Analysis: 5.7 The Life And Death Of Jeremy Bentham

Before this episode I had two strong assertions. Namely, as far as the Island was concerned, Benjamin Linus was a good guy and Charles Widmore was a bad guy. After this episode those assertions remain. This may seem strange, in light of Ben’s shocking murder of John Locke, but ultimately it comes down to which of the two you believe. I don’t believe Widmore.

Firstly, Widmore lied to Locke. When he was at Locke’s bedside, having paid for his leg to be reset and setting him up to get the Oceanic 6 back to the Island, Charles Widmore lied.

Widmore: “Because that’s the exit. I was afraid Benjamin might fool you into leaving the Island, like he did with me.”

Widmore already knows Ben has left the Island so wasn’t there to fool anyone! And when Ben popped up in the desert there was no camera – Widmore set it up at the ‘exit point’ afterwards, once he knew Ben was out, after the two had met during The Shape Of Things To Come.

Widmore’s lies cast doubt over his claims of how he used to be leader, upholding a “peaceful” protection of the Island. There may be elements of truth in there. Personally I think Widmore was once leader of The Others, and probably was tricked off the Island by Ben. The peaceful part I have my doubts about. When we met him as a young man on the Island Widmore didn’t strike me as the peaceful type. That part where he snapped the neck of his fellow Other kind of signposted it for me.

He was challenging Alpert’s orders back then, and nothing’s changed – Locke told him that Alpert said he needed to die and Widmore was quick to dismiss the notion. Widmore is power hungry and acts to serve his own ends. Hell, how he can justify sending a Freighter full of explosives and a team of killers to the Island purely to remove Ben is preposterous!

No no, don’t be taken in: Widmore is a bad guy. My interpretation is that when young Ben arrived on the Island (amidst skirmishes with ‘the hostiles’ taking place – so much for “peaceful”!) Alpert took him in. So Ben probably met Widmore, the leader, and realised that he needed to get him out of the way (maybe Jacob told him?) if he was to take charge. Somehow Ben tricked Widmore off the Island, and then Ben was free to potentially order ‘the purge’ and restore the Island to his, and The Others’, domain. That may not read like the actions of a “good person” but, remember, my assertion was that Ben was a good person as far as the Island was concerned. He acts in its best interests.

The question therefore is, if Widmore is lying then why is he doing so? He has his motivations, the same way he had motivations for planting the fake Oceanic in the Sunda Trench (despite some people’s insistence he didn’t do it, I am certain he did).

Locke: “Why would you help me?”

Widmore: “Because there’s a war coming, John. And if you’re not back on the Island when that happens, the wrong side is going to win.”

I believe Widmore masks the truth in a lie. I believe there is a war coming. And I believe Widmore knows Locke is important to how that war turns out. Where I think he is lying is in wanting Locke on his side, back on the Island. Enter Matthew “I help people get to where they need to get to” Abaddon.

If you think about it like Abaddon was purely there to instil in Locke a sense of despair and hopelessness to drive him to suicide then his role makes more sense. Let’s not forget that Abaddon was also responsible for assembling The Freighter team, insisting to Naomi that there were “no survivors” of Oceanic 815 (the insinuation being that, if you find any, they better not survive). Consider how often, for merely ‘a driver’, he points out to Locke he is failing in his attempts to get the Oceanic 6 to come back. One of the first things Abaddon asks is if there is anyone Locke knows, that he cares about, that he wants to look up. Locke confides there was a woman named Helen, and so Abaddon takes him to Helen’s grave. (Conspiracy theorists can debate whether it was a fake grave or otherwise.) It doesn’t exactly cheer Locke up.

If Locke had killed himself, thrust as he was into a state of disbelief, a lack of faith, over the Island and his sense of importance, Widmore would have got what he wanted. Locke may never have returned to be reincarnated. Luckily, ‘good guy’ Ben restored Locke’s faith. He managed to convince him, in a scene that clearly had shades of an apostle at Christ’s feet, of his worth – before he killed him.

You don’t think Ben turned up to Locke’s place with rubber gloves and cleaning fluid by accident, do you? He arrived there intending to kill him, for sure. Yet if he just wanted Locke dead he could have let him hang himself. Instead he had Locke’s belief returned, received information about Hawking (arguably Ben already knew about her), had Jack ready to go back (which would make things a lot easier for him to convince the rest) and even Jin’s wedding ring to get Sun on side (arguably Locke’s promise to not even attempt to get her back added to Ben’s necessity to take Locke out of the picture rapidly). Everything Ben needed he had, and all that remained was, as Alpert said, for Locke to have to die.

The obituary in the newspaper stated death by suicide so Widmore would believe he had been successful, but Ben watched over Locke’s body because he knew Widmore may still wish to take it. And what of Ben’s parting words: “I’ll miss you, John. I really will.” Personally, I believe this was Ben saying goodbye to the old John, because the Locke that was to be reincarnated on the Island was not going to be quite the same man. . .

As far as Locke’s reincarnation goes I put it down to the same phenomena that allowed him to walk the moment he landed on the Island. Note how, during this episode, he was ‘old Locke’; in a wheelchair, dependent, and easily taken in by the schemes of others. On the Island he is his true self – it’s the place where he belongs and is extremely important. The only question is does Locke have vengeance in his heart? After all, the last man that tried to kill him, by shoving him out of a high storey building, didn’t do too well.

Will Locke bear a similar grudge towards the injured Ben? Which brings me to the survivors of Ajira 316. Let’s try and make sense of what happened in this ‘crash’.

Ajira 316 was brought down on the Hydra Island, the smaller Island where Sawyer and Kate were once set to work breaking rocks for a runway! A hell of a pilot like Frank Lapidus may have used this runway in some fashion for a relatively comfortable landing in the trees. Apparently, however, he then skipped off in a canoe with some woman. The most likely candidate for this woman’s identity would be Sun, but then why didn’t she ‘disappear’ with the rest of the O6?

I am of the belief that Ajira 316 crashed in its own time – that the survivors are on the Island in 2007; the Hydra Station office Ceasar was in looked long disused. Jack, Kate and Hurley ended up sometime in the 1970s. I suspect Sayid went there, too (Ilana and Ceasar both talked of how people disappeared, I expect Ilana had Sayid disappear right from out of her custody!). I would have expected Sun to do the same. Maybe she did. Or maybe her going back to the past in the same time as her husband would create problems for the space-time continuum so they have been kept apart. It’s all guesswork until we know more.

Same goes for Ilana and Ceasar. Caesar, in particular, poking around the Dharma Hydra facilities for something, hiding a gun in his bag, certainly arouses suspicion. He’s got prior knowledge and his own agenda. Ilana probably does too. (It’s becoming somewhat tiresome that all new arrivals have secret agendas and links, don’t you think!?) Interestingly, the opening scene – from Ceasar in the office, to him and Ilana walking past the crashed plane, to Locke sitting cloaked on the beach – was originally intended to be the opening of Season Five.

It would have been a heck of a start, but perhaps too big a void of mystery for us to wait to have filled in, so the scene with Faraday and Chang at The Orchid probably worked better for the story we have seen so far, priming us for the time travelling shenanigans coming our way.

Since we have already witnessed Sawyer and Juliet and Faraday go to the beach camp, find Ajira bottles and canoes there, we can be sure that Ceasar and Ilana and some of the others will get in a canoe and go to the main Island. I expect Locke instigated such a move, being the only one of their group who knows of the beach camp. If Frank did indeed leave with Sun then that’s probably where they went to, as well, which would explain the other canoe that was there when Sawyer and the rest arrived.

Still, the two groups – Sawyer & Jack’s gang and the Ajira Group – are separated by around thirty years so it might be quite some time before they ever properly meet! All we know is that one group, in a canoe, gave chase to Sawyer and co, shooting at them as they did – and Juliet shot at, and possibly hit, one of them in return. I am guessing such overt hostility suggests this Ajira Group are in for a tough time. . . Mind, maybe they deserve it.

Walt: “I’ve been having dreams about you. You were on the Island, wearing a suit, and there are people all around you. They wanted to hurt you, John.”

Locke didn’t want Walt back on the Island knowing, if he went, he would learn his father was dead. Better to let him live his life in peace, in the belief that his father was on the Island. Are we to consider that Walt’s dreams are the means by which he has ‘projected’ onto the Island to meet Locke previously? Just one of his many latent ‘special’ abilities? It’s hard to say, and we may never even see Walt again to truly find out. Mind, if there is a war coming then maybe staying off the Island isn’t a bad thing. The only guarantee I think we all have is that, if and when this war starts, whoever is involved, you want to be on John Locke’s side.

He’s back on the Island for his second coming. We can expect big things.


Corellian said...

Those canoes, by the way, are very similar, if not the same, from the one in which sawyer and kate escaped from the smaller island...

About Locke rebirth, maybe the same thing happened to Christian? Or at least, something similar, since Cristian cannot be exactly alive, as he always appears and disappears at places where he just couldnt be.

In fact, who knows...maybe even John is not exactly "alive"?

Acharaisthekey said...

Well, I am going to disagree with you. But only on FAITH not on SCIENCE. Ben is the bad guy (you've heard my rants before)...and I thought this episode made that concrete...well actually when we find out that he killed penny will make that concrete, but for now...I'm going to stick with my own FAITH and say Ben is the bad guy.

However, you make good arguements against Charles. So I have to continue to use SCIENCE to figure out what side of the IMPENDING WAR I will be rooting for. I am on John Locke's side for now....but that would again lead me to be against Ben....

I have yet to see the GOOD in BEN. He is brilliant, and a favorite character of mine....but I think he represents evil.

I am with ya 100% on your timeline explanations....except, I think Sun may in fact be in the 70s...again, this is a faith thing, not a science thing :)

Anonymous said...

if they made locke a boring ghost like christian they would probably lose quite a few viewers inculding myself. and why are the producers hinting that it was a bad thing to bring locke back to the island.

i'm sick of all these boring, time consuming mess-ups the past two seasons.

Anonymous said...


Very good analysis.

Ben has a bank account in the WTBC (Well Tunisian Bank Corporation)

Just wanted to read your thoughts about it.

AngeloComet said...

Anonymous, with reference to the deleted scene you link to above I tend to take deleted scenes as a side-interest, but not as part of the main show. (If they weren't included, they don't count!)

However, the scene you link to has two facets about it:

1. That there is a stash of money hidden not far from the 'exit point' in the desert for when Ben arrives there.

2. That there is a guy lying in the background on his back that, perhaps, once dropped in from the Island.

With the first point I think it makes sense that there would be provision made avaiable to anyone from the Island that ended up in the desert. Ben plans ahead and appears to have a whole network of people in the real world to aid him. That there was a stash of money is a point that's identical to the fact he had made pre-booked reservations at the nearby hotel.

The second point about the body is probably the intriguing part, but given that we've seen Locke and Ben 'exit' at the same point I think we have to quash the idea that it's someone else that exited the Island. When we saw Ben land there was no one else around, and later on Widmore had a camera pointed at that precise area. It would seem people land THERE and nowhere else - so the guy lying on his back is probably just one of the two men he encountered and battered. That's what I think.