Ben contemplates the decisions that have driven his life, while his alternate self comes to a hard decision regarding how much importance he places on power.
Note: "Lost in the Vines" is made for discussion of the series "Lost" on ABC. As such, here be spoilers! We talk frankly about the events of the night, speculate about future events, and so on. Read no further if you don't want spoilers.
The Big Reveal: People that Jacob has "touched" are given the gift of immortality; Ben has been accepted by Jacob's followers despite his crimes, and refused to follow Nemesis.
Ben runs through the jungle, then tripping and falling. He sees the fires of Ilana's party and runs to them. She asks where Sayid is, and Ben tells them he killed Dogen and Lennon. Ben suggests they go to the beach so they'll be on familiar ground, and Ilana agrees.
Ben teaches his students about the history of Elba, telling them Napoleon was there as Emperor but without any power it was meaningless. The bell rings and he tells them chapters 5 and 6 are due tomorrow. Principal Reynolds enters and tells him to walk with him. Reynolds tells him they need him to help with detention duty, but Ben argues that he's needed in History Club. Reynolds tells him he's the one who needs the club to feel needed, but now "Mr. Linus" is needed in detention. As Reynolds walks away, Ben says it's Dr. Linus.
Ben sits with Artz in the teacher's lounge, who's lamenting his ruined shirt and old equipment. Ben tells him Reynolds is an administrator and has forgotten that public school is about taking care of the kids. Artz is cynical, but Ben says he refuses to give up. From across the table, Locke suggests that Ben should be the principal because he cares. Ben asks who would listen to him. Locke says he's listening.
Miles asks Ben what the Smoke Monster was, and Ben says that thing is what killed their friends at the statue. Ilana asks, and Jacob? Ben reluctantly agrees. Ilana asks if Miles can speak to the dead, and he says he needs something from their body. She hands him the bag of ashes and tells him it's what's left of Jacob's body. So, she asks, how did he die? Miles communes with the bag and tells her that Ben killed him. Ben protests, and Ilana asks if it's true. Miles assures her it is. Ilana says thank you, and mentions that Jacob was the closest thing she had to a father. They continue their trip into the woods.
Ilana leads the others to the beach, and tells them she's going to find tools to work on shelter. She tells the others to work on starting a fire. Ben asks if there's anything she'd like him to do, but she ignores him. She tries to convince him that Miles is unreliable and tried to blackmail him once, but she walks away.
Ben takes an instant meal out of his microwave and gives it to his father, Roger. He says it's organic and he's trying to keep him healthy. Roger asks how work was, and Ben says he has a doctorate in European history and he's babysitting detention. He says the worst part is how he can't help thinking that he's more a loser than any of the kids in detention. His father tells him he wanted more for him, and that's why he signed up for the DHARMA Initiative. He says to imagine how their lives would've been if they had stayed. He says, who knows what Ben could've become.
The doorbell rings, and Ben goes to see Alex. She asks where he was and says they had to cancel History Club. He tells her about his detention duty. She says the AP test was on Friday and she was counting on the tutoring. He tells her he'll tutor her tomorrow morning in the library. She says he's the best, and he tells her it's his pleasure.
Ilana works on the shelter, and Sun asks how long they'll stay here. She says she doesn't know, but Sun insists on finding her husband. Ilana says she wants to find him too, but she can't yet. Sun asks what she means, and Ilana explains that her name is Kwon, so she's supposed to protect one or both of them. Sun asks what that means, and Ilana tells her that they're candidates to replace Jacob. She says there are only six candidates left.
Jack wakes up Hurley in a thicket. He says they can make the Temple by nightfall, and suggests they hurry and eat on the way. Hurley says maybe they should take their time, but is too vague on why. Jack starts to leave and Hurley follows. He tries to direct him off to the side, but Jack doesn't fall for it. Richard appears from the woods and says they're both wrong, and the Temple is off in a totally different direction. Jack asks where he came from, and Richard says he can't say yet. He says if they want to get to the Temple, to follow him. Hurley asks if Jack trusts him, and he says at least Richard isn't stalling.
Ben rummages through at tent and finds a bottle of water from Oceanic. Ben talks about the plane crash and Frank observes he sounds nostalgic. Frank tells him he was supposed to have flown it, and mentions how different life would've been. Ben says it wouldn't have been that different, since the Island still got him in the end. Ilana holds a gun to Ben's neck and tells him to walk.
She leads him to a clearing out near the graves. He starts to tell her she doesn't have to do this, but she makes him lay down on the ground. She attaches a harness to his leg, and tells him to dig a grave. He asks for who, and she says it's for him.
Ben quizzes Alex on history. She gets frustrated with a question, and he assures her it's only a test. She says it's her entire life; her mom works two jobs, so she needs a scholarship to pay for Yale, if she can even get in. He assures her she's bright and he's not worried about her. He offers a letter of recommendation, and she says she needs someone who went there. But she only knows the pervert Reynolds. He asks what she meant, and she says to forget it. He presses, and she asks him to promise to keep it between them. He promises and she says she fell asleep in the nurse's office a few months ago. She says the principal and the nurse were having sex in the room right next to her. She asks again if he's going to tell anyone, and he says no, a promise is a promise.
Ben digs his grave as Ilana watches. Miles observes he's not tearing it up, and Ben says he's not in a hurry. Miles says he brought food, and Ben says he's not hungry. Miles starts to walk away. Ben mentions that he can still get Miles the millions of dollars he wanted. Miles asks why he'd do that when Nikki and Paulo are buried there and left diamonds behind. Ben lashes out, saying Ilana is going to murder him for killing a man who didn't even care. Miles says, no, Jacob cared. He says Jacob hoped he was wrong about Ben, but he guesses he was right. Ilana fires a warning shot and orders Ben to continue to dig.
Hurley asks Richard if he's a time traveler, and asks why he looks the same as he did 50 years ago. Richard says it's not easy to explain, and that Jacob gave him a gift. Hurley asks what he knows about him. Richard says he knows he's dead, and they come to the Black Rock. Hurley says he thought they were going to the Temple. Richard says he lied, because everyone at the Temple is dead. Jack asks what he means. Richard says he doesn't know what happened but he just came from there and there were no survivors. Jack asks about Sayid and Kate, and Richard says they weren't there, so maybe they made it out alive. Richard says whatever he was looking for it's not there. Jack observes that Hurley was avoiding going, and Hurley says Jacob hinted at it. Richard asks if Hurley spoke to Jacob. Hurley says yes, and Richard tells him whatever Jacob said, don't believe it. Richard starts to leave, and says he needs to do something. Jack asks what, and Richard tells him: die.
Artz grades tests and Ben comes in, asking if he has a minute. He asks if Artz is good with computers, and if he could hypothetically access an e-mail account. Artz says it depends on the faculty member. Ben tells him, the nurse. He says he's curious about some of her correspondence. Artz asks, with whom? Ben stays quiet, and Artz starts to walk away. Ben tells him he has reason to believe she might be engaged in an inappropriate personal relationship with Principal Reynolds. Artz says he's going after the big job. Ben asks if he's going to help him or not. Artz says he wants a good parking spot, more aprons, and better lab equipment. Ben tells him it's a deal. Artz says Ben is a real killer.
Ben continues to dig his grave.
Richard looks through the remains of the Black Rock. Jack comes in with a lantern and asks if he's been here before. Richard says yes, and after all the time he's spent on this Island this is the first time he's come back. Hurley comes in and finds the two, and Richard opens up one of the crates of dynamite. He puts one stick in his pocket, and Hurley says Artz made the same mistake. Hurley says he's grabbing dynamite and wants to kill himself. Richard says he can't kill himself, that's why he wants them to do it for him. Jacob touched him, and it's supposed to be a gift, but it's actually a curse. He drops a stick and Hurley shouts with fear. Jack asks why Richard wants to die. He says he's devoted his life in service of a man who told him everything was happening for a reason and he had a plan. He says Jacob was supposed to share the plan when the time was right, but now he's gone. He says he wants to die because his purpose in life is gone. He says if he lights the stick it won't work, but Jack can light it for him and they can still get out in time. Hurley protests, but Jack takes the lantern and lights the stick. As the wick burns, Jack sits and says, now, let's talk.
Hurley urges Jack to go, but Jack says he needs to talk to Richard. Hurley decides to run, and Richard says Jack should go with him. Richard says he's going to die, and Jack says neither of them are going to die. He tells him about Jacob's lighthouse, and that Jacob wanted him to know that he was being watched since he was a kid. He says that if Jacob went through that much trouble, he brought him here for a reason, and that wasn't to blow up sitting here. Richard says that's a pretty big risk, and what if he's wrong? Jack says, he's not. The wick burns down, and dissipates. Jack laughs and asks if Richard wants to try another stick. Richard says he seems to have all the answers, so now what? Jack says, they go back to where they started.
Ben hears the sound of the Smoke Monster and peaks up from his grave. Nemesis greets him, and Ben asks what he's doing here. Nemesis says visiting, and asks what he's doing. Ben says he's digging his own grave because he talked him into killing Jacob. He says Ilana was Jacob's bodyguard and now she's going to kill him, so he got what he wanted. Nemesis says he doesn't want Ben to die, he went back to the statue to get him but he was gone. Ben says, for what? Nemesis says, he's getting ready to leave the Island for good, but someone needs to be in charge of the Island. He says he can't think of anyone better. Ben protests, but his shackle comes off. Nemesis tells him to go to the Hydra to meet with them, and gives him advice on where and how to ambush Ilana to make his escape. He tells him not to hesitate, because she won't. Nemesis leaves. Ben considers for a moment, then runs.
Reynolds sits in his office, surprised by Ben coming in. Ben says he has something to read. Reynolds looks at the e-mails and freezes. Ben says the acts described in those e-mails took place on school property and would be frowned upon by the school board and Reynolds' own wife. He says Reynolds is going to retire for whatever reason, and recommend Ben for the position of principal. He says they hold Reynolds in such esteem that he'll get the job. Reynolds says he wants Ben to read an e-mail too. Ben reads the e-mail about Alex asking for a recommendation letter. He says those work both ways, so he puts the ball back in Ben's court. He says if Ben takes the job, he will torch Alex. He asks if his job is that important to him. He asks what it will be, Dr. Linus?
Ben finds a gun where Nemesis specified, and holds it to Ilana. He has her drop her gun, and she does. She asks what he's waiting for. He says he wants to explain, that he knows what she's feeling. He says he watched his daughter die in front of him, and it was his fault. He says he had a chance to save her, but he chose the Island over her for Jacob. He says he sacrificed everything for Jacob, and he didn't care. He says when he stabbed Jacob, he was angry and terrified that he was going to lose the only thing that mattered to him, his power. But the thing that really mattered was gone. He says he's sorry he killed Jacob, and he doesn't expect forgiveness because he can't forgive himself. She asks what he wants. He says he just wants to leave. She asks where he'll go, and he says to "Locke," because he's the only one that will have him. Ilana says she'll have him. She takes her gun and turns her back on him and walks away. He follows.
Ben walks into the principal's office, and Alex knocks and enters. She says she was just coming by to thank Reynolds for his letter of recommendation. She asks if he had anything to do with it, and Ben says she's always been a great student. Reynolds enters and asks what he's doing in his office. Ben says he's just dropping off some forms, and tells Alex he'll see her in History Club. She asks when it's going to come back, and he says they got their old slot back, since Reynolds found someone to cover detention for him. He says he'll see Alex at 4.
Artz catches up with him outside and asks if he did it. Ben says no. Artz complains about his parking space, and Ben says he can have his. He looks at Alex as she exits the office.
Ben follows Ilana back to the beach camp. He sees Sun and puts down the gun he was carrying. He asks if she needs a hand, and she asks him to help her with the tarp. He does as Frank builds a fire. Miles finds Nikki and Paulo's stash of diamonds. Ilana cries holding Jacob's ashes. Hurley, Richard, and Jack come from behind some bushes to join the camp. Sun hugs Hurley, then Jack. They all greet each other. Jack regards Ben, standing alone at the edge of the crowd.
In the water, a submarine raises its periscope to look at the crowd on the beach. The periscope man tells Widmore there are people on the beach, and asks if they should stop. No, Widmore says, proceed as planned.
Cut to LOST
The Big Questions:
- What happened at DHARMA to make Roger and Ben Linus leave?
- Who are the six remaining candidates?
- What purpose does Jacob have for Jack?
- Why did Nemesis promise Ben control of the Island?
- What is Widmore's plan? Who's side is he on?
Lost in the Vines Trivia Question:
In the flash sideways timeline, Ben worked at the same high school as Leslie Arzt. In the original timeline, what was Arzt doing in Australia?
This Week in Original Articles:
Once again those who write original articles this year will be entered (once per week) in this year's contest. Contributing original articles or being the first to answer the trivia questions are the ways to be entered, so feel free to write!
- 'Lost' theory: Is Jacob related to the Man In Black? (Michael Sautter)
Next, on Lost: Coming soon!