'Lost' recap: Lessons Learned Season 6, Episode 7

There was a moment back in the most polarizing episode of Lost's most turbulent season when the Island's god of lies told the truth about the way he works. No, I'm not talking about His Royal Smokeyness, FrankenLockenstein, although the confession sure fits him, too. I speak of Benjamin Linus, the Little Napoleon of the Others - or, in the spirit of last night's very special back-to-school edition of Lost, the devious Tracy Flick of Craphole Island High 90666. The episode was Expose, a.k.a .the Nikki and Paulo vs. the Spiders episode, and the moment of truth came when Juliet asked Ben how he intended to get Jack to operate on his tumor-choked spine. Same way I get anybody to do anything. I find out what he's emotionally invested in and I exploit it, Ben said, sounding sadly resigned about his own nefarious nature, as if his conniving character was innate and immutable, or at least fixed and unchangeable. In the divine election of all possible worlds (divine election being a fancy theological term of predestination), Ben Linus is forever doomed to manifest as some Machiavellian devil, some power-grabbing Brutus, some Jesus-betraying Judas, no matter the reality, no matter the world. Right?

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