I went to bed last night thinking that they finally answered some questions, or implied answers, or at least laid groundwork for answers, but this morning I’m feeling a lot more questiony.
It was a good episode. It was nice to see that Ben was capable of being a decent person given the right set of circumstances. It was also interesting to learn that they had in fact gone to the island but somehow left – which fits in with the alternate reality’s theme of many things being different.
The most we got out of this episode were the things dealing with Richard. Astute viewers had assumed that Richard had been a prisoner on the pirate ship. We got confirmation of that. We learned that it was through Jacob that Richard was given his “gift” on longevity. That was also assumed by many, but we got confirmation and insight in that he didn’t really know how it worked.
Answers that were implied because of Richard’s situation:
> We know then that Jacob was a conduit for some energy because he was seeking his replacement guardian. This means that whatever power he possessed came from whatever whacky place the island gets its power.
> It also seems like Jack’s the obvious choice for the new guardian, but I’m wondering if that’s too easy. It’s kind of a softball, but I’m going with it because it ties into my overarching prediction that I’ll address here in a minute.
I originally felt that this episode kind of tied of some of Ben’s loose ends, but this morning I was thinking that if Ben had been working for Jacob this whole time, how come he slaughtered all those Dharma people? Jacob could be cruel, but not cruel like that. I’m still under the impression then that Ben was being led by Smoke-monster-man most of the time.
The most annoying thing to me, though, was the end. How the eff did Whitmore find the island so fast? They went to all the trouble of setting up the whole island-physically-moving thing and Whitmore just nonchalantly pops by in a sub. Does this mean that the island did not in fact move, but was just dislodged from time for a while?
I’m ready to make some predictions about the show’s finale. Even though I don’t know the HOW, we do know that Jacob and Smokey played some kind of balancing roles on the island. It’s obvious that Smoke thinks he’s won and that this is the end game. It is, of course, not and just the conclusion of Smoke and Jacob’s reign. This is the set up to a new regime. We’re going to get new black and white guardians. I’m going to go ahead and say that I think those guardians are going to be Jack and Sawyer. They’re playing up Jack’s Luke Skywalker-esque introduction to the “force” of the island while they’ve laid plenty of emotionally scarring groundwork for Sawyer to go to the “dark side.” The simple fact that Jack will take Jacobs place will serve as impetus enough for Sawyer to take the opposing role – he not only feels comfortable in the role, but he also feels like he owes Jack for taking Juliet’s life.
They did kind of throw out a red herring with Ben. The idea that Ben could be the new “black guardian” crossed my mind, but I think they did it to make Sawyer a bit less obvious. But, the way I look at it, if Smokey is Palpatine and Sawyer is Anakin, then Ben is Count Dooku – a key operative, but ultimately expendable.
So, whatever the HOW is in how they do the things they do, and whatever the WHY is in why they do it, I believe this all boils down to a big changing of the guards.