I’ve been cautiously managing my expectations for the series finale since the beginning of the season, but after tonight’s incredible episode, it’s hard to imagine being disappointed anymore. Just looking back at last week, it’s funny to think how critical a lot of fans were about that episode. Now, one week later, it all suddenly makes much more sense. Granted, we may not have needed an entire hour dedicated to the history of Jacob and the Man in Black, but without that episode, there’s no way they could’ve progressed the story any farther.

There are only four Losties remaining (the same four, mind you, that Ben had Michael bring to him at the end of Season Two), and Kate is out for blood. She wants to exact revenge on Smokey for killing Sun and Jin, and with no other options left, they decide that the only way to get off the island is to kill him. But first, they have to save Desmond from the well. On the way there, however, Hurley is approached by the mysterious Other kid, who steals Jacob’s ashes and runs off with them into the jungle. When he finally chases the kid down, he discovers an adult Jacob sitting by a fire, who tells Hurley that once it burns out, he will be gone forever. That means getting down to business ASAP, so when Kate starts asking questions, Jacob seems more than happy to answer them. Ah, if only he were this cooperative from the start.


Still, it’s nice to get some answers for once, including a confession from Jacob that the reason he brought them to the island is because he made a mistake a long time ago – namely, in the accidental creation of the Smoke Monster. He didn’t take all the blame, though, suggesting that they needed the island just as much as it needed them. Perhaps the biggest revelation, however, was the fact that Jacob only crossed Kate’s name off the cave wall because she became a mother to Aaron, and if she wanted the job of island protector, she could have it. In the end, though, it was always going to be Jack who volunteered to stay. The fate of the island is now in Jack’s hands, although if they manage to kill Smokey, who knows, maybe he won’t have to serve as protector for very long.

Elsewhere on the island, Ben, Richard and Miles finally arrive at the barracks to pick up the C4 when Widmore and Zoe show up looking to call a truce. Ben’s not interested, and when Smokey arrived minutes later, you pretty much knew that things weren’t going to end well. Richard had the audacity to try and talk to him, but Smokey just plowed right through him, seemingly killing him in the process. Ben, meanwhile, made a deal with Smokey to kill the rest of the Losties in trade for having the island to himself when Smokey leaves, and his first order of business is to give up Widmore’s hiding spot in his old house. Smokey doesn’t waste any time in slitting Zoe’s throat, and Ben shoots Widmore in the back – but not before Widmore tells Smokey that he brought Desmond back to the island as his fail safe in case all of the candidates were killed. Now, Smokey is looking to exploit Desmond’s resistance to the electromagnetism on the island by blowing it up, but if there’s no island (or cork) left to contain him, does that mean Smokey is just free to go as he pleases? And if so, why didn’t he try this earlier? On a related note, it was great to see Ben back to his old self again. It’s hard to imagine Smokey holding up his end of the deal, though, so I would either count on Ben being killed by Smokey or stabbing him in the back to help the Losties.

On Earth-2, Ben is still a bit of a weenie, but you have to give him credit for standing up to Desmond when he appeared at the school again to stalk Locke. Desmond claims that he’s not there to hurt him, but to help him let go, though he doesn’t make any such promise to Ben. Of course, there was a point to his pummeling of the kind teacher, as it forced him to flash on his previous beating from Desmond on Earth-1. The battle wounds also prompted Alex to invite him over for dinner with his mother, Danielle, and from the way the two hit it off, it looks like Ben might just get his happy ending as well.

Desmond continued his quest to enlighten the Losties by going to the police station to turn himself in for the hit-and-run and most recent assault on Ben. Detective Sawyer may not have realized what was happening at the time, but Desmond clearly planned this operation well, as it allowed him to get close to Kate and Sayid, and eventually thrown into the same transport vehicle when they were sent to county prison. That’s when Desmond made his move, offering them the chance at freedom if they promised to help him with something when they got out. Kate and Sayid jokingly agreed, not believing Desmond was capable of such a feat, but then the van stopped and Ana Lucia (still a cop, only dirty) opened the back to let them all out. Hurley pulls up moments later with Ana Lucia’s bribe (and the funniest line of the night: “Oh, hey, you didn’t tell me Ana Lucia was going to be here.”), and Desmond informs Sayid to go with Hurley and Kate with him. When Kate asks what they’re doing, he tells her that they have a concert to attend. Like, maybe, the same concert that Jack is attending for his son? Of course, that’s if he’s able to make it now that Locke has agreed to have him perform surgery on his back.

The pieces are really starting to come together now. The only major Lostie yet to receive the Desmond treatment is Sawyer (and Miles, if you’re counting supporting players), and once news of Kate and Sayid’s escape goes over the police scanner, I’m sure they’ll both be at the front of the chase. I’m just glad the series finale was extended an extra half hour, because it sure feels like there’s still quite a bit of stuff that needs to happen before the show can reach its inevitable conclusion. I’ll be live blogging the series finale right here next Sunday at 9PM EST, and will post a quick reaction after the episode, so please join me for the festivities as we celebrate the end of one TV’s greatest shows of all-time.