Smile Politely

Now you’re standing where I’m standing


”I know you’re already planning to kill him again,” Alex seethed at her father. ”You will listen to every word he says and you will follow his every order.” Could Ben’s evil schemes finally be coming to an end? A visit from the Smoke Monster and his deceased daughter might be the island’s way of saying “one last chance.”

As Ben stared up at Locke to end the episode, in a queasy gaze, we have to wonder whether that is because he narrowly escaped death or because he can no longer be the control freak he’s comfortable with. ”You don’t like this, do you?” Locke said to Ben. ”Having to ask the questions you don’t know answers to? Now you know what it was like to be me.”

Another loaded episode. Tons to cover… on we go!




1977: Middle-aged Charles Widmore speaks with recently healed young Ben in Other camp.

1989: Ben and a young Ethan Rom steal Alex from Rousseau.

1992 or later: Ben sees an older Widmore off of the island for good.

2008–Present: The remainder of the episode.


1. Ben really was totally shocked to see Locke alive again (Alex’s line: ”I know you’re already planning to kill him again” would seem to confirm that Ben wanted Locke actually dead for good).

2. Benjamin Linus was/is (as Widmore said a few episodes ago in Tunisia) a stop-gap island leader for John Locke who outlived his usefulness, a mistake that won’t go away, and his ongoing struggle to remain essential to The Island’s story (if not simply survive) has created history that deviates from destiny.

3. Inevitably, all who take the Island reigns will end up spending too much time worrying about staying in power, as well as spending too much time trying to get whatever it is they’re not getting (or what you’re not supposed to get) on The Island. Locke seemed a bit arrogant last night. This was meant to foreshadow that, like the other Other-Leaders that have come before him, Locke is destined to go rotten. They say pride goeth before the fall… Discuss.

4. Our Losties will be long gone from Dharmaville before The Purge ever happens circa early nineties.

5. Ilana and her team were hired by Widmore to trail Ben after Charles discovered Ben was in fact on his way back. “There’s a war coming.”


1. Okay, this one is still up for debate… but it was addressed twice last night. The question last week was: Has Ben always had the memory of Sayid shooting him as a child, even when Sayid was torturing Adult Ben in Season 2? Last week, Richard Alpert seemed to suggest that some kind of amnesia would result from getting healed and becoming an Other. ”Dead Is Dead” seemed to knowingly poke at this confusion. When Ben was asked to recall his early years, he conveniently declined to answer. Then there was contradictory info. First there was Ben’s baffled reaction to the Dharma class picture photo showing Jack, Kate and Hurley. But then Ben was able to recall how he had been brought to The Temple as a child to be healed. And so the debate continues to rage…

2. We learned from Ben that The Temple is actually a separate structure and that the ancient-looking, ivy-choked facade that we thought was part of The Temple was actually a wall built to keep The Temple proper hidden from “outsiders.”

3. We discovered why Ben murdered Locke. In explaining his motives, Ben said exactly what many of us suspected: He had to save John from suicide to get crucial intelligence out of him, then kill him to motivate the Oceanic 6 to return to The Island. Was part of Ben’s actual rationale to stop Locke from meeting Eloise Hawking and learning what she may have to tell him?

4. ”Jacob wanted it done,” Richard said to Braveheart-era Charles Widmore… This is pretty significant: We now know Jacob has held sway over The Others since at least 1977.

5. Charles Widmore ordered Ben to kill Rousseau shortly after her arrival on The Island. Perhaps it was a leadership evaluation, akin to how Locke had been challenged by Ben and Alpert to murder his father back in Season 3?

6. According to Ben, Widmore was exiled because he fathered a child (Penelope) with an ”outsider” (not yet seen), spent too much time off The Island, and exploited The Island for selfish gain.

7. As predicted, Ben had gone to the marina to fulfill his promise to kill Penny Widmore in retaliation for Alex’s death. We learned he chose not to after seeing young Charlie Pace and subsequently got decked by Des.

8. Ben confirmed link between The Others and The Whispers


1. Thoughts on “basin with stopper” that Ben drained to release The Smoke Monster?

2. How legitimate are all these ruins? How much of them are just show pieces designed to fool newcomers as to the age and nature of The Island?

3. When Sun asks Locke how they were going to reunite with Jin and the seventies-stuck castaways, Locke says, ”I have some ideas.” Does Locke really have any ideas? I think he has great faith that he will have a plan, but ideas?

4. ”If everything you’ve done has been in the best interest of The Island,” Locke quips to Ben, ”then I’m sure the monster will understand.” Do you think Locke will be disappointed by Smokey’s leniency in sparing Ben? There’s always the possibility that Ben actually has Locke right where he wants him — that Ben is still in control, and until that truly changes, Locke is only as powerful as Ben allows him to be. (Michael Emerson really makes it hard to tell, doesn’t he?) Thoughts?

5. Questions from the Penny/Charlie saving Desmond-Ben beatdown: How did Desmond survive that near-point blank shooting? Did The Island intervene from afar as it did with Jack and Michael’s suicide attempts? How did Ben get fished out of the water? Who fished Ben out of the water?

6. ”What lies in the shadow of the statue?” Ilana gave Lapidus a sphinx-like riddle test that made her sound as if she was intimately acquainted with The Island’s ancient mythology. Lapidus had no idea, and was hit over the head for his trouble. So… What lies in its shadow?

7. Why did Ben move The Others into Dharmaville? I’ll stab at this one…to be closer to the Smoke Monster drain… So, was that a back entrance to the Temple, or a different place?

Post away!

[Note: In this column, many weeks I borrow from other LOST sites, primarily Doc Jensen and I’ll try to put as much of myself in these as I can, but EW gets to screen the episodes in advance and I certainly don’t … so … much love to the Doc, we couldn’t dig in quite the same without you.]

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