"The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" is the seventh episode of Season 5 of Lost, and the ninety-third produced hour of the series as a whole. It was originally broadcast on February 25, 2009. Locke's fateful mission off the Island as Jeremy Bentham is revealed.


Previously on Lost[]


In the wheel chamber[]

Locke realigns the frozen wheel. Christian tells him to say hello to his son. Locke says, "Who's your son?" as the flash of light envelopes him.


5x07 Deja vu

Locke awakens in the Tunisian desert.

Locke appears in the Tunisian desert three years after the Oceanic Six left the island. He vomits upon arriving. He is lying in direct view of a surveillance camera. He repeatedly calls for help towards the camera to no avail. At night, he is recovered by a pickup truck full of men who roughly bring him to a poorly-equipped rural hospital, arriving in the daytime. The doctor there reduces his open fracture and sets his leg while Matthew Abaddon watches from across the room. Locke passes out from the pain. He is awakened by Charles Widmore who is sitting by his hospital bed. Widmore tells Locke that he had a specialist flown in to do a better job of setting the leg. Widmore relates how he was 17 when he first met Locke on the island. Intrigued by the fact that Locke looks no different now than when they originally met over 50 years ago (for Widmore), he asks Locke how long it has been since he walked into the camp to speak to Richard. Locke replies that it has only been four days. Locke confirms that the camera in the desert is Widmore's, asking how Widmore knew he would be there. Widmore replies "that's The Exit." Widmore explains that he was the leader of the Others before being exiled by Ben, hence Locke should trust Widmore as they have the same goals in mind for protecting the Island.


Widmore presents to Locke his ally: Matthew Abaddon.

Widmore assumes aloud that Locke was exiled by Ben as well, but Locke corrects him, saying that he left voluntarily, to bring his friends back to the Island. Locke mentions that Ben left the island before he did. Locke questions why Widmore should want Locke and the others back on the island. Widmore says that there is a war coming and if Locke is not back, the "wrong side" is going to win.

Later, during the daytime, Widmore and Locke sit outside the hospital and Widmore tells Locke that he will help him find the Oceanic Six. Widmore gives him dossiers on their locations, as he has been keeping an extensive eye on them. He also offers Abaddon as a driver and introduces him to Locke. Widmore concludes their meeting by giving Locke a large amount of money, a mobile phone with which Widmore can be contacted by dialing 23 and finally a Canadian passport with the identity "Jeremy Bentham". Widmore explains that Bentham was a 19th century philosopher, and that Widmore chose the name to keep in theme with Locke's birth name. Locke is skeptical of Widmore's offers but accepts the help, and he and Abaddon drive off towards the airport to fly to Santo Domingo, to find Sayid.

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic[]


A dubious Sayid listens to Locke.

Sayid is seen helping to construct a school as part of a charity called Build Our World. A construction foreman alerts Sayid of Locke's presence. Locke speaks with him, but Sayid refuses to return. He explains that Ben had manipulated him for two years into "protecting" the rest of the Oceanic Six, and it was only by leaving the Island that he got to finally marry Nadia, with whom he spent nine months, before her death. Sayid questions if the only reason that Locke wants to return to the Island is because he has nowhere else to go. Before leaving, Locke tells Sayid that he can be contacted under the name Jeremy Bentham, staying at the Westerfield Hotel in Los Angeles, just in case Sayid ever changes his mind. Sayid mentions that John can always come back to Santo Domingo to find him, just in case Locke ever wants to do any "real good" in the world.

New York, NY[]


Walt greets Locke after three years of separation.

Locke and Abaddon stop opposite a school in uptown New York. While waiting, Locke asks Abaddon to locate Helen Norwood for him. Abaddon asks if she is an old girlfriend, a question to which Locke doesn't reply. As the school bell rings, Locke asks Abaddon to help him out of the car. A group of students leaves the school, and amongst them is Walt. Locke waves to Walt, who promptly leaves his friends and crosses the street to talk to Locke. Locke asks why Walt isn't surprised to see him, and Walt explains that he'd been having dreams of Locke in a suit on the Island, surrounded by people who wanted to hurt him. Locke says that it is good that they are just dreams, to which Walt gives him a nervous and confused look. Walt also asks about his father, whom he suspects of returning to the Island after dropping out of contact for three years. Locke lies & tells Walt that the last he had heard of Michael, he was on the freighter. Walt asks why Locke came to visit him, and Locke lies again, telling Walt that he wanted to make sure he was OK, when he really came to tell Walt that Michael died. After Walt leaves, Abaddon asks why John didn't try to convince Walt to return. John answers by saying that Walt had been through enough, and that he only needs to convince one of the Oceanic Six to return, and after that the rest will follow. As the pair return to the car, Ben is revealed to have been watching them from across the street.

Santa Rosa, CA[]


Locke visits a paranoid Hurley.

When John first rolls up to Hurley in his wheelchair, Hurley is seen drawing a picture of an Egyptian sphinx. Hurley, completely nonchalant, asks Locke why he is in a wheelchair, to which Locke replies that he fell down a hole. Hurley asks him if this is how he died, assuming Locke is dead as he has been having regular conversations with dead people. However, Hurley asks a nurse if he is talking to a man in a wheelchair, and she confirms it, letting Hurley believe Locke is alive. He asks him how he got off the Island, and Locke attempts to persuade Hurley to return to the Island. The attempt fails when Hurley sees Abaddon and panics, refusing to have any more to do with either of them, insisting that "that guy is evil." Hurley recounts how Abaddon posed as an employee of Oceanic Airlines at Santa Rosa Hospital.

After Locke returns to the car, he finally acknowledges that he recognizes Abaddon as the hospital orderly who originally told him to go on a walkabout. When Locke asks Abaddon what he really does for Widmore, Abaddon says his job is to "help people get to where they need to get to."

Los Angeles, CA[]


Kate refuses to return to the Island.

Locke is at Kate's house, who refuses to return in spite of the consequences to those still on the Island. Kate tells Locke that she believes the only reason he wanted to stay on the island was because he didn't love anybody. He disagrees, and talks about his relationship with Helen which didn't work out because he was "angry and obsessed." Kate sarcastically replies "look how far you've come." Locke leaves the house and promptly asks Abaddon about his quest to find Helen. Abaddon states that he hasn't found her, that perhaps she moved away or changed her name. Angrily, Locke questions him about this, as Abaddon had no trouble locating all of the Oceanic Six in locations across the world.

Santa Monica, CA[]

5x07 Dead Abaddon

Abaddon is gunned down by Ben.

Locke and Abaddon are in a cemetery, before a stone memorializing Helen who died on 4-8-2006. Abaddon states that she died of a brain aneurysm. John laments that Helen loved him and if he had stayed, they would have been together. Abaddon states that it wouldn't change anything, she'd still be dead, but Locke seems unconvinced. Abaddon reasons that Helen is where she is supposed to be and that Locke is destined to end up on the island. Locke questions whether he believes that everything is predetermined and that he doesn't have a choice; Abaddon asks whether Richard Alpert's prediction that Locke must die is predetermined or whether it's a choice. Locke, confused, wonders aloud how it could possibly be his choice to die. As Abaddon is loading John's wheelchair into the car's trunk, he is shot three times by an unseen assailant. Locke climbs hurriedly into the driver's seat. In blind panic, Locke recklessly drives away, ultimately driving through a red light, and is struck by two cars at the intersection. He is knocked unconscious by the impact.


A frustrated Jack refuses to believe Locke.

He wakes up in a hospital bed, with a disheveled Jack sitting next to him. Locke asks how Jack found him, and Jack replies that Locke was in a car accident and was brought to his hospital. When Locke says it's a fate, Jack says it was nothing more than a coincidence, much to Locke's dismay. Jack refuses to accept that it is their destiny to return and asks Locke to seriously question whether or not he is truly as "special" as he believes. Jack goes to leave but Locke stops him, telling him that his father says "Hi," having ruled Christian out as Sayid's father or Hurley's father. Jack states that Christian died three years ago in Australia, but Locke says he didn't look dead to him. Locke implores Jack to come back to the island with him, as he is the only one the others will follow. Jack angrily tells Locke to leave him and the other survivors alone and that none of them were ever "important."

5x07 HoldIt

Ben begs Locke to abort his suicide attempt.

Later, nearly a month later according to Jack ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 2"), in his room at the Westerfield Hotel, Locke writes his suicide note, addressed to Jack, and places the envelope in his pocket. He throws the cell phone that Widmore gave him into the trashcan. He takes a length of extension cord, ties a noose, climbs on a table and is about to hang himself when there is a knock at the door. He ignores it, but after a few knocks and yells, Ben forces the door open and enters the room. Ben begs him to stop, saying that he only wants to help John. Ben admits to shooting Matthew Abaddon, as according to Ben, he is very dangerous as an employee of Widmore and he would have killed Locke if Ben hadn't killed him first. Widmore, Ben claims, was using John to get back to the Island and is the reason that Ben moved it in the first place. Ben then unties the extension cord, telling Locke that he is important. Ben offers his help to a distraught Locke, who is convinced he is incapable of being a leader. Ben tells Locke that Jack booked a return ticket from LA to Sydney, which proves Jack's change of attitude.

5x07 GoodbyeOldFriend

Locke dies at the hands of Ben.

As he helps Locke down, Ben tells Locke he has too much work to do to die and suggests contacting Sun. Locke says he promised Jin he wouldn't contact her, and shows Ben the wedding ring Jin gave him. Ben is surprised that Jin is alive. Locke states that he knows what he must do next - he must contact a woman who lives in Los Angeles named Eloise Hawking. At the mention of her name, Ben is visibly startled. Locke asks if Ben knows the woman, and Ben quietly confirms their acquaintance. Suddenly, Ben strangles Locke with the discarded cord, eventually killing him. He later hangs Locke in a staged suicide and cleans the hotel room of his own fingerprints. Before leaving, he sees Jin's ring and takes it with him. Standing in the doorway, Ben says aloud: "I'll miss you, John. I really will." He then leaves, apparently unaware of the suicide note in Locke's pocket.

On Hydra Island (2007)[]


The camp gathers around the stranger.

Caesar is going through Ben's office in the Hydra. Caesar sees a 1954 Life magazine with a cover story of a hydrogen bomb. He also finds a file that contains one of Danielle Rousseau's maps, one of the pages from Daniel Faraday's journal, and Daniel's map. Daniel's map has mysteriously been augmented to include hieroglyphs since the last time it was seen. Caesar comes across a loaded gun hidden under a desk that he quickly takes and hides in his bag. Ilana then comes in and asks him if he's found anything, and he says no. When she presses him, he takes a flashlight out of the sack and tosses it to her, not mentioning the gun. She tells him that there is a man on the beach in a suit who was not on the plane. On the way back to the Flight 316 survivors' camp Ilana and Caesar walk on a gravel path, the plane sits on the path at an angle, but is intact. When they arrive to the camp, they meet the man who is wearing an Ajira Airways blanket over his head like a hood. He introduces himself as John Locke.


Ilana greets the man calling himself Locke on the beach.

The following day, Locke stands at the edge of the surf, gazing toward the main Island. Christian Shephard's shoes lie on the sand nearby. Ilana walks up to Locke and introduces herself, and offers him a mango, which he muses may be the best mango he has ever tasted. Locke inquires about two outrigger canoes which sit nearby on the shore. Ilana says that the canoes were already there, and that there had been a third one, but the pilot and "a woman" left in one of them during the night. Ilana then asks why Locke is dressed so nicely, and Locke surmises that he was to be buried in that suit. Locke says that he doesn't remember being on the plane, but he does remember dying. Ilana looks at him strangely and walks away.

5x07 DeadOrAlive

Locke recognizes Ben as the man who killed him.

Later, Locke visits Caesar in the office in the Hydra. He explains briefly about the DHARMA Initiative, whose logo appears on the document Caesar is reading. Caesar questions Locke's knowledge of this, and Locke replies that he has been on the Island before, for over 100 days. Caesar, confused but curious, asks Locke if he can explain what he witnessed on the plane, describing how he was sitting next to a heavyset man with curly hair who disappeared during the flash of light, and that other survivors of the crash also reported seeing passengers disappear. Realizing from his description that Caesar is talking about Hurley, Locke responds that he now has a better idea of how he came to be on the Island.

Locke asks whether everyone apart from the people who disappeared are accounted for. Caesar says that they are, other than those who were injured in the crash. He leads Locke to a makeshift infirmary where the injured passengers are resting. Locke moves between them, closely looking at each person. He seems disappointed, until he comes to the last of the injured, who is revealed to be Ben and who Locke identifies as "the man who killed me".


  • Locke purchased the power cord to hang himself with from "Angel's Hardware", which is also the name of a Southern California hardware retail chain defunct since the 1980s.
  • The mango is considered by many in India to be the tree/fruit of knowledge/life.
  • The hieroglyphs on Daniel's map appear to read "Northward travel" and "Time of kings/ancients".
  • The Life Magazine that Caesar finds in the Hydra station is from April 19, 1954. It features an article about a hydrogen bomb test.
  • The newspaper that Charles Widmore shows Locke is a copy of the fictitious London Daily Tribune. Dated January 14, 2005, the return of the Oceanic Six dominates the front page. Stories on a car crash and the dollar/euro exchange rate also appear on the page.
  • Locke meets with Walt in front of the fictional Southfield's Auction House, the same auction company which auctioned the Black Rock journal to Charles Widmore in London.
  • ABC has offices in NYC on W67th between Columbus and Amsterdam, near where 8th Ave would intersect 67th St if it were named as such (which it isn't) - referring to the scene where Walt and John Locke meet in NYC.
Rousseau's Map

Danielle's map of the Island

  • As Locke looks out from the beach on Hydra Island, the view he has of the Island seems to match Rousseau's map.
  • There appears to be some discrepancy between the events depicted in this episode and those referenced in "There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3". In the latter episode, Jack relates to Kate that Locke told him that a lot of "bad things" happened (e.g. redshirt survivors) because the Oceanic Six left the Island. While talking to Ben, Jack also claimed that John Locke told him that he was off the island. Similarly, Walt appeared to know Locke's alias of Jeremy Bentham. This is possibly a blooper/continuity error or a suggestion that Locke may have visited them both a second time not shown in this episode.
  • Apart from the reused footage of Locke turning the frozen wheel, this entire episode takes place off the Island. The only real-time events take place on Hydra Island, while the rest is a flashback.
  • Abaddon's license plate is SZU 766. This is not (as some have conjectured) a reference to Sun Tzu. Rather, it is the same stock license plate used by Marlon Brando in the film Don Juan DeMarco.
  • When John visits Hurley in the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute, he is wearing a name tag with the name "Jeremy Bentham", which would explain how Hurley knew about his alias in "There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3".
  • This episode is rated TV-14-V.

Production notes[]

  • This marks the first time in the show's history in which Josh Holloway (Sawyer) has not appeared for two consecutive episodes.
  • For his appearance, Malcolm David Kelley (Walt) is credited as a guest star only in the alphabetical guest cast list and not "special guest star". This trend would continue in Season 6.
    • This is Malcolm David Kelley's last actual appearance in the series. He later appears in archive footage in "The End".
    • Despite the fact that Walt's visit to Hurley at Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 2") takes place after Locke's visit, Walt's voice has changed in the latter, but has not in the former (presumably because this scene was written and filmed later, after Malcolm David Kelley's voice had changed).
  • William Blanchette is credited as Aaron, but does not appear in this episode. Aaron is shown only as an infant on the cover of a newspaper.
  • John Terry was credited as Christian Shephard in the press release for this episode, but is not listed in the actual credits, and appears only in earlier footage from "This Place Is Death" at the beginning of Locke's flashbacks.
  • This episode was originally intended to be the sixth of the season, but was later switched to air after "316". This is only the second time in the show's history that the order of the episodes had been switched, having happened only in Season 1 with "Solitary" and "Raised by Another".
  • According to DarkUFO, the opening scene of this episode was originally intended to be the opening scene of "Because You Left". [1]
  • A "Lost: On Location" featurette for this episode is available on the Season 5 DVD.
  • This is the eighth extended episode of Lost, running five minutes longer than the standard one-hour episodes. Other episodes that were extended were "The Other 48 Days", "What Kate Did", "The Long Con", "Maternity Leave", "Dave", "?" and "Ab Aeterno".

Bloopers and continuity errors[]

Extra blooper

Blooper with "New York" extras.

  • The "New York" extras are shown several times throughout the scene in an inconsistent manner, such as walking behind Locke and Abaddon twice, each time headed in the same directions (see screencaps). [2]
  • When Walt asks Locke why he came to see him, shot changes from Locke's face, to Walt and then back to Locke's face before he responds. When camera changes to Walt, we can clearly see Locke turn his head. But when camera goes back to Locke's face, he is still facing exactly in same direction as he was before he turned his head.
  • As Hurley is being led away by the two orderlies at Santa Rosa, they both instantly switch places on either side of him between subsequent shots.
  • The license plate clearly visible on the car driven by Abaddon is an out of date New York plate. The Statue of Liberty plate was replaced in 2001 with a new, redesigned plate and virtually no current automobiles feature the old plate.
  • The Tunisian license plates have '342' and '207' as 'series numbers' which as of the end of February 2009 didn't exist and the highest possible was 137.
  • As Abaddon is driving Locke down the road to the airport in Tunisia, an American 45MPH speed limit sign can be seen briefly outside the passenger window.
  • The Canadian passport Locke is given by Widmore was issued in 2007 and expires in 2017. However, Canadian passports must be renewed every 5 years, not 10. Furthermore, the passport style is the one employed by Passports Canada between 1993 and 2002. The issuing office is said to be Vancouver: so, for John to be using a valid Canadian passport it should have been the new style design featuring a printed digital photograph and holographic maple leaves. [3]
  • The handwriting in Locke's letter to Jack ("I wish you had believed me") is slightly different between the version we see Locke write, and the one Jack reads on the plane (the word "believed" is most notable).
  • The Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute location has been repeatedly portrayed, and once stated, as outside Los Angeles, California. However in this episode, its location was identified as Santa Rosa, CA., which is over 400 miles to the north of Los Angeles.
  • Ben kicks open the locked door to John Locke's room at the Westerfield Hotel. Later, after staging Locke's suicide, when Ben is seen leaving the room there is no damage to the door frame, knob or lock.
  • When Locke visits Walt, he does not refer to himself as Jeremy Bentham, yet in "There's No Place Like Home, Part 2", Walt seems to know about this alias.
  • In Tunisia, Charles Widmore shows Locke a surveillance photo of Sayid working construction on a school in Santo Domingo. When Locke actually visits him there, Sayid is sitting in the exact same spot on the roof as in the photo, the roof is in the exact same phase of construction as it was in the photo, and vines hanging from overhead are placed exactly the same as the photo. This indicates that the photo was taken during the filming of the scene.


The Season 5 soundtrack includes the track "Locke's Excellent Adventure" from this episode.


Recurring themes[]

Cultural references[]

  • Abaddon: Hurley says "He's evil" about Abaddon. Abaddon, in the Bible, means "place of destruction". (Religion and ideologies)
  • Life: Caesar finds the April 19, 1954 issue of Life magazine, featuring a cover story about hydrogen bomb testing. This magazine is contemporary with the on-Island events of "Jughead". (Literary works)  (History)
  • Creature from the Black Lagoon: As Caesar flips through the Life magazine, a photograph from the 1954 film Creature from the Black Lagoon is seen on one of the pages. It depicts the Creature (known as the Gill-man) holding a woman it its arms. This woman is Julie Adams, who plays Amelia on Lost. (Movies and TV)

Hurley's painting

  • Sphinx: When Locke visits Hurley at the Santa Rosa Mental Institute, Hurley is seen painting a picture presumably of the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt. (History)
  • John Locke and Jeremy Bentham: Widmore muses about Locke's parents calling him John. This is the first direct reference to the 17th century philosopher John Locke and the first time a character points out the connection. The same applies to the alias Jeremy Bentham he then gives John. (Philosophy)

Literary techniques[]

  • Locke tells Jack, "We have to go back." (Regularly spoken phrases)
  • Ben tells John he cannot die because he has too much "work to do." (Regularly spoken phrases)
  • Widmore mentions that Locke is "special". (Regularly spoken phrases)
  • Hurley tells Locke, "I'm not going anywhere with you." (Regularly spoken phrases)
  • Hurley has become so used to his visions of dead people, that he is more surprised when he finds out that Locke is really alive. (Irony)
  • Locke survives a massive car accident and is talked out of suicide, but he's finally murdered by the person who talked him out of killing himself. (Irony)
  • Locke dismisses the possibility of having ever thought about suicide. Not much later, he chooses this exact way to die. (Irony)
  • Locke dies in the same way that the most hated man in his life, his father, did. (Irony)
  • Abaddon is shot and killed in a cemetary. (Irony)
    • Moments earlier, Abaddon stated "Helen is where she's supposed to be. Sad as it is, her path led here." As it turns out, his did as well. (Irony)
  • We find that John Locke is alive on the island after Ben said to him, "You can't die", and proceeds to kill him. (Irony)
  • Ben tells Locke that Widmore was planning to kill him, not protect him. (Juxtaposition)
  • John Locke appears to be alive on the Island. (Plot twist)
  • Ben previously stated he didn't know Locke "killed himself", when it is revealed that he staged the suicide after killing him. (Plot twist)
  • Though the episode concerns Locke's off-island adventures as Jeremy Bentham, it starts and ends with a living Locke on the island. (Framing device)
  • The ring intended to prove that Jin is dead is eventually used to prove he is alive. (Irony)
  • Ben murders Locke. In "316", Jack asked Ben "Was it my fault?" when feeling guilty about his death. Ben responds "No, Jack, it wasn't your fault." (Irony)

Storyline analysis[]

Episode connections[]

Episode references[]

Episode allusions[]

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: The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham/Theories
  • When did Locke visit Jack?
    • When did he tell Jack the things repeated later to Kate, and then to Ben, about the dangers to people on the island?