The OTHER Woman: LOST as Metaphysical Soap Opera

I didn’t watch much of the ‘enhanced’ version of “The Constant” (last week’s episode), but I did catch a glimpse of one important point: the name of the military base where Desmond was stationed is a real place north of the Arctic Circle, and it appears in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy as a gateway to parallel universes.

Did anyone else notice that, at the end, Desmond is in both times simultaneously? That is what becomes possible when one has a “constant”.

This episode introduced the character of Harper Stanhope, who we learn was Goodwin’s wife. I must say that the pun in the title of tonight’s episode of LOST is a good one. Juliet is a woman who is one of the Others, and tonight we learn that she also played the role of ‘the other woman’.

Harper features most intriguingly, however, as a manifestation of the island, accompanied by the ghostly voices, delivering a message supposedly from Ben. The message is that Daniel and Charlotte must be prevented from releasing the gas from the Tempest power station, which would kill everyone on the island. When Juliet asks how Ben could send a message when he’s a prisoner, Harper replies that Ben is “exactly where he wants to be”.

It turns out that Daniel and Charlotte are trying to neutralize the gas, not unleash it. But do they want to make it safe to prevent Ben from using it? Or to make it available for use by someone else?

We learn, at long last, who sent the freighter: Charles Widmore. And Ben tells John Locke that he’ll tell him who his man on the freighter is, but he had better sit down first. [The combination of the safe that contained the video tape was 36-15-28]. Widmore, Ben claims, wants to exploit the island, and Ben’s biggest fear is the people who would flock to the island if they knew about it.

Harper says at one point in the episode that Ben’s crush on Juliet is unsurprising, since she looks “just like her”. Who is Harper referring to? I’d guess Ben’s mother. Ben brought Juliet to the island specifically for this reason, and so Ben is himself exploiting the island. He thinks Juliet is his. My guess is that he is even causing the women to die in childbirth, as his mother did. How much of this is done by him consciously, and how much is simply the island translating his desires and deepest dreads into reality, I don’t feel I can say yet.

The trick as the story develops from here on will be to keep it from degenerating into a soap opera. But Ben always has a plan, and I can only hope that the makers of LOST do to.

The funniest line in the show was when Ben asked whether the rabbit that Locke cooked for dinner had a number on it


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