“You [Goodwin] run and you can make that shore line in an hour. Ethan, get up there to that fuselage. There may actually be survivors; and you’re one of them. A passenger, in shock - come up with an adequate story if they ask. Stay quiet if they don’t. Listen, learn, don’t get involved. I want lists in 3 days. Go.”
This, as I am sure you all remember, is what Ben said to The Others upon witnessing the mid-air dismantling of Oceanic 815. (We know since the episode The Other Woman that Ben’s motives were less than pure in sending Goodwin – that he was getting rid of him since Goodwin was conducting an affair with Juliet – and this may, may, be a salient point to be held onto.)
Compare and contrast Ben’s directive above with the speech of Ana Lucia to Michael.
“They came the first night that we got here. They took 3 of us. Nothing happened for 2 weeks, then they came back. They took 9 more. They’re smart, and they’re animals, and they could be anywhere at any time.”
Perhaps this is something that has occurred to you already, but here, with these key pieces of information next to each other, the discrepancy is hard to miss. Ben gave Goodwin and Ethan three days to make lists, and yet the tail section group were attacked and had people kidnapped the very first night.
So what happened to the three days to make lists?
I kicked around the idea there were a second group of Others. A more savage, raggedy bunch. I’ll call them Rogue Others. Perhaps these Rogue Others attacked the tail section survivors the first night, interrupting the plan of Ben’s Others. In short, the basic principle is that The Others that attacked the tail section the first night had nothing to do with The Others from The Barracks. They were a separate faction entirely.
I liked the idea that Ben’s ‘civilised’ Others modelled their disguise on these rougher Rogue Others. Confusion could abound with Ben’s Others mistaken for Rogue Others by people none-the-wiser there was more than one faction on the Island.
I remember the slight ticking off Tom received during Live Together, Die Alone at the pier when Ben noticed he had removed his fake beard and revealed himself. Since the intention at that moment was to send Hurley back to the Oceanic survivors, he would know Tom’s beard was a fake. The secret would be out!
When I considered the idea of Rogue Others, of what possible evidence there could be of who this mysterious alternate faction could be, I thought of when Jin and Mr. Eko hid in the jungle, faces at ground height, watching feet traipse past. Dirty, bare feet. The last, memorably, trailed a teddy bear on a lead. Before I investigated further, this was the abiding image.
Could these Rogue Others be the original hostiles that, post-purge, refused to live in the Dharma facilities? Perhaps the Rogue Others disliked technology, considering it “cheating”, as Locke once put to Ben. Such an aversion to technology would ally with Jacob; a tribe of Rogue Others more akin with Jacob than Ben. Just because Richard Alpert chose to join with Ben and live in The Barracks, it doesn’t mean all his people chose the same path. . .
There’s juicy scope in this notion but I brought myself back to Earth. Let’s not run away with ourselves. Reality testing. Find the proof. So I looked into it further.
We learn during The Other 48 Days about those that were kidnapped the first night. “3 of the people are missing; the blond guy, the curly-haired guy, and the German who was helping us with the injured.”
Anybody else finding it hard to understand how three people could have been ‘selected’ so quickly by Ben’s Others? Before names were known, before lists could have been drawn up and distributed? Three people were taken the first night! Wasn’t Goodwin supposed to be the one to find out names and get a list? How could he have possibly done this in such a short space of time and communicated it to The Others?
“Nobody knew anybody’s names the first night.”
As much as the Rogue Others theory feels like a crazed, wild-card idea, the ignorance of the ‘3-day list’ command is hard to justify in its place. Even if Ben bypassed Goodwin and somehow went about producing his own list it’s still troublesome to imagine how that could have been done so quickly! And it wasn’t exactly a roaring success either; Mr. Eko battered to death two of the kidnappers with a rock.
Mr. Eko did go and ‘confess’ to Ben, when Ben was known as Henry Gale, about what he had done. Had Ben acknowledged anything here he would have shot down the Rogue Other theory. Alas, if he had acknowledged anything he would have given himself away as an Other. Catch-22. We learned nothing.
But back to reality testing. On Day Nine Zack and Emma were taken. We know those kids were definitely swiped by Ben’s Others; we see them again on the Hydra Island outside Jack’s cage. Was Zack holding a teddy bear in that scene? You bet he was! That really fouls up the idea that it was Rogue Others traipsing single file through the jungle that day. One nail in the coffin.
How many people from the tail-section were taken? 3 on the first night. 9 the second time. Throw in Cindy and that makes a total of 13 people apparently captured by The Others. How many people were by Jack’s cage? I counted roughly thirteen. That’s nail number two. The amount of people that Cindy claimed were “here to watch” was the same number as had been kidnapped. This leaves no room for involvement by Rogue Others.
So I started this investigation fairly confident there was reasonable scope to argue the existence of Rogue Others. Now, alas, I am forced to concede they are nothing more tangible than an intriguing idea. The Rogue Others theory, sadly, reduced to little more than a rogue idea. The only Others, it seems, are the Others and the smart man doesn’t get swayed by any, ahem, other possibilities.
All that disappointingly remains is the nagging question of why Ben’s ‘3 days to make lists’ rule was completely ignored that first night, and how Ben’s Others could have possibly known who to take. Nobody knew anybody’s name the first night. Apparently, that couldn’t have been altogether true. Unless, of course, Ben knew all along who was on board Oceanic 815. . .