The Barracks: Everyone is standing around, looking nervously at Ben. Locke brings a still tied up Miles to join the group, thanking them for their patience. He asks Miles to share with the group why the Boaties are here. Miles says they’re here for Ben. “Uh, we kinda like knew that about forever ago,” snarks Hurley. Everyone wants to turn Ben over to the Boaties but Locke and Ben say that if that happens, the Boaties are under orders to kill everyone else on the Island. “So, what - he’s one of us now? You’re going to protect him” asks Claire incredulously. Hurley points out that Ben can’t be trusted – he hasn’t even told them who his spy on the boat is. When Ben tells them that it’s Michael, everyone is even more confused and upset. I’d say Locke’s meeting isn’t going all that well.
On the boat: a claxon goes off, awakening Sayid and Desmond. Up on deck, Captain Gault is beating the shit out of a couple of crewmembers. After they go down, he explains that he is trying to hold the crew together – everyone needs to just stay put and stop trying to escape on the Zodiacs. “Remember what happened to the last two men who took one of these boats? Remember what happened to Minkowski?” Gault then orders “Kevin Johnson” to clean up the blood. Sayid approaches Michael: “Why are you on this boat?” Michael replies, “I’m here to die.”
Barracks: Ben gives Alex a map to the Temple, the sanctuary where all the other Others are hiding out. He tells his daughter that she needs to go there so that the Boaties don’t discover who she is and use her to get to him. Alex wants to know if the Boaties are even more dangerous than her dad. “Yes,” says Ben, “but your mother will protect you.” Rousseau, armed as always, heads off, Alex and Carl trailing after her.
On the boat: Sayid and Desmond find Michael trying to repair the engine. He gets upset, saying they shouldn’t be seen with him. Sayid, however, is in no mood for games: Explain yourself now.
Flash: Michael is in a crappy apartment, writing a letter and looking at a photo of himself with baby Walt. Don’t know if this is -forward or -back yet, although I think -back, based on the car and the lame music on the radio. He pins the note to his jacket and drives off recklessly – I think he’s going to try to kill himself. He drives to the docks and, at speed, smashes into cargo container. After the crash, he’s not moving. Wasn’t he hurt in the earliest episodes – is this the start of those times? Nope: he’s alive, waking up in the hospital. A nurse says, “It’s a miracle you’re alive.” The nurse is Libby and Michael starts screaming. Ah – this is a flash to after Michael and Walt left the Island, but I’m not sure how far forward. Michael snaps out of it as the real nurse comes in to check on him. She asks if he wants her to call Walt, whose name was written on the note Michael had pinned to himself. “No,” gasps Michael.
Later and out of the hospital, Michael goes to his mother’s house. She won’t let him in and reminds him that Walt doesn’t want to see him. She’s angry, saying that first she was told they died in a plane crash, and then they show up at her house but she can’t tell anyone who they are or call them by their real names. Michael is looking chagrined during all this. His mom goes on to say that Walt has been having terrible nightmares. Michael asks his mother to tell Walt that he loves him and she agrees to do this, at least. As he walks away, a boy – who is definitely NOT the original Walt – peeks at him from an upstairs window.
Michael then goes to a pawnshop and trades his watch (which is inscribed in Korean) for a gun with bullets. He takes his new artillery to an alley and is just about to blow his brains out when a man comes out of the shadows, asking for the time. Michael hunches over, hiding the gun, muttering, “No, man, no.” The man steps forward. “Come on, Michael. How about for an old friend?” It’s Tom, looking quite clean and spiffy off-Island. And so this flashforward is not actually forward of the current time on-Island since currently, Tom has been shot and killed by Sawyer. Everybody got it?
After the commercial, Michael lunges at Tom desperately. “How did you find me?” he cries. Tom sneers, “We’re the ones who sent you home – you didn’t think we’d keep tabs on you?” Michael is wracked with guilt over murdering Ana Lucia and Libby and that’s why he’s been trying to commit suicide. Tom says that the Island won’t let him kill himself, no matter how many ways he tries. Tom hands him back his gun and leaves, saying that when Michael’s ready to do more work, he’s staying at some such hotel. Back in the crummy apartment, an increasingly distraught Michael tries several times more to shoot himself but the pistol keeps jamming. He is distracted in his quest for death when the news comes on with a report that Oceanic 815 has been found.
When Michael gets to the hotel, Tom is there with his love-muffin Arturo - thereby tying up a loose comment he made to a showering Kate a couple seasons ago that she wasn’t his type. Tom tells a bewildered Michael that the plane wreckage on the news was staged by Widmore because Widmore doesn’t want anyone else to find where the real plane ended up. When Michael demands proof, Tom shows photos of a Thai cemetery where Widmore (supposedly) dug up the bodies, and a bill of sale for an old plane. Because those photos and documents are “proof” – whatever. Michael wants to believe. Tom then gives him a “Kevin Johnson” passport and tells him he’s got a job on Widmore’s freighter as a deckhand. Michael panics, asking why he should work for the Others; Tom points out that he’ll be saving the lives of all his friends who are still stuck on the Island – it’s redemption for his murders of the Tailie women. Michael still protests, saying he won’t go back to that Island but Tom has yet another rebuttal prepared: Michael is to stay on the freighter and kill everyone on it.
Fiji (or reasonable facsimile thereof): Michael shows up for work. A friendly George Minkowski introduces himself; then Michael checks in with a friendly Naomi. There’s been a crate delivered for him. As Michael boards, a moderately friendly Miles is there: “Your name isn’t Kevin. Don’t worry, 80% of the people on this boat are lying about something.” Just then, Tom calls him on his cell, quickly discerning that Michael is getting cold feet. Tom tells him to man up, get on the boat, and do his job – or else tell Walt that he’s let all the Losties die too. Michael pitches his phone into the water as instructed and mans up.
Out at sea, Michael observes Frank and Naomi having a little disagreement about just who should go in the ‘copter first. Afterwards, Frank comes over and introduces himself. After some friendly chitchat, Frank asks Michael if he’s ever heard of Oceanic 815. Michael tersely says yes. Frank says that the freighter’s owner thinks the found wreckage is fake and they’re out here to discover if there are any survivors from the real 815. Hmm. That’s different from what Tom said, eh? Back in his bunk, Michael thinks about opening the crate but doesn’t.
Later, Michael is disturbed when a bunch of crewmembers (mercenary-looking types, not scientisty-looking types) shoot skeet with semiautomatic weapons. “I thought we were on a rescue mission,” says Michael. The crewmembers laugh at him. So Michael goes to his bunk and opens the crate. A small suitcase is inside which he takes to the engine room. There’s a bunch of explosives inside. He’s just about to set the countdown when phantom Libby appears behind him: “Don’t do it, Michael.” He’s terrified but presses the “execute” button anyway. The counter starts down from 10; Michael whispers, “I love you, Walt” and closes his eyes. When the counter hits 00:00, a little flag pops up with a note: NOT YET. Now, that’s just a tease.
Minkowski stops by Michael’s berth to let him know that he’s got a call patched through from the mainland. It’s Ben. Michael is less than pleased to hear from him and bitches about the faux bomb. Ben points out that there are in fact innocent people on the boat – and Ben does not kill innocent people. Michael scoffs: What about Libby and Ana Lucia? Ben says, “You killed them, Michael. No one asked you to.” Ben goes on to tell Michael that he wants him to compile a list of all the people on the freighter and give it to Ben when he calls next. Then, Michael is to disable the freighter’s radio and engine so the boat will never make it to the Island. Ben is such a master manipulator. “Then consider yourself one of the good guys.” Michael agrees to do it, and crumples, crying.
Flash to now: So you’re telling me that you’re working for Ben, says Sayid. Yup, says Michael. Sayid grabs Michael and drags forcibly him to the Captain’s quarters over Desmond’s ineffectual protests. Sayid tells Gault exactly who Michael is and what all he’s done, finishing with “he’s a traitor.” Michael doesn’t dispute any of it.
On Island: Rousseau leads her party through the jungle. I think she’s about to get killed. Carl too is twitchy, having a bad feeling about all this. Alex reassures him until someone starts shooting at them with silenced guns. Carl gets hit and quickly dies. Rousseau grabs Alex’s hand and tells her daughter that she loves her. Just as they start to make a run for it, Rousseau is shot and killed too. Alex – who is looking gorgeous in this episode, by the way – panics. She stands up in the clearing, raising her arms and shouting, “Wait, wait – don’t! I’m Ben’s daughter!”
Next week on Lost - Friend Mouse has to stay up really late since it's moving back to the 10 p.m. timeslot. Rats!
Previously on Lost. Next time on Lost.
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