Lost Round Table: "Dr. Linus"

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Following the best Lost episode of the season, and one of our favorite in show history, our staff couldn't wait to gather and analyze "Dr. Linus" in depth.

Below, we pick apart Ben's Sideways storyline, this week's revelations and more. As usual, readers feedback on the following topics is encouraged...

Rank Ben's Sideways storyline versus the others we've seen so far.
M.L. House: Easily the best. The strong parallel with events on the island made the 2004 scenes feel far less random than usual. There's a clear connection, perhaps even a simultaneous one, between these two timelines.

LJ Gibbs: Ben's sideways story was by far the best, not just for the acting but because it was a complete redemption for the character. We saw Ben presented with the opportunity to become the vicious, power-at-any-cost person he was on the island, but instead he chose a path that benefited someone else. Excellent, and jarring, to watch. Plus, was it just me or is high school Alex significantly hotter than island Alex?

Mr. Probst: Third behind Jack's and Sayid's.  Perhaps my seemingly sour attitude is a hold over from how predictable Avatar was when I saw it Friday night, but you knew what was coming in Ben's flash-parallel.  At this point, if all the flash-parallels are is a change of attitude for the characters, I'm fine with just skipping them.

Lost RT

Jack as the new man of faith: Like him or love him?
M.L. House: I've always liked Jack, but it's certainly refreshing to see him acting with a purpose now. He's always been a leader, but he's more effective as one when he actually has a clear mission in mind. Or at least isn't breaking seemingly important items, such as lighthouse mirrors.

LJ Gibbs: Kudos to Jack for finally realizing there is a faith requirement on the island. However, he had too much faith in himself (What? Jack? No!). He clearly does not have all the answers, but when presented with an opportunity to get information from Richard, he instead uses it as a chance to show Richard how much he knows.

Mr. Probst: Loved Him!  Much like Jack, I feel like a new man.  There was no bigger Jack hater in the Lost-world than me, but he was tremendous in that scene with Richard Alpert.  If only Jack had become this before he smashed Jacbo's awesome lighthouse mirrors.  Kudos to Nestor Carbonell for a tremendous job of looking petrified during that tense scene. 

Most interesting thing we learned: Richard never ages due to Jacob's touch, Ben and his dad were on the island in the Sideways 2004 world, or Ben is capable of feeling regret?
M.L. House: I've always been as interested in the characters as the mysteries, so I'll go with Ben. But is he actually capable of regret? Would anyone be shocked if this was yet another rouse by the master of manipulation? I'm willing to believe Ben is a changed man for now, but either possibility is fascinating.

LJ Gibbs: Ben and his dad being on the island confuses the timeline I thought we were working from.

Mr. Probst: Certainly Jacob's touch.  Not only does it tell us so much about Richard Alpert, but the six (or seven if you count both Kwons) candidates that Jacob touched.  Seems like a reasonable assertion that they will not age and they are incapable of killing themselves, too, right?  That's why I assumed the dynamite didn't explode on Jack: he couldn't kill himself.

Seriously, why did Miles ask for $3.2 million?
M.L. House: I don't know, but give the show credit for returning to unexplained tidbits and references. There's still a lot more we need to learn about Miles.

LJ Gibbs: He wants to buy Arzt the best lab coats ever.

Mr. Probst: It's the mid-level exception salary for free agents joining Lost.  He realizes that, even on a high budget show like Lost, they've got too many max salary guys on their roster and if he wants to join the show, he'll need to agree to a mid-level salary exception so he can slip under the the luxury tax threshold.  Otherwise they were going to bring Charlotte back for the veterans minimum. 

What was your reaction upon seeing Widmore?
M.L. House: I was less surprised by his appearance (darn you, ABC, for listing "Alan Dale" in the opening credits) than by his seemingly evil intentions. Why does it matter that there are people on the beach? Is he gonna destroy the island? I thought he loved that place.

LJ Gibbs: His own sub? He must have Caleb Nichol money.

Mr. Probst: Vindication.  Two weeks ago, I bested my Round Table cohorts by correctly predicting that the man Jacob wanted to find the island was Widmore.  Looks like Mr. Probst was right.  My next prediction?  Flash-Parallel Sawyer is not a con-artist, but rather a social services employee who helps orphans find loving homes.  I had to channel my inner Avatar there to come up with something so sappy and predictable.  Impressive, huh?

Richard and the Rock

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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