Lost 5.07: The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham

Oh man. Confession: this episode left me feeling pretty down.  Or blase.  I’m not sure. Despite the revelations, and the eventual resurrection, I ended up feeling blue.

I was generally bummed out to see Ben kill Locke, however predictable the scene ended up being.  Poor, poor Locke.  Terry O’Quinn was amazing — his tears, his sincerity, Locke’s realization that no matter the potential return to the Island, he had so little left to live for — I was really moved.

I also wanted to wring Kate’s throat.  How dare she claim that Locke had nothing to come back to the real world for when she’s just about the most confused character on the show, who arguably had less reason than anyone to leave the Island.  The only thing she does have to live for is a son that doesn’t belong to her. I thought the hubris was amazing. Here’s to hoping she has gets her comeuppance eventually, when Locke becomes Jacob, when she recognizes the error of her very unkind words.

It was also moving to see Jack’s definitive rebuttal to Locke, only to discover himself that it was his father who sent Locke after them in the first place.  No wonder he starts going crazy; I was so glad to know that Locke’s ultimate victory was in undoing Jack.

Damon and Carlton said that they wrote “316” and “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” together, that they were essentially one story split into two, for a specific purpose — and that they chose to air “316” first to make a point.  They also noted that this happened in only one other instance on the show, in Season One, and invited their viewers to figure out what they were referring to.  I immediately thought of Therese Odell’s review of “White Rabbit”, in which she surmised that the episode was really an extension of “Walkabout” — together they told a story of two men, Jack and Locke, respectively; one chose science, the other chose faith.  We learn that the Island gave Locke his legs back, and ultimately his faith. On the other hand, the Island give’s Jack back his father, and he deems such a thing impossible; he comes out on the side of science.

In “316” Jack learns to believe, not least of all because Locke wishes he had in the first place, and because, through faith, they are brought back to the Island.  Alternatively, in “TLADOJB” Locke starts out believing, even attempting to kill himself to make the point, only to lose faith when Ben shows up and confuses things.  We can assume that Locke regains the faith once he’s resurrected on the Island, but we see the mirror image nonetheless.

I’m so thrilled that Therese pointed all of this out in her Season One recap. Well done!

Widmore’s arrival in Tunisia was great.  Was he really the leader of the Others before? I’m tempted to believe he was, because Ben has proved himself a liar time and time again — but we can’t know for sure.

By the way, I started crying when Locke went to visit Walt.  Not sure why. It was an emotional charged episode.

Update: I’ve come to a tentative supposition (can a supposition be tentative? On Lost it most certainly can be).  We’ve all been hating on Charles Widmore for years now.  Ever since he told Desmond he was a loser and forcibly kept him from Penny, we were sure that he was Lost’s big bad guy.  And yet this episode leads us to believe that Widmore is really the protagonist.  After all, he’s helping Locke get back to the Island, he claims to have led the Others until Ben tricked him into leave…he seems sincere.  He helped Desmond find Mrs. Hawking.  Not to mention that Ben strangled Locke with an electric cord.  Kind of turns your sense of right and wrong on its head.

The stick in the mud for me regarding Widmore has been his treatment of Desmond.  I have trouble seeing how Widmore can ultimately be the good guy if he was so cruel to the man that loved his daughter.  But given what we know now, I’m beginning to think that Widmore did all of those things to Desmond just to get him to the Island — if Eloise Hawking is the Ellie we saw on the Island in 1954, then Widmore and Hawking are close.  Hawking may even be Penny’s mom.  In which case, Flashes Before Your Eyes makes a whole lot more sense.  Desmond wants to marry Penny, Charles is unceremoniously rude to him, Desmond doesn’t care, he goes to buy the ring but is told by Mrs. Hawking that he can’t marry Penny because his destiny is on the Island, Desmond eventually makes it to the Island where his failure to push the button in September of 2004 brings down 815 and the passengers to the Island.

Widmore knows he met Locke in 1954, at the age of 17.  He claims to have led the Others for 30 peaceful years.  If Dharma arrived in the 1970s, Widmore was still there.  We know now that the o6 have flashed to Dharma-Island time; will they meet Widmore?  In the same way that he found Locke in 2008 and worked to send him back to the Island, will he do what he can over the course of his exile to bring the 06 back as well, because he knows that they have to go back?

Which is all to say that perhaps we’ve interpreted Widmore’s actions all wrong up until this point, because we have no idea what his motivations have been.  I’m not sure what to do with the information Widmore gives Desmond, when Desmond mysteriously turns up looking for Faraday’s mother.  If Widmore knows that Desmond’s destiny is on the Island, he wouldn’t have been tried to keep Desmond out of the whole thing.  And if Widmore and Hawking already know the way to get back to the Island (the Lamp Post) why don’t they just go themselves? Aha – the Island hasn’t called them yet.

Ben can’t kill Widmore because the Island isn’t done with Widmore yet; Widmore and Hawking were exiled from the Island and can’t go back ever? Or until they are called to do so?

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