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.
Days 68-91 (On Hydra Island)
3×01 – A Tale of Two Cities
The Others escorted Jack, Kate, and Sawyer to the Hydra station. There, Tom told Kate to shower and gave her a dress to wear, then took her in handcuffs to the beach to have a nice, civilized breakfast with Ben. Ben said the reason for this was that he wanted her to “feel like a lady” and to have “something to look back on” over the next two weeks, which he promised would be “extremely unpleasant.”
Later, Ben witnessed Jack overpower Juliet and confronted him outside his cell. When Jack attempted to open the underwater door Ben retreated back out the hallway, locking both Jack and Juliet inside. He later congratulated Juliet on interrogating Jack.(“A Tale of Two Cities”)
3×02 – The Glass Ballerina
Ben watched the activities of Kate, Sawyer, and Jack on video surveillance monitors in the Hydra. As he was monitoring the feeds, Juliet entered the room carrying soup for Jack. Ben quipped, “You never made soup for me.” Colleen entered and told Ben that Sayid had found the decoy village and had a sailboat. Ben ordered Colleen, in no uncertain terms, to recover the boat and bring it back.
Later that day, Ben visited Jack in his cell. He commented on the irony of the situation, as less than a week ago, Ben had been a captive and Jack the captor. He introduced himself as Benjamin Linus and lied, saying that he had been on the Island his entire life. He told Jack that if he cooperated, he would take him home when the time came. Jack was skeptical. Ben then revealed that the Others were in contact with the outside world, and proceeded to detail real-life events that had happened during their time on the Island, such as Christopher Reeve’s death and the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series. Jack did not believe him, so Ben showed him a video of the winning game. He finished by saying, “That’s home, Jack. Right there, on the other side of that glass. And if you listen to me, if you trust me, if you do what I tell you, when the time comes, I’ll take you there. I will take you home.” (“The Glass Ballerina”)
3×04 – Every Man for Himself
Ben’s depth of control became even more evident when he interrupted Juliet’s conversation with Jack, ordering her to come and assist him. Juliet had just told Jack that she and Ben “make decisions together,” but it appeared this was not the case, much like the situation with Jack and Locke while Ben was being held in the Swan.
When Sawyer was planning on escaping once more from his cage, another side of Ben’s character emerged: an aggressive side. Sawyer’s escape plan involved an electric shock to himself and whichever Other would be standing in the puddle he created. It was Ben who was moving closer to the puddle, but Sawyer’s plan failed; Ben had turned off the electricity. Ben asked Sawyer his age and weight, then jumped into the cage and beat him with a baton to the point of unconsciousness.
Ben watched in one of the Hydra’s rooms as Matthew stuck a needle into Sawyer’s chest, mentioning that he hated needles. When Sawyer regained consciousness, Ben showed him a caged rabbit bearing the number 8 on its back. Ben proceeded to shake the cage violently. This frightened the rabbit, which quickly went limp. Ben told Sawyer that the rabbit had a pacemaker, and that now Sawyer did, too. He gave him a special watch that would begin beeping when Sawyer’s heart rate exceeded 125 bpm. If it went above 140 bpm, his heart would explode. Ben then told him the same fate would befall Kate if Sawyer revealed what the Others had done to him. (“Every Man for Himself”)
The next morning, Ben took Sawyer for a walk up a steep path. They exchanged mild banter, and then Sawyer’s heart monitor began to beep due to the exercise. Sawyer asked if Ben brought him up there just to kill him, and Ben revealed there was no pacemaker at all. He told Sawyer that the rabbit was only given a sedative and wasn’t actually dead, because the Others aren’t “killers.” Ben said he did all this because the only way to earn the respect of a con man was to con him.
Finally, Ben and Sawyer reached the top of the mountain. From their viewpoint, they could see an island about two miles offshore. Ben told Sawyer that the island on which they stood wasn’t the same Island he and the other survivors had come to call home. Thus, he showed Sawyer that even if he escaped, there would be nowhere to run. (“Every Man for Himself”)
3×05 – The Cost of Living
That night, Ben took Jack to Colleen’s funeral. He was dressed in a white smock shirt, as were all of the Others, in what seemed to simulate a traditional Viking funeral. Jack asked about the symptoms of Ben’s tumor, referring to X-rays he had seen earlier.Jack dropped the issue when Ben pretended that he didn’t know what he meant. At the funeral, Ben asked Juliet why she had told Jack about the X-rays, to which she replied, “I didn’t tell him they were yours. But I guess you did,” implying that Ben had just confirmed Jack’s guesswork.
As Juliet fed Jack breakfast, Ben burst in and demanded to talk to Jack. When Juliet pressed him, he said they needed to be alone because of “doctor-patient confidentiality.” Once alone, Ben told Jack that he’d had a great plan to “break” him and wear him down so that he would do whatever he was told. However, he said that plan got “shot to sunshine” when Jack saw the X-rays and figured out that Ben was dying. When Jack asked if Ben wanted him to save his life, Ben replied, “No, I want you to want to save my life.” When Ben asked if Jack was religious, Jack turned the question back on him. Ben replied, “Two days after I found out I had a fatal tumor on my spine, a spinal surgeon fell out of the sky. And if that’s not proof of God, I don’t know what is.” (“The Cost of Living”)
3×06 – I Do
When Ben realized that he needed surgery within the week, he asked Jack about the prospect of performing it. At first, Jack seemed willing, checking that they had the necessary equipment. But then Jack said that this behavior was all a ploy to get back at Ben for the way he had been treated. Ben reacted unemotionally to the news that his tumor would become inoperable within a week, though clearly he was inwardly shaken. When Jack refused to do the surgery, Ben told Jack he was disappointed, to which Jack replied that at least he wouldn’t have to be disappointed for very long.
Soon after, Jack explored the observation room in the Hydra and saw Kate and Sawyer after they’d had sex. Ben walked in on him and tried to bait him, saying, “If I were a betting man, I would have picked her and you.” He knew that the sight of seeing Sawyer and Kate together would make Jack want to get off the Island; Jack, now angry, agreed to do the surgery.
All seemed to go well for the first leg of the operation, but then Jack purposefully made a slit in Ben’s kidney sac. He told Juliet and Tom that Ben would die within an hour if the damage was not repaired. Now Ben was Jack’s hostage and he demanded that Kate and Sawyer be set free or he would let Ben die. (“I Do”)
3×07 – Not in Portland
Later, Ben awakened while still on the operating table and seemed to understand his situation as a hostage, even conceding that Jack had outplayed him. Apparently, he also heard Jack tell Tom that Juliet had wanted him to “make a mistake” in surgery so that Ben would die. Ben asked for a private conversation with Juliet, after which she left the operating room and announced that the Others had to let Kate and Sawyer leave. Having confirmed the safety of his friends, Jack put Ben back under anesthesia and completed the surgery. After nicking an artery and enlisting Tom’s help in Juliet’s absence, Jack successfully removed the tumor but suggested it be tested for malignancy. (“Not in Portland”)
3×09 – Stranger in a Strange Land
Shortly after his surgery, Ben developed an infection around his stitches. Jack initially refused to help Ben any further, but later agreed to treat him in exchange for him commuting Juliet’s death sentence, which she had received for killing Pickett. Ben agreed to this, but ordered that Juliet be marked instead. Along with Jack, he accompanied the rest of the Others to their home on the main Island, as their location on Hydra Island was no longer secret following the escape of Kate and Sawyer. (“Stranger in a Strange Land”)
At the Barracks
4×08 – Meet Kevin Johnson
Around this time Ben found out that Charles Widmore finally found the location of the island. He sent Tom to New York City to find Michael and send him as a spy aboard the freighter that would be leaving from Fiji. (“Meet Kevin Johnson”)
Mobisode x03 – King of the Castle
Upon returning to the island, Ben was seen playing a game of chess with Jack. Ben commented that if Jack were ever to leave the Island, the day would come when he would want to return. Jack responded, saying, “Never,” to which Ben said, “I’ve learned never to say never.” After talking some more, Ben made a move to win the chess game. He looked up at Jack and said, “It was a nice try though.” (“King of the Castle”)
3×13 – The Man from Tallahassee
About a week later, Locke showed up at the Barracks and confronted Ben, who was still debilitated and confined to a wheelchair. He was thankful to Locke for blowing up the submarine so that he would not have to let Jack and Juliet go. He also promised to reveal the secrets of the Island to Locke, and started by showing him that the Others had Locke’s father, Anthony Cooper, in captivity. (“The Man from Tallahassee”)
4×08 – Meet Kevin Johnson
Later that night in his secret room, Ben made a phone call to the freighter, pretending to be Walt. He seemed shocked when Michael said he had activated the bomb. He went on to say in a war he will do what he has to do to win, but he will not kill innocent people, commenting that the others did not ask Michael to kill Ana Lucia and Libby, but that he did it on his own. He then told Michael to get him a list of names of everyone on the boat, destroy the communications equipment and then the engines, telling Michael that if he did so he could “consider himself one of the good guys.” (“Meet Kevin Johnson”)
3×16 – One of Us
Ben accompanied the Others as they vacated the barracks, but not before sending Juliet on an undercover mission to infiltrate the beach community. He told her that he would see her again in one week. (“One of Us”)
After leaving the Barracks
3×19 – The Brig
When the Others deserted the Barracks, Ben brought Locke along. After they reached the ruins, he demonstrated to Locke that he could walk with a cane and told him that it was due to his presence. He also told Locke that he must kill his father in order to fulfill his potential. That night, he tried to get Locke to do just that, giving him a knife and showing him his father tied to the ruins. Locke was unable to commit murder, and the next morning Ben told him the Others were leaving him and his father behind. He said they would leave a trail Locke could follow, but that he shouldn’t bother unless he came carrying his dead father. (“The Brig”)
3×20 – The Man Behind the Curtain
Two days later, on his birthday, Ben realized that his tape recorder was missing. Unknown to him, Locke had stolen it and given it to Sawyer. Before he could deal with this, Locke walked into the camp bearing his father’s dead body. Ben told Locke about Jacob and Locke demanded to be taken to him. Ben refused, saying he was the only person who had ever seen Jacob. Locke accused him of lying to everyone. Mikhail appeared with news of the arrival of Naomi, interrupting Locke and Ben’s conversation. Locke announced that Ben would be taking him to see Jacob before doing anything else. Ben tried to put him off with Mikhail’s news, but Locke, in order to regain priority, beat Mikhail senseless. Ben could not rouse any of the Others to help Mikhail as he was being beaten by Locke. Ben finally agreed to take Locke to Jacob. Before their departure, Alex gave Locke a gun as a “birthday present” to her dad. (“The Man Behind the Curtain”)
The two men crossed a gray ash border that surrounded Jacob’s cabin. Ben told Locke to put his flashlight away, saying, “He feels the same way about technology as you do.” He knocked on the door, announcing their presence to Jacob. Ben began to speak to an empty chair, claiming Jacob was sitting in it. Locke, believing Ben to be insane, started to leave, but stopped as a deep voice said, “Help me.” He turned and asked Ben to repeat what he had just said. Ben had not said or heard anything and realized that Jacob must have spoken to Locke. Locke pulled out his flashlight, causing Jacob to react in outrage. Ben tried to calm him but was thrown across the room in Jacob’s fury. Locke then left the cabin, with Ben close behind. (“The Man Behind the Curtain”)
The next day, Ben led Locke to an open pit filled with the bodies of the DHARMA Initiative. Ben told Locke that he wasn’t born on the Island, and that when the DHARMA Initiative couldn’t live peacefully with the natives, the natives began to purge the Island of the Initiative with his help. He then shot Locke, sending him into the pit, and demanded to know what Jacob had said to him. Locke told him Jacob’s words: “Help me.” Ben was wounded by this, and left Locke to the mercies of Jacob. (“The Man Behind the Curtain”)
3×21 – Greatest Hits
Ben returned to the Others’ temporary camp and thanked Alex sarcastically for giving Locke the gun, knowing what her real intentions were. He then ordered Richard and Pryce to conduct the planned raid on the survivors’ camp a day early, telling them to kidnap all of the women and kill all of the men stupid enough to get in their way. When Richard questioned this course of action, Ben said he was following Jacob’s orders. (“Greatest Hits”)
That evening, while writing in his diary, Ben was informed by Greta and Bonnie via radio that Charlie had reached the Looking Glass station. Ben ordered Mikhail to travel there and kill Charlie, and attempted to contact the crew in charge of the raid. He was not able to reach them, as they had turned their radios off in preparation for their attack on the camp. Ben was contacted later by Tom, who informed him that the raid had gone awry and that several Others were killed, but that Sayid, Jin, and Bernard had been captured. Ben ordered Tom to threaten to shoot Jin to make one of the captives talk. Bernard broke down and Ben learned that Juliet and Karl had leaked the information about the raid. He also found out that the destination of the survivors was the radio tower.
Ben commanded Richard to take the Others to the Temple while he went alone to the radio tower to stop the survivors. When Alex demanded to go along, Ben didn’t put up a fight. At a stop during the journey, Alex confronted Ben about his treatment of Karl. He explained that his actions towards Karl, including keeping him in one of the cages and later in Room 23, were motivated by his fear of her getting pregnant. When Alex questioned why he couldn’t just let Jack and the other survivors escape the Island, his only answer was, “Because I can’t!” (“Through the Looking Glass, Part 1”)
Upon encountering the survivors, Ben persuaded Jack to talk with him alone for five minutes. Once alone with Jack, Ben alluded to his own past role in the purge and warned Jack that contacting Naomi’s boat would result in death for everyone on the Island. He quickly realized that Jack was unmoved by his revelation, so he radioed Tom with orders to kill Sayid, Jin, and Bernard if Tom did not hear back from Ben in one minute. Ben gave Jack that minute to fetch Naomi’s radio and give it to him. Jack refused, and gunshots were heard over Ben’s radio. Jack punched Ben in the face several times and dragged him back to the survivors. Ben fell to the ground, and Alex came toward him with concern. Ben noticed Rousseau watching Alex, and introduced them to each other as mother and daughter.
Led by Rousseau with a rope tied to his bound hands, Ben was forced to accompany Jack’s group to the radio tower. Once Rousseau’s transmission was turned off and Naomi got her phone to work, Ben again pleaded with Jack not to attempt to contact Naomi’s boat.
Jack wouldn’t listen, but Ben’s wish was partially granted when Locke threw a knife into Naomi’s back in an attempt to stop the communication. When Ben tried to convince Locke to kill Jack in order to prevent the phone from being used, Rousseau silenced him by elbowing him in the face. Jack made the call. (“Through the Looking Glass, Part 2”)