This dude looks like Kevin Spacey’s brother, and I KNEW he’d have an accent. And then there’s Richard Alpert, who speaks to the English Dude (Charles Widmore?), reminding him that the island decides who to keep. Obviously, this bloke believes in such "mumbo jumbo." Yup, it’s Charles Widmore. And he buys what Richard is pushing. Young Ben is beginning to understand his purpose.
"I broke the rules," adult Ben tells John Locke, admitting that he was going back to be judged. "The Monster" would decide who’d get dragged under. The monster, as we know it… Senor Smokey, according to Danielle, is a "security system" for the temple. And we saw that Ben could somehow control smokey, as if once Richard Alpert "turned him" into "never being the same" he could communicate with this monster. Just a guess. And then we see his warn a young Danielle, "if you want to live, every time you hear whispers, you’ll run the other way." He steals young Alex, at gunpoint.
Ben is LYING to John Locke. He says he killed John Locke because it was in the best interest of the island. That he got his critical information, then didn’t have the time to convince him to hang himself. He said he knew it was the only way for him to come back to the island. AND IT’S ALL A LIE. There’s no way it’s true BECAUSE… Ben said he would miss John. And he seemed quite convincing, at that. In the cold calculating way that only Ben can be.
Ben is now back in his old home with Sun, Locke, and Lapidis. He goes into his closet, moves a hidden wall. We’ve seen this before. Last time passports were involved. He let out the drain in the floor, and speaks to it, as if he’s speaking directly to smokey. Aha… Ben just told Sun that he had no idea John Locke could return alive to the island. "Dead is dead, Sun." Then why kill John Locke? Because Locke was someone he couldn’t control. Ben was expecting the monster, telling Sun to go inside. Locke shows up, instead of smokey, claiming he knows where the monster lives, knows where to find him. Of course he does. He knows the monster is in the temple.
Ben tells John he knows where he’s going… to the temple, to "the place he was taken and healed as a child." But according to Richard Alpert, Ben would never remember such a thing. Just the same, Ben doesn’t seemed thrilled by John’s idea that they’re going under the temple, not into it.
I love that we’re finally seeing the back story behind Desmond/Ben/Penny. We all knew Ben went to kill Penelope to avenge Alex’s death (believing that Charles Widmore "broke the rules" by killing Alex), and Ben implied that Charles was the one who wanted to kill Alex, not the island. We see Charles "banished" from the island, but I still don’t understand why exactly.
I don’t Ben for a second. He always seems a step ahead, even when he’s falling through floors. Even when he seems surprised, even when he’s reading hieroglyphics. Even when he’s standing in awe…
HOLY CRAP. Seriously, this is just good goddamn TV, people. Smokey is like that tunnel, that series of reflective images of the life you lived, a series of snapshots, of "Defending Your Life" vignettes, and you’re left to decide if you’re sorry, to judge YOURSELF. Ben didn’t feel too guilty, and for what he regretted, he apologized. You could feel his sorry… and that’s when the "monster" was sucked back under. It’s also when Ben then "hallucinated" just as Hurley had about Dave, just as Kate had about a horse, just as John Locke had about his father…. all "judging" moments. So Ben hallucinated Alex, ordering him to follow John Locke and listen to every word he said.