The bulk of the episode—Ben’s flashback and his modern-day journey with John Locke to Jacob’s cabin—required no deep Google dives for me to reconnect instantly. Why? Because Ben’s journey isn’t really about The Purge, the cabin, or any of the other Easter eggs dropped devilishly into the mix. Rather, Ben’s journey in this episode represents the central interrogation of LOST as a whole: What belief systems do we create in order to make life bearable, and at what cost do we commit to those systems?
The show doesn’t look down on these belief systems, even though many people make many horrible choices based on those systems throughout the course of the series. But the “Live together, die alone” tenet espoused by nominal series protagonist Jack Shephard in the season-one episode “White Rabbit” isn’t just a turn of phrase—it’s an ethos is tested over and over throughout the run of the series. Every major character, Ben included, faces the terror of being alone. How each character decides to be included in some greater part of humanity informs their actions, and that’s where LOST derives most of its narrative power.
a trip to shitpostgenerator hq uncovers a machine where a man in a trenchcoat types furiously. “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” a voice bellows. but it’s too late. the man is dril. as he stands up to close the curtain, the trenchcoat falls off to reveal a small child standing on the shoulders of wario.
“This is where I came from, John. These are my people. The DHARMA Initiative. They came here seeking harmony… They couldn’t even coexist with the Island’s original inhabitants. And when it became clear that one side had to go–one side had to be purged–I did what I had to do. I was one of the people that was smart enough to make sure that I didn’t end up in that ditch. Which makes me considerably smarter than you, John.” | Lost, 3.20: The Man Behind the Curtain
girl in the white suit hid her nerves behind the cigarette.
curtains opened. A pale man in pressed flannel frowned.
are you,” he said, rubbing sleep from his eyes, “and what the
hell are you doing on my window-ledge?”
girl balanced on her bare heels, rocking back and forth.
am a fan,” she said, “Don’t worry. I’m perfectly safe.”
wasn’t worried,” he said, “Lose the cigarette.”
she said. Her face twisted, as if her muscles used to make apologetic
expressions had atrophied through neglect.
wanted to ask some advice,” she said as she flicked the cigarette
into the void behind her.
man thought of his breakfast cooling.
it quick,” he sighed.
was silence, or as close to silence as the rumble of the city far
below would ever allow.
have so much I want to do, and so little time,” she said, “I want
everything. Is that so much to ask? Everyone says so. Everyone says
‘be reasonable’. But then I look at you, and everything you’ve
achieved, and know that 'reasonable’ is defeatist. Any one sliver of
what you’ve done would be an enviable career. That it takes it all
in, is an impossibility. There’s so little time, and so much work I
want to do. I’m going to die but I want to be immortal. I’m trying so
many things, but I’m afraid of losing myself in a–”
said the man, “I’ve two things for you. Listen carefully.”
finish the album,” said the man, “and get the hell off my window
were my inspiration,” she said, as she stepped backwards, turning
to a shower of ash and sulphur, leaving tiny sooty footprints on the
man sighed as he turned from the window. A girl dressed in a white
suit, smoking, with that hair? And I was apparently
inspiration? No shit.
– she was far from the first, and she’d be far from the last.
“This is where I came from, John. These are my people. The Dharma Initiative. They came here seeking harmony, but they couldn’t even coexist with the Island’s original inhabitants. And when it became clear that one side had to go, one side had to be purged, I did what I had to do. I was one of the people that was smart enough to make sure that I didn’t end up in that ditch. Which makes me considerably smarter than you, John.”
On the list of ‘Holy fuck I can’t believe that just happened!’ moments, this ranks pretty darn high.