The Rise and Fall of Benjamin Linus

Wednesday, April 8 by

According to Ben, it’s time for him to be judged by the smoke monster, so Locke takes him along to do just that, encountering Sun and Fred along the way. We get more backstory and a few flashbacks summarizing Ben’s experience growing up on the island and his many dealings with Widmore. This week’s Lost finally starts to delve into the mysteries of the island with more depth, and it offers up some pretty superb moments, right after the jump.

Episode 512: Dead is Dead
Full Episode Online: TV Dome

New kid in town
A man rides into a village on a horse, angrily shuffling towards a large tent in the middle. He reaches Alpert, who’s outside the tent.  He accuses Richard of bringing the boy into the temple, and Alpert tells him that Jacob wanted it done, which instantly silences the man. He asks Richard the boy’s name, and goes into the tent, where Ben is lying, his chest bandaged wound bandaged up thoroughly.  The man tells Ben he was injured, and Ben doesn’t remember how, or where he is.  He tells Ben that he’s among friends, and they’re going to take care of him.  He tells him he can go back to his father soon enough, but Ben vehemently says no, he wants to be one of them, he doesn’t want to go back to his dad.  He tells Benjamin he should be dead, but the island saves his life. He then reveals his name. “Charles.  Charles Widmore.”  Kicker opening, and it’s very interesting to see how Widmore might be taking the young Ben under his wing.  Doesn’t Ben eventually betray him, though?  Could Widmore have something against the island, not believing in it the way Alpert or Ben do?  So many questions, and it shows how this show isn’t done pulling aces out of its sleeve.

Ben’s at it again
Ben wakes up to see Locke before his bed, and he whispers, “My God.  You’re alive.”  Ben says that he knew this would happen, and Locke asks why he looks surprised then.  Ben says it’s very different to see after having believed.   He then tells Locke he came back to the island, breaking the rules, so he’s going to be judged. Locke asks by whom, and Ben says that they don’t even have a word for it, but he believes they call it the monster.  Locke gives Ben a thoughtful look.  Smoke monster mystery action.  Nice.  On the beach the next day, the survivors of the crash work and mill around a crate. Ben asks what’s inside, and they say they don’t need his help, it’s just stuff they need to get moved.  Ben wishes them a good day and heads off, when someone walks up to him and asks what he thinks of Locke.  Ben says he’s not sure, and the man tells him that while he was out cold, Locke was watching over him, and he says Ben killed him.  “I killed him?!” Ben says, feigning shock.  “Really, ‘cause he looks fine to me.”  He lies that he doesn’t remember him from the plane, and the dude says he doesn’t either.  Ben speculates that Locke was already on the island when they crashed, so they may be dealing with a dangerously deranged man.  The dude, Caesar, shows Ben his pistol and tells him he’s got his back.  Ben, satisfied, takes a solitary gulp from his water bottle.

Apology

Ben rifles through a desk, finding a picture of him and a woman.  Locke comes in and asks what he’s looking at.  “Just something sentimental,” Ben says.  Locke says he never pictured him leading his people from behind a desk.  He sits down behind the desk and looks straight ahead.  Ben asks if there’s anything he needed, and Locke says he was hoping they could address the elephant in the room.  “You mean the fact that I killed you,” Ben says.  Ben says that it’s because Locke failed, so he needed to die.  Locke asks why Ben stopped him from killing himself, and Ben says it’s because he had critical information that would have died with him.  He points out that it worked, and says that it was in the best interests of the island. “I was just hoping for an apology,” Locke says nonchalantly.  “I’ve decided to help you Ben,” he says, standing up.  “Be judged.”  He says that if everything Ben’s done is truly in the best interests of the island, then the monster will understand.  Out on the beach, Locke takes some palm leaves off a boat, about to head to main island with Ben, when Caesar and some other men come to stop them.  “Are you going with them?”  Caesar asks Ben.  “He didn’t really give me a choice,” Ben says.   Caesar instructs him that he’s not going anywhere.  Locke continues to get the boat ready to go, and Caesar looks in his backpack for the gun.  But Ben points it at him, and says, “Looking for this?”  He shoots Caesar point blank in the chest, and he goes flying back and crashing into the sand.  Ben tells the other men that they’re leaving and nobody is going to stop them.  He walks over to Locke, hands him the gun, and quips, “Consider that my apology.”  Crafty, Ben.  Very crafty.  Seeing the way Ben plays mind games is always fun, and it’s also fascinating to see he’s determined to earn back Locke’s trust, perhaps only to break it later?  His explanation certainly didn’t sound heartfelt or particularly regretful, so one has to wonder if John really trusts him yet despite the gesture.

Kidnapper
Ben, as a young boy with slightly Emo hair, with his friend Nathan, sneaks up to a small settlement on the beach, holding a gun threateningly in front of him.  He wheels in front of the settlement and it’s Rousseau, with her baby nearby in her crib.  She reaches for her gun and Ben tells her not to move, pointing his own gun right at her.  He goes over to the little girl in the crib and grabs her, asking her if she wants the baby to live.  He tells her that every time she hears whispers she needs to run the other way, and never seek out her baby again.  Ben then turns around and runs off into the night, the baby clutched in his arms.

Back from the dead
Ben and Locke row to the other side of the island, and Ben says regretfully and ruefully, “Home sweet home.”  They notice another boat tied up there, and Ben says it’s Sun and Lapidus, who knocked him out.  Locke asks if that’s who hurt his arm, and Ben says he hurt it elsewhere.  “We’re going to your old house, aren’t we?” Locke asks.  Ben says that it’s the only place he can go to summon the monster.  When it arrives he’ll be forgiven or he won’t. Locke thinks he’s lying about wanting to be judged for leaving the island and breaking the rules, because he’s noticed Ben isn’t too concerned with rules.  Nope, Locke points out that Ben wants to be judged for killing his daughter.  They go to the Dharma initiative and Locke says he doesn’t see how the island could have wanted hem to relocate here after the Dharma Initiative purge.  Suddenly a shadow flickers in Ben’s old house – in Alex’s room. It looks like a silhouette, and Locke says he thinks Ben should go check it out.  Ben does, heading to his old house and finding an old game of Risk on the table, a disarrayed bookshelf, and a light at the end of a hallway.  He goes to the door and opens it to find Sun and Fred inside.  He asks what they’re doing here, and Fred hands him a picture.  It’s a picture of a few of the Oceanic Six, when they were members of the Dharma initiative.  Ben says he didn’t know about this, and he asks how they found this.  They say an old man named Christian told them to come here and wait for Locke to tell them where they could see Jin.  “But we’re not holding our breath cuz he’s dead,” Fred says.  “You might want to take a look outside then,” Ben says.  Sun and Fred do, and they see Locke standing out there, smiling and waving at them from the dark. 

Banished
Around the campfire, the Others see Ben and Nathan come back from stealing the baby from Rousseau.  They said they had a complication – they didn’t exterminate the woman as ordered.  Ben says she’s not a threat; she’s insane, and he couldn’t kill a child.  Widmore says that every decision he’s made was to protect the island.  Ben asks if killing this baby is what Jacob wants.  He hands her to Widmore and says, “You do it.”  Widmore turns away from Ben, refusing the baby, and walks off into the dark beyond the campfire glow.  Ben looks down at the baby, shocked at what he’s done, but still in awe of her.  Years later, Ben swings his daughter Alex from a swing and Richard comes to tell him that Charles is about to leave on the sub.  Ben comes to say goodbye, and tells Charles that when he sees him off on the pier.  Widmore tells him that he came to gloat, and Ben says that Charles broke the rules time and again, and he deserves what he got.  Ben would sacrifice anything for the island, but Charles wouldn’t.  Charles points out that Ben wouldn’t sacrifice Alex, but Ben says he wanted her dead, not the island.  “If the island wants her dead, she’ll die,” Charles says.  “And you’ll be standing wher I am right now.  Banished.”

Dead is dead
In the house, Sun says that what Locke is describing is impossible.  “As long as the dead guy says there’s a reason I guess everything is just peachy,” Fred says, exasperated.  He begs with Sun that they should go back to the plane to try and fix the radio and get help.  Locke tells her that he’s all the help she needs, and if she leaves she’ll never find Jin again.  Fred tells her that he’s leaving with or without her.  Sun decides that if there’s any chance of finding her husband she has to stay.  Once Fred leaves, Locke tells Sun that before they find Jin, Ben has something to do first.  He tells Ben to get to it, and Ben pulls open the bookcase he’s standing next to, walking inside to a closet-like area, where he pulls aside a panel in the wall to reveal a stone wall with hieroglyphics on it.  He pushes the wall inward, lights a lantern, and carries it down into a dark tunnel.  He crawls forward a hundred feet or so, coming to some dirty water in a puddle that he sticks his hand into.  He reaches around a little, tugs on something, and watches the liquid all seep into a hole in the ground.  “I’ll be outside,” Ben says, getting up and heading back out.  He meets Sun outside, who tells him that Jack must have lied about Locke being dead.  Ben assures her that Locke was indeed dead.  He tells her that dead is dead, not even on the island do you get to come back from that.  “So the fact that John Locke is walking around on this island…scares the living hell out of me.”  Suddenly some rustles are heard in the bushes. He tells Sun to go inside because what’s coming out of the jungle is something he can’t control.  She’s about to go in when Locke comes out of the bushes, and says that they’ll have to go to it if it’s not going to come to them.  “I only know how to summon it.  I don’t actually know where it is,” Ben protests.  Locke pauses in his march forward and looks back at Ben, his face full of certainty.  “I do.”

Questions with no answers

As they’re preparing to head out, Locke tells Sun it’s weird for him too, he realizes how strange it all is.  “I assure you, Sun, I’m the same man I’ve always been.”  He asks if they’re ready, and Ben tells him to lead the way.  In the jungle, during the day, Ben asks John how he knows where they’re going.  “I just know,” Locke says.  “How does that work exactly?”  Ben asks.  Gradually, or understanding the mysteries of the universe all at once, he asks.  “You don’t like this, do you?  Having to ask questions you don’t know the answer to?”   John muses.  “No John, I don’t like it at all,” Ben says.  “Now you know what it was like to be me,” Locke shrugs.  Sun says they should keep moving, and they trek onward.  Ben tells him that he knows where they’re going – the same place they brought him as a child; where the island healed him.  “Let’s hope it’s as generous this time around,” Locke says, staring at the ancient temple.  Sun asks what it is, and Ben says that it’s the wall around the temple.  Ben says they built the wall to keep people like the two of them from every seeing it. “We’re not going into your temple, Ben,” Locke says.  “We’re going under it.”  He goes over to a hole in the ground and points inside.  “After you.”  “I need to ask a favor of you, Sun.  If you ever get off this island, find Desmond for me, tell him I said I was sorry.  He’ll know.”  He looks down into the hole and climbs down inside, swallowed by the black.

Would-be assassin
Back on the mainland, Ben phones Charles to tell him that he’s going back to the island.  He says that where Charles has failed, he’s going to succeed.  “Just as soon as I’ve done one thing…kill your daughter.”  “Don’t you dare,” Charles says.  “Goodbye, Charles,” Ben says, hanging up.  He goes to the dock and spies Penny on her boat.  He walks past someone who’s getting groceries out of the car.  “Hey, what are you doing here?”  Desmond shouts.  Ben shoots his grocery bag, exploding it and sending Desmond falling back.  He then walks over to Penny and points a gun at her, telling her not to move.  He tells her her father was a very terrible man who killed his daughter, so that’s why he’s here today.  Then little Charlie comes out of the boat, and Penny shoos him back inside.  Ben, unable to not be touched by Penny’s fear for her son’s life, lowers his gun.  Right then Desmond tackles him, barreling him to the ground, skittering the gun off the dock in the water.  They scuffle and roll off the dock in turn, splashing loudly.

Change of Plans
Back on the island with the survivors, Fred comes back to find that someone has commandeered some guns and taken charge of the island.  He goes over to them around their crate, and they train their guns on him.  When he fails the test question, they knock him on the forehead.  Elana tells them to tie him up, because he’s coming with them. 

Judgment Day

John follows Ben down into the hole, and they light bright blazing torches before proceeding.  “You know you were right,” Ben says.  “Why I need to be judged.  When Charles Widmore’s men came they gave me a choice.  Either leave the island or let my daughter die. All I had to do was walk out of the house.  John, I did kill Alex.  And now I have to answer for that.  I appreciate you showing me the way but I think I can take it from here.”  He continues onward, and says that he’ll meet John outside, if he lives – but then his sentence is cut off as the floor caves in beneath him.  John comes over to make sure he’s all right, and Ben snaps back, “Never better,” gingerly getting to his feet. John leaves to find something to help Ben back up, and while he’s gone Ben examines the hieroglyphs on the sides of the columns all around him.  He walks toward an altar and sees intricate figures engraved on the wall, and below them a bunch of holes.  Right away Ben’s torch is extinguished in a gust of wind, and smoke pours out of the holes, surrounding Ben, projecting images of him and his daughter Alex, from the moment he kidnapped her to the moment she died, flashes and snatches of conversation.  He even hears his own voice as he denies that it’s his daughter, right before she’s shot.  Ben is practically weeping, and soon the smoke is swept away back into the holes.  Ben’s torch comes back on, and Alex appears.  Ben apologizes to her profusely, and says it was all his fault.  “I know,” Alex says.  She grabs him roughly by his cuff and shoves him against a pillar.  She says she knows he’s planning to kill Locke again – but if she so much as touches him she’ll hunt Ben down and kill him. He needs to swear to follow Locke, no matter what. He finally does, and Alex whisks away into the dark, leaving Ben still against the pillar.  He hears Locke’s cries.  He’s come back with a rope, which he lowers down into the hole.  He asks Ben what happened, and Ben simply stares at Locke.  “It let me live,” he says, his face torn.

Review
Finally, we’re getting back to Locke and Ben, the most fascinating pairing on this island, in my book.  And now that we’re back with them, not surprisingly, we don’t really know much more about why Locke is alive at all – but according to Ben Locke should not be alive, as the island would not regularly permit this.  What about Christian?  And Jacob?  It was a pretty decent episode packed with little nuggets off coolness; Widmore meeting Ben for the first time; Ben kidnapping Alex; Desmond tackling Ben (and then just leaving us hanging??).  This was mainly a Ben episode, though, so we didn’t get much character moments for either Sun or Fred or even for Widmore.  It’s a shame we couldn’t have seen more of Ben’s growing up on the island, though, and it felt a little rushed to just hop to a few choice scenes here and there to summarize it.  We still don’t know much more about Ben than we did at the beginning of the episode (quite the contrast from last week’s Kate-centric episode), other than his love for Alex is a little bit intensified.  His encounter with the smoke monster was moving, but not all that we could have hoped for.  What was intense was what happened afterward – when the smoke probably manifested itself as Alex, the only person in the world whom Ben would listen to.  So is really gonna keep his promise, and follow Locke and do whatever he says?  Guess we’ll have to wait and see, and a little bit longer too, as the preview seems to indicate we’ll get a rare treat – a Miles-centric episode.

-Thomas Anderson
aka MovieBuzzReviewDude. Check out his movie/media/pop culture blog here.

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