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Episode 4x06 The Other Woman - The Calm Before the Storm

Intro: Boxed Wine Isn’t So Bad

After all of the brain-tweaking caused by last week’s trip through space-time, this week’s episode, “The Other Woman”, served up more of a collective breather for us all. It was refreshing not to be reminded how I traded my physics education for art school. Though the title of the newly-revealed DHARMA station, “The Tempest” would seem to suggest otherwise, installment six was noticeably calmer, yet still not without the multiple layers that make LOST so wonderful. Let’s go storm chasing…

“You’re mine” (…and mine…and mine…)

I’ll just go ahead and get it over with. Juliet, you’ve just won the award for “Island’s Bizarrest Love Triangle”. I mean, parallelogram. Trapezoid? (So I took art classes instead of geometry, too.) Basically, we learn
Juliet wasn’t just Goodwin’s lady, but she was his “other woman” in what might just be one of the most uncomfortable love-affairs since Locke and Phone-Helen.

And just try keeping something like that from your shrink!
Oh, you mean your shrink is your lover’s wife, Harper?

As if that wasn’t stressful enough, we are brought to the even more uncomfortable realization that Harper wasn’t as concerned about
Juliet breaking Goodwin’s heart as she was concerned about Ben breaking…Goodwin. Seems our little Ben has been pining for a certain blonde fertility specialist, who according to Harper, even looks like “her”. We are left to only assume to whom this “her” could refer to, but so far my bets are on an old flame named Annie.

Ben bestows upon
Juliet only the best that an Other can offer – an island cottage, a job with benefits, ham - only to have his advances completely ignored. Whether or not Ben was taking a jealous gamble, or actually had some type of foreknowledge that Goodwin would be killed if he was sent to the Tail section is still left to be determined. What is for sure is that Ben taught Juliet – and reminded us all once again - why he is not one to be crossed, no matter how ridiculous he looks when he sashays back up the hill.

Enter suitor number three. To me, Jack and
Juliet are an awkward couple at best, but the tender moment shared between them at the end of the episode served as an extra bit of contrast to Ben’s twisted idea of what love must be. Juliet explains to Jack in so many words that she might as well have a number on her back like one of his rabbits.

Which reminds me - she does have that very odd cross-like branding she received in season 3, but I’ll leave that for another time. All of this “relationship stuff” is making me…uncomfortable

“It’s Stressful Being an Other”

Boy, I’ll say. Especially when your dead ex-lover’s wife who was also your ex-shrink appears out of the jungle from nowhere and in the pouring rain commands you to commit double homicide.

Was it really Harper? She appeared and disappeared with those unsettling whispers that we have heard so many times before when something is brewing in the magical forest. Could it have been some kind of mental projection from Ben, similar to what we have seen Walt do in the past? He must have known that Harper would be just the right guilt-trip to coerce
Juliet into just about anything. Or could Ben really be so many steps ahead of everyone that he would even know exactly when and where to send Harper in order to intercept Juliet just in time for her to reach the Tempest station and carry out his instructions?

I am not completely convinced, but I am leaning towards the idea that it was actually our pal the Smoke Monster who was taking the “form” of Harper instead. We have seen this before, such as when the Monster took the form of Eko’s brother, Yemi. In addition, the Monster has “scanned”
Juliet in the same way that it did with Eko the night she was cuffed to Kate in he jungle. Why couldn’t the Smoke Monster have also learned that Harper was a thorn in Juliet’s subconscious and then use it against her in the same way Ben would?

For some time now I have wondered if the island does not somehow magnify one’s psychic abilities much like the Overlook Hotel did in Stephen King’s “the Shining”. In fact, it's really fitting that we have also been introduced the Tempest. However what I am referring to has little to do with Shake-a-speare.

Instead, the sci-fi geek in me is reminded of the classic film, “Forbidden Planet”, which I did not even know until this past week was loosely based on the Tempest. It also shares some interesting similarities to LOST.

For instance, the movie takes place on a planet where there once lived an advanced race of native beings named the Krell, who were mysteriously wiped out during some type of "incident". However, they left behind underground laboratories where they invented new and strange technologies, including a giant, self-preserving machine in the form of a cube, or BOX.

"The huge machine was designed to let the Krell materialize anything they wanted at a mere thought. "But the Krell forgot one thing! Monsters, John! Monsters from the id!" Though the Krell considered themselves civilized, their subconscious minds were unleashed by the almost limitless power of the Machine. With this information, the Commander deduces that the race was wiped out in a single night of frenzied destruction, as their subconscious minds acted out their darkest urges, fueled by the Machine's power." -

Source: Wikipedia

This is the best metaphor I have found yet for what I am starting to think our Smoke Monster really is.

I also believe that no matter who or what Harper turns out to have been, Ben and the Smoke Monster could have
still had the same agenda. If Daniel and Charlotte were actually disabling the island’s main defense system at the Tempest, this would in turn make it vulnerable to invasion by the freighter folks. I could see the motivation for both natives and all manner of metaphysical beings on the island to want to keep the weapon system in tact, as a failsafe of sorts.

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