<>All of the events of Season 4 come to a head as a tragedy occurs on the freighter, the island is moved, and the Oceanic 6 escape from the island.

Written by Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindelof
Directed by Jack Bender

Flashforward

Around the same time that Jack met Kate outside the airport to tell her they needed to go back to the island, Sayid snuck into Santa Rosa Mental Institute after killing a man who had been parked outside for a week. He visited Hurley and informed him that “Jeremy Bentham” was dead, and offered to take him away from the hospital to a safe place to keep the same thing from happening to Hurley. Sayid stated that Bentham’s cause of death was listed as suicide, but he didn’t believe this to be true. Only after Sayid assured him that they weren’t going back to the island did Hurley agree to go with him.

Sun traveled to London, where she intercepts Charles Widmore on the street, coming out of a meeting. She identified herself as the Managing Director of Paik Industries, and Widmore greeted her warmly, recognizing her father’s name and company. Sun quickly dropped all pretenses and told him that she knew he knew who she was and where she and the rest of the Oceanic 6 had really been stranded three years ago. She told him that the two of them had common interests, and asked him to call her when he was ready to discuss them, pointing out that the Oceanic 6 were not the only ones who left the island, as he knew very well.

Late at night, Kate had a bizarre dream in which Claire appeared in Aaron’s room before warning Kate with great desperation not to bring Aaron back to the island.

After his meeting with Kate outside the airport, Jack returned to the Hoffs/Drawlar Funeral Parlor, where he broke in to finally open the coffin that held “Jeremy Bentham” so he could see the body for himself. He was distraught to discover that it was all true, and Bentham really was inside the casket, dead. But his grief was interrupted by the sudden arrival of Ben, who asked about what Bentham had told Jack when he visited him. Jack said that he had seen Bentham about a month ago, and that he’d told him that after the Oceanic 6 left the island, some “very bad things” happened. Bentham had also said that it was because Jack left that it all happened, and that Jack would have to go back to the island to set things right. Ben claimed to have come to tell Jack that the island wouldn’t let him come back alone — he would have to get all of the Oceanic 6 to return with him, and Ben offered to help Jack reassemble them. Jack agreed, but Ben had one more surprise to reveal: in addition to the Oceanic 6, they would have to bring the dead man in the coffin with them as well. And at long last, the occupant of the coffin, the man using the pseudonym “Jeremy Bentham,” was revealed to be John Locke.

Now

On the chopper, Jack assures Kate that they’ll go back for Sawyer after they reach the freighter and repair the fuel leak.

Down in the Orchid station, Locke frantically tries to save Keamy from dying, so that the bomb rigged to his heartrate monitor won’t cause the freighter to explode. Ben refuses to help, but it’s too late anyway. Keamy promises Ben that Widmore will get to him one way or another, and then breathes his last. The monitor strapped to his arm switches off.

On the freighter, Jin, Michael, and Desmond watch the red light blink on, indicating that the bomb has been triggered by Keamy’s death. Thanks to Michael’s freezing technique, the explosion has been stalled, but it’s not going to keep. He sends Desmond topside to evacuate the boat, but meanwhile, the Frank unknowingly brings the helicopter in for a landing. When it’s on the boat, Desmond explains the situation and Frank quickly patches the holes with duct tape while the chopper is being refueled. Sun wants to go find Jin, but she’s still holding Aaron so Kate offers to go after Jin instead herself, so Sun can get the baby safely onto the chopper. Down in the bowels of the ship, Michael’s liquid nitrogen supply runs out, and he sends a reluctant Jin away to help get Sun to safety. But while Jin runs for the top deck, Frank returns to the helicopter and starts it up, telling everyone to get onboard, as there’s no time left. Jack sees Kate heading for the ship’s interior to find Jin but he pulls her back and forces her onto the chopper. Frank, Desmond, Jack, Hurley, Sayid, Kate, Sun, and baby Aaron are all onboard, but Sun is alarmed that they’re taking off without her husband. Jin makes it to the main deck just as the chopper has already pulled away. Sun sees him standing on the deck, waving them off, and demands that they go back for him, but Frank can’t do it, knowing time is up and they’ll be lucky to escape as it is. Down in the room with the C4, Michael hears Whispers and then suddenly Christian Shephard is standing in the room with him. “You can go now, Michael,” says Christian, and the freighter instantly goes up in a spectacular fireball. Sun screams in anguish after Jin, who has seemingly perished on the ship, though we never get visual confirmation of this. Since they have so little fuel left, Jack orders Frank to take them back to the island. It’s the only place left for them to go now.

With Keamy dead, Locke is irate that Ben killed him and doomed everyone on the freighter. Ben calmly explains that he wasn’t thinking very clearly, explaining that command decisions can be compromised by emotions, and says he’s sure Locke will do better at being in command of the Others than Ben ever did. Ben throws some more metal objects into the Orchid Vault and then activates the machine. A tremendous explosion follows, after which Ben mysteriously leaves to change clothes.

On the beach, Juliet sits alone with a bottle of Dharma rum, watching as Sawyer swims in out of the ocean. He mistakenly thinks she’s celebrating their rescue, but she points out the smoke on the distant horizon, coming from the destroyed freighter. She’s not celebrating at all, she’s grieving. So he joins her impromptu ritual and has a drink as well.

Locke follows Ben and finds that he’s dressing in thick winter clothing, including a familiar-looking Dharma parka. Locke is frustrated that Ben is planning to go carry out their plan to move the island without him, when Jacob told Locke to do it. But Ben argues that Jacob told Locke but he didn’t tell him how, because he wanted Ben to do it, and to suffer the consequences. “Whoever moves the island can never come back,” Ben explains. He tells Locke to take the elevator back up to the surface and go rendezvous with Richard and the Others, who would be ready to share the secrets of the island with Locke and follow his orders. Ben bids him farewell and apologizes for making Locke’s life so miserable, and the two part ways.

Locke follows Ben’s instructions and encounters the Others waiting for him at an encampment not far from the Orchid. Richard welcomes him to his new home, and Locke is happy to finally find his destiny within his grasp.

Ben clears out the wreckage in the Orchid Vault to reveal a tunnel behind it that leads to large hole with a ladder leading further down. He descends the ladder carrying a crowbar, and finds a sheet of ice at the bottom of the hole. He breaks through it into a frigid inner chamber that’s covered in frost and ice, but he slips on a broken rung on the way down and cuts his shoulder on a protruding nail. In the small chamber is a large wooden wheel that sticks halfway out of a wall made of stone blocks. The wheel has eight spokes coming out of it, and it’s frozen solid just like the rest of the chamber. Ben grabs two of the spokes and wistfully tells an unseen, distant Jacob that he hopes he’s happy now that he’s about to be rid of Ben. The ice covering the wheel makes it hard to turn, but Ben uses the crowbar to clear much of the ice away, and finally he’s able to get it moving. With tremendous effort, he pushes the wheel forward, and everyone all over the island hears an unearthly mechanical sound coming from the Orchid. Even the passengers on the helicopter hear it. A bright yellow light begins shining from behind the stone wall that holds the wooden wheel, and as it grows in intensity, Ben continues to push the wheel until he’s swallowed in a bright white light that engulfs the entire island. As the remaining survivors and the Others watch, the light takes them all, yet it doesn’t reach the helicopter, which seems to be outside of its range.

The passengers on the chopper are blinded by the bright light, but untouched by it, and as they watch in shock, the island vanishes as the light fades, and a surge of ocean water rushes in to fill the space where the island once stood. Suddenly they are without a place to land. Hurley is the first one to realize the truth: Locke and Ben moved it, just like they planned. The chopper runs out of fuel and starts heading down. Everyone puts on a life vest and they throw out a large raft that was stowed on the chopper as well. It’s a horrific landing as the ship tumbles end over end, yet everyone manages to survive the impact. They all make for the life raft and climb onboard. But now they’re lost at sea with no way of moving in any particular direction, and no apparent means of rescue.

Later that night, Hurley again points out his amazement that Locke successfully moved the island, but Jack refuses to believe it. Frank looks up just in time to see a light from a passing boat, the survivors shout to it until it spots them and turns to come to their rescue. As the boat approaches, Jack tells his friends that they’re going to have to lie about everything that’s happened to them. His reasoning is that whoever planted the fake wreckage of Oceanic 815 on the bottom of the ocean wants the rest of the world to think that they’re all dead; their lives could be endangered by not perpetuating that same falsehood. Likewise, everyone left behind on the island could be hunted down and killed just as they almost were by the men from the freighter. The others don’t believe they could pull off such a complicated lie, but Jack reassures them by suggesting that they let him do all the talking.

As the approaching boat, which is named Searcher, nears them, a crewman onboard shouts out for “Ms. Widmore.” Desmond steps forward in disbelief as Penny appears and shouts orders to bring the survivors onboard. Desmond calls out to her and Penny looks on in shock at hearing his voice, realizing for the first time that the man she loves is right there. The raft is secured to the side of the Searcher but Desmond doesn’t wait for it to be done before he climbs up to the deck, while Penny races to him as well. Reunited after three long years apart, Desmond and Penny share a passionate kiss and a long embrace. He asks her how she found him, and she explains that she used her Antarctic tracking station to trace the phone call he made to her from the freighter. He pledges his love to her and promises on the spot never to leave her again.

The rest of the survivors are brought onboard the Searcher, and Desmond introduces each of them in turn to Penny. Penny is delighted to meet them all, but Jack is all business and says that they need to talk. A week later, a plan has been forged for Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Sun, and Aaron to take a small raft from the Searcher and wash up on the shores of the island of Membata. It’s all part of their cover story, meant to protect those they left behind. Frank opts to stay behind on the Searcher and quietly return to society on his own, and Desmond is of course staying with Penny. They say their goodbyes and set off, but Jack gives Desmond a final warning not to let himself be found. Eight or nine hours later, the six survivors of Oceanic 815 paddle onto the shores of Membata, and begin their journey home.

  • John Locke.
    Question: Who was the occupant of the coffin? [3.23] & Question: Who is Jeremy Bentham? [4.13]
  • After a visit from Locke a month before his death, Jack came to realize that his life had lost all sense of purpose and meaning when he left the island. He knew he had to go back, but couldn’t find a way to do it, and finding out that Locke had died only hammered home all the more the guilt he felt from not listening to Locke in the first place, all the way back when Locke warned him not to leave the island.
    Question: Why was Jack so deeply troubled and emotional by the death of the casket’s occupant?
    [3.23] & Question: What happened to Jack to convince him that leaving the island was a mistake, and they had to go back? [3.23]
  • The Oceanic 6 left the island on Frank’s helicopter with the intention of returning for everyone else. But when the freighter was destroyed and the island vanished, the Oceanic 6 found themselves stranded in a helicopter that had no place to land. The chopper crashed into the ocean when it ran out of fuel, and everyone onboard survived on an inflatable life raft until they were rescued by Penny’s boat, the Searcher, which was out in the South Pacific looking for them, having traced the phone call she received only days earlier from Desmond.
    Question: How exactly did the survivors get off the island?
    [3.23] & Question: Why did only six of the survivors escape the island? [4.01]
  • The Oceanic 6 — Jack, Kate, Sayid, Hurley, Sun, and Aaron — escaped, along with Desmond and Frank, though their involvement was kept a secret for their own safety. Ben also left the island, having been teleported off of it after turning the frozen wheel beneath the Orchid station. John Locke left the island at some point as well, but the circumstances of his exit have yet to be revealed.
    Question: Which of the survivors escaped the island? [3.23] & Question: Did anyone else get off the island besides the Oceanic 6? [4.03]
  • There is an ancient chamber buried beneath the Orchid station that holds an enormous wooden wheel. Turning this wheel somehow causes the island to move.
    Question: How does Jacob expect Locke to move the island? [4.09]
  • No, Ben left the island by turning the wheel in the frozen room beneath the Orchid station that moves the island. Apparently anyone who moves the wheel suffers this consequence of being teleported to the Tunisian desert.
    Question: How did Ben get off the island? Did he escape on the freighter along with the Oceanic 6?
    [4.03] & Question: How did Ben reach Tunisia — and why was he so cold when he woke up there? [4.09]
  • We can deduce from what happened to Ben that a polar bear must have been used at some point to turn the frozen wheel that moves the island, and wound up being transported to the Tunisian desert.
    Question: How did one of the Dharma Initiative’s polar bears wind up in the desert of Tunisia? [4.02]

  • Who was the man stationed outside of Santa Rosa Mental Institute, watching Hurley? Who did he work for?
  • Did Locke, aka “Jeremy Bentham” really commit suicide, or was he murdered as Sayid believes?
  • If Locke’s death was a murder and not a suicide, does that mean that all of the Oceanic 6 are in similar danger?
  • Is Jin really dead?
  • Is Locke really dead?
  • Why did Locke leave the island?
  • How did Locke leave the island?
  • Charles Widmore knew of Paik Industries and even mentioned that he played golf regularly with Sun’s father. Are these two powerful men merely business associates, or do they share a deeper connection (such as an interest in the island, perhaps)?
  • What are the “common interests” Sun has with Charles Widmore? Did her comment about others who’d left the island besides the Oceanic 6 implicate a common enemy between them in Ben?
  • Why is it so cold down in the chamber where the island-moving wheel is housed?
  • How exactly does the frozen wheel make the island move?
  • What’s behind the wheel that generated the bright yellow light?
  • The island has successfully been moved. Where did it go?
  • What’s become of Daniel and the people he was ferrying on the zodiac raft?
  • Why doesn’t Claire want Aaron brought back to the island?
  • What “very bad things” happened on the island after the Oceanic 6 left?
  • How are these “very bad things” Jack’s fault, for leaving the island?
  • Since turning the wheel beneath the Orchid station sends one to the Tunisian desert, it stands to reason that the polar bear Charlotte found in Tunisia wearing a Dharma Initiative collar (in 4.02 “Confirmed Dead”) must also have turned the wheel at some point, and that’s how it wound up there. What and when were the circumstances surrounding the polar bear that turned the wheel and moved the island? Who was responsible for this, and why?

More than any other season of the show, Season 4 tells a story with a well-defined, satisfying beginning and end. Sure, this was the year we met the Freighter Folk, and Locke had some major developments too, but Season 4 was really the story of the Oceanic 6. Each one of them got their own episode (along with fellow escapees Desmond and Ben), filling in the blanks of what they were up to once they left the island, and how their lives got off-track in ways that only returning to the island could fix. Showing the escape of the Oceanic 6 was the perfect way to end the season.

Speaking of the Oceanic 6, all of them seemed to think that escaping the island was what was best for them, though all of them (but Aaron, I suppose) were proven wrong. Let’s look at them individually. Jack’s downfall is well documented, as his “fall from destiny” caused him to become addiction to drugs and alcohol. Kate received perhaps the best deal of anyone, getting her fugitive status overturned and living a happy life as mother to little Aaron for three years. But as we learned in Season 5, she was using Aaron as a crutch to compensate for the broken heart she was feeling at losing both Sawyer and Jack. Plus, the guilt she felt from lying about being Aaron’s mother all but crushed her. Hurley did okay for a while, until his newfound ability to speak to the dead sent him back to his old stomping grounds at the mental hospital. Sayid also was initially very happy in wedded bliss to his lifelong love Nadia, but his happiness was cut short and replaced by grief and a bloody quest for revenge that left him dead inside. Sun’s life was literally saved by being able to carry her daughter to full term and give birth. But her own quest for revenge against Ben kept her from discovering that Jin was still alive, and caused the two of them to lose (at least) three years of their lives together. So the conclusion is clear: for reasons we still don’t yet understand, none of them were ever meant to leave the island.

I’m hoping that we get a definitive answer on the frozen wheel and how it works, but in case we don’t, here’s my theory… Pierre Chang said in the Orchid Orientation video (essentially) that the Orchid is situated atop a pocket of energy that can tap into and manipulate time and space. I believe the wheel works by dislodging the island in time and space, sending it and the people on it to a new place and a new time.

I remember before this episode aired that Damon Lindelof promised viewers there would be an “earth-shaking kiss” they’d never forget. Many fans seemed to think he was referring to Sawyer’s farewell to Kate, but I believe he was talking about Desmond and Penny’s unexpected reunion.