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'Lost' (S5): The 'Dead Is Dead' zone

Ben takes center stage in tonight’s episode, and Doc Jensen dares to dream that means it’ll be a classic. Plus: The time-travel debate revisited, probing ”innocence,” and more

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Do I dare hope for all-time Lost greatness? Because that’s usually what happens when Darth Ben takes center stage. (See: ”The Man Behind The Curtain,” in which we witnessed Ben’s tragic origins and got our first [and only] fleeting glimpse of Jacob; and ”The Shape of Things To Come,” in which Ben beheld the sight of Alex’s assassination and uttered, ”He changed the rules,” thus launching his V for Vendetta persecution of Charles Widmore.)

According to the promos for tonight’s episode, ”Dead Is Dead,” Ben will speak once again of these ”rules.” Perhaps we will learn what they actually are. FUN FACT! There was a 1993 film flop entitled Dead Is Dead, the plot of which, according to Amazon.com, goes like this: ”While Eric Shepherd tries to find answers to his brother’s death, he is partially dismembered by an unknown creature. A young woman finds Eric and gives him a miracle drug called Doxital that grows back his severed limb and saves his life. A chain of haunting events follows Eric on his quest for the truth.” Might this shlocktastic cinematic endeavor be a code key that deciphers the secrets of Lost? Please, feel free to investigate on your own and then tell me all about it. JeffJensenEW@aol.com is my e-mail.

But back to Big Bad Ben. It boggles my mind to consider how this character was originally intended to be a short-term season 2 proposition. Thanks in large part to Michael Emerson’s performance — and how it captured the imaginations of both the audience and writers — Ben became an inextricable part of the show. Might it be argued that the whole of Lost is really Ben’s story? The season’s time-travel saga, in which we’ve seen how the castaways have shaped his life, has been further evidence for such an interpretation. Regardless, I like the idea that Ben himself is exactly like Emerson: He is a survivor. He is a man who has essentially outlived his intended purpose to the Island — leading the Others until Locke came to town — but who has prolonged his power, his significance, and perhaps even his life through guile and ingenuity. Ben is living an improvised existence — and success has promoted his status from special guest star to series regular in the Island’s grand narrative.

What more can I tell you about ”Dead Is Dead”? I can tell you names. Desmond. Smokey. The Galaga. And Sterling Beaumont, the young actor who plays Young Ben, who was last seen being carried into the Temple by Richard Alpert for life-saving surgery…and apparently, soul-warping innocence-removal. Press play on today’s episode of Totally Lost to see Dan and me and a very special guest put some extra mustard on those teasers. PLUS! Ding, dong, the pig is gone! Someone shot Pig E.! My heart sings to a joy fantastic! Let April 1 now forever be known as Liberation Day in the land of Totally Lost. Still, I have enough empathy to wonder: Who shot that tiny toy tyrant? Dan and I bite back on our glee over Pig E.’s pain to begin investigating the question in this week’s installment, presented in glorious Crazyvision here at The EW.

NEXT PAGE: Lost Untangled and a new look at the time-travel debate