Tuesday, December 1

The Man Behind The Curtain (S3, ep. 20)

The Rewatch Column for "The Man Behind The Curtain" has been shot in the gut for your reading pleasure on Chud.com.


  1. Morse,

    I'd like to add Walt to your list. Cuse and Lindeloff have stated on record that some of the Walt appearances are actually Walt, but some are monster-related. Monster-related would, I assume fall under the same aegis as island-related apparitions, and Walt is, so far as we know, still alive and well. Perhaps he's a special case.

    For the record, I agree with your theory about the bodies and apparitions (and have told my wife, though she seems more skeptical), so I'm not trying to tear it down here. Merely noting those things that must, according to the theory, must fall into some other category.

  2. There is also the more mundane theory that Dave and Emily are constructs created by two disturbed people, young Ben and Hurley. Both of whom during stressful situations may have unconsciously created visions to help their minds cope. This is why their bodies aren't needed in order for them to be on the island, they aren't real in a way that the MiB can use them.

  3. I've kept the volcano in my mind since this aired, and at one point believed it would play a part in the season 5 finale, with Jughead remaining for season 6 to complete The Stand parallels. If I remember correctly, during this episode's commentary Cuse/Lindelof said that the volcano would play a role in the endgame, but not as much as Annie.

    Speaking of, my (likely off-base) presumption was that Annie died due to pregnancy, leading to Ben's obsession with that subject.

    I'm pretty sure Olivia is Horace's wife, not his sister. What I'm not sure about is why she didn't return for Season 5. I remember reading a bit about it in one of Ausiello's columns, but I don't recall whether she chose not to return or that Cuse/Lindelof didn't ask her back.

  4. 1) EXCEPTIONS - Morse, I buy your theory about Ben, Hurley and Walt and their ability to see (and appear?) based on their special characteristics. remember Walt also told Locke in New York in 2008 in Season 5 that Locke was on the island in a suit and a lot of people wanted to hurt him. So Walt had visions of a sort off the island as well.

    2) ON-ISLAND DAVE = MIB - I disagree that the visions of non-dead people couldn't be used by the MIB. It was pretty clear (from my perspective anyway) that the MIB was using Dave to influence Hurley in season 2. He tried to get Hurley to off himself secretly so that the MIB could take his place and begin influencing others to do his deeds. I think at this point, for the MIB, things hadn't escalated to having to send people through time. Although, here's a wacky thought: maybe Dave was the MIB even back at Santa Rosa?

    3) TOMORROW - If Annie didn't leave the island before 1977 and was still in the Dharma initiative, then she was certainly evacuated with all the other women and children on the sub that Juliet, Sawyer and Kate stopped and got off of. But it's worth noting that we didn't see any sign that Ben was reluctant to leave a friend behind when he freed Sayid. I trust that she will be important later as promised? Another unexpected change from Jughead? Or maybe in the shuffling of characters and storylines after Eko left, they just changed her character to Charlotte and that is that.

    4) SISTER OLIVIA V. OLIVIA GOODWIFE? - Olivia was always implied to be Horace's wife as they were together and had the same last name. In season 4, Horace in Locke's dream said he built the cabin for the missus. but in season 5, the producers said that the actress who played Olivia didn't want to return and refused, so Olivia was retconned as a sister in an offhand remark during a podcast i believe. And Amy became a wife. The mysteries of the universe program from the DVD and ABC.com mentioned Olivia's mysterious disappearance from the US after applying with the DI but unfortunately they didn't manage to stick in a reference to a brother OR a husband/boyfriend in there to settle it.

    5) THE MOMMIES - I always thought it was noteworthy that both Locke and Ben's moms were named Emily and had troubled childbirths.

    6) THANKFUL - Another great column Morse. You've really made the lull between seasons much more enjoyable for me. I look forward to your treatise on bad dads. Hope you and all had a great Thanksgiving.

  5. To jump on the seeing Ghost train: One trait that Walt, Hurley, & Ben share is the loss of a parent at a young age. Walt & Ben lost their moms, and Hurley's father abandoned him. In Ben & Walt's case after the loss of a parent they had the additional grief of a detached parent thrust upon them (Hurley's added grief was the "porch incident"). I propose this common thread is that gives these particular individuals the "special" ability to see and commune with ghosts that were not buried on the island. I recognize that Sawyer also had a similar loss, but I believe his choice to fill his heart with hate (even after a commune with Jacob) keeps him from receiving this gift.

  6. My take on Jacob's cabin is this:

    Ben takes Locke to a random cabin with the plan on fooling him into thinking they are actually going to see Jacob. The cabin however isn't empty and it holds the spirit of the MIB. MIB speaks directly to Locke and not to Ben, saying "heellp me", which is both specific and vague enough to get Locke's attention and imagination working. He puts on a show for the two of them so there is no doubt a spirit was in that cabin. So, in my mind, Locke thinks he must be special. So does Ben, and Ben shoots him. The MIB appears to Locke as Walt (at least I think so. Walt seemed very emotionless towards Locke) and tells him he has work to do. And so the long con is set in motion.

    With the knowledge that Richard has expressed interest in Locke being the leader, Locke evenetually travels back in time and tells an earlier version of Richard that Jacob sent him, which of course was a lie. It's amazing how Locke, Ben and Richard were sucked into the idea of Locke being the chosen leader based on so little information.

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  8. Wow. Great thoughts, all. I'm looking forward to going through and responding when I'm done with my day.

    Thanks for commenting!

  9. One other point. I think either the island will be destroyed (volcano, or sinking) as well as the proof that it ever existed, or it will continue to exist, yet without it's original inhabitants. I think the island itself is rather sinister. If it were up to me I'd have it so that in the series finale Jack and co must finally leave the island for good. As they set sail on whatever boat or raft (or sub) they have, the island looms ominously in the distance. Then, later, a plane crashes onto the island, or maybe a boat crashed onto its shore, and the game must begin once again. To quote Stephen King's The Stand "Life was a such a wheel that no man could stand upon it for long.
    And it always, at the end, came round to the same place again".

  10. New thought: Ben's never seen Jacob. According to The Incident, he'd made requests but had been denied by Richard. Given that, why didn't Richard intervene here when Ben went to take Locke to see "Jacob"? He shouldn't know where he is, and it seems like a breach of protocol, following those responses.

  11. Richard probably knew that Ben had no idea where Jacob was and was giving Ben all the rope he needed in this instance to hang himself, further ensuring Locke's ascension to leadership. Richard was confident that nothing bad would happen to Locke, because he knew at some point in Locke's future he would be meeting Richard in the 1950s. I am making a few jumps in logic and a lot hinges on whether Richard even knew about the "cabin" or if Jacob ever actually lived there in the first place.

  12. Ben says to Locke, "I wish it was as simple as me taking out a dusty old book and opening it up." Why isn't it that simple? There are long stretches of time where seemingly nothing happens on the Island. One might think it'd be the responsibility of the leader to document everything that goes on there.

    Awesome Hurley line (Thank you closed captioning!): "Dude, it can't be worse than haggis."

    Mikhail must really stink at this point. He's been wearing the same clothes for almost two weeks, he's been sonically assaulted while wearing them, and gotten fluids on them from aiding Naomi.

    It's great how Locke leverages his mythic status into forcing a meeting with Jacob. Conversely, it's interesting that Mikhail seems to have no idea why Locke would be with the Others, or why Ben would owe him an explanation or a visit with Jacob.

    Locke is apparently chosen over Ben by the "God" of the Island on a trip he never wanted to go on. What a great birthday present from the Island.

    I'm assuming the off-screen skirmish between Dharma and the Others happens before The Truce. Goodspeed tells Roger that he knows nothing about the Others. He may be lying, but if he's not, that's quite odd, because wouldn't they have shown up and/or interfered when Dharma first arrived on the Island and started building stations and living quarters?

    Ben tells Locke that Jacob isn't a fan of technology. Is this something he's gleaned from Richard, or is he making it up? I'm leaning towards the latter, given that in "The Incident" we see Jacob riding in a taxi and using a vending machine.

    It would be great if Locke started to play along with Ben's show. "Hello Jacob, it's nice to finally meet you. What's that? You want me to kill Ben?"

    Locke's persona is based on faith. Oftentimes he has trouble walking the path, but still, he's a man of faith. He knows the Island is home to many odd things/properties, some of which he's experienced firsthand. Yet he can't get behind an invisible man. If it were me, I'd at least try sticking my hand in the chair's empty space. Just to be sure. I guess invisible people is where Locke draws the line. Good to know.

    It's interesting to watch Ben's reaction to "Jacob" after Locke sets him off, knowing that he's never met the man before.