The penultimate Lost returned to the present to setup to the finale that was pretty managed to be pretty tongue in cheek while doing a lot of fan service. The characters were able to voice a lot of the quibbles with Jacob's reign, as well as fill us in on some seemingly logical gaps (why the hell would Darth Locke ever walk when he could just zip to his quarry?). Everything in this episode worked, from the scenes with Locke and Ben, to the long awaited campfire debriefing by Jacob of his candidates' island experiences; surprisingly, even the sideways flashes were equally as compelling as what was happening on island.
What They Died For: Off Island
- Probably the funniest thing that has happened all season (at least the biggest laugh from me) was when Desmond pummeled Ben into island-awareness. I mean go figure, Ben's constant was getting his ass kicked.
- Desmond's pummeling was actually a catalyst toward not only Ben becoming aware, but also John Locke finally agreeing to Jack's surgery. Once Desmond drops the "let go," it becomes just too much for Locke to ignore that events are happening "for a reason." Of course, his faith-based reasoning is solely because of Desmond's machinations, but it was nice to see Locke coming full circle back to his original on-island persona.
- It's also could be vastly important to Desmond's cause that all appropriate characters become fully synced with their island-counterparts, probably to shepherd their consciousness into the new world and giving them a second chance on life; equipping their alternate bodies with experiences and character progression forged on the island would fully bring to an end (without the traumatic deaths) the characters' story of redemption.
- Speaking of which, did Ben's sudden awareness offer him insight into all the horrible deeds he was capable of in another life (including sacrificing Alex)?
- Desmond breaks Kate and Sayid out of Sawyer's slammer (not a sexual metaphor) with the help of a corrupt Ana Lucia (nice knowing you indeed). Hurley shows up and seemingly confirms that his memories have been integrated, as he recognizes Ana immediately. Desmond states that island synergy is not for her, though, as she is "not ready" yet. Hopefully we'll come to understand what makes up being "ready," but it probably has something to do with the "letting go" prevalent in alternate-Locke's storyline. I can see the scene now where alternate Locke twitches his foot after Jack fixes his spine and immediately flashes to that scene after the plane crash where he can move his foot.
- Desmond tells Kate to get ready for a concert, while Hurley carts Sayid away. The two possible concerts: Driveshaft with the Widmores, or Jack's son, David's concert. Considering Hurley and Desmond split up, I'm banking on Kate having a constant-connection with Jack at his son's concert.
What They Died For: On Island
- Hurley roles up on a Kid-Jacob, who promptly ninjas his sack-o-ash. Hurley does is best (and nastiest) Baywatch run as he chases him to find adult Jacob, which not only confirms that creepy ghost child has been Jacob all along, but also begs the question: why the hell is the island protector shifting between forms? I guess Jacob has a bad back in adult form, and just can't make the sprint.
- Jacob makes himself physically and emotionally available to all remaining candidates, declaring that he has thrown his ash into the fire, and that as soon as the ash burns through, so too will he burn through his last bit of existence. I find Jacob's sudden peril convenient for his need to transfer the island protectorship, putting the candidates on the spot. I mean, if all it took was destroying his own ashes, he is technically committing suicide (something I thought was against the rules). Just kidding, cus he can't get deader than he already is! More probable though, what was tethering Jacob to reality was the fact that he still hadn't passed on his job, as per the rules o' the game.
- Jack steps forward and commits to becoming the new dungeon master of the island (thus also learning charm spells and the ability to summon storms - yay wizards!). Who knows how much stuff Jack downloaded like the Matrix in that instant of drinking from Jacob's lagoon of God-juice, but I'm looking forward to a potential Smoke Vs. Neo-Jack fight (without bowstaff).
- Jacob also informs Kate that she can still have the job if she wanted as she was just crossed off the list because she was a mother, so I am pretty sure Jacob has come to terms with the reality of how important a good mother can be. Though it didn't answer the longstanding question about why mothers died on the island, it could imply that is has something to due with the rules set in place by Jacob once he became protector, or that the golden power is one hell of a contraceptive.
- Locke arrives back on the scene and immediately throat-slams Richard into the jungle (methinks he is still kickin' it though); his true target: Benjamin Linus. It's clear that Smokey now needs a new assassin to do his dirty work, which also made me wonder: now that Jack is the Chosen, are the other candidates still under the aegis of Jacob's protection (especially if Jacob does blink out of existence)?
- Widmore shows up with the Zoey pre-Smokey's arrival, and he and Ben do some preening and posturing. Ben, clearly still holding a grudge, tells Widmore that he would be safe in his panic room - and Widmore BOUGHT it. Come on dude, after deriding Ben for being three steps behind, you then shut yourself up in dark room without any means of escape?!
- Ben goes into servitude mode, and acquiesces to Smokey's every demands, including the location of Mr. Widmore. Smokey approaches Widmore and Zoey, and once again we get the "Don't talk to him" warning before Smokey slashes Zoey across the throat. Who knows if they were still playing up that communication is the key to Smokey being able to kill someone, or whether Smokey didn't appreciate her low-cut shirt. As Widmore whispers the reason for bringing Desmond to the island, Ben seemingly shoots him before he can complete the message.
- There are several ways to read into Ben's actions. In one instance, Ben could have turned and lost complete control (like Sayid) of his soul and emotions. My money is on that Ben has been redeemed, but his "murder in cold blood" was actually an attempt to silence Widmore before he divulged Desmond's secret, while at the same time appearing to Smokey that he is still capable of brutality (something that Smokey values). We might be looking at Ben's finale act of redemption: conning the monster.
Desmond's ability is that he is able to withstand the high levels of energy that would normally fry a normal person. The scene in the electro-shed that forced Desmond's consciousness to the alternate world, was a test to see if he could withstand the blast of the golden power. Perhaps like Desmond turning a switch at the end of season 2, there is something at the core of the power that needs to be activated that only Desmond can get to. Smokey captures Desmond first, but in order to find the golden power, needs Jack's new abilities. Through a series of manipulations (probably putting Kate, Sawyer, or/and Hurley at risk), Jack is forced to lead Smokey to the golden power where there is a final confrontation. Smokey is defeated, and Desmond is able to reach the core of the island and activate the power. The release of energy propels the castaways consciousnesses into the alternate world, syncing them safe and sound.