I've pissed and moaned for months-- months!-- that all the characters in the alternate universe needed to meet up so we could finally know what the hell these episodes were for. I knew it would happen eventually, but I can't even tell you how satisfying it was to finally see all those stories link up, even if it did require some Crash-level coincidences to get there. Better yet, the island activity got its act together as well-- SmokeLocke summed it all up for me when he said "It's so nice to have everyone back together again." It's the most awkward family reunion imaginable, and I couldn't have been happier. Lost is picking up some serious steam leading into the finale, and with all our characters in rare form and actually doing things, they gave us one of the best episodes of the season so far.
Was the island's version of Christian Shephard actually the Smoke Monster? You probably knew this already, but at least SmokeLocke comes right out and admits it when Jack asks him about it, during the pow-wow that Crazy Claire claims has already made Jack a Team Smokey convert--more on that later.
Will Jack and Claire ever figure out that they're brother and sister-- in either timeline? Yet another mystery very swiftly and logically solved in tonight's largely bullshit-free episode. On the island Claire and Jack simply admit the facts, in a way that probably would shorten the show by a season if everyone had done that all along. In the alternate universe Claire shows up at the reading of Jack's dad's will-- a will being handled by Lawyer Ilana, naturally. Glad to see her back in one piece.
Was Sun killed by that gunshot wound? You'll be forgiven for forgetting that this ever happened, but the answer is no-- Sun is wheeled into the hospital, right alongside a John Locke she recognizes, and she and the baby are A-OK. In fact, at her bedside Jin promises her "It's all over and we're going to be fine." That's what we call dramatic irony, folks.
Will Sayid be caught after killing Keamy and crew? Yup-- Cop Sawyer and Cop Miles are on the case. Another quick and easy resolution in an episode full of them.
Did Desmond kill Locke when he ran him over? His fate is less certain than Sun's, but given that he's got an alternate version of Jack operating on him-- a Jack who largely seems to have his shit together-- I'd say his chances are good. In fact, I'd put money on a bet that Locke will find himself out of that wheelchair come the next episode.
Did Locke kill Desmond when he pushed him into the well? No, and as it turns out, the well wasn't even all that deep. But to make sure the job was finished Locke sent his right-hand assassin Sayid to the well with a shotgun, and the result of that confrontation is a little less clear.
Is Sayid full zombie on the island? Sawyer says yes, and leaves Sayid out of his escape plans entirely. But Desmond busts out some "don't kill me" logic on Sayid and you can see just the tiniest flicker of a human being there. It's no guarantee that he didn't kill Desmond, but the first sign of redemption we've seen for the character all season.
Is Claire fully committed to Team Locke? Apparently all it takes is Kate to offer Aaron as bait one more time to get Claire to rejoin the good side entirely. It's not the smoothest character transition the show has ever offered, but having Claire back on the good team makes a lot more sense for the time being.
Are Jin and Sun ever going to be reunited? Friggin' finally, yes-- and as a side bonus, Sun gets to speak English again, which ties up that unnecessary plot thread. The Jin and Sun reunion was pretty low-key by Lost standards, but kind of nice in that way. After all, there were guns drawn all around them-- no time for soaring Michael Giacchino strings.
Did Sayid kill Desmond? Like I said earlier, I don't think so. There's really no way we'd be denied witnessing Desmond's death, and now that we've seen the potential for Sayid's redemption, it would be insanely dark for them to take it away again. Lost as a rule has limitless hope for its characters, and neither of these guys seem doomed just yet.
What is going on with Widmore? Clearly Widmore and company no longer trust Sawyer, which explains all those guns drawn on the beach. But they followed it up by bombing Locke and his team of redshirts, so is it just because they suspect Sawyer is still Team Smokey? Or is all of this happening only until Desmond is safely returned?
What does Jack have planned? Jack's transformation from Man of Science to Man of Faith has been one of the most interesting, and subtlest, developments of the entire season. After he smashed all the mirrors in Jacob's lighthouse it was clear Jack was tired of being a skeptic, and over the last few episodes, even as he's been focused on reuniting his people and not trying to be such a bullheaded leader, it's clear he's becoming Jacob's disciple more than any of the others. His jumping off the sailboat demonstrated that conclusively, but now no one but Sawyer knows what he's actually trying to do. SmokeLocke thinks he's on his side, Claire thinks Jack has been converted even if he didn't know it, and even Jack may not really know what he's doing, other than that it's not time to leave just yet. I can't remember the last time I was this interested in Jack as a character, and genuinely curious about what he would do next.
Where We Go From Here
Keep hammering home the Jack/Locke switcheroo. Yes, I know they're already emphasizing it every chance they get-- SmokeLocke telling Jack "you're' with me now," Jack recognizing Locke on the operation table, the complete switch in Jack and SmokeLocke's island priorities. But these two are what the show has always been about for me, and it seems they're setting it up so that, instead of everything coming down to the Man in Black and Jacob, it's going to be yet another Jack/Locke head-to-head to wrap things up. I worried for so long that the show's big conclusion would leave out our characters entirely, but with Jack and Locke at the center, it would be all about the Losties after all.
Give Sawyer a slightly less selfish ambition. Sure, he's trying to shepherd his pals to safety and hamper SmokeLocke in the process, but Sawyer's bullheaded run to get off the island is awfully reminiscent of the Season One guy who would buy his way onto the rescue raft. I think Sawyer is due for a moment of seeing the light, of believing in something island-related, but I'd like it to happen sooner rather than later.
Don't forget about the character moments. Some of the best parts of tonight's episode weren't the plot moving forward, but the characters getting to be who we know them as-- Sawyer saying Lapidus looks like a guy from a Burt Reynolds movie, Hurley making Star Wars references, even Sun showing off her temper in her written notes. They're all little reminders that these are the last weeks we get to spend with these guys, and tonight's episode was a great example of how to incorporate plot and character in one fell swoop. That's what Lost has been able to do at its best, and Lord know thats where we need Lost to be right now.