The tables have turned for Ben and Locke in revealing episode #12: Dead is Dead.
“I think we should talk about the elephant in the room.”
“I assume you’re referring to the fact that I killed you.”
Okay, so Locke has a bit of an advantage. But John is in the driver’s seat now, even going so far as to sit in Ben’s old desk chair and prop his feet up on his desk. Ben makes his excuses to Locke: it was the only way to get you and everyone back to the Island, and Ben needed critical info Locke had, with no time to spare to talk Locke back in to killing himself. Locke, with his excellent sardonic smirk, tells Ben he’s really only looking for an apology. Ben tells Locke he’s back on the Island to be judged by the thing they have no name for, but Locke and the rest call it the monster. Locke goes along with this, decides to help Ben; and physically goes along, too – perhaps making sure Ben follows through on his alleged judgment day.
Apparently Ben isn’t too concerned about his judgment, murdering Cesar when he tries to stop Locke and Ben from taking a boat. “Consider that my apology”. Nice try, Ben. But Locke is still in charge. Locke and Ben travel to the main Island, and dock. Locke lets Ben know he believes Ben is lying about why he needs to be judged: Ben claims its because he left the Island, Locke thinks it is because Ben killed his daughter. Either way, they’re off to see the wizard.
It’s a Dirty Job, but any Plumber Can Do It.
Ben and Locke run in to Sun and Lapidus, who are, as luck would have it, looking for the dead or alive John Locke. Ben seems geniunely (?) surprised that part of the Oceanic 6 were/are kicking it with the D.I., and claims this much to Sun. Lapidus tries to get Sun to come back to the plane with him, but Sun chooses to follow Locke in hopes of being reunited with Jin. Ben summons Smokey as he did before, after Keamy had killed Alex. He goes behind a hieroglyph door, does a bit of plumbing, and lets Smokey know he’ll be cooling his heels outside. When Smokey doesn’t show, Locke ensures Ben’s follow through by leading Ben to the temple. Locke claims he just knows these things. Island healing magic? Is Ben jealous because he didn’t get these insights when the Island healed him? Or maybe he did, but it’s worn off?
Locke gleefully points out to Ben that it isn’t fun blindly following someone in the vain hopes that it will lead to some answers. “Now you know what it was like to be me.” Ooh, snap! Locke has led them to the temple, which isn’t actually the temple at all, but the wall around the temple. Tasty. Locke breaks it to Ben that they’ll be going underneath the temple to get to Smokey – looks like the same place that Montand’s arm was ripped off. Perhaps in a last minute desperate attempt at repentance (and a very cool foreshadowing technique), Ben tells Sun that if she ever sees Desmond Hume again, “tell him I’m sorry.”
Smokey and Anubis Sittin’ in a Tree
Ben falls to a lower level of the under-temple, where there are many columns with more hieroglyphs. He comes to a picture of what appears to be Anubis and Smokey, and underneath several extremely ominous-looking holes. Then Black Death itself comes pouring out of the holes, and surrounds Ben. Is Smokey taking images and memories from Ben’s mind – like it seemed to do with Mr. Eko before dispatching him – or is Smokey choosing these memories itself to show to Ben? I think it is the former. With all the other horrible things that Ben has done – he in fact murdered someone earlier this day – Ben has a lot to be judged for than merely making a poor decision in trying to bluff with his daughter’s life. Maybe because her death is the only thing he feels guilty about, the only thing he regrets, Smokey reflects these memories back to Ben. Smokey must have some consciousness, however, because after returning to the holes, it leaves behind an image of Alex, who threatens Ben: she says she knows he’s already planning to kill Locke (again), and Ben must follow John’s every instruction, or she (it) will hunt him down and destroy him.
Survey says? Let him live!
Who Knows the Island Best? Widmore vs. Linus
Widmore visits Ben as a boy, after he’s been healed. Widmore is angry that Alpert brought him to the temple, but Alpert tells him that “Jacob wanted it done. The Island chooses who the Island chooses.” Later, an older Ben with a young Ethan (so he is an Other, also infiltrating in the DI camp) steal Alex from Rousseau. He is supposed to kill her, but can’t when he sees she has a baby. Ben warns Rousseau to run from the whispers and never come looking for Alex. Widmore is angry that Ben failed to kill Rousseau and the baby, but Ben sticks up for himself, challenging Widmore to kill Alex. Widmore doesn’t, and the Others and Alpert eerily look on. Was this a test for Ben? Later still, Ben sees Widmore off the Island via the submarine. Widmore tells Ben that if the Island wanted Alex dead, she’ll be dead, and is ultimately responsible for her death later. Both Ben and Widmore claim to know what the Island and Jacob want more than the other. Off -Island, Ben makes a phone call to Widmore right before he tries to murder Penny. Luckily, Charlie is there, and Ben is unable to do it, just like with Rousseau and Alex. Desmond doesn’t take any chances, though.
Statue, Shadow, and Crate, Oh MY!
Back on the beach, Lapidus confronts Ilana and bearded man, who have a mysterious GIANT crate, and a bunch of weapons. Ilana asks Frank: “What lies in the shadow of the statue?” When Lapidus doesn’t know, she knocks him out and takes him with her, wherever they are going. So… who do they work for? Why is there a secret question? Are they working for Widmore? Dharma?
Dead is Dead
Ben confides in Sun that Locke was definitely dead. Not faking. DEAD. And dead is dead. “The fact that he is walking around scares me to death.” Is Ben just blowing smoke (pun intended)? Did he really not know Locke would come back alive and kicking? Or is this more manipulation? Why would he lie to Sun – to avoid the extremely awkward conversation that includes: oh yeah, I killed him, that’s how I know he died? Could John Locke be like Christian Shepherd, who Sun and Lapidus encountered? Locke was “filling in” for Christian, after all. Are both Locke and Shepherd alive? Or both dead and just visiting?