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‘Lost’ Season Three: Ep. 20 “The Man Behind the Curtain”

Somewhere in the middle of a forest near Portland, a woman is having a baby. Her husband is helping her through it but after the baby is born, the woman is in obvious trouble. She’s bleeding. The man picks her up and carries to the road, where a couple stop to help. The woman is dying. She says to her husband, “Call him Benjamin.”

Cut to Ben in a tent. OK, so he’s been lying about being born on the island. Richard comes in and asks where the tape recorder is so he can take it back to the medical center. Ben says he already gave it back. Uh-oh. Just as Ben comes out of the tent looking for the tape recorder, Locke shows up with dead Pops on his back and drops him at Ben’s feet. “OK, show me everything on the island.” Ben tells him he isn’t the leader of this merry band. The real leader is Jacob and only Ben talks to him. Locke thinks Ben is a liar, that he is really the man behind the curtain–like the Wizard of Oz–but Locke still demands Ben take him to this mystery person.

Flashback to Ben coming to island at around 11 or 12 years-old with his dad, Roger. As Ben and his dad walk off the dock, there’s a big banner that reads, “Namaste! The Dharma Initiative.” Several people greet them, putting leis around their necks–including the man who stopped to help Roger on the side of the road when his wife died. He got Roger the Dharma gig because Roger is kind of a screw up. Ben doesn’t talk much.

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Seems like the Dharma Initiative are leftover hippies. There’s even a bunch of VW wagons in the camp’s yard (so that’s where they came from). Ben watches an introductory tape with the Asian guy explaining about the perimeter fence, which is set up to keep the “wildlife” at bay. Meanwhile, Roger is assigned a jumpsuit, which reads “Roger, Work Man.” He is pissed he has been relegated to a janitor. If you’ve haven’t already figured it out, that’s exactly what the corpse was wearing in the VW wagon Hurley found. Interesting twist.

Young Ben is in a classroom, when it suddenly starts to shake and an alarm goes off. The Hostiles are attacking. Ben is told these are a group of people who were already living on the island before the Dharma Initiative peeps showed up and who apparently don’t take too kindly to these intruders. Later, a drunk Roger is freaking out about it, and Ben is scared. Ranting and raving, we find out Roger is terribly bitter about losing his wife. She was only seven months pregnant when they went for a hike and she went into labor. He blames Ben for the whole thing. That’s nice. Distraught, the boy Ben runs outside and up to the perimeter fence. He sees his dead mother on the other side (the black smoke monster, I’m guessing), who tells him to stop before crossing over; it isn’t time yet.

Ben decides to run away. He gets the code to deactivate the fence and goes through it. Now he’s out among the wilds of the jungle. And who should he run into but none other than Richard, who looks exactly the same as we’ve known him. Who IS this guy? Ben tells Richard about seeing his dead mom and that he doesn’t want to go back to the Dharma camp. He wants to go with Richard. “You have to be really sure—and be really patient,” Richard warns.

Flash forward to Ben, now grown up, at the Dharma camp, helping his dad load one of the VW wagons with beer. It’s Ben’s birthday, and his dad wants to take him up to a bluff to finally have some father-son time. But Ben really isn’t interested in trying to make up for lost time with his good-for-nothing father. In fact, he tells his father he’s had to put up with his BS for too long and has been patient long enough. Then he puts on a mask and opens up a can of some kind of gas. Roger starts immediately convulsing and bleeding from the nose; he dies. Ben walks back to the Dharma camp where everyone else is apparently dead from the lethal gas. Everyone, that is, but Ben—and the Hostiles, who come into the camp wearing masks as well. Richard pulls his off and asks, “Should we go get his body?” “No, leave him where he is,” Ben replies. So Hurley can find him later, jump start the wagon and go for a joy ride.

Back to present time, Eye Patch (aka Mikail) runs into the Others camp. Ben comments, “I thought you were dead.” “Unfortunately, the pylons weren’t set to release the level,” Eye Patch explains. Oh. He informs Ben about Naomi, the ship nearby, etc. Eye Patch thinks they have to go now to take care of the problem. But Locke says Ben can’t go now because he is taking him to go meet Jacob. The rest of the Others just stare at Ben, who tells Locke their excursion will have to wait. Then Locke proceeds to beat the bejeezus out of Eye Patch. Ben calls for help from Tom and Richard, but they just stand there doing nothing. As an unconscious Eye Patch lies on the ground, Locke turns to Ben, “OK, so when do we leave?”

Alex gives Locke a gun, saying he’ll need it if they are going to see Jacob. Then she turns to Ben and says, “Happy Birthday, Dad.” She’s a sneaky one. Ben seems nervous, actually. To go see Jacob unannounced might make him very angry. “You don’t go see Jacob, you’re summoned.”

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They arrive at Jacob’s lair, a rundown shack, later that night. Locke needs to put away his flashlight because Jacob doesn’t like “technology.” Then Ben says ominously: “Once I open this door, there’s no turning back. Sure this is what you want?” Oh yeah, Locke is not giving up now. They walk in—but there’s no one there. Apparently, this fact doesn’t stop Ben from talking to an empty chair. Locke can’t believe this crap. “You are putting on a show for me?” Locke thinks Ben has totally lost it. Gone cuckoo. Ben is disappointed Locke is “too limited” to see Jacob. Disgusted, Locke turns to leave. Then he hears, in an entirely different voice, “Help me.” Locke thinks Ben said it, but he didn’t. Suddenly, Locke switches on his the flashlight and comes at Ben. The shack starts shaking, things start flying around. Locke runs out. Ben comes out a moment later. What the hell was that? “That was Jacob.”

Back at the Lostie’s camp, Sawyer comes back with the tape recorder and plays it for Sayid. They go looking for Juliet. “She’s gone off with Jack,” Kate says, walking up. She also admits she told Jack about Naomi because “he deserved to know.” Sayid sighs heavily.

The rest of the camp finally have a meeting, introducing Naomi and explaining that to the rest of the world, they are all dead. They are all stunned, but more importantly, they can’t believe Jack may be working with Them. But Sawyer plays the tape, on which Juliet gives the info about Sun’s pregnancy and what not. Sayid is sure Jack has turned bad, just as Jack and Juliet show up. Recriminations brew, but Juliet stands her ground. She tells Sawyer to turn the tape over and play it. It’s Ben, giving her instructions on what to do when they get there, the day after tomorrow. Juliet says she told Jack about what the Others were making her do after she saw Sun’s baby on the ultrasound. “Why didn’t you tell us, Jack?” Sayid asks. “Guess we have some catching up to do,” Jack replies. Uh, hell yes you do!

Back to Locke and Ben, in the jungle, heading back the next day. Locke still doesn’t believe Jacob was real and thinks Ben is a fraud and that his people should know. Ben admits some of things he has said aren’t true. For starters, he wasn’t born on this island. But Ben wants to show Locke where he did come from and takes him to a pit, filled with the skeletal remains of the Dharma Initiative people. Ben explains there couldn’t be two groups on the island, and the Dharmas were weak. One of them had to be eliminated and when the time came, Ben was smart enough to side with the right people. The Hostiles. The Others. The Hostiles. WHATEVER.

Then Ben shoots Locke in the chest, who falls into the pit. A bewildered Locke looks up at Ben, “Why did you do this?” “Because HE spoke to you!,” Ben yells. Pointing the gun at Locke as if to shoot him again, Ben demands to know what Jacob said to him. “He said, ‘Help me.’” “Well, let’s hope Jacob helps YOU now,” Ben quips and walks away.

Can they really kill Locke?

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