Lost, television

Lost Forum: “The Life And Death of Jeremy Bentham”


“I’m not gonna juke the stats … Wait, what show am I in right now?”


We had the pleasure of watching last night’s episode with our friends Dusty and Lauren, who host an exclusive “Lost” dinner club with two other couples. We were fearful of making a bad impression and being ostracized by this elite group, joking on the drive over how mortified they would be if the first thing out of our mouths was, “Guys, we have this incredible theory! They’re all actually dead, and the island is purgatory.”


We think we played it cool though.

On to the recap:

  • John Locke is alive!
  • Ajira Airways has a website! (Dusty spent much of the evening trying to book a flight.)
  • Lance Reddick is back!
  • So is Malcolm David Kelly!
  • We need to retire the exclamation points!
  • After turning the frozen donkey wheel, Locke lands in Tunisia, where Charles Widmore rigged up a surveillance system so as to catch anyone who “jumps” off the island and immediately begins barfing.
  • We never, ever wish to receive care in a Tunisian hospital.
  • Widmore makes his case for why he’s not a bad guy and Benjamin Linus is. Locke wonders why he should believe Widmore over Ben. Widmore: “I haven’t tried to kill you, John.” Good point.
  • Matthew Abaddon personally chaffeurs John around the globe until he gets gunned down (by Ben, if we take Ben’s word on it).
  • Sayid has found good work building homes in the Dominican Republic.
  • Walt’s voice got a little deeper, and he’s still having clairvoyant dreams/visions. Otherwise that was an awkward (pointless?) little reunion.
  • At the insane asylum in Santa Rosa, Hurley was drawing a sphinx when John showed up. ( “sphinx” = “to strangle” … little foreshadowing there) (h/t Doc Jensen)
  • John’s ex Helen died of a brain aneurysm. (Or did she?)
  • John tries to commit suicide.
  • Ben stops John.
  • Ben kills John.

About that scene, one of the show’s finest: the two vital bits of information that Ben receives are that Jin is alive and John needs Eloise Hawking’s help to return to the island. The second revelation is what pushes Ben over the edge. For those of us who have become devoted Ben ( “The Great Snake of ‘Lost’“) Linus apologists, it was a tough episode to stomach. It’s hard to make the case for anyone who strangles another man with an electrical cord.

The twist at the end is that John, alive, back on the island, now has Ben, half-dead in a makeshift infirmary, in his sights.

Also of note: We get introduced to Cesar (who played a character in Three Kings named — wait for it — Said) and Ilana, who witnessed the Oceanic 6 jump before Frank Lapidus safely landed the plane. Did the O6 jump to the same time as the rest of the plane’s survivors (the third group of castaways the show has given us)?

A few more thoughts before we open things up:

Mike Allen jokingly (we think) suggested (possibly for the sole purpose of aggravating Erik Brueggemann) that the Knights Templar may be involved in all this. Joke or not, he may be on to something. Widmore tells Locke that they’ve met before and confirms that he was the 17-year-old, neck-twisting hothead from the “Jughead” episode. He goes on to say that he and Richard Alpert’s group were the island’s guardians, protecting the Holy Grail, as it were. But somehow Ben hornswoggled him into relinquishing this charge and/or leaving the island without the ability to return (or perhaps the ability to return but not without contracting malignant nose bleeds). To come back to the show’s many Biblical allusions of late, we’ve got a Jacob/Esau thing going on with Ben/Widmore. And the question of which brother was “good” and which “bad” wasn’t the point of the Genesis story — it was that Jacob (Ben) was wily enough to outsmart Esau (Widmore), steal his birthright and still get God’s blessing despite being (or because he was) a schemer. We’re cribbing much of this from Doc Jensen, so it’d be appropriate here to link to him.

Other thought: John has shown himself capable of being manipulated by just about everyone, and the most crushing discovery he made last night was that Helen ( “Have you ever been in love, John?” Kate asked him) was dead. Abaddon took him to the cemetery and everything. But we’ve had the grave switcheroo before with Sun and Jin. So was that simply a ploy to ratchet up John’s desperation? Did Widmore need John to die to fulfill his schemes for returning to the island? Did Ben? How much are Widmore and Ben at cross-purposes and how much are they after the same thing? And would there have been a mystical difference for John’s island fate had he hung himself vs. Ben strangling him?

While we’re at it, can anyone help us make the case that Ben Linus could still be good? Didn’t it sound like he kinda meant it when he said “I’ll miss you, John”? Would you really trust him over Widmore?

We’re not even going to get into the implications of Locke’s alias being Jeremy Bentham. And we’re done trying to book a flight on Ajira: someone named “Reyes, H” bought 132 seats on every flight out of Cincinnati. Jerk.

And thank you, Dusty & Lauren, for hosting us. Hope we didn’t make fools out of ourselves.


[photo: abc.com]


9 thoughts on “Lost Forum: “The Life And Death of Jeremy Bentham”

  1. My roommate thinks Lt. Daniels/Abaddon looks like, and moves like, this guy:

    I still can’t decide if I think that’s racist or not.

  2. Solid episode and your post has made me decide to digest this further before extensive comment. With that said…

    Is it the consensus that Locke’s mention of Eloise was what prompted Ben to kill him and he had not planned to do so until that moment?

    Did he intend to kill him all along and that was the info he was waiting to hear?

    After hearing that, did Ben realize that John had to die and so he was doing the “right” thing?

    Why can John fight so hard to overcome every physical catastrophe thrown at him (I count them at about 6 so far), yet a simple “No, I’m not going back” from Sayid (and the other three) prompts John to quickly move along in his recruiting drive? Seriously, he was putting in ZERO effort last night.

    I won’t argue that Ben is good per se, but any villian worth their salt beleives that they’re the good guy. Ben truly believes that what he’s doing is the best thing. Now, “best for who” is another matter. I will argue that Ben is the most fully developed character on the show.

    If Ben Linus is ever at your house and says “a promise is a promise” in a soothing voice, that would be your cue to remove all electrical cords from the house. If not, he will use up all of your Windex. And kill you.

  3. Locke is the ultimate in man vs. nature conflicts, but he’s almost clueless when it comes to people. He doesn’t know who to trust, he doesn’t have the social skills to convince much of anyone of anything, and I think he has an inherent sense of his own limitations, which is why he quits so easily. But on that note, did he ever try, even once, to explain why they had to go back? “Hey guys, everyone we left behind is jumping around through time which will gradually cause of of them to have brain hemorrhages and die. Only you guys coming back can stop that.”

    “Oh, and your lives are about to start sucking royally, so you might as well get a jump on that and head back now.”

    I mean, what, are they not going to believe you? *That* would be too weird to believe?

    Re: John & Ben, my take on it was that the Eloise mention was what got him killed. I think he went in there to save John and use him to get back to the island. But I’m still undecided as to *why* that was the trigger. So maybe he was just pumping him for information and planned to kill him all along.

  4. I’m commenting under my own name because I’m not sure Erin would vouch for this theory (and I’m the real Ben apologist of us two):

    I’m not convinced Ben planned to kill John all along. I think he showed up at Scuzz Hotel because he really wanted to save John. Now, whether he just needed to get some answers out of John before he whacked him, I don’t know. Maybe. Probably. But I still think Ben killing John had to serve some ultimate purpose in Ben’s grand scheme of things. Ben may be a manipulative snake, but he’s not just out for cheap masochistic thrills. John had to die (so says Richard Alpert and Christian Shephard) to get the Oceanic 6 back. So is it murder if you know the person you’re killing will be resurrected? These are the questions no other TV show dares ask. Which is why I love it.

  5. I’m definitely not buying Widmore’s story. Didn’t we see last season that the guys on the freighter did have clear orders to kill everybody on the island? I’m not mis-remembering this, am I? Not that I trust Ben, but I definitely don’t trust Widmore either.

    I can’t wait to see what both of their games are, especially Ben. He’s come an awful long way from trying to infiltrate the Oceanic survivors as a failed hot-air balloonist (btw, hasn’t this guy ever heard of delegating? Then again, Ethan Rom wasn’t exactly a successful experiment).

  6. A good point on Widmore’s past, Mr. Sherck. And I haven’t officially welcomed you to the Voreblog comments forum yet. Glad to have you around. Stay away from Mike Allen. He’ll strangle you the minute you turn your back.

    I forgot to include the other shocking thing we unearthed last night at Dusty & Lauren’s “Lost” party. Just click on my name.

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