When the Man in Black convinces Jack to help him free the others, the full extent of his plan finally comes to light and multiple survivors pay the ultimate price.

Locke wakes up in the hospital after his surgery, and recognizes Jack, who’s watching over him. Jack reminds him that they met after Oceanic 815, in baggage claim, and tells him that he’s repaired the damage done by Desmond’s car. He also mentions that he got a good look at the damage to Locke’s spine that put him in his wheelchair to begin with, and he believes that Locke is a candidate for a new surgery that could restore his ability to walk. But Locke says “no thank you,” confounding Jack. Undeterred, Jack asks Locke how that earlier injury occurred, but Locke refuses to say. Helen enters the recovery room, and is overcome with emotion at the sight of her fiancé. She says it’s the first time they’ve let her see him, and she’s overjoyed that he’s alright. She even gives Jack a hug and a kiss for saving Locke’s life.

Jack visits Locke’s dentist, who turns out to be Bernard, hoping to acquire records about what happened to put Locke in his wheelchair. Bernard doesn’t want to break doctor/patient confidentiality, but decides to help Jack because he remembers him from Oceanic 815. Jack is stunned to encounter another person from that flight. Bernard tells Jack that a second man was in the same accident that put Locke in his wheelchair, and he writes down the name of this second victim: Anthony Cooper (who we know to be Locke’s father). Bernard wishes Jack luck, saying “I hope you find what you’re looking for.”

Jack tracks down Anthony Cooper at a hospital for the elderly, where he encounters Helen. When she finds out what Jack’s up to, she initially asks him to let it go, telling him that she knows that Locke turned down Jack’s offer to fix his spine. Jack presses her to explain why Locke doesn’t want the surgery, but she won’t tell him. When she realizes Jack won’t be dissuaded so easily, she takes him to meet Cooper. Jack is stunned to find the old man an invalid, sitting in a wheelchair and unable to move or even speak. Helen reveals to Jack that Cooper is Locke’s father.

Jack returns to the hospital and watches over Locke again, thinking over what he’s learned. But Locke is delirious, muttering in his sleep phrases that he said to Jack in the other reality: “Push the button,” and “I wish you had believed me.” While he’s listening to Locke talking in his sleep, he glances out into the hall and spots Claire.

Jack goes to Claire and asks what she’s doing here. She says she’s looking for him, that Ilana told her that he works there. She’s holding a small box and asks if they can talk in private. He takes her to a doctors’ lounge, where she comments on how awkward this is for both of them. She reveals that in this reality, she never once met her father, Christian Shephard. Claire opens her small box and shows Jack what’s inside: a lovely wooden music box. She explains that Ilana gave it to her because Christian “especially wanted me to have this.” She asks if Jack knows why Christian wanted her to have it, or what it means, but Jack says he’s never seen it before and doesn’t know anything about it. Claire broaches the subject of their father, and asks how he died. Jack explains that Christian was found in an alley outside a bar in Sydney, having drank himself to death. Jack flew down there to bring back the body, but the airline lost it on the return trip. The two of them realize that they were on the same flight — Oceanic 815 — and again Jack is flabbergasted to have met yet another person who was on that flight. After shaking off the shock of this revelation, Jack asks to take a look at the music box. When he opens it, a quiet tune plays, but otherwise it seems to have no special features aside from a large mirror under the lid, which both of them briefly stare into. They say their goodbyes, and Claire is about to leave when Jack has another thought. He asks where she’s staying while in town, and she mentions a hotel just down the street. Jack says she should stay with him. Claire wants to, but she points out that they’re total strangers. Jack says they’re not strangers at all — they’re family. She smiles in agreement.

Days later, Locke is discharged from the hospital, but Jack catches up with him one last time while he’s on his way out. Jack admits to Locke that he visited Anthony Cooper, in an attempt to understand why Locke doesn’t want Jack to fix him. Locke tells Jack that he’s been in his wheelchair since he was in an airplane accident. He had been taking flying lessons for a week, and begged his father to be his first official passenger. His father was terrified, but Locke assured his dad that he could trust him. They barely got off the ground when they crashed, and to this day, Locke still doesn’t remember what he did wrong. But he knows the crash was his fault, just as it’s his fault that “the man I love more than anything” will never walk or talk again. Jack reminds Locke of how he told Jack at the airport that his father was gone. Jack says it hurt to hear that, but Locke was right. “Your father is gone too,” Jack says. Locke argues that he’s not, but Jack says that in all the ways that matter, he is. And Locke can continue to punish himself, but that’s never going to bring his father back. Jack tells him he can choose to let go of the guilt. “What makes you think letting go is so easy?” Locke replies. Jack says it’s not easy, and he doesn’t even know how to do it himself. “That’s why I was hoping that maybe you could go first,” he says with an encouraging smile. Locke seems to consider it momentarily, but ultimately bids Jack goodbye. As he rolls away, Jack shouts after him, “I can help you, John. I wish you believed me.” These words feel familiar to Locke, and he freezes in place for a moment before finally continuing on his way.

Jack awakens in the dark, disoriented, and finds himself in one of the outrigger canoes. Sayid is kneeling in the sand nearby, and tells him they’re on Hydra Island.

At the Hydra station, the survivors have been taken captive by Widmore’s people, and are ordered inside the polar bear cages. Sawyer is understandably resistant to getting back inside these particular cages, and gets the drop on Seamus, stealing his gun. But Widmore appears and holds a gun up to Kate’s head, ordering Sawyer to drop his gun. Sawyer doesn’t believe Widmore will actually kill Kate, but Widmore says he has a list of names that includes Ford, Reyes, and Kwon. “Austen” is not one of the names on that list, so he doesn’t care if Kate lives or dies. Though Kate tells Sawyer not to listen to Widmore, Sawyer decides not to take the chance, and he gives the gun back to Seamus. Once they’re all sharing one of the cages, Widmore tells Sawyer from outside that he’s keeping them here for their own protection. But Sawyer tells Widmore he doesn’t believe him.

Widmore turns to his men and asks if the sonic fence is up and running yet (apparently it went down at some point between the last episode and this one), and he’s told that it’s going to be another hour. Widmore barks that his people need to work faster, because “he’s coming.”

Sayid tells Jack that the Man in Black saved him when Widmore’s people attacked them with mortar fire. Jack asks what happened to the rest of MiB’s followers, and Sayid says the ones who weren’t killed scattered into the jungle on the main island. Only the three of them are left now. Jack asks why MiB brought him to Hydra Island, but MiB himself appears and says that their friends got themselves captured, and they’re going to have to rescue them from Widmore. He proposes that they move now, break out Jack’s people, and make a run for the plane. Jack replies that the others are “not my people,” and he’s still not leaving the island. MiB says that he’s still hoping Jack will change his mind about that, but since his friends do want to leave, MiB could use Jack’s help in getting them to trust MiB enough to get them all to the plane. Jack asks why he should trust MiB; MiB says that he could kill Jack or every one of them right now, with impunity, but instead of killing them, he’s saved them all.

In the Dharma cages, Sawyer reveals to Kate that when he was in the cave with Jacob’s Candidates written on the wall, Kate’s name was there, but it was scratched out. That’s why he believed Widmore’s claim that he would kill Kate. She’s not important to the island because she’s not a candidate.

Sun and Jin take a private moment to catch up. Sun tells Jin that their daughter, Ji Yeon, is with her mother right now, and Jin explains that Widmore’s people helped him see pictures of Ji Yeon on Sun’s camera. Sun produces Jin’s wedding ring and places it back on his finger where it belongs. The two of them still can’t quite believe that they’re back together again, after all this time.

Suddenly, the electricity goes out all over the Hydra station. Widmore’s people realize that someone killed the power generator, but before they can do anything about it, the smoke monster arrives and kills the people guarding the cages. Jack soon arrives as well and frees his friends. Kate asks what Jack’s doing there — the last she saw of him, he’d jumped from the sailboat to swim back to the main island — and Jack replies that he’s with the smoke monster.

Morning comes as the survivors trudge through the jungle toward the plane. Kate asks if Jack’s presence there means that he’s coming with them now, but Jack says he’s only escorting them to the plane. “I’m sorry Kate, but I’m not meant to go,” he tells her. Sawyer thanks Jack for coming back for the rest of them. Just then, Sayid appears through the foliage and everyone raises their guns, but Jack tells them that Sayid was the one who shut off the power back at the Hydra station. They set off for the plane again, where Sayid says that “Locke” is going to be waiting for them.

MiB arrives at the airplane to find two of Widmore’s men guarding it. They open fire on him, which of course is completely ineffectual — the bullets bounce right off — until he strides forward and breaks one’s neck and shoots the other. One of them has a watch on his wrist, and MiB takes it before climbing into the Ajira airplane. Inside, he finds some new wiring has been added that’s attached to something in the overhead luggage compartments.

Outside, the survivors arrive at the plane, and they’re happy to see it at last. MiB meets them outside, and tells them that the two dead men at their feet were only put there for show. Widmore wanted MiB to get on the plane, or otherwise he would have put his sonic fences around it. He says that Widmore wanted to get all of them in “a nice, confined space we had no hope of getting out of” where he could kill them all at once. He shows them what he found onboard the plane as well: four blocks of C4 explosives, wired to go off when the plane’s electrical equipment was turned on. MiB says that they can’t be certain that Widmore didn’t hide more C4 on the plane somewhere, so the only remaining safe option for them to leave the island is to steal Widmore’s submarine. Hurley objects, reminding everyone what Richard said about needing to prevent the Man in Black from leaving the island. But Sawyer shrugs off Richard’s words, pointing out that using the sub is what he’s been saying all along. MiB says that the sub will be heavily defended, and everyone will be needed to fend them off. Jack states again that he’ll help his friends escape, but he’s not leaving with them. “Fair enough,” MiB replies, and they set off. Claire quickly catches up with MiB and apologizes for stealing the sailboat with the others. MiB says it’s fine, that he understands why she did it. At the back of the group, Sawyer whispers to Jack that he still doesn’t trust MiB, and that once they’re all on the sub, he needs Jack to find a way to keep MiB from getting onboard. Jack asks how he’s supposed to do that, but Sawyer says to just get MiB “in the water” and he’ll take care of the rest.

All of the survivors arrive together at the subway dock, and Sawyer takes point, noting that Widmore’s people are nowhere to be seen, but there are likely several of them onboard the sub. “Let’s go home,” he says, loading his pistol and running for the sub. Half the group climbs down inside, while the others wait. Sawyer and Frank commandeer the sub and order the captain to make preparations to depart. Outside, the rest of the group decides the coast is clear and make their own run for the vessel. Jack and MiB bring up the rear of this group, and MiB asks one last time if Jack will reconsider his decision to stay. “Whoever told you to stay had no idea what they were talking about,” he says. But Jack turns to him and says that John Locke was the one who told him to stay. And with that, he shoves MiB off the dock and into the water.

Shots suddenly ring out, and Kate goes down with a nasty bullet wound to the shoulder. Widmore’s men have caught up with them, and Jack, Claire, and Sayid take aim and return fire. Only Jack doesn’t bother cowering behind cover; he stands right out in the open while shooting back at Widmore’s people. Jack scoops up Kate and carries her down into the sub for cover, and Sayid follows. Claire stays behind, unaware that the others have all gone, and continues shooting at Widmore’s men. MiB, meanwhile, climbs up out of the water, and in a rage, shoots down the remaining gunmen. When Sawyer learns that Claire is the only one left up top with MiB, he runs back to the porthole and shouts for Claire to come get inside. But MiB spots Sawyer and shouts at him angrily, so Sawyer pulls the hatch shut and seals it. He tells Frank to dive the submarine immediately. Up top, Claire sees the submarine moving and runs after it, but MiB grabs her, stopping her. Inside, Jack asks what Sawyer thinks he’s doing; Sawyer says they’re leaving just as planned. Claire is in tears as she believes her friends are leaving her behind, but MiB calmly tells her that she doesn’t want to be on that sub right now. He watches the sub sail away with wicked satisfaction.

As the sub dives, Jack is alarmed to find that his backpack has been replaced with a backpack carrying the C4 that MiB found on the plane. As he carefully pulls it out of the pack, everyone sees that the explosives have been wired to the watch that MiB took off the dead man at the plane, with the watch serving as a countdown timer. And they have less than four minutes until the bomb goes off.

He shouts that they need to get to the surface to get rid of the bomb, and Jin grabs a radio to call up to Frank, so they can order the captain to surface the ship. Frank does as he’s told. Meanwhile, Sayid examines the bomb while Jack explains to everyone how MiB got the bomb onboard: he’s been playing them all this time. He never meant for any of them to escape the island; he merely wanted them dead. Sayid says that the watch is rigged to a battery that will detonate the explosives. Sawyer grabs the radio again and calls up to Frank, who reports that it’ll be at least five minutes before they can reach the surface — far too long. Sayid (who sounds more like his old self than ever) tells everyone how to disarm the bomb, but he’s not sure that it’ll even work.

Convinced that they should leave the bomb alone because it won’t go off if they do nothing to it, Jack tries to get Sawyer and the others to believe him. “Nothing’s going to happen,” Jack explains. “Locke can’t kill us.” He maneuvered all of them into this exact situation. “Locke said he can’t leave without us,” Jack goes on. “I think he can’t leave the island unless we’re all dead.” He hasn’t killed them because he’s not allowed to, Jack realizes, and this bomb is a trick, meant to get them to kill each other. Sawyer doesn’t buy it, but Jack argues that if MiB meant to kill them, why would he attach a timer to the bomb. “Why not just throw it inside [the sub, without a timer]?” he reasons. Jack and Sawyer argue heatedly, but even after Jack implores Sawyer to believe that they will all be okay, Sawyer still doesn’t trust Jack — not after what happened to Juliet. He impulsively pulls the wires to disarm the bomb, and though everyone gasps, at first nothing happens. But then, the countdown resumes and now it’s going about three times as fast as before.

With only seconds remaining, Sawyer realizes that Jack was right. Sayid suddenly steps forward and tells Jack to listen carefully. “There’s a well on the main island, half a mile south of the camp we just left. Desmond’s inside it. Locke wants him dead, which means you’re going to need him.” Jack asks why Sayid is telling him this, and Sayid replies, “Because it’s going to be you, Jack.” Sayid has stated the truth that has been staring them all in the face for days: Jack is the new Jacob. And with that, Sayid grabs the bomb and runs.

Through the corridors of the ship he races, carrying the bomb as far away from his friends as he can get it, until it finally detonates. Sayid is instantly blown to bits, and the ship is rocked violently. Sun is trapped by the blast under a heavy cabinet, while the ship starts to flood. Frank runs from the bridge, but doesn’t get far before a hatch blows open from the rising water pressure behind it, and the hatch door flattens him. Water pours into the small room where the survivors have been gathered, and Jack picks up Kate, who was knocked unconscious by the explosion. Sawyer is helping Hurley to his feet when Jin calls out to him for help in freeing Sun. Kate regains consciousness, and Jack hands her off to Hurley, telling him he has to get her to the surface, and together they can swim to the island. Hurley doesn’t want to leave, still asking what happened to Sayid, but Jack shouts that there is no Sayid anymore. Hurley isn’t sure he can get Kate to safety by himself, but Jack reassures him that he can.

When Hurley and Kate are gone, Jack goes to help the others with Sun. The three of them — Jack, Sawyer, and Jin — manage to pull the heavy cabinet away from Sun, but she’s still pinned in place by a beam that’s already underwater. The ship is dying, and the castaways are knocked off their feet by the sub’s death throws. A pipe comes loose from the ceiling and hits Sawyer in the head. Sun realizes there’s not enough time left, and she begs Jin to leave, to save himself. But he refuses. Sawyer is unconscious and unable to swim or save himself, so Jin tells Jack to take Sawyer to safety and he’ll stay behind with Sun. Slowly, Jack grasps what Jin is telling him. “Just go, Jack,” Jin says again, and Sun and Jin both stare at him with hopelessness in their eyes.

After Jack is gone, Sun looks at her husband with love and tells him he must leave now. He says he can still save her, but she says he can’t, and she begs him to please go. He takes her face in his hands and says, “I won’t leave you.” He dives back down and tries to pry free the beam, but again is unsuccessful. He surfaces as the water is rising to his wife’s face now, and says he’s going to get her out. “Please, go!” she begs him. Finally the reality of the situation sets in for Jin, but he looks at her and speaks in Korean, saying, “I will never leave you again.” They embrace and kiss one last time as the ship sinks to the ocean floor.

Jack washes up on the island’s shore, lugging a still-unconscious Sawyer with him. Once they’re on dry land, Hurley and Kate catch up with him, Kate crying at Jack that “I couldn’t find you.” The two of them embrace in shared grief, and Hurley asks if Sawyer’s okay. Jack says Sawyer was hit in the head pretty hard, but he’s still breathing. Kate asks about Jin and Sun, and Jack sadly says that they’re both dead. Kate bursts into tears again, and this time Hurley joins her. Jack steps away from them for a moment out to the edge of the water, where he too breaks down.

Back at the dock, MiB reports to Claire that the submarine just sunk. Claire can’t believe her ears, and asks if all of her friends are dead. “Not all of them,” MiB replies. He walks away and Claire asks where he’s going. “To finish what I started,” he says.

  • Sayid was able to overcome the effects of the infection and sacrifice himself to save his friends. It’s unknown if there’s a permanent cure for the infection, but its effects can be undone.
    Is the infection irreversible? [6.03]
  • Yep. Locke’s paralysis in the Sideways world is his own fault, after a (very different) fateful airplane crash. Locke had a good relationship with his father before the accident, but his dad was on the plane with him when it crashed, and Locke holds himself responsible for his father’s dire current condition.
    Sideways reality: We were given a few hints that Locke’s father might be a better man in this reality. Is this true? Could it be that Locke’s paralysis here is not a result of his father’s actions? [6.04]
  • Dogen and the Others were right all along. The Man in Black really does want to kill everyone, as it’s the only way he can escape the island.
    Does the Man in Black want to kill everyone on the island, as Dogen claimed? MiB says all he really wants is to leave the island. Does he have to kill everyone in order to do this? Or have the Others been misled regarding MiB’s intentions? [6.06]
  • Of course not.
    Did Sayid really kill Desmond? [6.13]
  • Widmore believed that by holding all of the Candidates captive, he could protect them from the Man in Black. (He was wrong.)
    Why did Widmore suddenly call off his deal with Sawyer? [6.13]

  • Sideways reality: What’s up with the wooden music box that Christian Shephard left to Claire in his will?

“The Candidate” left me speechless. Things got real in this one. Talk about a bloodbath. I’m pretty sure I forgot to breathe when it was over.

As I predicted last week, love was what allowed Sayid to overcome his infection. I believe it was his conversation with Desmond in the last episode that woke him up (and it seems that Desmond’s ability to wake people up extends beyond the Sideways reality and into the original reality as well), allowing Sayid to shake off the effects of being “claimed” by the Man in Black. That was the moment when he reverted to his old self, allowing him to sacrifice himself in this episode to save his friends. It was the only way he could ever possibly atone for his sins.

So, okay. Saw that one coming. I always knew Sayid would die a sacrificial death.

But Sun and Jin too?!?!? And in the very episode right after they finally reunited!!?!? Come on, that’s just plain mean!

Sun and Jin’s death has to be the most gut-wrenchingly painful scene this show has ever done. I love this show, but that’s not a scene I think I could watch again and again.

I guess now we know why the writers chose not to give the two of them a bigger moment when they reunited in the last episode. They saved all that monumental, emotional resonance for this ep.

I get why Jin stayed behind with her. I do. It was romantic and tragic and poetic. It makes sense, particularly in the logic of the show, after Jin vowed to never leave her again in the last episode. But was I the only one thinking about little Ji Yeon? Poor kid’s an orphan now, when she needn’t have been. Jin could have saved himself for the good of his child, whom he’d never even got to meet. I really thought at one point that he might do just that — that he would make the heartbreaking decision that his daughter needed him to live more than his wife needed to not die alone. But that wasn’t the way he chose to go. His love for Sun was too strong, particularly after they’d been apart for so long. Again, I totally get it. But as much as I love my wife more than anything in this world… I could never willingly let my children become orphans if I knew they didn’t have to be.

It looks like poor ol’ Frank bought the farm, too. (Wasn’t confirmed or anything, but he was knocked out by that exploding door and nobody dragged his unconscious body out of the sub, so I don’t see how he could have survived.) As soon as it became clear that they weren’t going to be using the plane to escape after all, and therefore Frank’s skills as a pilot would not be required, I knew that his days (if not minutes) were numbered. Not surprising that it happened so fast, but I’m still disappointed that Frank never got all that much to do. Guess he just wasn’t integral to the remaining plot.

I also feel it should be pointed out that everyone we lost in this episode, everyone who died, is still alive in the Sideways reality. So “happily ever after”s for any or all of them are still very much a possibility. Which takes away none of the impact of their deaths… but it’s something to keep in mind. (Sideways Locke seeing Jin walking through the hospital with a bouquet of flowers for his wife in the scene right after Sun and Jin’s death in the submarine was a nice little reminder to the audience that their story isn’t necessarily over yet.)

So much death… I think we need a moment of silence.

Okay now. On to other matters. Like who’s still alive!

We’ve still got Jack, Kate (though she’s injured), Sawyer, Hurley, Ben, Richard, Miles, Claire, and Desmond (who of course Sayid didn’t kill! — no shock there). And of them, there are only three remaining candidates: Jack, Hurley, and Sawyer. It’s been mentioned by some fans that Ji Yeon, the daughter of Sun and Jin, is still alive in Korea, and it’s conceivable that she could have been the “Kwon” Candidate. But I don’t buy it. I still argue that the reason Sun never jumped through time back to the Dharma era with her friends is because she was never a Candidate. The Candidates were the ones who jumped through time, and the “Kwon” Candidate was always Jin.

Also in the “not a surprise” category: the Man in Black is evil. Told ya so! All that stuff about him needing every one of the Oceanic survivors to leave the island — he was lying out of his… well, you know. It was all a ploy to get them together in one place and get them to kill one another, since he’s prohibited from killing them himself. This entire season, he’s been acting nice, trying to get the Candidates on his side, taking them under his wing one by one, and lying through his teeth with his every breath. Every single thing he’s done has been part of his plan to kill the Candidates. I still believe he’s telling the truth about his desire to leave the island; the thing is, he can’t do that as long as the island’s protector, aka Jacob’s successor, is still alive. And since he doesn’t know who the new protector is yet, he’s just going to kill all of the Candidates. He’s now succeeded in taking out two of them: Sayid and Jin.

I theorized a while back that as soon as Jacob died, the Candidate who would take his place was already in place as the island’s new protector — they just didn’t know it yet. It’s beyond clear now that that person is Jack. There’s no ceremony or “passing of the torch” yet to come, between Jacob and Jack. It happened the moment Jacob died. Jack is the island’s protector, and to escape his imprisonment on the island, the Man in Black will have to find a way to kill him. Which won’t be easy, since he can’t do it himself. Who will he manipulate into doing it for him now? Claire? I don’t know, but his list of gullible allies is extremely thin now that his true agenda has been exposed.

Does this mean that, mathematically speaking, only Jack is really necessary for the finale? Will all of the others — Hurley, Kate, Sawyer, Ben, Richard, etc. — be killed off one by one until the ending becomes a one-on-one struggle between Jack and Locke? Hmm.

It looks like escaping the island is off the table. The sub is gone, and the plane has no pilot. Is there anyone else left alive that could fly that airplane, assuming the survivors found a way to be sure that there are no more bombs onboard? It’s conceivable that there could be another pilot among the survivors, but I don’t know who it could be. I don’t think the finale was ever going to be about the survivors escaping the island; it was always going to be about this final conflict between the survivors and the smoke monster.

Jack proved beyond a doubt tonight that the Man in Black really can’t kill the Candidates himself. Hopefully next week’s big Jacob/MiB episode will explain how and why that works. Yet we have seen the smoke monster kill plenty of people. People like Eko, for instance. The only way he could have done that is for Eko never to have been a Candidate. This notion got me thinking about how we’ve seen the smoke monster “scan” people over the years — sort of reading their thoughts, or reviewing their pasts. We first saw him do it to Eko, but since then he’s also done it to Juliet and Ben, and even Richard in the distant past. I’ve speculated a lot over the years on what that scanning was all about and why the smoke monster did it, but I think his reasons are perfectly clear now: he was determining whether or not they were Candidates. I.E., whether or not he could use them, or kill them. He found Richard to be potentially coercive enough that he could trick him into killing Jacob, so he kept him alive. On the flip side, he knew Eko would never fall for his tricks, and that he was never a Candidate, so he killed him. Juliet’s name was once listed as a Candidate long ago, so perhaps that’s why he let her live. Or, maybe he believed he could use Juliet as a part of his plans someday.

I’m still wondering why Sawyer wanted Jack to shove the Man in Black into the water as a means of keeping him from getting onto the submarine. They had a conversation a few episodes back about MiB not being able to fly over water when he’s in smoke monster mode. Did Sawyer take this to mean that water acts as some kind of counter-agent to MiB? Is water MiB’s kryptonite?

Jack and Locke are clearly the key players in the looming final conflict, and I believe they are equally important in the Sideways reality. Their conversations there are taking on increasing importance all the time, yet neither of them has been awakened to the fact that their reality has been altered. How much longer will it be before they learn the truth? And what will happen when they do?

I imagine that this episode marks (among other things) the last time we’ll ever see an Apollo Bar on Lost. In case you’re unaware, Apollo Bars have a tendency to appear in every TV series and movie produced by J.J. Abrams. It’s sort of an inside, running gag.

The wooden box that Christian left to Claire in the Sideways reality only reinforces my theory from the last episode that Christian still has some big part to play in all of this, and I believe he’s going to somehow be part of the connective tissue between the two timelines. Did he know that both realities coexisted? The show keeps telling us how “secretive” Sideways Christian was, yet we have not seen a single glimpse of him all season long. Is he going to be part of some big reveal in the finale? We’ll see. I have no theory on what that music box is all about, but I believe that was “Catch a Falling Star” that it was playing — a song long connected to both Claire and Aaron.

I really liked this Sideways Jack/Claire scene, because it was nice to see the two siblings in a sweet, normal, non life-and-death situation together. Jack’s offer to let his sister stay with him was cute, and I’m glad to see that Claire’s Sideways storyline isn’t going to be simply dropped. I half expected her to go into labor right there in the hospital, as they were saying their goodbyes.

I also loved that Sideways Claire noted the flight of Oceanic 815 took place on a Wednesday. Wednesday is the night that Lost aired on for most of its six-year run.

Does anybody else miss Ben, Richard, and Miles? Two episodes now they’ve been absent. Whatever happened to them and their plan to rig the plane with explosives? (And before anyone asks, I don’t think they would have wired the Ajira plane with the C4 that MiB found there, because that would have killed all of their friends as well as MiB.)

Totally saw it coming that that C4 was going to come back into play before the end of the episode. (One of the most basic rules of writing is, “If you introduce a bomb early in your story, that bomb must go off before the story ends.”) And when MiB traded backpacks with Jack, it became obvious what was up.

Interesting that Sideways Anthony Cooper seems to be nothing like his counterpart. He and Locke had a genuinely loving father/son relationship, one profound enough to cut Locke to the bone when he became responsible for his father’s paralysis. It doesn’t look like this Anthony Cooper is a conman at all. Yet Sideways Sawyer got “Anthony Cooper” in Australia as the name of the man who murdered his parents. So what’s the story there? I’m hoping we’ll find out before the end.

After this episode, everything has changed. All the ambiguity about the Man in Black is gone. He’s evil, and he’ll do whatever it takes, kill whoever he has to, to get off the island. Jack and his friends are all that can stop that from happening. From here on out, it’s war.