I really only have one thing to say about this episode: Dude, you've got a little Ilana on your shoulder. Pieces falling into place on the island, alternative universe characters revealing themselves to each other, a few moments of emotion and a lot of rote development, all worth it for one of the best, most surprising deaths of the series. And we got an answer, however unsatisfying, to what the whispers are. About damn time, right?
What are the whispers in the jungle? Well, remember how Richard was convinced that the island was purgatory for people who weren't yet ready to move on? He was kind of right. The whispers, as explained by Ghost Michael who has appeared to give Hurley instructions, are dead people who can't move on because of guilt, or something. Not sure what's plaguing the people who didn't murder two innocent people, or which other spectral figures fall under this explanation, but given the picked-up pace of this season I'm guessing this is the only explanation we'll ever get.
Why was Libby in the mental hospital? It's been one of Lost's lingering questions, and the answer turns out to be one we only recently found out about-- she has trouble with reality because she's flashing back to a previous life, one in which she knew Hurley on the island and they were in love. Libby's return this episode serves to help Hurley remember his island life, just as Desmond seems to be planning from afar, but we also managed to get closure on a character who's been irritatingly up in the air for four years now. It feels good too.
Is Ilana ever going to be a relevant character? Nope-- her single-minded devotion to what she thinks is Jacob's purpose, along with a cavalier attitude toward unstable dynamite, has done her in. With Richard already out there as a blind follower of Jacob, its pretty much good riddance.
Did SmokeLocke kill Desmond by shoving him down into the well? If you saw the promo for the upcoming week's episode, you already know the answer: probably now.
Why did SmokeLocke shove Desmond down the well? On some level, clearly, he wanted to get rid of whatever it was about Desmond that made Widmore want to drag him all the way back to the island. But Desmond admitted that Widmore was testing his experience with electromagnetism, and Locke specifically brought Desmond to a well known for its electromagnetic activity. Plus there's the whole parallel with Locke banging on the door of the hatch while Desmond was down there pushing the button. SmokeLocke hasn't been known to do anything out of anger and revenge, and I feel pretty certain this is part of a bigger, evil plan.
Why did Desmond run over Alternate Universe Locke? The episode's shocker ending has two possible explanations. 1) Desmond is trying to give Locke the near-death experience that will help him remember having been on the island. 2) Pushed down into the well on the island, Desmond flashes to his alternate universe self the way he did in Widmore's shack, and does it for revenge. Maybe it's a little bit of both?
Why did Desmond give Ben the name of a fake kid named Charlie? Is it because, as mentioned above, his Island Self knew it? Or was it just a name he was thinking about because of Charlie Pace? Or, hey, both?
Was Hurley actually planning to walk right into SmokeLocke's trap? We know that it wasn't Jacob giving him the instructions to go visit SmokeLocke, and from what he told Jack at least, Hurley doesn't have a plan at all. But it seems awfully convenient for the one thing SmokeLocke needs in order to get off the island-- the reunion of all the candidates-- to happen basically because Hurley was out of ideas. Jacob has been known to pop up and give Hurley instructions for real; is this part of a bigger plan we don't know about yet at all?
Pierre Chang/Marvin Candle speaking at Hurley's awards dinner was a nice touch, but why hasn't he aged? After all, he didn't look a day older than when we last saw him back in 1977, but when Roger Linus showed up a few episodes back, he'd aged substantially. Production error? Or significant timeline shift we'll be hearing about later?
Who are these children appearing to SmokeLocke in the jungle? The blond kid who reminded him he couldn't kill Jacob a few episodes back was definitely not the same, older kid who showed up tonight. A theory floating around the Internet already is that it's a rapidly aging Jacob, a phoenix rising from the ashes and preparing to whoop some serious Smoke Monster ass. Or maybe he's a dead kid trapped in purgatory. Anything is possible at this point.
Where We Go From Here
Get everyone to the hospital in Los Angeles. Nearly all of the alternate universe plotlines seem to be leading to the hospital, from Sun's gunshot wound to Locke's car wreck to Claire's pregnancy. Hey Desmond, what's that saying about fish in barrels? Unite all these fools and get that timeline united!
Now that everyone is together on the island, take advantage of it. Nearly all of the character moments this season have been coming in the alternate universe, in which characters who don't know they know each other discover strange connections. But the ones on the island, the ones who are aware of all their old hurts and rivalries and affections, have plenty left to work out. That look between SmokeLocke and Jack at the end of the episode said everything about their history and what they have to work out now. Let's see more of that, while we still have time left with these guys.
Tell us what Widmore is up to so we can at least know what to expect. I'm glad we still don't know which side is good and which is bad, and I want it to stay that way as long as possible. But knowing about WIdmore's goal, and how it might conflict with everyone else's goals about the plane. They've all got to meet up somehow, but right now it's not clear how what Widmore wants has anything to do with those plans.