|Ben Matheson "Ben"|
|Portrayed by||Tim Guinee|
|“||"There is nothing worth seeing, not anymore."||”|
Ben Matheson, Rachel and Grace worked for a company, trying to create renewable free green energy, but discovers that the experiment have the opposite effect and instead cause a blackout in a localized area. He was also working with the Department of Defense, which may have known something about the Blackout. He came home on September 17, 2012 with a worried look on his face. His daughter and son are watching Bugs Bunny cartoons in the living room. His wife, Rachel, asks him what is wrong; when he doesn't answer, she reluctantly says "it's happening, isn't it?" Ben confirms her fears and hurriedly pulls out a laptop and begins downloading files relating to, possibly among other things, calculations about the Michigan area onto a USB flash drive. Ben quickly pulls out his cell phone and calls his brother, Miles. He quickly tells him that it is all going to turn off and it won't ever come back. Just then, he loses contact with Miles and the download on the flash drive reaches 100 percent; he places the drive into a mysterious pendant (completing the overall shape, as to be indistinguishable). Then, all the lights start to turn off.
Ben walks outside and sees planes falling from the sky while every light in the neighborhood is turning off. This marks the day of what will become known as The Blackout. A few days later, he hurriedly packs up food and clothes. When Charlie asks her mother where they are going, Ben looks at her sadly and Rachel simply says that they are going on an adventure, like Dora the Explorer. They pack up and begin to leave the city, Charlie commenting while riding on a wagon with Danny that she smells smoke. Ben states that the buildings were burning down, and when Charlie questions why the firemen are not coming, Ben simply says there are no more firemen. They arrive at the University of Chicago where Ben works and he quickly goes inside to get a few things, but upon returning sees a man, who has been scavenging for food, holding his daughter captive. Ben pulls out a gun and threatens to shoot him if the man does not let Charlie go. The scavenger releases Charlie and takes the wagon carrying their only food supplies. Ben threatens the man again to give the food back and aims the pistol, but the man does not flinch, saying Ben is not going to shoot him. Ben lacks the resolve to take a life, so Rachel takes it upon herself to shoot the man in the back with her pistol, to Ben's surprise.
Later, he and his children watch Rachel leave under the guise of her going to get supplies, but it is revealed that she was actually willingly surrendering herself to Miles Matheson, who at the time was still the commander of the Monroe Militia, as part of some sort of deal.
For some reason, possibly related to the data about Michigan stored on the USB drive "amulet" he is carrying, Ben and his children travel to Wisconsin. There he encounters Maggie, who is about to commit suicide, while he is out fetching water from a lake. Sensing her pain, he invites her to eat with them, saving her life and they end up staying together.
Fifteen years have passed since the events of The Blackout and it is now 2027. By now, Ben Matheson and his family have relocated into the woods and have built a peaceful-looking village. Maggie is living with them. Ben talks with a close friend, Aaron, and discusses about The Blackout. After a while, Ben's children who are now grown teens hurry back after going hunting when Danny has an Asthma attack. They are brought to their step-mother who is also a medical doctor and she gives Danny medicine. Ben is furious at Charlie since she promised she would look after Danny. Charlie tells him that she has dreams of traveling and seeing the world, but Ben forbids her to go saying it is too dangerous. When Maggie chimes in to say that there are a lot of bandits and thugs out there Charlie gets upset that Maggie tries to take the place of her mother and storms out of the room.
While Charlie is gone, a group of soldiers known as the militia arrive in Sylvania Estates. Ben, having complete trust in his friend Aaron, gives him his flash drive and tells him to keep it safe. The leader of the group, Capt. Tom Neville, announces they are searching for Ben and Miles Matheson. Ben walks up and announces his name. Neville tells Ben to come with them to answer some questions of the origins of The Blackout. Ben is about to comply when Danny, crossbow in hand, refuses to give up his father without a fight. Ben tries to calm Danny down by telling him he will be alright and tries to have him put the weapon down. As Ben tries to calm his son down a militia man fires his weapon at Danny, but hits Ben by accident. Some of the townsfolk also grab weapons to defend their village. A short battle breaks out where at the end, Neville uses his personal pistol, whom it seems he has the only one, and shoots four people within seconds, ending the battle. They take Danny away, hoping he can lead them to Miles, and leaves Ben for dead.
Charlie runs back and finds a dozen village folk down, including her father who is mortally wounded. As he is dying, he tells Charlie to go to Chicago to find his brother, Miles, whom he had not spoken to since The Blackout, and says he has the answers to why The Blackout occurred. He dies shortly after explaining this.
- "It's all gonna turn off. It's gonna turn off, and it will never turn back on."
- —Ben Matheson