Forget what I said at the end of my last post, because despite what Jack, Kate and Hurley may think, the plane has indeed crashed on the island, and it’s taken almost no time for Caesar (Jack’s friend from the airport) and Ilana (the U.S. Marshall escorting Sayid) to assume leadership. Caesar has already begun scouring through a nearby cabin for any information he can find, but to no avail. Luckily, they just so happen to have a surprise visitor among their ranks: John Locke, back from the dead. Though he remembers dying, Locke doesn’t exactly know what he’s doing on the island, or more importantly, how he got there.
Interestingly, while Jack, Kate and Hurley disappeared when the plane passed through the bright light (AKA The Island Time Warp), Locke and Ben remained on the plane. We still don’t know what happened to Sayid and Sun, but I think it’s safe to say that they made the jump as well. This means that because Locke and Ben left the island by an alternate means, they’re being treated as newcomers, and have to re-enter the island as such. Now, the Oceanic Six are stuck in the past with the rest of the original survivors, while Locke and Ben are in the present. Of course, this is great news for the Newbies, because while they’re probably not too happy about crashing on an island where they’ll likely be stuck for the rest of their lives, at least they’ve got Locke there to explain what the hell is going. Whether or not they believe him is another thing.
Unfortunately, that’s all we got to see of Locke’s grand return in tonight’s episode, as most of the show was spent telling his post-island story. It’s really too bad, because after the discussion between him and Ilana on the beach, I was foaming at the mouth for more. Don’t get me wrong, it was cool to finally learn what really happened to Locke between the time he left the island and the time he was brought back, but it just felt like a whole lot of exposition with very little payoff. I mean, we already knew that he was going to visit everyone to try and persuade them to come back, and we already knew that they were all going to say no. Plus, his visit with Walt was really awkward – like the writers wanted to include the meeting between the two but didn’t have anything important for either one to say. It was a nice proper send off for Malcolm David Kelley, but that’s it.
There was one interesting thing about the episode, though, and that’s Charles Widmore coming to Locke’s aid in Tunisia. Up until now, no one’s really known whether Ben Linus is a good guy or a bad guy, but Widmore has always been pegged as a villain. (After all, he did send a freighter full of mercenaries to blow up the island.) Tonight’s show placed him in a completely different light, however, and after he explained to Locke his history with the island as a leader who was exiled by Ben, it’s hard to determine what’s really going on. Could Widmore be the good guy and Ben the villain? It’s certainly possible, though I wouldn’t rule out that they’re both just evil, evil men.
As for the latter, he’s certainly not helping his chances of redemption after shooting Abaddon and strangling Locke. The latter was probably the biggest surprise of the night, and not because I thought Locke would hang himself instead. I can’t imagine anyone killing themselves if they didn’t want to (especially someone like Locke), but why did Ben have such a sudden change of heart. One minute, he’s helping untie the noose around Locke’s neck, and the next, he’s turning an attempted suicide into a homicide dressed as a suicide. It clearly had something to do with Locke’s mention of Jin and Eloise (as it wasn’t until then that Ben started acting a little strange), but why? I’m not sure it really matters. Locke’s alive and he’s staring down at his killer like he’s about to open up a can of karmic whoopass, and quite frankly, that’s good enough for me.