High hopes for this episode, and it exceeded every single one of them. I don't know what the people who create this show are on, but it's working. Impending Spoilers!
Ben wakes up in the Sahara desert-in a parka-Halliwax's parka. He is confronted by nomads in the desert who are most interested in him-they hold him up at gunpoint but he manages to get the drop on them with his ever-so-handy ASB Baton. He travels to Tunisia and is a preferred guest at the hotel under the name "Moriarty" (Sherlock Holmes reference anyone?). He checks the date-it is 2005, and sees Sayid on the news mourning Nadia-his wife. He travels to Tikrit and views the funeral snapping shots of a bald man in the crowd. Sayid confronts him and Ben tells him he knows who murdered Nadia. Ben follows this man and is held up by him only to be rescued by Sayid who exacts his vengeance. Sayid wants to get revenge on all involved, but Ben tries to talk him out of it, but Sayid does not relent. Judging by the evil smirk on Ben's face, that is what he wanted. Ben manages to talk his way into a posh London apartment where he meets up with-Charles Widmore! Ben explains that he cannot kill him, but he will make him pay for "changing the rules"-as Ben blames Charles Widmore for Alex's death, he wants payback in the form of Penny's death!
On the island, Jack has a stomach bug and Kate is looking mighty hot. Daniel is trying to fix the satellite phone with spare parts from the wreckage. Bernard rushes to find Jack as a body has washed ashore. It is the doctor from the freighter and his throat has been slit. Daniel eventually succeeds and sends a morse code message to the freighter about when the survivors will be picked up. Daniel receives a message back saying they will come by tomorrow-Bernard insists that he is lying-Bernard knows morse code as well-they were telling Daniel about the Doctor. Jack is visibly upset and grabs Daniel whom then reveals-the freighter crew did not intend to rescue them.
At Locke's Camp-Sawyer, Hurley, and Locke play risk when a captured Alex sends a trouble signal through the sonic fence. Locke informs Ben of the trouble code and Ben goes into a panic as he tries to fortify the area. Sawyer goes to get Claire, but the attack happens and 3 "nobodies" are shot and killed-plus Claire's house gets redecorated courtesy of a RPG. Sawyer manages not to get killed and rescues Claire who isn't hurt badly. While Locke, Ben, and Hurley seal up their house, Sawyer brings Claire back after Hurley breaks a window to let them in. Miles shows up with a Walkie for Ben to communicate with the mercenaries. They want Ben to surrender or else they will kill Alex. Ben tries to use his mind games-BUT FAILS! The lead mercenary kills Alex. Ben gets angry, mutters something about "he changed the rules" and rushes into his secret room to a strange looking stone panel. When he emerges he tells everyone to run for the tree line-the earth shakes and SMOKEY appears like a freight train and kills the mercenaries. Ben says goodbye to Alex in a touching moment and they set off to find Jacob-since Hurley now knows where the cabin is.
This episode was awesome-it had everything from acting, to directing and stellar writing. Give Michael Emerson his awards now-his performance all season has been amazing-tonight was a showcase. He was vengeful, tricky, and emotional-I actually felt bad for him when Alex died. Powerful acting, great dialogue, and a wonderful use of action. They didn't substitute the action sequences for plot and they weren't gratuitous-they were used perfectly. Easily one of the best episodes ever-this is on par with "The Constant".