Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lost Fifteen Favorites: "Lockdown"

“I trusted you, Henry. Now you gotta trust me. That button has to be pushed.”


“Lockdown” is number twelve on my Fifteen Favorites list because it combined a huge leap in mythology information with wonderful character moments. The moment when Locke sees the blast door map for the first time is iconic. There’s also plenty of vintage Ben and Locke moments. I really do miss that dynamic. Ben could so infuriate Locke, and it was delicious. No Locke flashback could ever compete with Walkabout (which, let me get it out of the way right now, is not on this list…sorry), but we still get some interesting backstory and sweet Locke/Helen moments in this episode. Overall, it’s got a little of everything that makes “Lost” great.

The episode opens with a charming Locke and Helen domestic scene. Locke roots through his dresser drawer and, finds a pair of socks, and pulls a ring out. Locke’s planning a cute little picnic to pop the question to Helen, and Helen catches him putting food in the picnic basket. I love when Locke gives the non-explanation of can’t a “fella” take his girl on a romantic picnic, and Helen makes fun of him for using the word “fella.” It both shows how Locke’s world view is slightly antiquated and the easy rapport between Locke and Helen. After the events of “Happily Ever After,” (and the events of “Everybody Loves Hugo,” but more about that episode in a few days) I wonder what significance there could be to sideways-Locke already being with his true love in the sideways-verse.

Helen settles in to her daily morning routine- reading the obituaries in the newspaper. She likes the obits because they always say nice things about people. Today’s reading isn’t going to be so nice, though. There’s an obituary for Anthony Cooper, Locke’s awful con man father, aka “Original Sawyer.” Locke and Helen go to the funeral instead of the picnic because Helen hopes that the funeral will finally help Locke get past his father’s treachery. They’re pretty much the only people at the funeral except for two shady guys looking on from a nearby parked car.

This is not at all going to be the closure Helen hoped for. After finishing up a home inspection for none other than (a very single) Nadia (yay!), Locke is approached by a car. It’s Anthony Cooper, and of course, he wants another favor. He faked his death because he stole money from the two goons who had been watching the funeral, and he needs Locke to get the money out of a safe deposit box for him. He figures the goons will be watching the bank, so he can’t exactly do the job himself. Locke, always the pushover in this type of situation, agrees, and he pulls off the job.

Locke arrives home from work the next day all jolly and wanting to take Helen out on the town with the money he got from doing his dad’s dirty work. The happiness however, is short lived. Helen points to the next room- the two goons are waiting, and they think Locke may have their money. Locke opens his bag (which looks just like the bag in which he placed all the money), but all that’s in it is his home inspection stuff. Locke has to keep Helen from fighting the two goons right then and there in her defense of Locke and his trying to get past his father (remember, the pair did originally meet in an anger management class).

Locke goes to a cheap airport motel to deliver the money to Anthony. Anthony asks about the woman Locke was with at the funeral, and Locke tells him about Helen and about how he’s going to ask her to marry him. Poor Locke, still desperately seeking a father/son moment, even though his father once stole his kidney and will in the future be responsible for his paralysis. There’s a knock on the door, and I pretty much expected it to be the goons, but it’s worse. It’s Helen. She’s furious that Locke lied to her when he told her that he didn’t have anything to do with Anthony and his stolen money. She storms out as Anthony looks kind of smugly satisfied at ruining his son’s life even more. Locke rushes after her and tries proposing right then and there. Worst timing ever. Helen says no and drives off, still furious.

Locke’s not having such an easy time on the Island, either. We pick up in the aftermath of the infamous “got some milk?” line from “Benry” (he’s going by Henry at this point in the story, but I can’t not call him by his real name, Ben). Jack doesn’t believe Benry when he says he was joking, and Benry loses his breakfast privileges and gets thrown back in the armory. Since we’re still in the era of Awesome!Manipulative!Benry, he instantly tries to work an angle to better his situation. As Locke is shutting the armory door, Benry essentially asks him why he keeps letting Jack push him around. Locke tries to maintain his cool, but when he thinks Benry can’t see, he smashes some items in the kitchen. Benry hears the commotion, and a self-satisfied smile appears on his face.

Locke’s working out his aggression on the exercise bike when he hears a strange noise. He starts to investigate as Benry yells at him from inside the armory. I like this little glimpse of the real Ben- the in-charge leader- as he tells Locke “talk to me.” Locke fiddles with one of the speakers making the noise, and the sound clears up enough that it’s obvious a countdown is taking place. All of a sudden, the blast doors that surround the Swan’s living quarters slam down, trapping Locke and Benry inside. Locke wedges one small object under the main blast door, but it’s not nearly enough to provide an escape route. Benry convinces Locke that Locke should let him out of the armory, because the two of them together might be able to pry the door open.

It turns out that trying to open the blast door is a really bad idea. It tries to close again with a vengeance, and one of Locke’s legs gets caught in the crossfire. Ben manages to prop the door up a bit to relieve some of the pressure, but that’s the best that can be done. Locke, despite obvious pain, has bigger concerns. It’s almost button pushing time, and he’s certainly in no condition to do the job. Locke gives Ben instructions for what he needs to do. Ben is going to try to get out of the lockdown area by climbing up an air vent in the pantry. This is kind of a bad idea, too. As the four minute warning alarm starts to go off, Ben falls in his attempt to get into the air vent, and he’s knocked unconscious.

Jack’s certainly not going to help Locke out of this mess. He’s busy matching wits with Sawyer. Libby has informed Jack that Sawyer has the entire stash of meds, and Jack is determined to remedy that. He sees Sawyer playing poker with Kate and others, and Jack knows exactly how to accomplish his goal. Apparently he’s a pretty good poker player, although Sawyer certainly doesn’t expect that. Jack learned to play poker in Phuket, where he had his fateful meet-up and tattooing session with Bai Ling in the so-bad-I-wish-I-could-forget-it “Stranger in a Strange Land.”

Just as Jack wants, Sawyer raises the stakes of the game from fruit to the stash of meds. And, of course, Jack wins the game. This was back when Jack was so self-righteous I would have loved to reach into my television and slap him. Jack heads back for the hatch, and Kate, like the over-exuberant bouncing back and forth between men puppy she is, bounds along happily after him. Jack, however, concocts a story to keep her from going to the Swan. She still doesn’t know about Benry, and Jack doesn’t want that to change. Their conversation is interrupted when they see blinking lights in the distance. The source of the lights is a pallet drop, and at the pallet, they reunite with Sayid, Ana, and Charlie, who had gone off in search of “Henry Gale’s” balloon.

Benry came-to in time to scramble up into the air vent and over the blast door. As Locke’s waiting for the countdown to stop, the regular lights go out, and black lights come on. In front of him, he sees a colorful map painted painstakingly on the blast door. It has locations and suspected uses of other hatches and little tidbits of Dharma history. I didn’t watch “Lost” back when this episode first aired, but I can just picture fans freezeframing this scene and trying to mine the map for every detail. The lights go back to normal, and the blast door starts to retract. The alarm has stopped, too. Locke starts dragging himself towards the computer room, and he’s surprised to find Benry still in the Swan. He’s impressed Ben didn’t take the opportunity to run away.

Locke’s never been a good judge of character, though. Jack and the balloon team arrive at the Swan, and Jack immediately goes to restrain Benry. Sayid’s got some bad news. The team found the balloon, just as Benry said they would, but Sayid still didn’t believe the story. He dug up the grave below the balloon, and it wasn’t Henry’s wife buried there. It was a man, and his ID said “Henry Gale.”

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