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Episode Discussion (Spoiler Free) => Season 4 => Episode 4x03 => Topic started by: Lion of Atreides on February 17, 2008, 08:04:38 AM

Title: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: Lion of Atreides on February 17, 2008, 08:04:38 AM
I think this episode finally offers a plausible explanation why Ben developed his spinal tumor, despite the island's putative healing properties.  Namely, the tumor could have begun to grow during his frequent, and possibly extended, trips off the island. But this raises two new questions:

Why didn't he have the tumor operated on at the Mayo clinic?
   I think someone mentioned on another post, that if you're going to have major surgery, best to have it where you recover by magical powers.  At the Mayo clinic, he might have been in the ICU for weeks recovering.  There would also be the risk that inflammation would leave scarring.  As it turned out, he was soon to be seen traipsing around the island with the mother of his adopted child and 15 of her smelliest friends.

Why didn't the tumor shrink on its own upon his return(s) to the island?
   This is a toughie.  But from John's frequent loss of the ability to walk during his 'crises of faith', it seems the healing isn't total and permanent like Claire's in Heroes.  Rather, it seems the island gave John the equivalent of a 'temporary shunt' around his severed spinal cord, which it can remove at will.  Both Rose and John fear leaving the island, as they feel they would once again become cancerous/parapalegic, respectively.
   Could it be that Jacob removed the 'temporary shunt' protecting Ben from his tumor, because he wanted to replace Ben (his prisoner behind the ash barrier) with John?  Being the powerful being that Jacob is, he was able to nudge John such that he was on Flight 815.  And being the manipulative SOB that Ben is, he was able to nudge Jack such that he, too, was on Flight 815.  Hence, the conflict between Jacob & Ben has birthed the one between our Man of Faith, John, and our Man of Science, Jack.
   

Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: LostAndSeek on February 17, 2008, 09:53:49 AM
Always interesting ideas, LOA.

Ben being off the island for extended periods might explain his aging too. Richard goes off the island, but perhaps only for very short periods at a time. Hence minimal aging. Just an idea.

I think we have to separate Locke's two cases of regression. I can only think of two.... In the Dharma pit case, he's suffering severe physical trauma, thinks he's going to die.

In the Boone-trek-to-the-plane case, he's had an injury, but physical trauma seemed to have little to do with his problem. (Nor do I much buy into the crisis of faith argument, as he went through much more of a crisis in S2 without losing his bennies.) It was almost as though the Island/Jacob/somebody wanted the plane (or it's nearby hatch) to be found, but also wanted to be sure Locke wasn't the one to climb up to the plane...

I also wonder if proximity has something to do with it. Ben thinks Locke's presence is the reason he (Ben) finally heals quickly from the aftereffects of surgery. And Walt's presence has a similar effect on Locke.

Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: jugdish on February 17, 2008, 10:38:53 AM
Ben just discovered his tumor around 100 days ago. So there was not a lot of time off island to get it fixed. We also do not know how he gets off island. We do know since des turned the key, life has not been the same for the Others. So that might of ended his quick way off the isalnd.
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: TheGoodPeople on February 17, 2008, 04:27:32 PM
OK this is a bigtime stretch but maybe the tumor was caused by the after effects of the killer purge gas. Ben isn't being healed by the island because he was the cause of so much death. has there been a thread or any discussion of wheather or not the island can act in a conscience manner.
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: Lion of Atreides on February 17, 2008, 07:37:00 PM
Always interesting ideas, LOA.

Ben being off the island for extended periods might explain his aging too. Richard goes off the island, but perhaps only for very short periods at a time. Hence minimal aging. Just an idea.

Surely it has been remarked before that, concerning the slow progression of aging, that it nonetheless doesn't prevent children and fetuses from developing.  Otherwise, Ben wouldn't have grown up, and the fetuses conceived on the island that all killed their mothers wouldn't have gestated to the point in the pregnancy that would become fatal.  In other words, the anti-aging effect doesn't affect growth, just aging.  So, recent medical breakthroughs in our understanding of the role of telomeres may be tapped someday as an explanation. Oddly tho, telomeres are also implicated in the development of cancer...

I think we have to separate Locke's two cases of regression. I can only think of two.... In the Dharma pit case, he's suffering severe physical trauma, thinks he's going to die.

In the Boone-trek-to-the-plane case, he's had an injury, but physical trauma seemed to have little to do with his problem. (Nor do I much buy into the crisis of faith argument, as he went through much more of a crisis in S2 without losing his bennies.) It was almost as though the Island/Jacob/somebody wanted the plane (or it's nearby hatch) to be found, but also wanted to be sure Locke wasn't the one to climb up to the plane...

Things which the island could accomplish if it could switch on/off a 'temporary shunt'.

I also wonder if proximity has something to do with it. Ben thinks Locke's presence is the reason he (Ben) finally heals quickly from the aftereffects of surgery. And Walt's presence has a similar effect on Locke.

A sort of kirlian energy, or reiki treatment. I like it!
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: WhatThe on February 17, 2008, 07:44:59 PM
Ben just discovered his tumor around 100 days ago. So there was not a lot of time off island to get it fixed. We also do not know how he gets off island. We do know since des turned the key, life has not been the same for the Others. So that might of ended his quick way off the isalnd.
Yeah, and I seem to remember Ben saying that Jack crashed on the island within days of him finding out about his tumor. Which would mean that in Ben's mind, the island "brought" him a spinal surgeon. Ben even said so himself.
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: Lion of Atreides on February 17, 2008, 08:12:50 PM
Yeah, I now recall the whole Amelia/Juliet Mobisode about the X-ray happening prior to the book club, which met Sept 22, the day of Flight 815's crash.  Surely Ben found out himself just prior, and the Others' grapevine leaked the info quickly and efficiently.  So that would suggest that Ben the manipulative SOB wasn't responsible for engineering it so that a spinal surgeon was on the plane.  If the island was responsible for this action which could save Ben's life, is it possible that Jacob and the island aren't necessarily the same force, and are working at cross-purposes? 

Sayid's comment about everyone having a boss is interesting.  At the bottom of the heap are regular Muggles, clueless to the world about them.  Above the Muggles are enlightened humans such as Ben.  Above Ben are beings like Jacob that have evolved further.  And above Jacob is whatever dynamo that acts as the ultimate source of power for this island.  Perhaps the island and Ben's motives are in sync, and so the island expended the effort to bring Jack here.  Not in sync with the island & Ben, Jacob nonetheless retains some powers, which he used to ensure Locke made it on the plane, to become his surrogate and battle against Ben.  Ergo, the 'Help me!' plea.
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: laklost on February 17, 2008, 08:21:30 PM
Yeah, I now recall the whole Amelia/Juliet Mobisode about the X-ray happening prior to the book club, which met Sept 22, the day of Flight 815's crash.  Surely Ben found out himself just prior, and the Others' grapevine leaked the info quickly and efficiently.  So that would suggest that Ben the manipulative SOB wasn't responsible for engineering it so that a spinal surgeon was on the plane.  If the island was responsible for this action which could save Ben's life, is it possible that Jacob and the island aren't necessarily the same force, and are working at cross-purposes? 

Sayid's comment about everyone having a boss is interesting.  At the bottom of the heap are regular Muggles, clueless to the world about them.  Above the Muggles are enlightened humans such as Ben.  Above Ben are beings like Jacob that have evolved further.  And above Jacob is whatever dynamo that acts as the ultimate source of power for this island.  Perhaps the island and Ben's motives are in sync, and so the island expended the effort to bring Jack here.  Not in sync with the island & Ben, Jacob nonetheless retains some powers, which he used to ensure Locke made it on the plane, to become his surrogate and battle against Ben.  Ergo, the 'Help me!' plea.

So how does the island and its inherent power win?  Through the release of Jacob or through the destruction of Ben?  Both goals seem to be on the table.  If Jacob is anti-island, then we are cheering for Ben?  I don't believe it.  He is the villain.  We don't need two more seasons worth of episodes to prove that.  This week's was sufficient.
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: LostAndSeek on February 17, 2008, 08:31:39 PM

Yeah, and I seem to remember Ben saying that Jack crashed on the island within days of him finding out about his tumor. Which would mean that in Ben's mind, the island "brought" him a spinal surgeon. Ben even said so himself.

The day after, actually. And he said something like having a spinal surgeon fall out of the sky was enough to make one believe in God. In retrospect none of this fits very well though. If Ben wants a spinal surgeon he should be able to order one up out of his magic box.
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: LostAndSeek on February 17, 2008, 08:34:13 PM

Things which the island could accomplish if it could switch on/off a 'temporary shunt'.


Yeah, I wasn't necessarily disagreeing with you, just trying to think it through.
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: WhatThe on February 17, 2008, 08:35:12 PM
Yeah, I now recall the whole Amelia/Juliet Mobisode about the X-ray happening prior to the book club, which met Sept 22, the day of Flight 815's crash.  Surely Ben found out himself just prior, and the Others' grapevine leaked the info quickly and efficiently.  So that would suggest that Ben the manipulative SOB wasn't responsible for engineering it so that a spinal surgeon was on the plane.  If the island was responsible for this action which could save Ben's life, is it possible that Jacob and the island aren't necessarily the same force, and are working at cross-purposes? 

Sayid's comment about everyone having a boss is interesting.  At the bottom of the heap are regular Muggles, clueless to the world about them.  Above the Muggles are enlightened humans such as Ben.  Above Ben are beings like Jacob that have evolved further.  And above Jacob is whatever dynamo that acts as the ultimate source of power for this island.  Perhaps the island and Ben's motives are in sync, and so the island expended the effort to bring Jack here.  Not in sync with the island & Ben, Jacob nonetheless retains some powers, which he used to ensure Locke made it on the plane, to become his surrogate and battle against Ben.  Ergo, the 'Help me!' plea.
What if the island itself is the "dynamo" and "ultimate source of power" that is above Jacob?...And maybe it needs Jacob in order to survive somehow, like a human battery (thinking Matrix now lol)...and what if the last show of this insane series ends with Locke taking Jacob's place, condemned to sit forever alone in the cabin, keeping the island alive and powerful and forever invisible to the rest of the world? lol :)
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: footballmom10 on February 17, 2008, 10:45:11 PM
I think Ben's tumor is from using the time travel/alternate universe/magic box thing too much.  It would be like getting too many X-rays.  Also, as noted, from his being away from the restorative effects of the island for too long a time.  :) :)
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: Lion of Atreides on February 18, 2008, 12:08:58 AM
...and what if the last show of this insane series (sacre bleu!)ends with Locke taking Jacob's place, condemned to sit forever alone in the cabin, keeping the island alive and powerful and forever invisible to the rest of the world? lol :)

Sounds like The Caretaker in ST: Voyager.  I doubt the writers would go with such an idea that's already been used.
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: Lion of Atreides on February 18, 2008, 12:19:04 AM
I think Ben's tumor is from using the time travel/alternate universe/magic box thing too much.  It would be like getting too many X-rays.  Also, as noted, from his being away from the restorative effects of the island for too long a time.  :) :)

If indeed that is how Ben is getting around, rather than by conventional means.  The passports and the picture Miles has of Ben in what could be an airport suggests conventional means.

I have another theory why he developed the tumor.  Perhaps coming & going to & from the island repeatedly is traumatic on the body.  Every time you return, the island gives a boost to the immune system, which goes into overdrive fixing your broken nerves, fighting off cancer, etc.  Then when you leave, the immune system crashes.  Overdrive, crash, overdrive, crash... Pretty soon it may start to fail regardless of the fact that you've returned to the island again. The same thing happens over time as people age.  The immune system, seen as a system with finite resources, starts to run out of resources.  At that point, mundane infections flare up and the risk of morbidity increases.
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: PrincessLeia on February 19, 2008, 02:09:58 AM

Yeah, and I seem to remember Ben saying that Jack crashed on the island within days of him finding out about his tumor. Which would mean that in Ben's mind, the island "brought" him a spinal surgeon. Ben even said so himself.

The day after, actually. And he said something like having a spinal surgeon fall out of the sky was enough to make one believe in God. In retrospect none of this fits very well though. If Ben wants a spinal surgeon he should be able to order one up out of his magic box.
I've considered this as a possible reason that the plane was 1,000 miles offcourse.
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: DIZZYBECKSTER on February 19, 2008, 09:23:08 AM

Yeah, and I seem to remember Ben saying that Jack crashed on the island within days of him finding out about his tumor. Which would mean that in Ben's mind, the island "brought" him a spinal surgeon. Ben even said so himself.

The day after, actually. And he said something like having a spinal surgeon fall out of the sky was enough to make one believe in God. In retrospect none of this fits very well though. If Ben wants a spinal surgeon he should be able to order one up out of his magic box.
I've considered this as a possible reason that the plane was 1,000 miles offcourse.
so the plane was sucked in because it had the closest spinal surgeon on it?
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: lostfan777 on February 19, 2008, 01:24:34 PM
Why didn't he have the tumor operated on at the Mayo clinic?
   I think someone mentioned on another post, that if you're going to have major surgery, best to have it where you recover by magical powers.  At the Mayo clinic, he might have been in the ICU for weeks recovering. 

Also, his hidden closet and passports and money would indicate yet another secret being kept from the Others.  He couldn't disappear to the Mayo for an operation and natural recovery without everyone knowing that he was gone.
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: footballmom10 on February 19, 2008, 01:24:59 PM

Yeah, and I seem to remember Ben saying that Jack crashed on the island within days of him finding out about his tumor. Which would mean that in Ben's mind, the island "brought" him a spinal surgeon. Ben even said so himself.

The day after, actually. And he said something like having a spinal surgeon fall out of the sky was enough to make one believe in God. In retrospect none of this fits very well though. If Ben wants a spinal surgeon he should be able to order one up out of his magic box.
I've considered this as a possible reason that the plane was 1,000 miles offcourse.
so the plane was sucked in because it had the closest spinal surgeon on it?

[/quote

Ben didn't have to ask for a spinal surgeon.  Fate seems to always be on his side and, when it's not, he simply manipulates circumstance.  There is some omnicient power working for Ben.  Perhaps everybody on that plane was on there for a reason having to do with the island.  Perhaps it was this combination that led to some desired result (out of the infinite permutations of people in the world).   ???

The survivors may not be lost, they were instead chosen. ::) ::)
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: Lion of Atreides on February 19, 2008, 04:12:06 PM
Ben didn't have to ask for a spinal surgeon.  Fate seems to always be on his side and, when it's not, he simply manipulates circumstance.  There is some omnicient power working for Ben.  Perhaps everybody on that plane was on there for a reason having to do with the island.  Perhaps it was this combination that led to some desired result (out of the infinite permutations of people in the world).   ???

The survivors may not be lost, they were instead chosen. ::) ::)

Agreed. It's not random luck that brought our Losties (er, just those with speaking parts, perhaps) to the island. Whether it was synchronicity, or 'fixers' like Libby, Ben, Mrs. Hawkings, etc. who engineered them ending up on Flight 815 together...remains to be seen.

Oh, perhaps other caveats are in order.  Nikki & Paulo were brought to the island for us to hate, and get the writers to deviously off 'em.  Ana-Lucia was brought to send a message to the kiddies: don't drink & drive, or you will get fired from your job.  Any others?
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: lostfan777 on February 19, 2008, 04:21:00 PM
Hurley was brought to the island to remind me to play the lottery tonight......

The New York Mega-Millions jackpot is now $220,000,000!

No, I don't play 'the numbers', but I'd love to see them come out when the jackpot is like 10 million and have about 2,000 people show up to claim the prize, only to walk away with a grand or so after lump sum and taxes!
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: Lion of Atreides on February 19, 2008, 04:27:26 PM
If you win, just don't invest in a Chicken Shack franchise.
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: T Mack on February 19, 2008, 05:27:08 PM

Yeah, and I seem to remember Ben saying that Jack crashed on the island within days of him finding out about his tumor. Which would mean that in Ben's mind, the island "brought" him a spinal surgeon. Ben even said so himself.

The day after, actually. And he said something like having a spinal surgeon fall out of the sky was enough to make one believe in God. In retrospect none of this fits very well though. If Ben wants a spinal surgeon he should be able to order one up out of his magic box.
Bingo...Jack arrived through the magic box just like Tom Sawyer did.  The island (whatever that means) ordered it up and made it happen. Or was it because someone wanted it bad enough?
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: PrincessLeia on February 19, 2008, 06:18:15 PM

Yeah, and I seem to remember Ben saying that Jack crashed on the island within days of him finding out about his tumor. Which would mean that in Ben's mind, the island "brought" him a spinal surgeon. Ben even said so himself.

The day after, actually. And he said something like having a spinal surgeon fall out of the sky was enough to make one believe in God. In retrospect none of this fits very well though. If Ben wants a spinal surgeon he should be able to order one up out of his magic box.
Bingo...Jack arrived through the magic box just like Tom Sawyer did.  The island (whatever that means) ordered it up and made it happen. Or was it because someone wanted it bad enough?
I see that trademark Lost balance of fate & coincidence in play here.  I think that Ben's desire for a spinal surgeon drew the plane off course, BUT Des failing to push the button is what actually crashed the plane.
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: footballmom10 on February 19, 2008, 07:07:40 PM
It's not a tuma!!

Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: Lion of Atreides on February 19, 2008, 07:34:42 PM
Also, his hidden closet and passports and money would indicate yet another secret being kept from the Others.  He couldn't disappear to the Mayo for an operation and natural recovery without everyone knowing that he was gone.

It's entirely possible that the Others are completely aware of Ben's life as Dean Moriarty.  All he'd have to say is that Daddy has to go on a trip to earn money and protect you kiddies from the bad man. Why wouldn't that be ok? If they're all of like higher purpose &/or brainwashed in room 23, they wouldn't see it as Ben gets to have a vacation in the real world while they're stuck on the island. But they would expect him to bring back some good booze from the duty free...
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: LostAndSeek on February 19, 2008, 07:53:42 PM
I agree, LoA. We have pretty good evidence that Others regularly leave the island. And there's no better reason than to get medical help. So no reason to crash a plane, and no evidence either.

Plus, if Ben really can't or won't leave the island then just pay somebody a couple of megabucks to come to the island and operate there. Sheesh.
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: Lion of Atreides on February 19, 2008, 08:00:43 PM
Yeah, seeing Berlin Ben kinda opens a can of worms on the whole Jack/spinal surgeon/Flight 815/Fate v. coincidence question, doesn't it?  Maybe Ben's HMO back stateside had crappy coverage...
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: laklost on February 24, 2008, 06:12:36 PM
I think Ben's tumor is from using the time travel/alternate universe/magic box thing too much.  It would be like getting too many X-rays.  Also, as noted, from his being away from the restorative effects of the island for too long a time.  :) :)

If indeed that is how Ben is getting around, rather than by conventional means.  The passports and the picture Miles has of Ben in what could be an airport suggests conventional means.

I have another theory why he developed the tumor.  Perhaps coming & going to & from the island repeatedly is traumatic on the body.   Every time you return, the island gives a boost to the immune system, which goes into overdrive fixing your broken nerves, fighting off cancer, etc.  Then when you leave, the immune system crashes.  Overdrive, crash, overdrive, crash... Pretty soon it may start to fail regardless of the fact that you've returned to the island again. The same thing happens over time as people age.  The immune system, seen as a system with finite resources, starts to run out of resources.  At that point, mundane infections flare up and the risk of morbidity increases.

I pulled this up because of the reveal in 4x04 that Daniel is suffering.  Reminds me of Michael Crichton's Timeline in which every time trip caused a "scar" of differing types on the body system.  You're on to something here, LOA
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: PrincessLeia on February 24, 2008, 07:27:20 PM
The scans that Richard showed to Juliet upon recruiting her may fit with that theory.
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: laklost on February 24, 2008, 07:38:15 PM
Yes, good call.  I do wonder which woman belonged to those scans...
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: LostAndSeek on February 24, 2008, 08:02:41 PM
I think all the likely candidates that we've met are dead, aren't they?

Amelia's alive, but the woman in the xrays was only in her 20's I think.

Cindy's alive, but she came to the island after Juliet.

Anybody else still alive?
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: laklost on February 24, 2008, 08:05:58 PM
Amelia?  Earhart?

Or did you mean Annie?  Are you mixing up your A names?  :D
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: PrincessLeia on February 24, 2008, 08:23:41 PM
Amelia is the older lady that came by Juliet's before the book club.
http://www.lostpedia.com/wiki/Amelia

There are several other possibilities among the background others (ladies we've seen @ the book club, cages, @ the ruins, etc.), but I think all the prominent women are dead.
http://www.lostpedia.com/wiki/Background_cast#Others_background
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: LostAndSeek on February 24, 2008, 08:31:18 PM
Hey Lakkie,

Annie's not an Other as far as we know. Amelia's the woman who helped Juliet with her burned hand in the premiere of S3. Could be Earhart, but in any case too old to be the woman in the xrays, unless Richard drained her life force to maintain his young, vigorous body. (No, no that was just a joke!!)
Title: Re: Ben's tumor: The Cause?
Post by: lostfan777 on February 25, 2008, 10:50:05 AM
As for the cause of Ben's tumor, that's easy - CANCER!  Why the island doesn't heal him, I have no idea!  ???

Now as to the cure, I think there was a time that Ben could leave the island at will, but these days he's a much more wanted man, and sitting in a real world hospital recovering from spinal surgery would be too risky for him.  Had more time passed, they would have enlisted a surgeon just as they did Juliet, but they didn't need to after Jack fell out of the sky.

Ben's photo appeared to be from a long time ago, and maybe even then he was being watched/hunted.  I think the only reason he ends up in Germany with Sayid is that he is forced to flee the island by the freighters and is now on a quest with Sayid (maybe others) to destroy those responsible (the list).