Scene of the Week 4: Ben vs. Widmore - The Shape of Things To Come
Ben Crashes Widmore's Bedroom
BEN: "Wake up, Charles."
WIDMORE: "I wondered when you were gonna show up. I see you've been getting more sun."
BEN: "Iraq is lovely this time of year. When did you start sleeping with a bottle of scotch by the bed?"
WIDMORE: "When the nightmares started."
Before the dark man crashed Jacob's fish-fry, our main event consisted of Benjamin Linus vs. Charles Widmore. By the middle of season four, these two juggernauts finally collided in the shadowy realm of Widmore's London penthouse bedroom.
The confrontation between these characters was a long time in coming. Up until now we hadn't seen much of Widmore, but we knew that his agenda directly opposed that of Benjamin Linus. Did this make him the good guy? Or was Ben actually the good one, as he would have everyone believe? This scene did little to clear that question up, but it did add one important new task to Ben's already full plate: revenge.
Widmore's reaction seems to indicate he's been expecting Ben. Maybe he has, or maybe he's bluffing. Whatever the case, Charles might actually be pleased to see his adversary. Ben's mention of the island's exit point could mean that he's finally been kicked off the island once and for all.
As for Widmore's nightmares, perhaps they started once the Flight 815 survivors reached the island. If we believe Faraday's season five assertion that none of them are "supposed to be there", perhaps this eventually results in the 'war' Widmore refers to later on.
Also interesting in this scene is the lighting. Shadows are expertly manipulated to fall across Ben's face, bisecting it neatly down the nose line into two halves: one side falling into darkness, one exposed to the light. As Charles sits up in bed the same thing happens to him, only the opposite sides of his face are light and dark. Ben's right side is cloaked in darkness, but for Charles it's his left. This continues LOST's "mirror" theme, representing the constant duality of the two sides and players in addition to continuing the black and white imagery we so often see.
WIDMORE: "Have you come here to kill me, Benjamin?"
BEN: "We both know I can't do that."
WIDMORE: "Then why are you here?"
This was one of the more interesting aspects of their whole conversation. We already know there are rules and laws that bind The Others to a certain code of conduct. Can they kill? Sure. We've even watched them kill one another, as Juliet shoots Danny Pickett earlier on in season three. But right here, right now, there's something preventing these characters from killing one another directly. For some strange reason, Ben couldn't kill Widmore even if he wanted to.
We see an even more pointed example of this during Jacob's discussion with his dark-shirted nemesis. There's an underlying hatred there as well, with the dark man wanting very badly to kill his opponent and end their eternal conflict. Again, for reasons we don't know, he's unable to move directly against Jacob... just as Charles and Benjamin can't kill one another in this scenario.
BEN: "I'm here Charles, because you murdered my daughter."
This marks the first time we get a more personal glimpse into Benjamin Linus. Up until now, he's been all business. Everything he's done has been for the sake of some hidden agenda. Every move Ben's made has traditionally been in the island's best interests. But not this one. Now, he's here on his own personal vendetta - a quest that has little to do with the island and everything to do with making Widmore feel the same pain he's going through right now.
WIDMORE: "Don't stand there, looking at me with those horrible eyes of yours and lay the blame for the death of that poor girl on me, when we both know very well I didn't murder her at all, Benjamin. You did."
BEN: "No, that's not true."
WIDMORE: "Yes, Benjamin, it is. You creep into my bedroom in the dead of night - like a rat - and have the audacity to pretend that you're the victim?"
Widmore counters Ben's accusations calmly and cooly, sipping MacCutcheon's as he explains his position. Widmore not only refuses to accept responsibility for Alex's death, he actually lays the blame on Ben. Does he know how Alex died? Could he know? Those questions are answered later on in season five, when we learn Charle's position on the matter: Alex should've died long ago as a baby, as per the island's decree. According to Widmore, Ben never saved Alex at all - he merely delayed her death. However, up in the penthouse bedroom, this is something we don't know about just yet.
WIDMORE: "I know who you are, boy. What you are. I know that everything you have, you took from me. So... once again I ask you: Why are you here?"
This is the first hint we get as to why these characters hate each other so much. Ben has taken something from Widmore - the island - and Widmore wants it back. The interesting line here however, is Widmore's use of the words what you are. It's not enough to just know who Benjamin Linus is (and we also learn he's known him since he was a boy), Widmore also knows what. This gives Ben an almost superhuman quality.
BEN: "I'm here, Charles, to tell you that I'm going to kill your daughter. Penelope, is it? And once she's gone... once she's dead... then you'll understand how I feel. And you'll wish you hadn't changed the rules."
Ben's motivation for revenge is simple: he wants Widmore to feel his pain. His mention of the rules once again re-affirms Ben's opinion that Widmore has somehow gone against irrefutable laws of the island. Somehow, he believes, Widmore has managed to bend the rules. This becomes incredibly important in season five, where the rules seem to dictate that nothing can be changed, and whatever happened, happened.
WIDMORE: "You'll never find her. That island's mine, Benjamin. It always was. It will be again."
BEN: "But you'll never find it."
WIDMORE: "Then I suppose the hunt is on for both of us."
BEN: "I suppose it is. Sleep tight, Charles."
Ben finally accomplishes his goal here: he rattles Widmore and shakes him up. Taking revenge by killing Penny might've been easier had Ben not announced his intentions, but he wouldn't have derived as much pleasure from it. The sole purpose of Ben's visit was to make Widmore feel helpless and fearful. He wanted to add to Charles' nightmares by telling him exactly what he was going to do.
Widmore spills his hand as he shifts forward in bed. His assertion that Ben will never find Penny is half-hearted. He knows the kind of man Benjamin Linus is, and he knows the resources at his disposal. As powerful a man as Charles Widmore is, he realizes this is the one adversary he should not have pissed off.