This is a recap of Lost Season 5, Episode 7 entitled “The Life And Death Of Jeremy Bentham,” originally airing February 25th, 2009. If you haven’t seen the episode yet, then don’t read on, cause I spoil Top Chef too for good measure.
The episode opens on a group of new islanders from the Ajiba Airlines crash, ‘led’ by Caesar (I never thought the guy standing behind Jack in line at the airport last week who the camera focused on for eighty minutes would’ve ended up being significant!), who is called over to speak to a man in a Snuggie that’s quickly revealed to be Locke. Locke fires up some “lookin’ back” music and tells the the tale of his death, beginning with his “exit” from the island that took him from the frozen donkey wheel straight to Tunisia; this explains Ben winding up in the desert last season, as well as the polar bear bones discovered by Charlotte, and also proves that the Lost writers aren’t above yanking ideas from Being John Malkovich.
Locke is quickly rescued by Charles Widmore’s team of Indiana Jones extras and taken to a hospital to have his leg re-set, where a suspiciously congenial Charlie Wids butters him up with talk about his importance and how he must return the Oceanic Six to the island so he can lead The Others. He gives Locke the subtle philosophy-referencing alias “Socrates Nietzsche” and sends him after the Oceanics accompanied by 2008 Shady Character Of The Year Runner-Up Matthew, along with a detailed portfolio of everyone’s current location consisting solely of a photograph of Sayid on a roof.
Locke is rejected one after the other by Sayid, Kate, and Hurley (I was expecting it to turn into a wacky movie trailer where Locke keeps getting slapped in the face by different girls while a song from The Nutcracker plays), and just when you thought “oh great, next comes the same scene again with Locke getting rejected by Sun,” Matthew gets shot to hell by Ben-shaped bullets and Locke dives into his car and speeds away, only to immediately cause a 4,815,162,342 vehicle pileup. Was Ben only shooting at Matthew, or was Locke target #2? We get some confusing answers in a later scene…
BEN HANGIN’ AROOOOOUND THIS TOWN, GONNA STRANGLE YOU WITH AN EXTENSION CORD
After not even coming close to convincing any of the Oceanics to return, Locke decides to retain some dignity by hanging himself with an extension cord in a skanky motel room. Ben bursts in just in time to save Locke and informs him that Jack bought a plane ticket to Australia (though he offers no proof) and that Locke’s plan is working, then Ben strangles Locke to death with the extension cord, because he’s Ben.
This begs the question — what did Ben learn between saving Locke and finishing the deed that made him pull the “not killing you” 180? Locke did mention that he knew Ms. Hawking, who Ben also claims he “knows,” and also reveals that Jin is still alive but Locke promised that he wouldn’t bring Sun back (thus confirming that Ben intentionally left this information out when showing Sun the wedding ring). Perhaps Ben realized that Locke’s methods never would’ve convinced the other five, so he took matters into his own hands, eventually doing whatever shady crap resulted in Kate and Hurley showing up to the Ajira flight scared out of their minds and mysteriously eager to return islandward.
Crap, I already used that headline for the first section? It’s way more applicable to this one. Well, there it is twice, in all its lazy glory.
Prior to Matthew’s death, back when he was in the car with Locke, Matthew transforms into an online spam ad and asks Locke if he’d like him to look up anyone from Locke’s high school class to see where they are now, or if he’d like to meet horny singles in the LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA area. Locke is reluctant at first, but then reveals that he’d like to see “Helen,” the “only girl who ever loved him,” as per a conversation with Kate. Matthew pretends he can’t find the girl after realizing he’s gone five minutes without saying something shady, then finally brings Locke to a cemetery to “meet” Helen. Helen died of a brain aneurysm and is buried there, we learn; they didn’t just choose to meet in person at a cemetery. Though that would’ve been an unexpected/stupid twist.
Anywhooozz… The conversation briefly turns philosophical when Matthew brings Locke’s destiny back into the equation, saying that Helen would’ve been dead anyway if Locke had stayed with her, but that his purpose must continue; apparently, Widmore, Ben, and Alpert all share the same philosophy regarding Locke’s destiny and all seek to return the Six to the island, yet Ben and Widmore remain opposites and rivals. Could it be that both Ben and Widmore wanted to return to the island but traveling with the Oceanic Six (or Five) is the only way, and Ben merely intercepted Widmore’s plan and succeeded in it by being way more aggressive and evil?
The episode concludes with a bloodied refugee-Ben in Caesar’s medical tent and the reborn Locke standing over him. This means that Ben was not among those who warp-whistled from the plane onto the island, as Hurley, Kate, and Jack did, but simply landed on the island via the physical plane crash like the new other-others (formers?). Last night, Ben also broke the television record for “Most Episodes Covered In Fake Blood,” previously held by Tonight Show host Jack Paar (weird, right?)
Perhaps the Oceanic flight was merely one of a series of intentional “get back to the island” crashes, and the original castaways occupied the roles that Caesar and his confused companions are currently filling, while someone else was doing an intentional warp-return to the island? And Christian Shepherd was the former Locke? The plane crashes seem awwwwfully similarrrrrr…
The other lingering question — what is this important “work” Locke has to do once he gets back to the island. “Lead” The Others? To do what? Chill on the island? In the Season finale, is Alpert just gonna be like “THANK YOU for returning, Locke — we’ve been wanting to set up this fantasy baseball league for a while now, but you’re the only one with the Yahoo login. Tom kept saying he was gonna start one but he was super lazy, then he got killed…”
As usual, leave all episode thoughts, theories, leftover Top Chef animosity in the comments!