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Episode: - "Dr. Linus"

Commentators: Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz & Michael Emerson


Michael Emerson: Ouch. Did he go up in flame quickly or what? This is Michael Emerson. I play Benjamin Linus on this television program.

Edward Kitsis: This is Eddy Kitsis. I play Eddy Kitsis as a writer on the show.

Adam Horowitz: And this is Adam Horowitz. And, well, I'm a writer on the show. I don't play anything.

Edward Kitsis: We are happy to be here today with Michael Emerson to talk about Dr. Linus.

Michael Emerson: Oh, my God. Sayid's gone to the dark side. Running through the jungle at night.

Edward Kitsis: How many times have you ran through the jungle in this show?

Michael Emerson: One of the things I won't miss.

Edward Kitsis: Night shoots in the jungle?

Michael Emerson: Yeah. It's the running. I can trek all night, but the running... You inevitably find stones or vines...

Edward Kitsis: That fall... Now, did you do your own fall there?

Michael Emerson: Yes.

Adam Horowitz: We gave you some running in this one. There's more to come.

Edward Kitsis: Oddly, this was our first Ben episode that we've ever written. And when the final season came up, we said to Damon and Carlton, "We've never done a Ben, and we really want to because time is running out."

Michael Emerson: Sure came out well. I was surprised when it came along. I'm used to filming the Ben episodes in January, so this was... I wasn't sure I was fully ready when this came up, but...

Edward Kitsis: I mean, for us, it was this. It was Ben Linus is a history teacher. That was all we... That's all we wanted.

Adam Horowitz: From that idea, all this sort of sprang forth.

Edward Kitsis: How did you feel about that, when you found out you were gonna be a history teacher off the island?

Michael Emerson: I thought it was great, perfect. So toned down, so much in a different key. You know? Absence of glamour, absence of violence, absence of high stakes. Or I should say different stakes.

Edward Kitsis: Definitely.

Adam Horowitz: Michael, I think one of the things you did so wonderfully in this episode is exactly what you're talking about, playing a different character, but it also is the same character. And it all feels incredibly consistent.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah, what I loved about this episode is that both stories really link up thematically. Very much like season one or season two.

Michael Emerson: Yeah.

Adam Horowitz: This was my favorite thing, was to figure out what would Benjamin Linus have at lunch in the teachers' lounge.

Michael Emerson: And Dr. Arzt...

Edward Kitsis: Have you ever been in a scene with Arzt before?

Michael Emerson: No, I never had lines with him until this very day.

Edward Kitsis: We killed him before you really infiltrated our group.

Michael Emerson: Daniel, he's really a funny guy.

Edward Kitsis: And now, what I loved was the ritual you did. There was even more shot about how you got into this sushi.

Michael Emerson: [laughing] Yes!

Michael Emerson: I think Ben is a guy that... He's a creature of routines. At least in this flash sideways, but maybe in all his lives.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah, I feel like Ben is the kind of guy who'll probably eat the exact same thing for lunch every day.

Michael Emerson: Nice reveal there.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah, Mario did a great job directing this.

Adam Horowitz: Mario Van Peebles was our guest director on this episode. And it was a huge task to come into the show in the sixth and final season, and he did an amazing job.

Edward Kitsis: Have you worked with him, Michael?

Michael Emerson: I had never met him until the first day we rolled, but I liked him very much. He was a good actors' director. He was sensitive to the actors' needs and he smelled good, too. He had a wonderful cologne. I regret not asking him what it was.

Edward Kitsis: I think it was Paco Rabanne. Perhaps that's next for the Ben Linus cologne. Smells like jungle and intrigue.

Michael Emerson: Here's one of these painful scenes where I'm caught out in a big lie.

Adam Horowitz: Yeah.

Edward Kitsis: Opposed to the painful scenes where you have pain inflicted on you. Yeah. Which is coming.

Adam Horowitz: Which is coming later.

Michael Emerson: I try to do a certain amount of, "What are you talking about?" face acting.

Edward Kitsis: I think you sell it well here, when he sells you out.

Michael Emerson: It was nice to be up close to see Ken actually do his "talk to the dead" thing.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah, I feel like we really... Usually, it's very quick. But here you really get to see it.

Michael Emerson: Yeah. It's spooky.

Edward Kitsis: I like that.

[Emerson, chuckling] What the...?

Edward Kitsis: You know you're screwed.

Michael Emerson: Yes.

Edward Kitsis: That's what I love about that look.

Michael Emerson: Ben's planning his cover.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah.

Michael Emerson: [chuckling] There was nothing to be said.

Edward Kitsis: No. How do you refute that?

Michael Emerson: I didn't have a line anyway, so I was reduced to doing some face acting. [laughs]

Adam Horowitz: But it's one of those things, writing it, where I'm sure the first draft of this scene we probably wrote was eight pages long with lots of back and forth. And the reality is to realize you can do it all with looks, like that, far more effectively.

Edward Kitsis: We're like, "Michael will find a look and we'll take credit for it." Yeah. What I love about this is what Adam was saying. You literally are playing two different characters. Because you're getting to write the Ben Linus we all know, who connives. Then, on the other side, you're this completely different person.

Michael Emerson: I felt very much like I was given a second character. And how often do you get that...

Edward Kitsis: Yeah.

Michael Emerson: ...on a TV series? And so much richer than playing your own evil twin or...

Edward Kitsis: Yeah, your evil twin is actually someone who helps people out.

Michael Emerson: [chuckling] Yes, that's right.

Edward Kitsis: For us, it was great to come back to the beach.

Michael Emerson: Yeah.

Edward Kitsis: You know, and having... What we loved about this was having Benjamin Linus on our beach, but not as a captive and not trying to kill us. But we loved how you had to handle losing your power.

Michael Emerson: Yeah.

Edward Kitsis: You're, like, amongst the common people. And I love the way you look. They're all doing heavy lifting and you're like, "Uh..." I like how you take her temperature here.

Michael Emerson: [chuckling] Yes. He's a guest here, but not a comfortable one. Pathetic.

Adam Horowitz: Yeah.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah, when the pilot turns on you, you know it's over.

Michael Emerson: So great to work with William Atherton.

Edward Kitsis: Oh, yes.

Adam Horowitz: We were huge fans of him.

Michael Emerson: Whom I've admired since I was a young actor.

Edward Kitsis: Well, for us, we were like, "Who is the only person that could actually tell Benjamin Linus off? Who could be a big enough jerk?" We were like, "William Atherton from Ghostbusters. Can we get him?"

Michael Emerson: Yeah.

Adam Horowitz: And Die Hard and Real Genius and a million other things that we just loved. It was a really great thing to get him.

Edward Kitsis: This scene, I think, is fantastic because you and your dad...

Michael Emerson: It's great.

Edward Kitsis: It's like you obviously...

Michael Emerson: Benjamin and his father in a completely different key.

Edward Kitsis: Right. And instead of gassing him, you're actually helping him with oxygen.

Michael Emerson: That's a beautiful parallel.

Adam Horowitz: That was one of the things we tried to push for in this episode, were some of those parallels, like we'll see with Alex.

Michael Emerson: Beautiful makeup job on Jon Gries.

Edward Kitsis: That was great. It's funny, when you were doing the thing in the... As Adam was saying, we were trying to put little things from the island in. When you're at the microwave, we were gonna put a Hot Pocket in from the scene you were throwing... But we were like, "Benjamin Linus would not eat a Hot Pocket for dinner in any world."

Adam Horowitz: One other little note, with Jon Gries and William Atherton in the episode together, this is a Real Genius reunion.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah.

Adam Horowitz: He played Lazlo in Real Genius.

Edward Kitsis: Michael, when you were doing this, did you...? Did you just play it like a new character, or were you trying to think of all the things you've gone through?

Michael Emerson: Yeah, I just dropped out all the... I tried to drop out all the chillier notes. All the, "l'm two steps ahead of everything," and just played it straighter... I usually play everything fairly straight as Ben. But this is even straighter. And here's our dear Alex.

Edward Kitsis: Yes.

Michael Emerson: In another world. In another way.

Edward Kitsis: I really... I just love this because you really feel you're the world's greatest teacher and you're a good son, and that your dad really wanted more for you.

Michael Emerson: Yeah. I think he is a good teacher. He's a good fellow.

Edward Kitsis: He is. I mean, that was kind of a thing we wanted to do in this episode, was, yeah, he's committed genocide and killed his own father, but yet I can't help rooting for him, so... It was very divisive in the room. People were very threatened by putting Ben Linus in a new light.

Michael Emerson: Oh, really?

Edward Kitsis: Yeah, because they were like, "He's the villain!" We were like, "No, he's misunderstood."

Adam Horowitz: The real debate came down to... really came to the ending, which was pushing this to this place where Ben does the right thing, and doesn't trash Alex's future. And it just felt like... We felt very strongly that you wanted to end this episode on a note, where in the sideways, Ben does right by his daughter, which he did not do on the island side.

Michael Emerson: I think it earned him a tremendous amount of audience sympathy.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah. Was that...? How did you feel? When you were playing those scenes, were you like, "Wow, I like this?" Or...

Michael Emerson: I felt... I thought there was great sweetness in the scenes. And a sort of sense of longing for something easier and kinder that could've been.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah.

Michael Emerson: I still don't know. We haven't shot... We're not finished with the finale yet, so... I don't yet know quite what it all means. But it sure was great playing it.

Edward Kitsis: Yes. Cheese curds, of course, from the Minnesota State Fair. [Emerson chuckles]

Edward Kitsis: And you're from Iowa, so I'm sure you've been up there. You know... You've had cheese curds.

Adam Horowitz: I love this location.

Michael Emerson: That's the kind of thing you would dream about.

Edward Kitsis: It really is.

Michael Emerson: I like the rise of Hurley's power.

Edward Kitsis: Mm-hmm. It's interesting, as Ben's diminishes in this episode, Hurley is filling the vacuum.

Michael Emerson: Yes.

Adam Horowitz: In a weird way, Hurley is the one being manipulated in this episode.

Michael Emerson: Yeah.

Adam Horowitz: It just isn't working.

Edward Kitsis: The fabulous, Nestor.

Michael Emerson: The great Richard Alpert. Where did you come from?

Edward Kitsis: Yeah. These three are great together.

Michael Emerson: Yeah. This is a great storyline between the two of them in this episode. One of these great...

Edward Kitsis: Well, and it's fun because only in the final season would you be able to bring the man of science to the man of faith. The fact that Jack is now willing to go along with this, and follow... Season one, he never would have done this. When you're finished in the library, give me a hand getting firewood.

Michael Emerson: "The library."

Adam Horowitz: Booty Babes is side-by-side with Chaim Potok's The Chosen.

Edward Kitsis: And Benjamin Disraeli.

Michael Emerson: [chuckling] Yes.

Edward Kitsis: Here, we love this because we loved the Oceanic bottle as a symbol of the time you were in charge.

Michael Emerson: The good old days.

Edward Kitsis: I loved how you played it. You literally played... The thing with Michael, when you get to write for him, is he always makes you look better, but here you played that wistfulness.

Michael Emerson: [chuckling] He overslept.

Adam Horowitz: This was one of the rare occasions where I was out in Hawaii for part of the shoot. And really it was, you know... It was incredible to be able to be there for the show and to see you putting this performance together. And it's always... It's one of those things where it is the one drawback on the way this show is produced, where the writers and the actors don't get to spend nearly as much time together as they'd like, but...

Michael Emerson: We are so isolated from one another.

Edward Kitsis: Michael, when you get a script and you realize it's your episode, do you know you're gonna get beat in it?

Michael Emerson: Well, I usually figure it's gonna be... I can... I figure I'm gonna have to check out of my life for a couple of weeks.

Edward Kitsis: Right.

Michael Emerson: And be ready for anything.

Edward Kitsis: Right. You know someone's gonna punch you.

Michael Emerson: It... That usually goes along with it.

Adam Horowitz: It's actually... One of the sad things that happens sometimes is when the episodes run a little long, you have to find places to cut back or cut things down. There's actually a scene of your beating, which didn't make it into the final cut.

Edward Kitsis: Yes.

Adam Horowitz: Which was a regret we had, but we had to make the time. So if you look closely when you get to the latter part of the episode, there are a few bruises and bumps on Ben. It was an unavoidable continuity error. And we do feel bad for having inflicted a beating... ...that might have been unnecessary.

Michael Emerson: A picture of a boat that looked a lot like the Black Rock.

Edward Kitsis: Yes!

Michael Emerson: Nice.

Edward Kitsis: You are gonna single-handedly bring back the sweater vest this year. [Emerson laughs]

Edward Kitsis: I think you're gonna see... In fact, people should show up in sweater vests. There should be a whole community of Ben Linus followers that only wear sweater vests.

Michael Emerson: They're organizing clubs.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah. I'd join.

Michael Emerson: It was nice how de-glamorized teacher Ben is. It was fun. He looks a little heavier, a little slower. Absence of glamour.

Edward Kitsis: Yes. But yet dignified.

Michael Emerson: Yeah.

Edward Kitsis: He's put together, like you don't... What I love about it is that he hasn't given up.

Michael Emerson: Yes. I love how you have him so keen on school gossip.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah, I like this. This is your Gossip Girl scene.

Michael Emerson: Yeah.

Edward Kitsis: This is Ben Linus in high school.

Michael Emerson: [chuckling] Yes.

Adam Horowitz: How did your approach with Tania differ in the sideways to how you played scenes before?

Michael Emerson: Well, there's an absence of that old military sternness that I used to have. An absence of friction between the two characters. Suddenly here, they're a strange kind of cross-generational soul mates.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah. I think that's the next one, is the prequel of Ben Linus in high school on The CW. [Emerson guffaws] But played by you.

Michael Emerson: Yeah.

Michael Emerson: It's nice...

Edward Kitsis: I love you using "totally" there.

Michael Emerson: It's so alien to his natural tongue.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah.

Michael Emerson: It's fun 'cause, I guess, I feel like we get to play out a bit of our true off-camera relationship here. Which is she's very friendly and talkative and she seems to like me. Tania, I mean.

Edward Kitsis: What's great there is it feels like you're, all of a sudden, getting a manipulative idea, but it's like the first time teacher Ben Linus has thoughts like that. You're seeing the wheels turning. Whereas we know this Ben Linus, right here, is just thinking, "How do I get out of that? Oh, here comes someone. How am I gonna approach them?"

Michael Emerson: Yeah, my good friend Miles.

Edward Kitsis: And I love that he, at least, wrapped it for you. He brought it in a plate.

Michael Emerson: [chuckling] Imagine that.

Edward Kitsis: That's it.

Michael Emerson: Desperate.

Edward Kitsis: Desperate.

Michael Emerson: Feeble.

Edward Kitsis: I love that. I loved how desperate you got that you had to pour into, "Remember from season three?"

Michael Emerson: Yeah. [both laugh]

Edward Kitsis: Or was it four?

Adam Horowitz: Four. God.

Michael Emerson: I had to ask him what "jabonies" were.

Edward Kitsis: We used it in the Paulo... in the Expos? episode. And I think it was like... I can't remember. Was it something Damon used to say?

Adam Horowitz: I don't remember where we drew it from.

Edward Kitsis: It was like a room inside joke. Someone was using "jabonies." So when we did this, we decided to bring it back for the one person that remembers, which is us.

Adam Horowitz: But also because the last time it was used, it was used to refer to Nikki and Paulo.

Edward Kitsis: Right.

Michael Emerson: So he's not gonna help me.

Edward Kitsis: No.

Michael Emerson: She's not gonna help me. With her gun.

Edward Kitsis: I love how they were able to... In fact, you... That was the shovel you buried Locke with, right? In... episode four.

Michael Emerson: Oh, was it?

Edward Kitsis: Yes.

Michael Emerson: We had a shovel like that.

Edward Kitsis: And I love that you guys were able to fashion that shovel together.

Michael Emerson: It is a good-looking, but non-shoveling shovel.

Edward Kitsis: Yes.

Michael Emerson: You can't dig much with it.

Edward Kitsis: Here we have a scene where Hurley questions Alpert's age. And we get to return to the Black Rock.

Michael Emerson: Yeah. Nice bit of CGI there.

Edward Kitsis: I don't think people realize, when you actually are at the Black Rock, you're just staring in front of a screen, right? When you play those scenes?

Michael Emerson: Yeah. When we're out in the woods... When we're looking at the boat, there's a green screen.

Edward Kitsis: ls that hard to be like...

Michael Emerson: No.

Edward Kitsis: ...in character staring at a screen?

Michael Emerson: No, it's easy to imagine the boat. Plus, we've seen pictures of it in past episodes, so...

Adam Horowitz: What is the hardest thing, for you, when it's not there? ls there anything that it's just like... It's a struggle to visualize before you've actually seen it?

Michael Emerson: Oh... A thing that is in constant motion is a little... Like, to play those scenes where the smoke monster is with you, that's the hardest green screen work, I think. 'Cause you don't really know... It's hard to follow its true volume or the speed of its movement.

Edward Kitsis: Arzt.

Michael Emerson: Here's Arzt again.

Edward Kitsis: He would be the worst teacher ever.

Michael Emerson: Oh, really. Doesn't he sound like a pill?

Edward Kitsis: Yeah.

Michael Emerson: Nice jacket.

Edward Kitsis: That is a good jack... You should ask for that when the show is done. I love how here you're slowly getting into it. You're not really comfortable with manipulating yet.

Michael Emerson: Right. He's kind of a novice, but he's gonna try it out.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah.

Michael Emerson: Little heavy on the cloak and dagger, though.

Edward Kitsis: I love that. "Inappropriate personal relationship." [Emerson chuckles]

Michael Emerson: It's funny.

Adam Horowitz: I like that Arzt has thought about all this before.

Michael Emerson: Yeah.

Edward Kitsis: What I like is, you know, you really get a lot from the scene because Arzt's, "Wow, I didn't realize. The sweater vest had me fooled. You're a real killer," is a testament to the Ben Linus teacher we haven't seen. That he's viewed by the other teachers as not being someone capable of this.

Michael Emerson: Right.

Edward Kitsis: Which I think is great.

Michael Emerson: And this business of the better parking space, that's such a window into the real complaints of real schoolteachers.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah.

Michael Emerson: It's that kind of little pecking item. Oh, he looks tired.

Edward Kitsis: Look at that.

Michael Emerson: It was hot work, may I say?

Edward Kitsis: Yes.

Michael Emerson: To pretend to dig your own grave in the hot sun is a lot like digging your grave in the hot sun. [chuckling]

Edward Kitsis: I'm always amazed. They always put you guys in long-sleeve shirts.

Michael Emerson: Yes!

Edward Kitsis: It's like, it's a beach. Doesn't anyone have a T-shirt?

Michael Emerson: It was very hot that day. Here's one of our better onstage interiors.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah.

Adam Horowitz: Yeah. This is a great set.

Edward Kitsis: For those of you that wondered, "Did he come on the Black Rock?" You might be able to infer that from this episode. Of course, you got it in episode nine, but...

Michael Emerson: Yeah, nice to look at this in view of what we see two weeks later.

Edward Kitsis: Right.

Adam Horowitz: For this scene, in this little storyline, a lot of this was about pushing Jack towards... From his man of science to his man of faith-ness.

Michael Emerson: Yeah.

Edward Kitsis: And willing to say, "l may not know why I'm on this island, but I know it's for a reason. And it's not to die." And I think that's what's so cool about it, and that's what's cool about the final season. You couldn't do that with Jack, season four, if we knew we were coming back for two more seasons.

Michael Emerson: Yeah.

Edward Kitsis: Jack becomes a man of faith in this episode. And you actually do the right thing. It's a groundbreaking episode.

Michael Emerson: Yeah, it is that way. I like how you connect the two storylines with dynamite, too.

Edward Kitsis: Yes.

Adam Horowitz: Dynamite is a motif on Lost.

Michael Emerson: Arzt's death was one of the only... ...sort of quasi-comical deaths on the show. Now, we have a much more sober...

Edward Kitsis: Well, and that's also what we liked, is him talking about Arzt, and we've seen Arzt. And what I love about this episode is everything really ties together.

Michael Emerson: It is very neat and... ...satisfying.

Edward Kitsis: Yes.

Michael Emerson: It's so cool to see Richard Alpert shaken.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah.

Michael Emerson: Also. Shaken in his faith, calling his mission in question.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah, you spend so much time watching you ordering him around, and everyone's got a plan. And now it's like their lives are really upended here.

Michael Emerson: Yeah.

Edward Kitsis: You've come a long way from book club.

Michael Emerson: Ain't it the truth.

Edward Kitsis: So true.

Edward Kitsis: So this... Michael, you were saying, this is on the stage.

Michael Emerson: Yes. It's shot indoors in a big, air-conditioned building. But it looks just right.

Adam Horowitz: Yeah, it's well done.

Michael Emerson: How many big games of chicken has Jack played over the years?

Adam Horowitz: Not enough.

Edward Kitsis: Not enough. And how many acts have ended with the phrase, "Let's talk"? [Emerson chuckles]

Edward Kitsis: Talking is very important of Lost.

Michael Emerson: Yes.

Edward Kitsis: You need to set something up, and then you need to talk about it and then you need to discuss it.

Michael Emerson: Yeah.

Edward Kitsis: Someone needs to tell you that you're off. That you're wrong.

Michael Emerson: It builds tension in a great way.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah. No, this whole storyline I thought was really, really great. I love watching Jack figure out his destiny.

Michael Emerson: Yeah.

Edward Kitsis: He's sorting through his life on the island, and he's like, "You know what? No."

Adam Horowitz: And this is an example of one of those things where there's a lot of mythological stuff going on, but the approach is always, on the show, to try to make it about character, and make it about Jack having to make a decision and to have to trust in something, rather than just about talking about information.

Michael Emerson: It's a great leap of faith.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah. It's great watching, 'cause normally you would think John Locke is saying this. Great to see Jack do it.

Michael Emerson: OK, then.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah. I like... Nestor... Alpert is just rocked here.

Michael Emerson: Yeah.

Edward Kitsis: And that's great. And, for those who think we make it up, look at this and then go watch nine. You know? Ab Aeterno.

Edward Kitsis: Shot of Boone Hill. Which is not actually near the beach, right? We cheated.

Michael Emerson: This was a funny shot, where Ben is so deep in the hole... Here's the bloody nose from the beating that we didn't get to see. It was a good beating, may I say?

Edward Kitsis: He really, really was beaten.

Adam Horowitz: When we shot that, it was raining, and it was at the end of the day. We really had to push to get it in, too, if I recall.

Michael Emerson: Oh-oh.

Edward Kitsis: I love the way you played this because you just assume everyone has come to watch you die. Like a true dictator. There's no friends left, including the smoke monster.

Michael Emerson: [chuckles] And he's pissed about it.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah!

Michael Emerson: It's everybody else's fault.

Edward Kitsis: I love that you play this pissed off because it... you're not looking for sympathy. You know that's done.

Michael Emerson: Yeah.

Edward Kitsis: You're gonna go out swinging.

Michael Emerson: "Have you come to gloat?"

Edward Kitsis: Oh, there it is.

Michael Emerson: Yeah.

Edward Kitsis: "Me?"

Michael Emerson: A little hook. And Giacchino seals it with one chord.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah. [Emerson chuckles] Uh-oh. I love the pause you take when you look at her and weigh your options. And you decide to do it.

Edward Kitsis: I always wonder when I watch this, what were you actually thinking? You're weighing that moment.

Michael Emerson: That's right. Ben's trying to figure out whether to do it or not.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah. I like that you take that one last dig. Right here. You're like... hmm... "Can I get away with it?"

Michael Emerson: "Where is she? What's she doing?"

Edward Kitsis: Now, you have to run again.

Michael Emerson: Oh, screw it. Here we go. Running through the jungle.

Edward Kitsis: I think, you know, for a lot of... Well... I love this scene. I love... Now, did you... You've done scenes where you've threatened people 1 00 times. Did you plan anything different for this one? Were you like, "l'm gonna play this in a different way," or...?

Michael Emerson: This one... l... I tried to capture a sense of doing a thing for the first time, and not being good at it. And also being terrified.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah, I think that really comes through in this. What I like... What I like is that you start to gain confidence.

Michael Emerson: He's on his own script now.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah. You've already taken the plunge. You're getting more confident. You see it in his face.

Michael Emerson: Right. Oh-uh. What's he gonna say? OK. Got past that.

Edward Kitsis: The scene I would've liked to see is you, home alone that night in your room, writing what you were gonna say.

Michael Emerson: [chuckling] Yes!

Edward Kitsis: You were breaking your... "Do I threaten him this way or that way?"

Michael Emerson: Yes. And he would've thought it... He would've thought it out.

Edward Kitsis: Absolutely. I like how you did the morality aside, just to let him know you're not there to judge him, but if you were, you don't approve of his behavior. [Emerson chuckles]

Edward Kitsis: This Ben Linus feels very moral, in a way.

Michael Emerson: Yeah, he is, kind of.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah.

Michael Emerson: Of course, this is a perfect parry to my plan.

Edward Kitsis: He out-Bens you here.

Michael Emerson: Yeah.

Edward Kitsis: And, for us, on Lost, it's all about choices. So, uh, what I loved most was, you know, even in this sideways, Ben is given the choice, again, to kill Alex or not.

Michael Emerson: Right.

Edward Kitsis: And this, I think... I think... Most people agree this was the scene of the episode. Coming up.

Michael Emerson: This one coming up?

Edward Kitsis: Yeah. Uh, again, this was very divisive. People in the room were like, "Why is he apologizing?"

Adam Horowitz: The really difficult thing you pulled off in this scene is to make it so that the audience can believe in Ben here, and not think that he's being duplicitous again or manipulative.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah, and I thought... What Adam was saying was... Because so many people, when they read this, were assuming, at this point you were lying. But I really felt like you meant it here. Was that hard to do?

Michael Emerson: It was because there's... There's no time to build to this... ...openness. He's there from the get-go.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah.

Michael Emerson: He has to be. It's as if he was thinking about things... As if his life were passing before him while he was running.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah. No, and I think what's great is, through all that digging, you really thought you were gonna die. That's why I love the rawness here. The emotion. This is definitely the scene of the episode.

Michael Emerson: It's fun that Ben gets to explain what he did at the end of the last season. Sort of justifies it, in a way.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah. I love that. And I think that line, you know, really carries on into the way you think for the rest of the season.

Michael Emerson: That's big.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah. What's great here is you're the first person, I believe, this season to actually refuse John Locke as smoke monster.

Michael Emerson: Yeah, his head is all shattered.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah. It was a breakthrough.

Michael Emerson: And now we're post-breakthrough on this end, too.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah. This was a classic Lost mislead.

Michael Emerson: [chuckling] Yeah.

Edward Kitsis: You know? People assume, "Of course he torched her. He doesn't care about anyone." For us, it was like, you know... Teacher Ben Linus needed a victory. And the fact that he was willing to give up everything, but he at least had History Club back was great.

Michael Emerson: Yeah.

Edward Kitsis: Those are the students he loves. The ones who want to learn. And, to me, it's like that's a whole part of Benjamin Linus', in the sideways, is that he really does love his job.

Michael Emerson: And he improvises the History Club deal. He finesses it right here.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah. That's what I love. He's still gonna get a victory.

Michael Emerson: A little bitty one, but not so small in his world.

Edward Kitsis: Right. He's still, you know, he's the leader of History Club. This was the scene where a lot of people waited for Arzt to come up and them to show it was all a con. But for us, what we loved was this was real. He made the right decision. When he sees Alex happy and coming out, he knows he made the right one. I thought you played that so well... with that look.

Michael Emerson: And he's gone to another plateau. He's left the petty teacher world behind a little bit.

Adam Horowitz: Yeah.

Edward Kitsis: This is great, because it's from that great, right decision you now return to the beach ready to be one of them.

Michael Emerson: Yeah.

Edward Kitsis: Before, you're looking through Sawyer's stash. Here, you actually are like, "Can I help?" Ben... Who would have thought Benjamin Linus is a member of the camp?

Michael Emerson: Yeah.

Edward Kitsis: And here it is. [Emerson chuckles]

Edward Kitsis: I like that look Miles gives. Like, "Really? I was hoping he'd die."

Michael Emerson: [chuckling] Yes. I'll go to Sun first.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah.

Michael Emerson: She's the nicest. Oops. Let me put... Let me put down this weapon.

Edward Kitsis: You have a good history of manipulating her into coming back to the island, so she would seem the safest choice.

Michael Emerson: [chuckles] Yeah. She looks like, "What the...?"

Edward Kitsis: Yeah. By the way, this was... Season one and season two, you always looked for what can they be doing in the scene? Adam and I were big fans of pulling a tarp. We have no idea what it means. But we literally pulled it out of the shelf for this one. We're like, "They're pulling a tarp."

Adam Horowitz: The first couple of seasons, it was always a struggle. Island business.

Michael Emerson: Island business.

Edward Kitsis: For that... This is very season one for us. A, we wanted Miles to have the diamonds because you can't just bury someone and not get them. But this is very season one to us. Giacchino plays over a montage and people return from a trek. And, you know...

Michael Emerson: Yeah, it's vintage.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah. We've been here since season one. So, every once in a while, you like to play an old... You just miss these moments. I love the way...

Michael Emerson: It's, in a way, more poignant by the fact that some of the faces are the wrong faces.

Edward Kitsis: Right. That's what I was gonna say. What I think is interesting is that you... Like, during this, you seem to keep yourself removed from everyone. Was that a conscious choice?

Michael Emerson: Yeah. I thought, socially, his acceptance isn't a done deal here.

Edward Kitsis: Yeah.

Michael Emerson: And it would be wrong to presume too much.

Edward Kitsis: No, I thought that was great. I remember when we saw the dailies, I loved the way you did that. Because it's just... It's kind of, you know, a finer point on the show. You've joined them but you don't feel like one of them.

Michael Emerson: Right. [chuckling] He couldn't look more whipped, could he?

Edward Kitsis: Right? He's defeated. Yeah.

Michael Emerson: Ominous music. Here we go. Just when we thought...

Edward Kitsis: Oh-uh.

Michael Emerson: ...things were gonna be happy.

Adam Horowitz: Can't leave well enough alone.

Edward Kitsis: No. It wouldn't be Lost if we didn't have this. What's great, also, is these two hate each other. So to have him coming... I always wondered, what's the paperwork he's doing there?

Adam Horowitz: What is the Widmore paperwork?

Edward Kitsis: What's he looking at there?

Adam Horowitz: That's a mystery for...

Edward Kitsis: Another time.

Adam Horowitz: Probably not.

Michael Emerson: It's protocols for world domination.

Edward Kitsis: I think so.

Adam Horowitz: It's a manual. [Emerson chuckles]

Edward Kitsis: Again, for us it was a pleasure to finally get to write a Ben episode. Michael always makes us look better. To me, that was just one of my favorite episodes we've ever done.

Michael Emerson: It was such great fun to play. I just think it came out... I think it's really a very successful episode.

Edward Kitsis: Yay!

Michael Emerson: So much fun to shoot.

Adam Horowitz: And that's Dr. Linus.

Edward Kitsis: That's Dr. Linus. Thank you, Michael.

Michael Emerson: Thank you.