Lost: Dr. Linus


Word of the Day: Redemption.

It’s hard after hating Ben Linus for four seasons to suddenly be rooting for him. And it’s not so much hating him as not believing a word that has fallen out of his mouth. Until the end of last season, when he was so shaken and disillusioned, that there were a few times that he didn’t lie.

Last night, he tried to go back to his old ways and was foiled by Ghost Whisperer Miles. And Ben didn’t even lie well! He stuttered, he stammered, he gave the wide-eyed “who me?” look! That’s how my 5-year-old lies, not how Ben Linus lies. (Ben Linus lies like my 3-year-old. Without blinking.)

But in the Sideways Story, mendacious, malicious Ben Linus is mild-mannered Dr. Linus, a high-school history teacher. He takes care of his aged dad Roger, runs the history club, and tutors a young, hopeful student named… Alex Rousseau.

Yeah, he makes a clumsy power-grab that results in his having to choose (once more) between what he wants and Alex’s future, but this time, he puts her ahead of himself.

Did you see the look on Ben’s face when Arzt says, “You’re a killer.” It was like, “Huh. Yeah, you know, maybe in a different light, maybe in a different world… I am.”

This is why I say: Michael Emerson for all the Emmys in the world, now.

(Well, except for Terry O’Quinn’s.)

And, let’s not forget the irony of ‘the substitute’ (Sideways Story John Locke) egging Ben on. That was delicious.

And then, back on the Island, Ben resists Not Locke’s temptation, tells Ilana the truth, and joins Jacob’s team. So the Sideways world informs the Island world (or so it appears to me) and vice versa.

In the meantime, Richard Alpert asks Jack and Hurley to kill him at the Black Rock. (I just stumbled onto this at Lostpedia: “In 1996, Widmore purchased the journal of the first mate of the Black Rock, a 19th century British slave ship, at a Southfield’s auction….”), so I’m guessing that Richard is said first mate.

He gave us an important clue last night: Richard says that Jacob touched him, that it was supposed to be a gift. Richard — cool, calm and collected eyeliner guy up until now — is distraught and frightened. He wants to die because he’s never going to know what Jacob was up to; his long (long, long) life has no meaning. But Jack doesn’t think that’s true. And as Jack (and several others) have been touched by Jacob, he gambles on what Richard has said about not being able to die (by one’s own hand, in any case). And the gamble pays off.

This is what I am thinking (and yes, I went to sleep thinking about Lost and woke up thinking about Lost — it’s a sickness, I KNOW): I think the Island is going to restore its balance somehow. It’s a little out of whack right now with Smokey running around unchecked because Jacob’s dead (and he’s really dead), recruiting people, trying to get off the Island.

One of the candidates is Jacob’s replacement. And one of the other people that Jacob touched is Smokey’s replacement.

We haven’t seen Kate’s name as a candidate yet (have we?), but Jacob tweaked her nose in the convenience store when she was trying to lift that lunchbox. He touched both Jin and Sun on their wedding day. But only one Kwon is a candidate.

I think Sawyer or Jack or Sun is going to replace Jacob; and then Kate or Jin or Sayid is going to replace Smokey. Or some combination like that. I guess Hurley comes down on one of those sides, too. (Probably for Jacob. I mean Hurley doesn’t have a mean bone in that jiggly body of his.)

I’ve no idea what will happen to the rest of ’em. And how having lovers (in the case of Kate/Sawyer or Jack, or Jin/Sun) be the replacements will change the nature of the Island. (Smokey and Jacob may have started out as buddies — although it doesn’t look like it at this point — but they are clearly antagonists now.)

This theory of mine probably also means that despite what Not Locke told him on the beach, Ben is not eligible to “take over” the Island. To our knowledge, he hasn’t been touched by Jacob — hell, he didn’t even talk to Jacob in his time as leader of the Others. He got his instructions from Richard “The Mouthpiece” Alpert.

I was so satisfied with last night’s show, so happy by the end of it. We’ve got the good guys (or Jacob’s Army) back on the beach where they started, and Smokey’s Army (of zombies!) somewhere off in the jungle.

Oh, and Widmore heading to the Island in a submarine.