LOST Theories - DarkUFO

Below is a theory that I started here: http://theoriesonlost.blogspot.com/2010/02/dont-ignore-how-things-on-815-are.html and elaborated on at my own blog here: http://lost-looking-glass.blogspot.com/2010/02/thoughts-on-jack-my-favorite-character.html and last updated on Dark UFO here: http://theoriesonlost.blogspot.com/2010/03/seeing-red-laxs-life-through-looking.html.

I have no choice to assume these earlier posts will have been read, but I realize it may be wishful thinking. I will say, however, that if you have some obvious questions or critical observations, there is a good chance they are addressed in the earlier posts, so you may want to check them out if you have a specific comment to add. I love getting comments and try to respond to each one; I find that the dialogue developed in each posts comment section become part of the main text in the subsequent post. In short, I do not claim to be an expert or even ‘right’ about my thinking…If you have something better to add, please do so.

With those references and words said, I continue my theory here, again:

Is Smokie 'Evil Incarnate' & Did He Judge Ben Linus?:

The notion that Smokie is good and, therefore, Jacob evil is something I have pondered and rejected (which gets easier each week now, but early in the season, the case could be made otherwise). Certainly, Smokie has been shown, on several occasions, to be an arbiter of good and evil or right and wrong; a force that when one is before it, must submit to judgment.

For example, Ecko was judged by Smokie and given the opportunity to confess his sins and, hopefully, be forgiven. Ecko, however, did not confess and was immediately "judged" by Smokie, who quickly ended Ecko's life. In "Ab Aeterno", only Richard Aplert is spared by Smokie. Why? Perhaps the other prisoners were also prisoners, like Alpert, but not repentant for their crimes. As for the crew of a Slave ship—slaves, nuff said.

I argue that Alpert was judged by Smokie and allowed to live because Alpert was a "good" or moral person--while he had caused the death of the doctor, either willfully or accidentally, he did confess this sin to the priest in the Canary Islands and asked for forgiveness. While the priest was unwilling to bestow it, Smokie, it seems, was more willing. One last thing on Alpert—did anyone else think Jacob plunging Alpert into the water was, effectively, a baptism?

And then we have Ben, who upon his return to the island via Ajira flight 316, tells who he thinks is John Locke that he (Ben) needs to return to the main island so he can be judged for his numerous transgressions--namely having the audacity to return to the island. Indeed, his willingness to be judged seemed to surprise Smokie Locke (and perhaps scored points for Ben for being so willing to submit) and, indeed, it appeared as though Ben was judged with the focus being on the death of Alex, an event that Ben seemed truly repentant for.

Was Ben really being judged in that cave? This becomes the question when we learn that rather than being judged, it's equally if not more likely that Ben was being purely manipulated by Smokie. Since Smokie takes Alex's form and threatens to hunt Ben down with a vengeance if he tried to oppose or harm "John Locke" and that he had to obey anything "Locke" asked of him, it seems clear that Ben's "judgment" was actually a farce by Smokie, who used it as the perfect opportunity to carry out his loophole and have Jacob murdered. And this is exactly what transpired, so the plan was perfect.

One might argue that it was both--Ben was judged and used in Smokie's plan. But if Smokie had "judged" Ben in the negative and, presumably, killed Ben for his transgressions, then his plan to kill Jacob probably would not have worked. In short, Smokie may have planned to allow Ben to live irrespective of his judgment. And if so, if Ben's life was never in danger from such alleged "judgment", I contend he was not judged at all. But Ben, I feel, has now been judged...but before I get to that, I want to briefly detail why I rejected, at the end of Season 5, the notion of Smokie actually being 'good.'

Why I Reject Smokie Being Good:

From a story-telling perspective of a six season show layered with concepts stacked on concepts, I think it's extremely unlikely the writers would pull a fast one on us and undermine a key theme, perhaps the show's major theme, of good vs. evil--black vs. white. There are two players to the game being played on the Island, which Locke describes with the metaphor of backgammon. One is dark, one is light. Have we seen Jacob kill or murder anyone? At worst, Jacob has allowed bad things to happen, people to be killed perhaps (allowing Nadia to get hit by car for example), but he, so far as we know, never perpetrated such things.

Instead, we saw him heal Illana. We saw him grant Alpert eternal life. We saw Jacob tell Kate to never steal again and, to my knowledge, she really has not--even in the bank heist episode, the only thing she 'stole' was the metal plane. Jacob told Locke he was sorry he had to lose his ability to walk and put Hurley's mind at greater rest by reassuring him he was not crazy and that his ability to speak with dead people is a gift rather than a curse. And there are many more examples of this which I wont belabor here. Point is, while Smokie can appear kind, reassuring the children after the Temple attack for example, Jacob has been shown to be more so—and very far from being evil.

To pull a fast one and make Smokie the 'good' over the 'evil' is a notion so meritless its hardly worth taking the time to respond. And I will say this, if that were to happen, if Smokie is the good guy in the end, or has been all along, it will greatly diminish this shows standing as a mythological masterpiece in my mind, and I imagine quite a number of others as well. Could Smokie be good? This is LOST, anything can happen--so yes, he 'could be.' But I really hope not.

Ben Linus--Good or Evil?:

The Ben-centric episode "Dr. Linus", it seems to me, is the real story of Ben being judged. Before this episode, we already knew Ben ha lied to Illana, saying Smokie alone had killed Jacob. While Illana likely doubted this, in fact may have known of the "rule" and that it was impossible for Smokie to have done so, she certainly lacked any evidence to prove otherwise. Until, that is, Illana and her small group rescued Miles from the besieged temple. Illana knew of Miles' ability and seized the opportunity to learn what she suspected--that Ben, in fact, killed Jacob. "That's not true" protests Ben, but Miles' is quite certain.

Upon arriving at the abandoned beach camp, Illana has Ben begin digging his own grave for the murder of Jacob. Once again, Ben is paid a visit by Smokie. My first thought was that Smokie was ready to truly 'judge' Ben. Not really. Smokie tells Ben that once he and his group leave, someone will need to be in charge of the island--and Smokie "can't think of a better man for the job."

If we take Smokie at his word (which is dicey as he tells lies and truth often), he was also once a man; a man that for events and reasons unknown became Smokie.

Certainly, the case for Ben being a force of "good" has been as compelling as the case for him being "evil." He did sacrifice his place on the island to turn the wheel to protect it and those on it from Keamy and his mercenaries, who seemingly would have killed everyone on the island if given the chance. During his time spent in New Otherton with Mayor Locke and their trek to and through the Orchid station together, Ben could have easily dispatched Locke just as plainly as when he did in Los Angeles before flight 316. But he didn’t. Without Ben, its unlikely Jack would have pulled out of his tailspin and most, if not all, of the oceanic 6 would have returned to the island. As leader of the Others, when Ben gave his word on something--he kept it. He seemed certain to allow Jack & Juliet to leave on the sub before Locke blew it up, he allowed Michael to have Walt back and gave them a boat with the heading to leave and he kept to the deal Alpert made with Kate and Sayid! to take the helicopter and leave the island etc.

But a force of "good" this does Ben make. Without listing his lies, the manipulation, the self-serving acts, the petty jealousy (RIP Goodwin) and multiple 'sins' he committed, including murder--I will just say that Ben has been as close to "evil incarnate" as any other character on LOST sans Smokie. Sure there have been evil thugs, but Ben is so much more than a thug...he was a man in power who knew how to use it, often for self serving reasons. Let's be frank: Ben flipping killed Jacob. Nuff said.

Likening LOST to Star Wars, Smokie is the Emperor and Ben is the Darth-in-training. Evil, but not Emperor evil. Now that Smokie is ready to abandon his throne, however, he is offering it to his apparent evil disciple. Convenient for Smokie too is that it allows him, through Ben, to have Illana dispatched. I did find it odd, however, that Smokie tells Ben to join him and his group on Hydra Island, because they certainly were not there yet and it seems they are no where near being ready to mount an invasion. Maybe Smokie thought he would have his group there sooner, or maybe he saw freeing Ben as a way to: 1. kill Illana and; 2. send Ben to his death at Widmore’s hands. In fact, this is very likely what he wanted to happen. Team Jack would lose two key players—someone who has met and knew Jacob and Ben, who is a bad ass on many levels and certainly handy in a fight.

Freed from bondage, Ben races the 200 yards to the tree where Smokie left the rifle (which begs: why not leave it 10 yards in, or just drop it at Ben's grave digging feet?). Smokie tells Ben not to hesitate in killing Illana, as she, Smokie says "wont'. Indeed Ben does get to the rifle and does get "the drop" on Illana....but he does hesitate--he does not shoot.

The Confession of Ben Linus:

Ben tells Illana he wants to explain to her he knows what she is feeling. Ben tells her of watching his daughter die in front of him and says "it was my fault." He confesses for being responsible for Alex's death, something he had previously blamed on Charles Widmore, who incidentally told Ben late one night in his London penthouse that it was indeed Ben's fault. Ben tells Illana he had a chance to save Alex, but that he chose the island over her "all in the name of Jacob." Ben says he sacrificed everything for Jacob, who Ben says "didn’t even care". Ben says that as he stabbed Jacob, therefore confessing for Jacob's murder, he was "angry, confused...terrified" that he was about to lose his power, the only thing Ben thought mattered to him. Ben had come to the realization that the thing that really mattered to him, Alex, was "already gone." Ben said he is sorry for killing Jacob and does not expect Illana to forgive him, as he can never forgive himself.

Ben just wants Illana to allow him to leave so he can be with Locke. "Why" asks Illana. "Because he is the only one who will have me" Ben replies, sounding like a tearful Richard Gere in "Officer and a Gentleman", who said "I got no place else to go!" And in this moment, Illana renders her “judgment” and tells Ben "I'll have you." Ben’s confession gets him off Illana’s death row and she is confident enough to turn her back on this dangerous man and allow him to remain armed. For Illana, confession really results in trust. Perhaps, like Jacob, she is a devout believer that not all people are corruptible because its in their nature to sin. Illana allows Ben to choose his path--which we learn is also back to the beach. The Judgment of Ben Linus now over.

'LA X' Ben Reflects Post-Illana Judgment Ben on the Island:

Since LA X first aired this year, my focus, my theory if you want to call it that, has focused on the similarities of the Losties in the new flash sideways rather than on the changes/differences, which receive most of the attention. I lay this idea out in my earlier theory posts in greater detail (please see the links at the beginning), but in short, I see many of the Losties in the flash sideways as resembling the characters we have known all along, the people we have seen grow, change and evolve over the six seasons.

For example, because of his experience on the Island, Jack has learned to 'let go' of his various issues: the need to be in control, battles with addiction and overcoming daddy issues. And so the Jack we meet in the flash sideways mirrors this growth. This 'new' Jack is not so different, he is acting as the person the island made him--I like to think allowed him to become. Likewise with Sawyer, who went from hated con-man to sherriff and upstanding pillar of Dharmaville. The Sawyer we see evolve to these positions was echoed in his flash side ways profession as a police officer, a goodhearted man that didnt want to con Hurley out of money upon learning of his wealth on the LA X plane, but instead warned him so as to avoid being taken advantage of. (In the earlier posts, I discuss Jack, Sawyer and most of the major characters in this manner in much greater detail).

And this is also the case with Dr. Linus. I truly believe Ben is now a new person, no more tricks--he is a force of good throughout the rest of the 2007 island time line. And I say this because of who Dr. Linus is in Los Angeles. Ben did not kill his father, he is taking ridiculously good care of him, likely involving, among other things, major financial sacrifice to a poorly paid teacher in Ben. Ben does not want to guard the miscreants in detention, he would rather see to his altruistic duties to the school history club. When presented with the choice of seizing power at the school, and doing so in a very Ben-like manner, Ben does not choose "the island", now represented as the school/principal. Instead, Ben chooses to guard the future of his favorite student, young Alex.

Not only does he choose, now, to "save" Alex, it should also be noted that he is now choosing not to save someone who is not even his daughter, as Alex is not in this version, but is choosing to put the well-being of an unrelated student, a mere public school student, over his own ambition to seize power at the school. And I like the fact that it seemed as though had Ben taken control, the case was made that he would have been doing so not for himself but for the greater good--a justification Ben made as leader of the others.

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