The Shape of Things to Come (Lost)

The Shape of Things to Come (Lost)

Infobox Television episode
Title = The Shape of Things to Come
Series = Lost

Caption = Keamy holds a handcuffed Alex at gunpoint while he talks to Ben by walkie-talkie.
Season = 4
Episode = 9
Writer = Brian K. Vaughan
Drew Goddard
Director = Jack Bender
Guests = Sam Anderson
Tania Raymonde
Alan Dale
Marc Vann
Kevin Durand
Faran Tahir
Yetide Badaki
Kaveh Kardan
Sean Douglas Hoban
Nick Hermz
Michael Sadler
Sammy Sheik
Airdate = April 24, 2008
Production = 409
Episode list = "Lost" (season 4)
List of "Lost" episodes
Prev = Meet Kevin Johnson
Next = Something Nice Back Home

"The Shape of Things to Come" is the seventy-eighth episode of the American Broadcasting Company's "Lost", and is the ninth episode of the fourth season. It aired on April 24, 2008 on ABC in the United States and on the CTV Television Network in Canada. [ABC Medianet, (February 20, 2008) " [ ABC Announces the Return of Television's Biggest Hits Shows] ". Retrieved on March 19, 2008.] The episode was written by co-executive producer Drew Goddard and co-producer Brian K. Vaughan in late February 2008 and directed by executive producer Jack Bender in mid-March. [ABC Medianet, (April 7, 2008) " [ Locke's Camp Comes Under Attack and Jack Attempts to Identify a Body That Washes Ashore] ". Retrieved on April 7, 2008.] The narrative centers on Ben Linus (played by Michael Emerson) as he and the Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 crash survivors at the Barracks come under attack in December 2004, while flashforwards to late 2005 show him recruiting Sayid Jarrah (Naveen Andrews) as a hitman and confronting his enemy Charles Widmore (Alan Dale).

"The Shape of Things to Come" is one of a few "Lost" episodes to contain footage filmed outside Hawaii. The episode aired as the first of the second batch of fourth season episodes (known as "Season 4.5" among the show's crew) that were originally planned to air uninterrupted by a hiatus with the rest of the season; however, the one hundred-day 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike paused production and caused the writers to condense the second half of the season, which aired after a four-week break. [Nichols, Katherine, (April 22, 2008) " [ The Dirt on "Lost"] ", "Honolulu Star-Bulletin". Retrieved on April 26, 2008.] "The Shape of Things to Come" received positive critical reviews and the original was watched by fourteen million Americans. Much praise was directed at Emerson's acting skills, particularly in his reaction to the execution of his character's daughter Alex (Tania Raymonde). The episode was nominated in the category of "Outstanding Sound Editing For A Series" for the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards. [Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, (July 17, 2008) " [ Complete 2008 Nominations List] ". Retrieved on July 17, 2008.]


The episode is set on December 27, 2004, the survivors' ninety-seventh day on the island. At the beach camp, the corpse of Ray (Marc Vann), the freighter "Kahana"'s doctor, washes ashore. Daniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies) calls the freighter and asks what happened to Ray via morse code. Daniel lies about the response, saying that rescue helicopters will be sent soon; however, Bernard Nadler (Sam Anderson) calls him on this and correctly interprets the freighter's message: "What are you talking about? The doctor is fine." Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox), who suffers from stomach pains throughout the day, forces Daniel to reveal that it was never their intention to rescue the survivors.Vaughan, Brian K. (writer) & Goddard, Drew (writer) & Bender, Jack (director), "The Shape of Things to Come". "Lost", ABC. Episode 9, season 4. Aired on April 24, 2008.]

Meanwhile, Alex is captured by Martin Keamy (Kevin Durand) and others from the freighter. [Sarnoff, Elizabeth (writer) & Vaughan, Brian K. (writer) & Williams, Stephen (director), "Meet Kevin Johnson". "Lost", ABC. Episode 8, season 4. Aired on March 20, 2008.] As they take her to the Barracks, she sets off an alarm heralding the arrival of Ben's enemies. Ben, John Locke (Terry O'Quinn), and Hugo "Hurley" Reyes (Jorge Garcia) fortify Ben's house, while James "Sawyer" Ford (Josh Holloway) goes to retrieve the other survivors in the Barracks. He is partially successful, as he saves Claire Littleton (Emilie de Ravin) from her exploded and burning house, but three survivors (portrayed by extras) are shot to death by the mercenaries. Keamy finds and frees Miles Straume, giving him a walkie-talkie to take to Ben. Ben communicates with Keamy, who threatens to kill Alex if Ben does not surrender. Ben attempts to negotiate and is shocked when Keamy executes Alex. Locking himself in the house's secret room, Ben enters a hidden chamber to summon the smoke monster. Ben emerges covered in soot and the monster attacks Keamy's henchmen. The survivors flee for the forest, with Ben lingering briefly to grieve over Alex's body. Afterward, Ben and Locke depart to locate Jacob for further instructions. Sawyer, Hurley, Claire and Aaron turn to return to the beach with Miles, but Locke holds them at gunpoint, successfully demanding that Hurley goes with him (as he has found Jacob's cabin before). [Lindelof, Damon (writer) & Cuse, Carlton (writer) & Bender, Jack (director), "The Beginning of the End". "Lost", ABC. Episode 1, season 4. Aired on January 31, 2008.]

Flashforwards show Ben on three continents in autumn 2005. Ben is startled when he wakes up in the Sahara Desert wearing a winter jacket and with a large cut on his upper arm; challenged by two armed locals, he kills one of them (Nick Hermz) and knocks the other (Sammy Sheik) unconscious and travels on horseback to Tozeur, Tunisia on October 24, 2005. Ben journeys to Tikrit, Iraq, where the funeral of Sayid's wife Nadia Jazeem (Andrea Gabriel) is taking place. Ben tells Sayid that Widmore ordered Ishmael Bakir (Faran Tahir) to kill Nadia. Ben lures Bakir into a trap to be killed by Sayid, who shoots Bakir repeatedly. Ben recruits him to become his assassin, and leaves for London, England, where he breaks into Widmore's penthouse; although he cannot kill Widmore, he states that he is going to kill Widmore's daughter Penelope (Sonya Walger) in retribution for Alex's death. In their conversation, Widmore claims that the island is his and that he will take it back from Ben one day.


The Writers Guild of America went on strike on November 4, 2007, [McNary, Dave & Littleton, Cynthia, (November 2, 2007) " [ Writers Call for Strike] ", "Variety". Retrieved on November 3, 2007.] by which time only eight of the planned sixteen episodes of "Lost"'s fourth season had been written. [Lindelof, Damon & Cuse, Carlton, (November 5, 2007) " [ "Lost" Writers: 'Like Putting Down a "Harry Potter" Book in the Middle'] ", "Variety". Retrieved on November 8, 2007.] These episodes aired from January to March 2008. [Grossman, Ben, (November 7, 2007) " [ Strike Coverage: ABC to Air Partial Season of "Lost"] ", Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved on November 8, 2007.] After the strike ended on February 12, 2008, the writers found that there was only enough time to produce five episodes, although the fifth episode would later be expanded to two episodes [Ausiello, Michael, (April 11, 2008) " [ It's Official: "Lost" Finds Extra Hour … But There's a Twist!] ", "TV Guide". Retrieved on April 26, 2008.] —and they proceeded to compress most of the storylines of the planned eight episodes into six, [Levin, Gary, (February 11, 2008) " [ Television Production Goes from Stalled to High Gear] ", "USA Today". Retrieved on March 22, 2008.] with some carrying over into the fifth season. Executive producer/head writer Damon Lindelof stated that "we are going to execute our full story plan for season four. This simply requires a shift from high-octane storytelling to superhigh-octane storytelling. It requires no cramming, only a slightly heavier foot on the gas pedal … so, hold on to your hats. Those of you waiting for the long-anticipated [Jin Kwon (Daniel Dae Kim)] and Hurley Ping-Pong tournament, however, will be very disappointed." [Dos Santos, Kristin, (February 13, 2008) " [ The Return of "Mother", "Life" and, Oh Yeah, "Lost"] ", E!. Retrieved on March 22, 2008.] The writers expressed interest to air the eighth episode with the second batch of episodes, [Albiniak, Paige, (February 24, 2008) " [ Ten Reasons Why "Lost" is Found] ", "New York Post". Retrieved on March 17, 2008.] but ABC did not comply and "The Shape of Things to Come" served as the mid-season premiere. The writers realized some advantages to the strike: they were able to use actors whose shows had been canceled during the strike, and they were able to respond to confusion from the audience. [Jensen, Jeff "Doc", (February 22, 2008) " [,,20179357,00.html Writers' Strike Postscripts] ", "Entertainment Weekly". Retrieved on March 22, 2008.] They would later even conclude that the season was better as a result of the strike, as they were able to discard "languid, contemplative material" and felt "recharged [with] a real energy to attack [the] last six episodes". [Dos Santos, Kristin, (May 9, 2008) " [ Is Claire Dead? Are They Really Time Traveling? "Lost"'s Bosses Speak!] ", E!. Retrieved on June 27, 2008.] The first three seasons were broadcast on Wednesdays in the United States and Canada; [Dos Santos, Kristin, (December 14, 2007) " [ "Lost": It's Baaack!] ", E!. Retrieved on December 14, 2007.] the pre-strike fourth season episodes aired on Thursdays at 9:00 p.m., a time-slot normally occupied by "Grey's Anatomy". [Martell, Erin, (February 13, 2008) " [ Second Batch of "Lost" Episodes Will Follow "Grey's Anatomy"] ", TV Squad. Retrieved on February 25, 2008.] "The Shape of Things to Come" and the following three episodes were broadcast on Thursdays at 10:00 p.m. after "Grey's Anatomy". [Ausiello, Michael, (February 13, 2008) " [ Exclusive: "Lost" Finds Post-"Grey"'s Berth!] ", "TV Guide". Retrieved on March 18, 2008.]

"The Shape of Things to Come" was written alongside "Something Nice Back Home" and "Cabin Fever" in February and March 2008.Lachonis, Jon "DocArzt", (March 13, 2008) " [ Darlton "Lost" Interview] ", UGO Networks. Retrieved on March 22, 2008.] Its title is derived from the 1933 science fiction novel of the same name by H.G. Wells.Lindelof, Damon & Cuse, Carlton, (April 25, 2008) " [ Official "Lost" Audio Podcast] ", ABC. Retrieved on April 25, 2008.] Co-executive producer/writer Drew Goddard called the episode "maybe my favorite thing I've done on "Lost", and I've been lucky with all the episodes I've gotten so far". [Dos Santos, Kristin, (March 21, 2008) " [ If Loathing Ben Is Wrong, I Don't Wanna Be Right] ", E!. Retrieved on March 21, 2008.] Shooting began on March 10 and continued through March 25, [Gordon, Mike, (February 29, 2008) " [ "Lost" Going Back into Film Action Here on March 10] ", "Honolulu Advertiser". Retrieved on March 22, 2008.] alongside filming of "Something Nice Back Home". [Garcia, Jorge, (March 25, 2008) " [ Hey Jorge! A Question for You …] ", The Fuselage. Retrieved on March 26, 2008.] The scene where Ben confronts Widmore was actually filmed in London, England, because actor Alan Dale was unable to fly to Hawaii as he had been appearing in a production of the play "Spamalot". Several crew members and Michael Emerson flew to London to film the scene. A scene in which Claire has a prophetic vision was produced; however, it was cut due to runtime constraints.Jensen, Jeff "Doc", (April 25, 2008) " [,,20195369_2,00.html Ben Unleashed] ", "Entertainment Weekly". Retrieved on April 26, 2008.]

A shoot-out early in the episode sees the end of the three background survivors who joined Locke in his trip to the Barracks in the early fourth season. One of them, Doug, played by Sean Douglas Hoban received credit as a co-star for the first time in his run on the show, having been cast in the pilot as "Passenger #4". Hoban later also acted as a stunt double for Dominic Monaghan, who plays Charlie Pace, a major character in the first three seasons. [Snierson, Dan, (May 24, 2007) " [,,20040051_2,00.html The Q&A: Sorry, Charlie] ", "Entertainment Weekly". Retrieved on July 7, 2007.] Hoban has one line in "The Shape of Things to Come" and he had to audition for it against the other background actors. [McPherson, Sam, (June 22, 2008) " [ The Lostpedia Interview:Sean Douglas Hoban] ", Lostpedia. Retrieved on July 11, 2008.]

The episode's flashforwards commence with Ben waking up alarmed in the Sahara with a wounded right arm and vapor rising from him. The Dharma Initiative parka that he wears was codenamed "Dharka" by the writers. [Jensen, Jeff "Doc", (April 23, 2008) " [,,20194903,00.html The Show is Back!] ", "Entertainment Weekly". Retrieved on April 26, 2008.] A couple Easter eggs are present in this scene: [Kubicke, John, (April 25, 2008) " [ "Lost" Easter Eggs: 'The Shape of Things to Come' #2—Teleportation in Tunisia] ", BuddyTV. Retrieved on July 14, 2008.] Ben's parka has a name tag that indicates that it was formerly owned by Edgar Halliwax (François Chau) and it displays the first appearance of the logo for a Dharma station called the "Orchid" that would not be seen until the episode titled "There's No Place Like Home". [Lindelof, Damon (writer) & Cuse, Carlton (writer) & Williams, Stephen (director), "There's No Place Like Home". "Lost", ABC. Episode 12, season 4. Aired on May 15, 2008.] Another Easter egg is glimpsed in the next scene, when Ben reveals his forged Canadian passport previously seen in "The Economist" for his alias Dean Moriarty, [Kitsis, Edward (writer) & Horowitz, Adam (writer) & Bender, Jack (director), "The Economist". "Lost", ABC. Episode 3, season 4. Aired on February 14, 2008.] which is also the name of the central character in the Jack Kerouac's 1951 novel "On the Road". [Medley, Mark, (April 25, 2008) " [ 'The Shape of Things to Come': "Lost" Season Four, Episode Nine Recap] ", "The National Post". Retrieved on July 14, 2008.] Among the most frequent questions that the writers are asked is whether they have planned out future storylines, [Lindelof, Damon, (May 9, 2007) " [ "Lost" Finale Will Be Aired in 2010] ", "Kuwait Times". Retrieved on April 26, 2008.] so the writers try to allude to future plot points, such as with the Dharka scene, that they can later call on as proof that they do know where the story is headed. Director Jack Bender described the scene, which was filmed in a Hawaiian rock quarry, as especially hard to shoot because the actors had to ride horses and use guns, the crew had to relocate due to rocks present that were unsuitable for the scene, and Bender walked head-first into a crane. [Jensen, Jeff "Doc", (April 27, 2008) " [ Doc Jensen on Set] ", "Entertainment Weekly". Retrieved on May 19, 2008.] Emerson stated that the set is "definitely a no-glamour zone … I thought we would ease into things. Instead, I get this all-Ben extravaganza: combat, riding horses, foreign languages. And piano playing! All waaaay outside my comfort zone. How can you work two weeks and feel like you need a vacation already?" [Jensen, Jeff "Doc", (April 10, 2008) " [,,20190415,00.html Secrets From the Set!] ", "Entertainment Weekly". Retrieved on April 26, 2008.]


"The Shape of Things to Come" was viewed live or watched within five hours of broadcast by 12.075 million Americans, [Seidman, Robert, (May 13, 2008) " [ "Idol", "Grey's", "Lost", "Housewives" and "The Office" Lead Weekly DVR Viewing] ", TV by the Numbers. Retrieved on May 13, 2008.] ranking "Lost" as the fourteenth most watched program of the week. [ABC Medianet, (April 29, 2008) " [ Weekly Program Rankings] ". Retrieved on June 22, 2008.] A total of 14.067 million Americans watched the episode live or within seven days; this number was factored into the season's average. [Seidman, Robert, (May 13, 2008) " [ "Idol", "Grey's", "Lost", "Housewives" and "The Office" Lead Weekly DVR Viewing] ", TV by the Numbers. Retrieved on May 13, 2008.] This was an improvement over the previous "Lost" episode that had aired six weeks earlier. "Lost" also improved its Canadian ratings with 1.443 million viewers. [BBM Canada, (April 30, 2008) " [ Top Programs: Total Canada (English)] ". Retrieved on May 2, 2008.] In Australia, "The Shape of Things to Come" was watched by only 683,000 viewers, [Seven Network, (May 2, 2008) " [ Daily Ratings Report] ". Retrieved on May 2, 2008.] but "Lost" was nominated in the same week for two "Sun-Herald" Bogie Awards—a parody of the Australian Logie Awards—in the categories of "Most Underrated" series and "Most Jerked Around by the Networks". [Dale, David, (April 27, 2008) " [ The Tribal Mind: The Envelopes Please] ", "The Sun-Herald". Retrieved on May 2, 2008.] [Dale, David, (March 16, 2008) " [ The Bogies: You Be the Judge and Jury] ", "The Sun-Herald". Retrieved on May 2, 2008.]

Karla Peterson of the "The San Diego Union-Tribune" gave "The Shape of Things to Come" an "A+", stating that "I may have no idea what's going on, but I know this is genius."Peterson, Karla, (April 25, 2008) " [ "Lost": 'The Shape of Things to Come'] ", "The San Diego Union-Tribune". Retrieved on May 18, 2008.] Jeff Jensen of "Entertainment Weekly" called "The Shape of Things to Come" "one of those deliciously dense episodes in which the nourishment of revelation is mixed with huge chunks of sugary intrigue" and speculated that the scene in which Alex is executed will be "sitting very high on this ranking of all-time pivotal "Lost" moments" by the series' May 2010 end. [Jensen, Jeff "Doc", (April 25, 2008) " [,,20195369_2,00.html Raiders of the "Lost" Story Arc] ", "Entertainment Weekly". Retrieved on April 26, 2008.] Before the season finale aired, Jensen ranked this as the second best moment of the season [Jensen, Jeff, (May 29, 2008) " [,,20202804_13,00.html Best Moment #2 of Season 4: 'He Changed the Rules'] ", "Entertainment Weekly". Retrieved on June 22, 2008.] and put the scene in which the monster attacks the mercenaries in ninth place. [Jensen, Jeff, (May 29, 2008) " [,,20202804_6,00.html Best Moment #9 of Season 4: Smokey Smokes 'Em] ", "Entertainment Weekly". Retrieved on June 22, 2008.] Dan Kois and Lane Brown of "New York" magazine thought that this "episode didn't exactly feel like the usual moderately paced, secret-revealing drama "Lost" usually is; it felt like an action movie … it was like watching "Die Hard" on an island". [Kois, Dan, & Brown, Lois, (April 25, 2008) " [ "Die Hard" on an Island] ", "New York". Retrieved on May 19, 2008.] Chris Carabott of IGN gave the episode a 9.3/10,Carabott, Chris, (April 25, 2008) " [ "Lost": 'The Shape of Things to Come' Review] ", IGN. Retrieved on April 26, 2008.] concluding that "if 'The Shape of Things to Come' is any indication of the level of quality that [the audience] should expect from here on out then we are in for some incredible storytelling" and "Alex's death will probably be remembered as one of the more pivotal scenes in the entire series [because] it is such a phenomenally shot, edited and acted moment … it would be incredibly hard not to feel for [Ben] here." [Carabott, Chris, (April 25, 2008) " [ Ben is Faced with an Unimaginable Decision] ", IGN. Retrieved on April 26, 2008.] Erin Martell of AOL's TV Squad summed up "The Shape of Things to Come" as "a brilliant episode … [with] tons of action, several big revelations, and more questions to ponder".Martell, Erin, (April 24, 2008) " [ "Lost": 'The Shape of Things to Come'] ", TV Squad. Retrieved on April 24, 2008.] Don Williams of BuddyTV decided that the episode was "worth waiting five weeks for" and "so jam packed that I need to give my brain time to rest". [Williams, Don, (April 24, 2008) " [ "Lost": Episode 4.9 'The Shape of Things to Come' Live Thoughts] ", BuddyTV. Retrieved on April 24, 2008.] Williams's colleague Oscar Dahl ranked the scene in which Alex is killed as the fifth best moment of the season, noting that "it was perfectly paced … and provided a huge shock … and some of the best acting you'll ever see". [Dahl, Oscar, (June 2, 2008) " [ Top Season 4 Moment #5: Keamy Kills Alex] ", BuddyTV. Retrieved on June 22, 2008.] Jay Glatfelter of The Huffington Post wrote that "'The Shape of Things to Come' was the perfect episode to get everyone back into the swing of "Lost". It wasn't a mindfuck à la 'The Constant'. It was an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride, which to me matched the 'Pilot''s bombastic grandeur". [Glatfelter, Jay, (April 25, 2008) " [ On "Lost": 'The Shape of Things to Come'] ", The Huffington Post. Retrieved on May 19, 2008.]

Alan Sepinwall of "The Star-Ledger" wrote that the episode "was overflowing with manna from post-strike heaven: lots of action, lots of intrigue [and] the odd answer or three"; however, he criticized the deaths of the three 815 survivors played by extras and survival of main characters, saying that "that sequence with Sawyer dodging bullets was supposed to be tense and frightening; instead, it was funny".Sepinwall, Alan, (April 24, 2008) " [ Smokey and the Bandits] ", "The Star-Ledger". Retrieved on April 24, 2008.] Kristin Dos Santos of E! agreed with Sepinwall's latter assessment. [Dos Santos, Kristin, (April 25, 2008) " [ If You're Not a Series Regular, Get Back Inside!] ", E!. Retrieved on April 26, 2008.] Although Jamie Poniewozik of "Time" worried about the show's direction in which Widmore is suddenly the antagonist and Ben travels the globe to seek revenge "looks a little too much like "Alias", Poniewozik enjoyed the island drama.Poniewozik, James, (April 25, 2008) " [ Lostwatch: A Game of Risk] ", "Time". Retrieved on June 7, 2008.] Daniel of TMZ called "The Shape of Things to Come" "another solid episode of "Lost", grading it as a "B" and claiming that "I enjoyed it the whole way through, even if it never gave me that 'OH MY GOD!!!!' moment, though I loved the Alex execution scene." [Daniel, (April 25, 2008) " [ "Lost" Diary: 'The Shape of Things to Come'] ", TMZ. Retrieved on April 26, 2008.]

Michael Emerson has submitted his performance in this episode for consideration of the Primetime Emmy Award for in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category and he had decided that this would be his submission prior to shooting the episode because of the script's strength. [Nichols, Katherine, (April 22, 2008) " [ No Acting Required as Peril Looms] ", "Honolulu Star-Bulletin". Retrieved on April 26, 2008.] Patrick Kevin Day of the "Los Angeles Times" expects Emerson to win. [Day, Patrick Kevin, (April 25, 2008) " [ Ben Linus Gets Tough] ", "Los Angeles Times". Retrieved on April 26, 2008.] Kevin Thompson of "The Palm Beach Post" wrote that "with those big ol' eyes of his, [Emerson] could always say more with a lengthy stare than he could with twenty pages of dialogue.… [He has] , once again, proved why he has become "Lost"'s star as well as its heart and soul.… an Emmy should belong to [him] ." [Thompson, Kevin, (April 25, 2008) " [ The Night Belongs To Big Ben] ", "The Palm Beach Post". Retrieved on May 19, 2008.] Jennifer Godwin of E! wrote that "no one has ever done better work humanizing a supervillain." [Godwin, Jennifer, (April 25, 2008) " [ Death, Dear Ones and the Monster: Michael Emerson Talks "Lost"] ", E!. Retrieved on April 25, 2008.] Among those who also praised Emerson's performance as Ben were Robert Bianco of "USA Today", [Bianco, Robert, (June 12, 2008) " [ Who Will Make Emmy Happy?] ", "USA Today". Retrieved on June 13, 2008.] Matt Roush of "TV Guide", [Roush, Matt, (April 25, 2008) " [ Week in Review: 20 Unforgettable Moments] ", "TV Guide". Retrieved on April 26, 2008.] Ben Rawson-Jones of Digital Spy, who gave the episode a perfect rating of five stars, [Rawson-Jones, Ben, (May 4, 2008) " [ S04E09: 'The Shape Of Things To Come'] ", Digital Spy. Retrieved on May 18, 2008.] John Kubicek of BuddyTV [Kubicek, John, (April 25, 2008) " [ "Lost" Easter Eggs: 'The Shape of Things to Come'] ", BuddyTV. Retrieved on April 26, 2008.] and aforementioned critics from "The Star-Ledger", "The San Diego Union-Tribune", "Time", "Entertainment Weekly", IGN and TV Squad.


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