(Episode: Dead is Dead
. Spoilers ahead.)
In the past, the desperate scheme to save Ben works, and carries the side effect of very selective amnesia. He remembers DHARMA, but not the shooting, or (apparently) any other episode involving the time-warped Lostaways. Present Ben seems genuinely surprised to see several of Sun's comrades in the DHARMA Class of '77 portrait.
(And that building where the photo was displayed was completely ignored by the Others when they took over the Barracks. Did Jacob place it off limits or something?)
He is also terrified at seeing Locke back from the dead, as he confesses to Sun. Earlier he lied to Locke about being unsurprised.
Ben has a mission. He has broken a taboo: returning to the island after having left it. (Yeah, but so have Mittelos employees Alpert and Ethan - what gives?) He must stand before the island's court of law - the Smoke Monster. Locke accompanies him to the temple, where the judge awaits.
Ben is weighed on the scales and found wanting. Smokey is concerned with only one misdeed of Ben's past - the time he gambled with Alex's life (and losing it) in the past standoff with Widmore's commando hireling. Ben is given a reprieve, but in Alex's form warns him not to carry out his private scheme to kill Locke again.
Note that Smokey doesn't bring up any of Ben's other transgressions, such as the mass murder of DHARMA, which included his own father.
The flashbacks explain Ben's predicament. He was the one who had snatched baby Alex from her mother. Charles Widmore, then a leader of the Others, had ordered Danielle to be killed. Ben refused that order, and Widmore's new order to kill the baby they hadn't known about. Ben adopts the girl. Some time later, he banishes Widmore for having snuck off the island several times against the taboo, even fathering a child (Penny, apparently) with an outsider. (I suspect that during these trips Widmore somehow used island secrets to become a gazillionaire.)
On the day of the Ajira flight, Ben calls Charles and tells him he's about to keep his promise to kill Penny, in retribution for Alex's death. He shoots Desmond in the abdomen, is about to shoot Penny, but hesitates as he sees their child - and sees the parallel with the mission Widmore had sent him on to kill Danielle Rousseau so many years ago. Des is merely wounded, and punches Ben out and tosses him into the water.
At the end of the episode Lapidus returns to the little island; he had left the Barracks alone, not wanting anything to do with all this weirdness. He finds that several survivors, led by Ilana, have staged an armed coup. He fails to give the "password," the correct answer to the query "what lies in the shadow of the statue," and is thus assaulted and tied up. I an near certain these are Widmore's people.
Labels: Lost, Television