Here is the Episode 5.07 - The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham recap from Erika Olson (aka "e") from LongLiveLocke.com.
We've finally arrived at the episode I saw being filmed when I visited Oahu in October. Could it be any more perfect that it was all about Locke? Had I known that at the time, I would've freaked out even more than I already did -- if that's possible. You can bet that my husband and I were hooting and hollering Wednesday night when we saw how the brief scenes we'd witnessed being shot in downtown Honolulu came together on the show. I've linked to some additional pictures and a very short video clip from that day at the end of this post.
I've also been saving the picture to the right for the appropriate moment -- yes, this is a real street sign in the United States, and of course I'm now considering moving just so I can say I live on John Locke Lane. A huge shout-out to the Lost fans at Echo Hills who passed this photo on to me.
But I'm getting waaaay ahead of myself. Let's start from the point where Locke left the Island.
GOOD TO SEE YOU
GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN
GOOD TO SEE YOUR FACE AGAIN
IT'S GOOD TO SEE YOU
In the three years since Ben landed in the desert in Tunisia after turning the FDW, Widmore got wise to the location of the "exit point" from the Island and set up a surveillance camera there in order to be able to nab anyone else who ever materialized. We learned this after it was Widmore himself who met Locke in the poor excuse for a hospital where Locke's leg was reset (talk about a gross scene!).
I thought it was kind of weird that Locke didn't recognize Widmore... not because of their meeting when Widmore was seventeen, but rather because Ben had shown Locke a videotape of Widmore back in "The Other Woman" -- that's how Locke even knew the name "Charles Widmore" in the first place. Here's the exchange between Ben and Locke from that episode:
[Locke inserts the tape into a VCR and he and Ben sit down to watch on an old TV. The tape shows a well-dressed bald man exit a limousine. The video is taken from above, with intermittent occlusion, as if being shot covertly.]
BEN: This is Charles Widmore. This is the man whose boat is parked offshore. This is the man that's been trying to find the Island.
LOCKE: Who's the man in the blindfold?
BEN: One of my people that had the misfortune to get caught.
LOCKE: How does Widmore know about the Island?
BEN: I don't know, but he does.
Ben proceeds to tell Locke that his guess is that Widmore wants to exploit the unique properties of the Island and will do "anything in his power to possess it." He also gives Locke a file containing more information on the mysterious businessman. Obviously, Locke then goes on to witness first hand the havoc Widmore's men (Keamy and crew) wreaked on the Island's inhabitants once they landed -- which included killing Alex.
So... in "The Other Woman," Ben claimed to have no idea why Widmore knows about the Island. But Charles tells Locke a different story. Charles contends that he led the Others for over three decades until his position was usurped by Ben, who then exiled him.
Who to believe?
DON'T LOOK BACK IN ANGER
I HEARD YOU SAY
This round in The Battle of Conflicting Stories goes (only by a hair) to Widmore. From "Jughead" we saw that he was indeed an Other on the Island. And from "The Shape of Things to Come" -- in the scene where Ben showed up in Widmore's hotel room in the dead of night -- there seems to be at least an acknowledgment between the two men that Ben "took" the Island from Widmore. Therefore, Ben seems to be lying (again) to Locke when he claimed ignorance of how Widmore knew about the Island. Here are just a few lines from the Ben/Widmore exchange last season:
WIDMORE: I know who you are, boy. What you are. I know that everything you have you took from me. So... Once again I ask you: Why are you here?...
WIDMORE: That island's mine, Benjamin. It always was. It will be again.
BEN: (Turning) But you'll never find it.
WIDMORE: Then I suppose the hunt is on for both of us.
So let's run with the assumption that Widmore had been the leader of the Others for a while, and then Ben took over (I think this is possible, by the way, even if Ben and Widmore didn't ever interact that much or even see each other while both on the Island). Charles at first tells Locke that he was "fooled" into leaving the Island by Ben... but then a few moments later says that he was "exiled" -- which to me sounds like two different things. "Fooled" suggests that Charles left willingly, probably thinking he could return, while "exiled" implies that he was forced out.
Although I believe that Widmore was telling Locke the truth about having once been the Others' leader but then getting pushed aside by Ben, I think he's still hiding a lot. What if Widmore deserved to get kicked to the curb? Let's not forget that Richard chose to work with Ben from the time that Ben was just a young boy and that Ben would eventually complete his transformation into an Other by taking part in The Purge. Further, we have proof that -- at least for a while -- Jacob communicated with Ben. So it's not like there weren't others (pun intended) who wanted Ben to lead. And since we saw how hotheaded Widmore was back in the day, I can only imagine that he might have eventually become very dictator-like and too egotistical for the likes of Jacob, Richard et al. Maybe his banishment was appropriate.
Having said all of that, Widmore did make a pretty convincing argument to Locke, did he not? And while he seemed truly surprised to learn that Locke left the Island by choice and that Richard told him he'd have to die, Widmore offered the help of his right hand man, Abaddon, and also declared that Locke had to eventually get back to the Island or else "the wrong side" would win in "the war" that's coming.
At the end of the Widmore/Locke conversation, I was definitely wondering whether or not Widmore had been wrongly assumed to be the bad guy this entire time. After all, Ben has tried in the past to kill our favorite baldy and is a known liar. Things only got more confusing as the episode went on...
COME WITH ME
WON'T YOU COME WITH ME?
COME WITH ME, AGAIN
I'm going to cover Locke's off-Island escapades a little bit out of order. First, let's talk about his time with Walt. I don't know about the rest of you, but I wish this scene had been much longer -- it felt really rushed. It was like, "Hey, what happened to your leg? Seen my dad at all? I've been having scary dreams about you. Yeah, I grew another foot. OK, bye!"
Here's what I think the three most important things from this scene were:
- Locke told Walt that -- last he heard -- Michael had been on a freighter that was close to the Island. That's truly all Locke knew... since Jin had also been on the same ship as Walt's father and had ended up in one piece on the Island, Locke can't be sure that Michael's dead and therefore would never think of making those claims to Walt.
- Walt's prophetic dreams are most likely going to come true... once Locke's back on the Island, someone's going to be gunning for him. Did Walt have visions of the "war" that Widmore alluded to?
- Since I refuse to believe that Walt's role in this series is done, I think it was important that Locke told Abaddon that he didn't ask Walt to come back with him because "he's been through enough." Perhaps Walt will want to come back on his own in the future?
Abaddon also takes Locke to the grave site of dear Helen, who will always be Peg Bundy to me. Does anyone else get the sense that she might still be alive? When Locke first asked Abaddon to find his lost love, Abaddon basically threw up his hands and said he'd been unable to track her down. But since her name hadn't changed and there would have obviously been records from when she died, that seems like a fishy excuse. Methinks Widmore and Abaddon didn't want Locke to have any reason to delay (or forgo) his return to the Island, and so they made it look like Helen was dead.
The main reason Locke had come back to the outside world in the first place, however, was to persuade Sayid, Kate, Jack and Hurley that they never should have left. These scenes were pretty brief, so I'll just do a quick summary for each person. Here's the gist of their responses when Locke asks them to return to the Island with him:
- Sayid: "Sorry, but I have no time to spare between my work with the Peace Corps, Habitat for Humanity, Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund, the Ronald McDonald House and the Red Cross."
- Kate: "But I'm in lurve... and you're a loser."
- Jack: "What Hippocratic oath? Get your busted ass outta my hospital... and tell Zombie Dad I said that he should go have another drink!"
- Hurley: "I may be crazy, but I'm not that crazy, dude."
Alas, there's one thing that Locke is not, and that's a good negotiator. I mean, he barely tried to convince any of the above four of the need to return -- it was very frustrating to watch. He didn't even mention Sawyer's name to Kate -- or anyone else's name... to anyone. You would think a reminder of those left behind would carry a little more weight than just pleading "You've got to come back!" over and over again. Away from the Island, Locke became easily exasperated and fell into deep despair almost immediately.
Now, before I move on I do want to mention that it's possible we weren't shown all of what transpired during each of Locke's meetings with the four O6 members... or absolutely everything that he did during his time as Bentham, for that matter. In fact, the only person he saw him mention the name "Bentham" to was Sayid... yet everyone -- even Walt -- later knew of this alias And then there's this conversation that took place between Jack and Ben in the Hoffs-Drawler funeral parlor at the end of "There No Place Like Home:"
BEN: Hello, Jack.
[Jack is startled almost off his balance by the voice.]
BEN: Sorry. Didn't mean to scare you. Did he tell you that I was off the island?
JACK: Yes, he did.
BEN: When did you speak to him?
JACK: About a month ago.
We never saw Locke tell Jack that Ben was also off of the Island. And of course it was going to take a while from Jack to go from looking like this in the hospital with Locke:
to this (after Locke died and he met Kate out at the airport):
So in those thirty days it took for Jack to grow out his hillbilly beard, something motivated Sayid to scrap his do-gooding lifestyle and go get Hurley from Santa Rosa... and Lord only knows what Locke/Bentham could've been up to in the real world during that time. But whatever it was drove him to the point of preparing to kill himself.
I WISH THAT I WAS
But before we get to that awful scene, we need to cover Mr. Abaddon's shocking demise. I truly didn't see his death coming -- I almost jumped out of my chair when he was shot as he stood outside the car at the graveyard. Ah, Abaddon... we hardly knew ye.
Fortunately, we learned a few tidbits about the man who "gets people where they need to be" in this episode. While we previously were aware that he worked with Naomi to assemble the helicopter team (Miles, Faraday, Charlotte and Lapidus) that would be along for the ride on Widmore's freighter, there had always been some doubt as to whether or not Abaddon actually worked for Widmore or was instead more of a "free agent." I think we now have some clarity on this issue: Abaddon was definitely on Widmore's side.
In addition, Abaddon straight-up acknowledged the fact that he was the orderly who encouraged Locke to go on the Australian walkabout... which led Locke to be on the fateful Oceanic flight. Besides the psychic who pushed Claire to be on Flight 815 -- perhaps knowing it would crash on the Island and she'd be forced to raise Aaron -- this is the first time we've had proof that others might have known that flight wasn't going to reach L.A.
LISTEN AS THE CROWD WOULD SING,
"NOW THE OLD KING IS DEAD,
LONG LIVE THE KING!"
OK, there's no delaying it any longer. We have to talk about the harrowing scene where Locke dies. From the timeline I referenced earlier, we know that a full month had passed since Abaddon was killed and Locke had first visited Jack.
Now, there John Locke stood, ready to do himself in -- with some cable from Angel's Hardware (of all places) and his cast-covered leg looking very similar to the four-toed foot statue -- when who busts through the door but Mr. Benjamin Linus. Ben admits to assassinating Abaddon, but reiterates that he did it because it's Widmore who's evil and who's using Locke in order to get back to the Island. Locke responds with some "woe is me" wailing for a bit, but then Ben finally convinces him to step down from the table.
The second that happened, I got a really, really bad feeling. While we all understood that Locke was going to end up in a coffin one way or the other, I still had a glimmer of hope that Ben would whip out some poisonous Medusa spiders and say, "OK, Johnny boy, here's how we're going to trick them into thinking you're dead!" But in my heart I knew that probably wasn't going to happen. Once it became clear that Locke wasn't going to kill himself, I knew that Ben would do the deed, and I knew that it wasn't going to be pretty.
So as Locke revealed that Jin was still alive and explained why he never visited Sun... and then spilled Hawking's name... I braced for the worst. And the worst came. We saw Locke die by strangulation, in the same way that his own father had been murdered by Sawyer. We watched Ben clean up the crime scene and reposition Locke's body to make it look like he'd hung himself. And then we heard Ben say, "I'll miss you, John. I really will."
As I'm sure was the knee-jerk reaction that most of you had, I was hating on Ben with the passion of a thousand burning suns after this scene. Ben is the bad guy... Widmore is the good guy... how could we all have been so blind? Damn you to hell, Ben... I curse the day we ever set eyes on "Henry Gale!"
However, now that some time has passed since the episode aired and we've all been able to better process everything that happened... I know I'm not the only one who's back to believing that Ben had a reason for doing what he did. And the reason is that the Island would not welcome Locke's return with open arms if he had actually committed suicide; it would make him a "bad person" if he had gone through with his plan to kill himself. "Well, what about Locke throwing a knife into Naomi's back? Wasn't that also pretty bad?" you may be asking. And I would say that all that matters in this show is what the Island would deem to be a sinful act... not, say, a mainstream religion. So if Locke truly believed that killing Naomi would result in saving the Island and everyone on it from dangerous intruders... then I don't think the Island would view that particular act of knife-throwing to be an unforgivable move on Locke's part. But to lose faith in yourself and your mission to save the Island and just give up and commit suicide? The Island probably wouldn't like that at all.
Of course there's a good chance that Ben's fooling all of us who keep making excuses for him. It was kind of weird that he said, "I'll miss you, John." That statement doesn't lead me to believe that Ben realized Locke would be reanimated back on the Island. But at the same time, Ben was the one who told Jack that Dead Locke must be on the flight back with them, so you'd think that if he really wanted to be done with Locke forever then he wouldn't have insisted that the coffin be on Ajira 316.
Which brings us to the biggest question that this episode raised: Who's the bad guy -- Ben or Widmore... or neither?
WHATCHA GONNA DO?
WHATCHA GONNA DO WHEN THEY COME FOR YOU?
In a nutshell, here's what we know about Widmore:
- He was once on the Island as an Other, at the same time as a girl named "Ellie" who we can assume is Eloise Hawking. He claims to have been the leader of the Others for thirty years and that he was pushed out by Ben, but we can't be totally sure he's telling the truth.
- Once off the Island, he became a successful businessman.
- He sent the freighter to the Island and his men, led by Keamy, killed Ben's daughter, which Ben claimed was "against the rules." Faraday seemed very concerned about Keamy's group, which motivated him and Charlotte to disarm the poisonous gas in The Tempest. Miles said Widmore's been searching for the Island for "over twenty years." Captain Gault claimed that it was Ben who faked the Oceanic 815 wreckage.
- He bought a journal from The Black Rock at an auction.
- He monitored the O6 once they returned to the mainland, but never initiated contact with any of them. Once Sun came to him with a plan to kill Ben, he told her that he controlled Oceanic Airlines... and seems to have been the one who sent her a gun in order to off Mr. Linus.
- He willingly gave Desmond the address for Ms. Hawking, but warned him to stay out of the whole mess.
- He stated that Locke was special, but wouldn't say exactly why... just that he needed to ensure Locke was back on the Island so that "the right side" would win in the war that was coming.
- Penny doesn't trust her father and tells the O6 as much.
- Hurley declared Abaddon, Widmore's right hand man, to be "evil" and warned Locke not to trust him. (Let's not forget that "Abaddon" does mean "Angel of the Abyss/Hell.")
And here are a few things we know about Ben:
- He came to the Island as a young boy because his father got a job with the Dharma Initiative. Shortly thereafter, Ben met Richard Alpert. Years later, he helped Richard and the Others execute "The Purge" to wipe out everyone in Dharma. Ben became the leader of the Others, presumably from that point on.
- Ben knows how to find Jacob and claims to have been the only one of the Others who's ever seen or talked to him.
- He became obsessed with finding a solution to the "pregnancy problem" on the Island, much to Richard's chagrin.
- He's pretty much a pathological liar...but some of his people (namely Zeke/Mr. Friendly/Tom) appeared to have actual proof that Widmore staged the Flight 815 crash.
- He shot and left Locke for dead in the Skeleton Pit.
- The child he took from Rousseau who he considered to be his daughter (Alex) grew to hate him. She was killed by Keamy much to Ben's shock and horror.
- While completely alone in the Frozen Donkey Wheel chamber (as in, there was no one to lie to in there...), Ben cried and muttered, "I hope you're happy now, Jacob," before moving the Island. This would lead one to believe that he thought he was doing the right thing. And let's not forget that Zombie Dad, who claimed to be speaking for Jacob, did in fact want the Island moved -- because he/they also felt that it would be disastrous for Widmore to find it.
- He told Sayid that it was Widmore's men who killed Nadia. (This is something I don't entirely believe... Widmore seems to have left everyone alone off-Island-- why would he have Nadia killed?)
- He threw a hissy fit when Jack and Sun didn't appreciate everything he claims he's done to protect and help them.
- He killed Locke and then broke Locke's promise to Jin.
- He may have killed, or attempted to kill, Penny, in order to fulfill his vow of revenge for Alex's death.
- Although he said he knew Eloise Hawking, he seemed surprised to hear that Locke was supposed to go see her... and also seemed surprised when Desmond revealed that Hawking was Faraday's mother. Regardless, Hawking ended up helping Ben determine how and when to get the O6 back to the Island.
- He had echoed Widmore's words to Locke about how important he was and that he must return to the Island because he had "work to do."
So... what to make of all this? Though Widmore and Ben certainly seem to hate each other... they both feel it's crucial to get Locke back to the Island. So there is a chance that they're actually on the same side, so to speak, and just have drastically different ways of going about things. If that's the case, then who is left to bring war to the Island -- who is it that they're both against?
Perhaps The Economist? A revival of the Dharma Initiative?
For now, however, I'm going to continue to believe that it's Ben who's looking out for the best interests of the Island -- and at this point -- the 815ers, and that Widmore's the bad guy.
As if all of Locke's off-Island adventures and the questions they raised weren't enough, we also were treated to some damn good Island scenes. On to those...
I AM THE RESURRECTION
AND I AM THE LIGHT
I COULDN'T EVER BRING MYSELF TO HATE YOU
AS I'D LIKE
(Shout-out to reader CuInAnotherLifeBrother who suggested the lyrics for this section's heading!)
You all may remember this dire warning about people in hooded cloaks that I included in my review for "The Lie." Thankfully Locke didn't have his on for very long... but it was still long enough to merit him the nickname "Obi-John" amongst Lost fans.
I have to say that I was very much relieved to see that Locke appeared to be 100% whole again -- not creepy like Zombie Dad, Jacob or Ghost Claire. Everyone can see Locke, he's able to eat food, and so on. I do not care in the slightest how all of this gets explained -- I'm just glad he's back to normal (and hope he stays that way).
We now know that the Ajira flight landed in one piece (when he's sober, Lapidus has skillz!)... but it's on Alcatraz Island (home to the Hydra station, which is where Kate, Jack and Sawyer had been kept prisoner for a while). After learning from Caesar and Ilana that some people seemed to have just disappeared in a flash of light from the plane, and that a few others took off in an outrigger, Locke is taken to see everyone who was hurt. It is revealed that Ben is part of that group. "He's the man who killed me," Locke says matter-of-factly, and Caesar's like, "Whoo boy, Obi-John done lost his mind!"
So what will Locke do when Ben wakes up? I'm calling it right now: nothing. That's because Ben will convince Locke that he had to die -- but not by his own hand -- in order to return to the Island. And Locke will believe him. As much as Locke should be wary of Ben by now, I'm not sure he'll ever sever the weird type of alliance they have... especially since what Ben did worked. Five of the O6 have returned, Locke's alive, Ben's back... but now what? Have the time flashes stopped? And when are they?
IT'S BEEN SO LONG NOW
BUT IT SEEMS NOW
THAT IT WAS ONLY YESTERDAY
GEE, AIN'T IT FUNNY
HOW TIME JUST SLIPS AWAY
Since we got a glimpse of the same outriggers we saw in "The Little Prince," the assumption is that Locke and the group he is with must've landed after January 2005 (when the O6 first left the Island)... and that it will therefore be someone from Ajira 316 who ends up shooting at Sawyer, Juliet and the rest of the time-flashing group in the canoe.
This makes sense, because if the Ajira passengers had landed back in the late '70s/early '80s (which is when we're assuming the rest of the main characters are), I don't think the buildings they're taking shelter in would be abandoned, as that was the height of Dharma's time on the Island. We also had seen Caesar review papers that looked to be from Daniel's journal -- both his map of the Island and some of his crazy equations -- meaning that Dharma would've already had to have taken possession of some of Daniel's documents (or copied them) by the time Caesar finds them. Since we're pretty sure Faraday's currently hanging with Dharma because we saw Jin in a DI jumpsuit in the last episode, I don't think they'd already have his files if Locke and Caesar did indeed land in the same year.
So my guess is that Lapidus and Sun, and possibly even Sayid since we haven't seen him yet, took off in a canoe for the main Island. Eventually, others will take the two remaining boats -- and someone in them will be "bad" and will be who ends up shooting at the Lostaways and Freighties. Obviously the leading contenders are the new people we've been introduced to -- Ilana and Caesar. It's not clear if those two knew each other before the crash... but either way, he's definitely acting the sketchiest, what with hiding the gun and immediately rifling through the Dharma files.
Of course it's also possible that another group comes to the Island in the future, too... or that it could be some of the Others from Richard's group who are the mystery attackers in the canoe.
Finally, I just wanted to be clear that I'm not ruling out the scenario that everyone from Ajira landed in the same period -- the late '70s. Frankly, I hope that's the case if for no other reason than my brain just can't process how everyone could be scattered across the decades and ever reunite.
There was also something Faraday said when his group first discovered the outriggers on the main Island in "The Little Prince" (once again, this was in January 2005 or later as their camp still existed) that was a little odd:
[The group finds the canoes.]
CHARLOTTE: Where did these come from?
FARADAY: That's a good question. They're pretty old.
MILES: Not that old. [Picking up a water bottle with the Ajira logo on it]
OK, I seriously cannot think about this any longer!
BEST LINES OF THE EPISODE
ABADDON: So that's Michael Dawson's son, huh?
ABADDON: Boy's gotten big.
LOCKE: Hello, Hugo.
HURLEY: So you didn't make it, huh?
Finally, if you'd like to see a few pictures from the day I ran into filming for "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham," click here -- I must say they're pretty cool!
Until next time,