This week's episode, "Dr. Linus," focused on everyone's favorite "is he a bad guy or what?", Ben Linus. The formerly suave, cunning, and in-control leader of the Others, Ben is now a dejected outcast, stuck with Ilana's crew. After Miles reveals that Ben killed Jacob, Ilana, who says Jacob was like a father to her, forces him to dig his own grave. He eventually wiggles his way out of that dire situation and is invited to hang with Ilana and company.
But what's more interesting is Ben's life in the alternate timeline, where he eats organic microwave dinners with his father (whom, remember, he killed on the island), plots a coup against Principal Reynolds, spends time with his adopted island daughter Alex (whose death he also caused on the island, in an attempt to hold onto his dominant position there), and teaches history lessons on Napoleon. Once Napoleon loses power and is forced to the island of Elba, "he just might as well have been dead," Ben tells his students. Does the same hold true for this fallen leader?
Nope. In the end, alternate-timeline Ben chooses to help Alex's future instead of overthrowing the principal. In the island timeline, he says he should have chosen Alex's life over maintaining his power. It seems like a tidy way to tie up the character of Ben. With only nine episodes to go until the finale, Lost is ready to resolve some character issues.
And, we get some answers this week!
1. The island still exists in the alternate reality. Ben and his father reminisce about what life would have been like if they had stayed on the island, working for the Dharma Initiative.
2. The candidates are meant to replace Jacob. Ilana reveals that there are only six candidates left.
3. Jacob's touch imparts a gift. Although Richard, in a fit of frustration over his own immortality, argues that it's more like a curse. But does Jacob leave the gift of immortality to all the candidates? And, unlike the other characters, who get touched earlier in life, why does Jacob touch Hurley AFTER he has already left the island?
Did ya see that? Moment of the week: In the alternate timeline, Alex is studying the British East India Trading Company, an early English joint-stock company formed to pursue trade with the East Indies. Think that has something to do with the Black Rock?
Far-fetched theory that I hope comes true: Ilana—"daughter" of Jacob and potentially a gifted immortal—is Jack's estranged wife in the Flash-Sideways timeline.
Props of the week go to: Jack, who promises to help Richard die, lights a fuse and challenges: "Now, let's talk." In this literally dynamite stand-off with suicidal Richard, Jack bets big time on fate versus personal decision, understanding that Jacob doesn't want him to die either.
For last week's Lost recap, click here.