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"The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham"

February 25, 2009
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Episode transcript
[[{{{transcript2}}}|Part Two]]

[[{{{audiotranscript}}}|Commentary transcript]]

"The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" is the seventh episode of Season 5 of Lost and the ninety-third produced hour of the series as a whole. It was originally broadcast on February 25, 2009. Locke's fateful mission off the Island as Jeremy Bentham is revealed.





In the wheel chamber

Locke realigns the frozen wheel. Christian tells him to say hello to his son. Locke says, "Who's your son?" as the flash of light envelopes him.


Locke lands in the Tunisian desert.

Locke appears in the Tunisian desert three years after the Oceanic 6 left the island. He vomits upon arriving. He is lying in direct view of a surveillance camera. He repeatedly calls for help towards the camera to no avail. At night, he is recovered by a pickup truck full of men who roughly bring him to a poorly-equipped rural hospital, arriving in the daytime. The doctor there reduces his open fracture and sets his leg while Matthew Abaddon watches from across the room. Locke passes out from the pain. He is awakened by Charles Widmore who is sitting by his hospital bed. Widmore tells Locke that he had a specialist flown in to do a better job of setting the leg. Widmore relates how he was 17 when he first met Locke on the island. Intrigued by the fact that Locke looks no different now then when they originally met over 50 years ago (for Widmore), he asks Locke how long it has been since he walked into the camp to speak to Richard. Locke replies that it has only been four days. Locke confirms that the camera in the desert is Widmore's asking how Widmore knew the he would be there. Widmore replies "that's The Exit." Widmore explains that he was the leader of the Others before being exiled by Ben, hence Locke should trust Widmore as they have the same goals in mind for protecting the Island.

Widmore presents to Locke his ally: Matthew Abaddon.
Widmore assumes aloud that Locke was exiled by Ben as well, but Locke corrects him, saying that he left voluntarily, to bring his friends back to the Island. Locke mentions that Ben left the island before he did. Locke questions why Widmore should want Locke and the others back on the island. Widmore says that there is a war coming and if Locke is not back, the "wrong side" is going to win.

Later, during the daytime, Widmore and Locke sit outside the hospital and Widmore tells Locke that he will help him find the Oceanic Six. Widmore gives him dossiers on their locations, as he has been keeping an extensive eye on them. He also offers Matthew Abaddon as a driver and introduces him to Locke. Widmore concludes their meeting by giving Locke a large amount of money, a mobile phone with which Widmore can be contacted by dialing 23 and finally a Canadian passport with the identity "Jeremy Bentham". Widmore explains that Bentham was a 19th century philosopher, and that Widmore chose the name to keep in theme with Locke's birth name. Locke is skeptical of Widmore's offers but accepts the help, and he and Abaddon drive off towards the airport to fly to Santo Domingo, to find Sayid.

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

A dubious Sayid listens to Locke.

Sayid is seen helping to construct a school as part of a charity called Build Our World. Locke approaches him and speaks with him, but Sayid refuses to return. He explains that Ben had manipulated him for two years into "protecting" the rest of the Oceanic Six, and it was only by leaving the Island that he got to finally marry Nadia, with whom he spent nine months, before her death. Sayid questions if the only reason that Locke wants to return to the Island is because he has nowhere else to go. Before leaving, Locke tells Sayid that he can be contacted under the name Jeremy Bentham, staying at the Westerfield Hotel in Los Angeles, just in case Sayid ever changes his mind. Sayid mentions that John can always come back to Santo Domingo to find him, just in case Locke ever wants to do any "real good" in the world.

New York, N.Y.

Walt greets Locke after three years of separation.

Locke and Abaddon stop opposite a school in uptown New York. While waiting, Locke asks Abaddon to locate Helen Norwood for him. Abaddon asks if she is an old girlfriend, a question to which Locke doesn't reply. As the school bell rings, Locke asks Abaddon to help him out of the car. A group of students leaves the school, and amongst them is Walt. Locke waves to Walt, who promptly leaves his friends and crosses the street to talk to Locke. Locke asks why Walt isn't surprised to see him, and Walt explains that he'd been having dreams of Locke in a suit on the Island, surrounded by people who wanted to hurt him. Locke says that it is good that they are just dreams, to which Walt gives him a nervous and confused look. Walt also asks about his father, whom he suspects of returning to the Island after dropping out of contact for three years. Locke says that the last he had heard of Michael, he was on the freighter, but has a pitying look on his face as he knows of Michael's true fate. After Walt leaves, Abaddon asks why John didn't try to convince Walt to return. John answers by saying that Walt had been through enough, and that he only needs to convince one of the Oceanic Six to return, and after that the rest will follow. As the pair return to the car, Ben is revealed to have been watching them from across the street.

Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute, Calif.

Locke visits a paranoid Hurley.

When John first rolls up to Hurley in his wheelchair, Hurley is seen drawing a picture of an Egyptian sphinx. Hurley, completely nonchalant, asks Locke why he is in a wheelchair, to which Locke replies that he fell down a hole. Hurley asks him if this is how he died, assuming Locke is dead as he has been having regular conversations with dead people. However, Hurley asks a nurse if he is talking to a man in a wheelchair, and she confirms it, letting Hurley believe Locke is alive. He asks him how he got off the Island, and Locke attempts to persuade Hurley to return to the Island. The attempt fails when Hurley sees Matthew Abaddon and panics, refusing to have any more to do with either of them, insisting that "that guy is evil." Hurley recounts how Abaddon posed as an employee of Oceanic airlines at Santa Rosa Hospital.

After Locke returns to the car, he finally acknowledges that he recognizes Abaddon as the hospital orderly who originally told him to go on a walkabout. When Locke asks Abaddon what he really does for Widmore, Abaddon says his job is to "help people get to where they need to get to."

Los Angeles, Calif.

Kate refuses to return to the Island.

Locke is at Kate's house, who refuses to return in spite of the consequences to those still on the Island. Kate tells Locke that she believes the only reason he wanted to stay on the island was because he didn't love anybody. He disagrees, and talks about his relationship with Helen which, didn't work out because he was "angry and obsessed". Kate sarcastically replies "look how far you've come". Locke leaves the house and promptly asks Abaddon about his quest to find Helen. Abaddon states that he hasn't found her, that perhaps she moved away or changed her name. Angrily, Locke questions him about this, as Abaddon had no trouble located all of the Oceanic Six in locations across the world.

Santa Monica, Calif.

Abaddon is gunned down by Ben.

Locke and Abaddon are in a cemetery, before a stone memorializing Helen. Abaddon states that she died of a brain aneurysm. John laments that Helen loved him and if he had stayed, they would have been together. Abaddon states that it wouldn't change anything, she'd still be dead, but Locke seems unconvinced. Abaddon reasons that Helen is where she is supposed to be and that Locke is destined to end up on the island. Locke questions whether he believes that everything is predetermined and that he doesn't have a choice; Abaddon asks whether Richard Alpert's prediction that Locke must die is predetermined or whether it's a choice. Locke, confused, wonders aloud how it could possibly be his choice to die. As Abaddon is loading John's wheelchair into the car's trunk, he is shot three times by an unseen assailant. Locke climbs hurriedly into the driver's seat. In blind panic, Locke recklessly drives away, ultimately driving through a red light, and is struck by two cars at the intersection. He is knocked unconscious by the impact.

A frustrated Jack refuses to believe Locke.

He wakes up in a hospital bed, with a disheveled Jack sitting next to him. Jack tells Locke that he was in a car accident and was brought to his hospital, but fails to see the event as anything more than a coincidence, much to Locke's dismay. Jack refuses to accept that it is their destiny to return and asks Locke to seriously question whether or not he is truly as "special" as he believes. Jack goes to leave but Locke stops him, telling him that his father says "Hi," having ruled Christian out as Sayid or Hurley's father. Jack states that Christian died three years ago in Australia. Locke implores Jack to come back with him, as he is the only one the others will follow. Jack angrily tells Locke to leave him and the other survivors alone and that none of them were ever "important."

Ben begs Locke to abort his suicide attempt.

Later, nearly a month later according to Jack ("There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3"), in his room at the Westerfield Hotel, Locke writes his suicide note, addressed to Jack, and places the envelope in his pocket. He throws the cell phone that Widmore gave him into the trashcan. He takes a length of extension cord, ties a noose, climbs on a table and is about to hang himself when there is a knock at the door. He ignores it, but after a few knocks and yells, Ben forces open the door and enters the room. Ben begs him to stop, saying that he only wants to help John. Ben admits to shooting Matthew Abaddon, as according to Ben, he is very dangerous as an employee of Widmore and he would have killed Locke if Ben hadn't killed him first. Widmore, Ben claims, was using John to get back to the Island and is the reason that Ben moved it in the first place. Ben then unties the extension cord, telling Locke that he is important. Ben offers his help to a distraught Locke, who is convinced he is incapable of being a leader. Ben tells Locke that Jack booked a return ticket from LA to Sydney, which proves Jack's change of attitude.

Locke dies at the hands of Ben.

As he helps Locke down, Ben tells Locke he has too much work to do to die and suggests contacting Sun. Locke says he promised Jin he wouldn't contact her, and shows Ben the wedding ring Jin gave him. Ben is surprised that Jin is alive. Locke states that he knows what he must do next - he must contact a woman who lives in Los Angeles named Eloise Hawking. At the mention of her name, Ben is visibly startled. Locke asks if Ben knows the woman, and Ben quietly confirms their acquaintance. Suddenly, Ben strangles Locke with the discarded cord, eventually killing him. He later hangs Locke in a staged suicide and cleans the hotel room of his own fingerprints. Before leaving, he sees Jin's ring and takes it with him. Standing in the doorway, Ben says aloud: "I'll miss you, John. I really will." He then leaves, apparently unaware of the suicide note in Locke's pocket.

On Hydra Island


The camp gathers around the stranger.

Caesar is going through Ben's office in the Hydra. Caesar sees a 1954 Life magazine with a cover story of a hydrogen bomb. He also finds a file that contains one of Danielle Rousseau's maps, one of the pages from Daniel Faraday's journal, and Daniel's map. Daniel's map has mysteriously been augmented to include hieroglyphs since the last time it was seen. Caesar comes across a loaded gun hidden under a desk that he quickly takes and hides in his bag. Ilana then comes in and asks him if he's found anything, and he says no. When she presses him, he takes a flashlight out of the sack and tosses it to her, not mentioning the gun. She tells him that there is a man on the beach in a suit who was not on the plane. On the way back to the Flight 316 survivors' camp Ilana and Caesar walk on a gravel path, the plane sits on the path at an angle, but is intact. When they arrive to the camp, they meet the man who is wearing an Ajira Airways blanket over his head like a hood. He introduces himself as John Locke.

A following day, Locke stands at the edge of the surf, gazing toward the main Island. Christian Shephard's shoes lie on the sand nearby. Ilana walks up to Locke and introduces herself, and offers him a mango, which he muses may be the best mango he has ever tasted. Locke inquires about two outrigger canoes which sit nearby on the shore. Ilana says that the canoes were already there, and that there had been a third one, but the pilot and "a woman" left in one of them during the night. Ilana then asks why Locke is dressed so nicely, and Locke surmises that he was to be buried in that suit. Locke says that he doesn't remember being on the plane, but he does remember dying. Ilana looks at him strangely and walks away.

Locke recognizes Ben as the man who killed him.

Later, Locke visits Caesar in the office in the Hydra. He explains briefly about the DHARMA Initiative, whose logo appears on the document Caesar is reading. Caesar questions Locke's knowledge of this, and Locke replies that he has been on the Island before, for over 100 days. Caesar, confused but curious, asks Locke if he can explain what he witnessed on the plane, describing how he was sitting next to a heavyset man with curly hair who disappeared during the flash of light, and that other survivors of the crash also reported seeing passengers disappear. Realizing from his description that Caesar is talking about Hurley, Locke responds that he now has a better idea of how he came to be on the Island.

Locke asks whether everyone apart from the people who disappeared are accounted for. Caesar says that they are, other than those who were injured in the crash. He leads Locke to a makeshift infirmary where the injured passengers are resting. Locke moves between them, closely looking at each person. He seems disappointed, until he comes to the last of the injured, who is revealed to be Ben and who Locke identifies as "the man who killed me".



  • Locke purchased the power cord to hang himself with from "Angel's Hardware", which is also the name of a Southern California hardware retail chain defunct since the 1980s.
  • The mango is considered by many in India to be the tree/fruit of knowledge/life.
  • The hieroglyphs on Daniel's map appear to read "Northward travel" and "Time of kings/ancients".
  • The Life Magazine that Caesar finds in The Hydra station is from April 19, 1954, and featured an article about a Hydrogen Bomb test.
  • The newspaper that Charles Widmore shows Locke is a copy of the fictitious London Daily Tribune. Dated January 14 2005, the return of the Oceanic Six dominates the front page. Stories on a car crash and the dollar/euro exchange rate also appear on the page.
  • ABC has offices in NYC on W67th between Columbus and Amsterdam, near where 8th Ave would intersect 67th St if it were named as such (which it isn't) - referring to the scene where Walt and John Locke meet in NYC.
  • Danielle's map of the Island
    As Locke looks out from the beach on Hydra Island, the view he has of the Island seems to match Rousseau's map.
  • There appears to be some discrepancy between the events depicted in this episode and those referenced in "There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3." In the latter episode, Jack relates to Kate that Locke told him that a lot of bad things happened because the Oceanic Six left the Island. Similarly, Walt appeared to know Locke's alias of Jeremy Bentham. This is possibly a blooper/continuity error or a suggestion that Locke may have visited them both a second time not shown in this episode.
  • Apart from the re-used footage of Locke turning the Frozen Donkey Wheel, this entire episode takes place off Island. The only real time events in the episode take place on the Hydra Island, while the rest is a flashback.
  • John Locke only appears in the flashbacks-in the present narrative. This is the first time the Dark entity appears masquerading as Locke in the present.
  • Abaddon's license plate is SZU 766. This is not (as some have conjectured) a reference to Sun Tzu. Rather, it is the same stock license plate used by Marlon Brando in the film Don Juan DeMarco.

Production notes

  • Daniel, Desmond, Jin, Juliet, Miles, Sawyer and Sun do not appear in this episode.
  • This marks the first time in the show's history where Sawyer has not appeared for two consecutive episodes.
  • Asides from the season finales, this is the longest written episode of LOST being 46:46 minutes in length.
  • William Blanchette is credited as Aaron, but does not appear in this episode. Aaron is shown but as an infant on the cover of a newspaper.
  • John Terry was credited as Christian Shephard in the press release for this episode, but is not listed in the actual credits, and appears only in earlier footage from "This Place Is Death" at the beginning of Locke's flashbacks.
  • This episode was originally intended to be the sixth of the season, but was later switched to air after "316". This is only the third time in the show's history that the order of the episodes had been switched, having happened only in Season 1 with "Solitary" and "Raised by Another" and in Season 3 with "The Glass Ballerina" and "Further Instructions".
  • According to DarkUFO, the opening scene of this episode was originally intended to be the opening scene of "Because You Left". [1]
  • A Lost: On Location for this episode is available on the Season 5 DVD.

Bloopers and continuity errors

Blooper with "New York" extras
  • The "New York" extras are shown several times throughout the scene in an inconsistent manner, such as walking behind Locke and Abaddon twice, each time headed in the same directions (see screencaps). [2]
  • When Walt asks Locke why he came to see him, shot changes from Locke's face, to Walt and then back to Locke's face before he responds. When camera changes to Walt, we can clearly see Locke turn his head. But when camera goes back to Locke's face, he is still facing exactly in same direction as he was before he turned his head.
  • As Hurley is being led away by the two orderlies at Santa Rosa, they both instantly switch places on either side of him between subsequent shots.
  • The license plate clearly visible on the car driven by Abaddon is an out of date New York plate. The Statue of Liberty plate was replaced in 2001 with a new, redesigned plate and virtually no current automobiles feature the old plate.
  • The Tunisian license plates have '342' and '207' as 'series numbers' which as of the end of February 2009 didn't exist and the highest possible was 137.
  • As Abaddon is driving Locke down the road to the airport in Tunisia, an American 45MPH speed limit sign can be seen briefly outside the passenger window.
  • The Canadian passport Locke is given by Widmore was issued in 2007 and expires in 2017. However, Canadian passports must be renewed every 5 years, not 10. Furthermore, the passport style is the one employed by Passports Canada between 1993 and 2002. The issuing office is said to be Vancouver so for John to be using a valid Canadian passport it should have been the new style design featuring a printed digital photograph and holographic maple leaves. [3]
  • The handwriting in Locke's letter to Jack ("I wish you had believed me") is slightly different between the version we see Locke write, and the one Jack reads on the plane (the word "believed" is most notable).
  • The Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute location has been repeatedly portrayed, and once stated, as outside Los Angeles, California. However in this episode, its location was identified as Santa Rosa, CA., which is over 400 miles to the north of Los Angeles.
  • John doesn't recognize Charles Widmore in Tunisia, even though Ben showed him a video where Widmore's face can clearly be seen.
  • Ben kicks open the locked door to John Locke's room at the Westerfield Hotel. Later, after staging Locke's suicide, when Ben is seen leaving the room there is no damage to the door frame, knob or lock.
  • In Tunisia, Charles Widmore shows Locke a surveillance photo of Sayid working construction on a school in Santo Domingo. When Locke actually visits him there, Sayid is sitting in the exact same spot on the roof as in the photo, the roof is in the exact same phase of construction as it was in the photo, and vines hanging from overhead are placed exactly the same as the photo. This indicates that the photo was taken during the filming of the scene.
  • The conversation between Jack and Locke doesn't mesh with Jack's later descriptions of it. Jack claimed that Locke blamed him for the bad things that happened on the island after the Oceanic 6 left and told him that Ben was off the island, none of which was actually mentioned during their conversation.

Recurring themes

Recurring themes in Lost
Black and whiteCar accidentsCharacter connectionsDeceptions and consDreamsEyesFate versus free willGood and bad peopleImprisonmentIsolationLife and deathMissing body partsNicknamesThe NumbersParent issuesPregnanciesRainRebirthRedemptionRelationshipsRevengeSacrificeSecretsTime

Cultural references

Cultural references in Lost
(direct references only)
ArtBooksCarsGamesMovies and TVMusicPhilosophyReligion and ideologiesScience
  • "He's Evil": When Hurley sees Abaddon standing next to the car, he yells "He's evil". "He's Evil" by The Kinks was Charlie's favorite song.
  • Abaddon in the Bible: Hurley says "He's evil" about Abaddon. Abaddon, in the Bible, means "place of destruction".
  • Jesus' Resurrection: After John Locke's resurrection, he is standing on the shore of the beach, similar to Jesus after His resurrection in The Book of John, chapter 21.
  • Life: Caesar finds the April 19, 1954 issue of Life magazine, featuring a cover story about hydrogen bomb testing. This magazine is contemporary with the on-Island events of "Jughead".
  • Creature from the Black Lagoon: As Caesar flips through the Life magazine, a photograph from the 1954 film Creature from the Black Lagoon is seen on one of the pages. It depicts the Creature (known as the Gill-man) holding a woman it its arms. This woman is Julie Adams, who plays Amelia on Lost.
  • Black Scorpion: A roadside billboard on the way to the Tunisian airport has the word NOIRE, which is French for "black" and a picture of a scorpion. Longtime Lost second assistant director Lon Takiguchi also performed the same function on a Roger Corman created series by that name.
Hurley's painting
  • Sphinx: When Locke visits Hurley at the Santa Rosa Mental Institute, Hurley is seen painting a picture presumably of the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt. Interestingly enough, the word "sphinx" derives from Greek and translates as "strangler," alluding to Ben's future strangling of Locke.
  • John Locke and Jeremy Bentham: Widmore muses about Locke's parents calling him John. This is the first direct reference to the 17th century philosopher John Locke and the first time a character points out the connection. The same applies to the alias Jeremy Bentham he then gives John.

Literary techniques

Literary techniques in Lost
ComparativeIronyJuxtapositionForeshadowing PlottingCliffhangerPlot twist Stock Characters:  ArchetypeRedshirtUnseen character
Story:  FlashbacksFlash-forwardsFlash-sidewaysRegularly spoken phrasesSymbolismUnreliable narrator 
  • Locke tells Jack, "We have to go back." (Regularly Spoken Phrases)
  • Ben tells John he cannot die because he has too much "work to do." (Regularly Spoken Phrases)
  • Widmore mentions that Locke is "special". (Regularly Spoken Phrases)
  • Hurley tells Locke, "I'm not going anywhere with you." (Regularly Spoken Phrases)
  • Hurley has become so used to his visions of dead people, that he is more surprised when he finds out that Locke is really alive. (Irony)
  • Locke survives a massive car accident and is talked out of suicide, but he's finally murdered by the person who talked him out of killing himself. (Irony)
  • Locke dismisses the possibility of having ever thought about suicide. Not much later, he chooses this exact way to die. (Irony)
  • Locke dies in the same way that the most hated man in his life, his father, did. (Irony)
  • Frank Lapidus and a woman are referred to as having left the island, but are never seen onscreen -- the woman is not even identified and their motivation remains unknown. (Unseen character)
  • Abaddon is shot and killed in a cemetary . (Irony)
  • We find that John Locke is alive on the island after Ben said to him, "You can't die", and proceeds to kill him. (Irony)

Storyline analysis

Storyline analysis in Lost

Episode references

Unanswered questions

Unanswered questions
  1. Do not answer the questions here.
  2. Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.
More details...
For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham/Theories
  • How did Rousseau's and Daniel's maps of the Island end up at the Hydra station?
  • What is the war that Widmore says is coming?
  • How does Charles Widmore know what is going to happen in the future of the island?
  • What makes Locke so "special" that he needs to be on the island?
  • Why does Ben kill Locke upon the mention of Eloise Hawking?

External links

  • ABC Medianet Press Release (2/9/09): Press Release

This article uses material from the "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" article on the Lostpedia wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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