Wayne volunteered to recharge my brain of mush with an interesting question. Here's how he put it for me in an email:
"Last night I was on the Sayid-flashback in S4. I went back at the end to replay the talk between Ben and Widmore in Widmore's bedroom. I had always concentrated on the "ah, Ben's going after Penny now because Alex died." But there was an important exchange that I should have picked up on after "Meet Kevin Johnson."
Widmore: Are you going going to kill me.
Ben: We both know I can't.
Ben can't kill Widmore because the Island won't let Widmore die, like Tom told Michael? I thought it was about committing suicide and/or "The Island has more work for you." Does that mean Widmore is protected in some way because he WAS on the Island at some time? That he isn't just looking for it again, as if it is a legend like Atlantis, but rather he was there, maybe turned the FDW and was banished? Seriously, the first time around, watching it on TV, I thought ah, going after Penny. Makes sense. But, hell, Jann, he slit Keamy's throat. Why not just pump bullets into Widmore right then and there? Why Can't Ben Kill Widmore? "
All good points. This Ben/Charles dialogue evokes SO many questions about Widmore concerning how he originally got a hold of the island (merely via the Hanso Org?), if he ever lived there, how he got separated from the island, why he can't go back, etc. And, if he needs to get back to the island for healing because he's got some mysterious "shpilkes in his geneckteckessoink" (thank you Linda Richman). And like Wayne said, is there more to the reason why Ben can't kill him, than just because the island won't let him? Sometimes I think that Ben and Widmore are dependant upon each other... that is, there might be a reason that Ben can't live without Widmore, and visa versa, because if one dies the other will too. Oy, it makes me all meshuggah!
Can TPTB answer all the Widmore questions by the end of Season 6? Will TPTB answer these questions?! We need some farkakte answers about Widmore soon. :-)