Benjamin Linus, more commonly known as Ben, was a long-time resident of the Island and a former leader of the Others. His mother, Emily, died giving birth to him. At the age of eight Ben came to the Island with his father Roger, who was assigned the job of “workman” or janitor for the DHARMA Initiative. After being educated on the Island, Ben became enchanted with the Hostiles after a chance encounter with Richard in the jungle. At the age of twelve, Ben attempted to join them, but was shot by a time-traveling Sayid, who had hoped to kill him and thus, change the future. This event led to Ben being healed in the Temple, having been taken there by Richard Alpert, at which point his “innocence” was taken from him. Richard mentioned, Ben won’t remember anything, as such it was unclear if he remembered Sayid having met him in the future. Years later he became a workman for the Dharma Initiative, while actually being allied with the Hostiles and their leader Charles Widmore. At some point after the destruction of the Initiative on the Island in the Purge, Ben engineered the ousting of Charles Widmore and became the new leader of the Others. Years later he developed a tumor on his spine and worried what this meant since people were usually free of diseases on the Island.
In 2004, after Oceanic Flight 815 crashed on the Island, the survivors came face-to-face with Ben and the Others on many occasions. He was captured and held prisoner by the survivors for six days under the alias Henry Gale. His story proved to be false but he was freed by Michael, who had made a deal with the Others. With Jack, Kate, and Sawyer being held prisoner, he persuaded Jack to remove his tumor. Ben also met face-to-face with John Locke, manipulating him and later being threatened by him when Locke claimed to have heard Jacob, leading him to try and kill Locke. Ben later tried to stop the survivors from contacting a nearby freighter for rescue, knowing the people on the boat were sent by Charles Widmore to capture him and, he claimed, kill everyone else. He ordered the Others to the Temple for safety, but failed in his attempt to stop Jack from calling the boat and became a captive of John Locke’s group on the Island. After the mercenaries from the freighter attacked the Barracks and killed his daughter, Ben and Locke went to Jacob’s cabin, where they were told how to protect the Island. Ben went to the Orchid station and moved the Island, sacrificing his presence there and his leadership over the Others, leaving Locke as his successor.
Ben was transported to the Sahara desert ten months into the future, and soon discovered that several of the crash survivors had also left the Island. He enlisted the help of Sayid in his war against Widmore, and vowed to kill Widmore’s daughter, Penelope, in revenge for the death of his own, but ultimately failed. Discovering that Locke was off the Island, Ben killed him and used his body, and the Oceanic Six, to return to the Island aboard Ajira Flight 316. Once back on the Island, he was judged by the Monster for the death of Alex and was then used by the Man in Black, who was posing as a resurrected John Locke, to kill Jacob. After stabbing Jacob, Ben was touched by Jacob. Later, he joined Ilana’s group when they traveled to the Temple (burying John Locke on their way). Miles read the ashes of Jacob and confirmed to Ilana that it was Ben who killed him. Ilana forced Ben to dig his own grave, but Ben apologized and was accepted into the group. After Ilana’s death, Ben went with Richard and Miles to the Barracks to find explosives to blow up the Ajira plane to stop the Man in Black from leaving the Island. Once he reached the Barracks, Ben discovered that Widmore had returned to the Island and was finally able to kill him after the Man in Black promised that he would have the Island all to himself. When Ben learned that the Man in Black was going to destroy the island, Ben sided with the survivors and was willing to go down with it. After Jack did his job relighting the Source, Hurley was the new protector and made Ben his advisor.
In the flash-sideways, Ben was the teacher of his previous ‘daughter’, Alex. As his acquaintances from the Island moved on, he chose to stay behind, feeling guilty for everything he had done to them on the island.
2×14 – One of Them
Ben was captured by Danielle Rousseau in a net trap. She handed him over to Sayid on November 18, 2004.
Danielle shot Ben with a crossbow during an escape attempt, after which he was kept prisoner in the armory of the Swan station. Danielle said Ben would lie for a long time before he told the truth and handed him over to Sayid, presumably to be tortured.
As a prisoner, Ben claimed to be Henry Gale, a wealthy miner from Wayzata, Minnesota who crashed onto the Island with his wife Jennifer in a hot air balloon. Sayid and Locke did not believe his claims, but Jack was more open-minded to the possibility that he was telling the truth. “Henry” further claimed his wife had died of a mysterious sickness, a story he maintained even during a brutal interrogation by Sayid. During this interrogation, Sayid became ever more suspicious of “Henry’s” story when he didn’t know the exact details of his wife’s burial and, still grieving the lost of Shannon, Sayid began beating him, telling him “you would remember”. The three men decided not to disclose the captive’s existence to the rest of the group, though Sayid decided to tell Charlie about Ben’s presence, and Eko and Ana Lucia later discovered him as well. (“One of Them”)
2×15 – Maternity Leave
Eko, who seemed to believe that Ben was one of the Others, confessed privately to Ben that he had killed two of them during his first night on the Island and that he was very sorry for what he had done. He punctuated this by cutting two outgrowths off his beard with a large knife.
Ben could hear events in the Swan outside his prison in the gun vault, and was therefore aware of the tension between Locke and Jack. Using this knowledge, he attempted to manipulate Locke into feuding with Jack by telling him that he appeared to be in Jack’s shadow. Locke became angry enough to take out his rage on objects at the Swan, foreshadowing future manipulations of his behavior toward Jack. At one point, Locke seemed to become aware that his mind was being played with. He angrily grabbed Ben by the shirt and tossed him back into the armory. (“Maternity Leave”)
2×16 – The Whole Truth
After Ana Lucia was recruited to help in getting the truth out of the prisoner, to bolster his story, Ben had drawn a map to the location of the balloon and his supposed wife Jennifer’s grave. After a group left to follow the map, Jack and Locke allowed Ben out of the armory for some breakfast where his mind games continued as he professed to the two that, if he was one of them, he would have a team ready to ambush the search party. This worried Jack and Locke and was made more uncomfortable as Ben finished with “I guess it’s a good thing I’m not one of them, huh? You guys got any milk? ” (“The Whole Truth”)
2×17 – Lockdown
Later that day, there was a lockdown incident at the Swan station, and Locke, whose legs had been pinned under a blast door, was forced to enlist “Henry” to push the button. Locke did not witness what happened as the lockdown ended, though Ben told him he did not push the button and nothing happened. Meanwhile Sayid, Ana Lucia, and Charlie followed the map and found the site exactly as described, but Sayid was still skeptical. He exhumed the corpse and discovered not a woman, but a man identified by his driver’s license as Henry Gale. Shortly thereafter, the search party returned and revealed that the man they knew as “Henry” was an impostor and an Other; the real Henry Gale was dead and buried. (“Lockdown”)
2×18 – Dave
Sayid tried to get Ben to answer questions about the Others, but Ben said his leader would kill him if he did. Sayid almost executed Ben, but was stopped by Ana Lucia. Ben looked shocked when Ana Lucia referred to Tom as his leader and said, “Him? He’s no one! Nothing!” He referred to his true leader only as “Him,” saying he was a great man. In protest to his captivity, Ben refused to eat, drink, or speak for two days. He told the survivors that the Others would never give them Walt in exchange for him and caused Locke to question his beliefs when he claimed he did not push the button. (“Dave”) (“S.O.S.”)
2×20 – Two for the Road
Later, Ben tried to strangle Ana Lucia, accusing her of killing two good people and telling her that Goodwin had tried to convince the Others that she was worthy of being on the list. He also strongly implied that Goodwin would never have tried to kill her. His attempt to strangle Ana Lucia was thwarted by Locke, who later neglected to tell Jack about the incident. Locke eventually revealed the information, but only when it seemed too late, after Ana Lucia had gone to murder Ben.
However, shortly after Michael returned to the camp, he murdered Ana Lucia and Libby, then released Ben. Ben appeared to leave no tracks as he escaped. (“Two for the Road”)
Ben’s actions as he directed the Walt exchange at the Pala Ferry pier made him appear to be the leader of the Others. He mildly reprimanded Tom for not wearing his beard. He told Michael that while he was unhappy with the deal his people had made with him, they had gotten “more than we bargained for” when Walt had joined them. When asked by Michael, “Who are you people?” he replied, “We’re the good guys,” reiterating a sentiment that had been expressed by various members of the Others. Finally, he told Michael that he would never find the Island again even if he tried, echoing his claim as a prisoner at the Swan that even God could not see the Island. (“Live Together, Die Alone, Part 2”)