Ugh. Is it really time again for another Kate-centric story? Unfortunately, but while tonight’s episode wasn’t one of the year’s best, at least it wrapped up another plotline from earlier in the season. Though Aaron’s whereabouts probably weren’t at the top of most people’s lists, it did add some much needed closer to Kate’s past. Up until the final moments of the night, I was actually starting to think that she had either lost him to a stranger at the supermarket (though, admittedly, that would have been pretty lame), or given him to Cassidy to take care of. After all, she’s clearly proven to be a fit mother from raising Saywer’s daughter, Clementine, and as we learned throughout the course of the episode, she and Kate actually became pretty good friends.

Speaking of Clementine, it was also confirmed that the big secret Sawyer whispered into Kate’s ear before jumping off the helicopter was a simple request to take care of his daughter. Not exactly a surprise when you consider there wasn’t much else he could have asked, but it’s still nice to get that out of the way. In fact, while the reveal wasn’t much of a shock, Kate’s immediate honesty with Cassidy was. Didn’t she even think of the consequences that might have come with Cassidy blabbing her mouth about how the Oceanic Six’s story was all a lie? Apparently not, and it’s a good thing she didn’t, because if the two of them never became friends, Kate wouldn’t have made the unselfish decision to head back to the island and leave Aaron in the care of Claire’s mother.

It was a necessary story to tell, but it was pretty dull compared to the island portion of tonight’s episode. After Jin awakens to discover Young Ben has been shot by Sayid, he rushes him back to camp to get help. Horace thinks the Others are planning an attack, and while everyone begins preparing defenses, Juliet desperately tries to save Ben’s life. As expected, she goes to Jack for help, but he’s too busy acting like an asshole to care. Sure, the kid’s going to grow up to become a monster, but does that give him the right to decide whether or not he should die? If a criminal was brought into his ER, wouldn’t he be professionally (and morally) obligated to save his life?

Jack is really starting to get on my nerves these days, but that’s beyond the point, since he barely had a part to play in tonight’s episode. Without his help, however, Juliet is forced to think outside the box, and her best suggestion is bringing Ben over to the Others to receive the help he needs. Kate volunteers to take him on her own, but Sawyer eventually meets up with her along the way. When the finally run into Richard, he agrees to save Ben’s life, but only under the condition that they understand he will never be the same again. The comment had a pretty strong affect on Kate and Sawyer (since they know exactly what that means), but they really have no other choice.

Interestingly enough, as Richard left with Ben into the jungle, he was approached by a fellow Other warning him about Illy (?) and Charles finding out. I listened to the same conversation several times (thanks TiVo) to make sure I got that first name right, and I believe that he did say Illy (who I don’t believe we’ve met yet), but the more important name of that pair is Charles. Does that mean Charles Widmore is already in charge of the Others at this time? And if so, how old was he when Ben took over? Or perhaps a better question would be that if Richard Alpert is as omnipresent and powerful as he seems, what role does he play for the Others?

The episode ended with Ben waking up in the present to find Locke welcoming him “back to the land of the living,” but while that moment definitely set up what looks to be one hell of an episode next week, tonight’s best moment came when Hurley and Miles got into a debate over the rules of time travel. Miles tried to reassert Faraday’s theory that “whatever happened, happened” by explaining that once Ben turned the wheel, time no longer existed as a straight line for them. But when Hurley postulated how Ben wouldn’t know that Sayid had shot him as a child if his past followed a more linear line, Miles had nothing more to say than “Huh.” Yeah, that’s kind of how I feel right now, which is too bad, since it seemed like the writers were going to spell everything out for us right then and there. I guess that was too much to hope for, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it didn’t perk my interest in the show’s time travel subplot even more. Then again, that’s the life of a “Lost” fan.