Lost 5.12 – Dead Is Dead

Ever since his introduction in Season Two, Ben Linus has fast become one of the most compelling characters on “Lost,” so it isn’t much of a surprise that tonight’s episode was one of the best of the year. While much of the allure of this season is due to the recent boost in science fiction-heavy fare like time travel, the last few weeks have really emphasized the strong relationships between the people on the island. And if we’ve learned anything, it’s that Ben has some of the most fascinating relationships of them all. Oh yeah, and Michael Emerson deserves an Emmy nomination.

Ben’s ongoing feud with Charles Widmore has made for some great moments in the past, but it was nice to finally see how that feud came to fruition. Both men have always been viewed as villains, but based on the flashbacks from tonight, it’s clear that Widmore is the worst of the two. He didn’t seem to have any logical reason for wanting Rousseau and her baby dead other than the fact that they were outsiders, but Ben’s decision to stand up to Widmore and protect baby Alex showed a side of him that we always knew was there but rarely saw. Of course, that was before Ben became the monster he is today, but it was apparently enough to prove to Richard that he was worthy of taking over leadership after Widmore was booted off the island for breaking the rules.

One of those rules was having a child with an outsider, and as we all know, that child grew up to be Penny. What we didn’t know, however, was what had come of Penny now that Ben had left the island. Many seemed to believe that his brutal beating was a result of killing Penny on her boat (after all, he made that call to Jack from a dock), but as it turns out, that wasn’t it at all. Well, not exactly, anyway. It turns out Ben did intend on killing Penny (he even shot Desmond in the shoulder for trying to interfere), but the minute he saw Penny’s son, he decided against it. Of course, that didn’t stop Desmond from beating him to a pulp, but like I said before, it just goes to show that Ben isn’t nearly as bad of a guy as people once believed him to be.

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