Lost, 5x12, "Dead is Dead"
Well, whaddya know. Neither Desmond nor Penny died, and I'm actually relieved.
I'd read somewhere that Penny wasn't going to die this season, but I was suspecting that source of lying to me pretty hard throughout this episode. And to my amazement, I actually found my stomach knotted in fear the whole time. "I don't want Penny to die! I really don't! Not even for the purposes of Desmond angst!" Then I started fearing that maybe Ben would just shoot Desmond instead. AND I WASN'T COMFORTED.
So, what we got? Was amazing. It was, in fact, the most amazing they could have done, as this whole "deranged lunatic turning a gun on a defenseless family" thing is yet another of my "highly improbable but oh-so-fun-to-envision scenarios" Let me mock up a quick scoring system here:
5 points: shooting Desmond in the shoulder - enough to give us blood & pain without the fear of death, which is always welcome.
1 point: Within sight of his wife!
1 point: Penny frozen in place with a gun pointed at her, half furious and half terrified
1 point: Adorable little ragamuffin innocently wandering into view
5 points: Standard pleas of "whatever you do, please don't hurt my son"
2 points: My ability to pause the scene right here and run off in eight different alternate directions, using any combination of Desmond/Penny/Charlie death and/or injury to varying degrees
6 points: And then to top things off, Desmond beats Ben to a bloody pulp in a fit of rage. *fans self* Note to TPTB: protective alpha male syndrome, you're doing it perfectly.
Besides, remember what I told you six episodes ago? "My first thought was that he'd popped off to shoot Penny . . .but then I figured [if he'd succeeded]*, he wouldn't come away from that with scratches - he'd be in a body cast after Desmond got through with him. Or a rolled-up carpet." (*That's what I meant, anyway.) I win at simple predictions!
So um...we're going to revisit that scene, yes? I really need Desmond/Penny resolution all of a sudden. Because I ship them now. Unabashedly. THERE IS A GUNSHOT WOUND INVOLVED. Never mind how close she came to outright dying! I had to rip the wires out of my hysterical shippy radar just to make it shut up. In the meantime, I expect the internet burning up with post-ep fics, and furthermore I expect you to find me the best ones.
Am I bitter that I instead had to watch from an underwater camera as Ben splashed into the water, spewing copious amounts of blood from the mouth? NO... /sarcasm.
I'm losing track of how many times I've watched Ben shoot Des at this point. Enough times that I'm starting to find it hysterical how the milk carton explodes, if that tells you anything.
But also because I'm entranced by how Ben marches down the dock and gives the most rehearsed speech in the world*, pretty dead set on pulling that trigger as soon as he finishes the classic "Let me explain my evil plans to you" villain speech, but then he stops dead in his tracks at the unexpected sight of Charlie, and can't do it. *hugs Ben*
(I still highly approve of Desmond tackling him out of nowhere and beating him to a bloody pulp. Mostly because it amuses me how it takes Desmond like five seconds to karate-chop the gun out of his hand and harmlessly into the water, then promptly chucks Ben in after it)
That speech, though. I'm almost sure he practiced it in the mirror every night, dreaming of this moment of revenge. But I also think it's interesting that he sounds almost manic while speaking, like if he gives himself even a second to pause or think about what he's doing, he won't go through with it. And there's a tiny, crazy part of me that thinks he honestly feels sorry for her, which is why he has to go through the whole route of explaining why he has to do it. And I'm inexplicably growing fond of humanized!Ben.
Which just made all the flashbacks that much more HEART-CRUSHINGLY UPSETTING. Allllllllllex! *sobs* I WILL NEVER STOP BEING BITTER ABOUT THAT. NEVER. It is like being stabbed with a hatpin every damn time. Like, I'm at a point where even now, if we could go back and choose to save her by killing someone else in her place, and that person were Juliet, I would save Alex.
I have to go over here and deal with my confused feelings about how Ben was wonderful and human and saved baby Alex instead of obeying the nutjob's orders and killing both her and her mother? Awwww. And here I've always been under the impression that Ben was desperately convinced he needed some kind of heir to his evil throne and driven crazy by the island's anti-pregnancy pact. This is so sweet! And him pushing Alex on the swings, um, I'm dead. Dead from squee.
I maybe got legitimately whimpery when Ben was facing Old Smokey and being hit left and right with images of Alex alternately spitting her hatred and sobbing for her life. Actually, on that last one, I just curled up under the covers and howled for a while at being forced to relive it. But mostly
And then I got kinda sulky and surly when not!Alex slammed him up against the wall and demanded that he obey John Locke forever and ever. Which, how about no. In my great big complicated Steel Cage Match chart of "Lost Characters I Hate and Distrust," Ben would lose most of the matches, but when it comes down to him vs. Locke, Ben wins my favor. Every time. Probably did even when I still thought Ben was the most vile thing on earth.
By the way, can we all just agree that Widmore is THE DEVIL INCARNATE and his soul is blackened evil, straight through the core?
Other Things Of Note, In No Particular Order
Back on New Survivor Beach, apparently Ilana is now a crazy ass, gun-wielding bitch. Great. God, do you really have to be Ana-Lucia? You're better than this! You're Zuleikha Robinson!
Although I kind of love that Ben was spreading discord, just like the first time around, right down to "I don't remember him from the plane, do you?" How many more ways do you reckon they can perfectly replicate Oceanic 815 before this is over? Although, Ben's happy to add a point-blank shooting. Good; Cesar was annoying me.
Frank has lost a ton of weight since last season, and it continues to be really disconcerting. Every time I look at him it's just like, "Dude! Put on 30 pounds; you look gaunt."
Young Rousseau! Even more of a pleasure than new stuff with Alex.
"Dead is dead. You don't get to come back from that. So the fact that John Locke is walking around this island? Scares the living hell out of me." -- As I mentioned last week, I legitimately fear anything that scares Ben.
Their boat is "Our Mutual Friend"! Excellent.
...I'm going to go fawn over Desmond now.
One more thing -- OK, I admit it. Morbid curiosity caused me to pop into both new episodes of The Office during commercial breaks of my CBS shows, despite what a horribly fractured way that is to watch and literally spoil it. And now I have thoughts. Shouty, confused thoughts.
There was some brief promise with the office apparently playing soccer (OMG WHAT YES THAT IS AWESOME; CHARLES MINER, HOW ALWAYS SO COOL?), until it became apparent that Jim sucked at it (GOD DAMMIT, SHOW. UNLIKE BASKETBALL, THAT MIGHT ACTUALLY HAVE BEEN HOT).
I was also extremely delighted with a scene of Pam crying in the car, wondering aloud if she was stupid for following him and giving up a secure job with health benefits and sitting ten feet away from her fiance - my head is now rewriting this breakdown to take place with Jim, obviously - because it was like EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO HEAR HER SAY. I was all happy, but then freaking Michael pulled her out of it so this show and I still can't get back together yet.
Instead, I'm just going to retreat back into my own idealistic world, where Pam is still crying and verbally beating herself up, because I take perverse pleasure in watching her fail at everything. (Although to be honest, I'm just relieved to hear the rationale - she lets things build up and build up until she does something too big. If she's at least acknowledging that her outbursts are too big, then I'm willing to negotiate sympathy on her pitiful "I just get so bored" and will support endeavors to enrich her work experience. As long as she isn't completely out of the office. Until the show ends.)
Also, in my world of denial Ryan's hair is not FREAKISHLY STRAW-COLORED. *shudders and scrubs at brain*
P.S. Oh yeah! I saw the new receptionist for like eight seconds, and I hate her. She's too cutesy and wrong and...too annoyingly like someone I could actually know, that's it. She's too normal and doesn't deserve a place, especially an important and unique position, in this special Workplace O' Crazy where only Jim and Pam are supposed to be the anchors of normalcy. OUT, BITCH. OUT.
I could be wrong about her, of course, but my knee-jerk reactions tend to be pretty good.