I still think that the biggest most important game is being played between Ben vs. The Universe, because Ben is trying to change fate and save Annie's life. The eventual outcome and the stakes of that game are more important to Ben than anything else (he is even willing to sacrifice his daughter Alex, who he loved as his replacement child when Annie died in childbirth).
The Ben vs. Widmore game is for possession of the island, and that is the source of the power Ben needs to wage his war against the universe. So this is an important game, too.
But who is Widmore? Why was it always his island? How did he know Ben well enough to say "I know you boy -- what you are -- and I know everything you have you took from me." In the war between Dharma and the Hostiles, on what side was Widmore?
I have some guesses here that may or may not pan out, but it sounds to me like there has been a classic "now the student is the teacher" moment between Ben and Widmore, and that would lead me to believe that Widmore was on the side of the Hostiles, not Dharma.
I earlier proposed some speculation about both Widmore and Jacob that I will have to tweak a little, but I think they were pretty close at the time, only now the roll of "teacher" that I enjisioned as Jacob is now filled by Widmore. Here is what I posted earlier -- you will see the tweaks I need to make:
[Young] Ben returned to Dharma and waited. He told no one about his encounter with Richard – no one except for Annie. Ben continued to sneak away from Dharma to meet “the hostiles,” sometimes taking Annie with him.
Richard introduced Ben to
JacobWidmore, the leader of “the hostiles.’ JacobWidmore was a great man – a powerful man – a kind and forgiving man. He became a second father to Ben. Ben loved and respected him and was especially in awe of his great power. JacobWidmore gained his power from the mysterious Jacob and from the island itself but shared its power and secrets with only a select few who had proven themselves worthy. He taught them to “unstick” themselves in time and space, but warned them of the hazards that would come if they tried to leave the island. Ben wanted to learn these secrets and prove himself worthy, but again, he was told he would have to be patient and wait. JacobWidmore was in tune with the Universe, with God, and was a staunch protector of fate. He was very concerned about Dharma’s sinister attempts to exploit the power of the island, but he was confident that their efforts would eventually fail. He had seen the future – he knew what Dharma was trying to do – and he knew that their own chemical experimentations would shortly be used against them.
On the prescribed day at the prescribed time, Ben and Annie and a few other Dharma defectors assisted “the hostiles” in their purge against Dharma. The purge was successful and the connection between Dharma and the outside world was severed. The island had been saved from the outside world, once again.
After the Dharma purge, life on the island returned to normal – a peaceful, idyllic bliss. Ben and Annie were married, but then tragedy struck. Annie had a terrible accident and was killed. Ben was grief stricken. He appealed to
to use his great power to go back in time and save Annie from her fate, but
“It wouldn’t matter,” he explained to Ben. “If you saved her from that death another would soon follow. The Universe has a way of course-correcting. That is simply Annie’s path. You cannot change it – not even with all the power this
island could give you.”
But Ben refused to accept it. He delved more deeply into his studies of the island. He began to recruit others – people who wanted more than what
JacobWidmore and the island were offering – people like Richard and Tom who wanted to experience life off the island – a benefit allowed only to the few elect who had been found worthy to be taught all the secrets of the island.
These elect people had proven themselves worthy and been taught by
JacobWidmore to “unstick’ themselves in time and space and to transcend their very natures. They became part of the island, and when “unsticking” themselves in time and space would manifest themselves as black smoke-like creatures with amazing power and ability. Ben wanted this power and ability for himself, so he went along doing all he needed to be deemed worthy, to become one of the elect – and eventually he was rewarded.
Once he learned the secrets of the island, however, Ben tricked
JacobWidmore and imprisoned [or expelled him from the island making it impossible for him to return] him. Ben could not simply kill Widmore, because Widmore -- as he had done for many of his followers -- had taught Ben the secrets of time and space, and had made himself Ben's constant. If Ben killed his constant, he would lose the control he had over time and space and would eventually "short circuit."
JacobWidmore did not return to his people, Ben spread the word that JacobWidmore had lost favor with the universeJacob– that he had lost favor with God. He began to speak of JacobWidmore as a man who was neither kind nor forgiving. JacobWidmore had been lost, but not permanently. He could still be redeemed if his followers gathered together and worked for a common goal.
This was the lie Ben used to assume his power.
He also taught his chosen supporters secrets that
JacobWidmore had safeguarded and reserved for the elect. This included making himself the "constant" for
people like Richard and Tom who wanted to travel off the island. Ben made these
things possible for them, and thus secured their loyalty.
But most importantly, once Ben assumed control, he used his new power to go back and save Annie from her original cause of death. But sure enough, when one death was avoided, the universe course-corrected and another death followed.
Still, each time Ben found a way to avoid it and postpone it. He used the lie about
JacobWidmore to recruit others to assist him in his efforts, and thus developed a powerful network of followers, both on and off the island, who could help him with any task he assigned.
JacobWidmore's people accepted Ben. Some of the elect abandoned the island, and set about working against Ben in their attempt to free JacobWidmore.
Jacob – Widmore – Ben