Wednesday, May 28, 2008

3.13 The Man from Tallahassee

Kate, Locke and Sayid watch as a seemingly happy Jack talks to the wheelchair-bound Ben and shakes his hand. Kate wants to go in guns blazing, but a more sensible plan is hatched by Locke: they will wait until night, and then send Kate in to talk to Jack, with Locke and Sayid as backup. Kate enters Jack’s room and finds him comfortably playing the piano. Jack is upset that Kate has come back for him, and for good reason – he may seem comfortable, but he is being watched constantly. Within seconds, a swat team bursts in, guns drawn, and captures Kate. Sayid is captured soon after. Kate swears that there are only two of them in the party.

Kate and Sayid are separated, with Kate kept in a basement room, and Sayid chained outside. Jack visits Kate and tells her he is leaving the island tonight as per a promise made by Ben. Jack whispers to her, promising that he will come back for her.

Meanwhile, Locke has managed to enter Ben’s room, and, holding Ben at gunpoint, demands to know the location of the submarine. When Alex enters the room, Locke holds Ben hostage and demands that she get Sayid’s backpack. Alex agrees. As she is getting the pack from Sayid, Sayid mentions to her that she looks like her mother, and contrary to what she has been told, her mother is alive.

Jack and Juliet visits Ben just before leaving. Jack asks Ben for a favor: to let his friends go after he leaves. Ben confirms first that Jack would not leave if Ben said no. But Ben says ‘yes’: he promises to let them go as soon as Jack has left the island. He makes this hollow promise knowing that Locke is blowing up the submarine at that moment.

Locke finds and blows up the submarine, just before Jack and Juliet are about to board. They all meet on the dock to watch the fireball and throw fiery glances at each other.

Ben frees Locke and brings him to a room to show him what came out of his ‘magic box’ that can make anything appear: it’s Locke’s father, Anthony Cooper, sitting in a chair, bound and gagged.

Locke’s flashback: Locke has stopped attending therapy but still is living a threadbare, joyless existence. Old wounds are reopened when a young man named Peter Talbot shows up at his door, telling him that Anthony Cooper (Locke’s father) is just about to marry his mother and hustle her out of her savings. Locke acts like he knows nothing of the man, but soon after he tracks down Cooper in a florist shop and tells him he must cancel the wedding and stop the scam. His dad agrees, but a couple of days later, Locke finds out that Talbot is dead. Suspecting his dad did it, Locke confronts him at his high-rise apartment. Cooper seems amiable, but suddenly attacks, pushing Locke through the eighth-story plate-glass window. Locke is, I suppose, lucky to only break his back in the fall.


With great dialogue, deviously tense situations, and pacing quick enough to cover any anomalies in logic, this episode is by far the best one of season 3, and perhaps the best one for the entire series. It is highlighted by the tension of Kate entering Jack’s room: how will he react to this surprise? It could go so many ways. And, of course, anytime Locke and Ben are in the same room, there are fireworks. In fact, Terry O'Quinn (Locke) won the Emmy of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his performance in this episode.


I’m still trying to figure out if it makes any real sense for Locke to blow up the submarine, or if it was just another excuse for the writers to blow up something big. Of course, we now know that Locke will blow up anything that could mean they get off the island (although he didn’t sabotage the boat).

It’s too bad Ryan (the man guarding Sayid) didn’t have a walkie so he could confirm that Ben asked Alex to get Sayid’s pack.

Quotable Quotes

"This is going to be more complicated than we thought."
- Locke (on rescuing Jack)

Locke: The Man from Tallahassee? What is that some kind of code?
Ben: No John, unfortunately we don't have a code for "there is a man in my closet holding a gun to my daughter's head". Although we obviously should.

Ben: Would you mind helping me get into my chair. No tricks, I promise. I just want some dignity. You of all people should understand what means to want some dignity. Thank you. So tell me John, how do you plan on piloting our submarine. It’s a complicated piece of machinery. You just don't press submerge.
Locke: I'll figure something out. For all you know I was a commander in the Navy. Put your arm around my neck and I'll lift under your knees.
Ben: What's in the pack, John? If you met Mikail, that means you were at the communications station, which means you found the explosives. So you're not planning on piloting the submarine anywhere, you're planning to destroy it. I know you, John Locke.
Locke: You don't know me at all.
Ben: I know you were born in California. I know that you were raised in foster care. I know that you wasted a large part of your life in Tustin, pushing papers at a place that manufactures industrial boxes. I know that you spent the four years prior to arriving on this island in a wheelchair, and I know how you ended up in it.

Locke: Where do you get electricity?
Ben: We have two big hamsters running around in this giant wheel in our secret underground lair.

Ben: I know you think you need to do this John, but if you blow up my submarine, I'll have a big problem with my people.
Locke: Is that supposed to be an incentive not to blow it up?
Ben: I was born on this island; not many of my people can say that. Most of them were recruited and brought here, and as much as they love this place, as much as they would do anything to defend it, they need to know that they can leave if they want to. The sub maintains that illusion.
Locke: So you're lying to them?
Ben: No... they're here because they want to be here. Some of them are just not ready to make a full commitment yet. But you John, you've already made that commitment. And now you have a choice, because if you stop and think, I can show you things. things I know that you want to see very badly. Let me put it so you'll understand: picture a box. You know something about boxes, don't you John? What if I told you that somewhere on this island there is a very large box and whatever you imagined, whatever you wanted to be in it, when you open that box, there it would be. What would you say about that John?
Locke: I'd say that I hope that box is big enough for you to imagine up a new submarine.
Ben: Why are you so angry John?
Locke: Because you're cheating. You communicate with the outside world whenever you want to, you come and go as you please, you use electricity and running water and guns. You're a hypocrite. You don't deserve to be on this island. If you had any idea what this place was you wouldn't be putting chicken in your refrigerator.
Ben: You have been on this island for 80 days, John. I have been here my entire life. So what makes you think you know this island better than I do?
Locke: Because you're in the wheelchair, and I'm not.

Sayid: Alex?
Alex: How do you know my name?
Sayid: You look just like your mother.
Alex: How could you know? My mother's dead.
Sayid: Yes, I am sure that is what they told you.

Jack: They hurt you?
Kate: No. Did they hurt you?
Jack: No.
Kate: What is all this?
Jack: This is where they live.
Kate: And the people they took? The kids?
Jack: They're all safe.
Kate: Safe? So, you're with them now?
Jack: I'm not with anyone, Kate.

"You remember earlier, John, when you called me a cheater? When you said I didn't deserve to be on this island? Well, get this, there I was shaking hands with Jack and thinking "I'd give almost anything to come up with a way to stop him from leaving." Because, to let him go would be a sign of weakness, of failure, of defeat. My people would see that, they would know it. And that, John, would be the end of me. But, to kill him, that would be cheating. Because my people also heard me make a promise. And, to break my word, that would be the end of me too. And then, you came striding out of the jungle, John, to make my dream come true."
- Ben

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