The bulk of the episode—Ben’s flashback and his modern-day journey with John Locke to Jacob’s cabin—required no deep Google dives for me to reconnect instantly. Why? Because Ben’s journey isn’t really about The Purge, the cabin, or any of the other Easter eggs dropped devilishly into the mix. Rather, Ben’s journey in this episode represents the central interrogation of LOST as a whole: What belief systems do we create in order to make life bearable, and at what cost do we commit to those systems?
The show doesn’t look down on these belief systems, even though many people make many horrible choices based on those systems throughout the course of the series. But the “Live together, die alone” tenet espoused by nominal series protagonist Jack Shephard in the season-one episode “White Rabbit” isn’t just a turn of phrase—it’s an ethos is tested over and over throughout the run of the series. Every major character, Ben included, faces the terror of being alone. How each character decides to be included in some greater part of humanity informs their actions, and that’s where LOST derives most of its narrative power.