You know, a wonderful Lost fan told me Wednesday afternoon that this week's episode looked good and juicy.....and hell yes she was right! I was looking forward to it myself as the two titans of Lost's complex battle of wits were face-to-face once more; John Locke and Benjamin Linus. But oh no gentle viewer...it's not just about those two anymore. The episode is starting to lead us down the path that this war will be a three-way dance, so the history between Charles Widmore and Ben is answered superbly for us as well.
So really, Ben is our 'Constant' in this episode as his flashbacks deal and explain his feud with Widmore and his present of 2007 is regarding his unsettled relationship with Locke. Rightly so, as Ben did strangle him to death about a week prior to this. It was good in the start of the episode seeing young Ben alive and well in a tent after being healed in the Temple, now meeting a gentleman from the Hostiles we discover is Charles. I was a bit let down by his next flashback though. I know we can't have everything and the scene was primarily about Ben disagreeing with Charles over killing Alex when she was a baby.....but I really thought Danielle would have put up more of a struggle. For years I've wanted to know how Ben came to father Alex after she was taken from Danielle and thought it would be an intriguing twist about self-sacrifice or something, but actually he just pointed a gun at her in the night and ran off. Disappointing for me, but anyways folks, sorry I got distracted. Charles and younger Ben (1988 possibly? sixteen years minus 2004?) argue that Ben should have killed baby Alex. Richard had said in a previous episode that he doesn't listen to Charles and answers to the island and here Ben is doing the same. Ben says that Jacob didn't want the baby dead and followed his orders instead of Widmore's. Already we see that Charles's decisions were not always popular with the 'true believers' in the camp.
Another great flashback continuing the feud of Charles and Ben was seeing the moment when Ben took power from Charles. We see here that it was because Charles couldn't follow the rules which lead to his dispossession of power by Ben. He was now the new leader of the Others. Charles says all his intentions were best for the island but Ben disagrees and claims he was looking out for himself and coldly and sinisterly says to Ben that one day he'll be in this situation. The moment when power will be taken away from him.
As I said earlier, it was fantastic to see Ben and Locke back together in the same scenes. In season four I felt that they had the best chemistry and the way their cat-and-mouse relationship was written was phenomenal. So having Locke sit at a desk whilst Ben spilled out his reasons and explanations of why he killed him, only for John to say he was just looking for an apology was truly classic! Their uncertain bond of mistrust and deceit picks up exactly where it left off as Ben proclaims that he wants to go back to the main island to be judged for breaking the rules. What I am failing to leave out here is the obvious fact that Locke is alive and the only answer we're getting so far is that the island brought him back. Fair enough. John is going to go with Ben to find the smoke-monster as Ben claims that strangling John was the right thing to do and 'of course' Ben knew that the island will resurrect him, so its win-win for Locke.
If Ben is lying, the island will kill him. If Ben is telling the truth, then Locke will get an answer to why he is alive and more connected to the island. A wonderful scene as they set off; earlier Ben was effortlessly up to his old tricks of manipulating Cesar to be wary of Locke, but as Continue to Part 2