The end is near.
But for Charles Widmore, the end came a week early. The British baddie, after revealing that Jacob had told him the "error of his ways," was gunned down by the most morally ambiguous character in the entire series: Ben. Ben, acting on the behest of the Man in Black, squeezed off a couple of rounds into Widmore's chest, effectively ending Chuck's questionably malevolent life. Of course, the show made it obvious that this was Ben's final retribution for the death of Alex back in season four's "The Shape of Things to Come" (a death I regrettably overlooked in my "most shocking LOST deaths" article that I posted two weeks ago. The question still remains, though: has Ben defected? After the events of "Dr. Linus," which was effectively Ben's redemption episode, I would say not - it would go against his entire arc. MIB is obviously going to try and get him to kill the newly christened Island leader and his followers, but will Ben follow through? I don't think so. I think his refusal to do so will be his ultimate redemptive point - and also his ultimate downfall, because we know the Man in Black doesn't take being turned down kindly. Look what he did to Richard! (Now, the debate is up for Richard, like Frank, on whether he's alive or not. The fact that we didn't see anything beyond Richard's immediate reaction to a pummel leads me to believe that he's alive, but if so, he better have a mighty big purpose in the finale, because fake-outs are easily overdone.)
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