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"The Shape of Things to Come" is the eighty-first 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. 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. 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 Hawaiimarker. 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. "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.

Plot

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 (actor)|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 (actor)|Matthew Fox]]), who suffers from stomach pains throughout the day, forces Daniel to reveal that it was never their intention to rescue the survivors.[[Brian K. Vaughan|Vaughan, Brian K.]] (writer) & [[Drew Goddard|Goddard, Drew]] (writer) & [[Jack Bender|Bender, Jack]] (director), "The Shape of Things to Come". ''[[Lost (TV series)|Lost]]'', [[American Broadcasting Company|ABC]]. [[List of Lost episodes|Episode 9]], [[Lost (season 4)|season 4]]. Aired on April 24, 2008. Meanwhile, Alex is captured by [[Martin Keamy]] ([[Kevin Durand]]) and others from the freighter.[[Elizabeth Sarnoff|Sarnoff, Elizabeth]] (writer) & [[Brian K. Vaughan|Vaughan, Brian K.]] (writer) & [[Stephen Williams (director)|Williams, Stephen]] (director), "[[Meet Kevin Johnson]]". ''[[Lost (TV series)|Lost]]'', [[American Broadcasting Company|ABC]]. [[List of Lost episodes|Episode 8]], [[Lost (season 4)|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 (Lost)|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 [[Extra (actor)|extra]]s) are shot to death by the mercenaries. Keamy finds and frees [[Miles Straume]] ([[Ken Leung]]), 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 [[Mythology of Lost#The Monster|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 [[Characters of Lost#The Others|Jacob]] for further instructions. Sawyer, Hurley, Claire and [[Characters of Lost#Minor Oceanic 815 crash survivors|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).[[Damon Lindelof|Lindelof, Damon]] (writer) & [[Carlton Cuse|Cuse, Carlton]] (writer) & [[Jack Bender|Bender, Jack]] (director), "[[The Beginning of the End (Lost)|The Beginning of the End]]". ''[[Lost (TV series)|Lost]]'', [[American Broadcasting Company|ABC]]. [[List of Lost episodes|Episode 1]], [[Lost (season 4)|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 [[Characters of Lost#Off-island characters|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 [[Characters of Lost#Off-island characters|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. == Production == [[Image:Dharka.jpg|thumb|right|225px|Steam rises from Ben, as he awakens in the Sahara wearing the "Dharka".]] The [[Writers Guild of America, west|Writers Guild of America]] went on strike on November 4, 2007,McNary, Dave & Littleton, Cynthia, (November 2, 2007) "[http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=print_story&articleid=VR1117975256 Writers Call for Strike]", ''[[Variety (magazine)|Variety]]''. Retrieved on November 3, 2007. by which time only eight of the planned sixteen episodes of ''Lost'''s fourth season had been written.[[Damon Lindelof|Lindelof, Damon]] & [[Carlton Cuse|Cuse, Carlton]], (November 5, 2007) "[http://weblogs.variety.com/wga_strike_blog/2007/11/lost-writers-li.html ''Lost'' Writers: 'Like Putting Down a ''Harry Potter'' Book in the Middle']", ''[[Variety (magazine)|Variety]]''. Retrieved on November 8, 2007. These episodes aired from January to March 2008.Grossman, Ben, (November 7, 2007) "[http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6498735.html?industryid=47168 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[[Michael Ausiello|Ausiello, Michael]], (April 11, 2008) "[http://community.tvguide.com/blog-entry/TVGuide-Editors-Blog/Ausiello-Report/Ausiello-Scoop-Lostgreys/800037370 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) "[http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2008-02-11-strike-production_N.htm 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-Soo Kwon|Jin Kwon]] ([[Daniel Dae Kim]])] and Hurley Ping-Pong tournament, however, will be very disappointed."[[Kristin Dos Santos|Dos Santos, Kristin]], (February 13, 2008) "[http://www.eonline.com/gossip/kristin/detail/index.jsp?uuid=cde3739d-0729-45c2-b6bd-9b28c9f3a06d 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) "[http://www.nypost.com/seven/02242008/tv/10_reasons_why_lost_is_found_98856.htm?page=0 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) "[http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,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".[[Kristin Dos Santos|Dos Santos, Kristin]], (May 9, 2008) "[http://ca.eonline.com/gossip/kristin/detail/index.jsp?uuid=30ea40d8-c950-4ae6-af8e-3c7cd60d6384 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;[[Kristin Dos Santos|Dos Santos, Kristin]], (December 14, 2007) "[http://www.eonline.com/gossip/kristin/detail/index.jsp?uuid=65b8528b-c48d-41f1-9df6-a9ac10e19e3f&sid=fd-hot2-txt ''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) "[http://www.tvsquad.com/2008/02/13/second-batch-of-lost-episodes-will-follow-greys-anatomy 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''.[[Michael Ausiello|Ausiello, Michael]], (February 13, 2008) "[http://community.tvguide.com/blog-entry/TVGuide-Editors-Blog/Ausiello-Report/Exclusive-Lost-Finds/800033151 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 (Lost)|Cabin Fever]]" in February and March 2008.Lachonis, Jon "DocArzt", (March 13, 2008) "[http://www.ugo.com/tv/lost/?cur=darlton Darlton ''Lost'' Interview]", [[UGO Networks]]. Retrieved on March 22, 2008. Its title is derived from the 1933 science fiction [[The Shape of Things to Come|novel of the same name]] by [[H. G. Wells|H.G. Wells]].[[Damon Lindelof|Lindelof, Damon]] & [[Carlton Cuse|Cuse, Carlton]], (April 25, 2008) "[http://ll.media.abc.com/podcast/audio/itunes/LOST_410_audio_podcast_aaf44dbb-c51c-4fe8-babf-e80bcbd3c792_1643855.mp3 Official ''Lost'' Audio Podcast]", [[American Broadcasting Company|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".[[Kristin Dos Santos|Dos Santos, Kristin]], (March 21, 2008) "[http://www.eonline.com/gossip/kristin/detail/index.jsp?uuid=0699b3ce-6e96-4a14-9781-bbc43e289137 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) "[http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2008/Feb/29/ln/hawaii802290369.html ''Lost'' Going Back into Film Action Here on March 10]", ''[[Honolulu Advertiser]]''. Retrieved on March 22, 2008. alongside filming of "[[Something Nice Back Home]]".[[Jorge Garcia|Garcia, Jorge]], (March 25, 2008) "[http://forum.thefuselage.com/showthread.php?t=92911 Hey Jorge! A Question for You …]", [[Lost (TV series)#Fandom and popular culture|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) "[http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,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 (Lost)|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) "[http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,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) "[http://www.lostpedia.com/wiki/The_Lostpedia_Interview:Sean_Douglas_Hoban 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) "[http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20194903,00.html The Show is Back!]", ''[[Entertainment Weekly]]''. Retrieved on April 26, 2008. A couple [[Easter egg (virtual)|Easter egg]]s are present in this scene:Kubicke, John, (April 25, 2008) "[http://www.buddytv.com/articles/lost/lost-easter-eggs-the-shape-of-18912.aspx ''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 [[Characters of Lost#DHARMA Initiative members|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]]".[[Damon Lindelof|Lindelof, Damon]] (writer) & [[Carlton Cuse|Cuse, Carlton]] (writer) & [[Stephen Williams (director)|Williams, Stephen]] (director), "[[There's No Place Like Home]]". ''[[Lost (TV series)|Lost]]'', [[American Broadcasting Company|ABC]]. [[List of Lost episodes|Episode 12]], [[Lost (season 4)|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 (Lost)|The Economist]]" for his alias Dean Moriarty,[[Edward Kitsis|Kitsis, Edward]] (writer) & [[Adam Horowitz|Horowitz, Adam]] (writer) & [[Jack Bender|Bender, Jack]] (director), "[[The Economist (Lost)|The Economist]]". ''[[Lost (TV series)|Lost]]'', [[American Broadcasting Company|ABC]]. [[List of Lost episodes|Episode 3]], [[Lost (season 4)|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) "[http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/theampersand/archive/2008/04/25/the-shape-of-things-to-come-lost-season-four-episode-nine-recap.aspx '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,[[Damon Lindelof|Lindelof, Damon]], (May 9, 2007) "[http://www.kuwaittimes.net/read_news.php?newsid=MTU5OTA2MTUzOQ== ''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) "[http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1137819692/bclid1155151521/bctid1522751415 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) "[http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20190415,00.html Secrets From the Set!]", ''[[Entertainment Weekly]]''. Retrieved on April 26, 2008. == Reception == [[Image:Drew Goddard.png|thumb|right|225px|Co-executive producer Drew Goddard co-wrote the script.]] "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) "[http://tvbythenumbers.com/2008/05/12/idol-greys-lost-housewives-and-the-office-lead-weekly-dvr-viewing/3728 ''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.[[American Broadcasting Company|ABC]] Medianet, (April 29, 2008) "[http://abcmedianet.com/web/dnr/dispDNR.aspx?id=042908_06 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. 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) "[http://www.bbm.ca/en/nat04212008.pdf 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) "[http://www.ebroadcast.com.au/enews/seven/Seven---Daily-Ratings-Report-020508.html Daily Ratings Report]". Retrieved on May 2, 2008. but ''Lost'' was nominated in the same week for two ''[[The Sun-Herald|Sun-Herald]]'' Bogie Awards—a parody of the Australian [[Logie Award]]s—in the categories of "Most Underrated" series and "Most Jerked Around by the Networks".Dale, David, (April 27, 2008) "[http://blogs.sunherald.com.au/whoweare/archives/2008/04/triballogies.html The Tribal Mind: The Envelopes Please]", ''[[The Sun-Herald]]''. Retrieved on May 2, 2008.Dale, David, (March 16, 2008) "[http://blogs.sunherald.com.au/whoweare/archives/2008/04/the_tribal_mind_66.html 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) "[http://weblog.signonsandiego.com/tvtracker/archives/022567.html ''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) "[http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20195369_2,00.html Raiders of the ''Lost'' Story Arc]", ''[[Entertainment Weekly]]''. Retrieved on April 26, 2008. Before the [[There's No Place Like Home|season finale]] aired, Jensen ranked this as the second best moment of the seasonJensen, Jeff, (May 29, 2008) "[http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,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) "[http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,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)|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) "[http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2008/04/lost_die_hard_on_an_island.html ''Die Hard'' on an Island]", ''[[New York (magazine)|New York]]''. Retrieved on May 19, 2008. Chris Carabott of [[IGN]] gave the episode a 9.3/10,Carabott, Chris, (April 25, 2008) "[http://tv.ign.com/articles/869/869403p2.html ''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) "[http://tv.ign.com/articles/869/869403p1.html 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) "[http://www.tvsquad.com/2008/04/24/lost-the-shape-of-things-to-come ''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) "[http://www.buddytv.com/articles/lost/lost-episode-49-the-shape-of-t-18863.aspx ''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) "[http://www.buddytv.com/articles/lost/more/5-moment-keamy-kills-alex-20082.aspx 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 [[wiktionary:Mindfuck|mindfuck]] à la '[[The Constant]]'. It was an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride, which to me matched the '[[Pilot (Lost)|Pilot]]''s bombastic grandeur".Glatfelter, Jay, (April 25, 2008) "[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jay-glatfelter/on-ilosti-the-shape-of-th_b_98676.html 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) "[http://blog.nj.com/alltv/2008/04/lost_the_shape_of_things_to_co.html Smokey and the Bandits]", ''[[The Star-Ledger]]''. Retrieved on April 24, 2008. [[Kristin Dos Santos]] of [[E!]] agreed with Sepinwall's latter assessment.[[Kristin Dos Santos|Dos Santos, Kristin]], (April 25, 2008) "[http://www.eonline.com/gossip/kristin/detail/index.jsp?uuid=db22eedc-686f-4003-a17b-dcc35e1084ed If You're Not a Series Regular, Get Back Inside!]", [[E!]]. Retrieved on April 26, 2008. Although Jamie Poniewozik of ''[[Time (magazine)|Time]]'' worried about the show's direction in which Widmore is suddenly the antagonist and Ben travels the globe to seek revenge. He said that it "looks a little too much like ''[[Alias (TV series)|Alias]]''"; Poniewozik enjoyed the island drama.Poniewozik, James, (April 25, 2008) "[http://www.time-blog.com/tuned_in/2008/04/lostwatch_a_game_of_risk.html Lostwatch: A Game of Risk]", ''[[Time (magazine)|Time]]''. Retrieved on June 7, 2008. Daniel of [[TMZ.com|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) "[http://www.tmz.com/2008/04/25/lost-diary-the-shape-of-things-to-come ''Lost'' Diary: 'The Shape of Things to Come']", [[TMZ.com|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 [[Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor - Drama Series|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) "[http://starbulletin.com/2008/04/22/features/story03.html 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 [[60th Primetime Emmy Awards|win]].Day, Patrick Kevin, (April 25, 2008) "[http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/2008/04/lost-ben-linus.html 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]." Jennifer Godwin of E! wrote that "no one has ever done better work humanizing a supervillain." Among those who also praised Emerson's performance as Ben were Robert Bianco of USA Today, Matt Roush of TV Guide, Ben Rawson-Jones of Digital Spy, who gave the episode a perfect rating of five stars, John Kubicek of BuddyTV and aforementioned critics from The Star-Ledger, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Time, Entertainment Weekly, IGN and TV Squad.

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