Analysis: 5.9 Namaste

Namaste to new Dharma Recruits! Namaste to a whole new set of time travel-based logistical nightmares! And Namaste to Radzinsky! I never thought we’d meet. Ever since Kelvin Inman extolled the genius of the map-maker extraordinaire that eventually blew his brains out back in Live Together, Die Alone, Radzinsky has taken on near-mythic status in my head.

Turns out Radzinsky’s not an ultra-cool legend, rather a cranky and fastidious jobsworth with a bad head of hair.

Still, appearances aside, it would appear that he is the designer of The Swan Station. Indeed, the fact that he had tucked himself away in The Flame Station (which, as we know from seeing Mikhail there (ironically once theorised to be Radzinsky!) is a place for a solitary Dharma worker) we can appreciate how secretive The Swan was. Secrecy was paramount since it seems The Swan is being built beyond the ‘truce border’ between Dharma and ‘the hostiles’. This secrecy status affords plenty of credence to the idea that Ben and The Others were oblivious to it back in Season 2.

My point is, when ‘the purge’ eventually happens we know that Radzinsky, and Kelvin Inman, will be stuck pressing the button in The Swan for years, untouched by ‘the hostiles’. Surely this is because Radzinsky’s neurotic security ensured ‘the hostiles’ never knew a thing about it?

So it’s 1977 and The Swan hasn’t been built yet. The Swan Orientation film was made in 1980, after ‘the incident’ and Pierre Chang losing an arm – all that lies in store. But let’s skip forward to 2007, like how this episode kept doing with whiplash frequency.

If you asked a Lost fan to name the three biggest mysteries in the show there’s likelihood their answers would include one of the following: The Black Smoke, The Whispers, or Dead People Interacting With The Living. Cut to Sun and Lapidus landing on the main Island and within the space of three minutes they go and walk slap bang into all three of those biggies.

They pull up on land and Smokey is rattling around in the trees (evidently Smokey has a thing for pilots), and then they make it to a Dharma location (possibly not the Barracks, but certainly close by) and hear The Whispers in the breeze, and then:

Just so we’re clear, this is all happening in 2007. The crash of Ajira. Sun battering Ben across the head with a paddle (so that’s how he ended up in a hospital bed when Locke finds him!). Encountering Christian. It’s all happening in 2007. That the Dharma facilities look rundown suggests Alpert and The Others never returned there from their excursion to The Temple.

Interesting question: Since we know The Others took over The Barracks and the Dharma facilities then how come pictures of Dharma New Recruits have been left on the walls?

My interesting answer: Because I think The Others that lived at The Barracks (Ben, Juliet, Tom, etc) and The Others that roam the jungle (Alpert’s gang) are two factions. More specifically, I think The Others that lived at The Barracks are almost certainly either ex-Dharma members (Ben) or people that were brought to the Island after ‘the purge’ (Juliet). The original Others, ‘the hostiles’, they never relinquished the truce and remained apart. They’re all Others – but there’s a division amongst them. As such, some ex-Dharma Others may have been fond of those pictures and so left them up.

That’s my take on it. And it’s a damn sight more comprehensive an answer than you’re going to get out of me regarding what the hell Christian meant when he said Sun has a long journey. A long journey back thirty years to 1977? Okay. And quite why Sun didn’t go to 1977 with Jack and Sayid and the rest is still a mystery. Presumably Sun has work to do, that Christian is going to explain, and that’s why she is where she is. Or maybe she’s just no longer a “good person” and needs to perform some kind of act to redeem herself before reuniting with Jin. Baseless conjecture is all I’ve got.

Some of you Online Lost Fans may have been made aware of fuss about how Claire is potentially lurking in the background during the scene when Christian takes Sun and Lapidus into the Dharma building. For the uninitiated, she’s over on the right behind Sun.

Not very easy to make out, I know. Luckily, someone technically-advanced produced this image to try and clarify the matter.

Personally, I don’t think that’s Claire. Personally, I think that’s a member of the filming crew happening to get caught in the shot. She looks to me like someone sitting at a monitor, for God’s sake. Still, there’ll be some Lost Fans that will swear it’s Claire. But then there are some Lost Fans who think the whole show is going to be a massive timeloop and we all know that’s not going to be the way of it!


Let’s lighten the mood. You know when we met Ethan for the first time in Season One? Did you realise back then that this guy. . .

. . . was twenty-seven years old!

Jesus he must have had a hard Dharma life. It’s funny that we first met Ethan as an outsider integrating himself into a group by pretending to be one of them. Sounds exactly like what Jack, Kate and Hurley are doing with Dharma, right? Also funny is how Sawyer, no doubt very deliberately, apportioned Jack the role of Workman. As far from leader as possible. It was a great moment when Jack visited Sawyer and attempted to establish some authority only to get ceremoniously put in his place.

Sawyer showed a bit of the venom he has evidently displayed previously to have generated his fearsome reputation amongst the other Dharma people, calling Jack out for his acts of sheer reaction when he was once in charge. It’s not completely fair on Jack (Jack-haters happily forget all the smart moves and brave acts he did), but he did seem relieved to no longer be carrying the burden of leader all the same.

We all know that Benjamin Linus is adept at thinking and planning ahead. What we didn’t know is that he had encountered some of our key Lost heroes when he was a boy, and so the level of thinking and planning he has been employing just got exploded much wider. Let’s try and absorb this idea slowly. An example:

The crashing of Ajira 316. Excellent to see it happen, and well-executed it was. Loved the flash from night to day as the plane entered the Island area (and evidently did a little time skip just like the helicopter did when Lapidus was piloting Desmond and Sayid to The Freighter in The Constant). There was also the sound of the recorded numbers briefly heard on the radio. If Rousseau recorded over the original numbers transmission with her distress call then that means someone recorded a new numbers transmission and set it going at some point between 2004 and 2007. Why?

Maybe the transmission hasn’t changed. Maybe it was just a blast of ‘historic sound interference’ the plane briefly picked up as it crossed into the Island zone. Works for me until I know more. But think about the runway Lapidus used to bring Ajira 316 down. Ben had The Others, and Sawyer and Kate for a while, breaking rocks to make that runway! With hindsight we have to assume Ben somehow knew he would need it. Perhaps Young Ben learned about Ajira 316, discovered he would one day be banished (indeed, perhaps that’s how he learned to eventually trick Widmore off the Island!) and so made provision for his crash-landing return.

Namaste to a whole new set of time travel-based logistical nightmares indeed! Alternatively there’s always the fall back that Jacob just told him to do it. . .

The familiarity with which Young Ben had with Phil the Ultra-Suspicious Dharma security guy and permission to see the prisoner means he had been on the Island a while. He wasn’t the wide-eyed, mute kid that first landed. I got the impression this was Young Ben after he had encountered Alpert and been told to be patient, and here we are seeing the young man that will scheme his way to leader of The Others.

So let’s make no mistake. Young Ben is going to remember Sayid. And Juliet. Sawyer. And whoever else he encounters. He is going to know when he sees these people after the crash of Oceanic 815 what some of their futures entail. The ramifications and density of such plotting is staggering. Where do you even begin? When Ben is caught in a net, and encounters Sayid, is it because Sayid told him that was where they first met?

More to the point: Did Ben deliberately get himself caught in a net that day because he struck up conversation with Sayid and learned about what happened and so ensured it did? It’s paradoxical and labyrinthine and if it was anyone other than Ben it would surely be preposterous. Yet the mind behind that blank-faced, bug-eyed visage is a whirring hive of methodical planning.

Remember that moment when Sayid had just beaten Keamy up, and Kate then asked if they would be allowed to leave at the end of Season 4? Ben agreed to it. Kate was stunned. But Ben agreed to it maybe because he knew Kate and Sayid would have to leave in order for him to come back with them! That’s just one example that springs to mind. The whole show, since Ben’s first episode in Season 2, episode 14, could be littered with this stuff. . .

If this is the route the writers are going down they are going to have to tread very carefully. Here be plot monsters that could derail the whole show.

Since Sayid has announced himself as a ‘hostile’ it seems improbable that he will ever be allowed into Dharma. This may very much mean he, via Young Ben, may find himself taken into the ‘hostile’ group. If anyone can hack it as a ‘hostile’ then I think Sayid’s got the chops for it. And I suspect, if he does, he may just happen to run into Rose and Bernard – last seen running away from a storm of flaming arrows! If they haven’t been taken into Dharma using the old ‘they came in on the sub ruse’ then they must have encountered Alpert and ‘the hostiles’ over the course of three years in the jungle!

Someone else who was missing – well, “gone” – was Daniel Faraday. We saw him at the start of Season 5 at The Orchid, so maybe he went messing around with the electromagnetic Casimir jigawatts housed there and zapped himself to a different time and space. Or perhaps only his mind got whisked off elsewhere. I still keep coming back to when we first saw him, crying at his television set, and the notion that his consciousness got mangled into his own past – “Why are you so upset?” / “I don’t know.” – just won’t shake itself loose.

I could spend a bit of time discussing Ceasar and Ilana. Their interplay in this episode betrayed the idea that they knew each other before the crash (plainly they didn’t). Ceasar seemed to be annoyed about Lapidus not having charts for the Island, but I am figuring that’s an act, and Ilana seemed oddly calm as the plane was going down, but maybe she’s a cool cat. Fact is the two of them are dots on a big picture at present so I’ll train more attention on them when their turn in the spotlight comes.

Last thought for the analysis: Don’t forget about this guy.

The Island isn’t done with him yet. Maybe that’s where Faraday went – to go and get him. I suspect it won’t be too many episodes before we’re saying Namaste to Desmond, too. His return to the Island can only make the logistical nightmares that little bit more nightmarish.


Corellian said...

Well, don´t know if you take them as facts, but it seems that Darlton said in the last podcast that Jacob told Ben to build the runway. Much better than Ben doing everything because he knew it would have to be done.

By the way, do you really think Sayid would start to talk to little Ben and tell him everything just like this? Like "hey, when i first met you, you were 30 years older, and you were trapped in a net at these coordinates". Why the hell would he do this? I really hope that the show stop explaining it's misterys like this, as they did with Locke and Alpert.

As it goes for Faraday, well, he will have to be back to the 70's at some point, if he was really the one behind the camera on that video that they release before season 5, with Peter Chang asking for help. And i preffer the idea that he is gone somewhere on the Island, but still in 70's, than the idea that he travelled on time again. Wouldn't it cause a great turmoil in Dharma if such a thing happened like this?

Radinzky, at last!! Will we see why the hell he's done that blast door map? I find it hard, as there wont be any Losties there to tell the story (theorically), but it would be very nice...

As for Rose and Bernard, if they´re not with the Hostiles, i think they're gone for good, because there would be no other way to re-introduce them to the show...

By the way, nice catch on the Other group division and on the secrecy of the Swamn explaining why the Others didn´t know about it...

Anonymous said...

Sayid and Ben meeting definitely introduces possible explanations for how Ben knew (in 2004) who would arrive on flight 815. If Sayid has met young Ben, the rest of them have or will too. Perhaps they are the reason Ben acted the way he did since we first met him. Perhaps Ben claiming Jacob told him to build the runway is an allusion to the idea that one of the O6 is in fact Jacob. I wonder if the cabin has been built yet?
I do think Daniel has left the island somehow, whether consciously or physically I do not know. The flashes stopped, this we know, but maybe Daniel is still unstuck and needed to leave the island in search of young Desmond in order to ground himself.
So many possibilities after this! I feel like new doors were opened, despite the rest of the episode seeming to be a filler.

Corellian said...

Sayid and Ben meeting definitely introduces possible explanations for how Ben knew (in 2004) who would arrive on flight 815.

The thing is, he didn´t know. He went to the Flame after the crash and asked Mikhail to find out who was on the plane.

Which makes sense, since i strongly doubt the Losties would tell young Ben about 815. Absolutely no reason for them to do that...

AngeloComet said...

Corellian, I don't think Sayid would just spill his guts on what he knows, but I think that since his position in the Dharma group is precarious he might spy the chance to join 'the hostiles' to keep himself alive - and that may mean having to give Young Ben some information to earn their trust.

Unless Sawyer has an excellent plan up his sleeve, of course!

I agree with you both that Young Ben presents the writers with all kinds of ways to put a new perspective on events we've already seen, and Ben's actions - but it's a VERY hard line to walk and get right. I hope they know what they're doing. . .

Anonymous said...

Are you posting theories any where besides your weekly couple or so here? I'm starting to think Rose and Benard might be the two in the cave and that there story is done. I guess if you want to measure it I'm about 20 percent there. My hope is that they will be back.

Can't wait for more Radinsky that guy is awesome IMO. Little Ben is as creepy as Adult Ben and I can't wait for more of this little Devil.

AngeloComet said...

Anonymous, if Rose and Bernard are still alive in 1977 then it seems unlikely that they will become the skeleton cave couple.

There was a 'window' of opportunity for them to die together during the 1950s to potentially become the skeleton cave couple, back when they were jumping around in time, but then there's the matter of the black and white stones. . .

For me, the field is wide open on who they could be but it's a subject I know a lot of people enjoy guessing about - me included. My post(s) on it on this site generates the most comments, I think!

And no, I don't post theories anywhere else at present. With the rate new information is coming with each new episode I've found the idea of proposing strong theories tricky; chances are the next Lost episode will blow it out of the water and change everything!

And the actor playing Young Ben was fantastic in this episode - he totally nailed it.

StayPuft said...

Hi AC,

Good analysis as usual. I was one of the members way back on LT that put forward a case of Radzinsky being Mikhail, I was praying it would be the case, but alas my shouting at the screen as Jin arrived at the Flame were to no avail. :(

I've got a sneaking suspicion that where this is all leading is that it will be our Losties that cause / invoke "The Incident" whatever it may be. And the reason they had to go back was to do that to make sure it happened to set everything in motion. The problem of course is as you say it treads a very fine line in terms of plot, and I hope the writers do it well.

It wouldn't suprise me of course if "The Incident" involves old Ben meeting young Ben. Hmm.

Feel free to tear it apart mate. :-)

Anonymous said...

Thats an interesting point about smokey having a thing for pilots. After both plane crashes he was sniffing around. Perhaps he is involved in the actual bringing down of the aircraft?

Acharaisthekey said...

Two things from the episode really jumped out at me:

1. Did you see the BLUE LIKE SMOKE whisping in and out of the Barracks buidling during the meeting between Sun and Christian? There is something creepy there...wondered your thoughts on it?

2. As you touched on...the best scene of the episode may have been Saywer verbally 'bitch slapping' Jack. However, this would indeed come back to play right? Jack will have to save these guys...let's face it, Fox isn't sticking around to be a whipping boy. Jack may find comfort in workman....and when come time for Sawyer around and need Jack...the confrontation may in fact be one of those LOST MOMENTS us Character fans have been waiting for.

AngeloComet said...

Achara - I did see atmospheric lighting and mist, but my ultimate interpretation was just that: it was atmospheric and slightly odd - like the light shining in the hut when clearly a light didn't really come on. Did the fact that 'the whispers' sounded, and a light glow, indicate that a fissure, or doorway, to a dimension Shephard exists in briefly opened and closed? It kind of fits with other ideas I've had, but maybe it was just purely for the atmosphere!

I think the key element about Sawyer is that he is going to be forced to choose between Jack and co, and the Dharma people. (I'm not sure he's overly-sold on the idea that 'the purge' is definite. He grimaced his way through Faraday's supposed notions of what he can and can't do.)

Fact is, Sawyer has been with Dharma for three years. He was with Jack and Kate and the rest for about 3 months. His allegiances may be more Dharma than we might realise - and it's going to be a crucial decision he makes between the two.

I think it won't be too long before civility between Jack and Sawyer breaks down!

Tim said...

"[...] it's going to be a crucial decision he makes between the two."

And one that Kate may play a part in, I'd hazard.

I'm not sure I'm digging the Sawyer/Jack antagonism again, I prefer it when they're friends. The antagonism feels a little bit simplistic.

It will be interesting seeing how they dramatise Sawyer's allegiances to his three year friends Dharma.