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Lost: Who is this Ben?

Well guys, we had a great run. But it's time for us to stop being friends, because I'm about to say something bad about Lost and you're about to cease reading my articles on the show.

First, let me tell you how I write these articles. I watch each episode live, think about it all night, and re-watch it again the next morning. I don't read what other people are saying about it, and aside from briefly chatting with my friends after each episode airs, I pour what's in my brain directly into a word processing document with no outside interference and no filtering. If you want to read a long-winded article about the minutiae of Lost, you can read Doc Jensen over at EW.com. If you want to read a bunch of "OMG"s and "Squeeee!" and "Sawyer is hot!" you can see what Kristin at E! Online has to say. Here, you'll get my humble take on the show, one friend to another, and if I need to be brutally honest, I will be. You are free to take it as is, or to write harsh comments about my lack of mental capacity in the comments section below. Go ahead, I won't get mad.

Which leads me to this: I did not like last night's episode. Let's start with the flash-sideways. Ben is a history teacher, which we first discovered in the excellent Locke-centric episode "The Substitute." He's keeping his dad alive, a sharp contrast from gassing him in the front seat of a VW van on the island, and he's watching over the student version of Alex, who we adopted on the island. But Ben's real problem at the school is the principal, played by the bad guy from Ghostbusters, who wants Ben to go on detention duty instead of teaching an after-school history club. It's all a parallel to what's going on on the island, with power struggle over who's going to take control over the school/island.

So Ben guns for the principal's job. Alex alleges some naughty behavior on the principal's part, which Ben intends to use as blackmail. The principal counters with a threat of ruining Alex's future by not writing a recommendation as she tries to get into Yale. In the end, teacher Benjamin Linus won't let his mad rush for power ruin Alex's life, and he backs down knowing that he made a sacrifice for Alex's future, unlike when he allowed Keamy to put a new hole in her head back in Season 4. So Ben ends up right where he started.

On the island, Ilana discovers that Ben killed Jacob and tells him to dig his own grave. Ben freaks out, and is eventually helped out of his shackles by Sir Smoke-a-Locke, at which point he runs into the jungle to escape. He's got a chance to fill Ilana with lead and run away, but he opts not to and makes a speech about how losing Alex is worse than any punishment that might come his way. He then slinks back in line with Ilana, who does a 180 and says she'll take him in. So Ben ends up right where he started.

In both instances, the result is a null set. Nothing moved forward; instead, we ran around in a big circle and thought about things that could've happened. And teacher Ben, powerless and squirming under the boots of other people, is really no fun to watch. This isn't the Ben we knew, the Ben with a plan. The Ben who takes a punch to the face or a torture session only to psychologically win the war with his tormentors. This Ben, both on the island and off the island, was a doormat. This Ben was boring.

And that brings me to this: What was the point of last night's episode? Ultimately, when we look back, what happened? Nothing. Nothing happened. And with 10 episodes left in this once-stellar series, it boggles my mind that the producers would spin their wheels like this. "Dr. Linus" seemed like a really big-budget fan-fiction episode.

Now, I'm not asking for answers to the show's lingering questions. I don't mind waiting. But I do expect the story to move forward. And except for positioning people back at the survivor camp, I'm not sure what the takeaway was in "Dr. Linus."

Next: Boom! Doesn't Go the Dynamite!>>

The only thing of interest in last night's episode was Richard Alpert, bless him. He's not a happy camper even with his "gift" from Jacob. I've been waiting for Alpert to succumb to the doldrums of eternal life, and finally he's ready to off himself. And how does he want to do it? In very dramatic fashion, with a stick of dynamite.

But here comes Jack to mess things up. Richard asks Jack to light the fuse, because he can't (something about him not being able to kill himself). And Jack, in very UN-Jack-like fashion, agrees without a hitch. Jack, the man who would give CPR to an elderly squirrel for two hours in order to try and save it, just says, "If he wants to die, there's nothing we can do to stop him." Then he lights the fuse and sits down for a little chat because he thinks destiny will intervene and stop the dynamite from blowing up. The fuse does magically go out, and Jack laughs. Not exactly a shark-jumping moment, but definitely worthy of a few eye rolls. And definitely frustrating.

I found myself relating to a certain bit of dialogue uttered by Richard as he explains why he wants to die: "I devoted my life, longer than you can possibly imagine, in service of a man who told me that everything was happening for a reason... Why do I want to die? Because I found out my entire life had no purpose." Replace "my life" with "the last six years" and "a man" with "a show," and I'm beginning to know exactly how Richard feels. I'm at the point where frustration is setting in, and frankly, it makes me want to cry. Maybe me and Lost just need some time apart.

Other notes on last night's episode

... This no Sawyer thing is getting really annoying. He's become the show's best character and he's been absent for the last three episodes.

... Leslie Artz has gotten way too much screen time this year. Imagine how much better Ben's side-flash would have been if he had all those talks with John Locke instead of Dr. Artz.

... The ending was nearly identical to that of a previous episode, I believe it was "One of Us," with Ben replacing Juliet as the group returned to the beach to be reunited with others.

Questions, Questions, Questions

I thought now would be a good time to see how Lost is doing with answering the "10 Questions Lost Needs to Answer" article I wrote before the season started. Here they are:

1. What is the significance of the numbers?
Sort of answered in "The Substitute." The numbers each correspond to the possible candidates, but how they relate to everything else is still somewhat hazy.
2. Why were they chosen to crash on the island, and what is their connection?
Answered good enough for me. They're candidates for Jacob's old job, and Jacob brought them there.
3. Why do some people appear as "ghosts"?
Answered. Old Locke Ness Monster can somehow embody the dead. Still not clear on the "dead" people Hurley see, though.
4. What is the Black Smoke?
As we found out in the season premiere, it's the Man in Black. But we're still wondering why it was initially called a "security system."
5. How is Egyptology related to all this mumbo-jumbo?
No idea, yet.
6. What's up with Walt? And Aaron?
Ummm... no idea. Will Walt even return? Back in reality, is Aaron melting kids' minds in kindergarten?
7. Who is Jacob/Who is "The Man in Black"?
We're a bit closer to knowing who they are, but still don't have a concrete answer. Jacob wants to protect and oversee the island, and MIB just wants to be released from his prison.
8. What's the deal with the Temple?
It has giant hourglasses, Japanese dudes, and really cool hot tubs. Oh, and it was the site of a second-hand Smoke massacre. I don't even want this question answered anymore, I just want the Temple to never be mentioned again.
9. Why do Widmore and Ben want the island?
Still not sure, but at least we know that Widmore is coming back to the island, and that he's got a kick-ass submarine.
10. What is the deal with Richard Alpert? And Desmond?
Richard got a "gift" from Jacob when he was touched by him. We assume it's the ability to live forever, at least on the island. Desmond? Well, he'll pop up eventually.

There's still plenty of time to answer these lingering questions, so I'm not worried at all.

User Contribution News

This is my favorite part of each week's Lost article! Last week, I asked why people were giving up on the show (as I've noticed). And once again, my man Hovabyte did what I thought was a great job explaining why. Here's an excerpt of what he said: "I think the lack of care is coming from the fact that we don't know why we're rooting for Jacob's side over MIB's. What are MIB's plans and why? Up until now we always had a reason to stick around and show our support but now we know it's ending it feels like we're being strung along for the big reveal at the end and no questions are being answered throughout."

That's a very salient point right there, and Hovabyte (I'll try and think of a nonsense Lost article for this week) put it better than I did. It's almost feels like walking into the middle of an argument between two people who won't tell you what they're fighting about. Television shows need to give things weight to keep viewers interested, and without that weight, our attention relaxes. If we knew a bit more about the struggle between Jacob and MIB, we'd be more enraptured. If we knew why the side-flashes were important, we'd be on the edge of our seats. There's nothing wrong with having faith in the show as the hardcore Lost fans do, but there's nothing wrong with asking questions, either.

I also talked about the best fights in Lost, and some of you disagreed. Vstherevolution pointed out that I thought the Juliet/Kate handcuffed fight was the best because they are hot women and were wet. That's absolutely correct, I thought I made that clear. Hey, I'm a simple man. Karlwolfe50 asked where the fight between Jack and Sawyer from Season Five was. That was very, very close to cracking that top three; I love that scrap because of its sheer importance of being between two of the main characters who have needed a good fight for a while now. From a straight fight standpoint, I'll take Sayid's scissor-kicking over that any day. But for importance the story and characters, I would agree the Jack-Sawyer scuffle is probably the show's best.

Joostin_cdn called me out for not liking "the magic" that's been prevalent in Season Six, even though we've seen things like Christian walking around all the way back in the first season. I hear what you're saying, and think you are partially right. Do I love Lost for the characters only? Absolutely not. But Lost is so good with its characters, and that's what separates it from other sci-fi (or whatever genre Lost is in) shows. Look at FlashForward: an absolutely fascinating premise that just can't get off the ground because no one cares about the characters. I don't think you can simply say Lost brought "us" in with mostly lore. It's a combination of the two, and they both need each other to make the show fantastic. When one lacks, the other suffers. It goes both ways, we don't want to see Jack and Kate talk for 40 minutes over a cup of coffee. And on top of that, one of the joys I got from Lost was seeing all the "magic" grounded in science, and reading Popular Mechanic's excellent articles about time travel and electromagnetism as it relates to Lost. I miss that. You know what they recently wrote about? How Claire's bear trap was technically incorrect. Not exactly as interesting as String Theory.

And also, I can 100 percent assure you—I promise!—I'm not writing these articles as flamebait or to generate comments. It's just my opinion. I know some people in online media give a show a hard time simply for page views, and some do the opposite and aren't harsh enough simply to keep show fans happy (most people who read articles about a show are avid supporters of said show), but understand I'm giving you all the real deal from this mish-mash of synapses that I call a brain. No sugar-coating and no extra-picky analysis. Lost has given me hours and hours of great entertainment, so I owe it to the show to be honest with you guys. I love Lost, and even if Season 6 goes down in a fiery pile of garbage (which I pray it won't), I'll still consider the show an amazing television achievement.

The Lost Season 6 Episode Power Rankings

(I'll be keeping tabs on each episode, ranking them in terms of quality each week, right here. Your opinions will differ from mine.)

"Dr. Linus": Not a great showing, particularly for a Ben-centric episode. In the end, there was little to discuss by Lost standards and most of the show seemed like one long deleted scene. But because the characters didn't act as silly as they did in "What Kate Does," I'll put it ahead of that one.

1. "The Substitute" Ep. 4
2. "LA X (2)" Ep. 2
3. "The Lighthouse" Ep. 5
4. "Sundown" Ep. 6
5. "LA X (1)" Ep. 1
6. "Dr. Linus Ep. 7
7. "What Kate Does" Ep. 3

Your Homework:

I'm pretty sure this is going to happen anyway, but for those of you who did enjoy this episode, let me know what you liked about it. This is entertainment, I don't know more about anything than you do. There is no right or wrong answer.

Having said all that, you all are still welcome to call me an idiot in the comments. I'll be back next week for "Recon." Hope you will too. And I'll try to keep the next article shorter...


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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Well, I do agree that Ben is always best with a plan. It’s kind of his thing. But too much scheming got a bit predictable and I also felt that killing Jacob had to change something for Ben. He couldn’t just go back to business as usual after that.



Also, with both camps gearing up for the big showdown over the island, I do like Ben being on the ‘right’ side for a change. It might not last though and that’s why we love the character in the first place.
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Ben has always said he was one of the good guys. His evilness was to protect the island, so I don't really think it was that much of a character change. Yeah, I would have loved to see him turn things around on the principal, but really it's the same exact thing that happened on the island when he lost his leadership. I still love Ben.
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I personally like snide and sneaky Ben. Perhaps having been "redeemed" he'll use his knowledge to save people rather than the Island? I agree I'd like to know more about who MIB and Jack are and the source of their conflict. How did they get to the Island? Why do they stay or can't leave? I'm willing to wait too, but it's getting old.
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sorry...It was great episode
may u didn`t feel it but it was satisfying to me
Just like every season they make U "lost"&"talk to ur self" but the time will prove that this episode flashed something we did not see it coming |I think we need to be patient, nothing come sudden, they must make the first step & I really do not know what are they planning to do with this alternate reallity thing, is it really alternate reallity or what?? |
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this was a great episode & watching ben do the right thing in the flash-sideways was satisfying. it made his character realistic, i couldn't help thinking he was like a christian who lost his faith in his god jacob & finally he was "lost" & didn't know what to do. i also liked that alex's death affected him so much. it was just a great scene & i liked how ilana could relate. another good episode without answers!
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I see this as the redemption that Michael Emerson has been gunning for all along with regards to Ben. If you look at interviews, Emerson has always said that he never saw Ben as a villain. I think we now see things forming according to his viewpoint. He has given up the power and is there to help.
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Great episode!
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Richard and Jack and the revelation about Jacob's touch and candidates made this episode. Ben was just filler.
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I would have to agree..I mean I dont feel we really moved forward with any progression and with only ten eps left, we should have been moving forward a little better than that.
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Relax, Tim. We will see Sawyer very soon. Sawyer will have an episode dedicated to his sideways story in the next episode, March 16th.
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i liked it thoguh after reading this article I do agree that you're right, nothing much was answered in this episode nor were there any shocking scenes except the one on the last but that was more a clifhanger than anything else. But still it was jsut good entertainment I thought the Ben's sideflash storyline was interesting and it was great to see him get his redemption by choosing Alex over the island/school unlike what he did on the island. I also liked the expose reference Miles made, atleast that episode wasn't for nothing.



btw am I the only one who laughed at the scene were Ben runs away into the jungle and Ilana comes after him? It was just funny with Ben looking at her and Ilana looking right back eating that mango when all of a sudden Ben just runs away and Ilana has to go after him
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It was fine not great but fine
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I'd like to chime in on the best fight in the series with one that no one has mentioned. It happened in the season 2 episode called "Dave" where Hurley thinks he's going crazy because he's seeing his imaginary friend Dave. At one point he asks Sawyer for some medication and Sawyer pisses him off so Hurley jumps him. It was an absolutely hilarious scene in which Hurley shows he's not to be meddled with. Here's the link, enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1OVl8aAmA8
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Tim I agree with you, I too thought what's the point and was extremely let down compared to all the episodes so far this one made no sense and changed the character of Linus too drastically, Doormat Ben is just not believable. And that's how the episode felt, everything felt wrong about it from Ilana, to Alex (she at least seemed conniving and manipulative).
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Okay, first off, I really liked this episode if only because I'm stupid for those bad-guy-turned-good-aaaaaawww moments (I was so sold when Ben was talking about Alex and his remorse and all that). That being said though, at the back of my mind, there was always that tiny voice saying, "Wait! This is the guy who murdered 30, 50, 100, I don't know how many people without even blinking!" I totally understand Tim's point. It's hard to believe that mass-murderer-criminal-mastermind-master-manipulator Ben cannot pull off a simple blackmail scheme in ANY kind of version of the world. I mean, come on, this is a guy who got the best of an Iraqi soldier, a brain surgeon and a whole slew of other intelligent, strong-willed people. I agree with Hovabyte that this was not a development but a re-development. I guess I wasn't all that suprised because TV shows do it all the time in order to serve the show/writers' purposes (Heroes, anyone?) but then I guess most hardcore LOST fans, like Tim, thought that LOST was beyond such typical TV nonsense. There, there Tim. It's gonna be okay.
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It seems to me that all of the flash sideways' are about what the characters lives would have been like if it hadn't been for Jacob's jacobing. I think that the episode went a long way in showing who Ben has been all along. The Ben villain from seasons 2-4 was working for Jacob, doing everything that he did to further the jacobian agenda. Once removed from outside stimuli Ben reverted to the man that we saw in the flash sideways. I commented to my wife as I watched that if these (the flash sideways') are the lives that the characters would be leading had Jacob left them be, then Jacob doesn't seem very good. My question now is, now that everything is unraveling, what was the point of any of it? What is there about the island worth protecting. Was it worth Jack not having a son, Locke being happy with what's her face, Hugo not being cursed, and now Ben not being a dick?
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In my opinion, Dr. Linus was the best ep of season 6 so far.
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Do you think nothing happened in that episode? Then you should re-watch it. In my opinion it is clrear that what we're seeing i the flash-sideways is how the chaacters are going to end. Ben Linus is one of the best vilains in TV history but I understood a long time ago all what he did was for a cause. Seeing him helping Alex was just amazing! He loved the girl but she died because of his fault and in this way Ben got redemption in another time, the flash-sideways. I loved the episode, it had great scenes. But, anyway, everyone has his or her own opinion and I respect what you think.
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I can understand how you could view Ben's change as false - that's something I've seen before in other shows - but if you rewatch this season's episodes up to this point, maybe you'll catch all the things that showed that Ben was in a very different place than where we'd seen him for the majority of the series.

Back in Season 5, when he saw Locke come back from the dead and then saw the image of his daughter threaten to destroy him if betrayed Locke, Ben's confidence was shaken. He went through a crisis of faith and doubt that began back in Season 3 when he got cancer, spent a long time in recovery (i.e. the Island not instantly healing him), and then learned that Locke could commune with the Island in ways he no longer could. Alex's murder was also another vital chink in Ben's armor, and his downfall culminated with the death of Jacob and the revelation of Locke as the Smoke Monster and that he manipulated Ben into killing Jacob. Ben has been in a state of shock and doubt or, at best, bitter resignation, since the season premiere. One example of this change was during Locke's Island funeral when he expressed his regret over killing Locke. This week's episode was not the first time he expressed remorse over his past actions or showed weakness and uncertainty.
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First I love how everyone takes the "been touched by Jacob" so literally. When I heard it I assumed it was meant like touched by God, not physically touched, but to each his own.
I really dislike this season so far, the flash-sideways are pathetic (as they are probably supposed to be showing how bad everyone's life was without the island) but I find them very boring too.
It's too convenient that everyone on the plane has their lives so inter-mingled with everyone else, Alex's mother is french, she just decided to move to the same suburb where Ben, Locke, and the other teacher work? It's reaching, IMO, and seems like a cheesy Twilight Zone episode now.
Lastly, you can't say that Tim "missed the point" just because he doesn't agree Ben needs a character arc. It's very predictable that the bad guy has a huge turn as the good guy, what would be surprising would be having the stones to keep him a bad guy for the whole series, possibly even letting him win a little in the end.
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I must say I'm relieved that I found someone who doesn't just follow the show blindly and has the guts to say so, like you. For a show that's promising answers, Lost sure has a funny way of doing it! And the last episode left me feeling like you, so frustrated and indifferent about it. And I don't crave answers so much that I stopped watching the story, but I agree when you say that you feel like they expect us to follow whatever they decide for the story just because we'll get answers eventually, no matter how ludacris it may get in the in between.
I'm not a diehard fan, but I do get that Ben changed and, apparently, he's ready to step it up. I just didn't like the way it was all handled. Ok, It may have had some good parts (Jack & Richard), It may have answered a couple of things that had us scratching our heads (Jacob's touch), but I didn't like it! And I think it's stupid that people are getting mad because you're giving your opinion. I never comment but you sticking your neck like that to a show that has some hardcore fans like Lost, deserves that I take some time and tell you, and apparently a lot of people, that you're not alone and that I'm glad and relieved that there's still someone that is just a normal guy who expects Lost to deliver and finish strong, no matter what the end may be, just finish strong.
I must say that the acting has been very good this season (Last night's Ben was great), I hope that carries on. I can't wait for next episode cause something big is about to happen.
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First off Tim, Many thanks for the mention and the support off my previous comments. When we post here we don’t usually expect that anyone let alone the writer is going to take any notice, so it is a real boost to know that you are listening to what we have to say. When you write the serious stuff you usually get it spot on Tim, as you have with this review.
Yet again this latest episode of Lost left me feeling indifferent. To all those ranting about how you got it wrong (and you know I’m one of the first to tell you when I think that happens) I would say this - We didn't really see any character development. What we saw was character re-development. We know Ben; we love him for the weasely person he is. The intense personal agenda and beady eyes along with the fact that he initially seemed to be the one man with some answers made for one of the most interesting characters. Only 6 episodes ago he had stuck the knife in (literally) to Jacob. He killed real Locke and he stood by while his (kidnapped) daughter was gunned down when all he had to do was step out of the house. So all of a sudden and in both of our viewed realities we see the partial redemption of this great character who had pushed this story along, and a weak man with morals who would give up the chance for power for a student acquaintance. Maybe I'd be more responsive if he had to give up his dream or otherwise she would die, but come on! It’s just a place at Yale. If she's such a great student she's going to succeed wherever she goes. So what was the point indeed? It would have been nice to see Danielle at some point and her interaction with the daughter she raised and possibly Ben the teacher.
Being the new redeemed man he is on the island he could easily fade into the background of main cast members if it wasn't for the fact that Widmore is on his way and we have so much to learn about their little dispute.
Concerning Jack and his new found confidence, was I the only one thinking that both he and Richard should have their own stick off dynamite? It seems the odds off them blowing to kingdom come where seriously reduced by the fact that they were both there together if it’s true that Jacob wanted Richard or Jack or both of them to live.
Unlike you Tim, I am looking for answers now not all packed into the finale and to follow up from what I have said previously, I don't think we are getting enough explanation to warrant our attention. When Jack and Hurley came across Richard, Jack asked him to tell him where he came from. Richard’s response? "Not Yet". Now, I know Richard was speaking for the writers but when is one of the main characters going to speak for us and say "Look, I've spent 6 years on this damn island, if you don't tell us now I’m going to......"
Then again, they're stuck on an island like the rest of us. Probably not much they can do!
Roll on the trivial subject matter.
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I don't believe you when you say you watch the episodes (even once) before writing these articles.
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Wow...Tim, all I can say is wow...much like the previous couple of posters, you've COMPLETELY missed the boat on this. Seeing some other comments also showing disappointment...I guess you're not alone.



IMO, this was an amazing episode. They've always said that be prepared, some of those you thought were going to be the "heros" won't be and vice versa. The thing that makes it extra sweet, is that here we have Ben who pretty much everyone saw as evil incarnate and he has accomplished a complete 180 here. He bared himself FINALLY, with no agendas, no manipulations...just him broken which has been his "journey". The redemption isn't forgiveness, but understanding, acceptance and (Ilona) giving him the latitude to now "move forward" with being a better person. We saw Ben hit bottom and the look in his eye after she said "she'd have him" was indeed the pinnacle moment of the episode (although I loved Jack's "Wanna try another stick of dynamite?"...LOL). To me...it is THAT which is the core and underlying element of this show (the capacity for good, evil, friendship, helping one another...or...the flip, self-centeredness, egos, power, etc), which was reinforced with the beach reunion, the hugs, smiles and laughter of friends. If you review the first season, MANY episodes ended in that EXACT fashion...camera pullback, uplifting/heartwarming music, friends hugging, smiling and good feelings. And so NO...Ben is not back were he began (Null set), he has finally stopped "digging his hole" and is now on a track with an opportunity to climb out of it. Seriously...how could you miss that?!? I can understand if you don't care for that narrative and desire different outcomes, but from your article...you just don't get it...
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You completely missed the whole point of the episode.

You look at the beginning and end results when it is the journey that is the purpose. I actually think that more happened in this epsidoe than most and you blinked and completely missed it.

This was about who Ben is and who can be. Two different choices, in two different worlds and both times he went against what you were expecting of him. Ben is screwed up, he has been used and manipulated, he is damaged goods, but maybe he is not beyond redemtion, maybe there is still that power to be good in him, maybe his innocence is not totally dead.

THAT is the point of this amazing episode filled with real character deveolpment. I don't know how you missed it.
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It seems you totally missed the point of the whole episode. It was so full of emotion and development of characters it was amazing. Ilanas 180 answer to Ben was amazing that was the best part of the episode, she understood everything Ben told her, because of course she also at some point in her life felt like that hopeless ( rememeber Ilanas scene in a hospital bed then Jacob coming...) well she wanted for Ben to not feel that way and join what may be the cause of his death (Team Locke).

Also Richard and Jacks scene was awesome too. What happened? Team Jacob was created (reunited).

After all that has happened to Ben all the mistakes he has done you still want the Bad Ben? meh your review sounded like someone who is not a true lost fan and dont get any of it.
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LOST and only LOST!!
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I think it was a good episode in regards to character developmant. Yes he's an excellent badie, but his daughter's death changed him a bit. Excellent acting by him by the way. Although I agree that not much really happened plot wise. Except for Widmore coming to the island. Jack is still my favorite though, and I think he is gonna play a huge role.
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Didn't Jacob want Jack and Hurley to do something in the Lighthouse so that the person who is coming to the island would find their way?
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listen up. MIB says he's leaving the island forever.Tells Ben he'll be waiting on the other island.And 12 minutes later here comes Widmore with the sub.Sooo....Guess how MIB is leaving the island??

MIB must have promised Widmore something as well,i.e.he recruited him,but MIB couldn't leave the island because up until now Jacob was there to ruin his plans,but now it seems that MIB's limmo driver has arrived.
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@Hungry_Homer111 - Yeah, I was struggling with Boone as well. Perhaps there are some limits to his gift. If you look at that episode closely (I've watched season 1 recently so it's fresh to me) Boone was the one to actually give up. Jack was prepared to go all the way to save him, he was giving him his blood and he was even preparing to cut Boone's leg off when Boone stopped him and Jack let him go. It was also due to the fact that Locke lied and Jack didn't know his leg was pinned down that his condition actually worsened. In the instance where he brought Charlie back, Jack wasn't accepting the fact that he was dead even though Kate was asking him to stop. He kept pounding on Charlie's chest, yelling at him to breathe or whatever. Jack just wasn't giving up. I also believe we should be looking into various clues from season 1 more closely, I think they left many small things that are now going to be revisited. For example, the first time Walt and Locke talked, Locke asked Walt to play a game with him and then raised two figures, one white and one black, then said it was a game between Light and Dark (I believe that was episode three). I'm fairly certain the creators were sort of giving us a very subtle clue to the endgame of the entire show.
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I totally agree, so far this last season has benn a bit disappointing to me. Let us see...
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One of my favorite parts about this season is watching all of the "Diehard" Lost fans proclaim that they are ready to quit the show. I was never a fan of the show, I tried to watch the first season on DVD and just couldn't deal with it, to me it was all too predictable. The only thing that surprised me was that Locke was once in a wheelchair, but even that wasn't enough for me to get as intensely involved as those around me. From there I watched a few episodes socially from season two mostly those leading up to finale, and still couldn't drum up any excitement. After finding new friends and avoiding Season Three like the plague (though I'm told I'd enjoy the Variable) I was unfortunately vacationing with some friends for the 4th season premiere and as we sat in out room at the Super 8 in Fitchburg Massachusetts, exactly one mile from the hospital where I was born, I was ready for yet another disappointment. Surprisingly that disappointment has yet to come, since the Season four premiere I have been hooked on the show. Episodes have come and gone that have caused outcries from the Lost community at large and I just laugh because I enjoyed them. Sure some of the episodes have been predictable, but the only character I enjoyed from the brief episodes I had seen in the beginning, Sawyer, had transformed from the renegade bad boy into the reluctant anti-hero. Not only that but things were happening people were off the island, ships were blowing up, Sun and Jin were in love and parents, and every lame character from Oceanic 815 that was introduced in the second season were replaced with bad ass mercenaries and "sweet caring scientists." I watched Dr. Linus on Tuesday night and instantly fell in love with the Alternate Ben, because he was more human and it is when he is at his most human that he is one of my favorite characters, it also showed how the island truly corrupted him into becoming the more "interesting" figure he is in the real timeline. Perhaps I didn't waste my excitement on the first three seasons and that is why I am able to appreciate and thrive in the world that has been created in the last three so far, or maybe its that I'm content with my predictions and don't mind whether or not they are true thus leaving my mind free to explore along with the characters and not get bogged down in the details like why can Hurley communicate with the dead, or what is Christian Shepard. Either way I think that fans need to appreciate the ride for what it is and not what they want it to be, that or actually make good on your threats of quitting the show because that's what you should do when you stop enjoying something. All you need to do is change the channel.
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@Snuffles929: Yeah, I thought of Sarah after I posted that, and agree that it could very easily be the cause of his "healing touch." One other thing I thought of which does complicate things is with Boone, who still died despite Jack trying to save him. I'm not really sure how that would fit in with the theory. Maybe there's some kind of special cirumstance that needs to happen for the "healing touch" to work which he didn't do for Boone? Either way, I do still believe that that was his "gift," and that we'll see more of it in the future. As for disliking Jack, personally I've hated his character for a long time. And I think that recent events have highlighted the reason why I feel this way. For so long, he's tried to fix so many things, some which didn't even need to be fixed, while ignoring the one thing that really needed fixing: himself. Now he's finally realizing this, and finally trying to fix himself, and that's a big part of the reason why I've actually started to like his character a lot more this season. "A leader can't lead until he knows where he's going." And now that that has happened, I'm even starting to get a greater apprecation for the character as a whole. I did start to appreciated his character after last season, but nowhere near as much as I do right now.
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I do not agree with this review, especially since HUGE questions have been answered.

We now know why Richard has not aged and how he came to the island.

We know what the effect of being touched by Jacob is, not only you become a candidate but also almost immortal, which would explain why Sayid came back from the dead



@Hungry_Homer111

I do not agree on your enlistet gifts, if jack really had the \"healing touch\" gift, he would have saved Boone back in Season1 in the first place and in regards of the other characters you are talking about, there\'s no proof that Jacob has ever touched them...

i do agree that the dynamite scene was very revealing though, Richard says that he is unable to kill himself since Jacob touched him, we know that the six candidates have also been touched by Jacob, wich leads to the conclusion that they can\'t kill themselves either, the fact that the dynamite lit by Jack doesn\'t detonate seems to proof this
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I don't see why so many people dislike Jack. He may not have the compelling background stories like Locke or Sawyer do, but he has always struggled with two things. The first would be his completely and utter selflessness which caused him more grief than anything and his disbelief. Locke was a believer from day 1, Jack wasn't. I'm really happy to see him adopting Locke's views because now that Locke is dead we need someone who will believe in fate and destiny. Someone who will take the necessary risk (like Locke blowing up the hatch in season 1) or lighting a dynamite fuse to help Richard find his way and to finally make himself a believer as well. It is somewhat ironic that Jack was being criticized for breaking the mirrors in the Lighthouse because he was sick and tired of being manipulated and told what to do, while at the same time receiving no answers while at the same time Richard is being praised for doing something very similar and trying to end his life. Their situations are vastly different and Richard has surely suffered a great deal more than Jack did, which is why it may seem somewhat unfair to compare. But if you think about it, everything that Jack lost.. or sacrificed, can you really blame him for being angry at the man responsible for that? How would you feel if you found out someone has been watching and manipulating you all your life and was the cause of all the grief, misery and agony you've experienced for the last few years?
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@Hungry_Homer111 - I actually had the same theory you do regarding Jack. I do believe he has some sort of "healing touch" as you say it. If you also remember Sarah, his ex-wife, who was in all likelihood meant to be paralyzed from the neck down. Even Jack was convinced that he hadn't been able to repair the damage caused by the car crash, yet somehow.. she was alright. - As far as this episode goes, I liked it very much. I can certainly understand how it can be aggravating for someone who's a fan of evil, manipulative Ben, but as far as the logical progression of the character goes this would seem most appropriate. The side-ways flash was used to augment his metamorphosis, or perhaps to show the "true" nature of his character in a brilliant manner; a parallel between what was going on on the island and in the flash. In fact, without the flash Ben's actions wouldn't have made that much sense. It reminded me very much of season 1 parallels. The one thing I thought was just (for lack of a better word) stupid wasn't even mentioned in the article. I would liked to have seen a better way for the "team Jacob" to be united than both Jack and Illana getting the idea of going to the beach.
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The whole point was that Ben finally learned the meaning of futility. He learned when to stop and that could be his own redemption.
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The more I think about it, the more I realize just how huge the dynamite scene really was. Richard said that each person who is touched by Jacob is given "a gift," and can't kill themselves. Some may equate not being able to kill themselves with them being ageless like Richard, but I don't think that's the case. Kate and Sawyer are evidence of this. They both aged after Jacob touched them. So, I'm ceratin that the "gift" that he gives each person is unique to each of them. Let's start with Hurley. He has the "gift" to talk to the spirits of dead people. Jacob even talked to him in the cab and convinced him that this was a gift. Miles has the ability to sense dead people's last thoughts, and know how they died. Then there's Walt. We don't know what makes him so "special," but we do know that whatever it is, it was given to him by Jacob. John Locke was given a second chance at life after being pushed out of the building by his dad. I'm going to go as far as to say that the psychic that Claire went to, and the healer that Rose went to, both were touched by Jacob. Then there's Jack. It hasn't been specifically stated what his "gift" is, but if I had to guess, I'd say that it is some kind of healing touch, which is why both Charlie and Sayid came back to life after he tried to save them (I think it took Sayid a lot longer to come back because Jack gave up part way through, but he did enough so that it did work eventually). We don't know other people's gifts yet, at least as far as I know, but I'm certain that it will play a bigger role later on in the season.
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I thought this article was funny but i dont think you really concentrated on the character development that has been going on the past 2 or 3 seasons. I know that is an insult to a critic but here is why i say that. Two big characters went through a very big change that the show has been building up to since the beginning. -Ben- Season 2 and 3 Ben was a man who always had a plan and would do anything for the sake of protecting the island and his position as leader on the island because of Jacob. Season 4 "The Shape of things to come" we saw Ben do exactly that by allowing Keamy to kill Alex all because he would not come out of a house and surrender (i mean it not like Keamy was going to kill him their and then). This moment was also significant cause for once Ben could not take back a choice he made and his control over the sitituation was taken away, Alex is dead!! This is the moment when Ben started to question Jacob, himself, and his importance. (well you could argue that he might have started questioning himself back in "Man behind the curtain" but either way it works.) Ben felt like this act was something he was being punnished for and so therefore he left the island to make things right for him and Jacob (and to get revenge on Widmore). All this time Ben did what he thought Jacob wanted only to come face to face with Jacob and have him tell Ben that he is nothing, he was never important.(this also ties in with Ben's jealousy of Locke being more important than him as well) Speaking of Locke, it seemed that when Locke (aka Man in Black) returned to the island, he took charge and was able to get things that Ben has been asking for years but never got so therefore Ben is "LOST" asking himself "why is Locke so damn important? Have all the sacrifices i have made (mainly Alex) meant nothing?" Ben gave his life for the island and when Jacob said you are not important Ben realize his life amounted to nothing. Therefore, the Ben last night was not a man with a plan and if he had known that he was nothing special he would have saved Alex's like he did in the Flash-sideways. -Jack-This one is easy, Jack has been in search of his importance ever since he came back to the island. He thought he was suppose to detonate the Hydrogen bomb and save everyone but that did not work out as planned. Jack was beginning to feel like he has no importance until he saw his name and house in the Lighthouse and he now knows for sure that he is on this island for a reason. Last season, Jack may have not sacrifice his life to prove a point but from the speech, Jacob gave to Hurley about Jack finding his own way, Jack's action last night was to show that he has now found his own way. He was relieved because now he knows 100% that he is meant to do something on the island. This is build up to what these characters have always been meant to do. As for the Man in Black vs. Jacob plan. Jacob wants these people to reach their destiny, Man in Black does not, therefore he wants these people to leave (go home) Now what will happen if either one of them wins is what the whole season is about.
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Well said, Lost has finally fallen for me. This is the first season that I can actually say "I don't like this."
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Yeah I disagree with you and agree with other comments, its about a journey for redemption, which has haunted some of the most elaborate stories in Lost for a lot of characters. I just found it amazing how this show can throw ya in a different direction, i found myself feeling pity and symphatetic to that sob Ben after all he has done and I think thats just great writing and so genius.
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Henry Gale
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You gotta follow Ben's journey throughout the show to understand this was his redemption.

We all love a baddie, but Ben is more than a pantomime villain to boo and hiss.


Too superficial.
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You said that schoolteacher/island Ben was back where he started at the end of the episode, but you missed that even though he wasn't made principal Alex still got her recommendation and on the island when he was going to run away and join Locke's group he was accepted by Ilana even after she wanted to kill him. Ultimately where Ben ended up was as a new man.

As far as how you said Jack is acting un-Jack-like by helping Richard kill himself, it was for a similar reason as to what is happening to all the characters. (Like Ben in this episode.) They are unknowingly choosing sides in the Jacob v. MIB war.

The war is interesting because it appears that the Jacob side is good and the MIB side is evil, but that may not necessarily be true. It keeps you guessing.

Overall I thought this was a great episode. (Also, the guy who plays Dr. Arzt is okay with me because he was awesome in Halloween 2.)
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Humm... I totally loved the episode. It showed that the series isn't really about a magic island - its about a group of lost souls, dealing with extraordinary situations. The reason I love Ben isn't that he is a great villian (although he sure is), it is that he is one of the most complexed character on US television today. I'm glad the producers stick to the series' soul - it's tormented characters and the question about faith vs. free will. If you want some flashy Scifi series with one-dimension character - turn to Syfy.
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What happened? The most character development we've seen all season, is all.
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what you were supposed to take away is ben did the two things he wouldn't have done in the past in lost, and that he isn't inherently a bad person. he became the villian we know after all the time he spent on the island, "protecting" it.

without the island, he became a respectable teacher, and when he no longer has that power on the island, he spared illana and chose the good guys over smokey. it was a redemption story of sorts. if he went through with the blackmail and/or shot illana, THEN this episode would have been pointless, because then he would have made no progress as a character, he would have been the same old ben we always knew. no growth. but he grew this week.
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Finally no more Tim Surette review, i hate this guy! He is a false Lost fan paid by CBS.
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I like many others have put 6 years into watching Lost. IMO seasons 1-3 were awesome, apart from the blip at the start of season3, 4-5 were good but somewhat lacking in the character development stakes, with alot of sci-fi BS and the introduction of too many pointless characters. This season however, minus the Kate episode has been fantastic and Dr Linus was a return to that character driven writing that drew in so many people all over the world to watch Lost. Ben's metamorphosis in this episode has been the most refreshing moment of this season and I for one am glad that he has perhaps learned the error of his ways and is becoming the man he would have been if the island had not taken hold of him. For goodness sake, how many plans and manipulations can one man have? That Ben was boring, this new Ben is very interesting.
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