the Island. Discussions between the Oceanic 6 made the choice encounters seem vastly important and critical to everyone’s original position of remaining put in the outside world Yet, quick snippets of John’s interaction with the 6 proved to be disappointing. Only Jack expressed anger over the proposition to return and that was mostly the effect of John revealing to him that Jack’s father, Christian Sheppard, had spoken to John. Everyone else mostly disregarded the notion, and Hurley used his assumed medical condition to remove himself from discussing any further.
The one factor that the writers seemed to glaze over was Jack’s sudden rash decision to book a flight to Australia hours after John had asked him to return to the Island. Now, we do already know that a depressed and fallen Jack eventually uses his gold pass to fly in hopes of returning to the Island, but the time frame is what strikes me as most interesting. It basically takes Jack just a few hours to turn from professional surgeon, happily married to Kate, to a severely obsessed schizophrenic with an undying ambition to drop everything he fought for on the Island so that he could never return. That sort of quick change of heart either illustrates Jack as bipolar or it tries to explain that he has faked his happiness and has always known that he made a mistake. The writers should have dwelled on this more as it makes Jack multidimensional and adds to his story. It’s possible we may learn more about Jack’s decision in the near future but considering that the objective has been accomplished, I wouldn’t bet on it.
Unfortunately, through Locke’s journey across North America and the Caribbeans, fans might have noticed that Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindeloff set the gears in motion for Walt’s exit from the series. What makes this harder to accept is the constant dragging of Walt’s story (mostly through his father, Michael) and reluctance to either explain his gift, his perceived purpose for The Others, or why he suddenly does not matter to the overall mythology of the series. Perhaps it is too early to write Michael off, but after John Locke himself claims that Michael has been through enough, it makes it difficult to believe that he will have the strength to demand his services on the Island. With Michael or Walt never clearly having any connection to Charles Widmore and the Oceanic 6 now back on the Island, there does not appear to be a solid reason to reintroduce his storyline. Walt may actually be able to live life as a normal person.
It will be interesting to see what happens on the Island with mostly everyone back. John is interacting with a new group of Losties (perhaps the ones firing at Sawyer, Faraday and company on the boats?), Jack, Kate, and Hurley are face-to-face with Jin, and then there’s still the question of Ben’s true intentions.
This Wednesday promises to introduce new twists and stunning surprises. Lets hope it’s more than just Jin seeing his wife for the first time in three years.