TV REVIEW Lost 4.09 "The Shape of Things to Come"

Original US air date: 24/4/2008

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Written by: Brian K Vaughan, Drew Goddard

Directed by: Jack Bender


Flashforward: 13 months after Oceanic 815 crashed on the island Ben appears mysteriously in the Sahara desert, enlists Sayid’s help in tracking down his enemies and visits Widmore in London to issue him a warning.

Island Life: When Widmore’s forces attack the Others’ village Ben calls in the Smoke monster.

Verdict: For a show renowned for being a bit slow-moving at times, there’s certainly no lack of incident here. Whether any of it actually moves the plot on at all is a moot point – about the only real development of interest is that now we know Ben can control (or at least call) the smoke monster. Everything else, especially in Ben’s flashforward, seems to be merely a matter of fleshing out details, so while the episode is certainly exciting, the final confrontation between Ben and Widmore is disappointing because it’s just two blokes spouting cryptic threats.

However, you can’t deny that there are some powerful moments, especially when Keamy executes Alex, leaving Ben spluttering that Widmore has changed the rules (an interesting choice of phrase considering the Risk scene at the start of the episode).
It’s also great seeing the driven “future” Ben (well, 2005 Ben, you get what we mean) pursuing his prey with such relentless ferocity, enlisting an initially reluctant Sayid into his game. For once, Lost even manages to make you believe the filming wasn’t done entirely in Hawaii – there’s a real sense of globe-trotting, epic scale (in fact, the London scenes were shot in London which helps no end – no buses on the right hand side of the road this time).

Day: 97, 27 December ’04

Cliffhanger: In the flashforward Ben visits Widmore in his bedroom, warning him to “Sleep tight”.

The Numbers: The warning code for the fence was 16 23. Sawyer rolls a 15 while playing Risk.

Did You Spot? Hanging in Charles Widmore’s bedroom is the painting of the Black Rock that he bought at auction in “The Constant”.

Did You Spot 2? When he arrives in the Sahara, Ben is wearing a Dharma jacket bearing the name Halliwax. That’s one of the pseudonyms for Dr Marvin Candle, the Asian scientist who appears in the Orientation videos.

Speculation: When Sawyer, Hurley and Locke are playing Risk, Hurley says, “Can’t believe you’re just giving him Australia. Australia’s the key to the whole game.” Is that a big clue about what’s going on in Lost? Or is it just some good gaming strategy that’s been randomly thrown into the script?

Best Line:
Ben: "How long did you guys debate amongst yourselves whether or not to ask me why the phone rang?"
Locke: "Five minutes."
Ben: "Well, so much for our head start."

Dave Golder

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