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Lost: Season 4 - The Shape of Things to Come (Review)


Review by Jack Foley

INDIELONDON singles out notable episodes from our favourite television series for stand-alone reviews. On this occasion we take a look at the latest episode of Lost: Season 4 entitled The Shape of Things To Come.

What’s the story? A sickening Jack (Matthew Fox) attempts to discover the identity of a body that has washed ashore, while Locke’s camp is attacked by Ben’s adversaries.

Why so good? Given that it was the first episode back from a five-week hiatus (caused by the American writers’ strike), Lost returned with all guns firing… literally. The main part of the story revolved around Ben (Michael Emerson) and his attempts to deal with the mercenaries sent to capture him and kill the remaining island inhabitants. The flash forwards, meanwhile, saw him in vengeful mood, recruiting Sayid (Naveen Andrews) as his personal assassin to take out members of Charles Widmore’s organisation. The hour was one of the best in Lost‘s recent history.

Digging a little deeper: Congratulations to the writing team behind Lost – they now have us firmly in their grasp and willing each new episode to begin. Fears that it had “jumped the shark” or “lost the plot” have long since been removed, with seasons three and four becoming progressively stronger as the answers fly thick and fast.

We say answers, because in true Lost form, they’re more often than not replaced by more questions. But at least we feel like we’re getting somewhere, rather than being blindly led up the jungle path.

The Shape Of Things To Come was an absolute nailbiter that mostly revolved around the enigmatic Ben. Love him, loathe him, sympathise or even respect him, there’s no denying he’s one of the most intriguing characters currently occupying TV land. And that’s thanks, in no small part, to the brilliance of the actor playing him.

Michael Emerson plays this extremely complicated man with almost effortless ease and it’s a pleasure to watch how he manipulates people each week – sometimes for their own good, mostly to further his own survival. But it’s tribute to both actor and writers that he continues to surprise.

In this episode, when faced with a team of ruthless mercenaries employed by Charles Widmore (Alan Dale) to extract him from the island, he had to use all of his manipulative powers to keep breathing. And boy did those soldiers test his resolve.

When threatened with the cold-blooded execution of his daughter, Danielle (Mira Furlan), Ben watched powerlessly as their leader carried out his mission and ruthlessly shot her in the head.

Initially stunned that “he [Widmore] changed the rules”, Ben then retaliated by unleashing the black smoke-like monster upon the troops and then bidding a tearful farewell.

In the future, meanwhile, he was seen tracking down another mercenary (Rene Belloq) and subsequently recruiting Sayid to carry out his assassination in Iraq. Why? Because Belloq was apparently guilty of murdering Sayid’s wife and children. But can Ben be trusted? The sly grin on his face once his plan had been successfully completed, suggested, maybe, otherwise.

Still in the future, Ben then tracked down Widmore to his London residence in the middle of the night and confronted him over the murder of his adopted daughter. Widmore, in typically bullish fashion, insinuated that Ben was to blame – but Ben was having none of it and, after confessing that he realised Widmore couldn’t be killed, vowed to track down his own daughter instead so that Charles could experience his own pain.

The two men then bickered over the ownership of the island which, in itself, raised more interesting possibilities. Charles accused Ben of stealing it from him and vowed to continue searching for it. The hunt was therefore on for both of them.

By the episode’s conclusion, Ben had joined Locke and Hurley on the way to Jacob’s cabin in search of more answers, while Sawyer and Claire were headed back to the beach.

But there remained plenty of mouthwatering questions. What is Hurley’s significance to Jacob? If Ben tracks down and kills Charles daughter, Penny, what will Desmond have to say? And was the early reference to Australia being the key to everything (during a board game) another of the many clues along the way?

Most significantly, can Ben really be trusted? And who is the real villain? We’re sure there will be plenty more twists yet…

What did you think?