For today’s Lost Discussion Group, we ask: whither Ben in the last season of the series? Toward the end of season 5, Locke—or, as it turned out, unLocke—had managed to bell Lost’s cat, getting the upper hand on Ben, who had pledged obedience to Locke at the behest of Ghost Alex.
Now we know that Ben had in fact pledged obedience to “Locke.” (Who, by the way, if there is some connection between Esau and Smokey, may in some sense be Ghost Alex, right?) So is Ben’s pledge still binding? Did he promise to obey the commands of someone who in fact no longer exists? Does this mean Ben is back in the game, as his own agent? And if so—on whose side?
My guess is that Ben is freed from the pledge now, if for no other reason than that it makes the better story. Ben being tamed is a good reversal-of fortune storyline for a few episodes, but I can’t see the show leaving him that way for its finale season.
The question of his allegiance and motives now is the tougher and more interesting one. He’s been made rounded and sympathetic enough now—for all his villainy—that one could see him getting some self-sacrificial Vader-like redemption in the end. But it would be just like Lost to upend that expectation and have him go out in a blaze of evil. Or maybe there’s a third solution, where—less like Darth Vader and more like Gollum—he isn’t exactly redeemed but ends up being an accidental agent for good anyway. To paraphrase Gandalf, he may still have a role to play. Your guesses?