EPISODE REVIEWS: Lost: “Dead is Dead” (Season 5, Episode 12)

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In 1977, America’s favorite compulsively lying sociopath wakes up in a tent, and talks to Charles Widmore, who sets lil’ Ben on his path of being a Dharma mole.

In 1987, Ben and Ethan are assigned to kill the crazy French lady. Ben was happy to do it until he realized she had a kid, and for whatever reason he can’t bring himself to do so. He kidnaps the baby Alex, and warns Daniela not to come looking for him, and “If you ever hear whispers, run the other way.” Back in the Other’s camp, Widmore is furious with Ben for not killing her and the child. Ben calls him on his lack of compassion, saying “You want the baby dead, you do it.” Widmore can’t bring himself to do so.

At some point after this, Ben deposes Widmore as the leader of The Others, and sees him off as he’s being banished. Widmore warns him that the island always gets what it wants, and he, himself, could some day be banished.

In 2007, Ben calls Widmore to tell him he’s about to kill Penny. He quickly incapacitates Desmond Hume, then goes after her, but when he sees she has a kid, once again, he can’t close the deal. He lets her go, and gets the crap kicked out of him by Desmond, who attempts to drown him.

Mere days later in 2007, on the island, Ben wakes up in the makeshift infirmary on the auxiliary island, and claims to have known Locke would resurrect. The very next morning, he tells Caesar that Ben was probably on the island when they crashed, and that he’s obviously dangerously insane. Caesar tells Ben that he’s got his back, and shows him a shotgun. Meanwhile, some of the other survivors are being evasive with a large airline crate.

Ben and Locke confer in Ben’s old office (Where he’s hiding a picture of himself and Alex so Caesar won’t realize Ben is lying about never having been on the island before), and explains why he killed Locke, but knew he’d come back to life, and claims he came back to the island to be judged for breaking the rules.

They take one of the outriggers, but Caesar tries a power play, and Ben shoots him with the mans’ own shotgun. They go over to the Main island, and find Frank Lapidus and Sun in his house. Lapidus says he wants no more to do with this, and heads back to the auxiliary island. Ben goes in to his hidey-hole and calls the monster to judge him, but it doesn’t show. Sun explains that her husband is in the past, which freaks Ben out plenty bad, evidently he didn’t realize they were there, didn’t remember them from his younger days. Meanwhile, Ben confesses to Sun that he had no idea Locke would come back to life, and it scares the hell out of him.

Locke, now clearly the alpha dog, leads the them to The Temple, and says they have to go in the passages beneath it. Ben agrees, and falls in to a yet lower level where he’s judged (in rather cheesy fashion) and then roughed up by the apparition of his daughter, who tells him that she knows he’s already planning on killing Locke again, and that if he does she’ll destroy him. He must do everything Locke says. Ben reluctantly swears to it.

Back on the auxiliary island, Lapidus is told that the lady castaway has guns. He goes to see what they’re talking about, and she asks him “What lies in the shadow of the statue.” He doesn’t know, so she knocks him out, and tells the others to get organized so they can move out.

The End

OBSERVATIONS:

* Ok, evidently the Island doesn’t stop the normal aging process. Widmore ages quite a bit in this episode. Ergo Richard Alpert is an anomaly. Why?

* Man, “Teenaged Ben” doesn’t look at all teenaged, does he? I’m letting this slide, though, ’cuz it’s Ben, and he’s America’s most adorable and loveable sociopath.

* I’m not making that up about Ben being adorable and loveably evil. Look at the charming way he lied (Very damn effectively) to Locke about planning on his resurrection, and the way he immediately double-crosses him to Caesar for no particular reason other than he likes screwing with people. And later on, his surprisingly heartfelt admission to Sun. Or the cheerful way he told Widmore “Hi! I’m gonna’ kill your daughter!” Seriously, how can you not love this guy? In literary terms, he just leaps off the page at you.

* What we’ve been calling a temple is actually a perimeter wall about a mile in diameter, to prevent people from seeing the temple, which is in the center of the walled area. A fair bet is that the temple is what “Lies in the shadow of the statue,” but I could be way off about that. The temple complex is built on top of a much older Egyptian underground network of halls and corridors, where The Monster evidently lives.

* Still no clue what The Monster is, but we’re explicitly shown it making psychic contact with Ben and using his memories. Once again, an apparition shows up in close contact w/ The Monster, leading me to conclude (Once again) that these are the same thing.

* Kates’ horse showed up again. Maybe.

* What’s in the mysterious crate? Guns? Probably not. Too mundane. Something bigger and better and stranger, I’m sure.

* In many ways, this episode was all about the Widmore/Ben relationship, with Widmore originally taking the kid under his wing, and later being deposed by him. The chronology is a bit wonky: In 2007, Widmore says “I’ve tried for 20 years to get back to the island” which means he was deposed in 2007, evidently not very much after Ben kidnapped Alex.

* So why *can’t* Ben kill a woman with a young child? He’s done just about every other horrible thing imaginable. Is this related to the fact that his mother died in childbirth? In fact, Ben’s shown odd ‘baby issues’ before, bringing Juliet to the island to help them start having babies again.

* Ethan and Ben survived the massacre of Dharmaville. How many other turncoats were there?

* Speaking of which, the massacre must be coming up pretty shortly now. I base this on Ben not remembering Sawyer, Jack, et al from those days. Ergo, it must have happened pretty quickly after his ‘conversion’ to their cause.

* A couple scenes under the temple seemed self-consciously “Raiders of the Lost Ark-Esque” to me.

* I’m confused by the lady who knocks out Frank: wasn’t she the bounty hunter that captured Sayid? If so, what’s she doing here, now? A fair bet is that she’s one of The Others. No, wait, that's stupid. If they were working for The Others - say ones who'd been away on assignment while all the shenanegins were going on - then Ben would've known them. A better bet is that she’s working for Widmore. I enjoy not knowing!

* “Jacob” and “The Island” are used interchangeably several times in this episode. I’ve been suspecting that Jacob is the sentient spirit of the island, but this goes a long way towards confirming it.

* Why did Ben blanch when Frank mentioned Christian Shepherd? How does he know him? My own suspicion is that Christian was, himself, an Other at one time.

* Holy Crap! Caesar is dead! Just like that, you get in the way of the plot, and Ben kills you with your own gun! I did *not* see that coming! Wow!

* Ben's explanation of why Locke had to die, and why he killed him is...surprisingly plausible.

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