Breaking Down The ‘LOST’ Episode That Aired On 4/8, And Looking At What Happens At Minutes 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42
4 8 15 16 23 42... It's a sequence of numbers that likely seems nonsensical to anyone who's never seen a certain ABC show called Lost about plane crash survivors on a magical island; but to die-hard Losties, those six numbers carry immense amounts of meaning. Whether they bring up fond memories of a favorite show or frustrations at mysteries never solved, the numbers are a perfect symbol for Lost. Which is why April 8, 2015, around 4 PM, (4/8/15 16:23:42, to be exact) is referred to as Lost numbers day — and is a time fans have been looking forward to for literally ten years, ever since the Season 1 episode "Numbers" aired in March of 2005.
Of course, we wouldn't be true Losties if we didn't try to parse every single bit of significance out of this day as humanly possible. So let's take a look back in time, shall we? First off: Did any episode of Lost air on this specific date? One and only one: "Dead Is Dead," the 12th episode of Season 5, which aired on April 8, 2009. The Benjamin Linus-centric hour focused in flashbacks on the creepy Others' embattled history with Charles Widmore, and in present time on his quest for atonement following Alex's death at the hands of Martin Keamy in Season 4.
Ben's episodes were uniformly considered some of the show's strongest, starting with his first flashback episode, Season 3's "The Man Behind The Curtain." Ben-centric hours always provided viewers with both huge info-dumps on the Island's mythology as well as fantastic performances from the character's portrayer, Michael Emerson. In fact, Emerson won the 2009 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his performance in "Dead Is Dead" (the only win out of his four Emmy nominations for Lost).
Because this is Numbers Day, let's break down this fantastic episode using the infamous six-digit sequence:
4:00 — Ben Meets (Fake) Locke
The hour opened with a flashback to 1977, and a young Charles Widmore meeting a wounded Benjamin Linus for the first time (who had just been shot by a time-traveling Sayid). But at the four-minute mark, we're back in present time, with Ben waking up to see Locke looming over him. This is surprising for Ben, since the last time he saw Locke, he was strangling the man to death. Locke asks why Ben seems so surprised to see him, if he really knew Locke would be resurrected, as he claims. Right at 4:00:00, Ben responds, "It's one thing to believe it, John. It's another thing to see it."
Of course, what we thought was a resurrected Locke would really turn out to be a manifestation of the Smoke Monster, aka the Man In Black, but we wouldn't learn that until the Season 5 finale.
8:00 — Ben Kidnaps Baby Alex From Rousseau
Eight minutes into the episode, and we're in the middle of a flashback. Ben has been sent by Charles to kill the Island's newest arrival: a French woman named Danielle Rousseau. But when Ben discovers that Rousseau A) is insane, and B) has an infant child named Alex, he takes pity on her. Instead of murdering them both, he instead steals Alex and warns Rousseau that if she ever comes looking for her daughter, she'll be killed.
And so we learn both how Ben came in possession of Alex, and why Rousseau is so terrified of the Others' whispers in the jungle.
15:00 — Ben And Locke Arrive On The Island
Ben told fake!Locke that the reason he was seeking out the Smoke Monster was to be judged for breaking the rules by returning to the Island after having been exiled. And so the 15-minute mark finds the unlikely pair arriving on the main island after paddling over from where Ajira Flight 316 had crash-landed. Locke calls Ben on out on his lie: "I don't think you care about rules."
Then what does Ben want to be judged for? "For killing your daughter."
16:00 — Ben Brings Alex To The Others' Camp
I was afraid that the difference between 15 and 16 minutes wouldn't be significant enough, but those 60 seconds actually take us back from the present day to 1988, when Ben arrives back at the Others' camp with baby Alex in tow. Charles is furious that Ben didn't follow through on his orders, but balks when Ben demands that if he wants the baby dead, he kill her himself. And thus the animosity between the two men was born.
23:00 — Ben Summons Smokey
About halfway through the episode, and we're back in 2007. (It's interesting to note that, so far the Numbers are alternating between flashbacks and present time.) Ben has arrived at his old home in the Dharma barracks, where he reveals a hidden door behind a hidden door in his closet, which leads to an ancient-looking stone tunnel. He follows the passage to a cave, sticks his hand in a pool of muddy water, and drains it. "I'll be outside," he says into the uncovered hole in the ground. Apparently Ben has some amount of control over Smokey... or at least he thinks he does.
42:00 — "It Let Me Live"
Since the credits start rolling at 42:20, 42:00 sees literally the final moments of the episode. Since the 23-minute mark, we've had further flashbacks that showed Ben off-island attempt to assassinate Penny Widmore in retaliation for Charles's mercenary murdering Alex. (Fortunately Desmond stops him, beating the ever-loving crap out of Ben in the process.) On-island, Ben has ventured to a temple where he confronts the Smoke Monster, who takes on the shape of Alex. Sobbing, Ben apologizes to his daughter, acknowledging his role in her death. She forgives him — but then threatens to destroy him unless he aborts his plans to kill Locke (again) and instead follow the man loyally. (Little does Ben know that fake!Alex and fake!Locke are actually the same person: Jacob's nemesis, the Man in Black.)
As the episode reaches its conclusion, Ben utters the final line in disbelief: "It let me live."
The final digit of the Numbers breaks the alternating flashback/present-day pattern established by the first five; but this is appropriate, seeing as how this moment also breaks Ben's pattern of manipulation and self-service. For probably the first time in his life, he has admitted responsibility for something and was willing to accept the consequences of his actions. Ben's confrontation with the Smoke Monster would send Season 5 on the path towards its endgame; with only three episodes left before "The Incident," battle lines were being drawn between the followers of Jacob and the followers of the Man in Black. Little did Ben know that, just as he'd manipulated countless others, so had he been manipulated into the service of a man with less-than-pure intentions.
Dun, dun, DUNNN!!!
Images: ABC (8)