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Lost Deconstruction – The Faith and Doubt of Jeremy Bentham

By ErasedSlate,

  Filed under: Lost Mythos, Lost News
  Comments: 16

incredulityoflockeSometimes episode as powerful as “the Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” will resonate throughout the following day.  You cannot help but continue to reflect on it.  It was episode packed with mythology, stunning imagery, fantastic acting and genuinely great ‘Lost’ moments.  During the live chat for the episode, many comments were made about how quickly the episode moved, as if we entered a island-styled timewarp.

The Incredulity of Locke

Incredulity is the inability or unwillingness to believe.  The off-island exploits of Locke were a study in the way a person’s faith is dismantled by the harshness of real life.  With each visit to those that left the island, the roots of doubt further choked out the faith that began Locke’s evangelical mission.

How can you say to Sayid that it was a mistake to leave?  He was able, for the briefest of moments, to experience a deep and profound love.  How can you convince a Hurley that has trouble being convinced of his own reality?  How can you tell Kate, who for the first time has taken on responsibility, to ditch it for the island?  How can you tell Jack of a destiny when he questions his own importance in life?  How can he be convinced of his own importance when he leaves a trail of unfulfilled promises and brokenness.

The faith of Locke was reduced to the size of mustard seed.  And in his crisis of failure, he resorts to an act of despair.  Before being (con)vinced by Ben to give it one more shot.  Then, John blurts out the one piece of information that Ben did not have, a name that knows the way back to the island.  Locke was no longer needed.  He was no longer important to Ben.

Touching the Side

Let’s reflect on a quote from the previous episode, “316.”  Ben explained the painting “The Incredulity of Thomas” by Caravaggio to Jack saying:

Thomas, the Apostle. When Jesus wanted to return to Judea, knowing that he probably would be murdered there, Thomas said to the others, “Let us all go that we might die with him.” But Thomas was not remembered for this bravery. His claim to fame came later [pauses] when he refused to acknowledge the resurrection. He just couldn’t wrap his mind around it. The story goes that he needed to touch Jesus’ wounds to be convinced.

Originally, we ascribed the significance of the painting to Jack.  And to an extent, that is true.  But the scene of Locke’s attempt at suicide continues to haunt.  I am struck that the painting speaks more of John. Ben may have only been a narrator to us, not aware of the connection. Notice the position of the hand of both Locke and the painting.  Notice how Ben is kneeling before John and “praying” before the painting.

It was Locke who pledged to defend the island to his own death.  Instead he doubted everything the Island told him.  Locke had to touch his destiny to know that it was real.

The question is will Locke be a different person now?  Or, will he continue the cycle of doubt to faith to doubt?  If his resurrection has finally taken him out of this cycle, was that signified by the change in the taste of the mango?  Did his self-doubt finally die with Jeremy Bentham?

  • rick

    maybe they are explaining ben is like thomasnot believing in john and killed hom because he needed to witness his ressurection to believe he was the one to succeed him .. although the hawking theory is more reasonable .. but i cant help to wonder who’s side she’s on?? she’s helping ben .. but widmore sent desmond and locke to see her so is she helpin him to? clearly she has no interest in going back .. if she did she would have already being the only person to know how to

    • angjen0816

      widmore shot himself in the foot by sending Des to her, considering thats where Ben was, and Ben has sworen to kill Penny

  • ErasedSlate

    Since Lost brought up the topic of disciples, it could be argued that Ben is more like Judas. There is a school of thought that Judas was attempting to manipulate circumstances to force Jesus to lead a revolution against Rome. Therefore, his betrayal was based on a belief that Jesus would lead an uprising and establish a kingdom on earth. However, Judas’ scheming could not frustrate the plans of God.

    • imfromthepast

      Meh, Ben killed Locke because he learned about Hawking and didn’t need him anymore, and Judas was just a dirty thief.

      • “Then, John blurts out the one piece of information that Ben did not have, a name that knows the way back to the island. Locke was no longer needed. He was no longer important to Ben.”

        I really do not believe that. Ben knew all the time that he’ll have to fake a suicidal scenario. Ben was there to give Locke’s faith back. Without faith, there’s no way back to the island.

        • ImOnlySleeping

          He might have been aware that Locke would be resurrected if returned to the island. And having the chip he needed to bring in Sun, realized that the way to break Jack was to have John kill himself, which might have been a hard sell after just convincing Locke not to. I believe he was sincere as he left the room. I suspect we’ll find out more about that in the near future.

  • hyperRevue

    I just can’t believe that Ben didn’t know of Hawking until Locke told him. They seemed to be pretty chummy when they were in the Lamp Post.

    • Zonker

      I thought I noticed Ben’s attitude turn once Locke mentioned that Jin was still alive. Watch the episode again and you’ll see Ben do a double-take once Jin’s name is mentioned. From that moment onward, he is positioning Locke towards his doom. He waits just long enough for Hawking’s name to be dropped, but Locke’s fate is determined from the moment he gives up the knowledge that Jin is alive.

      So why would that be? Did Ben meet Jin on the island during the Dharma days? Does the fact that Jin survived mean that the timeline Ben has been fighting for has in fact been preserved, despite his fear that Alex’s death meant that Widmore had been able to change the rules?

  • Mrs. Alpert

    John knew he needed to die, so I don’t think doubt overcame him, but the inevitability of what Richard had told him (and Christian)- that he would need to sacrifice himself to get the others back to the island…

    I was upset that Ben was not who I thought he was… but looking back, he has always been in it for himself. He wants to get back to the island to control things again… so he used John. Eloise must’ve left the island with Charles.. so she wasn’t on Ben’s side…

  • lockeheart

    This doesnt really have anything to do with the topic but i just had this theory and i had to post it somewhere. Ben did not kill penny! The consesus is that he did because ben was seen at the marina, but what i think everyone is forgetting is how des, pen, and char got the LA in the first place. Remember they were in oxford no more a week or two before the events of 316. There is no way they sailed accross the atlantic and to LA in that time period (i dont thik it would be possible if they wanted to). Hence they parked in we britian and booked a plane. Now, it is possible penny has another boat (shes loaded) or her father has a boat, but that has never been shown to us and i doubt they would be using her fathers boat. Why was been by the mariana then? Crazy theory!! He was caught my widmores men while dumping the body of eloise hawking! Ben was done with her and if she stayed alive she could have also helped widmore find the island, so she had to go.

    • Charlie’s Ghost

      we really don’t know how much time passed between the Des/Widmore confrontation and the Des/Lampost confrontation. In all reality, enough time could have passed for them to sail there. No dates were given, so its possible.

    • ftball221

      So he was dumping her body in a crowded marina in broad day light? Doesn’t add up. Good thought though.

  • brent

    I think Ben killed Locke to prevent him from talking to Hawking. Because Hawking knows Widmore and Ben better than anyone I believe, on Island and off, she may be able to convince Locke who’s telling the truth. Ben’s just protecting his own hide, just like he’s always done.

  • joe_blow


    what a great analysis. i really appreciate all your ideas. thanks for sharing.

  • k

    even more interesting after watching that last scene- lost keeps toying with crazy time- we assume that after locke saw jack he killed himself the same night- great eagles everyone else because ben does not suggest that it was the same day just that jack booked a ticket tonight- but WHEN tonight!!!?? also eloise hawking- WHEN did she know ben!!!??? WHEN we first see ben and eloise hawking interact- of course it is as if they have known each other for ages- but after watching that last scene like others have picked up- ben had the knowledge to go meet eloise and tell her he is the one that needs to get back….further if both ben and widmore know eloise would she ot be suspect- has she met either of these two men & if she knew their personalities why help them…the key as eveyone mentions is WHEN!!!! WHEN has everything taken place…

    • Mrs. Alpert

      ^she knew both Charles and Ben… remember, she was on the island with Charles (Jughead) and I’m sure that proof of her knowing Ben is coming in an episode soon (she didn’t look surprised to see him or like she didn’t know him…).

      time is the problem, as you say… I think the key is in knowing the total amount of time the O6 spent on the mainland cause Locke’s time = O6 – 3 years…