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Lost: “The New Man in Charge”

September 1, 2010

Greetings Losties! Wooo it sure feels good to be back and talking about Lost, even if it is only for a hot second. I’ve posted this same entry over on OMGWTFLOST. I want to discuss the Epilogue that appears on the Season 6 DVD titled “The New Man in Charge.” Now, I can’t find an embeddable link, so I suggest if you don’t have the DVD’s that you dig around the internets for it. I watched it here, but who knows how long that will last.

Now, as you can probably surmise, “The New Man in Charge” dives into the fun times Hurley and Ben seem to be having running the island. Though I would totally watch this scenario as a full fledged spin-off (airing right after the Sawyer/Miles buddy cop show) I guess we’ll have to deal with just these 12 minutes.

Set in the present, we open in the Dharma Logistics Warehouse in Guam with two Dharma employees (Lostpedia tell me their names are Hector and Glenn) loading up the food crates for another drop on freakball island. Enter ol’ bug eyes himself, Benjamin Linus posing as a Dharma head honcho from the home office. The workers look perplexed, claiming that no one has ever come out from the home office and that they’ve been loading the crates for 20 years. Ben assured them that the system is automated; that the orders come from the Lamp Post station back in LA, and that there hasn’t been anyone there for 20 years (aside of course Mrs. Hawking who likes to do her pendulum swinging down there). He tells the two lackeys that there is a new man in charge, and they’re closing up Dharma shop. When Ben offers little explanation why, one of them cries foul exclaiming, “We deserve answers!!!” a nice jab at the Lost fans who just need to know everything. Well played, that. Ben offers them one question each, telling Dharma lackey #1 that their drops are for an island…that moves. When lackey #1 pushes it, asking how that is possible, Ben stops him with, “Ah ah. One Question.” So…we still don’t know why the island can move. I can live with it though. My only other question is this: if they stop the food drops, what on earth will he and Hurley eat on the island?!?

When lackey #2 asks about the Polar Bear Fish Biscuits, Ben decides to show them a little informational video. Putting on the instructional film for the Hydra Station, Ben apologizes for the poor quality, explaining that, “it was converted from an old beta max.” Ha! So we all watch together, and here’s what we found out:

-Dr. Pierre Chang requests that the viewer keep his name a secret, so as to avoid his need for an alias. Heh.

-The Hydra Station was specifically designed for biological and behavioral research on animals.

-The Hurley bird was in fact a genetically altered hybrid of some sort. Most likely given vocal chords, it was then released into the wild to be observed.

-The polar bears were specifically brought in for research focused on electromagnetism. The film cuts a bit, but there’s enough dialogue to suggest that they were going to transfer the bears to a climate or environment where they would be less comfortable. Like Tunisia perhaps.

-Note the polar bear tech with the amputated arm. A nice little warning for the trainees, with a nod to Mr. Chang himself.

-Pierre Chang also emphasizes the importance that the polar bears not be impregnated before they are sent to the Orchid Station, as the amount of electromagnetic activity would lead to complications. I’m guessing after the incident, this electromagnetic activity began to affect the whole island.

-Pierre then discusses the indigenous population of the island. The Hostiles, what we know as the Others. He shows us Room 23 and says that Hostiles are brought there to have their memories wiped of any interactions or inquisitions had with Dharma during their research of the Hostile way of life. He mentions “their worship of a demigod named Jacob.” Now that I think back on the writing in the brainwashing video (lines such as “remember your life” and others mentioning Jacob) it makes sense now that they would use those lines to wipe the memories of their Dharma interactions. The reason behind this brainwashing? To avoid violating their truce with the Hostiles.

When the film ends, one of the lackeys humorously ads one of john Locke’s famous lines: “I think we’re going to need to see that again.” No such luck lackey, with a wave and a stare, Benjamin Linus is out the door and Dharma closes up shop for good. The film itself was a little bit of an information vomit, I’d have to say. Doc Jensen agrees with me, saying that, “Lost’s mythology is best left to our imagination. Take the Hydra Station film. Previous Dharma films were cryptic texts that demanded interpretation, and perhaps couldn’t even be trusted. These qualities fired my imagination. The Hydra film has its moments, but lacked the intrigue and mystery I expect. I never doubted that Dr. Chang was telling me the truth. Bummer.” Well people were clamoring for answers, gotta get ‘em out quick.

Ben then heads into the familiar Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute and asks to see Keith Johnson. I totally caught it right away, someone using the initials K. Johnson could only be Walt. Notice how Walt is fussing around with a set of Connect Four. That’s a nice nod to his color war game of backgammon with Lock in the pilot episode. Are there still two sides, one light one dark? 😉 Ben apologizes to Walt for his kidnapping and emphasizes that he is in fact special and that he can still help his father and complete the work that needs to be done if he agrees to go with him. How can he help his father when he is dead? And what did Ben mean when he said that it must be hard, “pretending to be someone you’re not”? A bit vague, but I’m guessing Walt must help his father, or the whisper of his father, do the very thing that the rest of the losties did in the finale: move one.

Ben manages to convince Walt to go with him. Out in the Dharma van, chillin’ in the back seat is fabulous island protector Hurley (I sure hope they gave Jack a proper burial, and I’m not talking in a cave either). I loved Hurley telling Walt that he’s not crazy, as if he also came to that conclusion about himself at one point. The epilogue ends with Hurley’s telling Walt that he, “wants to talk to [him] about a job.” So I guess Walt was special after all. The person Jacob was looking for was Walt in the end. There were just a ton of obstacles in the way.

Now, for some reason, a lot of folks are treating this as the real finale of Lost, and exclaiming how disappointed they are in it and how crappy an “episode” it was. To those people I say, dudes calm down. This was not an episode by any means, nor was it meant to be taken as a finale. While it is considered Lost canon, it isn’t really necessary as a closing piece. To me it was just a fun additional piece that gives us a little fun, nostalgic insight into Hurley and Ben after the rest of the Losties flew away. Like Doc Jensen, I accept “TNMIC” as an epilogue, not a new finale. Doc pretty much sums up my feelings when he says, “Unlike other fans, I was mostly content with the amount of mystery resolution that the final season of Lost and the finale in particular gave me. My exceptions? I wish the show had given me more info about the baby-making problem, about Eloise Hawking, and about Daniel Faraday’s days with The Dharma Initiative in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Claire’s days with Smokey on The Island, and Ilana’s days as a soldier in Jacob’s employ. I do think the sixth season of Lost could have found a way to give us one or two episodes a la “Ab Aeterno” and “Across The Sea” to tackle some of my pet causes. But you know what? I’m not angry at the show for not hooking me up with the intel I wanted. And I’m grateful that I have an imagination that finds fun in brainstorming possible solutions for myself. So I didn’t really come to “The New Man In Charge” looking for “answers,” nor did I come to it looking for catharsis and closure. “The End” was the end of Lost for me. I wept; I’m good.” Though I disagree with him that the epilogue was meant to induce warm fuzzies or teary sentiment. I think it was definitely a tongue in cheek information bomb, one that, again, I enjoyed but didn’t take too seriously. What did you think folks?

To close, I am still royally PISSED about the Emmys, and what makes me feel super better is this excellent photo from the 2005 Emmys and the Lost cast with a slew of awards.

Namaste!

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