I knew last night’s episode would be phenomenal. Anytime we get to see Michael Emerson (Ben Linus) act, the episode always soars. I was nearly brought to tears by Ben’s heartfelt confession to Ilana, and this scene was one of the finest in Lost’s 110 episode run so far. As a double bonus, the other POV characters—Jack, Hurley, and Richard—took a trip to a familiar Island location and revealed a few answers.
First, the Flashsideways. It was refreshing to see Dr. Linus again as a high school European history teacher. He’s quick to point out that he’s “Dr. Linus,” which implies that he’s not completely satisfied with his job. Of course, this is further proven when his ambitions for the principal’s position are revealed. After a revealing meeting with Alex Rousseau, Ben learns that Principal Reynolds was engaged in some inappropriate behavior in the nurse’s room with the nurse. Ben attempts to blackmail the principal, but, in true Lost fashion, is faced with a choice. Principal Reynolds says that he has a letter of recommendation to write for Alex, and if Ben usurps his spot, then the letter will “burn” Rousseau’s shot of getting into Yale. Again, while this time on a different timeline, Ben finds himself in the position to save or not-save Alex. Thankfully, on the Flashsideways timeline, Ben chose Alex’s future over his own, proving that Ben has a caring heart.
On the Island, Miles reveals to Ilana and the gang that Jacob was murdered by Ben. (I wonder if Miles’ experience with Jacob’s ashes was any different than any other person he’s communed with?) Ilana is furious and it’s obvious her love for Jacob was intense. The group arrives back at the beach and soon Ilana has Ben bound and digging his own grave. Later, when Miles brings Ben some food, the two talk about Jacob’s final moments. Ben says Jacob didn’t care about dying. Miles responds that yes, he did care, and up until the knife went through his heart he hoped he was wrong about Ben. Miles leaves and Ben is dumbfounded.
Much later the Smoke Monster appears. unLocke tells Ben that he doesn’t want him to die and that in fact he wants him to rule the Island when he’s gone. He frees Ben and tells him to come to the Hydra Station if he wants to join them. He also tells Ben that there’s a rifle in the jungle and that he can reach it and get the drop on Ilana. Ben runs for the rifle, getting it in time to indeed get the drop on Ilana. A vast range of emotions flash across Ben’s face and he says he wants to explain himself. He tells Ilana how he watched his only daughter die in front of him, all for the Island. He tells her of the choice he had, to save Alex or save the Island, and he chose the Island, all in the name of Jacob. He tells her how everything he’s done has been for the Island and “he [Jacob] didn’t even care.” He apologizes for killing Jacob, but cannot forgive himself, and does not expect her to, either.
Ben is as broken as everyone else on the Island. He grew up unloved and loathed by his father. He’s never belonged, and his sense of power has always been the only thing he’s had. He tells Ilana that he’s going to Locke and she asks why. With despair, Ben answers “Because he is the only one who will have me.” It’s here we see the depth of Ben’s anguish. He just wants to be loved and accepted. Ilana tells him that she’ll have him, something Ben was not expecting, as evidenced by his expression. He follows her back to the beach.
Meanwhile, Jack and Hurley meet Richard in the jungle, who instructs them to follow him. Hurley, always the voice of the fan’s questions, asks how Richard looks the same as he did 30 years ago. Richard says it’s not easy to explain, but says that Jacob gave him a gift when he touched him. They arrive at the Black Rock and Richard looks at some chains, hinting to what unLocke said in the season premier. Richard wants to die but is unable to kill himself and that he wants Jack or Hurley to do it for him. Jack agrees, lights some dynamite, and sits down next to Richard, eager to talk as the fuse burns down.
Richard tells how he’s devoted his life to serving Jacob, that everything was happening for a reason and that reason would be explained when the time was right. Now, with Jacob dead, Richard feels that his life has been pointless and longs to die. Jack literally bets his life that if Jacob has gone through all the trouble of watching him and bringing him to the Island then he would not die sitting there with Richard. The fuse peters out in the last inch or so. Richard asks Jack what to do and he says they’re going back to where they started.
Soon, the beach party meets the trio and there’s a small reunion of sorts. The beautiful background music of Lost plays as Hurley and Sun rush towards each other with open arms. The camera pans out and we see Ben standing away from the party, resembling an outcast longing to be invited in. Jack looks over at him. The camera pans out farther and we see a periscope breaking the water, looking at the beach. Below, in a submarine, is Charles Widmore, who has finally found the Island he’s been looking for. An officer asks if they should stop for the people on the beach and Widmore says “No, proceed as planned.”
Thoughts and Observations
- Jack has clearly accepted his role of being a man of faith. Quite the contrast from Season 1, I say.
- Is Widmore heading to the Hydra station? If so, is it intentional? Does he know unLocke is there? Has unLocke provided the way for Widmore to return, in exchange for his submarine and means of escape from the Island?
- Seeing Dr. Arzt again was funny. I still laugh thinking about him exploding all over the place…
- It was also nice to see Ben’s dad, Roger, again. In this timeline he mentions working for Dharma and wondering how things would have turned out if they would have stayed. What happened? Why’d they leave?
- Ben has been one of my favorite characters since he was introduced. I’ve liked that his faith in the Island has been strong and unwavering and that everything he’s done has been for the Island. It’s great to finally see this side of Ben.
- Is Jacob’s touch on Ben working on him somehow? After Ben stabbed Jacob and Jacob reached out and touched him, what affect has that had?
- Now that we’ve seen Widmore again, will Penny and Desmond make an appearance in the near future? I sure hope so.
- Knowing that the writers have fun with anagrams, like the Hoffs/Drawler funeral parlor being rearranged to “Flash Forward,” Principal Donald Lawrence Reynolds can be rearranged to “A cloned world nearly ends.” Coincidence? This is Lost, after all.