Smile Politely

The coming war …


Like Ben before him, Locke landed in the Tunisia desert after turning the frozen donkey wheel. This time, cameras stood sentry around the Island’s “exit point” (the cameras were a new addition to the scenery since Ben’s exit three years earlier). As it turns out, Charles Widmore had set up the surveillance. Clearly, Widmore had been anticipating Locke’s arrival. After tending to Locke’s time-shifting wounds, Widmore pulls up a chair with John and is quite forthright about assisting him in his bid to reunite the Oceanic 6.

Like Ben would do later, he insinuated that such a future required all the castaways to be returning together. Especially Locke. ”There’s a war coming, John,” he said ominously, ”and if you’re not back on the Island when that happens, the wrong side is going to win.”

After accepting Widmore’s assistance, Locke sets off to put the band back together, first visiting Sayid, then Walt, Hurley, Kate, and Jack. Some highlights from those conversations:

  •  Walt! Boy has gotten big. How about Walt’s prophetic dream: Locke wearing a suit (his coffin suit?), surrounded by people who want to hurt him (the Ajira castaways?). It was good to see Walt (Walter Lloyd) back on the show and here’s hoping he and his “shining” abilities aren’t done. And for those of you who wondered why Walt was not on the plane last week if they had to exactly replicate the conditions and personnel of Oceanic 815, well, now you know. Locke simply couldn’t bring himself to ask the boy to come along.
  • Kate said no to Locke’s request, of course, and she was cruel about it. Exuding palpable disdain for Locke, she cut him deep, first with her smug assumptions that he had never loved or been loved; and then, after Locke opened up so vulnerably about how he chased away Helen Norwood with his father fixation (Terry O’Quinn’s stuttering, anguished line reading of the word ”obsessed” was wrenching), Kate swung at him again, insinuating that he was still the scary-obsessed man he’s always been. “Look how far you’ve come.” Ouch.
  • Jack took a similar approach … ”Have you ever stopped to consider that these delusions that you’re ‘special’ aren’t real? That you’re a lonely old man who crashed on an Island?” But poor John Locke did get the last word, telling Jack, ”Your father says ‘Hello.’ ” One statement, forcing Jack to once again be chained to a responsibility to save his father … and as we know, he started his downward spiral here — flying Oceanic back and forth hoping to crash.

On the Island we learn that good ol’ Frank Lapidus managed to land Ajira Flight 316 intact on Hydra Island. There, a new group of castaways have gathered (including Caesar and Ilana), and in midst of trying to figure out what is going on, they realize they have a member who was not on the flight, our very own Obi-Wan Kenobi … I mean, John Locke.


1. Locke was told that Helen had died of a brain aneurysm. But Widmore faked the grave and fabricated the story to keep Locke on task and make sure he had no possible motivation for wanting to back out and not go back to the Island.


1. Our John Locke has had two names: John Locke and Jeremy Bentham, Natural Law vs. Utilitarianism. The real Bentham and Locke were ideological opposites. Good reads.

2. Matthew Abaddon: ”I help people get to where they need to go.” Awesome.

3. Here’s the core of what we learned from Charles Widmore. Facts, yes. Truth, maybe?

  1. Widmore identified himself as the hotheaded 17-year-old whom Locke encountered and grinned at during his Other-camp visit in September of 1954.
  2. Widmore claimed that he went on to become the leader of Richard Alpert’s Others and said that their sacred trust was to protect the Island.
  3. He alleged that his 30-plus years on the lsland came to an end when Ben tricked him into leaving his promised land, thus swiping his birthright. (Remember Widmore’s cryptic comment to Ben back in ”The Shape of Things To Come” — ”Everything you have you took from me.”)

Which leads to …


1. Who’s Evil? Widmore, Ben, neither, both? Ben says to Locke, ”You have no idea how important you are. ‘You’ve got too much work to do.” Widmore says to Locke: ”The Island needs you, John. It has needed you for a long time.” Locke has always been a sucker for father figures who call him ”special,” but I can’t blame him for not knowing who to trust. What are your thoughts, readers?

2. Locke has had opportunities in the past to go to the Island (as a child when tested by Alpert and in high school when talking with his counselor). Has it been a destiny that’s been long deferred? Or is all of this a long con?

3. The episode’s best scene — and one of the best scenes the series has ever given us — begins with Locke in his skuzzy hotel room writing his Jack-addressed suicide note/bitter parting shot. Partly out of a destroyed self-confidence and partly to fulfill Alpert’s wishes, John is moments away from hanging himself. Ben barges in and stops him, then chokes him to death after convincing him not to kill himself. Why? Why save him, then brutally kill him? Does the Island’s resurrection power not work on suicides? Was Ben actually doing Locke a favor by murdering him, i.e. helping him fulfill the requirement of dying in such a way that wouldn’t deny him a shot at living again in paradise? Was Ben planning to kill him all along? When Locke told Ben about Eloise Hawking it seemed to trigger him, and he seemed to snap, either out of reflex or some quick realization that he had no choice but to kill Locke. Ben could not allow him to meet Ms. Hawking. Do you agree?

3. Is Abaddon dead? He gets people where they need to go. Did he do this for Locke, or did Ben effectively undermine Widmore’s intention by murdering him?

Post away!

[Note: In this column, many weeks I borrow from other LOST sites, primarily Doc Jensen and I’ll try to put as much of myself in these as I can, but EW gets to screen the episodes in advance and I certainly don’t … so … much love to the Doc, we couldn’t dig in quite the same without you.]


If you enjoyed this article, Smile Politely also recommends:

+ The Lam Post illuminates LOST viewers

+ I guess that’s why they call it a sacrifice …

+ You are responsible for what you tame

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