Lost – “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham”

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The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham

Part One

(being that there is much to digest and so this shall just be the beginning of my dissection of this episode)

“You asked me what I remembered? I remember dying.”
John Locke

Sure I started with Dark Jedi John Locke’s cryptic revelation to the saucy Illana, but perhaps a quote from Sawyer would be more appropriate. Can I get a “Sum Bitch!”?

The episode begins on the Hydra Station and, as I predicted, Captain Frank “I never flew a machine I couldn’t land” Lapidis put the fallen Aijira bird down on that landing strip Sawyer and Kate were charged to build back in the days of the polar bear cages.

Caesar, our Sayid proxy,  seems to be the default leader of this latest batch of survivors. We find him skulking around looking for clues as to where they are and we catch glimpses of Dharma notations (looking curiously like they’ve been scribbled in a certain Daniel Faraday’s hand) as he rifles through files culled from a filing cabinet before he is led out to meet a mysterious figure who’d been found standing in the ocean after their harrowing touchdown.

John Locke’s iconic reveal, conjuring up memories of Obi-Wan’s similar de-hooding in the first Star Wars, will forever be etched in my mind. It was classic and I squirmed like a schoolboy on prom night.

Unfortunately much of the rest of the episode fell a little flat for me.

Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot to love. Locke’s Oddyssean journey played out as it needed to for the most part. But once we got past the awesomeness that was John’s desert rescue by Widmore’s minions and the aforementioned Charles’ “coming war” chat we were left with failure and missed opportunities as John reunited with the ghosts of the island’s past.

Rebuked at every turn and endlessly mocked by his chauffeur, the enigmatic and eventually bullet hole riddled Matthew Abbadon, John Locke is a defeated man. Even his beloved Helen has been taken from him.

Sayid, Hurley, and Kate dismisses John as a misguided fool, but the true test, the confrontation between Man of Faith and Man of Science is seemingly his greatest defeat toward fulfilling the island’s call to destiny.

“Maybe you’re just a lonely old man who crashed on an island.”
Jack Sheppard

We are left to ponder whether John has sunk into bitter despair and has chosen to end his life, unable to complete his task of bringing the Ocenaic 6 back.. or is it that he presses on, finally realizing that the island demands its sacrifice, and that by doing so, perhaps in death the island’s wishes will be fulfilled.

Perhaps it’s a little of both. But even as John writes his letter to Jack, his final plea from beyond the pale, and he prepares his ritualistic undoing, this victory too is snatched from our Man of Faith.

Enter Benjamin Linus, who talks John down from the chair and out of the noose, but only because he needs information. He knows that John has a mission, and, I suspect he knows that Charles Widmore, Ben’s foil and adversary, has served as Locke’s benefactor since his return.

“There is no helping me. I’m a failure.”
John Locke

Then, in characteristic fashion, Ben murders John and fakes his suicide.

Of course this leaves us with same old question, and that seems to be the biggest mystery… who is good and who is evil in this little passion play.

Has Ben been recast in the role of Judas to a messianic Locke? I’ve long held the opinion that Iscariot has always been miscast as the villain of the crucifixion.  Without Judas, the Christ would never have been led off to his destined death and resurrection. It was Judas who, above all the other apostles, had the strength and vision to carry out what needed to be done to ensure the fruition of God’s plan.

Is this Benjamin Linus, the man who is willing to do whatever it takes, to commit any sin, so long as he is able to protect his beloved island?

I doubt it is that simple, but there just might be some truth there.

Hero or villain?

In the end, I think we’ll find he is what he appears to be, but there is that small doubt that leads one to wonder. Still, it’s hard to rectify following the events witnessed in tonight’s episode.

“I’ll miss you, John. I really will.”
Benjamin Linus

Something tells me that once Ben and John are reunited, as the episode’s coda teased, he will rue those words. For LOST, I suspect the best is yet to come…

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One Response to “Lost – “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham””

  1. My first reaction to Ben killing Locke (again) was that he would have to die from some sort of external violence to be ‘reborn’ on the island. Just killing himself wouldn’t have done it…

    Or Ben could be as crazy evil as his too-innocent face lets on. ;)

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