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"The Shape of Things to Come"
Season
Episode

4
09
Airdate
April 24, 2008
Running time
42:00
Production code
{{{pc}}}
Flashback
{{{flashback}}}
Flashforward
Flashsideways
{{{flashsideways}}}
Centric character(s)
{{{centric}}}
Day(s)
Directed by

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

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

"The Shape of Things to Come" is the ninth episode of Season 4 of Lost, and the eighty-first produced hour of the series as a whole. It was originally broadcast on April 24, 2008 in the United States. Ben is forced to make a choice as Keamy and his team launch their attack on the Barracks, while a body washes ashore at the beach. Flashforwards showcase Ben's manipulation of Sayid and a hostile confrontation with Charles Widmore.

Contents

Synopsis

Previously on Lost

The events of "Meet Kevin Johnson" are recapped with Locke and Ben revealing the intentions of the people on the freighter: to capture Ben and kill everyone else on Island. Ben also reveals that his spy on the boat is Michael, who witnesses Keamy and his men skeet-shooting. Ben further instructs Alex to get to the Temple for protection along with her mother and Karl. On the way, Karl and Rousseau are shot dead, leaving Alex with no choice but to reveal herself as Ben's daughter.

At the beach

Jack and Kate smile and wave at each other as Kate digs her bare feet in the sand and lowers the straps on her shirt. He enters his tent to take some antibiotics for what he thinks is a stomach bug, and Kate follows to tell him he doesn't look well. They flirt until they hear Vincent barking in the background, along with Bernard's calls for help. Everyone runs to investigate, where they find a dead body in the surf. After they pull it from the water, Daniel reveals that the body is Ray, the freighter's doctor. His throat is slit. Jack asks when Daniel last saw Ray, Daniel replies "When... When is kind of a relative term." Daniel follows Kate and Jack pulls Bernard aside to tell him a secret.

Ray's corpse washes up

Later, Daniel partially repairs the satellite phone using wiring from the plane, enough to communicate with the freighter in Morse code. He transmits "What happened to the doctor?" and listens intensely to the freighter's reply. Daniel informs Jack that the response from the freighter indicates that Desmond and Sayid are fine, and that the helicopter would return in the morning. Bernard steps forward and reveals Daniel is lying, stating the actual reply was, "What are you talking about? The doctor is fine." Under pressure from an angry Jack, Daniel reveals the freighter never planned to rescue anyone from the Island after all. Jack doubles over and stumbles away in pain.

At the Barracks

Alex is captured by a group of six mercenaries from the freighter, led by Martin Keamy. They remove her blindfold, and reveal they are at the sonic fence surrounding the Barracks. They order her to deactivate the fence, which she tearfully does after mentioning that the survivors have a baby with them. The code Alex enters is "1623". This is a shorter number than the number Juliet entered in "Left Behind".

Claire's house is destroyed by an RPG
Over in Locke's camp, Sawyer, Locke and Hurley are playing Risk, when the phone rings. Locke picks up the receiver and hears an automated message repeating, "Code 14-J." Ben is playing the piano in another house and is visibly agitated when Locke and Sawyer enter and demand to know what the code means.
Sawyer, under attack, calling for Claire
Ben opens the piano seat to reveal a shotgun, which he hands to a surprised Sawyer. They take up position at Locke's house (formerly Ben's), blockading the front door. In response to Locke's demands for information about what is going on, Ben replies, "They're here!"

Ben warns Sawyer not to go outdoors, but he goes to wake Claire from her house. Ben tells Locke that he too must survive the attack, so that the two of them (with Hurley to guide them) would be able to get help from Jacob. Sawyer tells Doug (another survivor) to get inside, but unseen gunfire from the tree line erupts and kills Doug, Jerome, and a woman. Sawyer manages to dodge the hail of gunfire, return shots with his handgun, and work his way to Claire's house just in time to see it destroyed by an RPG.

Ben looks in shock as Alex is killed

After the house explodes, the gunfire ceases. Sawyer searches through the rubble of the house and finds Claire, scratched up but apparently uninjured. As he picks her up, she half-consciously mistakes him for Charlie. Sawyer yells for the others to open the front door, which is blockaded by furniture. Against Ben's wishes to leave them locked out, Hurley throws an ottoman through the front window and allows them in.

Ben's secret room

Shortly afterward, the doorbell rings. Sawyer sees who is at the door, and unblocks and opens it to reveal Miles with a walkie-talkie from the mercenaries. Ben initially refuses to talk to the mercenaries until it is revealed they have Alex as a hostage. Ben talks with Keamy, who instructs him to look out a window so they can talk "face-to-face". Keamy asks Ben to come out, and promises not to harm anyone else, to which Ben replies with information on Keamy's past, claiming to know exactly what kind of man he is. Keamy drops the formalities, and Alex is brought in and forced to kneel at gunpoint. Keamy instructs Ben to walk out the front door and no one in the house will get hurt. Ben refuses and issues a counter-offer, instructing the mercenaries to turn around, leave, and to forget the Island. Keamy tells Alex to say goodbye and tells Ben that he had 10 seconds. As Keamy counts down, Ben says that Alex means nothing to him, as he took her from an insane woman, and that she is just a pawn, nothing more, all of which Alex hears in anguish. Ben declares that he is not coming out of the house, and Keamy shoots Alex in the head.

The Monster attacks

Ben stares in shock before muttering "He changed the rules," and quickly retreats to his secret room where he seals a blast door behind him. Ben pushes aside his hanging suits and reveals another secret doorway. The walls appear to be made of stone and the door is carved with some sort of hieroglyphics. He opens the door and walks in.

Some time later (after dark), Sawyer is shouting and beating on the blast door that closed behind Ben as he went into his secret room, when Claire emerges from another room carrying Aaron and asks "What's going on?". Sawyer asks Claire "You all right, sweetheart?" and she tells him "Yeah, a bit wobbly, but, uh, I'll live." to which Miles replies "Well, I wouldn't be too sure about that." Just as Miles is saying this, Ben emerges from his secret room covered in black soot. He orders everyone to exit the house in one minute and to run for the tree line on his command. A rumbling is heard and the Monster, much larger than it has been seen previously, thunders into the camp and plunges into the tree line. The Monster is shown as multiple thick columns of black smoke, cutting through the trees. There is some sort of electrical discharge going off inside the smoke, which causes a flashing white light and crackling noises. The survivors watch in awe as it attacks the mercenaries in the woods, with Locke and Hurley questioning Ben's seeming ability to summon the Monster. As it draws farther away, Locke and the survivors escape into the jungle, while Ben lingers momentarily to say goodbye to his daughter. Claire, Aaron, Hurley, Sawyer, Miles, Ben and Locke are apparently the only survivors of the mercenary attack.

Ben soon meets up with the rest of the group at the creek. Sawyer becomes visibly frustrated with Locke and Ben's plan to go and see Jacob and decides to leave for the beach. Miles, Hurley, Claire, and Aaron go with him, but as they turn to leave, Locke pulls a gun on Sawyer. He insists Hurley stay as Locke and Ben believe Hurley is meant to guide them toward Jacob's cabin. Sawyer and Locke have a standoff at gunpoint, but Hurley talks them into putting away their weapons and remains with Locke and Ben.

Flashforward

Ben wakes up in the Sahara
A disoriented Benjamin Linus wakes up in a state of wide-mouthed shock on the ground in the middle of the Sahara Desert wearing a parka with a previously unseen DHARMA logo and the name Halliwax on it. His right arm has a deep wound on it and there appears to be steam evaporating off of him. He gets sick on the ground vomiting, and two armed Bedouins on horseback approach. One of the Bedouins (speaking Arabic, which is not translated on-screen) points out how Ben does not have a trail. The other replies, "Where did this [guy] come from? Down from the sky?" Ben asks them if they speak English, and when he gets no reply, he asks them if they speak Arabic, and then Turkish, but they still do not speak with him. As one searches him he feels something hard in Ben's pocket. Ben pulls out a metal cylinder, which he soon reveals to be a telescopic baton. He spins around, beats the Bedouin who was searching him, and takes his gun, then shoots the other. The beaten one says, "Surrender", and Ben retorts, "So you do speak English." He then hits him with the rifle butt. Ben ties off his arm wound and rides off on one of their horses.
Ben in Tozeur, Tunisia

Ben checks into a hotel in Tozeur, Tunisia. The desk clerk asks if it is his first time in Tunisia, but he assures her he has been there before, though "it's been a while." He gives the name Dean Moriarty and introduces himself as a "preferred guest." The clerk searches for the name in a book and upon finding it clearly reacts as if the name is important, asking if there is anything else she can do for him. He asks the clerk the date, to which she answers October 24th. Ben clarifies the year, asking, "2005?" The clerk confirms with a somewhat confused look. As he is headed to his room, Ben overhears Sayid's name mentioned on the television, and turns to watch a news broadcast. Sayid is shown trying to climb into a car as he is being hounded by the press, telling them he "just wants to bury [his] wife in peace."

Sayid notices Ben

In Tikrit, Iraq, Ben emerges from an SUV labeled "Press" and slips up a stairway to the top floor. He pulls a camera with a zoom lens from a bag and snaps a photo of a man watching the funeral procession for Sayid's wife, Nadia. He then turns the camera toward Sayid, using his flash. This causes Sayid to spot Ben, who hurries back down stairs. In the street, Sayid assaults Ben by tackling him to the ground, thinking he is paparazzo. Upon Sayid's questioning how he got to Iraq, Ben says he slipped in via the Syrian border. After Sayid clarified that he meant how did Ben get off the Island, Ben tells Sayid he left via Desmond's sailboat, the Elizabeth, and after landing at Fiji chartered a plane. He also explains that a man at the procession, whom he identifies as Ishmael Bakir, was sent by Charles Widmore to kill his wife in Los Angeles. She was apparently killed three blocks from the corner of La Brea and Santa Monica five days earlier. Sayid vows to kill the man, saying it is now his war too.

Sayid shoots Bakir
Later Ben is watching Ishmael in a cafe, while drinking coffee. Suddenly Ishmael leaves and Ben pursues but quickly loses him. Ben turns blindly into an alley, where the man appears behind him. He asks who Ben is and why he is following him. Ben identifies himself and explains that he need Ishmael to carry a message to Widmore. Ishmael asks what the message is, and promptly Sayid shoots Bakir multiple times, continuing to pull the trigger even after his magazine is empty. Ben tells him not to let his grief become anger, but Sayid wants revenge, asking, "Who's next?" Ben pleads with Sayid to think about what he is doing with his life, telling him he doesn't need to get involved. Sayid stands his ground, and Ben promises to contact him. As Ben walks away he is carrying a smirk on his face.
Ben speaks to Widmore

Late at night in London, Ben emerges from a taxi and enters a building. He tricks the doorman, claiming to be heading to visit a Mr. and Mrs. Kendrick in apartment 4E, but instead picks the elevator lock to enter the penthouse suite. The penthouse belongs to Charles Widmore. Ben makes his way into his bedroom and Charles wakes up. Ben inquires as to when Widmore started sleeping with a bottle of scotch by the bed. Widmore replies, "When the nightmares started." Charles asks Ben if he has come to kill him. Ben says "we both know I can't do that." He instead accuses Widmore of changing the rules and killing his daughter. The two argue about who bears responsibility for Alex's death. The debate concludes with Ben vowing to kill Widmore's daughter, Penelope, so that he will know the same pain Ben knows. Widmore claims to know "what" Ben is, saying everything Ben has he took from Widmore. Ben says Charles will wish he hadn't "changed the rules." Widmore counters that Ben will never find Penny, and that he wants "his" Island back. Ben tells Charles he will never find the Island. Charles then says that the hunt is on for both of them.

Trivia

General

Dharma logo on Ben's parka.
  • The DHARMA logo seen on the breast of the parka worn by Ben is that of the Orchid.
    • This parka also has the name "Halliwax" emblazoned on the left breast.
    • The octagons appear differently than other DHARMA logos on the patch, but the same logo is seen on Keamy's Secondary Protocol file with the correct hexagrams, so it is likely that the patch was a prop error. ("Cabin Fever")
  • Ben speaks Arabic and Turkish. He asks the Bedouin if they speak these languages.
  • Although Ben asks the Bedouin whether they speak Turkish, it is not a language spoken by Bedouin, nor is it related to the Arabic language.
  • One of the Bedouin points out how Ben does not have a trail. The other replies, "Where did this [guy] come from? Down from the sky?"
  • The television reporter that mentions Sayid, while Ben is in Tunisia, states: "One of the sons of Iraq, and despite the terrible causes for his return, Sayid Jarrah, one of the members of the Oceanic Six, returned to Baghdad after his wife had passed away. Sayid Jarrah and his wife are from the Tikrit area."
  • The pill bottle opened by Jack says "Amoxicillin", a common antibiotic.
  • Ben's flashforward takes place in October 2005 — one year and one month after the crash of Oceanic Flight 815.
  • The symbols on Ben's secret room door appear to be hieroglyphs that are determinative signs in Egyptian
    • A basic translation of these hieroglyphs is "to summon protection," according to The Lost Ninja.
  • Keamy's full name is revealed to be Martin Christopher Keamy.
  • When Sawyer rescues Claire from the rubble, she initially mistakes him for Charlie.
  • The mercenaries are wearing MultiCam, an advanced camouflage pattern developed by the United States Army and Crye Precision, an American company.
  • The passport that Ben uses in Tunisia is Canadian, as can be seen on the front when he is opening the passport at first ("Canada" is partially visible) and the fact that there are maple leaves imprinted on the document when it is open to his picture.
  • The camera that Ben uses in Tikrit is a Nikon D100, although the Nikon logo (above the lens) has been replaced with a random pattern.
  • The lens used on the Nikon D100 which Ben was using to watch Sayid was a Nikon 80-400 telephoto zoom lens.
  • Charles Widmore is sleeping with a bottle of MacCutcheon by the bed.
  • There is a line cut from this episode but shown in the preview: "Welcome to the war." Ben says this to Locke after telling him that Hurley knows the location of Jacob's cabin. He's referring to the attack on the Barracks by the mercenaries.
  • This is the first episode and the only one of season four to have a flashforward from the perspective of someone who is not a member of the Oceanic Six and was not on the plane.

Production notes

Bloopers and continuity errors

Ben's office in "The Economist"
Ben's office in "The Shape of Things to Come"
Blood on Blonde casualty's shirt.
  • There is an attached shirt rack concealing the hieroglyph door in this episode, rather than the storage shelving shown in that same position in "The Economist".
  • When Ben appears in the desert for the first time, he appears laid on his back on hard cracked ground. In the next shot he is shown raising himself up off a completely sandy surface.
  • Many of the Arabic scripts (including the news broadcast and the signs in Tunisia and Iraq) are erroneous. The letters are not connected as they should be (i.e. as if they did not form words). And even if they were connected, many of them still would not form proper words. Sayid's name, for example, is written as: س ي د ج ا ر ه which would read سيد جاره (Sayyid Jareh) when connected. This is not how Sayid's name is spelled though (سعيد جراح).
  • In "The Economist" the ceiling of the small corridor between the bookcase and Ben's secret room showed no signs of a gap where the door lowered preventing Sawyer from passing to follow Ben.
  • When Ben is speaking to the concierge the front door is left open. In the next shot as he enters the elevator the door is closed.
  • When running along the fence, right before Claire's house is blown up, the grill Sawyer hides behind goes from upright to lying on its side.
  • The desk clerk was wearing Hijab (cover of the head that Muslim women wear). The Hijab is illegal in Tunisia.
  • The accent of the Bedouins is clearly not Tunisian.
  • There's some blood on the Blonde casualty's shirt before she gets shot.
  • When Ben picks the elevator lock, he uses picks designed for warded locks, but the lock is clearly a pin or wafer tumbler lock.
  • The camera Ben used to photograph Sayid is a Nikon D100, but the viewfinder display is clearly not from a Nikon camera.

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
  • The freighter's doctor has been murdered. (Life and Death)
  • A close up of Ben's eyes is shown when he awakes in the desert in Tunisia. (Eyes)
  • Ben closes Alex's eyes. (Eyes)
  • Ben refers to Alex as a pawn. (Games)
  • Hurley, Locke, and Sawyer play Risk. (Games)
  • Ben says, "He changed the rules." (Games)
  • Alex is taken hostage. (Imprisonment)
  • During Risk, after invading Siberia, Sawyer rolls 6-6-3 = 15. (The Numbers)
  • The panic code to the security fence is 1623. (The Numbers)
  • Alex is killed, as are three redshirts by the Freighter Mercenaries. (Life and Death)
  • Claire's "house" is blown up, but she survives. (Life and Death)
  • During the final scene, the light casts a shadow over half of Widmore's and Ben's faces. (Black and White)
  • Sawyer calls Hurley "Chicken Little" and says that the sky isn't falling yet. (Nicknames)
  • Ben tries to bluff that Alex means nothing to him, and as a result she is shot. (Parent Issues)
  • Ben manipulates Sayid into working as an assassin for him. (Deceptions and Cons)
  • Ben says he is going to see "Mr. and Mrs. Kendrick in 4E". (Deceptions and Cons) (The Numbers)
  • Daniel confesses that it was never their intention to get them off the island. (Deceptions and Cons)
  • When Keamy is counting down from 10 he stops after 8. (The Numbers)
  • Ben believes Widmore is responsible for murdering Alex, whom he considers his daughter, and he vows to kill Penny, Widmore's daughter. (Parent Issues)  (Life and Death)
  • Widmore tells Ben that he won't find Penelope and Ben tells Widmore he won't find the island. (Secrets)


Cultural references

Cultural references in Lost
(direct references only)
ArtBooksCarsGamesMovies and TVMusicPhilosophyReligion and ideologiesScience
  • Chicken Little: a name Sawyer calls Hurley by. This refers to the old fable about a chicken who believes the sky is falling, indicating a belief in imminent disaster. (Books)
  • The Bible: Ishmael was Abraham's first son, who was born not of his wife, but of her servant, whom he had also married. Ishmael's half-brother was Isaac, who was the father of Jacob. The Arabic equivalent for Ishmael is Ismail/Isma'il (إسماعيل) which was not used in naming Ishmael Bakir.
  • Prelude in C-sharp minor . Ben is playing this piece from Sergei Rachmaninoff on the piano, right before the phone call. (Music)
    • One composer best known for ragtime used this composition as a base for his own "Russian Rag". The name of the composer is George Linus Cobb. (Music)
  • The Shape of Things to Come : The episode title refers to the name of a book by H.G. Wells which is written in the form of a history book from the future. One of the novel's main settings is Iraq - specifically the city of Basra, which is at the center of a world state emerging after a collapse of civilization and becomes in effect the capital of the world. (Books)
  • On The Road: The name that Ben uses to check in, Dean Moriarty, is the name of one of two main characters in this book by Jack Kerouac.
    • A passport with the name Dean Moriarty is first seen earlier in Season 4, in "The Economist".
  • Sherlock Holmes: Moriarty is also the surname of Professor James Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes' best known antagonist and mathematical genius. In the story "The Final Problem", Moriarty pays a surprise visit to Holmes to confront him and both issue ultimatums to the other regarding their continued pursuit of each other in much the same way Ben visits Widmore and they issue threats about their respective searches. (Books)
  • Theory of relativity: Faraday stating that "When is relative" is a reference to Albert Einstein's Theory of relativity. (Science)
  • The Time Traveler's Wife: Kendrick is the name of the main character's doctor in this book. (Books)
  • Lawrence of Arabia: The shot of Ben entering the hotel and ringing the bell matches Lawrence's entrance after crossing the desert. (Movies and TV)

Literary techniques

Literary techniques in Lost
ComparativeIronyJuxtapositionForeshadowing PlottingCliffhangerPlot twist Stock Characters:  ArchetypeRedshirtUnseen character
Story:  FlashbacksFlash-forwardsFlash-sidewaysRegularly spoken phrasesSymbolismUnreliable narrator 
  • Hurley repeats an old line of his, "We're all gonna die", though it was revealed that he was talking about a game of Risk. (Regularly Spoken Phrases)
  • Hurley comments during the Risk game that "Australia is the key to the whole game"; The Losties connections to Australia are key to the whole show, as it's where Flight 815 originated from. (Symbolism)
    • This reference could also symbolize the Island, regarding its key positioning in use as a strategic stronghold.
  • Three background survivors (one of whom is wearing an actual red shirt) are killed in the initial attack on the camp. (Redshirt)
  • Jack takes a pill, which he says he "prescribed for himself," while Kate looks on suspiciously. This foreshadows Jack's pill addiction and attempt to self-prescribe after he gets rescued. (Foreshadowing)
  • Claire is separated from Aaron and nearly killed while Hurley takes care of the baby. This foreshadows Aaron being separated from Claire and under Kate's care after they leave the island. (Foreshadowing)
  • Kate says "You look terrible", and Jack smiles and answers "Thanks"; this same exchange takes place during the flashforward in Through the Looking Glass. (Foreshadowing)
  • Those survivors who followed Locke, opting to seek protection in fear of the freighter crew, are ultimately those who are attacked and/or killed by them. (Irony)
  • Ben wakes up wearing a parka in the middle of the desert. (Irony)
  • Locke did not want to execute Ben in front of Alex ("Confirmed Dead"), and ultimately it is Alex who is executed in front of Ben. (Irony)
  • Ben will not kill an innocent person, but Penelope is innocent. (Irony)
    • Note that this happens after "the rules were changed" and after Ben allowed his "grief to become anger" as he told Sayid.


Storyline analysis

Storyline analysis in Lost
A-MissionsCrimesEconomicsLeadershipO-MissionsRelationshipsF-MissionsRivalries


Episode references

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 Shape of Things to Come/Theories
  • When and why was Ben in Tunisia before?
  • What are "the Rules"?
    • How have they been changed?
  • Why is Ben unable to kill Widmore?

External links

  • ABC primetime grid
  • ABC Medianet Press Release (04/7/08): Press Release
  • Full Episode Online (Canada Only)

This article uses material from the "The Shape of Things to Come" article on the Lostpedia wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.







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