Wow...what another fabulous episode. Season 6 is really starting to pick up the pace. Ben Linus has always been the "Severus Snape" of LOST and he certainly didn't disappoint in this episode. We have now seen numerous facets of his character, but what we saw in Dr. Linus was Ben completely stripped down, broken, and battered. Both on and off island, we have a man who feels completely ignored and unimportant in the world. By the end, we see that Ben is certainly important and needed, and you better believe that he will have a part to play in how the show finally ends.
It was also nice to get some answers in this episode. I think it's pretty much a given now that Richard originally came to the island on the Black Rock, possibly as a slave. He also gave us a little information on Jacob's "gift" or curse as he calls it. I still hope we get a more concrete answer on why Richard doesn't age. Was he a special case that Jacob granted immortality to? Clearly the others Jacob has touched age normally as evidenced by the fact that he touched Kate and Sawyer when they were young children.
Jack's character has now come full circle. He is now a complete man of faith, believing that he is most definitely on the island for a purpose. The dynamite not going off seems to prove that as well. The scene between he and Richard was well done and intense. I thought it was the second best moment of the episode and topped only by...
Ben's confrontation with Ilana. He finally pours out his soul and tells the complete and whole truth. He explains to Ilana what drove him to kill Jacob, but says that he doesn't expect her to forgive him when he can't even forgive himself. He then says he will go with Locke and Ilana asks why. He replies with, "Because he's the only one who'll have me." Wow...talk about heart-wrenching. This line may have been the most emotional moment of the season thus far. I pictured Ilana walking away without speaking at all. Her reply, "I'll have you," sent chills down my spine and actually resulted in me shouting with joy.
In both realities, Ben is making all the right choices. He chose to go back with Ilana instead of following MIB. He chose to help Alex instead of forcing the principal's hand by revealing his inappropriate conduct. Despite all the wrong he's done, it looks as if there may be some redemption left for Dr. Benjamin Linus. I sure hope so.
Widmore's eventual appearance was inevitable so it was good to see him finally return. If he's headed to the hydra station, then perhaps he is somehow working with MIB to help him off the island. It would be fitting for him to join their cause since his arch nemesis, Ben, appears to be firmly on Jacob's team.
I absolutely loved how this week's closing was a direct parallel to last week's ending. Last week, we saw Team Smokey exiting the temple. The colors in this scene were dark, the music foreboding. This week's ending showed us a reunion of sorts, as Jack, Hurley, and Richard meet up with Ilana, Ben, Sun, Lapidus, and Miles. This scene was accompanied by bright images of happiness with the lush forest and sparkling ocean in the background. I know there is still some debate, but there's no way that Jacob and his new group aren't the good guys. The teams have been picked. Now let's see the game.