Don't Mess With Ben Linus

After what seemed like a short eight-week run earlier this year, Lost returned tonight to continue its fourth season with a Ben-focused episode, “The Shape of Things To Come.”  And if the producers were hoping to please the ever-important King Tom demographic, they succeeded.  Tonight’s episode featured explosions, the monster, Ben, international intrigue, a game of worldwide domination and all love triangles kept to a minimum.

Heading into tonight, I don’t think I was expecting this episode to go anywhere. We certainly didn’t learn much, but we saw a few rough outlines of possible answers. We saw a number of people killed off, and action taking place in the present and the future. I thought the whole showdown at New Otherton was handled very well. Even though it was established Ben’s flashforwards took place in the future, I was still on the edge of my seat as soon as he pulled the shotgun out of the piano bench (and Ben rivals Dwight Schrute for creative hiding places for one’s weapons). 

Of course, all the heavy developments in the episode happened around Ben. To wit:

  • Ben has something to do with the smoke monster.
  • We saw how and why Sayid started working for Ben. Ben was excellent at playing the Palpatine to Sayid’s Anakin Skywalker. Evenwhat Ben said, “once you let your grief become your anger, it will never go away,” was very Sith-like.
  • We know that Ben can leave the island (while wearing a winter coat featuring the logo of a new DHARMA station).
  • The controlling powers in the “big game” of the series mythology were shown to have a face-to-face encounter. Ben’s after-hours encounter with Charles Widmore was unexpected and confusing. So Ben can’t kill Widmore. Widmore wasn’t supposed to kill Alex. Widmore still wants to find the island, which he once controlled. Ben possibly still controls the island. And Ben wants to kill Penny. Heavy stuff.

While not really a revelation, it was also fun to see Ben play the Jack Bauer-style action hero.  I have no idea where that came from, but add that to Ben’s revenge against Keamy and company, and I think it’s clear; you don’t want to mess with Ben.

Some other random thoughts:

Nice to see the boys play the game of worldwide domination.  I hate to tell Sawyer, but Hurley’s right, you control Austrailia, and you control the game.

Did Sawyer, Locke and Hurley not notice the phone? And where can one get one of those rotary-style phones without a rotary dial?

I think Ben might have left his coat in the desert after he laid the smackdown on those to guys on horseback.

The Sawyer scene where all the redshirts were getting gunned-down was unintentionally funny.

Your thoughts?