Lost/The Shape of Things to Come

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The Shape of Things to Come
Season 4, Episode 9
Airdate April 24, 2008
Production Number 409
Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Drew Goddard
Directed by Jack Bender
← 4x08
Meet Kevin Johnson
4x10 →
Something Nice Back Home
LostSeason Four

The Shape of Things to Come is the ninth episode of the fourth season of Lost, and the eighty-first episode overall.

Locke's camp comes under attack, and Jack tries to discover the identity of a body that has washed ashore.

Starring: Naveen Andrews (Sayid), Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond), Jeremy Davies (Daniel), Emilie de Ravin (Claire), Michael Emerson (Ben), Matthew Fox (Jack), Jorge Garcia (Hurley), Josh Holloway (Sawyer), Daniel Dae Kim (Jin), Yunjin Kim (Sun), Ken Leung (Miles), Evangeline Lilly (Kate), Rebecca Mader (Charlotte), Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet), Terry O'Quinn (Locke), Harold Perrineau (Michael).

Guest Starring: Sam Anderson (Bernard), Alan Dale (Charles Widmore), Kevin Durand (Keamy), Tania Raymonde (Alex), Faran Tahir (Ishmael Bakir), Marc Vann (Ray).

Co-Starring: Yetide Badaki (Tunisian Desk Clerk), Nick Hermz (Bedouin #1), Sean Douglas Hoban (Doug), Kaveh Kardan (Merchant), Michael Sadler (London Doorman), Sammy Sheik (Bedouin #2).


Plot Overview

The Island

  • At the Oceanic beach camp, Jack takes a few pills from the medicine cache in his tent. Kate tells him he looks terrible and asks what the pills are for. They're antibiotics as he believes he has a stomach bug. Asked why their friends haven't come back from the freighter yet, Jack tells Kate his gut tells him they're getting off the island, but Kate reminds him his gut is sick. Their conversation is interrupted by frantic yelling from Bernard and Vincent's barking. The two rush to the surf and help pull a body out of the water. Daniel identifies the body as Ray, the freighter's doctor. Jack looks over Ray's body and discovers his throat had been slit and asks Daniel and Charlotte if they know anything about that. Daniel tells him that Ray was fine the last time he saw him but, after being asked when that was, can only say "when" is a relative term. Juliet asks Daniel if he's had any luck in fixing their satellite phone, but Daniel tells her the mic is broken and they could only at best broadcast beeps and boops. Bernard suggests they use the satellite phone as a telegraph and Daniel gets to work in jury-rigging the satellite phone to accomplish that. Jack pulls Bernard aside to speak with him in private.

    Night descends upon the beach camp as Daniel finishes his work on the satellite phone and begins sending morse code out. Daniel tells Jack that he's asking what happened to the doctor. They receive a response and Daniel tells them that the freighter didn't exactly say what happened to the doctor, but their friends are fine and they're sending a helicopter in the morning. Jack turns to Bernard who reveals that Daniel is lying as the message actually said the doctor is fine. Jack demands to know why Daniel is lying and asks him if they were ever going to get them off the island. Daniel tells him no.

  • At the barracks, Locke, Sawyer and Hurley, who is watching Aaron, are engaged in a heated game of Risk. Outside the barracks, Keamy and his mercenaries from the freighter bring Alex to the sonar fence. At gunpoint Keamy orders Alex to deactivate the fence; she complies. As the fence is deactivated, a telephone goes off inside Locke's house. Answering it, Locke hears a pre-recorded voice repeating "code 14J" and so Locke and Sawyer confront Ben regarding it. Ben is concerned upon hearing the code, grabs a hidden shotgun and tosses it to Sawyer, and tells the two they have to get back to his house as it can be better fortified — "they" are here.

    As they head to the house, Ben informs them that "code 14J" is an early warning system that's triggered when someone tripped the panic button on their security fence; it means one of his people has been captured. Sawyer wants to get Rousseau and the kids, but Ben tells them he sent them away the previous day. Claire is still sleeping at her place, so Sawyer decides to get her. Locke and Ben begin barricading the entrances to the house as Hurley, holding Aaron, wonders what's going on and how Sawyer is supposed to get back in. Locke orders him to get away from the windows and Ben tells him that Sawyer won't be getting back inside. Outside, Sawyer flags down one of the Oceanic survivors to see if Claire is still in her house, but the man is shot in the chest. Sawyer blindly returns fire into the jungle, but two more Oceanic survivors are shot and killed in the exchange of gunfire. Sawyer rushes to Claire's house, but a rocket destroys the structure.

    Inside Ben's house, Locke asks Ben why he told him he needed to survive the impending attack. Ben tells him that the only person who can help them is Jacob and they have to go to him together. Locke reminds Ben that he doesn't know where the cabin is, but Ben tells him that Hurley knows. At Claire's burnt out house Sawyer finds her inside, shaken but alive. He carries her back to Ben's house and in through a window Hurley broke open for them. The doorbell rings and Sawyer lets the person in, Miles. Miles tells them that he was freed by the men who gave him a walkie talkie; they want to speak to Ben. He believes there are only six men out there in the jungle, that the men claimed they were security to escort Ben back to the mainland. Ben doesn't want to talk to the men, even though they have a hostage, as every one of his people is willing to die in the service to the island. But he learns their hostage is his daughter and takes the walkie. The man identifies himself as Martin Keamy and directs Ben to a window so they can see each other. Keamy orders Ben to leave the house and walk to him, then he'll let everyone go once Ben is in his custody. Ben reminds Keamy that, should he be captured, he knows there's nothing to stop Keamy from killing everyone on the island. He has detailed information on Keamy and knows exactly what kind of man he is. Another mercenary brings Alex out of the jungle and she's forced to her knees by Keamy, who orders Ben to get outside immediately or he'll execute her. Ben presents a counter proposal: Keamy and his men turn around, head back to their helicopter, leave the island and forget they ever heard about it. Keamy begins a countdown to Alex's execution while Ben tries to tell him that Alex is not his daughter, that he stole her from an insane woman who was her mother, and is nothing but a pawn and means nothing to him. Ben refuses to come out of the house and Keamy executes Alex, shocking Ben.

    The mercenaries disappear into the jungle, but Locke realizes it'll be dark in just 20 minutes and the mercenaries will come back under cover of darkness. Sawyer wants to hand Ben over, but Locke tells him the mercenaries have no intention of letting them live. Still in shock, Ben says "he changed the rules" and heads into the hidden room in his house, a metal barrier descending to prevent Sawyer from following him. Inside the hidden room, Ben opens a hidden compartment in a closet revealing a stone doorway with strange inscriptions written on it. He pushes open the stone doorway and heads further inside. Ben eventually comes out of the room, grabs the walkie and tells the assembled survivors they're going make a run for the tree line in a minute when he gives the say-so. The building begins to shake as they witness the monster shoot past the building. Ben orders them outside where they see the monster attack the mercenaries. One of the mercenaries tries to escape, but the monster drags him back into the jungle. Ben tells them to go and he'll catch up to them as he needs to say goodbye to his daughter. Ben closes his daughter's eyes and cries over her body.

    In the jungle outside the barracks, Sawyer directs Miles in the direction his chopper buddies were, but Miles decides to stick with them for the time being. Ben rejoins the group and Locke expresses his condolences for what happened to Alex, but tells him he lied to him about not knowing what the smoke monster was. Ben tells Locke that he can ask Jacob about it. Sawyer wants to know who Jacob is and Ben tells him he's the man who is going to tell them what to do next. Sawyer is fed up with following Locke and decides to head back to the beach with Claire and her kid; Miles decides to go with them. Locke stops them as they try to leave, leveling his gun at Sawyer, and tells him Hurley stays with them. To prevent the two from shooting each other, Hurley agrees to go with Locke and catch up with them later. Sawyer threatens to kill Locke should anything happen to Hurley.

The Flashforward

  • Flashforwad: Ben

Ben regains consciousness laying on his back against severely dry and cracked ground of the Sahara Desert, wisps of cold air evaporating off his DHARMA Initiative-branded parka in the intense heat. He throws up and checks his injured right arm. Two men carrying AK-47's arrive on horseback, level their weapons at Ben and argue amongst themselves. Ben tries to communicate with the men and one of them dismounts and pats Ben down, finding something in his pocket. Ben takes the object, a small metal cylinder, out of his pocket and shows it to the men. It's a telescopic baton and Ben flicks it open, hitting the man behind him, grabs his AK-47 and uses it to kill the other man on horseback. The disarmed man surrenders to Ben in English, but Ben knocks him unconscious with the butt of the AK-47. He takes off on one of their horses.

Ben eventually makes his way to a hotel in Tozeur, Tunisia. Checking in with the desk clerk, Ben identifies himself as Dean Moriarty and tells her he's a preferred guest; it's not his first time in Tunisia, but it's been a while since he's come back. The desk clerk gives Ben a room key and asks if there is anything else she can help with. Ben asks her for the date, October 24, but also for the year, 2005. As he heads upstairs, Ben momentarily watches a television broadcast in the lobby regarding one of the Oceanic Six, Sayid. Sayid pleads to the mass of reporters that he just wants to bury his wife in peace.

Ben travels to Tikrit, Iraq, the location of the funeral for Sayid's wife, Nadia. The funeral procession is under heavy guard by U.S. soldiers. Traveling to the roof of a building overlooking the procession route, Ben begins taking photos of a man watching the procession. Ben takes a photo of Sayid, one of the pallbearers, but Sayid turns around and sees him. Realizing he's been spotted, Ben quickly packs up and tries to get out of the building, but Sayid stops him. Sayid initially thinks Ben is a paparazzi, but quickly realizes who he is. Ben tells Sayid that he's there to find the man who killed his wife. Asked how he got off the island, Ben claims he got off using Desmond's boat, the Elizabeth, traveled to Fiji and then chartered a plane. Asked why he's shown up now, Ben asks Sayid if he remembers the name Charles Widmore and how he tried to convince the world their plane was at the bottom of the ocean. He tells Sayid there is a man watching the procession by the name of Ishmael Bakir who is one of Widmore's men. Bakir was last seen five days ago in Los Angeles when he was caught by a speed camera speeding away just three blocks from where Nadia was killed. He doesn't know why Widmore would want to murder Nadia, but they did.

Ben tails Bakir, keeping an eye on him at a bar. Bakir leaves and Ben pursues him into an empty alley, but Bakir gets the drop on Ben and holds him at gunpoint. Bakir demands to know who Ben is and why he is following him. Ben gives him his name and asks Bakir to deliver a message to Widmore, but Sayid shoots Bakir with a silenced handgun and empties the magazine into Bakir's body. As their business is finished, Ben attempts to leave but is stopped by Sayid. Ben tells him to mourn his loss and get on with his life, that once he lets his grief become anger it will never go away; he knows from first-hand experience. This war is Ben's, not Sayid's. Sayid reminds Ben that he spent eight years looking for the woman he loved, married her and then buried her. Ben's war is now his too. He asks who the next target is. Ben tells Sayid he'll be in touch and walks away, a smile coming to his face.

Ben travels to an apartment building in London, England. He's stopped by security in the lobby, but Ben tells him he's expected by a couple in the building. He offers to let the man call up to confirm his story while he readies his telescopic baton behind his back. The man decides there's no need and lets Ben go. In the elevator, Ben uses a key to send the elevator to the penthouse suite. Inside the penthouse suite he confronts its occupant, Charles Widmore. Ben asks Widmore when he started sleeping with a bottle of scotch next to him, and Widmore tells him it was when the nightmares started. Widmore asks if Ben's there to kill him, but Ben tells him that they both know he can't do that. Ben tells him he's there because he murdered his daughter. Widmore tells Ben to not lay the blame of the poor girl's death on him as they both know he didn't murder her at all, rather Ben is responsible. He knows who Ben is and what he is, that everything Ben has he took from him. Widmore once again asks Ben why he's there. Ben informs Widmore that he's going to kill his daughter, Penelope, so he'll understand how he feels and wish he hadn't changed the rules. Widmore claims that Ben will never find Penelope, that the island belongs to him and always has. Ben replies that Widmore will never find the island.



  • How did Ben get to the Sahara?
  • Why was Ben wearing a parka?
  • Why was Ben's arm injured?
  • Why was Nadia murdered?
  • What are "the rules"?
  • What rules were changed by Alex's murder?
  • Where did Ben go behind the stone wall?
  • How does Ben direct or control the monster?
  • Why do Ben and Locke need Hurley to find Jacob's cabin?
  • Why can't Ben kill Widmore?
  • Why wouldn't Ben be able to find Penelope?
  • Why would the island belong to Widmore?
  • Why can't Widmore find the island after sending a freighter there?


The Cursed Numbers

  • There are 42 territories on the Risk game board.
  • Sawyer rolls a 15 on his second roll in Risk.
  • The code to access the sonic fence's controls is 1623. 16 and 23 are two of the numbers.
  • Keamy counts down to 8 before executing Alex.
  • Sayid spent 8 years looking for Nadia.
  • One of the British license plates reads "LL04 BAV". 4 is one of the numbers.
  • Ben claims to be visiting a couple in room 4E.


Arc Advancement


  • Three Oceanic survivors are gunned down.
  • The smoke monster attacks the mercenaries.
  • The barracks are abandoned.
  • Sawyer, Claire, Aaron and Miles head back to the beach camp.
  • Locke, Ben and Hurley head off to find Jacob's cabin.
  • Jack and company discover the freighters have no intention of getting them off the island.


  • Alex is executed by Keamy.


  • 4x02 - Confirmed Dead: Locke reminds Ben that he lied to him about not knowing what the smoke monster was. In "Confirmed Dead", Locke threatened to kill Ben unless he told him what the smoke monster was. Ben claimed ignorance.
  • 4x04 - Eggtown: Ben tells Miles that he probably won't be seeing his $3.2 million. In "Eggtown", Miles tried to extort $3.2 million out of Ben by telling the freighter Ben was dead in exchange for the money.
  • 4x08 - Meet Kevin Johnson: Ben tells Locke and Sawyer that he sent Rousseau, Karl and Alex to a safe place the previous day. In "Meet Kevin Johnson", Ben pleaded to Alex to leave and go to the Temple.


The Show

  • Risk: Locke is seen playing a game of Risk with Sawyer and Locke. In season one's "Walkabout", Locke is seen playing a game of Risk with a co-worker during their lunch break.
  • Tunisia: Ben arrives, seemingly out of thin air, in Tunisia. In "Confirmed Dead", Charlotte Lewis came across a polar bear skeleton in Tunisia with a collar bearing the Hydra logo.

Behind the Scenes

  • Promotional Changes: Ben playing the piano was one of the promotional videos ABC released for this episode. The front of the piano has the logo for Kawai, a Japanese manufacturer of pianos, electronic keyboards and electronic synthesizers. In the aired episode, however, a black bar has been digitally inserted over the logo to block it out.
  • Nikon: The digital camera Ben uses in Iraq is a Nikon D100, a digital SLR camera first introduced in 2002 and produced until 2005. The Nikon logo above the lens has been partially scrubbed off.
  • Location, Location, Location: The Barracks is the YMCA's Camp Erdman in Waialua, HI. Tikrit, Iraq is the Honolulu Community College in Honolulu, HI. The scenes of Ben arriving at Widmore's London apartment and Ben subsequently confronting Widmore were shot in London, England.
  • Missing in Action: Henry Ian Cusick and Harold Perrineau, Jr. are credited but do not appear.

Allusions and References

  • Episode Title: The Shape of Things to Come is a work of science fiction by H. G. Wells, published in 1933. The book speculates on future events from 1933 to the year 2106.
  • Chicken Little: In response to Hurley's claim they're all going to die, Sawyer refers to him as "Chicken Little" and reminds him the sky hasn't fallen yet. Chicken Little is a character in a fable in which he believes the sky is falling. The phrase "the sky is falling" is now a common idiom in the English language indicating a mistaken belief that disaster is imminent.
  • Risk: Locke, Sawyer and Hurley are seen playing a game of Risk. Originally released in 1957, Risk is a turn-based game for up to six players, and is played on a board depicting a stylized political map of the Earth, divided into forty-two territories, which are grouped into six continents. Players control armies, with which they attempt to capture territories from other players, and eventually conquer the world.
  • Piano Man: Ben is seen playing Prelude in C-sharp minor, op. 3, no. 2 by Sergei Rachmaninoff, a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor.
  • Dean Moriarty: Ben's Swiss passport lists his alias as "Dean Moriarty". Dean Moriarty is one of the protagonists in Jack Kerouac's 1958 novel On the Road. In the novel, Dean grew up with a bum for a father for whom he searches on many occasions. In one of the stories in Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier, Dean Moriarty is the great-grandson of Sherlock Holmes' arch-nemesis Professor Moriarty. Professor Moriarty is considered one of the first super villains.
  • Shock and Awe: Asked what's going on, Ben tells Locke that the term is "shock and awe." Shock and awe is a military doctrine written by Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade in 1996 and based on the use of power overwhelming, dominant battlefield awareness, dominant maneuvers, and spectacular displays of force to paralyze an adversary's perception of the battlefield and destroy its will to fight.
  • Admiral MacCutcheon: Charles Widmore's preferred brand of scotch whiskey is MacCutcheon. Widmore once said that MacCutcheon whiskey is named after Admiral MacCutcheon, an admiral in the Royal Navy who retired with more medals than anyone before or since. Admiral McCutcheon is a character in the 1997 TV movie remake of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Lost actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje played a character in this remake.

Memorable Moments