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Locke Box: John Comes Face to Face with the Man from Tallahassee on "Lost"

I don't know about you but my jaw is still on the floor after last night's episode of Lost ("The Man from Tallahassee"), which finally answered some questions that have been plaguing me from the start of the series and raised more than a few new ones.

I'd be remiss if we didn't talk about the reveal of just how John Locke got into that wheelchair years ago. While the obvious answer seemed like a car accident or similar, I am glad that Damon and Carlton twisted our anticipation of this and instead brought us an answer that was wholly unexpected. (Okay, I expected it as soon as I saw Locke walk into the room with large, floor-to-ceiling windows.) I am sure that no one out there imagined that Locke's putative father Anthony Cooper pushed him out of an 8th floor window when threatened by exposure. I never had Cooper, a notorious con man, pegged for a murderer, but he casually threw his son out the window and may have had a hand in the death of Peter Talbot, the son of his latest mark.

Back on the island, the castaways try to rescue Jack, only to learn that Jack made a deal with Ben and he and Juliet are scheduled to leave the island the following day in the submarine, which Locke casually blows up. (Damn you, John Locke!) Apparently, he's still terrified by the hold his father has on him; on the island he's whole again: able to walk, able to escape from his past and his paralysis. Scared that Jack and Juliet will leave and bring rescue and he'll have to return to the cruel reality of the world. (Though I still think, with the navigational beacons out, there's no way anyone could return.)

I love the fact that Ben and Locke have now become inverted mirrors of one another: one confined to a wheelchair, the other walking. In reality, neither of them should be in the state they're in. Ben isn't healing as quickly as he should be and, well, we all know there's no possible scientific explanation as to how Locke is walking after the dive he took. Plus, Ben is as Machiavellian as they come and I was impressed with the way he manipulated Locke into doing just what he wanted (the explosion of the sub), just like he previously got Locke to stop pushing the button and cut off the island from the outside world. He's a demon of the highest order and his agenda is so dark and selfish it's impossible not to be impressed by his methods.

LOVED that Sayid told Alex that her mother was still alive (how painful was it to see Rousseau watch Alex through the trees?) and that, for once on Lost, a character actually asked a question as Alex revealed that the Others told her that Rousseau was dead. (Naturally.)

I'm curious to see where the new battle lines are drawn in the sand as shifting loyalties and the new fact of their life on the island (there's no escape now for any of them) turns friends against one another (Jack must be pissed!) and makes strange bedfellows.

Lastly, I want to talk about that mind-blowing ending in which we learn what stepped out of that metaphorical magic box Ben told Locke about. I'd still like to think that the box is a metaphor rather than a physical construct, but somehow, someway, something led to this moment in this place as Locke comes face to face with the mysterious "man from Tallahassee" who Ben claims to have stepped out of the box: none other than Anthony Cooper, Locke's father. Is it really Cooper? Is it a construct of the island's monster (a la Yemi)? Or is it another test to see if Locke has the cunning and faith to be part of Ben's masterplan? Find out next week.

Next week on Lost ("Exposé"), we finally see the conclusion to a long-dangling plot point as Sun learns the truth about the Others' attempted kidnapping (and decks Sawyer), fresh graves are dug, and an accomplice of the Others right in the castaways' midst is exposed. (Please be Nikki and Paolo!)

What's On Tonight

8 pm: College Basketball (CBS); My Name is Earl (NBC); Smallville (CW); Ugly Betty (ABC); Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? (FOX)

9 pm: Scrubs/Andy Barker, P.I. (NBC); Supernatural (CW); Grey's Anatomy (ABC); Family Guy/Family Guy (FOX)

10 pm: Raines (NBC); October Road (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: Ugly Betty.

Another new episode! On tonight's episode ("Don't Ask, Don't Tell"), devised by America Fererra and Michael Urie, Marc convinces Betty to pretend to be his girlfriend when his mother (guest star Patti LuPone) arrives in New York, while Daniel and Alexis clash at work.

8-9 pm: My Name is Earl.

What, no Office tonight? Instead's it's back-to-back repeat episodes of Earl tonight ("South of the Border, Part Uno & Dos"), in which Earl and Randy track down Catalina after getting her deported and Randy manages to get himself adopted by a lonely married couple.

9 pm: Scrubs.

Finally! Scrubs is back on NBC's schedule, where it belongs. On tonight's episode ("My No Good Reason"), J.D. and Turk are forced to pretend that Turk and Carla's new nanny isn't hot, while one of the Sacred Heart staffers goes into a coma.

9:30 pm: Andy Barker, P.I.

On the series' second episode ("Fairway, My Lovely"), Andy is hired by a woman to find her husband's killer after he dies while playing golf; meanwhile, Simon falls for Andy's assistant.

10:30 pm: This American Life on Showtime.

Based on the popular NPR radio series, this new Showtime drama seeks to capture first person accounts of single themes. On tonight's premiere ("Reality Check"), host Ira Glass explores the notion of people pursuing their dreams but failing.


The CineManiac said…
I have to say Lost definitely seems to be back on track after their long break. Each episode seems to be getting better, and they are back to their first season ways of answering questions while raising more (instead of just raising more)
It really seems to me that we've returned to the greatness of season 1.
As for last night's episode, I loved that his father pushed him out the window. Like you I saw it coming when they showed the windows, but still holy crap! And as for the fact that his father's on the island, I can't wait to see what he does with that.
Also I long to see how Sawyer reacts to Locke's father, as I'm assuming this is the real "Sawyer"
Bill said…
I also loved this episode. The possibilities as far as Cooper are all over the place. Did the magic box really bring Cooper there, did it just bring an image of Cooper, or is he there for some other reason and playing along with Ben's game to get inside Locke's head? And if the box is real, could Ben's "two days after I find a fatal tumor on my spine, a spinal surgeon falls from the sky" thing have been box-related wish-fulfilment?

And tonight's Andy Barker, co-written by Buffy/Angel/Firefly/BSG's Jane Espenson, is the best of the series in my opinion.
Anonymous said…
Yeah - great ep. I was SO happy to finally find out how Locke got in the chair. It's been one of my top questions-I-want-answered since the beginning. Also, like you, once I saw the windows, I knew he was going out them. Ah, those tricky writers having him fall EIGHT stories.

There was so much going on last night. So many games being played, so many chess matches. Ben is so brilliant.

I think my favorite line was from Sayid, "I am sure that's what they told you." Awesome!

Now a large picture question... home. What is home? We were told that Michael and Walt went "home." Jack told Kate he was going "home." Juliet told Jack Ben was going to let her go "home." I wonder what "home" is in Ben's mind? Where are Michael and Walt really? ::cue lost music::
I love Locke-centric episodes!! Thank you Terry O'Quinn for another brilliant performance. Same goes for Michael Emerson. I loved Ben's response ("we have two giant hamsters spinning in wheels...") to Locke's question about how they have electricity. How can he be so funny and creepy at the same time?

So many Daddy Issues on this show! I can't wait to see how Locke deals with his. And I can't wait for next week's episode!
The CineManiac said…
So do the writers all have large daddy issues and it just seeps into their writing?
rockauteur said…
LA Times says we won't see Locke and his father for five more weeks!!! Let's hope we at least get to see Jack/Kate/Sayid/Rosseau/Ben/Alex before then. That story line was heating up! I can't wait for the Alex/Rosseau reunion!!!!

Locke almost got the answer about the mysterious power source on the island but he didn't seem to care about the answer. Damn you Locke! Why did you blow up the sub? The Others still have that huge ferry that Jack took from the Zoo Island back to the regular island. So they can still escape technically on that.

Good questions about the box - is it a real box or just a metaphor? Why was Locke never on the list? What is the list? Will Jack/Claire's dead dad, Kate's dead step-father show up soon? Maybe Boone/Shannon's dead dad can show up as well. I'm also glad that Locke learned that Ben was born on the island. But of course since no one talks, Locke won't tell anyone, nor will he tell Sawyer about his dad, since he is Sawyer's namesake. But hopefuly Sawyer will meet him and thus kill him.

I hope Paulo/Nicki both die next week. Haha.
Vance said…
I second everyone else's opinion! If there was any doubt Lost wasn't as good this season, damnit, last night proved it all wrong. I haven't screamed HOLY SH!T to the TV in a LONG LONG TIME.

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