Emerson Explains Why Ben Is Such A Punching BagS

With Lost's season finale airing next Wednesday, Ben in a position he's never been in before: the underdog. Surely Ben has some tricks up his sleeve? We asked Michael Emerson what to expect. With spoilers!


We've never seen Ben so lost and confused as in the most recent episode. Are we seeing the end of the Ben who's always three steps ahead of everyone else?

Yeah, I wonder. He's certainly off his game. [But] he's still scrambling. The wheels are still turning. He's looking for breaks. He's looking for glimmers of opportunity. His spirit is low becuase of recent events, because of confrontations with demons from his past, both real and metaphorical. So I don't know. My guess is, he can't be kept down forever.

Because that's what Ben does. He bounces back every single time.

He's never so vulnerable to manipulation as he is now. That's the thing that i'm a little concerned about. My guess is, he can't be kept down forever.

I've been re-watching some of seasons three and four, and Ben is always battered and bruised.

I would venture to say he's the most beaten character in the history of television.

It must mean tons of time in the makeup chair.

Yes.

Are we witnessing the slow-motion martyrdom of Ben? Is Ben a martyr to the island?

That's interesting. I think Ben is a great sufferer, and I'm not sure if he doesn't sort of embrace his beatings. I don't know if it's a question of atonement, as you might be suggesting. But it certainly is a good psychological information-gathering tool. I do feel like it happens to him too often to be just accidental.

He puts himself in the way of it.

I think he puts himself in the way of it, because in the exchange, he always gains something.

Well, except maybe with Penny and Desmond. He did learn that Penny had a baby, I guess.

Yeah, hold onto that. Because it was the child that broke up that event.

So as you mentioned, Ben has faced his demons from the past now. Is he heading for some sort of redemption at the end of the series? Is it going to be like Darth Vader in Return Of The Jedi?

I never thought about a model like that. I don't know if he needs that much redemption, but yeah. I wonder. That's a good point. And because the ending of the [season] finale so upsets the landscape of the show, I think that almost anything new and strange is possible for next season.

What else can you tell us about the finale?

It's been set up now. We see that we have two companies of heroes. Both of them are on sort of desperate missions to uncharted, possibly cataclysmic territory, and if they both succeed in whatever their missions turn out to be, I think the result is so dramatically cataclysmic, that it's going to leave us with a couple of reactions. One is, "Can they do that?" And the second one is, "Then what is the show next season?" I mean, that's what I thought when I put down the script.

Wow. So I feel like Ben has been the voice of some of the more spiritual explanations for events on the show, while Faraday gave the scientific explanations. Now that Faraday is dead, will the spiritual be in ascendance?

I think the show still runs on science, but... Boy, that's a good question. What is ascendant now? I think ultimately spirit will be ascendant even in a world that runs on scientific principles.