Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin's Undone: LOST, Episode 5.07 ("The Life & Death of Jeremy Bentham")

Wow. That is about all I can muster and repeat.

Here are my initials thoughts and questions about tonight's new episode.


It appears as if the plane landed in one piece on the island....the question is, which island? Caesar & co. are on the smaller Hydra island, and Jack & co. are on the main island.

The plane also seems to have landed rather smoothly/safely. Was it somehow 'placed' there during the event window?

Hurley, Jack, Kate, Sayid and Sun 'disappeared' during the flash on the flight while other passengers remained and crashed on the island in the plane. Were they all 'placed' relatively uninjured on the island during the first crash too (815)?


Sadly, Locke has had very bad luck with regard to cars...
  • Mom Emily was run down while 6 months pregnant with him; he was born prematurely
  • Locke was hit by a car when he encountered his mom in a parking lot years later
  • He was in a car accident in LA after Abaddon was shot
There have been numerous other Losties with car crash experiences as well:
  • Michael was hit by a car in NY before flight 815; he was badly injured but lived
  • Michael tried to kill himself by crashing his car in the future; same outcome
  • Jack witnessed a car crash on the bridge before attempting suicide; everyone lived
  • Kate and her doctor ex were in a car accident while escaping authorities; she was fine, he died
  • Kate and the Marshall crashed in the rain when she saw a black horse on the road; she escaped, he was knocked out
  • Kate crashed the farmer's truck when the Marshall caught up with them; she escaped, he was injured
  • Claire and her mom were in an accident; she was injured, mom wound up in a coma
  • Before being taken to the island, Locke's dad Anthony Cooper was in a car accident
  • Hurley crashed his car after being chased by the police in LA; he was fine
  • Shannon's dad crashed into Jack's future wife Sarah; he died, Jack miraculously repaired her back
  • Juliet's ex-husband was hit by a bus; he died

Who did they belong to?

In the future/past, when Sawyer & co. take the canoes and shoot at the people who are following them...will we find out that it was Lapidus and Sun? Does one of them get wounded by a Juliet shot?


By now, most of you know that I have a particular interest in Jeremy Bentham (his FB page and blog are still live, FYI). Last summer at Comic-Con, I had the opportunity to pose a question to Damon & Carlton about the selection of that name, and asked if they chose it because of the real philosopher Bentham's creation of the Panopticon. Here is their response:

"The panopticon is obviously, among other things, why we selected that name."
I've always considered the island to be a prison of sorts, and am fascinated by the idea that they are being watched and observed without their knowledge or permission. It certainly seems to be a more feasible concept with the current direction of the show than it was just a few months ago.


There has to be more than one island exit location. How else do you explain how quickly both Alpert and Big Tom traveled to and fro? That submarine was not a very fast mode of transportation, no matter WHEN and where the island was in relation to the real world.


I have to say that I've always believed that Ben could really be one of the good guys. Until tonight, I was almost convinced. I'm not sure why I ever thought that way; we have not seem much evidence of good will from that man. Now I have a sinking feeling that not only did Ben go after and possibly kill Penny...he is responsible for the deaths of others' loved ones, like Nadia and Helen (I don't believe her cause of death for one second; come on, she's "where she's supposed to be."). Did he have Juliet's sister taken care of too?

Did Ben 'change the rules' by killing Locke?

Was he waiting to kill him after finding out whether or not he knew about Hawking?

Ben had to know that Locke wouldn't stay dead, that the island determines when he can die based upon the work he did on its behalf.

When the hell will the island be done with Ben and let him die? Hopefully we'll see Smokey or Jacob punish or torture him for his egregious actions at some point.

Did Ben place the obit for Bentham, or did Widmore?

Was he lying when he told Locke that whomever turns the Frozen Donkey Wheel can never return to the island?

If he was genuinely surprised to find out that Jin is alive, is that an indication that he no longer has anyone on the island feeding him information?

Upon his return to the island on 316, how is his relationship with Richard Alpert?


Even though he is 'special,' he does not heal as quickly off-island.


Obviously he and Illana know each other. Did Widmore hire them to return to the island with Ben and the O5 (minus Aaron)? There is also mistrust between them...

He and Illana know who Locke is; when he gave his name, they gave each other the infamous Lost Look with Island Eyes of Special Secrets.

He went specifically looking for the drawer of Dharma maps; he's either been there before or was well instructed. Given that he found the Imaginary, Real & Space Time diagram, he is also familiar with the island's time shifts, but is pretending to be out of the loop when talking with Locke.

Is there any significance to the relationship between this new Caesar and Frank Lapidus, and Julius Caesar and Marcus Lepidus? If I'm not mistaken, Lepidus was one of Caesar's closest allies and second in command...


How did he know exactly WHEN Locke was going to turn the Frozen Donkey Wheel and exit the island via Tunisia? Does Future Faraday inform them?

Have his video cameras been installed long - did they capture Ben's previous arrival too?

In addition to financially backing Faraday, did Widmore also fund Charlotte's research too? Is that why she knew to look in Tunisia for the Dharma polar bear collar at the archaeological dig site? He is "deeply invested in the future of the island" after all...

We meet him at 17 years old on the island, when he was a soldier under Richard Alpert. Was he being groomed to become the leader of the island at that time? At what point did he assume that position? Was it with or without Alpert's approval/assistance?

If he was indeed exiled from the island, was that at the behest of Jacob or Alpert?

Did he exit via Tunisia as well?

Is he the one who is paying for and continuing the Dharma food drops? Not that we've seen any in a while.

At this point in time (in Tunisia), does Widmore know where Penny is or if Ben did indeed go after her as promised before returning to the island?


Locke reanimated upon arrival on the island; it appears that Jack's dad did the same after 815 crashed there.


We haven't seen Sun - did she go with Lapidus? If so, why? Did he know that Jack & co. landed on the other that where they were headed?

He'd studied the flight 815 manifest when he was hired by Abaddon to pilot the chopper to the island. Did he then instinctively grab the 316 manifest after talking to Jack and realizing that he was going back to the island?


Are we sure that she really died? It seemed like her tombstone was in the same cemetary where she and Locke attended Anthony Cooper's funeral...only, he wasn't dead.


I'm not sure if this is a continuity/production error or not, but prior to tonight, the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute on the show was located in Los Angeles; not in the actual city of Santa Rosa (which is an hour and a half north of San Francisco). When Jack went to see Hurley there, he didn't fly. It is not very relevant but of course I noticed it.

Is his drawing of Egypt going to come into play? Even though Jorge Garcia has repeatedly said that his first drawing of the igloo (last season) was entirely his idea, I still contend that it relates to Penny's team who found the electromagnetic anomaly while stationed in a frozen region.

In addition, geographically...Egypt and Tunisia are only separated by one country (Libya). Could it be that Egpyt is another island exit portal? And could the ancient 4 toed statue be related?


Does she remind anyone else of a kinder, gentler Ana Lucia?
She's also (allegedly) in law enforcement, and kind of resembles Ana's mom Teresa Cortez...a sister perhaps?


What the heck is his role in all of this?


So if he was responsible for helping Widmore get people where they need to be, and made sure that Locke was on flight 815...did he and Widmore work with Hawking to determine the coordinates and event window that was occurring that day? Or Faraday?

Who is she, is she working with Caesar and Illana, or is she the new version of a red shirt with a name that we'll never know?


After Ben and the others kidnapped him on the island, they asked Michael if he'd ever appeared where he wasn't supposed to. So was he actually traveling/transporting back to the island during his 'dreams' about Locke, without realizing it? Does he remember appearing to Locke after Ben had shot him, advising him to get up because he had work to do? Was that a 'dream' as well?

Does he return to the island? Could he have somehow been on flight 316?

If he does return, when and how will he find out about his father's death?

  • In the pilot episode after the crash, Locke enjoyed an island orange. In this one, it was a mango.
  • Upon arriving in Tunisia after turning the Frozen Donkey Wheel, Ben had an injured arm and Locke had an injured leg.
[insert huge Nerd Alert sign here]
  • Locke as Obi-Wan Kenobi with his blanket head covering, sacrificing himself so that others will survive. Ben as Darth Vadar, killing Locke/Kenobi and turning him into a spirit of sorts (and a more powerful 'force'); another or future Jacob?
I have SO much more, but I must get some sleep. Thanks again for stopping by and reading - I always appreciate your time and comments!


Barry said...

I think two of the most important revelations concerning the fabric of the show were revealed tonight:

1) Abbadon purposefully, under Widmore's direction, guided John to take the Walkabout which landed him on the plane in Sydney. If Widmore knew John was supposed to be on the plane, supposed to crash on the island then did he know about every single other passenger, too? Or at least the regulars? And did he send Abbadon to "nudge" each of the regulars to go to Australia and return to LA at the same time? I think the answer to this question goes a long way to unraveling the mystery as to why all these people who had connections to each other happened to be on the same plane at the same time - and survived.

2) Walt's dreams - all the times Walt's appeared to people on the island after his kidnapping: To Shannon and Sayid, and most significantly to Locke at the burial pit, he was apparently projecting himself instead of traveling/teleporting/time-jumping, etc. And he was apparently not aware of it or its significance. I think the "Locke in a suit surrounded by hostiles" may be a scene is yet to come, and Locke will glimpse Walt standing nearby (maybe dripping wet, who knows). The answer to this mystery will better answer just what Walt's special abilities are.

Sally said...

Great job Jo.your post are always good to read.keep up the good work.

ashlie said...

Did anyone else find the timeline a little strange (which is an understatement for this season, I know.) But what struck me was the whole Bentham/Jack meeting. Jack looks like he's just moved in to beard-town, he doesn't have the full on beard that we see when he finds the Bentham obit. Now, presumably the obit would come out fairly quickly after Ben kills Locke, I mean, he's in pretty good shape in that coffin, so I think we can guess that he was found quickly and not left in the hotel room for weeks or anything. So let's say that Jack is just a super fast beard grower, I can deal with that. But what about his flights? Ben tells Locke that Jack booked a flight to Sydney, and makes it sound like it's his first flight. Of course Ben could be lying, and Jack could have been doing his midnight runs to Tokyo for weeks now, but if he was, wouldn't his conversation with Locke have gone a little differently? Wouldn't he have mentioned something about taking flights randomly hoping the plan would crash? It seemed like there was a big jump in character for Jack between his encounter with Locke-Bentham and his reaction to finding out that he died. Anyone else have any thoughts?

Also, with the revelation that Abbadon, and therefore Widmore orchestrated Locke going to Australia for his walkabout I have to ask, if Widmore knew that there was at least some way to get to the island by flying across the Pacific like that, why wasn't he doing it himself? He says he was exiled, but what does that mean? What are the consequences if he did choose to return? Also, I can't help but wonder about Ellie. If Ellie is indeed Eloise Hawking, why isn't she trying to get back to the island? Does she not want to return, was she exiled, or is it her destiny to lead others there? It seems strange to me that everyone else is desperate to get back except for her. I think even Walt would have gone back if he had been given the opportunity. I can't believe that that is the end of Walt's storyline, there has to be more in store for him.

Aunt J-ha said...

Yes, I think the time line is a little off. Or like I missed something. I'll have to read this post and comments again carefully and try to figure out more.

I think Sun stayed on the plane and didn't disappear, I think it was she and Lapidis who stole the 1st of 3 out riggers. When the marooned 5 found the outriggers there was only 2, so I believe Lapidis and Sun were ahead of them not behind them. I would bet the new survivors grabbed the 3rd one and took off after our 5 & shot at them.

Thanks for you initial reaction, I really love the discussions.

Stuart Malin said...

Wonderful thoughts you've posted here.

I like the way they have worked Walt back in, and in a way that accommodates Malcolm David Kelley's (the actor - but you knew that) real life aging.

I liked Hurley's reactions to John: calm when he thought John was dead; agitated that John wasn't. Poor Hurley.

I'm still a believer that Ben is not at all what they (CC & DL) are trying to lead us to (which is away from the truth, so the series ending can have some punch) - which is that Ben is not evil.

Great line!!! Widmore to Locke: “Because there’s a war coming. And if you’re not back... the wrong side is going to win.”

I think we have (as viewers) a war to look forward to, even if Locke has returned to the island. But just whose war is it? Who are the warriors? And who are the pawns?

In the final scene of the episode, I think that Ben was genuinely surprised to learn of Jin being alive. This seems to be the first time that something has happened that Ben has not known about.

Why would Ben prevent John from hanging himself, then go ahead and do the deed? I don't believe that Ben took any pleasure in this - to the contrary he seemed quite pained. I suspect that Ben knew that John must "die" but that he couldn't (for some religious or island related reason) take his own life, and so Ben "had" to kill John. I find it interesting that Ben, who has killed so cruelly and so emotionlessly, showed great emotion in his killing John. There was a mutual sacrifice here.

Widmore most likely left the Island via the wheel; hence his not being able to return. Has been yet been spotted on the Island after the incident with Ajira 316?

Back to Walt: I find it odd that the O6 "need" to return, but not Walt. What makes the O6 special, as others have left the island and do not "need" to return?

Puzzles and intrigue....

ColorCodedC said...

Wait, who's Roxanne?

1Miletogo said...

Great Episode last night, so much going on and it warrants a couple more rewatches. I found it interesting that Frank took the flight manifest. So, there is the mystery of who else was on the plane… Widmore? Walt? Ms. Hawking? I think that the island placed the people where it needed them. So there are tasks to be completed both back in the 70’s and in the 2008 time frame.
I think the Tunisia exit is for the Donkey Wheel. I’m sure there are other “exit” points for the island. I believe that the watches (Jack’s Grandad, Mr Paik) are utilized in travel to/from the island.
I think that Caesar and Ilana may actually be working for DHARMA. We know Ilana isn’t working for Ben because she would have known about Locke, she could be working for Widmore.
Widmore said that “we” protected the island for 3 decades. So, it is unclear if Widmore was on the island for the whole 3 decades or if that 3 decades started in 1954. The AH/MDG incident in 1985 may have included Widmore then. Widmore may have been involved in the ‘79/80 incident also.
I think Sun & Frank left to go to the beach camp. Locke will probably lead the other two boats to the camp too. Then we will see Sawyer and company shoot at one of the boats of Ajira passengers.
As for Abaddon’s role in the original flight 815, I think that he was tasked with getting John on the flight. There were other people involved with getting the rest on the flight. I posted this theory in the USA today contest previously. I think there are many other people involved on getting our LOSTIES on flight 815.
I think Walt did visit the island in his dreams after they left. The Others were more than happy to rid themselves of Walt and they said that he was where he wasn’t suppose to be. I think that he was dream traveling around the island and that is how he met up with Shannon and appeared to Locke in the DHARMA pit.
So much to talk about…

Anonymous said...

Yeah... who's Roxanne?

Brad said...

The Sphinx painting was a hint for us. "Sphinx" was a name given by the Greeks which translates to "strangler."

Smeggy05 said...

My points:
1) Ben is made to look evil by killing Locke, but as Stuart Malin posted earlier I believe that Ben knew that Locke had to be dead to play the role of Cristian Shepard on the return visit.

2) Charlotte - Is she Desmond child "Charlie". We (I) have assumed its a boy. Is Desmond's child Charlotte? Its interesting that the name "Charlie" (Charles,Charliex2,Charlotte) is significant and surely not by chance.

3) Everyone is assuming Jin is with Frank. Maybe Jin is on the main Island with everyone else. It appears that those on the original flight were "taken" before the plan crashed (was placed down). Frank wasn't on the first flight, nor Ben which is why it makes sense that they aren't with the original Losties. Now if Locke is replacing Cristian Shepard then that theory needs some work - but we never saw Christians body after the first crash (I may be wrong - Im not hardcore enough to recall Season1). So maybe Jin is yet to pop up - but don't assume she is with Frank.

Nurby said...

I have to agree that I am not convinced yet that Ben is bad. I want to think he is, because he definitely seems like a liar and then says things like who cares about all the people on the plane. But Richard said that Locke had to be sacrificed, so it seems like Ben needed to kill him. I wonder too if that allowed him to come back to the island?

I also am wondering now, in John 3.16 Ben told the story of Thomas the apostle. Now I wonder if that story was actually about Christian and Jack. Jack was obviously disturbed by the idea that his dad could be alive, is he going to have to see his dad to believe.

I loved how they focused this all around John traveling to each person. I definitely need to rewatch!

kalionan said...

Check out the sign on the highway as Abaddon is taking Locke to the airport...

Capcom said...

Great post and comments!

I'm starting to go with the thought that the only reason that Ben stopped Locke from killing himself was because he needed info from Locke. Then, Ben had to finish what he interrupted by fulfilling it himself. That theory's not totally without holes, but it's beginning to look good to me.

Don't forget that in the story Ben told Jack about Thomas, he specifically included the part about when Thomas was being protective of Jesus, which just happens to be in the chapter (Jn.11) that is about raising Lazarus from death. :-o