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I was one of the people who didn't like "What Kate Does." I didn't think it was as unilaterally horrible as some people made it out to be, but it was certainly weak and didn't really advance the show a whole lot.
However, this week's episode more than made up for it. Simply amazing. The best episode of the season thus far, and one of the best episodes in the series thus far.
The Smokey-view at the beginning of the episode was pretty cool, I'm not gonna lie.
For all the people who were complaining about the lack of answers from last week, they can kindly be quiet now. I say that with all the best intentions. One of the central mysteries of the show was answered tonight-not completely but pretty satisfyingly to me. That mystery is, of course, why are the 815ers on the Island? We always had a feeling that Jacob had a hand in bringing everybody to the Island, but we just didn't know why. So Jacob's nemesis explains that Jacob's main goal was the protection of the Island, and bringing people to the Island was his back-up plan in case he ever died. Did Jacob know he was going to die in 2007, so that's why he brought Flight 815 in 2004? We don't know that yet. But the scene in "Jacob's Cave" was amazing. The answer of what exactly being a "candidate" is was answered- Sayid, Hurley, Jack, Locke, Sun or Jin, and Sawyer were candidates to take over the protection of the Island if Jacob ever died. However Jacob's nemesis took the real John Locke out of this whole Jacob's candidate business, and made him a candidate for Jacob's nemesis. Wow. Two mysteries solved right there. Just how Jacob's touch changed everybody's destiny so much that they all ended up on Flight 815 is unknown to me, but then again a lot is unknown to me. There was once balance on the Island between light (Jacob) and dark (Nemesis) but now it's all on Nemesis' side. For the time being. I honestly think that the "candidate" will end up being Jack. It makes the most stylistic sense for Jack to take over Jacob's spot. They have similar names, and a showdown between Jack and (fake) Locke would be epic.
Another thing I found fascinating was Richard in this episode. Previously Richard has been a stoic character on the show, radiating wisdom and agelessness. But in this episode we see a new Richard- a Richard who is genuinely scared. Richard doesn't have Jacob to guide him anymore, and it's not going well for him right now. And also, who is that little boy? My first thought was Sawyer as a child, but now I think it could either be a younger Jacob (when the hell would Jacob have been a child?) or possibly Aaron. Or just somebody we have not met yet. The child certainly stirred up Jacob's Nemesis, whoever he is. And when he tells Jacob's nemesis that he knows the rules and that he can't kill "him," who is he talking about? It's traditional of Lost to answer questions, but at the same time spring up so many new ones.
The episode also got me thinking about Ilana, and her connection to Jacob. She seemed genuinely distraught over his death. Why is this? What connection does she have to Jacob? Could she possibly be Jacob's daughter?
Now on to the alternate timeline. Not nearly as interesting as the original timeline, but there's still a lot going on here. Locke is still with Helen, which is a big change from the original timeline. Are we bound to see her die soon though? Because Matthew Abaddon told Locke that everybody had a path in life, and that Helen's led to an early death (as seen in the Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham). Another big change is the status of Locke's father, Anthony Cooper (if we can assume that's still Locke's father.) Helen talks about Anthony Cooper being a part of their wedding, which seems to suggest in the alternate timeline that he may not be the raging douchebag he was in the original timeline. Which also springs the question of, why is Locke in the wheelchair then in the ATL? Randy Nations, however, is still a raging douchebag in the alternate timeline, no changes there. It was really cool to see Hurley and Rose in the ALT (although Hurley being seen could have been foreseen, because we know from Season 1 that Hurley was the majority shareholder in Locke's box company). The fake psychic who tried to convince Hurley that he could remove his curse shows up in the ALT as Locke's interviewer at his new job, and Rose still has cancer in the ALT. It's also fascinating to see Locke's worldview in the ALT, as he tells Helen that miracles don't happen. Because he didn't get a new life on the Island, he is still a bitter, weak, old man. Locke's story is the most tragic out of all the characters. The event that turned his life around, his coming to the Island, was orchestrated by Jacob, and hijacked by Jacob's Nemesis to circumvent the loophole, whatever that is. Even if Locke doesn't come to the Island and doesn't die at the hands of Ben, his life is still pathetic. What a sad story.
The other interesting appearance in the episode, that raises a lot of questions, is the presence of Ben as a teacher in the alternate timeline. My question is how Ben could still be alive in the ALT, if Jughead was the event that sunk the Island. Ben was in the Others' camp with Widmore when Jughead went off. I think we can now guess that the sinking of the Island happened after Jughead detonated, and opens the door to other characters, such as Eloise Hawking and Charles Widmore, to appear in the alternate timeline. Because if Jughead sunk the Island immediately, they would probably all be dead.
Just my initial thoughts on the episode. Sorry for the length. It was an amazing episode. I can't wait for next week.