"Dead Is Dead" is the twelfth episode of Season 5 of Lost and the ninety-eighth produced hour of the series as a whole. Ben, Locke, and Sun travel to the Temple so that Ben may be judged by the Monster. In flashbacks, the origins of Ben and Widmore's troubled relationship are revealed. It was originally broadcast on April 8, 2009.




5x12 Dont worry

Charles Widmore talks to Benjamin Linus for the first time.

Charles Widmore arrives at the Others' camp on horseback. After a short exchange with Richard Alpert, he enters a tent in which young Ben, still recovering from his gunshot wound from Sayid, is staying. As they chat, it becomes clear that Ben does not recall how he was injured. Widmore tells Ben that they will send him back to live with the DHARMA Initiative soon, but assures Ben that he can still be one of the Others.


5x12 Ben Ethan

Ben and Ethan spy on Rousseau's camp.

Ben and a young Ethan Rom stand outside a camp, watching a tent. Ethan attempts to convince Ben to let him take charge, but Ben tells Ethan to be quiet and enters the camp alone. Inside the tent is a sleeping Danielle Rousseau. Ben lifts his gun to kill her, but her baby awakens and begins crying, and Ben knocks over Rousseau's music box. Rousseau questions Ben about what he is doing there and assumes that he is a carrier for the infection. Ben takes the baby in his arms, firing a shot into the sand and telling Rousseau not to move. He tells her that the child will be safe with them and that she should consider herself lucky to be left alive. He then tells her that if she hears whispers, she should run the other way. Ben leaves the tent and the beach with the baby and Ethan.


Ben brings a baby Alex to the Others camp.

Upon Ben's return to camp, he is angrily confronted by an aging Charles Widmore, who demands to know why Ben is holding a baby. Ben is angered that Widmore had not informed him of the baby prior to his accepting this mission. Ben says Rousseau poses no threat to them. Widmore demands that Ben kill her, claiming it to be the will of Jacob. Ben refuses, and instead proposes that if it were indeed the will of the Island, Widmore should be able to do it instead. Scoffing, Widmore turns his back and leaves Ben holding the baby.

1992 or later


Widmore is exiled by Ben.

At the Barracks, Ben is pushing Alex on a swing set when he is approached by Richard. Richard informs Ben that the submarine is about to leave, but that Ben does not need to see its passengers off if he does not want to. Ben feels he needs to, however, and goes to the dock, where Widmore is in restraints and being led by armed guards to the submarine. Ben speaks to Widmore, who feels Ben has come to "gloat" about his victory in having Widmore exiled. Widmore has been exiled for "breaking the rules": namely, for regularly leaving the Island, and for having a family off the Island (specifically, a "daughter with an outsider"). Widmore scornfully tells Ben that he will have to one day choose between Alex and the Island. He is then led to the submarine and exiled.



Ben aims at Penny.

After leaving Jack and the others in LA, Ben is walking along a marina and calls Charles Widmore, informing him that he is going to kill Widmore's daughter, Penny, who is also at the marina. As he approaches to do so, he is met by an arriving Desmond, unloading groceries from a car. When he asks Ben what he is doing there, Ben shoots him, though not fatally, causing Desmond to fall to the ground. Ben then continues on to the boat, where he holds Penny at gunpoint, telling her her father killed his daughter. Penny maintains that she has no relationship with her father, but Ben prepares to shoot her until he sees Penny and Desmond's son, Charlie. Ben then lowers his gun, but is tackled and severely beaten by Desmond, who throws him off the dock and into the water.

Real-time events

5x12 TheOffice

Ben looks for a picture in his old Hydra office.

Ben awakens to find Locke sitting over him. Ben exhibits surprise that Locke is alive, but tells Locke that he expected his resurrection. He also tells Locke that he broke the rules and has to face the consequences, which will result in being judged by the Monster. Ben then travels out to the beach, where several survivors, including Bram and Ilana, are trying to transport a crate filled with what they call necessary supplies. Ben speaks to Caesar about Locke, telling him that he doesn't believe that Locke was on the plane. Ben feigns ignorance when Caesar informs him that Locke believes that Ben killed him, saying that Locke is insane and dangerous. Caesar tells Ben that he "has his back," and shows him the shotgun he had taken from Ben's office earlier. Later at the Hydra office, Ben browses the desk for something. When he finds a picture showing him and Alex, he opens the frame and puts the photo into his pocket, just when Locke enters the room. Locke demands to talk with Ben about the fact that he killed him. Ben replies that it was the only way to bring him back, as well as the rest of them and that he had vital information. Locke then said to him that he wanted an apology, but goes on and offers his help to Ben facing the Monster.


Ben aims at Caesar.

Ben and Locke prepare travel to the outriggers, intending to take one of them to the main island in order for Ben to be "judged" by the Monster. Suddenly, Caesar and three other survivors appear, and confront the two. Caesar asserts his position as the leader, and forbids the two to use the outriggers to go anywhere. Locke refuses to listen, and Caesar attempts to draw his shotgun, but it isn't there. Ben reveals that he has it, and shoots an unarmed Caesar in the chest. He then tells the three remaining survivors to go away. Ben gives John the shotgun and tells him to consider this as an apology for murdering him, as John has earlier demanded. They then set sail for the main island.

5x12 ReunionOfTheTrio

Ben finds Frank and Sun in Alex's room.

Upon arrival, they rest for a moment at the dock. As Locke puts on Christian Shepherd's shoes before stepping on the Island, he tells Ben that he believes Ben is only seeking forgiveness for the death of Alex. Ben does not confirm or deny this. They travel on to the Barracks, where they see a silhouetted shadow pacing in the window of Alex's old room. Upon investigation, Ben finds that it is Sun. Frank is also in the house, and they tell Ben that a man named Christian told them to wait there for John Locke, who they discover is standing just outside. Sun shows Ben the photo of the DHARMA recruits of 1977, and expresses surprise that Ben doesn't know that their friends were in the DHARMA Initiative.

5x12 CallingDownTheMonster

Ben summons the Monster.

Frank warns Sun about listening to a dead man and a murderer, but Sun asserts she would follow them if there's a chance Jin would still be alive. Ben retreats to the secret room hidden in his closet behind the bookcase, where he drains a pool of muddy water in an attempt to summon the Monster. He says aloud, almost as an afterthought to the hole, "I'll be outside." He then goes outside to wait with Sun. Sun says that probably Jack lied about John's death to convince them to return to the Island, but Ben reveals to her that Locke was dead, that he killed him and that he had no idea that Locke would be resurrected; he had never seen the Island perform such a miracle. Frank leaves to return to the Hydra island after failing to convince Sun to come with him.

5x12 VisitingTheTemple

Ben, Locke and Sun reach the Temple.

The Monster doesn't appear, and Locke tells Ben that they need to go to find it. Ben claims that he does not know where the Monster lives, but Locke tells him that he does. Ben and Sun follow Locke to the Temple walls. Locke then reveals that they are going to be entering through a hole in the earth. They do so, though Sun remains outside. Before Ben enters, he tells Sun that, if she might leave the Island, she should find Desmond and tell him that he is sorry. When Sun asks for what, Ben tells her that Desmond will understand.


Ilana and Bram threaten Frank.

Meanwhile, Frank arrives back at the Hydra island in the outrigger. He is soon approached by Jed, who warns him that Ilana and a few other survivors have weapons. Frank, cautious, walks into camp, where he is suddenly held at gunpoint by Ilana and Bram. Ilana asks Frank, "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" When Frank is unable to answer, she knocks him out with the butt of her gun, and tells Bram to get everyone else, tell them "it's time," and to tie Frank up, as he's coming with them.


Ben is surrounded by the Monster.

Once underground, Locke and Ben light torches. Ben tells Locke that he believes that Locke's reasoning was right, and that he is seeking penance for Alex's death. Soon afterward, the ground underneath Ben gives way and he falls into another level of the Temple. Locke tells Ben that he will go get something to help Ben back up, and leaves, ignoring Ben's commands not to.

5x12 AlexAttacks

Ben is confronted by an apparition of his daughter.

Ben then journeys on, looking at columns covered in hieroglyphs, pausing to observe a stone panel covered in Egyptian-style carvings, which depicts the Monster and a jackal-headed figure (possibly the Egyptian deity Anubis) facing each other. Below the carving is a stone grate angled upwards. Ben hears the trademark noises of the Monster, and witnesses it rise out of the grate in front of him. The Monster surrounds Ben, swirling about him. He is faced with memories of Alex and Widmore, including Alex's death at the hands of Martin Keamy. After showing these visions to Ben, the Monster abates, reappearing moments later in the form of Alex. Ben apologizes to Alex, admitting fault in everything, which she acknowledges. She then pins him up against a nearby column, informing Ben that she is aware of his plan to kill Locke again, and demanding his firm dedication to follow Locke's leadership, or she will "destroy" him. Ben promises, and Alex disappears. Locke calls Ben back to the hole and lowers a vine in order to pull Ben up. Ben reveals that the Monster has let him live.



  • Ben's house was in the same state it was in the last time he was inside, when the mercenaries attacked -- including the Risk game Locke, Sawyer and Hurley were playing left out on the table.
  • The episode aired during the week of Good Friday and Easter holidays, which commemorate Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection from the dead.
  • Apart from Lost: Via Domus, this is the first time we see the Monster in an underground / confined area.
  • As the guards escort Widmore onto the sub, trapezoidal trigrams, similar to symbols seen in the I Ching, are visible on the backs of their bulletproof vests. This symbol can also be seen on the boarding pass for Ajira Airways.

Production notes

  • Daniel, Jin, Juliet, Miles, Sawyer and Sayid do not appear in this episode.
  • Desmond makes his first appearance after a 5 episode absence. His prolonged absence is fourth to Jin's second longest character drought, with 6 in Season 3, tied with Michael in Season 4. Michael has also missed more consecutive episodes in a season while still remaining a regular, when he went missing for 7 episodes in Season 2.
  • David S. Lee is not credited in the ABC press release for his role as middle-aged Charles Widmore. Additionally, the actor portraying teenage Ethan is not credited in the press release.
  • A deleted scene from "I Do" is shown during the scene in which Ben is judged by the Monster. The scene involved Alex getting into an argument with Ben over Karl and resulted in Alex saying "I hate your guts," which is shown during this episode.
  • A different take is used for the beginning of the first scene between Ben and Locke to what was used at the end of the previous episode, "Whatever Happened, Happened".
  • When Charles is about to leave the Island, we can see two men in what appear to be bulletproof vests, with the water trigram on their backs. (The same trigram can be found in the DHARMA logo, and on the sub as well)
  • The beginning of this episode is a flashback that picks up where some of the real-time events left off in the previous episode.
  • The imagery of Caesar being propelled backward when shot by Ben, although unrealistic, is a professional tool used to provide dramatic impact to a scene.

Bloopers and continuity errors

  • Danielle has a brief conversation with Ben; in "Solitary" Danielle claimed she had never seen any of the Others, though this could be attributed to the fact that she is insane as she recognizes Ben as someone else calling him "the one who infected us".
  • As Locke, Sun and Ben approach the temple, the black plastic pot holding a tree is clearly visible in the middle of the shot (this is just after Ben says "It's the wall around our Temple")
  • When Ben falls through the floor in the temple, it's clearly not Michael Emerson and the face of the stuntman is visible.
  • When Ben drains the murky water to summon the Smoke Monster, his hand changes position in between shots from up by his face, to down by his leg.
  • On the dock, Locke puts on his left sock and ties his shoe, but then in the next cut shot, he's putting his left sock on again.
  • When Caesar confronts Locke about the boats, Locke has a small black mark on the left side of his shirt. In the next shot it disappears before returning in the following shot before disappearing again.
  • Charles Widmore is shown to have been exiled sometime after the Purge, circa 1992, as he is leaving by the DI sub; however, previously both he and Miles have stated that Widmore's been looking for the Island for over 20 years.
  • Desmond is first seen holding a grocery bag with only milk and lettuce being shown. After Ben pulls his gun, we see Des again, but this time the grocery bag contains an extra plastic bag between the lettuce and milk.

Recurring themes

Recurring themes
AnimalsBlack and whiteCharacter connectionsChildrenCoincidenceDeathDeceptions and consDreamsEconomicsElectromagnetismEyesFate versus free willGamesGood and bad peopleImprisonmentIsolationLeadershipLife and deathLiterary worksMirrorsMissing body partsNicknamesThe NumbersPairingsParapsychologyParent issuesPregnanciesPsychologyRainRedemptionRelationshipsReligionRevengeSalvationSecrets
  • Ben tells Widmore that he doesn't like his dad. (Parent issues)
  • Before waking up, Ben seems to be dreaming (Dreams)
  • The Risk game Sawyer and Hurley were playing is still on the table. (Games)
  • Ben shoots, and possibly kills, Caesar. (Life and death)
  • Ben decides not to kill Rousseau after discovering she had a baby. (Children)
  • Ben kidnaps Alex as a baby, and then raises her as his own. (Children)
  • Seeing Charlie Hume causes Ben to hesitate about shooting Penny. (Children)
  • Widmore claims that one day Ben will have to choose between his daughter, Alex and the island. (Fate versus free will)
  • Widmore also claims that if the island wanted to kill Alex, it would. (Fate versus free will)
  • Penelope mentions that she has no relationship with her father. (Parent issues)
  • Ben lies to Caesar about not knowing Locke and about Locke not being on the plane. (Deceptions and Cons)
  • Charles Widmore rides a horse into the Others camp. (Animals)
  • Widmore is banished from the island in part because he had a daughter with an outsider. (Children)
  • Ben initially blames Charles Widmore for his daughter's death but ultimately accepts the blame himself. (Parent issues)
  • Ben's cell phone is black and white. (Black and white)
  • The crate has "AA823" written on its side. (The Numbers)
  • Ben walks to face the judgment of the smoke monster and falls through the floor on his eighth step after leaving Locke behind. (The Numbers)
  • According to Ben, his mission on the Island is to find the Monster in order to be judged. (Redemption)
  • The apparition of Alex tells Ben that she knows about Ben's plan of murdering Locke once again (Deceptions and Cons)
  • Caesar calls both Ben and Locke "my friend" (Nicknames)

Storyline analysis

Storyline analysis
  • Ben challenges Widmore's instruction to kill Danielle and Alex. (Rivalries)  (Leadership)
  • Ben shoots Caesar. (Crimes)
  • Ben shoots Desmond and holds Penny at gunpoint. (Crimes)
  • Alex tells Ben to abandon his attempt at murdering John and strictly follow his orders. (Rivalries)  (Leadership)
  • Ben tells Sun that he has no control over what is going to come out of the jungle, right before Locke emerges. (Leadership)

Cultural references

Cultural references
(direct references only)
ArtAutomobilesGamesHistoryLiterary worksMovies and TVMusicPhilosophyReligion and ideologiesScience

There is a carved image under the Temple of the monster and what appears to be an Anubis-like figure.

  • Hieroglyphs: Inside the temple, a lot of Egyptian hieroglyphs are seen, the representation of Anubis with the monster being the most important one. (Religion and Ideologies)
    • In reference to this - standing or sitting: one arm down at the side, the other loosely held out, palm (thumb) up, means to summon or invoke.
  • Our Mutual Friend. Desmond and Penny name their sailboat after the literary work. (Literary works)
  • The Wizard of Oz - As Locke was packing his shoes before returning to the main island or his "home", he cleaned them off by banging the heels together three times prior to putting them in the bag. (Literary works)
  • Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes, Roots by Alex Haley and Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe: All of these books are on the bookcase in front of the entrance to the secret tunnel in Ben's house.
  • The Prisoner television series is alluded to when Charles Widmore says "I'll be seeing you, boy" to Ben before boarding the submarine to be exiled. The phrase was frequently spoken on the show, which was about a strange island where a man was held captive.

Literary techniques

Literary techniques
ComparativeIronyJuxtapositionForeshadowing PlottingCliffhangerPlot twist Stock characters:  ArchetypeRedshirtUnseen character
Story:  FlashbacksFlash-forwardsFlash sidewaysFraming deviceRegularly spoken phrasesSymbolismUnreliable narrator 
  • Ilana and Bram capture Frank; his fate is left unknown. (Cliffhanger)
  • Ben doesn't shoot Rousseau when he sees her child, Alex. He later doesn't shoot Penny when he sees her child, Charlie. (Foreshadowing)
  • In 1989, Ben challenges Charles Widmore to kill baby Alex himself if he wishes it done. Widmore opts to not kill the child, only to have his mercenary, Martin Keamy, kill teenage Alex in 2004. (Foreshadowing)
  • Widmore claims that one day Ben will have to choose between his daughter, Alex, and the island. This day comes when Martin Keamy holds Alex's life at hand to capture Ben and take the island away. (Foreshadowing)
  • Ben told Sun she should go inside because he has no control over what was about to come out of the jungle. Then expecting the Smoke Monster, Locke emerges. (Irony)
  • Ben attempts to convince Caesar that Locke was not on the plane and is an island native, when he once attempted to convince Locke that he was not an island inhabitant. (Irony)
  • The pillars and walls in the Monster's lair are covered in many hieroglyphs. (Symbolism)
  • Caesar is shot with the same sawn-off shotgun he found. (Irony)
  • When Sun asks how Locke plans to find Jin, he says "I have some ideas." Ben said this same phrase when Jack asked how he planned to find the island. (Regularly spoken phrases)

Episode references

Unanswered questions

Unanswered questions
  1. Do not answer the questions here.
  2. Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.
For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: Dead Is Dead/Theories
  • How did Ethan become a member of the Others?
  • How is Locke planning to reunite Sun and Jin?
  • Where did Locke go when he left the Barracks?
  • Why didn't the Monster come when Ben called it?
  • How does Locke know where the Monster is?
  • What is Ben's true understanding of resurrection on the Island?
  • What is the answer to Ilana's about “what lies in the shadow of the statue”?
    • Where did Ilana's question come from?
  • What is in the crate?
  • Why do the Others want to keep outsiders away from The Temple?
  • What is the meaning of the picture above the grate under the Temple?
  • Why does the Monster demand that Ben follow John Locke?

External links

  • ABC Medianet Press Release (3/23/09): [1]
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