Lost: The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham
(S05E07) "I remember dying." - Locke
I was really excited for this episode. However, and it wasn't bad, but it turns out that the whole mystery surrounding John's alter ego Jeremy Bentham wasn't much of a mystery after all. The entire hour played out as a laundry list of confirmations - things that we either kind-of-sort-of knew based on past episodes or things that most avid fans of Lost assumed to be true anyway. If anything, it was a nice pat of the back because it's always a good feeling to think every now and then, "Hey, I do get this show!"
The episode was bookended by scenes back on the island, but I'll come back to those. The other 95% was a flashback to Locke's time on the mainland. It picked right up after he spoke with Christian and spun the frozen donkey wheel. He was deposited right in the middle of the Tunisian desert just as Ben was in "The Shape of Things to Come." Only this time, there was a camera aimed at "the island's exit." Someone had been waiting for him. Some Bedouins picked John up and brought him to hospital. His busted leg was reset by a doctor and Locke passed out just in time to see Matthew Abbadon watching him. When he finally came to, someone else was - Charles Widmore.
Widmore was incredibly friendly with John. He was amazed that he hadn't seen John since 1954 (Widmore was 17) and that John said it had only felt like four days. Widmore then made a few comments that bring up some good questions. One, he said he was the leader back on the island when Ben arrived. So it seems that at some point between 1954 and the early 70s (when Ben arrived), Widmore took over for Richard and Widmore claims that Ben somehow duped him into leaving the island. How did he dupe him? And why? It seems as though Ben simply wanted to lead and have the island to himself.
Now Widmore also thought that John had been duped. This was a little confusing to me - if John had been duped as well, doesn't that imply that Widmore believes Ben is still on the island? Obviously he isn't and Widmore should know that since Ben visited him in the night to threaten Penelope's life. Secondly, what is the war he's talking about? Who are the two factions (is it as simple as Widmore and Ben?) and why will the wrong side win if John isn't back on the island?
Widmore agreed to help John round up the Oceanic 6 and gave him a passport (Jeremy Bentham - surprise!) and Abbadon as a personal chauffeur. Abbadon took John around the world and using the surveillance Charles had compiled on the O6, John started making visits. It all went as you'd expect. Sayid, Jack, and Kate all flat out said no. Hurley seemed open to returning, but once he saw Abbadon, he freaked out and told John to beat it. John kept his promise to Jin and stayed away from Sun, but he only needed to convince Jack and telling him his father says hello was all it took to plant a seed of doubt.
On top of that, Locke also visited Walt. This was one of the few scenes that came as a surprise, but it turned into quite a letdown. They could have done so much more and instead they exchanged some pleasantries, Walt mentioned a dream about John wearing a suit on the island (could the foreshadowing be any more obvious?), and Locke rode the fence with his ambiguous answer when Walt asked about Michael.
Then John visited Helen's (Katey Sagal) grave. She died of a brain aneurysm in 2006. I didn't see much point to this other than it setting up Abbadon's "everyone is on a path" pep talk. Another thing about Abbadon that bugged me? He and John talked about their first encounter and how Matthew was instrumental in convincing Locke to go on the walkabout, which eventually led to him being on the island. However, if everything that happened happens, then why is it that John needed that push? Wouldn't he have ended up on the island by some other means anyway? Or did Widmore and Abbadon "put" John on the island sooner than he was supposed to have been? I realize "sooner" is a relative term with all the time-travel business, but you get what I'm saying.
After they left the cemetery, Abbadon was shot by Ben (he later admitted it) and Locke ended up back at his hotel room a failure, head in a noose. At this point, Alpert's "you're going to have to die John" quip made sense. It was his only option left - everyone had said no and John, man of faith that he is, had no other choice but to fall back on the one final thing he was told had to happen.
But then Ben showed up and talked John down. This was probably the best scene of the episode. The second that John mentioned that Jin was alive and said he had proof, you could see Ben's face twist. Then his eyes damn near popped out when John said he knew about Eloise Hawking. So Ben strangled John and set it up to look like a suicide. It made sense. Ben saw John as a threat when he started having dreams on the island. So he shot him then. Now, he saw John as a threat on the mainland. John knew everything that Ben knew and Ben needs to be in charge. Ironically, Ben at that point surely knew that John is essential to returning and he must have known that bringing him back to the island would raise him.
That's right, John is alive. Are you surprised? Of course not. On the island after the Flight 316 crash, John was strolling around, eating mangoes. They crashed on the smaller second island - Caesar was in the Hydra station and John was staring at the main one. The new Losties were questioning John about why the people in the front of the plane "disappeared." Locke obviously had a pretty good idea but he he still checked out those that were injured anyway - Ben was one of them. Wasn't much of a shock. We had just witnessed Ben kill John, so he was the logical choice.
So Ben didn't make the time jump with everyone else.
What's Caesar's motive? He looked thrilled when he found the shotgun and the Hydra dossier. Could he be a sleeper agent for Widmore?
Same thing for Ilana. She must have a greater purpose if we're learning her name.
I'm still up in the air about who I trust - Ben or Widmore. They both continue to do things that make arguments for and against them. However, they both seem to agree that John is special. The only difference is that I think Widmore is comfortable with John leading. Ben isn't.
Where did Lapidus and "some woman" go on the third boat? It had to have been someone he knew and since we know Kate is with Jack and Hurley in the 70s, I'm guessing it's Sun. It would make sense - her journey back to Jin has to have some obstacles and her not making the time jump would certainly qualify.
I loved how John had that blanket on when he was first revealed. Looked like Darth Sidious.
So what's John going to do to Ben? My guess - nothing. They need each other now and Ben surely knew it would turn out that way. The power struggle will continue and Ben has proven time again that, despite John's best efforts, he's smarter. Next week though, we're going back to the 70s:
"LaFleur" - Sawyer perpetuates a lie with some of the other island survivors in order to protect themselves from mistakes of the past, on "Lost," WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4 (9:00-10:02 p.m., ET) on ABC.