Can I just say that Benjamin Linus is the creepiest, scariest, most conniving enigma of a character that has ever been on television? I do not think I believed one word that dripped from his lips last night. In fact, it might just be my sleep-deprived state, but I don’t even know if I trusted his flashbacks!
You know I don’t like spoilers. I don’t even watch previews. So, I was surprised that this was such a heavy Lost-mythology and Other-history episode. But even with a Ben-flashback, the reappearance of Charles Widmore, Smokey, the Temple, John Locke’s new omniciense, I still feel like I don’t know a thing! I’m lost and lovin’ it!
So, let’s get to it. I’m just not really sure where to start…how about with Ben’s flashbacks?
Young Ben. 1977.
We see the Other’s camp in all it’s rough-neck glory…tents, campfires and a youngish Charles Widmore riding on a horse. He hops off the horse and begins to verbally attack Richard Alpert. (Who at this time isn’t exactly a BR model, but still, he looks decidedly more showered than the curly haired Widmore.) Widmore is of course, ticked that Richard brought Ben into their camp. Richard’s unflappable reply is, “Jacob wanted it done.” This seals it for Widmore and he goes immediately to Ben’s side. Widmore is actually kind to Ben and explains that regardless of where Ben is, he will be “one of us”.
Young Adult Ben. late 80’s.
Ben and teenage Ethan (who is also now an Other…hmmmm…) are staking out Rousseaus’s tent. Ben tears into her tent gun blazing. She assumes he’s the one that infected her friends. Ben is distracted by the baby crying. He picks up baby Alex and tells Rousseau, “If you hear the whispers, run the other way.” (So, the Others ARE whispering!) Then he leaves with Alex.
Ben, Ethan and baby Alex return to the Others’ camp. Widmore looks up from the campfire and asks, “So? Did you do it?” Ben explains that there was a complication—and shows him Alex. Widmore explodes and says, “You were supposed to exterminate that woman!” He then tells Ben to kill the baby. Ben turns Alex on Widmore and says, “You do it.” Widmore walks away.
A Little Older Ben. mid 90’s.
Ben is pushing Alex in a swing at the Dharma compound aka Otherton. (So, Ben was a daddy at the time of the Purge? Who was taking care of Alex?) Richard approaches Ben and says, “He’s leaving on the submarine now.” Ben walks to the dock to see two guards taking Widmore to the sub. They have a red hot conversation comfirming what we already knew/guessed about Widmore…
Ben: You broke the rules. You had a baby with an outsider. You left The Island too often and used it for personal gain.
Widmore: Just wait till you’re standing in this spot, BOY. And oh yeah, The Island wants your daughter, too.
(I hope you’ve noticed by now that I am NOT doing any exact quotes today. Sorry…)
Creepy Ben. Present day, Pre-Ajira Flight.
Ben is walking along a marina and in typical cool-and-dastardly fashion he calls Widmore to let him know that he’s about to kill Penny. Ben spies her boat but Desmond intervenes (who by the way was lookin’ like a lion with all that hair!)…but Ben shoots him. BUT a bag of groceries save his life. And just as Ben is about to fill Penny full of lead, little Charlie enters. This gives Ben just enough pause to let Des come around and knock the living daylights out of Ben. Just before throwing him in the ocean to be fish food. (And I just happen to love this scene!)
Now, let’s get to the REAL present day on The Island…
Ben wakes up to see Locke staring at him. He is noticably shocked. So noticably that Locke notices. Ben utters CrazyBenLie#1, “I knew it!” (Translation: I knew that if I offed you, you’d just be resurrected like Jesus.) Locke, of course, doesn’t believe him and asks why Ben looks so shocked. Ben says, “Well, believeing it is one thing. But seeing it is another!” (Which is a complete shout out to his whole Doubting Thomas speech from 316.)
Ben then tells Locke that he has to get back to The Island so he can be judged by Smokey. Well, he says “they” don’t have a name for it but that Locke calls it “the Monster”. But I like Smokey.
Soon they are in Ben’s old office at the Hydra station. (Which is freaky.) Ben is looting around for an old picture of him and Alex. Then Locke enters and asks to talk about the “elephant in the room”. Ben spouts the actual truth (I think) and tells Locke he knew that Locke’s death was the only way to get the Oceanic Six back…but he needed some pertinent information first. So, he got the info and did the deed himself. How noble. Locke tells Ben that he’s decided to help him get to Smokey and be judged. Another noble sentiment.
Now, for some reason they decide to have a little respite on the beach. Locke is taking in the view while Ben gets to know his new Lostie friends. His first stop is king-of-the-island-dr-jack-wannabe, Caesar. Ben proceeds to tell Caesar CrazyBenLie #2 that John is insane and “what are we going to do about it?” Caesar pats his gun knowingly.
I hope you’re following this mundaneness because now Ben and Locke are clearing off the outriggers (WHY ARE THOSE THERE?) when Caesar and Random-New-Lostie 1 & 2 appear. Ceasar tells them he’s in charge and they can’t leave. Locke tells him something that I can’t remember because Ben pulls out CAESAR’S GUN and SHOOTS CAESAR IN THE CHEST.
They finally get to Otherton and Ben says he’s going to summon Smokey from his house. Ahem. As they approach, they see a light on inside Alex’s old room. Ben steps into his old house and who’s inside? Sun and Lapidus, of course. Who did you expect?
He is visibly freaked and even more freaked when Sun shows him the picture of our Oceanic Three in Dharma garb. (So, he *doesn’t* remember them! Or was that CrazyBenLie#3?) But his freakness escalates when Sun tells him that a man named Christian told them to wait here until Locke arrived. Sun is confused because she knew Locke was dead.
At this point Ben equally freaks out Sun and Lapidus when he tells them to look outside and see a very much alive John Locke.
Locke finally joins the new crew and as they are discussing what to do, Lapidus turns all wimpy and decides to walk out on Sun. He apparently can’t hang with the previous-dead-man and the known-murderer but can leave an unarmed woman with them. After Lapidus leaves Locke urges Ben to continue with his Smokey quest.
Ben reluctanly heads down his secret bat-cave. He pushes through the heiroglyphics door, scoots down a spooky tunnel and comes to a….mud puddle. He reluctantly puts his hand in the mud puddle and voila! Pulls a plug. Once the water empties out he speaks into the hole and says, “I’ll be outside.” (REALLY. THAT’S HOW YOU CALL THE SMOKE MONSTER?)
He steps outside to see Sun sitting on the porch and Locke missing. Sun is concerned that maybe Jack was lying and Locke was never dead. Ben clarifies that Locke was indeed dead. Sun questions him about knowing that Locke would be resurrected. And here is CrazyBenLie#4, “Sun, I had no idea what would happen. And seeing Locke walk around The Island alive? Scares the living hell out of me.”
(This is also where Ben utters the title for our episode. He declares the according to The Island “dead is dead”. Now how can that be? If that’s true, then Locke is equal to Jacob=Christian=Claire=Eko’s brother=Boone. I just don’t think so. I think he is alive.)
Soon, Locke emerges from The Island asking about Smokey. Ben isn’t too sure where “he” is so, Locke declares he does know where Smokey lives. The three of them trek into the jungle and find the ruins we saw Richard enter last week. The same ruins that Jin witnessed Rousseu’s people WILLINGLLY enter.
Locke and Ben leave Sun in the jungle alone while they enter the bowels of the Temple. (Which by the way, Ben says the ruins is really a wall they built AROUND the temple to keep away outsiders. Temple for whom? for what?) They begin to walk and suddenly Ben falls through a hole. Locke runs to find something to get him out.
But here, Ben meets his judge and jury. He finds a…what looks to me like…a catacomb filled with heiroglypics. And the central picture? Our four toed statue, Anubis speaking to (or feeding? petting? prompting?) the smoke monster! When Ben takes in the whole scene he notices a…uhm, for lack of a better word, grate below the picture. A grate that just happens to be Smokey’s front door. The Smoke Monster pours out and surrounds Ben. Ben sees glimpses of his life…his life as a father to Alex. He is shaken and obviously pained at seeing scenes of his daughter. But then, as quickly as it came, the Smoke Monster is gone. And Ben is alive.
Just then Alex is behind him. Not dead Alex. Alex. Alex. Alive and really really strong. Because she throws Ben up against the wall and says, “I know you’re already planning on killing him. If you do, I will hunt you down and destroy you. You must obey everything that comes out of John Locke’s mouth. Got it?!” Ben nods feebly. And then she’s gone.
Ben makes his way back to Locke and the hole. Then utters probably the first truth he’s ever uttered in his life, “It let me live.”
BLACK SCREEN O’LOST. THE END.
oh, and one more freaky scene I forgot to mention…
Lapidus shows up on the mini-Island and is greeted by Random-New-Lostie #1 who says, “Ilana and the others have taken over!” Lapidus then sees Ilana and Random-New-Lostie #2 toting guns they retrived out of a giant silver box from the plane. She says to him, “What lies beneath the shadow of the statue?” Lapidus looks at her incredulously. This was not the answer she was looking for and BAM he gets hit in the head. Nice.
Totally Random Theory
Ben LIED. I know, that’s shocking right? Well, what if…just what if all those flashbacks we saw were from BEN’S PERSPECTIVE? They were so pro-Ben and anti-Widmore. Which is opposite of what we saw in the life and times of Jeremey Benthem where Widmore was the loving protective father. And so against general Lost-lore…I mean, come on…soft Ben? loving Ben? So, what if, Ben was focusing all his energy into remembering those pivotal scenes as we saw them—and not as they really happened? Then when Smokey grabbed him, Smokey was just replaying what was in Ben’s head…even though they were lies! Maybe Smokey is just a killing machine based on people’s thoughts. Maybe he’s not the GOD of The Island, more of the BOUNCER. And maybe a la Snape and Voldemort, Ben tricked Smokey. I know, it’s totally inprobable. But I just didn’t feel like I could trust ANYTHING I saw with Ben.
Stuff to Talk About
1. Parallelism. First of all the scene with Rousseau and Ben was almost identical to Penny and Ben. Secondly, when Widmore was leaving The Island, his response was, “Everything I did was in the best interest of The Island.”Meaning, you may not like it but it’s because you didn’t know what was best.” How many times has Ben said that to Locke? And I *think* we may hear John utter the same phrase, too. Is Ben heading Widmore’s way? Is Locke heading Ben’s? (Say it isn’t so!)
2. Ilana. What is up with Ilana? Is she an Other? I thought she might be because of how Ben spoke to her on the beach, “OK, have a nice day.” Or maybe she’s a Widmore follower? Maybe Mrs. Hawking and Widmore are still hooked up and told Ilana to get on that flight, too?
3. The Hair. Dear Wig Department of Lost: GET SOME NEW WIGS. Seriously, Ben’s hair was freaking me out. And that was after being terrified of Widmore’s locks.
4. Ben’s Innocence. If we take this episode at face value it makes me have big questions about Richard’s line from last week about Ben’s innocense. This episode shows a softer more “normal” side of Ben. What is the innocence that Smokey took from him originally then? (But hey, this supports my random theory above. If Ben has no innocence, maybe he COULD trick Smokey.)
5. The Others. Where is Richard? Where are The Others? If they are connected to Smokey, to the Temple, to The Island then WHERE ARE THEY? And what *is* their connection to The Island? It freaked me out when Ben said “we” built this wall around “our temple” to keep “outsiders” away. How weird.
6. I missed Sawyer.
I loved that episode. I love to despise Ben. I loved every single solitary word that came out of Locke’s mouth. He was hilarious. And his eyebrow lifts? They rival Sawyer’s stares and Juliet’s facial expressions anyday!
So, what say you? Talk to me! I’ll try to respond in the comments…