The Full Wiki

More info on The Man Behind the Curtain

The Man Behind the Curtain: Misc



Up to date as of February 07, 2010

From Lostpedia

"The Man Behind the Curtain"

May 9, 2007
Running time
Production code
Centric character(s)
Directed by

Episode transcript
[[{{{transcript2}}}|Part Two]]

[[{{{audiotranscript}}}|Commentary transcript]]

"The Man Behind the Curtain" is the twentieth episode of Season 3 and the sixty-ninth produced hour of the series as a whole. It was broadcast on May 9, 2007. After bringing his father's body to Ben, Locke demands to see Jacob, the leader of the Others. Meanwhile, Sawyer returns to camp with the tape recorder, causing everyone to finally confront Jack and Juliet.






Roger holds a dying Emily in his arms.

In a wooded area, a woman cries with pain. The woman, Emily, is screaming in labor while her husband, Roger tries to help. She says there is something wrong, but he asks her to push. She does so, and her baby is born. Emily says that it hurts and when Roger looks at his hands, he sees that she is hemorrhaging. He tells her that no one knows they are there and asks if she can hold the baby while he carries her. Roger picks her up and carries Emily and the baby away from the wooded area and onto a road. There is a signpost which says they are 32 miles from Portland. Roger shouts for help as a truck and a car pass by. A red convertible VW Karmann Ghia then stops, and a man and woman stop to help them. Horace acts quickly, instructing Roger to keep Emily warm and asking if the baby is OK. Roger says he doesn't know, just before Emily asks Roger to call the baby Benjamin. Emily dies as Benjamin quietly sleeps.


Horace claims Ben will speak once he has something to say.

In 1973, a young Ben is on the jetty with his father; they are walking towards the Island from the submarine. Horace, the man who stopped his car for them on the day Ben was born, greets them. Ben looks around and sees several people, all dressed in DHARMA uniforms, busily moving boxes. It looks like they are receiving a delivery. Roger explains to Ben that Horace has helped Roger get work for the DHARMA Initiative. Ben says nothing as they head past DHARMA Welcomers who are giving out leis. Horace takes Ben under his arm as they pass under a sign proclaiming " Namaste!". Inside the Processing Center, Roger and Ben watch a brief video on the Initiative and the barracks area. Roger Linus responds to his name being called, leaving Ben alone. Roger speaks to a nurse, whose name badge indicates that she is called Opal. Roger holds up his DHARMA uniform and he angrily contests the fact that he has been given the occupation of "Work Man." He says that he came to the Island because DHARMA was doing experiments to change the world, not to be a janitor. Opal calmly apologizes and tells him that he is free to apply for another position if it comes up. As Ben waits watching the brief video, a girl named Annie introduces herself. She offers him an Apollo chocolate bar, saying that they can have as many as they like.

Olivia teaching her DHARMA students about the Island's volcano.

Later, Ben is in class learning about volcanoes. Ben's teacher is Olivia. She is the woman who was in the car with Horace just after Ben was born. She demonstrates the effect that water has on baking powder in order to simulate the effect of a volcano. As Olivia notes similarities to the Island, the building shakes and a siren sounds. Olivia orders the class to "get into their positions." They huddle together in the corner of the room. Olivia grabs a bolt action rifle and tells Annie to lock the door. As Annie locks the door, she sees armed DHARMA workers moving past the window. There are sounds of explosions in the distance. Ben is still seated at his desk, as Olivia yells at him to move to safety. Annie grabs Ben by the arm and leads him to the corner with the other children in his class. Annie tells Ben it is the "the Hostiles," and that it will be okay.

Ben sees his dead mother outside his room.

At night Ben is in his bedroom. He hears Roger arguing with Horace outside the room. Roger says "while driving back from The Flame we drive into the middle of a shoot out!" Horace tries to explain that they are having some skirmishes with the natives. Roger says it isn't what he signed up for and throws an empty beer can on the floor. Horace reminds him that Ben is receiving a very good education. Roger retorts that he doesn't give a damn about Ben's education, demanding an extra $30,000 more in "hazard pay." Eventually, Roger tells Horace to get out of his house. As Ben turns his face towards his bedroom window, he is shocked to see his mother outside, staring in at him. He stumbles backwards, knocking over a chair. When he looks again, she is gone. Ben picks up an old photo of his parents, which shows them together and smiling. Hearing the noise, Roger comes into Ben's room. They observe each other in a tense silence. Roger tells Ben to go to bed, and then leaves the room.

Annie gives Ben his first birthday present.

Sometime later, Ben is on a swing set and receives a birthday present from Annie. He opens the gift box to find two wooden dolls, one male, one female, which have clearly been made by hand. Annie explains that the dolls would mean that they "never have to be apart." She takes the doll of Ben and gives him the doll representing her. Ben comes home later in the evening to find his father asleep on the couch, surrounded by empty beer cans. Ben seems used to this routine and, after he places his gift box on the table, he takes an empty beer can from his dads hand and starts to take his father's boots off. Roger stirs and sees the gift box on the table. He apologizes for forgetting Ben's birthday, adding that it's hard to remember it, because it's also the anniversary of when Ben killed Emily. Ben seems used to this routine too, as Roger goes on to say that Emily was only 7 months pregnant when she gave birth to Ben. Roger is unhappy she is gone, and that he is stuck on the Island with Ben.

Richard and Ben meet for the first time in the jungle.

The words from his father prompt Ben to run out of the house. He runs to the sonic fence, but stops just before he reaches it. He hears a brief whisper, then his mother appears on the other side of the fence. He goes to move towards her but she shouts, "Don't!" She says it's not time yet. Ben yells to her, then turns to go back home.

Defiant, Ben appears to have prepared an escape, as he later returns to the fence, armed with the deactivation code. After entering the code, he removes a white rabbit from his bag, using it to test that the fence is indeed turned off. Once the rabbit gets through without injury, Ben follows, running out into the jungle amidst whispers. Suddenly, Richard Alpert appears by him, clearly scaring Ben. Richard, however, remains calm, and Ben begins to speak to him. He asks if Richard is one of the Hostiles, though Richard jokes that Ben probably doesn't even know what that means. In their conversation, Ben says he is looking for his mother and that he has seen her, even though she is dead. Richard tells Ben to go home but Ben then asks if he can join Richard. Richard tells him that it might be possible, but that Ben would have to be very, very patient.


Ben says goodbye to his father, moments before killing him.

Years have passed and Ben, now a young man, is dressed in a DHARMA uniform which shows he is now also a Workman like his father. He helps his father load a blue DHARMA VW van with beer bound for the Pearl station, and then confronts his father about forgetting his birthday again. Roger seems embarrassed and sheepishly suggests they go for a drive together after their work is done, to have some father-son time. Ben says that he'd like that.

Ben meets up with Richard, moments after the purge.

Later, Roger drives Ben in his van to a hill and parks up there. Roger comments on the beautiful view as he swigs beer from a can. Ben asks Roger whether he truly does think its Ben's fault that Emily died. Roger answers, "What do I know?". Ben glances at his watch, which shows the time as exactly 4 o'clock and 15, then 16, seconds. Roger notices Ben looking at his watch and jokingly asks Ben if he has a date. Seeing that Ben didn't find the comment amusing, Roger says that he will do his best to remember Ben's birthday next year, but Ben coldly responds by saying he doesn't think that will happen. He tells his father that he has missed Emily too, but the difference for Ben is that he had to put up with his father for all those years. Ben tells Roger it took a lot of patience before calmly saying goodbye and putting on a gas mask. He then takes out a gas canister and sets it off, which causes his father to bleed from the nose and mouth. Ben remains in the vehicle and calmly watches Roger die.

Ben returns to the barracks where all of the DHARMA workers are lying dead. It appears they have all died in the same manner as Roger. Ben slowly moves around the area and when he sees Horace, Ben reaches out and closes Horace's eye lids. Alpert and his group emerge all wearing gas masks. Richard looks at his watch then takes his gas mask off. The rest of the group does the same and Richard asks Ben if they should collect Roger's body. Ben tells Richard to leave Roger there. The group begins to move the DHARMA Initiative bodies.

At the beach

Sawyer and Sayid explain the situation to their fellow survivors.
Sawyer, returning from helping Locke, hides in the trees and grabs Sayid's attention. He explains about the tape, and later the two let Kate in on the revelation. They talk about where Jack and Juliet are, and Kate admits that she told them about Naomi.

At night, the whole camp is in uproar about Naomi, as well as her story about the plane having already been found. As Sawyer plays the tape, Jack and Juliet return. Everyone questions them, but Juliet tries to explain that she is actually helping them. They turn over the tape and hear that Ben plans to lead a team to kidnap all the fertile women. Juliet reveals that she has already told Jack about it, and that they were still thinking of a plan.

At the ruins

"You do remember birthdays, don't you Richard?"

Ben is in his tent, looking at a wooden figure he received as a birthday present when he was a child. Richard enters, and in conversation, Ben learns that the tape recorder with his new instructions was never taken back to the medical station, despite it being missing. Ben slams his reading glasses down and storms outside to ask Tom about it, but Tom's gaze is elsewhere. Ben looks to see John Locke enter the camp carrying what appears to be a dead body, wrapped in canvas, on his back (exactly as Ben had asked). The Others stare in silence. Locke does not reveal that Sawyer actually killed Anthony Cooper. Locke now demands to know everything about the Island, having held up his end of the deal, and tells Ben to start from the beginning.

Locke points out Ben's lie, seeing his hand shaking.

Inside his tent, Ben pours a drink for himself and Locke as they discuss the Others in a little more detail. Ben admits that, although Locke may think Ben is in charge, it is actually Jacob who is in charge of their group. Ben comments that we all answer to someone. Ben says that only he is allowed to see Jacob. Locke is skeptical, but Ben defends himself by saying that the reason Jacob only talks to Ben is that Ben is the only one remaining that was born on the Island. Ben insists that Jacob only tells him what to do and only trusts him. Locke accuses Ben of being the "the man behind the curtain, the Wizard of Oz" and says Ben is a liar. Ben asks Locke what he bases that assumption on and Locke says that if Ben were telling the truth, his hand wouldn't be shaking. Ben looks down at his shaking hand.

Mikhail is shocked to see Locke at the Others' camp.

Outside, Mikhail runs into camp shouting for Ben. Ben seems unperturbed by Mikhail's appearance, but tells Mikhail that he thought he was dead. Mikhail says he was fortunate that the pylons were not set to a lethal level. He looks up and sees Locke. Mikhail demands to know why Locke is there. Mikhail tells Ben that Locke tried to kill him. Ben says that Locke has joined them and asks Mikhail where he's been. Mikhail tells Ben that several of Locke's people have an injured woman who parachuted onto the Island. He says that her helicopter crashed into the water, that her ship is 130 kilometers to the west, and that she has a radio phone. Ben seems surprised and very concerned by this news. Ben suggests that, rather than take immediate action, they will see to it in a couple of nights' time, as they will be heading to the survivors' camp to take the pregnant women anyway. Locke uses the opportunity to force Ben's hand, announcing in front of the entire group that Ben was going to take him to see Jacob instead. Mikhail seems offended and questions why Ben is taking Locke to see Jacob. Locke responds by stepping forward and beating Mikhail unconscious. When Ben orders Tom and Richard to intervene, they do nothing.

Ben and Locke arrive at Jacob's cabin.

Locke casually eats a piece of fruit while Ben explains to Locke that Jacob is not the sort of person you visit, he is the sort of person who summons you. Locke points out that there's a first time for everything. Reluctantly, Ben agrees to take Locke to see Jacob. As they collect water at the river, Alex arrives and gives Locke a handgun. Ben appears slightly alarmed by this. She coldly tells Ben, "Happy birthday, Dad" as she leaves. The two men head off despite Ben's misgivings about seeing Jacob without being summoned. On the way, they come across a line of gray ash on the ground, which crosses their path. Ben carefully steps over and Locke investigates by touching it with his fingers. Before Locke can investigate it further, Ben insists they keep moving. Locke follows.

Locke hears Jacob's plea for help.

They eventually reach a small cabin at night. Ben tells Locke to turn off his flashlight because Jacob hates technology as much as Locke does. As Ben lights the oil lamp that is hanging outside the wooden hut, he warns that after opening the door, there is no turning back. Locke remains determined. Inside, Ben introduces Locke to Jacob and gestures towards an empty chair. There appears to be nobody else in the room but Ben and Locke. The contents of the room are very old; there are jars on a windowsill containing red liquid. Ben proceeds to chat to Jacob and argue, while Locke stands in complete disbelief of Jacob's existence. Locke accuses Ben of "putting on a show," but Ben insists that there is someone sitting in the chair and that Locke is too limited to see him. Locke tells Ben that he is pathetic and turns to leave. As he does, he hears a deep, sepulchral voice saying, "Help me."

Locke asks Ben to repeat himself but Ben says that he didn't say anything. Ben seems shocked that Locke had heard a voice. Locke shines his flashlight onto Ben's face, and the room suddenly starts to shake. Ropes and chains shake on the wall; chairs rock and windows smash. Ben's lantern falls to the floor and catches fire; the fire is quickly extinguished, as if by magic. Ben also appears to shake someone in the chair, telling him to stop and that he has had his fun; immediately after which he is thrown hard against a wall by an unseen force. Locke sees a man sitting in the chair for a brief moment. He stumbles outside in fear and confusion. The chaos stops as quickly as it began. Ben calmly follows him and hangs up the (now intact) oil lamp outside the house. Locke asks what on earth was in there. Ben simply replies that it was Jacob.

The remains of the DHARMA Initiative.

The next morning Ben and Locke are walking through the jungle. Ben asks Locke what Jacob said. Locke responds by telling Ben that there is no Jacob, that everything that happened at the cabin was a trick and that he is going to expose Ben as a fraud. Locke also notices that Ben is leading them back by a different path. Ben tells Locke that there's something he wants Locke to see first. Locke says he has seen enough, but they keep moving. On the way, Ben admits that some of the things he has said on the Island were "not the truth." He admits to not having been born on the Island like he said. They finally reach what Ben wanted to show Locke. Locke gazes down into an unfilled mass grave full of skeletons, DHARMA jumpsuits still visible on some. Ben explains that the skeletons are the remains of his people, the DHARMA Initiative. Ben says they came here seeking harmony, however, they could not even coexist with the original inhabitants of the Island. He explains that when it became clear to Ben that one side had to go (had to be purged), he did what he had to do. He says he was smart enough not to end up in a ditch like the DHARMA Initiative.

Ben leaves Locke to die at the grave, "hoping" for Jacob to help him.

Ben states that this also makes him smarter than Locke. As Locke spins around and pulls his knife, Ben shoots him in the left abdomen, in the kidney area. Locke falls backwards into the pit of DHARMA corpses. Ben calmly asks what Jacob had said to John. As he lies amongst the corpses, John asks Ben why he did this. Ben says he did it because John "heard him." John manages to say "help me" but Ben doesn't realize that John is repeating Jacob's words. Ben points the gun at an already severely injured Locke and demands to know what Jacob said to him. John raises his hand and says, "He said, 'help me.'" Ben, visibly shaken by these words, replies to Locke that he had better hope that Jacob will help him now. Ben leaves, and Locke is left gasping for breath.



Jacob is revealed for the first time for a split second.
  • For a split moment when the objects start to move around in the cabin, a long-haired, slightly bearded man can be seen in the chair where Ben was talking to Jacob. A frame (or short period of frames) also shows Jacob's eye (confirmed as Jacob's eye, from the episode commentary on the DVD)
  • When the barracks video is shown, Pierre Chang doesn't move his left arm, suggesting he has a prosthetic arm. But this video was shot before the incident that left him without a left arm. However, Chang is not seen long during in the video. The parts the audience don't see may have Chang moving his arm.
  • One of the skeletons in the mass grave can be seen to have a bullet hole in the head.
  • Richard Alpert is shown in three different timeframes. The first is when he meets Ben just after Ben's arrival (when Ben is aged 8-12), then when Ben is a young man, after the purge (when Ben is aged 30-35) and finally in the present (when Ben is in his forties). Between the young Ben and the present, at least 30 years have passed, though Alpert does not appear to age.
  • The gas grenade prop Ben uses in the van is a repainted ALSG272 CS smoke grenade. The same grenade was used (without the can being repainted) in "Left Behind."
    • The gas canister has the label "431CTP".
  • Annie gives young Ben an Apollo Bar soon after Ben's arrival on the Island.
  • Both Ben and Locke have mothers named Emily.
  • Young Ben uses the code 54439 to disable the sonar fence.
    • Pierre Chang is heard on the tape to say that a new code for the fence is given each day.
    • 54439 is 7 x 7777. "77" was the code to be entered at The Flame in case of a hostile incursion.
  • Ben killed his father on his own birthday, therefore both of his parents died on his birthday. Both deaths occur more or less "because" of him.
  • The work man coveralls that Ben puts on the day of the purge do not have a DHARMA logo.
  • Both Locke & Ben had their fathers killed to join the Others/Hostiles.
  • In the producers' commentary for this episode on the DVD, Damon Lindelof describes Richard Alpert's encounter with the young Ben, and Ben and Locke's approach to the cabin as analogous to that of the choosing of the Dalai Lama by the Panchen Lama: "Richard Alpert might be construed as some sort of a Panchen Lama, as he has a conversation with this boy who sees something that he wasn't supported to see, and now I think Ben finds himself in the role of Panchen Lama as he brings Locke into this cabin, in an attempt to sort of determine whether the island has chosen him to be its new surrogate."
    • Also in the commentary, Carlton Cuse says that for those with DVRs, that "several pieces" of Jacob are visible in the cabin, such as the figure in the chair, and the eye. The other pieces are not specifically mentioned.
  • Richard dresses in grungy, pirate looking gear for this episode only. It resembles the clothes of the Others at the Temple.

Production notes

  • This is the second episode this season where all credited cast members appear.
  • Emily, Ben's mother is portrayed by Michael Emerson's real-life wife Carrie Preston.
  • Baby Ben was portrayed by a baby girl called Amanda [1]
  • A podcast rehash for the episode was released on May 11, 2007. (Official Lost Podcast/May 11, 2007)
  • The shadowy figure in the chair in Jacob's cabin was portrayed by Rob Kyker, the prop master for Lost. This was finally confirmed by Kyker himself at a seminar at the 2009 Hawaii International Film Festival.[2]
  • The dog painting in Jacob's cabin is of Ms. Honolulu (aka Lulu), a dog owned by costume designer Roland Sanchez.[3] Lulu was originally owned by executive producer Jack Bender.[4]
  • The episode makes prominent use of the colors blue (many pieces of clothing, VW buses, Emily's dress in the jungle, the present ribbon, the puppets, the Apollo bar, Tom's mug, Ben's big blue eyes as a kid, etc) and red (the liquid in Jacob's jars, the car that helped Roger, the swings, Sun and Jin's shirts, Annie's dress, shirt hanging on the cord, the rabbit's eyes, etc).
  • An anonymous source associated with the production claims that he was ordered to get cars 1963 or older for the Portland scene. [5]
  • This is the first episode to list guest stars in alphabetical order, a practice that has been continued with minor exceptions for every episode since.
  • An audio commentary by Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, and Michael Emerson for this episode is available on the Season 3 DVD.
    • Commentary from the Season 3 DVD states that "Portland" is Portland, Oregon.
    • Commentary from the Season 3 DVD states that a line was cut in post production where Ben said "And I thought I was getting a cake" when Alex wished him happy birthday after handing Locke the gun.
  • This is the first Ben-centric episode of the series.
  • A Lost: On Location for this episode is available on the Season 3 DVD.

Bloopers and continuity errors

The incorrect sign
  • The vegetation as depicted in Ben's first flashback is not correct for Oregon. This is likely an unimportant production issue given LOST is filmed almost entirely in Hawaii. From the 'behind the scenes' webpage, you can see in the background mountains usually seen in panoramic shots of the LOST island, [6].
  • Horace's Karmann-Ghia convertible is the "high light" variety of either model year '66 or '67. This makes it a prop error as the scene is supposed to take place in 1964. Top-down convertibles would be an unusual sight for Oregon in December in any event.
  • In the classroom scene, there is a scientific inaccuracy where Olivia is performing an experiment to illustrate lava. The water and "bicarbonate" ([Sodium] bicarbonate, commonly known as "baking soda") she uses do not produce the reaction shown; instead, an acid (usually vinegar in grade school science project volcanoes) is needed to neutralize the baking soda base and form carbon dioxide bubbles (as well as salt and water).
  • During the scene of Ben approaching the Barracks after he murders his father, the microphone can clearly be seen reflecting in the glass visor of his gas mask.
  • The sign on the jetty says "The Dharma Initiative" when it should say "The DHARMA Initiative", as DHARMA is an acronym.
  • When Mikhail informs Ben of Naomi's ship, he says it's 130 kilometers offshore, which is the rough equivalent of 80 imperial miles (the exact figure is 129 km), whereas Naomi said her ship was 80 nautical miles offshore (148 km).
  • Young Ben's bag that he takes with him when he meets Richard is a Fossil, you can see the tag when he puts his rabbit in it. Fossil brand was founded in 1984
  • Before Ben & Locke enter the cabin, Ben lights a lantern, which later falls to the cabin floor, breaks, and sets a fire. When Ben leaves the cabin he places the unbroken lantern to its previous location.
  • After the purge, Ben approaches a dead Horace sitting on the bench. We see his hand is on the top of the bench, but when Ben walks away Horace's hand had moved.
  • After the purge, before Ben notices Horace sitting on the bench, there is a body lying on the ground, on the left side of the frame, with the head toward the bench, facing the fence. When Ben walks away from Horace, the body has rotated so the feet are toward the bench, back facing the fence.

Recurring themes

Recurring themes in Lost
Black and whiteCar accidentsCharacter connectionsDeceptions and consDreamsEyesFate versus free willGood and bad peopleImprisonmentIsolationLife and deathMissing body partsNicknamesThe NumbersParent issuesPregnanciesRainRebirthRedemptionRelationshipsRevengeSacrificeSecretsTime
Time to die.
  • Emily dies after giving birth to Ben. (Life and Death)  (Pregnancies)
  • Ben tells Locke he knew how to survive and did what it would take. In his last moments with his father Ben questions him whether he really thinks he's responsible for his mother's death. Ben has visions of seeing his mother again. ( Parent Issues)
  • Roger and the whole village of DHARMA members are murdered. (Life and Death)
  • Roger turns out as a relapse father to Ben, because he blames his son for Emily's death by giving birth to him. Later, Ben kills his own father. (Parent issues)
  • Roger intends, in the near future, to make up for being a relapse father to Ben - even if he never has the chance to do so. (Redemption)
  • Ben arranges for the Hostiles to take on the village while he is away with his father - and arranges for himself to kill his father by his own, particular means. (Deceptions and cons)
  • A mysterious eye shot appears during Locke's encounter with Jacob. (Eyes)
  • Young Ben uses a white bunny to test whether he successfully disarmed the sonic fence. (Animals)
  • There is a picture of a dog in Jacob's cabin. (Animals)
  • When Ben is in the van with Roger, he looks at his watch. It displays the time 4:00:15 and 4:00:16. (The Numbers) (Time)
  • Before Richard takes his gas mask off, he checks his watch. (Time)
  • In the continuity of the episode, flashback and present events occur 4 times during Ben's birthdays through the years. (The Numbers)
  • The TV playing the Barracks video has 4 knobs. (The Numbers)
  • Sun describes Juliet as "a good person." (Good and bad people)
  • Jack finally decides he, Juliet and the Losties "have some catching up to do". (Secrets)
  • Horace is driving a candy apple red VW Karman Ghia (when he picks up Roger, Emily, and baby Ben by the side of the road), similar in model year to the candy apple red VW Beetle that Locke drives in his flashback episodes. (Cars)

Cultural references

Cultural references in Lost
(direct references only)
ArtBooksCarsGamesMovies and TVMusicPhilosophyReligion and ideologiesScience
  • The Wizard of Oz: The episode title is a reference to the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, where the ruler of the Emerald City hides behind a curtain. Wizard of Oz: Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. (Books)
  • Chatty Cathy: Roger says that Ben is usually "Chatty Cathy" in the morning during the final flashback scene. "Chatty Cathy" was the name of a doll first manufactured by the Mattel Corporation in 1959. Cathy notably spoke 11 set phrases when a string was pulled and was revolutionary for her time. (Games)
  • Shambala: Three Dog Night's song "Shambala" plays again as Ben and Roger drive out to the overlook, tying back to the song's (and van's) appearance in "Tricia Tanaka Is Dead." The song is about a mythical kingdom called Shambala, which can be considered a metaphor for a spiritual path one might follow. (Music)
  • Alice in Wonderland. Ben following a white rabbit through the fence, effectively leaving the realm he knows, is yet another reference to the books by Lewis Carroll. (Books)
  • Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse: The episode title is also a reference this 1933 film by Fritz Lang's in which the title character is an insane criminal mastermind and hypnotist who only communicates with his crew from behind a curtain. Early on in the film a former detective named Hofmeister phones his old superior, Lohmann, exclaiming "I know who's behind it, the man behind the curtain". (Movies and TV)
  • Golden Book Encyclopedia: Young Ben has 13 volumes of this set of children's encyclopedias on his bookshelf. The 13th volume is entitled "Rabbits to Signaling". (Books)

Literary techniques

Literary techniques in Lost
ComparativeIronyJuxtapositionForeshadowing PlottingCliffhangerPlot twist Stock Characters:  ArchetypeRedshirtUnseen character
Story:  FlashbacksFlash-forwardsFlash-sidewaysRegularly spoken phrasesSymbolismUnreliable narrator 
  • In his conversation with Richard Alpert, Ben says: "You do remember birthdays, don't you Richard?" This foreshadows the fact that Richard is very old and doesn't seem to be aging. (Foreshadowing)
  • When he first meets Richard Alpert, who is shown in this episode not to age over a course of 40 years, young Ben thinks he won't believe him seeing his dead mother. (Irony)
  • The audience expects Locke to meet a man, a human man, named Jacob. When Jacob is finally revealed, there is nothing visible but an empty chair, as if the man was invisible. The reality of Jacob's existence is left ambiguous, and raises the question: "Is Jacob even a human at all?" In generic terms, this type of plot twist in which a human is expected, but something else is presented, is called "species reversal". (Plot twist)
  • Ben's father finally made an attempt to reconcile with Ben, but was murdered by him seconds later. (Irony)
  • In a flashback, Ben killed his father, and helped kill everyone at the Barracks. In the next scene, Ben shot Locke who then fell into the pit of dead people from the Barracks. (Juxtaposition)
  • Throughout the episode, Locke's influence over the Others gradually increased. Locke is even briefly able to see and hear Jacob, the person or thing that is arguably the source of Ben's power over the Others. When Ben shot Locke in the final scene, this dramatically ended Locke's rise to power. This type of plot twist is called peripeteia. (Plot twist)
  • Locke is shot by Ben in the last scene of this episode, leaving the viewers uncertain about his fate. (Cliffhanger)

Episode references

  • When Ben arrives on the island, Roger says, "Ah, he don't say much," to which Horace responds, "That's okay. I bet he will when he has something to say, right Ben?" This parallels when Locke is unable to speak and vision-Boone tells him, "Don't worry; you'll speak when you have something worth saying." ("Further Instructions")
  • Ben's preference for bunny experiments is recurring, after the events shown in "Every Man for Himself."
  • Ben's father was the skeleton Hurley found in the DHARMA van. ("Tricia Tanaka Is Dead")
  • When Ben & Roger as sitting in the DHARMA van, Roger says, "You sure can't say it ain't beautiful." Richard says something similar to Locke: "Beautiful, isn't it? No matter how much time you spend on the island you just never get tired of this view." ("The Brig").

Unanswered questions

Unanswered questions
  1. Do not answer the questions here.
  2. Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.
More details...
For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: The Man Behind the Curtain/Theories
  • How does Jacob contact/summon the Others?
  • What was the shaking during the incursion by the hostiles when Ben was in class?
  • Where is the volcano Olivia mentioned and when did it erupt?
  • What was the manifestation of Ben's dead mother?
  • What happened to Annie?
  • Why was a complete purge of the DHARMA Initiative necessary?
  • How did Ben become the leader of the Others/Hostiles?
  • What happened in the cabin?
    • Who was the shadowy figure?
    • Who asked Locke for help?

External links

  • Primetime grid: Excel Doc
  • ABC Medianet Press Release Bundle (04/23/07): PDF
  • Trailer on YouTube

This article uses material from the "The Man Behind the Curtain" article on the Lostpedia wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address