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Lost: The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Feb 26th 2009 7:41AM

Terry O'Quinn(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.

Final thoughts/questions:

  • 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.

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cress d

Jusy MY crazy theory...Christian is a proxy when Locke sees him in the Cabin. The 1ST time Locke went to the cabin to meet Jacob w/ Ben it caused major havoc. Since Locke can't actually speak or give himself advice in past iterations, he sends a proxy(Christian) to speak to "current island' Locke the 2ND time Locke is in the cabin. Thus, I believe, JACOB is Locke.
I also believe different "time iterations" of ones' self CANNOT see/view each other. For some reason, Locke instinctively avoids himself at the Hatch a second time around.
The whispers all the losties hear(as well as we the audience) from past seasons are past/present/future inhabitants of the island

March 04 2009 at 3:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cress d's comment

I am new to this forum but I totally think you have hit the nail on the head here. I never thought of that but it makes perfect sense. I am so lost on Lost. Somehow I missed that Sun and Locke's group had missed the time travel.

March 05 2009 at 1:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I didn't really understand all the connections this episode is supposed to have connected to. This show makes my head hurt. I just know I enjoyed the show, and its nice to have Locke back. I thought Abbadon getting killed, Helen having passed away, Widmore's reveal that Tunisia was the exit (just that it was that well known, and pinned down). I thought these were all nice touches. Likewise, I thought Locke's attempted suicide was touching (reminded me of Shawshank a little), and Ben's murder of him shocking (though the moment he talked John down, you knew there HAD to be something coming). It was great to see Walt (I thought Locke's interactions with him were thoughtful). And I thought Evangeline Lilly looked absolutely gorgeous in this episode!!!! Anyone else notice how good they've been making her look this season?

Lots of questions. Some of you are asking too many questions in my opinion. Your seeing controversies where none exist. But like I said, the more I have to think about this season, the more likely I am to get one of those nosebleeds and pass out.

"I have 42 new questions and no god damn answers!"


March 04 2009 at 5:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What i wanna know is why we haven't seen Jacob. The first time Locke goes to Jacob don't we hear Jacob say 'Help me?" Then when Locke goes back to see Jacob, he isn't there. Christian is in his place...Does this mean that Christian could possibly be bad?

March 03 2009 at 10:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sho: I must be doing something wrong with the replies so forgive me for not getting back to you.

I agree with you that Ben met with Mrs. Hawking after Locke died. For all my mind wanderings, I was thinking that he met with her during the 3 years before Locke turned the wheel. Jack's scruffy beard and his obvious suspension from the hospital when Sayid was there should have told me that.

As for meeting Mrs. Hawking (Ellie) previously, it could have been on the island since she was an Other. She just answered Jack "probably not" as if she knew of Ben's character prior to all of them meeting.

That brings another question to mind, how and when did Ellie get off the island?

March 03 2009 at 7:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

didn't the newspaper clipping re the death of a male that jack had refer to him dying at a new york address?

March 01 2009 at 5:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Any theories as to why John isn't paralyzed when he leaves the island? I know he's injured and can't walk, but he definitely wasn't paralyzed anymore.

Also, are we forgetting that Richard recruited Ben to kill all those people and become the leader? Perhaps Richard and Widmore had a "war" and split prior to Ben coming to the island...

March 01 2009 at 3:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Continuity Error: Suicide Letter

Late breaking observation in the category of continuity error: the handwriting of Locke's suicide note is different in both episodes where we see it, in "316" and this one. The letters are addressed and read the same but the handwriting is similar but definitely different. The one in "316" (when Jack reads it on the plane near Ben) is more precisely cursive (girlie like). But when he writes it out in this episode it's kind of a hybrid cursive/print.

Check it out if you've the time. Not sure why they would've done this, how hard is it to keep up with a prop like this ? Maybe something happened to it and they had to recreate it for the later episode, but continuity errors detract from a story's realism, and with all the time-shifting of who knew what and when they've done really well so far, but they dropped it on this little prop.

February 28 2009 at 2:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mr A

Just a thought...

John Locke
Flight 316

John 3:16 anyone?

February 28 2009 at 11:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mr A's comment

Seriously ?! That connection was made dozens of times in the blog entry for that episode "316". New to the Internet are you ?

February 28 2009 at 1:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I' m enjoying all your comments. Keep em coming!
I agree with Ron that Widmore was lying to Locke to get sympathy. The first big lie is that he was the leader of the Others. Clearly, Richard wasn't happy with Widmore in 1954 when he put the gun on Locke. Richard told him to put the gun down and actually made him do it. The second lie was that Ben tricked him to move the wheel. I think he slipped up when he said "exiled" from the island. I think he was "exiled" another way than the wheel. If he truly knew where the "exit" was (Tunesia) there would have been cameras already there when Ben moved the wheel and turned up in Tunesia. There were no cameras there at that time so Widmore didn't know the "exit" until after Ben went there.
To Lawrence: Since we know that the landing strip was being worked on in 2004 by Kate, Sawyer and some Others, the plane clearly landed in present time. Locke and Ben were not part of the O6 so they would have remained in present time, however, since Caesar said he saw a bright light and passengers disappeared, the 5 probably flashed in time to the 70's which we will soon see. How Aaron gets there is anyone's guess, but I believe he will be there.

As for Walt knowing Locke's alias, Walt said he had a lot of dreams. That could indicate that Walt may already know.

Correct me if I am wrong, but, didn't Ben meet with Mrs. Hawking BEFORE Locke came back? If I recall, he met with her alone. This would have happened before he came back with Jack and Sun to meet with her so he knew Mrs. Hawking. That would tell me that it wasn't Ben learning of Mrs. Hawking that would make him kill Locke. I think he killed Locke because of Locke's promise to Jin NOT to bring back Sun. He also told Ben that he had Jin's ring to convince her. Ben needed that ring and needed to kill Locke so HE could convince Sun to go back to the island.
That's all I have. Kudos to all!

February 28 2009 at 8:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Gramster's comment

"...didn't Ben meet with Mrs. Hawking BEFORE Locke came back?"

If I remember correctly, the scene where we first saw Ben talking to Ms. Hawking took place right after Ben confronted Hurley at his home and tried to talk him into coming back, but Hurley instead turned himself over to the police...which was after Sayid had broken him out of the mental hospital...which was after Locke had died (been killed).

I don't know if they had met and discussed plans on going back anytime before Locke's arrival and death.

February 28 2009 at 6:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Could someone please tell me how Sun knew that it was Ben who was responsible for the frieghter exploding, John was the only one who knew what Ben did in the Orchid station, I was hoping that John would have spoken to her about what happened down there. Am I missing something?

February 27 2009 at 11:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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