Cue Michael Emerson as Benjamin Linus.
Ben is the uber-villain of the show, and believe me, he's not one of those Alan Rickman-Jason Isaacs-Cillian Murphy kinds of villains. He's puny, has bug eyes and weird hair. He gets captured and beat up by the good guys all the time. He has no hot girlfriend at his side at the poker table, no posse of hangers-on, no fast car or ritzy mansion. He does rule the Island, though...mostly by ruthless cunning, remorseless violence, and superior intelligence. And at one time or another he has hurt, deceived, betrayed, or made of fool of every guy (and many women) in this creepy little paradise.
And he lies all the freakin' time.
But something about this man has won me over. His backstory episode helped: He was emotionally abused by his rotten father as a child, in a most pathetic and tear-jerking way. And he does have his vulnerabilities: just this past week our suspicions of his devotion to Juliet were confirmed. It was classic Ben Linus all right: now you like him, now you don't. In the scene where he makes her dinner, all excited like a schoolboy with a crush, he was so endearing...and so doomed, for meanwhile Juliet was having an affair with Goodwin. But wait a half hour (in TV time) and he's just murdered Goodwin and informed Juliet "You're MINE."
Now please tell me why this declaration by the murderous, weasley little Ben Linus sent me off to bed, imagining that I were on the Island trying to comfort him and win his heart away from Juliet? Well, that's what I did! I would have decided I was really insane were it not for the fact that the next morning my daughter Katie, who composes and distributes a weekly "LostCap" newsletter, included in her report a declaration of her own Bensanity.
This encouraged me enough to admit my problem in this blog. I am fascinated by Ben Linus. I love (as he put it this past week) that he always has a plan. I love that he lies, and I always believe this time he might telling the truth; in other words, I love that he can fool me. I love how devious he is, how unfailingly clever, and most of all how he only loses his cool when he loves somebody.
And as much as I've come to like his crazy hair, his buggy eyes, his face trashed by whatever latest round of pissed-off beatings he's received, I can tell you there is one thing about him that is truly beautiful: his voice. Michael Emerson has one of those velvet voices that forces you to listen. There's some fascinating quirk to his accent and/or diction that I can't quite place but could listen to for hours.
I guess in the final analysis, this is just one of those rare characters so intriguing, so strong, and so marvelously brought to life by a brilliant actor, you just can't help reacting to him. My husband just loathes the guy, probably more than any TV character I can recall. Some of my daughters' friends thinks he's horrible and icky. But I bet there are other Bensane women out there wondering why the heck they are lying awake at night picturing themselves washing Benjamin Linus's wounds and eating up his lies like candy.
Yep, here you have the handsome heroic Jack, the hot (former) bad boy Sawyer, the model-perfect Jin, the dreamy Desmond, the geekily gorgeous Daniel, and I'm writing a blog post on Ben. Just goes to show you, there are two words that best describe what turns women on: Go figure.
UPDATE - Dec. 14, 2008
I just had to share this photo, sent to me by Ben Linus fan Jennifer.
She was not wrong when she claimed it was one of the hottest photos of him ever, and I would faint. Brace yourselves...
The key, as Jennifer pointed out to me, is to view the photo in full size. To do so, please click here.
Thanks for giving me goosebumps, Jennifer!
UPDATE - March 14, 2009
Ben Linus fans may also enjoy this post: "Bad Boys, Good Guys, and Ben Linus."