DEAD IS DEAD – Something is Rotten in the Jungle of Mystery (5.12)
More then any other character Charles Widmore seems to have an ever-changing personality. First he is an egomaniacal over protective father to Desmond in
“Flashes before your eyes”, next in “The Constant” he is a bit kinder, by giving Des. Penny’s address, and telling him, he is not the one that hates him. In Sun’s Flash back he is a typical rich guy exchanging pleasantries but “will be respected”, In Locke's he is a peaceful kind of guy almost Zen like with his attitude and bed-side manner to Locke, and to Ben he is a baby killer.
So who is the real Charles Widmore? We know that he could not be a super nice guy since Penny will have nothing to do with him, however, one person’s perspective can shift him from an over protective father type, wanting respect, to a man who kills women and children.
Also thought it interesting that Ben saw that as so twisted he couldn’t bring himself to do it, but the extermination of Dharma, shooting John Locke, all in a days work.
Ben also has had his ups and downs on the morality roller coaster. This episode we see a more human side with how he obtained Alex. He didn’t even look like he was ready to kill Danielle, though young Ethan seemed all ready. I was glad to see some compassion when he saw young Charlie, and couldn’t put him through his life without his mother, like Ben had. Reminded me of how sad little Ben was when he ran away and was running through the jungle looking for his mom. Of course this also reminds me of how he ran into a very ragged looking Richard. Who seemed to have gotten a makeover from that point and the following year when Sawyer and Co. showed up, or did it just seem that way.
The largest part of this episode was about Judgment, mostly Ben’s being judged by the smoke monster, and him judging himself for the death of his daughter. Who he was responsible for, and as he was waiting to be judged I wasn’t convinced Smokie was going to eat him, but I began to feel his time ticking away. For this was the first episode where I generally cared about Ben’s feelings, more so than before. When he saw “Alex”, his grief was barely escaping his mouth to address her. So consumed, he may not of realized it wasn’t her. For as pissed as she would have a right to be, I doubt she would tell him she would destroy him. But Smokie, would.
Locke was forgiving of Ben, and seemed to know what he was doing (again) for no real reason. Nice to have some things not change. What was he doing while they were waiting on Ben’s porch for Smokie?
Role reversal was a big part of Dead is Dead, and now we have seen Locke and Ben switch roles to some degree with Locke leading Ben, and Ben being in the dark. As well as how Ben was much like Locke when Charles was there, and ultimately how Ben became just like Charles. “He’s a really horrible person” hmmm who else is like that. Though I was glad he could not bring himself to shoot penny in front of her son. Even though why he reconsidered had nothing to do with her.
But the biggest mystery or question to me is about when Charles left the island? All the clues regarding it now seem wrong, - it was 20 years ago, he could never get back (person who moves wheel can never come back) He told Locke “that’s the exit” how does he know if he left on the sub? He wasn’t in Dharma, why would he even know about the orchid station. Sure he could of learned about it prior to his exile or via a spy of some kind. But he also said Ben tricked him into leaving, which would be the wrong way to put it since he was being taking out in handcuffs and escorted by armed men. Everyone knew about it, so it would be that Ben tricked everyone into having him exiled. Not leaving (leaving implies it was his choice) so that leads towards Wheel also. Which information is false? Did he leave in the 80’s, and this new Ben Flashback happened later because Ben has messed with time? Or has Widmore been lying to himself and everyone about how long he was gone from the island and he was never tricked. And the latter, seems pretty lame, so I do not think that is the reason. Something is rotten in the jungle of mystery.