Benjamin Linus is a reccuring antagonist from the TV series Lost. He was a long-time resident of the Island and a leader of the Others, as well as a representative for his god-like master Jacob. Though often a calm, sly, and eloquent antagonist, Ben's insecurity and jealousies sometimes brought out a petulant, reckless side.
He remained, however, an expert manipulator, a liar and a murderer, and he served as a villain for much of the series; he was the true main antagonist of Season 2, main antagonist of Season 3 and anti-hero in later seasons.
He is portrayed by Micheal Emerson, who played William Hinks on The Practice, Zep Hindle in Saw, and voiced Doctor Venom in an episode of G.I. Joe: Renegades and Joker in The Dark Knight Returns: Part 1 and 2.
Past on the Island
Ben came to the Island a polite, quiet eight-year-old, the son of an abusive DHARMA Initiative janitor. He met the island's natives, who healed him after a prisoner he freed (a time-travelling Sayid Jarrah) shot him, and he remained in touch as he grew and worked for the DHARMA Initiative. He drove his father out of the DHARMA facility on his birthday and assures his dad that this will be the last time he forgets his own son's birthday. He puts on a gas-mask and kills his father with poison gas, then returns to the DHARMA facility to see that everyone else is dead too. He later ousted and replaced their leader, Charles Widmore. As their new leader, Ben tried to solve the Island's pregnancy issues, and he raised an adoptive daughter named Alex as one of the Others.
In 2004, Ben developed cancer, but the crash of Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 brought a surgeon, Jack Shephard. After entering the survivors' camp as a prisoner under the name Henry Gale, Ben was kidnapped by the survivors and locked in an empty gun locker at "the Swan" DHARMA station. He is interrogated by multiple characters and mentions to Sayid Jarrah that he buried "his wife" at the place where "his" hot-air balloon crashed. However, it seems that the buried body was Henry Gale's body, revealing Ben as one of the Others. Meanwhile, the Others were able to convince fellow 815 crash-survivor Micheal Dawson to let Ben go free and then he'll get his kidnapped son Walt back. Micheal returned to the Swan, killed Ana Lucia and "Libby" and let Ben escape from the Swan. Micheal was then meant to lead four 815 survivors to the Others in exchange for a boat off the Island. He did so and Ben took the prisoners away to prison cells.
Ben was revealed to have a tumor in his spine and Jack would have to get rid of it, but it seems that Jack wasn't willing to do this. He did do it (after forcing the Others to let Kate Austen and James "Sawyer" Ford out of prison or else Ben dies) in the end and left him a cripple in a wheelchair. John Locke later came to the Others' camp to rescue Jack and took Alex hostage so that Ben would allow it. He tells an Other to get "the man from Tallahassee", which Locke assumed to be a code at first, but dismisses so he could tell Ben his plan; destroy the Others' submarine because if he left, he would be a cripple again as it was before the crash of 815. He did blow up the submarine and is taken by Ben to see his father Anthony Cooper tied up. Ben insisted to Locke that Cooper would have to die before Locke could "join" them in anything.
Ben later got Juliet Burke to be a spy for him at the camp of the 815 survivors so they could determine who was pregnant among them and then kidnap the suspects. Locke got Sawyer to kill Cooper and then went to Ben to tell him that he did it, denying that Sawyer was even there. Locke convinced Ben to take him to see Jacob, who is apparently not someone "you just go and see". At Jacob's apparent home, Locke sees that Jacob isn't there and Ben was crazy. However, this was because Jacob could turn invisible. The cabin starts shaking and a fire starts from Jacob being angry at Ben and Locke leaves, convinced that Ben was crazy. Then, Ben takes Locke to the grave of all who worked for the DHARMA Initiative and shoots Locke, leaving him to die in the grave with all the skeletons.
He then went away with Alex to go stop the 815ers from reaching a radio tower to disable Daniel Rousseau's looping distress signal, since he had now learned from his minion Mikhail that a helicopter pilot named Naomi was on the Island now. Ben feared that the people from the freighter Naomi came from were intending to do evil things, so he went off to try and convince Jack to not call the freighter with Naomi's satellite phone. He was taken prisoner by the 815ers and dragged off to Daniel's radio tower. Alex also reunited with Daniel, who was revealed before to be her daughter. Ben would then proceed to get Mikhail to go down to a DHARMA station called the "Looking Glass" and prevent the signal emitting from it to be disabled by Charlie Pace and Desmond Hume. This failed, as Charlie got in contact with Desmond's former lover Penelope "Penny" Widmore and found out that the freighter wasn't hers.
Ben was still a prisoner by the time Season 4 began. Here, Ben was convinced that the people on that freighter were bad guys who were going to kill everyone on the Island. He soon found out that the freighter (called the Kahana) was sent by an enemy of his named Charles Widmore, who had actually gotten a fake plane into the Pacific Ocean so that the world wouldn't learn of the Island. Given that John Locke was in a wheelchair when the crash happened and now he could walk, along with another 815er named Rose having cancer that the Island has now cured, that would definitely be able to convince Widmore to do evil things to the Island. But first, his goal was to take revenge on Ben and torture him for replacing him as leader of the Others.
When Jack and Locke's argument over whether or not the people on the freighter were good or evil, they split up, with Locke taking Ben with him to the Others' housing area called (by the DHARMA Initiative) the Barracks, where Season 3 flashbacks showed that Ben had betrayed the Initiative and used poisonous gas to kill his father and everyone from DHARMA who dared to step foot on his Island. Freighter representatives Miles Straume and Daniel Faraday came to the Island on a helicopter with help from Frank Lapidus (the original pilot of Oceanic 815) and Jack convinced them to take Sayid and Desmond to the Kahana, hoping that they would learn if the Kahana was good or evil.
Later on, Ben states that he has a spy on the boat, whose alias was Kevin Johnson, and worked as a janitor. Sayid and Desmond discovered that Kevin was actually an alias created by Ben to be used by Micheal Dawson, who sought to make up for betraying the 815ers in Season 2. When the evil Martin Keamy arrived on the Island with his Kahana pals, they killed Other member and Alex's lover Karl and Daniel Rousseau and took Alex prisoner. Keamy took Alex to the Barracks, knowing about the dangerous "electric" fence that surrounded it to keep Jacob's nemesis away.
Alex sent a warning signal to the Barracks and Ben showed a secret passageway to escape from the villains, who had now killed 3 people and blew up Claire Littleton's abode. She survived this and Keamy executed Alex when Ben refused to listen to him. Before, Miles had asked that Ben give him $3.2 million dollars in exchange for a lie to be told to the Kahana stating that Ben already died. As revenge, Ben summoned Jacob's nemesis (the Smoke Monster) to the Barracks and makes it kill all the mercenaries, yet by some miracle Keamy doesn't die. Ben and Locke go to find Jacob and learn what they should do next; move the Island. To do so, Ben and Locke, accompanied by Hurley, go to a DHARMA station called the Orchid, which had access to a wheel they could turn to move the Island. At the Orchid, Ben told Locke instructions on what to do, since it was now time for Ben to trick Keamy into his own death.
He turns himself over to Keamy and gets him into a fight against Sayid, and gets Keamy shot by Richard Alpert. Now that this was supposedly done, Ben told Kate and Sayid to leave the Island now on the helicopter, then goes back to the Orchid. At the Orchid, Ben and Locke enter a station made for electromagnetic experimentation and Ben puts a series of metal objects inside "the Vault", despite an orientation film explicitly saying to not put metal objects inside. Keamy comes in, surviving with bullet-proof armor, and reveals a heart-monitor that will trigger a series of explosives at the ship if his heart stops beating. Ben stabs him to death and ends up destroying the ship, but he didn't care anymore. He put on a winter coat and told Locke that he leads the Others now, since if you move the Island, you can't come back. He blows a hole in the other side of the Vault, climbs into it and enters a frozen room with a giant spinning wheel. Ben says "I hope you're happy now, Jacob", turns the wheel and makes the Island vanish into the space-time continuum. At the end of the episode, Ben appears to Jack on the mainland in a morgue and tells him that they all need to come back to the Island; Kate, Hurley, everyone who left. They'll also need to bring along the body of John Locke as well.
He spent the next few years on the mainland, and though he failed to kill Widmore's daughter as promised, he eliminated much of the man's organization using Sayid, a survivor who escaped. He murdered Locke, who'd come to retrieve those who'd left, but he continued Locke's mission and returned the survivors to the Island. There, the monster judged him for Alex's death and took the form of Locke, convincing Ben to kill Jacob, the Island's protector. He was convinced to do so by the monster reminding Ben what his allegiance to Jacob had cost him. He and the monster entered the statue where Jacob lived and Ben stabbed him twice, so the monster threw Jacob's corpse into a fire at the centre of the room.
Ben left the statue to tell Richard Alpert to meet "Locke" inside, but is then shown the corpse of Locke that had been found among the wreckage of Ajira Airways Flight 316. In utter confusion, Ben enters the statue again and watches the monster in Smoke Monster form kill several guys who were brought to the Island by Ajira 316 to guard Jacob. The monster appears as Locke and apologizes to Ben for making him "see [him] like that".
Meanwhile, in the "flash-sideways" timeline, Ben was portrayed as a teacher of European history at a school run by a man who doesn't care much for it. After death, Ben was a teacher of his previous 'daughter', Alex. As his acquaintances from the Island moved on, he chose to stay behind to work out his issues.