The Televangelist: ‘Lost’ episode 12

The first thing we learned in “Dead is Dead” is that dead is not dead. At least, not in conventional ways. After a mediocre Kate-isode last week, this Ben-centric episode felt epic. The man formerly known as Henry Gale was in full manipulation mode last night, and the episode’s sole focus on him highlighted the fact that, all in all, there’s not been enough Ben in the fractured, busy storytelling of late. Typical of a great episode, though, the characters answered some questions and raised even more, including the very nature of of life (and, well, death).

Let’s start with some categorizing. Who’s dead and who isn’t? Both Penny and Desmond are alive — everyone can breathe easy. Locke is “alive.” (The quotation marks here mean everything.) Despite Ben telling Locke that it was part of his master plan to kill Locke so he could be resurrected, Ben admitted to Sun that Locke walking around alive scares the living daylights out of him. In fact, this episode marks the final shift in the Ben-Locke power struggle, with Locke reigning victorious. Locke now knows things Ben doesn’t, which infuriates our former Jacob-whisperer. Yet, “the Island” has chosen to keep him alive for whatever reason.  On the brink of life/death is Alex, slain daughter of Ben/Rousseau. Alex’s alive-but-not situation evoked a little Christian Shepard, and gives credence to the theory that Olde Smokey (“he who shall not be named”) can reanimate or possess the bodies of the dead for his own purposes (except that the bodies must retain some part of their original person, since they often slip in some unfinished business while they’re up and about).