So, let’s face it: Ben Davis was never going to survive this series. If this series is about the delicate balancing act that the Byrdes walk every day, then Ben was something else.
He was a warning.
Ben was obviously not an emotionally-stable person from the first moment we saw him as a substitute teacher impulsively tossing all of his students’ phones into a wood chipper. He was not cut out to survive that world, and he sure as hell wasn’t cut out to survive the world of Marty and Wendy.
Which means this penultimate episode of the third season not only sets Ben up to die but also shows just how poorly equipped he was for this.
After telling Erin what Helen does, he goes to Ruth’s place. Marty is there, Ruth is angry, but Ruth’s mind changes very, very quickly when she hears what he’s done. That means the people who still care about Ben have to hide him, with Ruth taking him to Darlene’s house (where at least she and Wyatt make up), all anyone needs is for Ben to keep his head down long enough for Marty, Wendy, and Ruth to somehow get him out of the country. Sure, distracting the FBI is easy enough, but Helen is another story, and it doesn’t help that Erin knows stuff about Helen now and wants nothing to do with her mama.
Charlotte and Jonah’s both confirming Ben’s story to Erin doesn’t help, but Helen and Marty actually seem to bond a little over their children’s knowing too much.
But this is about Ben. Ben isn’t well. Even Ruth, his staunchest defender, finally sees it. Ben’s biggest problem is he is his own worst enemy.
He leaves Darlene’s house and goes to the casino where he is almost killed.
He calls the cops on himself.
He calls Helen to apologize.
It takes everything Wendy has to keep him alive after that, and when even she gives up, it’s clear there’s a bigger reason than her brother: her own children. She wants them to live more than Ben. That tear-filled final scene of Wendy driving away as a killer walks up to Ben, well, is there any doubt who called the killers to tell them where Ben was?
I said above Ben is a warning. He is. The more people find out what’s happening, the more they give up any sense of right and wrong to go the cartel route, the more danger there is. Ben wasn’t equipped for this, but that just leaves a better question: