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Season 5 Episode 7

The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Feb 25, 2009 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
989 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Locke's fateful mission off the island as Jeremy Bentham is revealed.

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  • I think the writers slept through writing class.

    Don't get me wrong. I love this show. But this episode was terrible.

    Locke's conversations with each character were, with the possible exception of Jack, exceptionally boring and trite. The conversations basically were all Locke saying, "You need to come back," and the other person saying "No thanks," and that was that. Also, why didn't any of the O6 ask what happened to the island, what with it disappearing and all, or how Locke got back? And when did he tell ANY of them that his fake name was Jeremy Bentham? I realize that the writers couldn't show us everything, but they picked entirely the wrong things in this episode. Utter. Disappointment.moreless
  • The best episode so far, and a sad end... or is it?

    This was the episode that a lot of Lost fans were waiting for since the Season 4 finale (probably earlier) and unlike a lot of the other episodes that promised solution, this one, for a change, delivered. And did so in grand style. How did Locke end up off the island? When did he visit the Oceanic 6 (plus Walt)? Why was he using the name Jeremy Bentham? How did that obituary that everybody in the Season 3 finale freeze framed their VCR's for, end up in the paper, thus guaranteeing the return trip to the island? We get a lot of answers, but as always we get a different set of question.

    When Locke moved the donkey wheel, he ended up in the exact same place Ben did when he moved the island--- the deserts of Tunisia. Only this time, there were cameras watching that spot. We know who put them there, because the same men who confronted Ben in 'The Shape of Things to Come' arrive and take him... to safety. Locke then comes face to face with the man he's been told is the islands sworn enemy --- Charles Widmore.

    Widmore seems more friendly than he ever has to anyone. This has to do with the fact that the man he saw walk into his camp in 1954 is now here (in 2007, like Ben, Locke has traveled through time) without having aged a day. The picture he paints is a much different one than the one we got from Ben --- Ben exiled him from the island after three decades (though again, we never find out how or why) and he has spent the last twenty years or so searching for it. He knows that the Oceanic 6 have been lying, and has been keeping watch on them. Understandably, this is something of a hard sell, and Locke doesn't know why Widmore has decided to help him. He claims that a war is coming, and unless he's back on the island when it happens, the wrong side is going to win. (Widmore is right, but because of his meddling, the wrong side triumphs anyway)

    Locke is given money and the false name Jeremy Bentham. (Widmore than delivers one of the episodes few laughs when he explains the name: "Your parents had a sense of humor when they named you, so why can't I?) The man who is going to guide him through this journey is none other than Matthew Abaddon, and Locke just manages to hide his recognition. Perhaps he is more distracted by the fact that Abaddon brings out a wheelchair for him to travel in. Yes, Locke has a broken leg, but he could've hobbled about on crutches. This seems deliberate, as if Abaddon wants Locke to fail at his journey.

    One by one, we follow Locke as he travels the world making his visits. When he finds Sayid in Santo Domingo, doing humanitarian work, he treats Locke with barely veiled contempt. He seems to have gained some kind of equilibrium, but one wonders just how polite he would've been had he known who was financing Locke's trip. Locke then goes to New York to visit Walt. I'm still not sure why he went there (maybe he thought of using him to substitute for one of the Oceanic 6) but Walt was the only one who wasn't surprised to see him, and actually seems glad that he's here. He tells him he had a dream, and on it Locke was back on the island, in a suit, and people wanted to hurt him. Now we all know Walt is special, and maybe he had a bit of foresight here, but Locke, who wanted for Walt to embrace it on the island, shrugs it off, and can't bring himself to bring this young man back into the madness that is sure to ensue.

    Locke than travels to California, where he visits Hurley at Santa Rosa. AT first Hurley just thinks he dead, but even when he sees that Locke is alive he's indifferent, and he goes positively haywire when he sees that Abaddon is guided him. Even when tells Locke that Abaddon is not to be trusted, Locke ignores it, and Hurley just walks away, convinced he's evil. Abaddon then admits that he was disguised as an orderly when he saw him at the hospital right after Locke was paralyzed. He claims that his role is to get people where they need to be. That may have been why he assembled the team on the freighter, but they sure as hell weren't there to help anybody other than Widmore. We trust this guy even less.

    When he visits Kate, the contempt is no longer being veiled--- she's openly hostile, and has no interest in saving anybody. She then asks Locke if he's ever been in love. When he tells her the truth--- he was, but his obsession cost him everything--- she's even more aggressive, telling him he hasn't changed at all. Locke has been mulling this over for awhile asks if they can find Helen. Abaddon does --- she's been dead for the past two years. (Locke apparently doesn't realize that if he'd been rescued, he would probably have been reunited with Helen, just as Sayid was reunited with Nadia. They would've had time together, and maybe that would've been enough to keep him away.) While leaving the cemetery, Abaddon is assassinated, and his terror trying to get away, he's involved in a collision.

    He's ends up in Jack's hospital, but when Locke tries to cease upon this as fate, Jack calls it nothing more than probability. Jack got a slight growth of beard, and is slurring his words, but apparently he's still able to hold it together to chew out the man who opposed him every step of the way on the island. When Locke tells him that Christian says hello (unwittingly putting into action the events that will lead him back to the island) this a major blow to Jack, but he manages to keep his poker face (barely) until he's out of the room.

    Having failed in every respect, Locke goes to a rotten hotel room, buys a length of extension cord, writes his suicide note, and prepares to hang himself. But just as he's about to jump off the desk, who should pop up but Ben? (Okay, we did see him in New York, so it's not a total surprise.) He then pleads with Locke not to do this, that Jack has bought his ticket to Sydney, and that somehow he reached him, and he can do it with the others as well. The scene is extraordinary as Locke finally allows himself to be talked down from killing himself. Then he tells Ben that Jin is still alive, and that the woman he needs to see to get back to the island is Eloise Hawking. The instant he hears this, Ben grabs that same extension cord, and uses it to strangle Locke (not unlike how Sawyer killed Anthony Cooper) He then takes Jin's ring, leaves Locke's body to look like a suicide, wipes the room clean of fingerprints,, and leaves Locke behind, with the words: "I'll miss you, John."

    Why did Ben kill Locke is a question we're never going to get a real answer to. Did Ben think that it would be easier to get the Oceanic 6 back knowing Locke was dead? (Perhaps he was the one who wrote the obituary) Did he do it because he got the information he needed, and then Locke was expendable? Or did he really do it because he thought Locke was the Chosen One, and that when they brought his body back to the island, what appears to have happened would happen? For on the island, it seems that John Locke has come back from the dead.

    A more pertinent question is what has happened on the island. For it appears that the plane somehow manage to crash on Hydra Island. (Was that really its name? Oh well, it seems to be canon now, so let's go with it. The passengers appear to have survived and seem a lot more organized than they did when Oceanic crashed. Two of them, Caesar and Ilana (the woman escorted Sayid on board) seem to be a lot more certain of themselves than people who have just been involved in... what? Because it seems that Ajira didn't crash. There was turbulence, a flash of light, some of the people on the plane disappeared (we now know they time traveled) and somehow the plane landed. This seems even more extraordinary than the circumstances that brought Oceanic 815 to the island. And the fact that Locke seems to be alive and well that seems to be the least shocking thing about it.

    Locke says that he remembers dying, who the Dharma Initiative was, and that he spent a hundred days on the island. This is probably as good a time to start lying, and yet, contrary to the Oceanic 6, he's apparently more honest than ever. Which makes us wonder what kind of fireworks are going to erupt when Ben regains consciousness.

    All the episodes about Locke are among the most fascinating Lost did, yet this episode is a little more special than others. For one thing, this is the last time that we will see the confused, worried, beaten-down man John Locke we've come to know and (doggone it) love. Terry O'Quinn has always given some of the most extraordinary work on this show (and he will again, but with a different subtext from now) but this performance shows him at the top of his game, particularly in the last long scene at the hotel, before and after Ben reenters. He always felt like a failure, and this episode shows that he had literally reached the end of his rope before he showed up. The expressiveness of his face is that of arguably the most versatile actor in a brilliant cast.

    'The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham' does seem to live up to the title, even if it makes that whole period in the finale of referring to him as Bentham seem, you know, like bad writing. We want to know what happened and we want to see what comes next, but we're not going to get answer for awhile. Lost is about to begin another part of the journey--- this time thirty years in the past.

    My score:10moreless
  • Great acting, too many "loose ends"

    I am catching up in hopes to watch Season 6 on tv so am a little late in reviewing.

    As many of the other reviewers have said - this had some great acting but the logic is growing very thin for me (and I'm great at suspending disbelief).

    Two bad things:

    1) People keep wondering why Ben talks Locke off the ledge only to kill him. Ben kills Locke immediately after Locke reveals the name of Daniel's mother. That's all he was looking for - a way to get back to the island that is now jumping through time.

    2) Daniel's mother said something that really baffled me. "Why do you think that no one was able to find you?" implying that they had been jumping through time the whole time they were on the island. That doesn't make much sense. She helped Whitmore get there and both the Dharma and the Others have been traipsing back and forth to the island for decades. So there has to be some other explanation NOT that it's been moving through time. Also, if it were moving through time when they were on the island, wouldn't their stuff appear and disappear as it's doing now? I can only conjecture that it's so hard to get to get back NOW because it's stuttering through time and the proper bearings have been lost.

    3) And the whole recreate the scene as best you can. Really? Why? Any real reason for that? Ben wasn't there before nor were all the other passengers. They weren't in 1st class before. I could go on. And then the 6 go to some other point in time while all the rest who weren't the Oceanic 6 go to the present. Huh?moreless
  • Quite possibly the best episode of LOST to date.

    The life and death of Jeremy Bentham is as good as the all time best episodes of lost such as The Constant, Through the Looking Glass and The Shape of Things to Come. The episode explains exactly how Locke got the Oceanic 6 to believe him and want to come back to the island as well as explaining how he died. This episode is special for very many reasons such as Terry O'Quinn does a fine job of getting the viewer sad and feel badly for him. I could not believe that Ben was the one that killed Locke. Lost continues to get better and better through this season and i cannot wait til next weeks episode!moreless
  • This was Amazing. I loved it. Ben's a lying bastard.

    I enjoyed every second of this episode. If you notice it took place during the season 3 with the flash backs. i hated when the middle eastern man got shot, he seem pretty tight. Ben is annoying though. I seriously want to know know what exactly he wants. His helpful but why? Why does he do bad things? But over all it was very enjoyable. And the next weeks episode looks amazing. As you notice the main characters are all back together. I wonder what happened to the plane crash or the flash when Oceanic 6 disappeared. So much running in my mind. I want to also know more about Christian, Jacks dad. now we know why Jack was obsessed with going back to the Island back in the end of season 3 when he said We have to go back.moreless
Ammar Daraiseh

Ammar Daraiseh


Guest Star

Grisel Toledo

Grisel Toledo


Guest Star

Stephen Scibetta

Stephen Scibetta


Guest Star

Malcolm David Kelley

Malcolm David Kelley

Walt Lloyd

Recurring Role

John Terry

John Terry

Christian Shephard

Recurring Role

Alan Dale

Alan Dale

Charles Widmore

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (15)

    • Charles Widmore is seventy years old when he encounters John Locke off the Island. In this episode, he tells Locke he was 17 when they first met (that was 50 years before the plane crash, and their current conversation takes place 3 years after the plane crash).

    • Locke's fake Canadian passport, issued 12 December 2007, gave his birthdate as 15 February 1948. In "Jughead," Locke told Richard he was born in Tustin, California, May 30, 1956. In "Further Instructions", Locke's gun registration gave his birthdate as November 15, 1946. Also, Terry O'Quinn's birth year is 1952.

    • When John is hanging from the ceiling, you can see the shadow of a cable behind the shadow of John, and you can faintly see the same cable behind John's neck, as it is suspending him.

    • The passport Matthew Abbadon gives Jeremy Bentham (Locke) is from Canada. However, Canadian passports only last 5 years, not 10 as the one forged does. Also, the passport number usually contains letters not just numbers. Lastly, since Canada is bilingual the months on the passport should be in English and French even though the three letter notation may remain the same.

    • The same "New York" extras walk behind Locke and Abaddon twice, each time headed in the same directions.

    • Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute is portrayed in earlier episodes as a place Jack can stop by after work to visit Hurley. However in this episode, the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute is identified as being in Santa Rosa, Cal. which is over 400 miles from the hospital where Jack works in Santa Monica, Cal.

    • As Abaddon is driving Locke down the road to the airport in Tunisia, an American 45MPH speed limit sign can be seen briefly outside the passenger window.

    • Widmore's surveillance photo of Sayid shows Sayid working on the exact same house in the exact same spot he is still working on when Locke comes to see him despite the time it takes Locke to travel from Tunisia to Santo Domingo.

    • The newspaper that Charles Widmore shows Locke is a copy of the fictitious London Daily Tribune. Dated January 14th 2005, the return of the Oceanic Six dominates the front page. Stories on a car crash and the Dollar/Euro exchange rate are also featured.

    • The Numbers:
      Walt goes to a school on the corner of 8th Ave and W 67th St when Locke visits him in New York.
      Helen Norwood's gravestone gives the date of her death as April 08, 2006. April is month 4. 4 and 8 are two of the Numbers.
      On "Jeremy Bentham's" passport, his date of birth is 15 Feb 4-8.
      The license number of the Tunisian car that brings Locke to the hospital is 342-6346.
      Charles says that if Locke ever needs to contact him, all he has to do is dial 23 on his new phone.

    • When Locke and Walt meet in New York City, they are standing on the corner of 67th and 9th. These streets do not intersect. Above 59th street, all avenues are renamed and are no longer referred to by their numbers. 9th Ave street sign should have read "Columbus Avenue." Also, the subway sign at least in part reads "Columbus" - the closest subway is the Lincoln Center subway on Broadway - the Columbus Circle subway is 8 blocks south.

    • Locke gets the power cord he was going to use to kill himself from Angel's Hardware.

    • As Hurley is being led away by the two nurses at Santa Rosa, they switch places between shots.

    • Caesar finds an edition of LIFE-magazine dated April 19, 1954. The title story is "The awesome fireball - color pictures of hydrogen test".

    • Locke's car in New York City uses license plates that had been retired in 2001.

  • QUOTES (11)

    • Locke: (Visiting Hurley at the asylum.) Hello Hugo!

      Hurley: (Stares at Locke for a few seconds then goes back to his painting.) So you didn't make it, huh?

      Locke: Pardon me?
      Hurley: You didn't make it. It's cool, no biggie. You're not the first person to visit me, you know. But what's up with the wheelchair?

      Locke: Uh, I broke my leg falling down a hole.

      Hurley: Is that how you died?

      Locke: Hugo, I'm not dead.

      Hurley: Sure you're not.

      Locke: No. I, I promise you, I'm very much alive.

      Hurley: (Turns to a nurse.) Hey Susie. Am I talking to a dude in a wheelchair right now?

    • Ben: I'll miss you John, (Pause) I really will.

    • Locke: No, Ben was never even there when I left, he was already gone. I wasn't exhiled; I chose to leave.
      Widmore: Why would you do that, John? You've come to bring them back? The ones who left.
      Locke: No.
      Widmore: I understand you lying to me, I do, but there's something you should know. All your friends who left the island, they've been back three years.
      Locke: Three years?
      Widmore: They've gone back to their normal lives, and none of them has spoken a word of truth about where they were.
      Locke: I have to bring them back.
      Widmore: And I'm going to do everything in my power to help you do that.
      Locke: Why?
      Widmore: Why?
      Locke: Why would you help me?
      Widmore: Because there's a war coming, John. And if you're not back on the island when that happens, the wrong side is going to win.

    • Locke: We have to go back.
      Jack: Goodbye, John.
      Locke: Your father says hello.
      Jack: What?
      Locke: A man... the man who told me to move the island, the man who told me how to bring you all back... He said to tell his son hello. It couldn't have been Sayid's father and it wasn't Hurley's, so that leaves you. He said his name was Christian.
      Jack: My... my father is dead.
      Locke: Well, he didn't look dead to me.
      Jack: He died in Australia three years ago. I put him in the coffin! He's dead.
      Locke: Jack, please, you have to come back. You're the only one who can convince the rest of them. You have to help me, you're supposed to help me.
      Jack: John, it's over! It's done. We left. And we were never important. So you...you leave me alone. And you leave the rest of them alone.

    • Abaddon: No matter what you did or what you do, your path leads back to the island.
      Locke: You say that like it's all... inevitable.
      Abaddon:Mr. Widmore told me Richard Alpert said that you were going to die. So you tell me John, is that inevitable, or is it a choice?
      Locke:What, do you think I want to die? How was that... how could you possibly think that's a choice?

    • Jack: Have you ever stopped to think that these delusions that you are special aren't real? That maybe there's nothing important about you at all? Maybe you are just a lonely old man that crashed on an island? That's it. Goodbye John.
      John: Your father says hello.

    • Kate: Have you ever been in love, John?
      Locke: What?
      Kate: I think about you sometimes. I think about how desperate you were to stay on that island... And I'd realised that it was all because you didn't love anybody.

    • Widmore: John. John! Wake up. You had a compound fracture. The doctors here did their best, but I had a specialist flown in to reset your leg properly. It's nice to see you again, John.
      Locke: Do I know you?
      Widmore: Yes. I understand you being confused; imagine how I feel. I met you when I was seventeen, now all these years later, here we are and you look exactly the same.
      Locke: Who are you?
      Widmore: My name is Charles Widmore. Tell me John, how long has it been for you since we first met? Since you walked into our camp and you spoke to Richard?
      Locke: Four days.
      Widmore: That's incredible.
      Locke: The camera in the desert, that was yours?
      Widmore: Yeah.
      Locke: How did you know I'd be there?
      Widmore: Because that's the exit. I was afraid Benjamin might fool you into leaving the island; as he did with me. I was their leader.
      Locke: The Others?
      Widmore: They're not the Others to me; they're my people. We protected the island, peacefully, for more than three decades, but then I was exhiled, by him. Just as you were.

    • Caesar: (about Ben) You know him?
      Locke: Yeah. He's the man who killed me.

    • Jack: Why would someone try to kill you?
      Locke: Because they don't want me to succeed. They want to stop me. They don't want me to get back because I'm important.
      Jack: Have you ever stopped to think that these delusions, that you're special, aren't real. That maybe there's nothing important about you at all. Maybe you are just a lonely old man that crashed on an island. That's it.

    • Locke: I think this suit is what they were going to bury me in.
      Ilana: Sorry?
      Locke: You asked what I remembered. I remembered dying.

  • NOTES (8)

    • For the first time, Josh Holloway (Sawyer) didn't appear in two consecutive episodes.

    • Terry O'Quinn (Locke) appeared in every scene.

    • The opening scene of this episode was originally intended to be used for the opening of the season premiere.

    • A Locke-centric episode.

    • Original International Air Dates:
      United Kingdom: March 1, 2009 on Sky One
      Norway: March 25, 2009 on TVNorge
      Australia: March 25, 2009 on Network 7
      Latin America: April 13, 2009 on AXN
      Finland: April 16 2009 on Nelonen
      Sweden: April 28, 2009 on TV4
      Denmark: May 15, 2009 on Kanal 5
      Czech Republic: May 18, 2009 on AXN
      Spain: May 28, 2009 on FOX
      Belgium: September 14, 2009 on VT4

    • Although credited, Jeremy Davies (Daniel), Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond), Josh Holloway (Sawyer), Daniel Dae Kim (Jin), Yunjin Kim (Sun), Ken Leung (Miles), Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet) and William Blanchette (Aaron) didn't appear.

    • This episode and "316" were written at the same time by executive producers Lindelof and Cuse. "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" was originally meant to be aired first, but the order was switched because Lindelof thought it would be "cool".

    • This episode lasts six additional minutes.


    • Watchmen: Locke vomits after he arrives in the desert. Whenever Laurie Juspeczyk/Silk Spectre II is teleported by Dr. Manhattan, she experiences nausea and vomits.

    • Sphinx: When Locke visits Hurley at the Santa Rosa Mental Institute, Hurley is seen painting a picture presumably of the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt. Ironically, the word "sphinx" derives from Greek and translates as "strangler".