We Are Back! I have a few things to say before we get started… 1.I LOVE LOCKE 2.I LOVE BEN (even tho he scares the ____ out of me) 3.Alex’s little part was awesome- and 4.We got some questions answered (some I didn’t even know I had) and got some new questions to answer- but we’ll get there. All in all- a decent episode- I thought it was so entertaining and there were a few parts were I grabbed Rick’s hand because I was a little scared… I know, I know…
Let’s Get To It!
In Hostiltown… Otherville… sigh, circa 1977
A dashing fellow with flowing locks arrives on horseback, and he has a bone to pick with Richard Alpert, and it's not about his choice of eyeliner, but the fact that the Hostiles are currently convalescing young Benjamin Linus, a member of the Dharma Initiative. Alpert silences his protests with a "Jacob wanted it done," which always seems to work. The man introduces himself to the boy — who doesn't want to go back to live with his dad — as Charles Widmore.
Surprising- if you didn’t see it coming- but as we already knew that Widmore lived there- at the same time as Ben and WAS the leader of the Others… Hostiles… yada yada- this wasn’t too much of a revelation. Now poor sweaty Ben- still acting like a normal child- and still scared of his dad- was a bit of a revelation to me.
Some years later — We’re assuming much earlier than the present Ben- considering his nice hairpiece- but I was assuming later than the purge- as he has lost his Dharma gear (we saw him in when he offed his dad) — we see Ben and a bloodthirsty young Ethan Rom (hey, why is his last name Rom and not Goodspeed? His papa’s name is Goodspeed. And why is he running Hostile errands with Ben? Isn’t he a Dharma kid still? Is this post-Purge?) spying on poor, crazy Danielle Rousseau. Ben confronts her, and is startled to learn that she has a baby. He takes the baby without blinking an eye and warns her to run the other way every time she hears whispers. No wonder Danielle is more unhinged than Desmond's hatch door. And I’m assuming here that Ben was supposed to kill Danielle- hence the shot- but couldn’t do it… Which brings oh so many questions to my mind. When he was turned to ‘forever one of us’ I thought that would have turned him to the cold hearted Ben we know and Love- but here he’s a caring human being with a beating heart?!?!?!
Ben brings Alex back to Hostiletown, where Widmore (Alan Dale with similarly giggle-inducing fake hair) is upset because Ben didn't kill Danielle and "it" (aka Alex). "It's not an it; this is a child," Ben says, insisting that Jacob doesn't want her dead.
Flash-forward a bit and Ben is pushing a 9-ish-year-old Alex on a swing- So we really know this is now post-purge. He heads over to the dock to see Widmore off on his last journey off the island via submarine. Ben exposits that Widmore brought his banishment on himself, as he left the island regularly and had a daughter with an outsider (really?? So Ellie IS NOT Penny’s Mom- got it folks?), thus breaking the rules. "I'll sacrifice anything for this island," foreshadows Ben. When Widmore reminds him that he wouldn't kill Alex for the island, Ben snips, "You're the one who wanted her dead, not the island." "If the island wants her dead, she'll be dead," Widmore snips right back. "You cannot fight the inevitable."
In 2007, at the marina
Ben calls Widmore and tells him he's going to kill Penny- btw, at the same dock we’ve seen the night scene so many times. In short order, he shoots Desmond and puts Penny in his gun's sights. In a nice echo of his previous baby-stealing scene, Ben's resolve is shaken by the revelation that Penny and Desmond have a baby too. But instead of stealing Charlie (sniff), Ben lowers his gun and Desmond comes out of nowhere and tackles Ben, beats the crap out of him and throws him into the murky, fuel-stained ocean. America exhales, comforted by the knowledge that DesPen has lived to charm us another day. Me- on the other hand- thought it would have been more realistic if someone would have died… don’t get me wrong- I like Penny and Desmond- but c’mon- no one has had a happy relationship (someone dies or leaves or becomes a raging alcoholic) once being a part of the island- and there can’t be an exception- I don’t believe it.
In 2007, on the island
When Locke greets Ben as he regains consciousness after the crash of Ajira 315, Ben appears relieved, excited even. He claims to have known that Locke would be resurrected. Uh-huh… He also tells Locke that he returned to the island to be judged by "the monster" (aka Smokey) for having broken the island's rules by leaving.
A creepy, smiley Ben greets Ilana on the beach, offering to help her and the other survivors with their post-crash labor. "Have a great day," he chirps. Shudder. He corners Caesar and plants the idea that Locke is crazy and that he might have already been on the island since nobody remembers him from the plane. This is Ben at his best; he is a gifted puppet master… for now anyway. Of course- we (as the audience) know what he’s doing because for once we know the truth- and I couldn’t help laughing.
Locke finds Ben sorting through his old office, where we see him tenderly examine a photograph of him and Alex. Locke wants to talk about "the elephant in the room" — namely, that time that Ben killed him. Ben does a little soft-shoe, humming a familiar ditty about getting the others back to the island and his death bringing them all together. It's a song we've heard before, and Ben knows it- but says that he just needed some key information before Locke died. "Well, I just didn't have time to talk you back into hanging yourself," he sums up. Once again- Hilarious! But- we did already assume this point to a t. One thing- I’ll bring up here- why is everything SO run down- it’s like they’ve been gone more than three years- and the Others aren’t still residing at the cabins, or the offices, or anything. Isn’t that a little odd? It’s like they’ve been gone for 20 years…
Born-Again Locke is a changed man, and his authoritativeness is pretty refreshing. He wants an apology from Ben, and he also wants a front-row seat for when Ben is judged by Smokey. But to do that, they have to convince the prickly Caesar that they need to take a boat over to Funhouse Island. Needless to say, he's not nuts about the idea. Ben seems to be playing a game- to not have to go back to the main land- but then Ceaser goes for his gun and Ben takes it out and shoots him in the chest! What?! Ok- now that surprised me! So, that solves that. I was surprised to see Caesar kick it so soon "Consider that my apology," Ben says flatly.
Ben and Locke reach the main island. "Home, sweet home," says Ben. Ben reports that Sun and Lapidus preceded them on this journey. Locke teases Ben about not having any friends like it's recess and Ben is all: Friends can be more dangerous than enemies. Overall, they're a humorous pairing.
They shuffle off to New Otherton, since Ben needs to go to his old house to summon Smokey. Along the way, Locke lets Ben know that he knows why Ben wants to be judged: for his role in Alex's murder. Ben is clearly irritated by Locke's newfound omniscience. Arriving at Casa de Linus, they discover that someone, a silhouetted woman, is in Alex's old room. Here I was really expecting to see Alex- and perhaps got a little too excited. But, instead we see Sun and Lapidus. They show Ben the picture of the Oceanic 6 in the 1977 Dharma photo, and tell them that a man named Christian told them if Sun ever wanted to see Jin again, she was to wait for John Locke.
It's then that Born-Again Locke makes his entrance, without much fanfare, for now anyway.
Lapidus, who isn't quite as well-versed in the island's mysterious ways, speaks for the audience and points out how cuckoo it would be to follow Ben and Locke, and suggests that Sun return to the crash site with him. "If you leave with him, you'll never see your husband again," Locke says, apropos of nothing. (How does he know?) Lapidus is leaving, with or without Sun. Sun opts to stay.
So Sun joins them on Operation Smokehouse. "Better get to it then!" Locke chirps. Into the walk-in closet of doom Ben goes, where he lights a lamp and crawls through a passageway. In a muddy pool of water, Ben turns a handle and it is drained. "I'll be outside," he says to nobody in particular. Interesting… HOW DOES THIS SUMMON A PUFF OF SMOKE??
Ben re-emerges, but John has wandered off. Sun thinks that Jack must have lied about Locke being dead, but Ben assures her that he was. "Trust me; I'm sure," he says. He admits to her that he had no idea if he would be resurrected- I KNEW IT! "I've seen [the island] heal the sick, but never once has it done this. Dead is dead; you don't get to come back from that," he says with significant weight. He says that John being alive scares the hell out of him. Hmmm. Wondering thoughts going through my mind- what if Locke is like Christian??
They hear a noise, and he tells Sun to go inside. "What's about to come out of that jungle is something I can't control," he warns. But — hardy-har-har — it's Locke. This line's real potency comes later.
Ben and Locke quibble about how long Smokey is going to take to wreak havoc on their lives. Ben claims he only knows how to summon Smokey; he doesn't know where it lives. "I do," says Locke, which really burns Ben's biscuits. So off they go. Locke is vague on how he knows where Smokey lives, and this annoys Ben, which Locke clearly relishes. "You don't like having to ask questions you don't know the answers to, blindly following someone in the hopes that they'll lead you to whatever it is you're looking for," John orates. Ben agrees. "Now you know what it was like to be me.”
Locke brings them to the temple, but they're not going inside; they're going under it (looks familiar- doesn’t it?- but the real question- is… HOW DOES LOCKE KNOW ALL OF THIS?). Before Ben descends the rabbit hole though, he tells Sun: "If you ever get off this island, find Desmond Hume and tell him I said I was sorry." He doesn't specify why, and in the original order of the episode, we haven't seen how things turn out at the marina, so this line was especially chilling.
Lapidus returns to the other survivors of 315, and is greeted with a guy exclaiming- they found guns! Lapidus goes up to Ilana and is greeted with "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" Since Lapidus has no earthly idea what she's talking about, Ilana, ever the bounty hunter, knocks him out. "Get everyone else, and tie him up – he's coming with us," she instructs, implying that 315 might have been staffed with undercover operatives of a yet-to-be-determined mission, on the orders of a yet-to-be-revealed leader. Widmore? One of the Oceanic 6? Who? Or does it go even deeper and have some of the 315 lost lostie’s been taken over by the smoke??
Meanwhile, underground, Ben tells Locke that he's right; he's being judged for killing Alex by making the wrong choice. "I appreciate you showing me the way, but I think I can take it from here," Ben says, attempting to assert some semblance of autonomy. As if on cue, the floor falls out from underneath him, Indiana Jones-style, depositing him into an ominous, further subterranean compartment. The ruin-like walls are lined with hieroglyphics, including one that appears to show Smokey consulting a jackal-headed man not unlike the silhouette of the giant statue Sawyer and Co. saw a few weeks back.
Ben approaches what looks like an altar. His torch goes out, and Smokey starts pouring into the room from a perforated tile in the floor. It surrounds him, and we hear that familiar clicking noise. All around him, Ben sees scenes from his life with Alex, ending with her shocking death. The smoke recedes; his torch reignites, and for a second we see a sad Ben and I feel sorry for him.
"Hi, Daddy," Alex says, as she emerges from the shadows with a knowing smile. Zoinks! She appears to be a little off, in that way that manifestations of the dead often do. A clearly awed Ben says, "It was all my fault." "I know," Alex the Not-So-Friendly Ghost replies, slamming him up against a column. She barks that she knows that he's planning to kill John again. And she wants him to know that he is not to do that, lest he incur the wrath of Smokey. But there's more! Alex instructs Ben to obey everything John Locke says. Ben agrees to this incredible, karmic kick in the Hacky Sacks, slumps over and starts to cry. And then she's gone.
Ben emerges from his Smokey-induced haze and rejoins John. "What happened?" Locke asks. "It let me live," he reports. Although Smokey's little display was quite impressive, and would surely scare the bejesus out of most mere mortals, a question is nonetheless raised: Since we're talking about Ben here, I wonder: Will he heed Alex's warning? After all, the man already thinks he's untouchable. It would be very much in character for Ben to think he knows better. Or does this development mark an abrupt, permanent shift in Ben's journey – and in the power dynamic between him and Locke?