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Michael Emerson as Benjamin Linus


Michael Emerson, the ridiculously talented thespian behind Benjamin Linus, made the media rounds last week, chatting up the Lost season five finale, in a rather coy manner, not unlike Ben himself. I attempted to squeeze as much info on Wednesday night from Mr. Emerson as possible, short of reaching for Sayid's old set of obscure dental instruments, but like the man he so brilliantly portrays, Michael Emerson knows how to represent a killer hand while giving nothing away. For those of you looking for spoilers, a few tidbits will follow below, but if anything, our chat managed to do what I thought was the impossible - make me that much more excited and anxious about the finale!

Hilary: Let me just say that this is a supreme, high honor to speak to you! Now, what can you tell us about the season finaleMichael Emerson as Benjamin Linus?!

Michael Emerson: It's nice talking to you as well. It picks up where we left off last week of course, but it expands it in amazing ways. You know Lost always has a great season concluding cliff hanger. I think this one is double strength. We have two bands of heroes who are each on quite desperate and dangerous missions. The outcome of either one of them could upset the entire landscape of the show as we know it. The two combined - when I read it, I said A: how can they do that and B: what is the show then when we come back. Because it's kind of...(laughs)

Hilary: Kind of what? (laughs) Ok, I understand there will be some bloodshed.

Michael: Oh yea, many casualities.

Hilary: In terms of the level of shock, how prepared should we be?

Michael: Well I don't know, I would say be prepared be for conceptual challenges. I guess, be prepared for every kind of challenge because you are probably going to see the last of some favorite character but you're also going to see unthinkable events, the upshot of which cannot be imagined.

Hilary: I was a bit surprised with last week's episode in terms of Ben's attitude towards Locke. After the smoke monster got in his face, I thought he might be a bit more humbled.

Michael: I think Ben is kind of beaten down, he doesn't seem to have many tools at his disposal right now. I'm not sure he could use them if he had them. He's reeling from and still chewing on this confrontation with demons, both real and imagined. He's as alert as he ever is. I think he's keeping track of things and he's looking for glimmers of opportunity and we see him still sort of working his little manipulations of trying to play both ends against the center. But they seem a little feeble, I think. I'm waiting to see what he can be made to rise to. Or is he so in the thrall of something that he's lost his ability for positive action.

Michael Emerson as Benjamin Linus

Hilary: In terms of Ben's motivation, there's been a lot of debate over whether what he's doing, and has done, is in the best interest of the Island. Are we going to get a clearer sense of what his true motivations are with the finale?

Michael: No, I think you will wonder more. I think you will spend the gap between this and the next season wondering what the heck is he? It doesn't get clearer, your take on Ben will not be made clearer.

Hilary: Last week, Ben explained his relationship with Alpert to Sun. Will that change now that Locke is running the show?

Michael: It always seemed like a touchy relationship between Ben and Richard Alpert, didn't it? They may have shared interests right now but they're not in a position to do anything about it. There's not enough known. I'm not sure where we're marching to or what we're supposed to do when we get there.

Hilary: Is there anything you can tell me about the finale that you haven't told anyone else yet?

Michael: I will tell you that I was present at the scariest stunt I ever personally witnessed and it happened indoors. Unforgettable.

Hilary: This would be something that results in one of those casualties you mentioned?

Michael: I don't know the outcome but it cannot have been good for the character in question...

Hilary: Any more info on the four-toed statue?

Michael: Yes, well, I think, well, I remember something...certainly the world of the four toed statue is an issue in the finale.

Hilary: So what's up with Ben and Locke's mothers having the same name?

Michael: I have often said without really thinking, "Wow sometimes when these boys are together they seem like bickering brothers," but I don't know, you say a thing like that and you think well, I'm not sure that's a revelation or that that's a thing that we'll find out. But it's interesting. The show is full of intriguing little appetizers like that.


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