All the treasures of the earth cannot bring back one LOST moment.
Flash-Sideways Ben: Once more we see the redemption process happening in the flash-sideways reality. For Ben it is not only making the right choice for Alex this time around but also possibly caring for his Dad (instead of killing him). It was very interesting to discover that they HAD in fact gone to the island with Dharma but in this reality they didn't stay there. Why? From the way he talked it doesn't seem that they are aware that the island is now under water as we saw in the premiere. (PS, I was really bummed we didn't get to see Mama Rousseau. poor thing, working two jobs and all).
Island Ben: "Right up until the knife went through his heart he was hoping he was wrong about you." Ooh, harsh words to hear from Miles via Jacob's ashes. Doesn't mean Jacob didn't know he needed to die though, just means he still held out hope that Ben was a better man than that. Beautiful acting and wonderful scene with Ben and Ilana. For all of the slippery lies and manipulation that have come out of that man's mouth, I really did believe his sincerity. That doesn't mean he is going to stay sincere and trustworthy throughout the remainder of the season, but I think it must mean something that at his emotional rock bottom he picked the right team. I think that shows that he truly does care for the island and still has faith in what he grew up knowing since he chose to stay with Ilana instead of taking the offer of the silver-tongued LockeNess Monster, who likes to propose peoples wildest dreams to get them on his side. Has Ben finally learned that nothing comes that easy? (PS, so LockeNess is headed over to the Hydra Station with his crowd, hmmm)
Richard= Man of Lost Faith: Poor Richard, pulling a Doubting Thomas. Just because you don't know the whole plan doesn't mean that what is happening right now isn't part of the plan. I can understand that you are feeling somewhat betrayed but after all of these years as the right hand of Jacob and all the things you have seen, you decide to lose your faith? Interesting that he cannot kill himself but can be physically killed. It has also been interesting to watch Richard be frazzled this season. The past seasons he has seemed so in-the-know, but now he is seeming like a lost lamb. (Biblical pun intended with the whole lamb thing ;) Also adds more fuel to the fire of the whole Jacob as a Christ/Aslan figure with not telling the whole Plan because choices need to be made and things need to play out and believing without seeing is necessary.
Jack= Man of Found Faith: Jack. Buddy. Thank you for finally starting to comprehend your own worth. Way to believe Fate, or what you will, has a purpose for you. Also, way to keep yourself in the lead as the front-runner Candidate. Having Richard start following you around and blindly following your judgement is a good start to being the new Jacob. All of our Losties who have been 'touched' by Jacob have been given a gift (or a curse?) I'm not ready to jump to the conclusion that the gift necessarily means not aging or immortality just because that seems to be the case for Richard. Maybe the gift is different for everyone. Maybe Jacob's touch instills the possibility of a gift but you have to understand and claim/accept it for yourself before it can have an effect. Like Bastian in the end of The Neverending Story. He had to be taken through this whole long journey of heartache with these characters so that he would know and understand because if he had just been flat out told in the beginning that it was up to him to save this unreal place he wouldn't have believed or cared enough. It had to become his story too.
Ilana: 'Jacob was the closest thing I ever had to a father.' Interesting. How well does she know Jacob? We only had that one flash of her where she is all bandaged up and Jacob comes and asks if he will help her and she agrees. They obviously had a history before that. For how long? Is she very old like Richard? Does she know more than Richard? Jacob obviously trusts her since she is aware of the names and the Candidacy. How is it that no one is wondering if Jacob didn't let himself die as part of his Plan? I mean, Ilana knows about the Candidacy, so what did she think, that Jacob was going to find his replacement and then retire to the Bahamas? Maybe she did know. You could still be hurt and angry about losing someone you love even if you knew it had to be. As the character Penelope says in one of my favorite quirky movies, The Brothers Bloom, "I feel like I want to know more about her."
Charles Widmore: So here comes Widmore in a submarine. Is he good now? Is he who Jacob meant when he told Hurley someone was coming to the island? Since he is coming from off the island, could it be possible that this particular Widmore is of the Flash-Sideways reality? Probably not since the Flash-sideways island is apparently under water and we don't exactly know how these two realities are separated (Space? Time?) If I recall, the last we saw of Widmore he did seem sincerely penitent talking to Desmond because he missed Penny. Also, like Ben, though he can be ruthless and ambitious, I think Charles really does care for the island and wants to protect it. He would be a powerful ally. (Also, I automatically want to trust people named Charles. Maybe because that was the first name of Professor X. Also my Grandpa ;)
As a side note, I have to say it was really nice to see some of the gang getting all back together on the beach at the end! The 'Good Guys' team. I don't know if there is a lot of hope left for Island-Sayid and Island-Claire at this point, but please get Kate, Sawyer and Jin back with you!!
Hurley: "Cheese curds."