On the Island, Jack tells the surviving candidates that they need to find Desmond. As Jack sews up Kate's gunshot wound, nicely mirroring Kate sewing him up in season one, Kate expresses how pissed she is that Ji Yeon's now an orphan. "Locke did this to them. We have to kill him, Jack." "I know." Kate is still a mother first, by instinct. Sawyer watches the flotsam and jetsam wash up on the shore from the sunken submarine. Four candidates left, staring out at sea. Jack tells them they have to find Desmond. Sawyer is the first to follow him, guilt-stricken that he may have been responsible for the deaths of his friends.
Sideways, Desmond is herding the Losties back towards the Island. Jack's eye opens, another beautiful morning. He checks himself out in the bathroom mirror and the cut on his neck is bleeding again. Is the Island reality literally bleeding through to the Sideways world? He and his son David and his sister Claire all seem as happy as clams at the breakfast table. So far, if Jack is having any flashes of his Island existence, he is suppressing them.
The phone rings, they've found Christian's coffin, but it's not flight 815 calling Jack, it's Desmond! I thought for sure that on the Island Jack & Co. would find Desmond and we would get to hear what his role would be, but Desmond on the Island remains elusive. Can he really be two places at once anymore? Maybe he is now the Island's constant. He is working overtime to get the Sideways Losties where they belong, back on the Island. First by stalking Locke. "Dr. Linus" sees him, in his car, revving the engine, and is about to call the cops when Desmond literally slaps Ben back to Island reality. Ben not only sees glimpses of his Island life, but believes Desmond when he tells him he's not trying to hurt Locke, but to "Help him let go."
Desmond then heads to the police station, asking to see the world's coolest cop team, Sawyer and Miles. He admits to the Locke hit-and-run and to his latest Sideways crime, beating up Ben. All to get into a cage with Sayid and Kate. Kate tries to work her magic on Sawyer, but he takes the high road. As the criminal trio are loaded into a van, presumably on their way to a larger lock-up, preternaturally calm Desmond tells them, "I think it's time to leave. Do want to get out of here or not? I'm going to set you free. I'm going to ask each of you to do something. Do you promise?" Sayid signs onto his as-yet-unrevealed plan without a thought (a touch of zombie here too?) Kate is more skeptical, but decides to go along with him. The van stops suddenly and the door opens to reveal Ana Lucia, a crooked cop, there for a pay-off to set them free. Desmond's friend with the pay-off cash-in-hand is of course . . . Hurley. Hurley asks him about Ana Lucia, "She's not coming with us?" Desmond replies, "She's not ready yet." Naturally Hurley, who was the first to follow Jacob, would also be the first to not only sign on to whatever Desmond is planning, but to instinctively know it's the right thing to do. Desmond hands Kate a fancy dress and tells her they're going to a concert. I don't think it's Drive Shaft, but Jack's kid's recital. David's mom is supposed to be there too, and we all already know who that is, right? (Jul - cough, cough - iet)
Locke shows up at Jack's office. He's connecting all the Sideways dots. "Maybe this is happening for a reason." Jack isn't interested in the mystical connections, but he's more than thrilled that Locke is willing to let him "fix" him. Maybe you guys have time to fit in a concert before surgery?
On the Island, Ben is leading Richard and Miles toward explosives. But does Desmond's Sideways Ben-slapping also slap some of the scheming, power-mad Ben back into Dr. Linus? Because in the Island reality, Ben is leading the cavalry of himself, Miles, and Richard back to the Dharma/Others village, towards Ben's "secret room." Brings back some creepy memories of Locke cooking eggs in Ben's kitchen . . . As they cross the white picket fence, Miles gets vibes from Ben's daughter Alex. Richard admits to burying her body after Ben left. "Thank you Richard." They go to Ben's house and the secret passages are all still intact. He opens up a safe and . . . oh no, not more C-4. And not in a backpack. Not a good idea. They hear noises from the kitchen. The trio investigates. It's Zoe—just shoot her! But Ben is gobsmacked at the sight of her boss, Widmore. Almost as much as he is Sideways by . . . Rousseau! It's a love connection. Rousseau tells him that Alex considers him the father she never had, which chokes him up. Sideways is the land of the good fathers.
Ben should channel his good side. He's going to need it back on the Island. Widmore tells them in that reality that he is back on the Island because "Jacob invited me." Are Ben and Widmore finally teaming up (!?) Smokey is coming, heading directly for them. Miles, never shy when it comes to expressing his terror, runs off. Richard and Ben choose to stay and face Smokey. Smokey, in his smoky form, grabs Richard and throws him. Far. Yikes? What the? Is Richard no longer immortal? Or is he just immortal and really banged up? No answers yet on that one. I still hold out hope that he will represent the left flank. And Miles is out there loose, running around the island, with all the whispering ghosts. That must be fun for him. Ben calmly takes a seat on his porch and appears to bargain with Smokey. Can Smokey not read people's minds any more? Or is Ben shifting allegiances yet again?
Ben leads Smokey directly to where Zoe and Widmore are hiding in his house. Smokey dispatches Zoe, dismissively, as soon as Widmore tells her not to talk, "She had nothing to tell me." He then threatens Penny, so Widmore starts to tell him about the amazing magnetic Desmond and why he brought him to the Island. This whispering conference is interrupted when Ben shoots Widmore dead, with multiple gun shots. "He doesn't get to save his daughter. You said there were other people to kill?" Ben, in all the previous seasons of LOST could twist with the wind, but I'm still hoping that he is trying to con Smokey big-time. I guess we won't be getting that in-depth Widmore origin story now, either. See ya, Charles.
Jacob is leading the candidates to their destiny. Ghost Boy Jacob steals his ashes from Hurley, who chases him, leading him to Ghost Man Jacob, who has thrown them in a fire. "When those ashes burn down you'll never see me again. We're getting close to the end." You can say that again. And that fact makes me sad, both not to see Jacob again and the inevitable end we seem to be hurtling toward, with the Losties.
Jack, Kate and Sawyer find Hurley and Jacob by the campfire, lit by the remains of Jacob's ashes. They can all see Jacob, which distinctly freaks Hurley. Jacob promises to tell them the ultimate campfire tale, "What they died for," and anything else they need to know before he goes up in a puff of smoke and one (or all?) of them decide to protect the Island.
Hurley asks the first question. "Why did you bring us to the Island?" "I made a mistake. You call him the monster. I made him that way. I brought you all here to replace me. I didn't pluck any of you out of a happy existence. I chose you because you were like me. You were all alone. You needed this place as much as it needed you."
Jack gets where this is all leading. "You want us to kill him. Is that possible?" "I hope so, because he will try to kill you." Jacob makes the case that there is a very important vacancy and one of them will need to take the job.
Jack jumps in, fixer to the end. "I'll do it. This is why I'm here. This is what I'm supposed to do." "Is that a question Jack?" "No." "Good. It's time."
Sawyer has the best line of the night, per usual, "I thought that guy had a God complex before . . . "
A relieved Hurley, "I'm just glad it's not me." Not so sure you're off the hook completely just yet, dude.
Jacob leads Jack off to perform the ritual, but the other three get to watch. Apparently you don't need wine and an ancient corked bottle. The protector just needs to bless some liquid for his or her successor to drink. "Now you're like me."
Smokey is still trying to write the story, not just follow it. Smokey and Ben are at the well. But Desmond isn't there. "Widmore told me that Desmond was a fail-safe. One final way to make sure that I never leave this place." For a moment it seems like Smokey is going to tip Ben into the well, but he's too busy bragging about his evil-super-genius plan. "I'm going to destroy the Island."
As I have suspected all along, the hall of mirrors that is the Sideways world, if it continues, is the result of Smokey on the loose. If he succeeds, the Island is sunk, under the ocean, and the Losties' lives are completely changed. The hard part will be convincing the ones who are gone in the Island world that the Sideways world is a wrong world. To explain to them what they died for.
Jack's got his work cut out for him. Even though he went through Jacob's ritual, I'm not convinced that the protector job should be a solo gig. That he should or can do it on his own. The best way to defeat Smokey will be as a group. I think they have to do it together. Desmond is trying to orchestrate a team effort in the Sideways world. Jack needs to do the same on the Island.
Protect together, or die alone.