"The Life And Death Of Jeremy Bentham"

JANUARY 9, 2011


When I decided to re-watch the entire run of Lost (and write reactions for the joy of upwards of 23 people), one of the things I was most interested in seeing began with “The Life And Death Of Jeremy Bentham” – watching Locke now that I know he was the Smoke Monster/Man In Black from the moment the Ajira plane crashed on Hydra Island. Some folks have claimed that this was a nonsense, last minute decision made later, and perhaps they are right, but I definitely see some signs of it being the plan here.

For starters, Locke is definitely different here. He still loves fruit, but he’s oddly calm, and answers questions without being an asshole about it like he usually is. Poor Boone couldn’t even get a straight answer from the guy about the meaning of the word “trebuchet”, but now he’s politely telling strangers that he used to be dead. I also don’t care much for seeing him in a nice shirt; my Locke wears a plain T-shirt, dammit.

I also noticed that it was the second episode in a row to tell a story in linear fashion, bookended by present day stuff. And I had forgotten how much of a bummer it was; practically every scene is a downer, and had Locke not turned into such an unlikable asshole over the last two seasons I probably would have cried a few times, especially when he finds out Helen had died (which seemed to be more of an actor availability decision than one of storytelling, if you ask me). His scene with Jack is also quite depressing, and I wish it was longer – especially in hindsight when you realize it’s actually the last time the two men talk (well, I guess it is – Locke never tells him that anything bad happened on the island, which is what Jack says he told him in one of the previous episodes, so maybe they talked again later and we didn’t see it).

(I also forgot that they DO show what happened to the other folks on the plane, which I mentioned in yesterday’s review. Had anyone been reading I’m sure it would have been pointed out.)

I didn’t care much for the killing of Abaddon. I know he had to get back over to Fringe Division, but it seemed like there was more to this character than they had let on, and I don’t recall if he was ever even mentioned again after this. I know I’ve said it a million times, but on this show they should have just recast characters and dealt with it. Iron Man did it with Terrence Howard/Don Cheadle, didn’t seem to bother anyone as far as box office receipts are concerned. No, instead we just get annual single appearances of Walt, and someone always has to comment on how big he got. Real cute. Nice thing about a great story is that no one would really care about that sort of thing. Was killing off Mr. Eko way earlier than expected and annoying every fan on the planet (and leaving a lot of unanswered questions) worth sparing us the “jarring” sight of someone else playing the role? He died before the series’ halfway point; had the character survived until the series finale he would have been the more prolific Eko!

Where are we?


  1. While looking back on it a lot of things about the show seem fairly inconsistent in retrospect, I'd say I'm happy with how Lost's story turned out as a whole. That isn't to say that it didn't irritate me every now and again though.

    The single most annoying unanswered question in the show, for me, was that, to my recollection, we never get a satisfactory explanation of why Ben kills Locke at the end of this episode. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on this, though. I understand that from a storytelling point of view Locke had to die in order for the stuff with Jacob and the Man in Black at the end of the season to work, but Ben's decision to kill him seemingly comes out of nowhere here. The only thing I can come up with is that it made it easier for him to convince the others to come back to the island with some. Worked with Jack at least.

  2. If I remember correctly Ben killed him after Locke said no to getting Sun because of his Promise to Jin.