Well I am still floored at all of the info and action that was thrown at us, but I can honestly say that (after watching it a few times) I think it might just be one of the best episodes yet.
The writers skillfully brought everything to a head and wound up quite a few threads but left the door wide open for more.
Time Traveling Man:
I think the biggest question on everyones mind is how does Ben do what he does? From the very beginning Ben showed us what we have only imagined to be real. The Others, or the Island or Dharma or something can defintley send people to other places in the world via a wormhole or machine of some type. We even can see a new logo on his jacket that is remarkablly similar to what looks to be a vortex of some type. It actually reminded me of the old Superman movie for those who will remember when he was trapped in another dimension and his friend fell into a vortex there.
Also it seems that he had to drink some sort of concotion to make the trip, because he threw up what looked like orange juice and if you all remember way back in Juliet's flashback they made her drink orange to knock her out before the trip. I speculated back then that maybe the sub was never real and that somehow they warped to the island but used the sub to make people believe otherwise. That theory seems to be more plausible than ever now.The fact that Ben was wearing a parka leads me to believe that he maybe wasn't sure where he would end up or maybe the station he came from was located somewhere cold. If he wasn't sure where then maybe they don't have as much control over where they go as we think, but then again the Polar bear ended up in Tunisia near where Ben was. Hmm..
Sayid's Deal with the Devil? :This is the first flashforward that I can remember where we have a specific date that we can gauge it against the rest of the story. Ben asked the girl for the date and it was Oct 24 2005 over a full year since the crash. Rescue has to be coming in the next couple episodes simply due to the fact that they have to have time for everyone of the Oceanic 6 to settle down in the real world again. Sayid gets married to Nadia like many have speculated happened only to have her killed a short time later.
Now Ben is certainly a ruthless man and is not about emotional blackmail but one thing I am sure of is that the man Ben said killed Nadia is probably the guy who did it. This man Ishamel was following Sayid for some reason we'll not know right now but the fact is that he was around Sayid's house in LA when Nadia was killed.
We can say that Ben doctor the photo all we want but he didn't do it in between his run from the roof where sayid spotted him to the alley below where he showed Sayid the story. The odds of anyone else having been in those two spots besides the murderer are slim at best.
What surprised me is that Ben wasn't aware of something for the first time in a while. He didn't seem to know Sayid was following him until Sayid killed Ishmael. Ben true to form changed his plans instantly. There is no doubt that he knew that by telling Sayid it was bigger than just this guy that Sayid wouldn't stop with just killing a peon he would want the leader of the enemy. Sayid made his deal and became Ben's personal hitman all on his own but that doesn't mean he wasn't manipulated.
The Barracks Assault:
When Alex was taken to the fence she entered the same code that Juliet did when she pulled her and Kate inside the fence to be safe from Smokey this time we found out that somehow it also triggered an early warning system. This automated system called a phone in Ben's house that could serve no other purpose since it didn't have buttons.
What followed was a very enjoyable little war. On a humorous note watching the extras get picked off one after another while Sawyer dodged machine gun bullets was great. It reminded me of a comment someone on the Blog once made about Star Trek red shirts being cannon fodder. Especially since one of the guys wore a red shirts.
What struck me as odd was Sawyer going out of his way to save claire. Now I know he has been growing into a real person lately and that it is most likely leading up to him being the del facto leader when Jack leaves the island but it still felt a little off at first. Upon watching it a second time though I saw that he went to get Claire and warned a few others before the bullets started firing. Also after he got to Claire's house the war stopped while he went back to the main house with Claire. The purpose as we know was to make Sawyer mad enough to give up Ben and it almost worked.
That is until Ben got mad. This Island has always seemed to require people to make sacrifices for what they would probably consider the greater good. Ben wasn't prepared to make the sacrifice of his daughter and was so confident that it wouldn't happen he tried to bluff his way out of trouble. He failed and Alex died.
Martin Keamy is going to be the one who ends up killing a few people on this Island. I have a feeling we can expect a blood bath in the next little while. He certainly doesn't like to lose and he just lost all of his men to Smokey's awesome destructive powers.
The Body on the Beach:
What a let down this was. The episode synopsis made it seem that it would be difficult to figure out who it was and that it would be important to the story. They made it so easy. I mean heck Doctor Ray's body washed up right next to Daniel and Charlotte who simply told everyone who he was.
The only question that is still out there is how did he die? My guess is he was on the "Mission" with Frank and the Mercenaries and he got out of hand. Keamy probably killed him and dumped him out of the helicopter as they flew. The only purpose he will serveis warning the Beach that trouble is on the Island again. Especially when Claire, Sawyer, Miles and Aaron come out of the woods. Assuming they all make it.
Overall Story :
We now see the shape that this show is going to take. Ben takes his private war to the enemy and enlists Sayid along the way all in the name of revenge. He has now threatened Widmore with the death of Penny. The fact that Widmore is racing to get to the Island, Desmond is racing to get to Penny, and Ben is racing to kill her is going to make this show only speed up the story line. To see who will win.
What intrgiued me the most was "The Rules" that both Ben and Widmore mentioned. What are the Rules? Who else is involved? and How long has this been going on?
Widmore stated "The Island is Mine, It always was, it will be again". Could he somehow be an Island Original in an epic battle through time trying to retake his home from Ben?He also said "I know who you are boy, What you are.." This could elude to the fact that Ben also moves through time like Widmore used to do.
The last widmore fact I want to mention is that apparently one of the Rules is that Ben can't kill Widmore and the other way around. Also it seems rule #2 is that family be left alone. Or it was before Widmore broke it.
- The Secret Room in Ben's house seems to be of an ancient culture. It has Heiroglyphics all over it.
- Pill Popping Jack seems to be getting ill. Not to tell any spoilers but on the preview ABC aired right after the show they say it's his apendix. Could this be not only the reason he has to go on the first chopper out but also what helps him get hooked on the meds?
- Claire was not in the house when it blew up. In this picture you can clearly see she is out back of the house on the grass covered in clothes and next to the clothes line. She wasn't magically healed or protected she was outside.
- And Lastly the game of RISK. In the game of risk you can't win unless you kill all of your opponents pieces, much like Ben and Sayid are doing to Widmore. Also Hurley made a comment that "Australia is the key to the whole game".
This show started in Australia when the plane took off from Sydney. Hurley heard the numbers from a guy from Australia. Bernard and Rose went to Australia to be "healed", Claire's mysterious Psychic who affected her and Mr. Eko is in Australia. The whole story and how everyone got to be here centers around Australia. What if it all ends there too?
I'd like to thank Brian for letting me fill in for him while he was off getting married, it's been a blast. Ok folks It's time to analysis my thoughts. So get to it.