FINALLY. The lack of Ben Linus in this season thus far has been criminal. Remember how, even while being held captive in the hatch, he still managed to get in people’s heads and make them doubt everything they thought they knew? Remember how he used to manipulate everyone around him? Remember how he moved the island? He’s my favorite maniacal little mastermind and I’m going to miss him with every fiber of my fangirl being. So where does season 6 find Ben?
Flash sideways first: as we saw in episode 3, Ben is a history teacher in this alternate universe…and he hates it. We’re starting to see some parallels now between the Flashes and the actual timeline – Ben’s father is alive in this timeline, and reveals that the two did live on the island and participate in the Dharma initiative for awhile, but decided to leave. Hmm. That aside, Sideways Ben has one very important thing in common with Actual Ben – they’re both starved for power and feel as if they deserve better. However, while they both might want it bad, they tend to value it in very different ways.
For example: remember how Actual Ben allowed his daughter to get shot in order to keep up his leverage against the mercenaries? Remember how steamy Keamy was in that scene? Anyway. Sideways Ben is faced with a similar situation: in this universe, Alex Rousseau is not his daughter, she’s his favorite student. During an afternoon tutoring session, she tells him that she caught the school’s principal messing around with the school nurse. This leads Ben to convince the equally bitter Biology teacher to hack into the nurse’s email, where he uncovers over 30 emails worth of evidence that could have the principal hung from a school district cross. In true Ben fashion, he threatens to use it against the principal, who counters with a threat to write Alex a recommendation that would destroy her chances at getting into her dream school. So once again, Ben is faced with a decision: does he succumb to demands in order to save Alex, or does he take the high road?
This time, he chooses Alex. But not without getting let out of supervising detention so that he can go back to running his after school history club. While it’s not the life he wanted for himself (and he says as much), Sideways Ben seems to be content with doing the best he can with what he’s got. And if he could make a difference in the life of a student every so often, that’s just bonus points. It’s cute…
…and boring. The real action this week was on the island, as usual. It starts off with Ben running into Ilana, Sun, Miles and co. while trying to escape the carnage at the temple. He suggests they go take refuge at the beach, but Ilana’s still butthurt over the whole Jacob mysteriously dying thing. She forces Miles to listen to Jacob’s ashes which she carries with her to figure out how he died. So Miles does his thing, and comes to one conclusion – Ben killed him. And everyone stares at Ben. Uh oh.
When the group gets back to the beach, she chains him up and forces him to start digging. A grave. For himself. Damn, Gina. Ben looks miserable, it’s like his mind is just too tired to try to think of a way out of this one. And then, out of the darkness…comes Locke. Or, you know, the Smoke Monster. He frees Ben, tells him where to find a gun to defend himself, and invites him to come join Team Smoke Monster. Ben considers it, but opts instead to go back with Illana after the two have a heart to heart (at gunpoint) about life, Jacob and losing loved ones in general. Aww. Twitter hashtag: #PreciousMoments. Or no, wait…save that for the slow motion beach reunion at the end of the episode – we haven’t had one of those in awhile. This one featured Jack and Hurley meeting back up with Sun and Frank, and was very reminiscent of early Lost. And just when you’re ready to bask in the glow of a somewhat happy ending…enter Charles Widmore. Just when you’d thought you’d seen the last of him. And thank God, this season desperately needed to phone a friend. Hopefully Lost’s resident Dr. Claw will be able to get things moving in a more exciting and less expositionary direction from here on out – there are nine episodes left and from the looks of the forums, I’m not the only fan getting a little impatient!