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Saturday, March 31, 2007

"The Man from Tallahassee" - Josh Guest-Cohosts the Black Rock Podcast

After "The Man from Tallahassee," I guest-cohosted the Black Rock LOST Podcast. For those who don't wish to sit through a 1.5-hour podcast, we discussed the following. (Stay tuned the next few days for commentary on Exposé and additional notes for other recent episodes.)
  • Central theme (cheating/not fair)
  • Locke's motivations:
    • Josh: there's more to come regarding what's driving Locke, but there was a big exposition at end from Ben that Locke's motivation for destroying sub was that he was afraid of/hiding from his dad
  • Why was Locke soaking wet?
    • Was he sweaty from being inside a cramped sub on a tropical island, did he go underwater, does it really matter?
    • Did Locke somehow fake the sub blowing up? Didn't look like it in the frame-by-frame of the preview
  • Ben: "I was born on this island, and not many of us can say that." Who was/wasn't born on the island?
    • Juliet and Mikhail were not born on the island (we saw as much in Juliet's flashback, and Mikhail's claim was confirmed on The Official LOST Podcast).
    • As for those who were born on the island, we only know of Ben so far (if he's telling the truth)
  • To paraphrase Ben, some Others are not yet fully indoctrinated, and the sub maintained the illusion that they could leave whenever they wanted to
  • Is the sub truly the only way off the island? Really doubtful:
    • An airplane flew over the island to make the drops
    • The real Henry Gale's hot air balloon made it to the island (and so did Desmond's boat)
    • Michael and Walt left in a boat following the heading Ben gave them, and so far we haven't seen them again
    • Curt: I can hear sonar from a ship, so if that's how the sub can find its way back to the island, why couldn't a boat? I would guess Jack and Juliet will bring this up in the next episode.
    • The Others still have a good sized boat (Ben, Juliet, and Jack took a rowboat out to this larger boat, which they then took to the main island)
  • What is "the box"? Was Ben being literal or metaphorical? (Answered on The Official LOST Podcast: metaphorical.)
    • Was Ben simply lying?
    • Josh: Is the box related to, or the same thing as, the smoke monster?
    • Curt: Maybe the box is an ancient Atlantian artifact?
  • Is Anthony Cooper the real thing, or a manifestation of the smoke monster? If he's the real thing, how did he get to the island and why is he there?
    • (Keep reading for Curt's theory)
  • Josh: the "real science or real pseudo-science" quote should be let go by fans at this point
    • Smokey is completely unexplainable by science; nothing known to man can shape-shift into and impersonate other human beings, horses, and giant clouds of black smoke that can pick up a man and slam him violently into a tree and on the ground, etc.
  • What's going to happen with Jack and Juliet now that they can't leave the island?
    • Moreover, how will the Others who were on the fence react to this? Will this be the other faction of Others—those who were neither born on the island nor are "fully indoctrinated" (to use Carlton Cuse's words) vs. those who are?
  • Curt: Ben has masterful manipulation skillz; is he also a "master of time and space"?
    • Curt's theory: When Ben told Richard Alpert to get "the man from Tallahassee," perhaps Richard went through "the box" and pulled Anthony Cooper from wherever he was in the world, beat him up, and brought him to the island. If so, it would fit with The Others' mantra, "only fools are enslaved by time and space."
      • Josh: Working from Curt's theory, perhaps the alleged box could really be a wormhole
    • Josh: It's very plausible that at the very least, Ben knows that there's still some way off the island because he doesn't seem the least bit concerned about how the not-fully-indoctrinated Others might react when they find out the sub has been destroyed
  • Curt: Ben's manipulation of Locke has set in motion the destruction of The Swan, The Flame, and now the sub. It would seem as though Ben might be using Locke to destroy all means of communication with the outside world.
  • Josh rants about the totally inconceivable Official LOST Podcast claim that Ben genuinely didn't know about The Swan before being captured and taken there
  • Josh: Ms. Hawking seems to be one of The Others because she tries to convince Desmond that the universe will "course-correct." She seems to be a master of time and space because of her knowledge of future events, etc. Ms. Hawking's apparent manipulation of Desmond is similar to Ben's manipulations.
    • Curt argues that he still thinks Ms. Hawking was Desmond's subconscious
  • Is Ben the same person as Aaron? Ben was supposedly born on the island, and we know Aaron was. If Ben is a master of time and space, maybe he went back in time when he was older. Josh thinks this is really unlikely.
  • Spoilers for Exposé are discussed (see this post for Exposé spoilers).
  • Minor background details pointed out on Sledgeweb's LOST site are discussed, including a woman in a painting on Ben's wall. Is it Juliet? Karen DeGroot?

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Blogger MasterNak said...

I posted this comment on the Black Rock Podcast on a different blog entry the day before "Exposé" aired. Some of my opinions/theories that I mention below have changed since then, but I thought I should repost it on the proper blog entry anyway. (Unfortunately, the copy/paste function doesn't copy over bold, italic, or underlined text, and I don't feel like going back through and adding all of that again, so... deal with it.)

The one thing I remember and wanted to mention the most was the part where Josh and Curt talked about Ben having a certain omniscience, a knowledge of everything that occurs on the island. In fact, I think you guys (but if I remember correctly, mainly Curt) went as far as to say that his mental powers (bordering on science fiction-level) could be how he knows about the lives of the survivors, not TV broadcasts or anything like that.
My comment on that is - and they even mentioned this in the episode - if Ben is so smart - if he has such an intimate connection with the island - how come Locke is the one not in a wheelchair and Ben is? Either Ben isn't as smart as he seems, or... crazy theory alert...


When I first considered this, I thought it was a totally crazy notion - why in the world would he go through the trouble of pretending to be paralyzed in front of ALL the Others just so he could eventually get to Locke? Well, this would certainly go along with the idea that Ben has super mental powers - he could have maybe even foreseen that Locke would come to Otherville. Also, if you listen closely to Ben's conversations with Locke, you could say he not only manipulated him into blowing up the sub, but also into sympathizing with his handicap.

Side note - when I first heard Ben ask for "The Man from Tallahassee," I thought he was referring to the sub. Maybe Richard made sure the sub was surfaced?
Another theory on that - from Wikipedia - "Tallahassee" is a Muskogean Indian word often translated as "old fields" or "old town." Could "The Man from Tallahassee" have been someone from a second/older town of Others? ("Old field" could also be appropriate, considering that Otherville is located in a field surrounded by mountains.) Or maybe this is referring to some prison that the Others have (where they kept Anthony Cooper)?

Here are some lines that point out Ben's manipulation of Locke:

Ben: "I just want some diginity. You, of all people, should understand what it means to want some diginity." -Appealing to John's sympathy

Ben: "I know you, John Locke."
John (shocked): "You don't know me at all."
"...I know you spent the four years prior to your arrival on this island in a wheelchair, and I know how you ended up in it... Tell me John. Did it hurt?"
"I felt my back break. What do you think?" -Appealing to John's emotions, distracting him from rational thought - obviously reminding him of his anger toward his father.
"It wasn't easy, you know. Being in that hatch with you all that time, knowing you had no business walking around. Knowing I couldn't even ask you about it without telling you who I really was."
"So ask me now."
Ben knew who Locke was even before he was captured, more evidence that he perhaps has advanced mental powers.
"You're not recovering as fast as you'd like. How long's it been since Jack fixed you? A week? Now that I think about it... how'd you get sick in the first place?"
"Are you afraid it will go away John? Is that why you want to destroy the submarine, because you know if you ever leave this island, you'll be back in the chair?" - Again, appealing to his emotions - fear
"They're here because they want to be here! Some of them are just not ready to make a full... commitment yet. But you, John, you've already made that commitment. And now you have a choice. Because if you stop and you think, I can show you things. Things I know you want to see very badly."
Very clearly, Ben knows that John wants to stay on the island. He has "already made that [full] commitment." And if he allies himself with Ben, Ben will "show [him] things."

"Let me put it so you'll understand."
Then he says "Picture a box." He doesn't say that what he is describing is literally a box. He is just describing it how John would understand it - using a metaphor.
"You're a hypocrite. A Pharisee. You don't deserve to be on this island. If you had any idea what this place really was... you wouldn't be puttin' chicken in your refrigerator."
"You've been here 80 days, John; I've been here my entire life. So how is it that you think you know this island better than I do?"
"Because you're in a wheelchair... and I'm not."
-It all centers around Ben being in the wheelchair. The more and more I think about it, this does not seem like a coincidence. Ben and Locke's entire interaction in this episode would have been completely different if we changed that one detail - that Ben could now walk.

Another side note - you mentioned you thought John had been sweating in the sub. John's entire body is soaking wet when he returns from the sub. He could not have just been sweating - his pants were also soaked through entirely. Still, I don't think it is significant - I went frame by frame, and you can clearly see that the sub is still on the surface. He did not sink it. Why he would still be soaked, who knows. But it seems pretty certain that the sub did blow up.
Before I get to my main point, a couple more side notes - Could Ben's father have tried to kill him? Yes, he was born on the island. You drew the comparison between himself and Aaron. It seems like they were trying to hurt or kill Aaron before and even while they had Claire captive. Could a similar thing have happened to Ben? I'm not saying that Ben IS Aaron... that is still too much of a stretch at this point. But maybe Ben was also meant to have been experimented on/hurt/killed/whatever, as it seems like that was the intention with Aaron.

Also, John calls Anthony "Dad?" when he sees him. Pretty strange he'd use such an intimate term for his father, considering the guy tried to murder him.

Anyway, back to my main point and the quotes related to it-

"When I asked you earlier if it hurt when you suffered your injury, I think you misunderstood me. Seems fairly obvious... but I really wasn't asking about the physical pain... I wanted to know what it felt like when your own father tried to kill you. He's the reason you destroyed the submarine, isn't it? You're afraid. You're afraid of him, and this is the one place he can never find you; this is the one place he can never get to you."
"What do you want from me?"
This is the key-
"I don't know how it happened, John. But you seem to have some sort of communion with this island. And that makes you very, very important. You have no idea what you're talking about, of course, but, in time you will have a better understanding of things. So what do I want? I want to help you, John."
"Because I'm in a wheelchair, and you're not."
John has become "important" to Ben. "In time" he will understand... meaning Ben wants to keep John around. Again, Ben is making John think he wants John to help him get out of the wheelchair - simply further manipulation. Again, if Ben could walk, what reason would he have to convince John to help him?

Note: The following theory was clearly dis-proven in Exposé... they totally misled me with the preview the week before.

Perhaps this second faction of "Others" that the producers previously mentioned in their podcast will be former members of the survivors. John could be the first convert of this new group.
I think we see hints of this in the preview for tomorrow's episode, also-
Sawyer says "They were working with the Others."
Not to mention that it seems like Sun is one of the Others. (This could even go back to my theory about her pregnancy. If she is working with the Others, it is even more likely that she was injected with the substance Juliet invented that made her pregnant.)
Sawyer says to her, "Are you gonna tell Jin?"
She replies "No... Because then we'd have to dig another grave!"
Then she attacks Sawyer.

Josh, and anyone else reading this comment, feel free to let me know what you think.

Sunday, April 01, 2007 2:40:00 PM  

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