Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Review: Lost 3.13: The Man From Tallahassee

"How do you get your power in this place?"
From f**kyeahlost

Lost - Season Three, Episode Thirteen - The Man From Tallahassee
Written 10/3/14

This season intensified a lot sooner than I thought it would. This is of course a Locke episode, the first of which after the Henry Gale arc to really pair together Ben and Locke - which by all accounts is a fantastic move. Emerson and O'Quinn are fantastic actors, and episodes like this which play off of their various neuroses are just endlessly entertaining. Plus, we also get to see the circumstances of Locke's off-island paralysis, because the previous Locke episode just wasn't depressing enough for everyone involved and we need to make Terry O'Quinn cry.
     Deciding that the best approach is to ask Jack what the hell he's doing working with The Others, Locke's band (minus Danielle Rousseau, who takes her leave) enters the Baracks.While Kate and Sayid go straight to Jack's and get caught, Locke holds a recovering Ben at gunpoint. Ben reveals that Jack and Juliet are due to leave on the submarine that takes them to and from the Island - and he knows what Locke wants to do, which is blow the submarine up with the C4 he recovered from The Flame two episodes ago. Locke goes ahead with his plan, even as Jack and Juliet approach his position, and he earns both their anger when the Submarine - and any hope of leaving the Island by themselves - is destroyed. Later, Ben reveals to Locke that this was exactly the result he wanted, and he shows Locke a present - his father, somehow brought to The Island.
      In the past, we see Locke as a depressed loner. He is approached by a man named Peter Talbot (Suits' Patrick J. Adams) who asks why Locke gave a kidney to his mother's golddigging new suitor - Locke's father, Anthony Cooper. Locke confronts Cooper on his activities - he's conning Mama Talbot, and John isn't happy about it. He demands that Cooper break off the relationship and leave town. Later, after the police arrive to tell Locke that Peter Talbot has been mysteriously killed, he goes to confront his father. In a moment of distraction, Cooper pushes Locke out of an 8-story window, and he falls to the ground, now paralysed from the waist down.
Locke falls for another one of his father's cons.
(I'll get my coat...) From Wikia
     Michael Emerson's Ben slowly loses some of his power throughout the series, but any lapse here is purely an illusion - even while weak and recovering from back surgery, Ben is a master manipulator who turns sarcasm and small-talk into psychological molding. He even manages to rationalise Locke's desire to blow up the Submarine - with that method of leaving gone, he can no longer lose the gift of motion that The Island has given him, and his evil papa will never find him. (Or so he thinks, of course.) Locke replies in kind with the kind of badass stuff that his character will do for the next few seasons - leading to some brilliant, quotable snarking in reply.
      The cackling villainy of Anthony Cooper, something we're familiar with, makes a sharp contrast to very different yet equally as tricky Ben, and the fact that Locke is facing two very different villains in very different states of power makes this episode a very interesting one. It wasn't just the standard, "bad things happen to John Locke" - this is a John Locke that's long since accepted that, and who is finally trying to take back some power in his life. But in both stories, he's manipulated - subtley by Ben, brutally by his father. It's a similar idea to the theme which runs through all of Locke's centric episodes - except here it's framed by an exciting mythos, a bitchin' new set and a string of conversations which have to be heard to be believed.


NEXT WEEK: We're back to Season Three shittiness with Nikki and Paolo's story, Exposé.

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