Ben Hawthorne is the mayor of the small town of Patience. His somewhat flaky behavior has earned him the nickname "Snowflake" from Sheriff Mike Thompson. He is married to Kate Hawthorne and is the father of the boy Max Hawthorne, who can see through the alien Harry Vanderspeigle's human disguise. He had a standing therapy appointment with Sam Hodges on Tuesdays at 4 P.M. and demands that Vanderspeigle continue the arrangement as the new town doctor. Hawthorne is a people-pleaser. He wants to do right by everyone, but this often results his allowing people to run over him. He admits that he is scared of everything, though, when pressed, he can show a surprising reserve of courage.
Ben Hawthorne is present when the alien who had assumed the identity of the doctor Harry Vanderspeigle arrives at Patience's clinic to conduct on autopsy on Sam Hodges, the town doctor believed to be murdered. He states that he knew it was hard on everyone but that a grief counselor is coming in to speak to all of them. His statement is immediately challenged by Sheriff Mike Thompson, who calls him a "snowflake" and asks if the counseling is coming out of the town's budget. Ben asks everyone to let him know when Sam's widow, Abigail calls, and Liv Baker, Mike's deputy, replies that he will know because she gave her his number, saying that she didn't know how to tell someone her husband had died. At this, Mike comments that he could give him her number, that he doesn't care.
Ben later recruits Harry as the new town doctor. Although Harry is reluctant, he lays his foot down, saying that he wants what is best for the people of Patience. He also admits that he had regular counseling sessions with Sam Hodges and that he wants continue them under Harry. The two soon settle into a routine. Ben seems to appreciate Harry's counseling sessions, but is unaware that the alien does not really care for him at all. He is also forced to deal with the behavior of his son, Max, who repeatedly claims that Harry is an alien. Neither he nor his wife, Kate, believe these claims, and it becomes a point of contention when Harry suggests sending Max away to a special school in Georgia. This, and the ongoing investigation into Sam's death, puts pressure on Ben, especially when he is forced to join a search of the lake, making him seasick.
Daredevil and the Black Widow
Ben's relationship with his wife continues to deteriorate due to a number of factors. She expresses that she wishes he would challenge her more, but he ends up taking it too far. Later, he expresses irritation when she invites two guests into their home, Sarah and Richard "Dick" Houston, who are secretly the government agents Lisa Casper and David Logan. Upset that she canceled the normal family taco night in favor of a fish dinner, he is quiet during dinner, leading her to chastise him for not making more of an effort. He suggests that he talk with David Logan about candle-making, but Kate does not this fascinating dinner conversation.
Things seemingly hit a low point for Ben when he encounters D'Arcy Bloom, his old flame, on a bench in Patience's downtown. Finding her depressed, despite her recent heroic act in saving her friend Asta Twelvetrees and Harry, he calls her "amazing," saying that she isn't afraid of anything and that he wants to be more like her. She unexpectedly kisses him and he pulls back, reminding her that he is a married man. He then heads home, wondering how he is going to explain the incident to his wife and sure that divorce is on the table. Upon arrival at the front door, however, he hears sounds of intruders inside his home. He calls the sheriff's office, but realizes that they will not get there in time. He manages to make his way into the home and is poised for action as he discovers that it is "Sarah and Dick Houston" who had broken into the home and are threatening his son Max and his friend Sahar at gunpoint. Together with his wife Kate, who has escaped from being locked in a closet, he delivers the two agents an epic beating, forcing them out of the home. Sahar praises him and Kate as being like "Daredevil and the Black Widow." In the aftermath of the arrival of Sheriff Mike Thompson and Deputy Liv Baker to take a report, he and Kate get turned on and kiss, then begin passionately making out. Mike reminds them that they have a room upstairs, but they are lost in the romance of the moment, finally seeing eye-to-eye and appreciating one another.
The rival town
Ben is troubled when Mitch Green, the mayor of the nearby town Jessup, releases an advertisement promoting Jessup while slandering the town of Patience at the same time. The ad insinuates that Patience is an unsafe town in which dead bodies regularly turn up and people disappear without warning. He is even more disturbed to discover that somebody has painted a picture of a dead foot on the town's "Welcome to Patience" sign and that Judy Cooper is hosting a "Patience Murder Tour."
Ben decides to try to counter the negative publicity by filming his own ad for the town of Patience, but it does not go well. He is also confronted by the women of the town, including his own wife, regarding the pay gap between the town's male and female employees. Later, Kate brings him tacos, which he happily enjoys, until he learns that they are from a food truck based in Jessup. Kate, however, tells him that they need to visit Jessup, that the town has a lot to offer and they can meet the mayor, who is probably actually a nice guy. The restaurant visit, however, is a disaster, with the restaurant's staff pretentiously promoting awful water that they claim is a special vintage. They then meet Mayor Mitch, who turns out to be every bit as awful and self-serving as Ben suspected, resulting in Kate telling him off when he refers to her as "Mrs. Mayor" and insults the story of the 59 miners.
Following this incident, Ben continues to search for ways to boost the town's image. He decides to theme the town's annual Family Day celebration for the year as "Remember When," to honor the 59. To this end, he brings Max to the town cemetery for him to see the monument to the 59. Later, for the Family Day, he has the children of the town put on a play about death of the 59 miners. The play is an unusual, grisly affair in which the kids graphically present the deaths of the miners, followed by singing a bizarre song called "Where Have All the Daddies Gone?" The town's reaction to the play is mixed, which some deeply disturbed and one parent walking out, and others unable to restrain laughter. The town newspaper, The Patience Post, describes the play as a big bomb, though Ben is delighted when Max calls it the best ever, saying how much he liked the blood and the song.
An honest conversation
While Ben is trying to suppress the negative newspaper coverage of the article, Sheriff Mike Thompson points out another story: that Jessup is trying to build a five-star resort to attract tourism. Ben is depressed by the news, but Mike tells him that he can turn things around by seeing to it that Patience gets the resort instead, that the local Grady property is begging to be developed. He suggests that Ben pay a visit to assess it, but warns him to not tell anyone the truth, lest Jessup swoop in first. To that end, Ben visits D'Arcy Bloom in order to get an ATV to survey the property, under the pretense of taking photos for the town website. As D'Arcy is the only one licensed to drive an ATV, the two are forced to go together.
During the trip, both enjoy the view, with D'Arcy telling him that he should have brought Kate, that she would have loved it. Ben, however, explains that Kate is away on a trip with Max to her mother's. He tells her that with Kate away, he doesn't have to worry about stuff like holding in his farts. D'Arcy is surprised that he can't be himself around Kate. He explains that though the two of them have been having wild sex and appear to be happier than ever on the outside since the incident with the government agents, the truth is that there's a lot of little things he can't do. He tells her that there's a sign he's been wanting to hang for six months, but keeps in the closet because he knows Kate wouldn't like it. She tells him to do what he wants, that it's his house too. She apologizes for having kissed him, saying that it was a shitty thing to do.
Following the visit to the Grady property, the two retire to his household. She comments that they need to celebrate, saying that she once hid a joint in Max's room when they were teenagers. He is shocked to learn that there is weed in his child's bedroom. She tells him that it's fine, that Max is short and she tucked it in a position where he wouldn't find it for years. She comments that hopefully the next one will eat their broccoli and he tells her that there won't be a next one, that he keeps an ovulation calendar for Kate. She says she thought she was a disaster. He replies that one kid is plenty and that she is not a disaster. She insists that she is. He, however, tells her that she doesn't give herself enough credit, that he wouldn't be there if not for sure. She asks what he means and he tells her that she saved him and his family. When the government agents were in the house and he was waiting for Sheriff Mike, he thought "What would D'Arcy do?" and went for it. He says that she saved him, so she can definitely save herself. Afterwards, she helps him to hang the sign, saying that she thought it was a stupid sign, but now she gets it. After that, the two of them smoke the weed together and she falls asleep in Max's bed. He tucks her in before going to bed himself.
That morning, Kate returns home from her trip. D'Arcy starts to come downstairs, only for Ben to shoo her back upstairs, indicating that she should exit through the window. Kate then notices the sign. "You hate it," comments Ben and she tells them that she doesn't, that a lot of people have it in their homes. Nevertheless, he tells her that he'll take it down, sensing that she clearly dislikes it. She tells him he should keep it up if he wants to keep it up, but he says that he wants what she wants. He then heads to the town hall with the sign and to Deputy Liv Baker's office. Seeing her with coffee, he tells her that he was thinking of starting a donation jar for the coffeepots, that she shouldn't have to pay for it herself. She asks him what the deal with the sign is and why he's putting in there. He tells her that he thought she might like it, that it would bring an artistic statement. She asks if she has to say that likes it for the donation jar, saying that she loves it. She then shows him a video she made - "Incredible UFO in Patience." He tells her that she can't post it, that people already think that Patience is a murder town and he doesn't want them thinking it's an alien town too. She says that she owes it to the world to share it, and he agrees that she should, as long as she changes the headline to "Incredible UFO Near Jessup."
Sheriff Mike comes in, saying that he went to see the new town doctor that Mayor Ben put in the clinic, the elderly woman Dr. Smallwood. He complains that he went in to get stitches and she put his whole arm to sleep. Mayor Ben tries to defend Smallwood, saying that she's an institution who delivered him as a baby. Liv points out that she delivered his parents as well and that she saw her for a sore throat and she diagnosed her with hysteria. Ben still defends her, though, saying that he's going to see her later for his weekly checkup and he's sure she'll be as spry as ever.
Upon arriving in the office, however, Dr. Smallwood tells him that she has bad news: that his blood tests indicate aggressive cancer in his colon. Just then, however, Nurse Ellen Cho comes in, saying that Smallwood has Mrs. Patel's chart. She hands her Ben's chart, and Dr. Smallwood tells him that he actually has a vitamin D deficiency and to get some sunshine. She starts to walk away, but Ben points out that she basically just told him that she was dying. She replies that she had the wrong chart and it happens. Ben asks if it should. "No," replies Ellen. Ben tells Smallwood that she'll always be a pillar of the community, then asks if she's considered taking an extended vacation. "He's trying to fire you," clarifies Ellen. Smallwood asks if it's true and he replies that it's not not true. After she leaves, he comments that they now officially have no doctor. Ellen tells him that she's been reviewing the personnel files and Harry Vanderspeigle is the only real candidate, but he might not want to come back after having been dismissed by Ben. Ben points out that Harry has a birthday coming up and that he could maybe convince him. Ellen agrees that it's a sneaky idea, that he could soften him up.
Mayor Ben goes ahead with throwing the party for Harry Vanderspeigle. Harry is initially annoyed by the party, as he is secretly carrying a bag with an alien egg. Later, however, he starts to get into the party when he is told that there will be pie. During the party, the egg hatches and Harry goes to the basement to search for the baby. There, Ben corners him and asks him if he will consider again being the town doctor. Harry tells him nervously that he will consider it, secretly watching as the baby skitters up behind Ben's head in a semi-cloaked form and very nearly lunges at it. Harry makes a swipe and Ben, sensing something, asks what it was. Harry tells him that it was a sick racoon and Ben, scared, tells Harry that he'll go warn the others. He then receives a call.
Later, Ben finds himself the center of unwanted attention when Kate reveals to D'Arcy that the call was from a company that wants to put a resort in Patience, on the Grady property. D'Arcy says that he lied to him by telling her that he wanted the photos for the town website. He hedges, saying that he did put them on the website, so it wasn't technically a lie. She says that he totally lied to her, that they spent the whole day rock climbing just so that he could destroy the town. Kate is surprised that he went rock-climbing, saying that he had told her that he spent the day doing nothing. He claims that nothing can mean a lot of things, but she says she's pretty sure that it means nothing.
Mike tries to put his two cents in by trying to defend Ben, saying it was D'Arcy who kissed him, but this only makes things worse since Kate didn't know about the kiss. Soon, everyone is saying that they think that Ben's resort plan is a bad idea. As everything comes out into the open, Ben says that he's trying to explain to his wife why he hung out with D'Arcy a couple nights ago. This turns out to be a bad idea too, as Kate becomes angry with him for hanging out with her. He says that he has nothing to hide, but Kate isn't impressed when she learns that D'Arcy went out the bedroom window. She ends up calling D'Arcy a false friend and says that the truth is that she herself has been lying for years, that she hates Patience and she hates her life. She continues that she hates that she really thought D'Arcy was her friend and that she's glad she peed on her hand when she "took that pregnancy test." "What?" asks Ben and she admits that she's pregnant.
"Well, who's keeping secrets now?" asks Ben as Kate stalks off and Sheriff Mike comments that he's not sure it's really the road he wants to be going down. Ben goes to find Kate in the cabin's bedroom. He tells her that he should have told her about the D'Arcy stuff, that she probably already knows by now, but she's married to a dipshit. She says she's sorry for not telling him about the pregnancy. He asks why she didn't and she says that she was scared, noting that they don't really talk about stuff anymore, that they just have sex instead of talking about what's really going on. "Let's talk, right now," he tells her, saying that they're going to have a baby. They both agree that it's a lot. They then start making out and it is not long before they are in the bathroom, once again engaged in wild sex play.
"Sometimes I think about being a kid again. It makes me feel good. It's better being a kid. Sometimes."
- during a counseling session with Harry Vanderspeigle, "Homesick"
"You're still sitting with me.
"So I also wanted to ask you what you are doing tonight."
"(in his head) I was thinking of chopping up the body in my freezer. Spring cleaning."
- Mayor Hawthorne and Harry Vanderspeigle, "Birds of a Feather"
"I will take your silence as a "yes" and see you at 6."
- Mayor Hawthorne to Harry regarding his dinner invitation, "Birds of a Feather"
"Honey, we aren't getting a divorce."
"We just wanted to tell you that Dr. Vanderspeigle is coming to dinner tonight."
"What? No! Why can't you just be getting a divorce?!"
- Kate Hawthorne, Mayor Hawthorne and Ben Hawthorne, "Birds of a Feather"
"I-I wish I was like you. I'm terrified of pretty much everything. But sometimes I look at you, and... you're so fearless. It makes me feel, I don’t know, less scared."
- Mayor Hawthorne to D'Arcy Bloom, "Heroes of Patience"
"Good evening, sweetheart. Oh, yeah, day was good. What's for dinner? Divorce? Great."
- Mayor Hawthorne, talking to himself in the aftermath of his encounter with D'Arcy Bloom, "Heroes of Patience"