So, my new DVR likes to cut off the first 30 seconds or so of every show. That’s annoying.
Alterna-Ben’s history class is letting out. The principal is waiting there for him to tell him that he’s got to take detention after school all week. He’s not that psyched about it because he can’t do History Club with his five little History Club geeklings. At lunch, Arzt the high school science teacher (who blew up with the Black Rock dynamite) bitches about all the budget cuts and inadequate equipment; Ben makes some passionate arguments about all the changes he’d like to make until Substitute Teacher Locke butts in to suggest that maybe Ben should be principal since he actually cares about the school.
Island. Alana, Frank, Sun, Miles and Ben run through the jungle, Miles wanting to know WTF that Black Smoke Monster was. Has he not seen it ‘til now? Alana, who knows that Miles can communicate with the dead, hands him her pouch of Jacob ashes and asks how Jacob died. Ben watches nervously. Miles does his thing, turns to Alana and says: “Linus killed him.” Ben’s eyes bug way out and everyone else stares at him. Alana: “Jacob was the closest thing I ever had to a father.” Miles, looking at Ben: “Uh-oh.” FM: “I love Miles!” The group resumes slogging through the jungle while Ben just stands there, unsure of what to do.
After the commercial they have apparently been walking all night, emerging at the Losties’ old beach camp in daylight. Alana says she’ll look for some tools to rebuild the shelters, and instructs the others to look for food. Ben tries to suck up to her but she’s not having any. Frank notes snidely: “You make friends easy, don’t you?”
Alterna-2004. Ben has made himself and his invalid father some tasty microwave dinners. They seem to have a pretty decent relationship in this reality as Roger tells his son that he wanted so much more for him. That’s why he took them both to the Dharma folks on that Island - it could have been so much better if they’d only stayed there. Hm, interesting. The doorbell rings and when Ben opens the door, he says, pleased and surprised, “Alex?” It is Alex, pretty and clean, and one of his history students, upset that he didn’t make it to History Club after school. He explains the detention conflict. She says that the AP history test is Friday and she was hoping for some extra tutoring; they make plans to meet early tomorrow morning, Alex will bring the coffee.
Island. Sun asks Alana how long they’re planning on staying at the beach camp because she really wants to find her husband. Alana sniffs that she really wants to find him too. Sun: “?????” Alana explains that she doesn’t know if she’s supposed to protect Sun or Jin or both of them, since “Kwon” is a candidate to replace Jacob. Sun: “[WTF?] How many candidates are there?” Alana replies that there are only six left. Let the rampant theorizing begin!
On another part of the Island, Jack (another candidate, I suppose) is pushing Hurley (yet another candidate, no?) to get back to the Temple. Hurley is dragging his feet because Jacob had told him that danger was coming to the Temple and he needed to keep Jack out of it. They argue about which way to go until a skinny, rattled-looking Richard pops out of the underbrush, saying they’re both wrong and the Temple is “that way.” Richard is extra-twitchy these days but offers to lead them to there.
On the beach, Frank is gathering firewood while Ben scrounges through the tent ruins, waxing somewhat nostalgic for the days when Ocean 815 crashed onto the Island. Frank tells him that he was actually supposed to be flying that plane but he overslept. Ben: “Come on!” Heh – don’t try so hard, Ben. Frank wonders how different his life would have been if he’d woken up on time that day but Ben just points out, again a little too emphatically, that the Island got [Frank] in the end, so probably not that different.
Then Frank skedaddles as Alana jams her rifle into Ben’s neck. The others just watch as she herds him off down the beach. When they get a little ways away, she chains him to a tree and tells him to start digging. Dig what, Ben wants to know. Alana: “A grave … you murdered Jacob, it’s for you.” Y’all, I don’t want Ben to get killed off. There are FAR less important and more annoying folks who should eat it first.
Alterna-2004. History tutoring session – is that a painting of the Black Rock? Never mind (but yes, I think it was). Alex is getting frustrated, worrying about the AP test, worrying about getting into and paying for college. She wants to go to Yale. Ben asks what he can do to help. She says what she really needs is a recommendation from that “pervert” principal. Of course, Ben wants to know what she means by “pervert” and eventually, she tells him that she saw the [married] principal and the school nurse knocking boots in the school clinic. Ben promises not to say anything – all the while thinking about how he can use this to his advantage. Some things never change, no matter what reality you’re in.
Island. Ben digs – not making much progress – while Alana stalks around with her gun. Miles swings by with some food and Ben asks if he still wants that $3.2 million, because he can get off this Island and use his connections to pay Miles if he’ll just help him now. Miles wants to know why he even needs Ben’s money when frickin’ Nikki and Paolo are buried just right over there with $8 million in diamonds. Ben spits that Alana is going to kill him for murdering Jacob, a man who didn’t even care about being killed. Miles shakes his head: Jacob did care, right up until Ben pushed that knife into his chest, hoping all the while that he’d been wrong about Ben. “I guess he wasn’t,” says Miles, leaving Ben to his labors. As an extra incentive, Alana fires a round in his general direction.
Other part of the Island. Hurley is trying to figure out how Richard still looks as young as he ever did: are you time traveling? No. A cyborg? No. A vampire? No- Jacob gave him a gift, it’s hard to explain. Jack’s ears perk up – what’s this about Jacob now? They come to the Black Rock because Richard lied to them about going to the Temple since everyone there is now dead. Hurley stops in his tracks at this news but Jack gets in Richard’s face, all whaddya mean they’re all dead? Richard says he doesn’t know exactly what happened but he just came from there and everyone left there was dead. No, he did see Sayid and Kate so maybe they made it out alive. Jack looks accusingly at Hurley who admits that Jacob had told him not to go back there. Richard now looks at Hurley: You spoke to Jacob? Well, don’t believe anything he says. Richard starts walking into the Black Rock and Jack calls after him, asking where he’s going. “Something I need to do,” says Richard. What, asks Jack. Richard: “Die.”
Alterna-2004. Arzt is grading tests when Ben swings by to ask if he could “hypothetically” access the nurse’s email account. Arzt is as goddamn annoying in this reality as he was back on the Island. He blusters until Ben ‘fesses up that he thinks she’s having illicit relations with the principal. Arzt: “You’re making a play. You had me fooled with that sweater-vest … Linus, you’re a real killer.” Ben looks pleased – or constipated – at this pronouncement.
Island. Ben is still digging. He looks pretty beaten down.
Black Rock. Richard seems pretty familiar with the layout of the ship, as though it was his mode of conveyance to the Island. Jack and Hurley catch up with him in the hold. When Richard selects some sticks of dynamite, Hurley starts to wig out, insisting that Jack leave with him now before Richard kills himself. “I can’t kill myself,” sighs Richard, making crazy-eyes, “which is why I want you to do it for me.” He starts tossing the dynamite around, muttering that Jacob touched him – which is supposed to be a gift but isn’t a gift at all, but a curse. For once in his life Jack continues to ask questions instead of backing off: “Why do you want to die?” Richard says, and I paraphrase, I devoted my life, longer than you could possibly imagine, to the service of a man who said everything had a purpose, I had a purpose, and when the time came he would share it with me, but now that man is dead and I’ve learned that my entire ridiculously long life had absolutely no purpose whatsoever. Jack makes a frowny face. Richard’s made the fuse long enough so that if Jack would light it for him, there’ll be enough time for him and Hurley to escape – he can’t do it himself, it just won’t work. Amazingly, Jack lights the fuse. Richard sits there, calm at last. And then Jack sits down too, as Hurley cringes. “Let’s talk,” says Jack. Richard: WTF?
After the commercial, Hurley is wild: Jack! We’ve got to go! This dude is crazy and I know crazy! Indeed, Richard is now staring at Jack as though he’s the lunatic. But Jack remains calm, telling Hurley to get on out of the ship but he has to talk to Richard first. Being a wise, wise fellow, Hurley goes. Richard: “You should go with him, Jack. You’re going to die.” But Jack doesn’t think either of them is going to die right yet because he saw his name on the dial at the Lighthouse and the reflections. As Jack goes on and on, Richard looks nervously at the shortening fuse. Ooh, now Jack totally has the crazy eyes: he thinks that if Jacob went to all that trouble to bring him here to the Island, there’s no way Jack will get blown up right here with Richard. Richard notes that’s a pretty big risk Jack is taking: “What if you’re wrong?” I’m not, Jack says, and closes his eyes. You know, there’s no suspense here whatsoever because of ALL the characters, they’re NEVER going to kill f’ing Jack. And then – surprise! - the fuse fizzles out before the dynamite can explode. Richard stares at Jack who grins, “Want to try another stick?” Richard is bemused and asks now what. Jack: “We go back to where ewe started.” That would be the beach, I presume.
At the beach, Ben is interrupted in his digging by the Smoke Monster noise. It’s Not-Locke, who’s come to visit. When he asks Ben what he’s doing, Ben snarls that he’s digging his own grave; then Not-Locke asks why he’s doing such a thing. “Because you talked me into killing Jacob?” snaps Ben. “I don’t want you to die,” says Not-Locke. He says that he’s gathering a group to leave this place for good – and he thinks Ben would be perfect to stay behind and be in charge of the Island. Ben starts to bluster again until the chains just fall off his ankles. Not-Locke tells him to make a run for the other, smaller Island, and tells him where there’s a gun leaning against a tree. If Ben can get there first, he’ll get the drop on Alana who is sure to follow. When Not-Locke disappears, Ben bolts. “Hey!” shouts Alana, giving chase.
Alterna-2004. Ben confronts the principal with proof of his affair with the school nurse: “Pretty lascivious stuff … that took place on school property.” Ben tells the principal that he will resign and recommend to the school board that Ben be appointed as his replacement. Then the principal shows him an email by which Alex Rousseau has asked for a letter of recommendation to his alma mater, her first choice for college, Yale. The principal pretty much tells Ben that he can have his job but if he does, he’ll flame Alex and her future to cinders. “What’ll it be, Dr. Linus?” Ben has to think about it.
Island. Ben gets to the gun Not-Locke told him about and forces Alana to surrender her rifle. But he wants to explain that he knows what she’s feeling: that he chose the Island over saving his daughter’s life, sacrificing everything for Jacob who didn’t even care. “I’m sorry that I killed Jacob, and I do not expect you to forgive me because I can never forgive myself.” Alana: “Then what do you want?” Ben: “Just let me leave – I’ll go to [Not-]Locke.” Alana, confused and concerned in spite of herself: “Why?” Ben, sobbing: “Because he’s the only one who will have me.” Alana, resolutely: “I’ll have you.” She stalks off, leaving a shocked and shaking Ben standing there. Aw.
Alterna-2004. Ben returns to the principal’s office, in a misdirection where we’re supposed to think it’s now his. But Alex stops by, hoping to thank the principal for the rave recommendation he wrote for her. The principal comes in next, bitching at Ben for being in his office, but Ben mildly says that he’s just here to drop off the detention sheets and, with a smile at Alex, says he’s pleased that the principal found someone else to cover the rest of the week so he can get back to History Club. Looks like everyone’s happy now.
Island. Ben and Alana make their way back to the beach and everyone seems a little surprised to see him still alive. During the musical montage: Frank sits by the campfire; Miles rolls a big ol’ diamond in his hand (you dog, Miles!); Alana sniffles quietly to herself; and Hurley and Jack show up, Richard trailing along behind them.
And then there’s a weird POV from the ocean, looking in at the folks on the beach. There’s a submarine, heading their way. Guess whose sub it is? Charles Widmore’s, of course. He found his way back to the Island at last. (Does this mean we get to see Desmond next week?)
Updated 3/10/10: I read something online today that posited that whatever happens to a Lost character in their alternative timeline determines whether they end up on the side of Good vs. Evil on the Island. For example, Sayid, while protesting that he's "not that guy" anymore, still kills Keamy et al., and so ends up with Not-Locke; while Ben, who flirts with the dark side, ends up doing the right thing for Alex and her Yale future, and thus he ends up with Jack, Alana and Hurley etc. Intriguing, that. (I also read someone complaining that they didn't like this dividing the cast into Good vs. Evil - smacked of redoing The Stand.)
Previously on Lost / next time on Lost
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