Talk about separation anxiety. Every season of Lost ends with some kind of separation between the survivors. In these season, the separations started at the beginning of the season, and seemed to magnify with each passing episode. This was no less true with the 'new' people, those on the freighter. Considering what we've seen happening on the freighter while Sayid and Desmond were present, one can understand why they'd want to leave. But now that there on the island, each seems to still have their own mysteries.
Daniel, who seemed completely at bay before, now seems absolutely determined to get out. Frank, who's been in the unenviable position of having to shuttle the mercenaries to and fro the island (and considering the last trip, it must have taken some major motivation there) Miles has spent most of this season in Locke's camp, and seems to want to break away from the people who brought him here. However, when he is offered the opportunity to leave, he is firm about not taking it. Is it possible his ability to see the dead is telling him that something worse is waiting for him if he goes on that boat.. Charlotte has been the least interesting of the bunch, until this episode, when Miles almost casually mentions that she's been looking for this island her whole life. She's a little young to be an Other or part of the Dharma Initiative, but still could she have been born on this island? We're going to find out, and the results will be even more tragic.
Other reunions are even less pleasant. Jack runs into Locke at the Orchid station, and it's pretty obvious he wishes his gun had been loaded when he tried to kill him at the first episode Locke again tells him that he's not supposed to leave and that this is his destiny, and Jack continues to laugh him off. But considering what we saw in the opening, we now know that he's going to be completely converting to that way of thinking. Locke also tells him that if they get off, they're going to have to lie in order to protect the island, and while we're still not clear of his motives, that's exactly what the Oceanic 6 did, under Jack's supervision. One can't help but think that this must make Jack hate Locke even more, considering how upset he was when they learned the freighter wasn't there to rescue them.
Ben, in the meantime, has walked right into Keamy's arms, and seems relatively calm given his situation. He doesn't even seem to flinch when he brings up Alex's death. Then Kate leads the Others out of the jungle, and they somehow manage to take down four of the mercenaries that came with him. (Keamy helped a little, but still...) Keamy himself is harder to kill than anybody since we lost sight of Mikhail last season. He survived the smoke monsters, he dodges the grenade he throws, he gets stabbed by Sayid and shot by Richard four times, and that still doesn't keep him down. Since the island probably doesn't want to keep him safe, is it possible it knows what he's carrying with him, and is trying to keep the people on that freighter for as long as possible? Wouldn't rule it out.
On the freighter, Desmond, Michael and Jin are trying to defuse the C-4, but it's looking an awful lot like that's not going to happen, considering how many wires they hooked it up to. Michael comes up with the idea of using liquid nitrogen to keep the battery cold enough to stop the electricity from setting the bomb off, and it's beginning to look like that tank is all that's keeping them alive.
After Sayid and Kate save Ben, Richard tells them that made a deal--- Ben's life in exchange for safe passage off the island. Ben agrees to it so quickly, we wonder what his motivations are, considering how much of an effort he made last season to keep them on the island. Does he have some intuition that, just as in Michael's case,, the island won't completely let them go? Does he intend to keep monitoring them from afar? Is he so focused on moving the island that he doesn't care about their safety? One can never be sure what's Ben's motivations ever are, but I'm still of the opinion that he knew that the island will keep them safe until he's ready to deal with them. (Then again, that really puts his last actions of this episode into question.)
Four of the Oceanic 6 plus Sawyer end up on Frank's helicopter back towards the freighter. Once again, there's a crisis. The gunfight that just happened sprang a leak in the fuel tank, and now they're losing altitude. They seemed doomed to be trapped on the island--- until Sawyer, of all people, comes to the rescue. He whispers something in Kate's ears--- later translated as 'I have a daughter in Albuquerque. You need to find her."--- kissed her passionately, and leaps off the helicopter. The old Sawyer would've just pushed Hurley off and left him to drown. But Sawyer actually seems to care about people now, and seems to have inspired the heroic part in him. Ironically, it will be the very actions of the people that he tries so desperate to save that lead him back to the brink of evil, and possibly far worse. But that's way in the future.
In the meantime Locke and Ben finally take the elevator down into the real Orchid, where they find what looks like another lab. It's not clearly exactly what that lab is supposed to do, but we get yet another Dharma Initiative video, this one headed by "Dr. Edgar Halliwax" Who the heck is this guy? This is the third name he's used in one of the Dharma films, and we're not even sure who this guy is. However, we're going to get some answers about him, at least The station seems to suggest that it is used for some form of time travel, but how this relates to Ben throwing just about everything metallic he can into the vault is something I'm not sure I follow even now., especially since later episodes will suggest that most of it is only for show. Still, it is fun to see Ben lording it over Locke one more time about how little he knows.
Then Keamy shows up, bloody and battered, but still ticking. He tells Ben that he's taken out a life insurance policy--- the trigger that we saw Omar tie to him in 'Cabin Fever' is an electronic transmitter. If his heart stops beating, he sends a signal to the freighter, and boom. Locke instantly comes out and tries to negotiate with him. But Ben has now given up on even the premise that he doesn't let innocent people die. He takes out a knife and stabs Keamy five times. Locke is panicky, saying he just killed everyone on the boat. All Ben says is: "So?" His need to protect the island is completely superseded by his desire for vengeance. Unfortunately,. that's going to come back to bite him, and the consequences will be even more dire.
Oh, and those flashforwards? One takes place immediately after the last one that we saw in 'Through the Looking Glass', only this time Kate gets out of her car, slaps Jack, and then brings up the obituary that he showed her--- one for someone named Jeremy Bentham. We still don't know who he is, but he apparently gets around. Because in Hurley's flashforward, he is visited by Walt. Yes, Walt exactly three years older, and who was also visited by Jeremy Bentham. Hurley then tells Walt why they lied, and that it was to protect them. When Walt asked about Michael, it's pretty clear that Hurley knows what happened to Walt's father, and that his fate is sealed. I'm still not sure why they went through all this nonsense about Bentham (especially since we'll know very soon who he actually was) but he does have a role to play and we're still not sure what it is yet.
This is an epic story with all kinds of mysteries being unveiled, but all of it is still just prelude to the final part of the finale, which really will be a game changer. There may be no place like home, but it's beginning to seem that, like Dorothy in the story, the Oceanic 6 are being drawn back to there own personal Oz. Can't wait for more.
My score: 9.5