I know I am going to get a ton more "Thumbs Down" than "Thumbs Up" for this review, but... *yawn*. This episode was dull and uninspiring. I'm really sorry, but that's the way I feel about it!
First of all, top notch acting from Michael Emerson. The scene when he was crying, and told Ilana the Locke was the only one who would accept him, was priceless. Emerson handles himself very well when his character shows vulnerability, which is a nice turn after playing such an evil, manipulative character for the past four years. Also, I am really enjoying Zuleikha Robinson's presence on the show. I can't pinpoint it, but something about that woman is ridiculously appealing.
Unfortunately, this episode said very little for the storyline. It was basically a Ben redemption story, which slowed down the exciting pace introduced in last week's episode, "Sundown," to a turtle crawl. While I know it was necessary to give Ben some proper character development this season, did we really have to watch a whole hour of nothing BUT that?
The episode was predictable and weak. Who really thought Richard and Jack would explode? Nobody. Who immediately realized that Ben and Ilana would bond over the memory of Ben's daughter, Alex? Everybody. The only unexpected part of the episode was when Miles acknowledged Nikki and Paulo from Season 3!
The flash sideways were really dull, as well. Ben's relationship with Alex was very sweet, and his play at the role of principal was entertaining for viewers. In the end, however, the writers could have scrawled, "Ben is not evil in the flash sideways" on a piece of paper, flashed it for about ten seconds, and have told the same story they did in the flash sideway scenes of "Dr. Linus." In "Lighthouse," they showed Jack in a brand new role as a father, in "The Substitute," they showed a Locke who could accept his limitations and embrace his gifts. In "Dr. Linus," they merely showed a Ben who is not evil. There was nothing surprising or interesting about this character study. It was so simple and missed the layers that usually make the character stories of "Lost" so interesting.
Oh well, I suppose some people out there would give this episode a 10/10. Personally, I am hoping for more interesting character development in the future. Sorry, rabid "Lost" give-reviews-below-9/10-a-Thumbs-Down fans! I guess you should get ready to click, up at the top right of my review! LOL