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SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't seen the episode airing March 9, 2010, don't read this.
Ben Linus's redemption appears to be complete. In his "sideways flash", brilliantly written as an allegory to his island experience, he has a chance to rescue Alex after allowing her to die in their other existence.
Ben explains to Ilana that he is weary of holding out hope that Jacob is who he claimed to be. He cried out (in a truly Emmy-worthy moment) that he was meeting Locke, "because he's the only one who will have me."
"I'll have you," Ilana responds quietly, winning Ben over with three short words. (Oh, forgiveness, you powerful thing, you.)
As if this scene wasn't emotional enough, it's followed by a tender reunion on the beach with Jack, Sun and the rest (and the beautiful piano music in the background--that Lost piano music gets me EVERY time). It felt as though the audience needed this episode--the tender moment was a breather from the rat race we've run this season thus far.
A few other striking points:
It's confirmed by Richard that a "touch" from Jacob is a significant thing (bringing about, it appears, some form of immortality). Jack suddenly seems to be strangely peaceful and confident about Jacob's calling on his life (which is nice, but it seemed like a puzzling shift in Jack's psyche, didn't it? I felt like I'd missed a few scenes).
After the cathartic scene on the beach, we see a jarring shift to a periscope. A periscope? I guess it was supposed to be jarring, but it nearly gave me whiplash. (Lesson learned: get your breathers in Lost while you can, because the sweet moments don't last long.) Inside the submarine we see none other than Charles Widmore, who is evidently still pulling strings. I can't even begin to imagine how he's going to figure back into all this.
My favorite quote of the night was from Hurley (of course): "The man's crazy and I know crazy."
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