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Looking at the Little Things — 4.11 “Cabin Fever”

By SonyaLynn,

  Filed under: Lost Theories
  Comments: 3

Another week, another mind-melting episode. And, just when you thought it was safe to go back into flashback-land, too. Have I mentioned that I love this show?

Horace in Locke’s dream! Claire with Christian in the cabin! Alpert and Abaddon try to recruit Locke in the past, going all the way back to his “miraculous” birth! Michael still can’t die! Sayid goes back for them on the raft! Desmond stays on the freighter! Keamy & Krew shank the doctor and prepare to rain fire and brimstone on the Island! Hurley actually shares a candy bar with Ben!
It’s enough to keep one completely breathless, and personally, that’s just the way I like it. But that also makes it easy to miss my trademark Little Things. Change was in the air in “Cabin Fever”. Locke finally took up in earnest the role that we’d always suspected was intended for him, and which apparently was meant to be his since his very birth. But a more subtle transformation was being undertaken just outside the cabin, by Ben.


“Hello. My name is Benjamin Linus. You killed my daughter. Prepare to die…or, failing that, to suffer the loss of your own.”
Not that others missed the “passing of the torch” aspect of Ben’s pass on an audience with Jacob (via the proxy of Christian and with “moral support” from Claire), mind you. What they did miss what this means for Ben. This is the beginning of Ben being freed by the Island to do his very best impression of vengeful Spaniard Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride.
This episode completely recontextualizes the events in “The Shape Things to Come”. While Ben was clearly overwhelmed by the killing of Alex, he was still operating as the Leader of the Island…as Jacob’s field-marshal, if you will. And that was how we saw his actions in his recent flash-forward. But now we see that Ben has, at least for now, ceded that position to the new “chosen one”, John Locke, and apparently gone rogue.
Ben can now devote his considerable skills and resources to the time-honored tradition of vendetta. He’s going to take out Widmore’s whole operation with the assistance of his “bag-man”, Sayid, and he’s going to culminate it with the death of Penelope Widmore. (I also think he’s going to be frustrated in this because Sayid will balk at inflicting on his mate, Desmond, the pain he suffered at the loss of his own lifelong love, Nadia, but I digress…)
The question we have to ask ourselves about Ben’s longer-term goals is this: Are his attempts to neutralize Widmore once and for all as a player in the game of the Island part of a larger plan to re-ingratiate himself with the Island/Jacob with a side order of that dish “best served cold”, or will the scope of Ben’s revenge ultimately include targeting the Island itself and the man who replaced him in its affections?
Ben’s acerbic line to Sawyer in “Confirmed Dead” is very telling here: “Yes, on this Island you’re brave, daring, handsome…you’re someone. But if you left with them, back in the real world a low-life scam artist like you could never compete with a first class surgeon.” Ben’s just a somewhat better-educated, better-equipped, and more capable low-life scam artist, but that’s still all he is in the outside world. On the Island, he wasn’t just “someone”, he was the Head Someone In Charge (well, except for Jacob, but who’s counting?). I could easily see him either angling to get that back and displace Locke or else doing his level best to take both the Island and its returned Prodigal Son down.


Still, between that massive demotion and the loss the previous day of his daughter and his home, it’s easy to see why a forgiving guy like Hurley would overlook the fact that Ben’s a manipulative killer–one Hurley now knows to have been instrumental in the mass-murder of the DHARMA Initiative–and still offer Ben half of his Apollo bar.
Hopefully, that candy bar “really satisfied” though, because I can’t imagine that Ben had too many more chances for nutrition between that scene and the finale, in which I surmise we’re going to see him initiate the “jump” we saw him complete in the Sahara in his flash-forward.
Can. Not. Wait! 😀
  • Derby

    Very good points being made. Revenge is certainly on his mind but I think protection of the Island trumps that and it’s more of a “two birds with one stone” rather then motives purely based on his vendetta against Widmore. But then I believe once this story is over Ben will be judged as a good guy, albeit a vengeful one.

    The only thing I disagree with would be the comparison to Sawyer. I think Ben has proved he is vastly superior in both his intellect and resources. As Michael Emerson said, Ben is a “global warrior” rather then a mere scam artist.

  • rondo8612

    I really don’t believe that it’s Ben’s intention to be the leader of the Others. He who wears the crown carries a heavy head, right? Ben is more than happy to give John the responsibility for the island. Ben knows that the attack is being directed at him. When the Freighties discover that it’s Locke leading the charge, it allows Ben to slip off to behind the scences with Sayid killing people on the list. The question could be is it Locke that tried stabbing Ben in the arm when everything starts falling apart? I can picture Locke now when he starts screaming, “I so sorry.”

  • @Derby
    I’m really not so sure about protection of the Island still being foremost in flash-forward Ben’s mind. He seemed extremely disillusioned in “Cabin Fever”, and my reading of his activity and dialogue in that episode and in “The Shape of Things to Come” is that, while he’s going to help Locke follow Jacob’s instruction to “move the Island”, he’s also going to take his opportunity at the Orchid station to leave and pursue his personal vendetta full-time at that point. But I could be wrong. Goodness knows I have been before.
    As for the comparison to Sawyer, think about what a spy or covert operative is…the skill-set and mind-set is very much the same as that of a confidence scammer. The primary difference is motivation. One follows orders and the other follows greed, but both do bad things to regular people to achieve their ends. So, if Ben is no longer the Island’s man, but is still using all his duplicitous skills and cached resources, what does that make him at this point?
    The question of who wounds Ben is a good one. I honestly hadn’t thought of the possibility that it might be Locke once he understands that Ben’s motivation is to leave the Island and take all his years of experience with it and with the Others and Jacob with him. That’s an intriguing possibility! Though, I have to say, Keamy’s Krew is a much more obvious choice there given that their primary objective was the capture of Ben Linus for Charles Widmore. It’s gonna be one hell of a ride tomorrow night and on the 29th! 😀