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What Nikki Noticed: 5.11 “Whatever Happened, Happened”

By Nikki Stafford,

  Filed under: Lost News
  Comments: 51

flsmallSorry I’m a day late on this. I’m assuming at this point just about everything has been worked out, so you probably don’t need anything from me. Cool. Bye!


Ah, who am I kidding. I’ll stand in an empty room and blather on if no one else is there. I’m just having an extremely busy week and didn’t have any time to write up anything yesterday. It’s not like I didn’t have something to say. (HA!)


I was going to devote this column to talking about Miles and Hurley’s argument about time travel, but I’m sure that’s been talked to death. And to be honest, the reaction of some of my readers on my blog post on this week’s episode in the beginning was, “Oh my GOD I couldn’t stand Hurley in that scene…” which is when I had to come on, raise my hand tentatively and say, “Um… maybe I’ve watched Back to the Future a dozen too many times, but I, um, am a little, er, lost too?” And then three of my most avid readers wrote up some brilliant analogies to explain it to the dingbats among us. Forget Miles and his rather lame explanation. Hurley would have understood immediately if he’d had humanebean, Teebore, and Blam explaining it to him. Thanks, guys! Now I completely understand why “whatever happened, happened.” Brilliant! (If you, like me, were still a little foggy on the issues, come on over to my blog, where I posted their analogies separately for everyone to read. After reading what they had to say, I feel like I could teach a course on the stuff. Maybe.)


I still want to talk about a separate aspect of this, however. Last week I speculated that Ben will be turned into the monster he’s become because of Sayid. Now Alpert has seemingly discredited that theory by suggesting that Ben won’t remember any of “this.” But what does he mean by “this”? Going into the Temple? Being carried into the woods? Being part of the DI? From what we saw in “Man Behind the Curtain,” Ben is still a member of the DI, still knows who is father is. However, he said that he was born on the island, and we took that to be a lie. Maybe it wasn’t. Maybe he is referring to the “rebirth” he’s about to experience via Richard and the Temple.


I think, even if he doesn’t remember Sayid shooting him, the group of survivors still went back to turn him into who he became. If Sayid hadn’t shot him, and Jin brought him back to the camp, and Kate gave him her blood, and Jack refused to operate on him (!!), and Kate and Sawyer took him to Alpert, he never would have become the Benjamin Linus we know and love to hate. But I think it would be more fun to think that Ben DOES retain a memory of Sayid shooting him. When Sayid first walks into the armory, Ben is doing a brilliant job of convincing everyone that he is Henry Gale, who arrived on a balloon, etc. etc. I think it’s a pretty easy leap to suggest he knew who Sayid was the moment he walked through that door, not only because of watching him on the Pearl station monitors for weeks at that point, but because of his encounter with him as a child. I would love to think that his revenge was to use Nadia’s death to turn Sayid into a coldhearted murderer, knowing he was taking away Sayid’s humanity. In much the same way that it seems Alpert is about to take his. If Ben knows that whatever happened, happened, then he knows he cannot change history. So he knows Sayid will always come back to that island to shoot him. So it’s not like he’s going to waste his time trying to make that NOT happen. He might as well ruin a person while he’s at it.


I said on my blog that two lines haunt me from season 4: One being Widmore’s line, “I know who you are, boy, WHAT you are…” and Harper’s line, “You remind him of her,” when talking to Juliet. Now I wonder if those lines are about to be answers in next week’s episode. Widmore refers to Ben as a boy, which is what he was when he was taken to the Temple, but he also says WHAT you are, as if he’s a thing, no longer living. Notice how many times the Others want the “bodies” of dead people? Are they reviving them? Could Locke and Christian be the products of their actions? And what about Harper’s line? In “Whatever Happened, Happened,” we have a rare moment of sympathy for a bad parent, and Roger says in the end, a boy needs his mother. Cut to Juliet leaning over him and taking care of him. Will he grow up seeing her as the only person who showed him compassion the way a mother would? And when we joked about his Oedipal tendencies in season 3 and 4 (exacerbated by the fact Emerson’s wife was playing his mother), could they have been more real than we originally imagined? Juliet reminds him of her because she IS her.


I love this show. While this episode seemed like a confirmation of many things we’d already figured out – where Aaron went, why Kate returned to the island, what Sawyer said to her before he jumped – it’s just a good feeling to GET that confirmation, and it gave us enough new material to keep us talking for weeks. Months. Years.


Nikki Stafford is the author of the Finding Lost series of books, which offer episode-by-episode guides to each season. The guide to season 4 is now available at She posts regularly on her television blog, Nik at Nite.

  • bonosk

    Great write-up, Nikki. Also, could this be the reason why Ben instructed Tom, et al. in “Through the Looking Glass” to not really shoot Sayid, Jin, and Bernard because two of those three – Sayid and Jin – would play a vital role in his past, and he knew that. When first watching that episode, I thought that that plot point was just for Ben to fake-out Jack and provide more drama for us, the audience. Now, after watching “Whatever Happened, Happened,” I feel that Ben is aware of the influence the Losties have had in his past.

    • apackofmonkeys

      Hmm, good point. The orders were more for Tom and co. than for Sayid and Jin- because Ben knew that if they did try to kill them, they would fail somehow.
      Also, I always thought that Ben’s little “Jin is alive?!” to Locke right before he killed him sounded fake. Apparently it actually was fake, since Ben would remember Jin in Dharmatime (unless this whole Ben “won’t remember” bit is way further-reaching than I expect).

      • Zonker

        “Also, I always thought that Ben’s little “Jin is alive?!” to Locke right before he killed him sounded fake. Apparently it actually was fake, since Ben would remember Jin in Dharmatime”

        I had an entirely different reaction when watching The Life & Death of Jeremy Bentham. I thought the moment when Ben discovered Jin was alive was the turning point between Ben wanting to save Locke and Ben deciding to kill Locke. I think previously he believed somehow that Widmore had succeeded in changing history (“He broke the rules”). But if Jin is alive, then maybe Ben’s original timeline is still intact, and for some reason Locke’s death is now required.

        • Benny

          Interesting remark regarding the rules since, in the trailer for next week, Ben himself admits to having broken the rules.

      • icyone

        Of course, this is why Michael couldn’t kill himself either – when Tom said the Island wasn’t done with him, he wasn’t lying. Michael coming back to the Island was part of the time loop – he always did it, and there was no way to ditch his destiny.

        The interesting thing is that none of the details are truly set in stone. Michael couldn’t kill himself, but who’s to say he always tried? The important thing is that he didn’t die. Same with Locke – he dies before coming back to the Island, but maybe it wasn’t always Ben that kills him. Maybe sometimes he does commit suicide.

        The direction I’m going with this is that it seems Ben’s role in the adventure thus far has been to expedite destinies. He knew Locke always died, so he just ensured it happened at a moment that was most convenient for him, for example.

        • adam118

          VERY interesting. Thus, when Sawyer kills him in Season 3 and says “That’s for taking the boy” it now has double meaning cuz he means Walt but it’d also be fore taking Ben.
          holy shit!

      • lockeheart

        Speaking of tom does anyone think that bearded other that first meets kate, sawyer, and young ben in the jungle and then mentions to richard the stuff about ellie and widmore IS Tom. I know the ages dont really seem to match up but i think it would be pretty cool. Ironic also cuz sawyer ends up shooting him in cold blood for what seems to be no apparant reason.

        • I never thought of that!! Wouldn’t that be awesome? I think it actually could work… if that guy is about 30 in 1977 he could be close to 60 in 2004, and that would be believable.

        • Dolce

          Yeah, I’m gonna have to pay closer attention on my third rewatch.

          • adam118

            VERY interesting. Thus, when Sawyer kills him in Season 3 and says “That’s for taking the boy” it now has double meaning cuz he means Walt but it’d also be fore taking Ben.
            holy shit!

          • John

            Hate to rain on your parade, but he says “That’s for taking the kid off the raft.” Pretty Walt specific.

    • hyperRevue

      Ben instructed Tom NOT to really shoot Sayid and company?


      It seemed more like Tom and company took it upon themselves to disregard Ben’s order.

      • bonosk

        Tom disagreed with Ben’s order NOT to shoot them, but still followed it, and Ryan rationalized why they had to follow it:

        RYAN: It was an order, Tom, we had to follow it.

        TOM: Ben doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about, he’s lost it! I mean look at what they did to us. Instead of putting three bullets in the damned sand, we should have killed them for real.


        • hyperRevue

          Wow. Thanks. I totally mis-remembered that scene.

          • horselover

            I actually had to watch that scene three or four times before I was even clear on who it was that wanted to fake it and who wanted to actually kill them.

    • Wow, excellent point. I think I have to now go back through all of Ben’s actions and piece together what he could have been doing all along to make sure the survivors go back. Then again, if whatever happened happened, then I guess he figured they’d make their way back regardless, but I like the idea that two of the people required in the past would be spared death because of Ben.

  • Nikita

    Great post!

    One of the things that always stuck out to me……was the conversation between Ben and Jack about his tumor. When Ben tells him, “I want you to want to save my life. But we’re beyond that now, so… all I can ask is that you think about it. Do you believe in God, Jack?” (The Cost of Living). It led me to believe that somehow previously Jack chose not to save Ben’s life. That ultimately, when the time came, he chose not to act thus making Alpert have to take Ben to the Temple. And now that Ben has been “changed,” he can’t be healed again by TPTB. Ben, in season 3, had to rely upon the talents of surgeons to save him, because God wasn’t going to step in.

    I’ve also noticed a correlation between those who are left unburied and appearances on the Island. I think there is something significant there. For instance, the appearance of Horace and Christian. Both these men weren’t “buried.” Horace, along with the rest of DI, were thrown in a pit. Roger was left in his van, only to have his body “decapitated” by Sawyer later as a skeleton. While we haven’t seen Roger yet, as a “ghost,” I’m wondering if we might later while watching Ben in later years. Charlie died at sea, appears to Hurley. While there isn’t complete consistency with this idea…..there is something to it….I think….

    • icyone

      Ana Lucia, Libby, Eko, and Boone were all buried.

    • Zonker

      I thought it was strange when Ethan’s mom (name escapes me) stressed that her attackers must be buried. And then Horace asked Lefleur how deep he buried the bodies. And then Richard takes the dead man’s body back to the Others. Now, maybe burying the bodies was an attempt to escape notice, but why would the depth of the grave matter? Better for Horace to ask How well did you conceal the graves? And maybe the body was taken back as supposed evidence of Richard’s revenge, but why would 1 dead Dharma make up for 2 dead Others? I’m thinking there is something significant about the unburied dead, but what it is exactly, I have no clue.

    • mpl

      I read a theory last year about the unburied bodies, on this site, I think – was that you, Nikita?
      It explains why Keamy bothered to take the time to bury Karl and Rousseau – Widmore probably told the Mercs to bury anybody they could. I really love this theory!

      • hyperRevue

        When did Keamy bury Karl and Alex?

        • gloss

          Their shallow graves were discovered by Miles.

    • Let’s hope Nikki and Paulo are buried DEEP DEEP DEEP. 😉

  • hyperRevue

    RE: The discussion on your blog about Miles and Hurley’s conversation.

    The guy said this: Miles said that he COULD die – “all of us (could)”. This “now” is occurring after the events we’ve seen in 2004/5. If he were to be shot and killed, it in no way would affect the later events, which were already an established part of the timeline, even though they are “in the future” from the time period we are witnessing (and they are living through) in the moment. Yes, it is a mind-bender, and I don’t blame Hurley for having a hard time wrapping his mind around it.

    But shooting and killing one of the losties would/could affect later events.

    For example, what if Sawyer had let Radizksy shoot Sayid when they first caught him. Then he wouldn’t have later shot Ben.

    I think the Losties can only die if they always died. They all have (and always had) roles in the late ’70s Dharma. The Past we’re seeing already happened and the Losties were always a part of it. So, I don’t think one of them can be just removed from the equation unless that’s how it originally happened.

    If Hurley did shoot and kill Miles in that scene, then that means it always went down like that.


    • Zonker

      Right. Hurley, Miles, Jack, Kate’s timelines as of 1977 have yet to play out. They could be killed in 1977 at any point, because we’ve never seen them chronologically older than they are now. But if Horace, Ben or Roger Linus dies in 1977, that’s a problem, because we’ve already seen each of them survive up until The Purge.

      The equivalent problem for Hurley, Miles, Jack, Kate, etc. would be for someone to travel off-island and kill them as toddlers in the 1970s on the mainland. That would be paradox-inducing, because then they would be unable to grow up to travel to the island and do all the stuff we have already seen them do.

      • hyperRevue

        They could be killed at any point, but if they are, then that means they always died in that manner.


        • Benny

          You’re right.
          For us (and them technically) they could die at any point since we don’t know the development. For someone who was there, say Ben. If he knows Miles lives to 1980, he would know Hurley could not shot Miles.

          In the same vein, for us (and Hurley), Ben cannot be killed because from our perspective, all of this has happened. It is in the objective past.

    • icyone

      The concept behind that conversation was that Hurley felt he was protected from harm because he’s in 1977 now and he knows he will exist in 2004, therefore he must survive.

      This is the incorrect solution, of course, because 2004 Hurley is younger than 1977 Hurley, by which I mean, they are on their own timelines. ????-2007,1977-???? for the O6 time hoppers, and ????-2004,a bunch of time jumps,1974-???? for the non-O6 time hoppers.

      • hyperRevue



        • hyperRevue

          Basically, I understood all that and their conversation just confused me. But now I’m back to understanding.

      • I never had a problem getting the relative pasts and futures, Icyone, but that’s about the most concise explanation I’ve read yet, and I hope you don’t mind if I pass it along.

  • Lostie

    Another great Lost epi. I love the simple scenes in Lost the most. Loved it when Sawyer called Kate “Freckles” again, that was so cute of him. and when Juliet was watching Jack get out of the shower but never looking down, that was so funny. The scene when Kate is leaving Aaron had me in tears also, this was Kate’s best epi on Lost. Best scene was watching the Famous Smirk of Locke at the end. Lost just Rocks !!!

  • Richard asked how deep did you bury them.
    Sayid asked Benry “How deep is your wife’s grave?”

    just thought that was interesting.
    i know sayid asked Ben to test him. because as he said later, ” Aman would remember how deep the grave of the woman he loves” or something like that

  • asdf13

    To be perfectly clear…

    BEN did NOT KILL Nadia. Ben turned the wheel and time traveled 8-9 months into the future. When he got to the hotel after being transported, he saw Sayid on TV and the news reporter talked about his wife’s death.

    Ben couldn’t have killed her. He couldn’t have planned it either as he lost 9 months of his life. What Ben did was what Ben claims is his M.O. Find someone’s weakness and exploit it. He saw a grieving Sayid (a killer) and used Nadia’s death as a way to kill his (Ben’s) enemies.

    • I didn’t say that Ben killed Nadia. I said he USED Nadia’s death to his own advantage. He discovered she was dead and quickly orchestrated events to turn Sayid into his pawn. I’ve previously suggested that Ben killed Nadia (and I’m still 50/50 on whether he could make that happen) but now I’m being careful to not say that, and instead say that regardless of who killed her, Ben created the story of her murderer being one of Widmore’s people so that Sayid will wreak havoc on the Empire of Widmore for Ben.

    • horselover

      Hadn’t noticed that. I guess non-existence in a temporal limbo is a pretty rock-solid alibi.

  • lockeheart

    I think that what richard meant when he said ben will lose his innocence is that he will lose his sympathy or all feeling of remorse and regret towards anyone who is not an other or the island. I think at this point it is safe to assume that the others have some type of mystical powers strongly associated with the island via the smoke monster. I believe this is represented by the others abilities to conjur the wispers, move almost effortisly and silently through the jungle, and superhuman strength in some form or another(see ethan s1). For 5 season we have seen ben lie and conive, what if this is simply another ability of the others. To know and prey on the fears, insecurities, and emotional decisions of regualar folk who just dont know any better, like the Dharmas or our losties in s2. My bet is that ben will obvioulsy recover from his gunshot wound, the rest of this season will play out and eventally the losties will get back to thier original timeline. Then, ben, without remorse or pitty will spend the next 15 years or so living amung the darmas, pretending to be one of them, becoming a workmen and doing what hes suppose to do without making a peep. (sounds ben/henry galeish to me). then of course, massacure them.

  • mpl

    Harper did NOT say “You remind him of her.” Harper said, “You look just like her.”

    • Good point, thanks for the clarification! I think it still amounts to the same thing, no?

      • Jenn

        No… you don’t have to look like her to remind someone of her. Looking JUST LIKE someone is more significant than just looking slightly similar to someone.

        • Jenn: True, but my conclusion was that Juliet looks just like herself. So if he infact said, “You look just like her,” that doesn’t change what I was saying… that she looks just like herself. That’s what I meant about it amounting to the same thing — it amounts to the same thing in my argument.

  • Dorkusbob

    Like I said:

    Dorkusbob says:
    April 2, 2009 at 7:08 pm
    For those who care, psychology was my minor, and here’s what I think may happen: Ben gets healed, much like our French team, and while they do have the same memories prior to their meeting in the temple, the event changes them. The trauma involved in the shooting/healing make Ben’s memory falter. He will have vague memories of the shooting, maybe even the his whole childhood around that time. Because of this Ben has an attachment to “her”, who is Juilet. The person who works so hard to save him. His memories of the others (our new O6) go by the wayside because they have no impact on his life (Do you remember who cooked your food, or the school security you might have had in elementary school?).

    Sayid is forgotten during this period as well. Ben knows he was shot, but he can’t remember the whole circumstance. His brain takes what it can and creates a new reality of the situation. It’s possible Ben transfers his feelings about Sayid on to his father or some one else.

    The Others do not spend too much time on Sayid, let Smokey get him is their deal. Does he have the code to get past the fence? Or does he make his way around the island in the old way?

    • horselover

      I think Ben was shot outside the perimeter, but not sure. On that note, do we know whether the sonar fence actually prevents people from leaving the perimeter? I know young Ben tests it with a rabbit, but the only way we’ve seen people affected is when they are on the inside.

      • Dolce

        Ben was shot inside the perimeter. And I would think that being affected by the sonic fence would occur when you break the plane, regardless of which side you break it from.

  • Summertime

    Nikki, I have enjoyed your posts for a while and this is my first time commenting. You are so great. Thank you.
    I have been reading alot of comments about Ben remembering Juliet from his childhood. What Harper said to Juliet about looking like her, etc. Well I also remember that Ben was overly nice to Kate when the Others brought her, Jack and Sawyer to The Hydra. He let her shower, gave her a pretty dress to wear and a beautiful breakfast on the beach and said something like he wanted her to have something nice to remember. So could it be that Ben remembers Kate taking him to the Others to be healed? Or Richard may tell him. Yes, Juliet tried to save him in surgery and it was her idea to take Ben to Richard, but Kate gave her blood to little Ben and who took off with him in the van and was there when he was handed over to Richard.

    Also, did anyone notice…during Jack and Kate’s conversation in the kitchen when Jack was talking about already saving Ben’s life, he said he did it for her. And when Sawyer caught up with Kate and Ben in the DHARMA van and Kate asked him why he was helping, he said that he was doing it for Juliet. Interesting…..

    • You know, ever since Kate loaded Ben into the Dharma van I’ve been thinking, Have we seen Ben do anything especially nice for Kate? And somehow I completely forgot about the nice dress!! Thanks for reminding me of that, that’s awesome. Just another bit of support to back the theory that he will remember everything. And thank you for your kind words! 🙂

  • addicted

    I definitely believe Ben remembers Sayid.

    In the previous episode, Ben tells Sayid “You are a killer”, after he has used him to kill of Widmore’s henchmen. After that, when Sayid returns to the island (into the past), before shooting Ben he says “You were right Ben. I am a killer”.

    I think most people have the motivations for the statement inverted. Ben was able to rightly guess that Sayid was “a killer” because (a) Sayid told him this as a kid and (b) he remembers Sayid shooting a helpless child who just helped him escape certain death.

  • playpause

    Nikki, you always make the episode seem better than I actually thought it was. Great writing.
    But you can’t take away from me that the Kate storylines are weak, and that the actress doesn’t help.

    • Thanks for the kudos! Very sweet. And while I do love Kate as a character, I will say that many of the Kate episodes I really like on a first viewing, and don’t on a second. I hope this one doesn’t turn into that. 🙂 But I still believe Eggtown is riddled with holes.

  • Some truly nice stuff on this web site, I like it.