I know last week's Lost (yes, I'm really late with the recap) was filled with plenty of meaningful clues, deaths, reveals, and whatnot, but I still found it disappointing. Maybe I expected more of a big Locke episode with the promise of big answers and the appearance of the mysterious Thomas Abaddon and Waaalt. Or maybe two weeks without Faraday and Juliet is just too much for me.
Either way, the opening was not one of Lost's strongest. Compare Jack's pilot-like awakening to Caesar and Ilana finding Locke. Already taking control of the camp, Caesar and Ilana got a Dr. Marvin Candle type intro, but nowhere near as cool. They're acting like they own the place, and we don't even know them. I don't mean to raise the Nikki and Paolo flag just yet, but you guys can't just act like important characters right away.
With the discovery of the hooded and very alive Locke, we're back to the frozen donkey wheel. Sure, I've wondered what Locke said to the Oceanic Six, but I thought it would be more than: "You have to go back to the island!" "I'm not going back to the island!" "Umm....ok, sorry for wasting your time." Kate's convo seemed especially forced, as she brought up Locke's personal life just so we could find out Helen died. Hard to care about the loss of a character I barely remember.
Speaking of deaths, we saw more of Abaddon this episode than ever before...only to have him gunned down by Ben. He seems kind of ghostly, so maybe he'll still be back. Otherwise, is his importance really just someone who works for Charles Widmore? Seems like a waste of the full season's worth of creepy introductions, from visiting Hurley to convincing Locke to take the walkabout. If he's really dead, this is the lamest death since Smokey ate Eko.
That's not to say there wasn't still some great stuff. The unasked question of "why doesn't Walt have to come back too" was answered as Locke chose to let him continue his life. Taller Ghost Walt may hardly resemble his younger self, but I wouldn't mind seeing him back full-time. Four seasons after he left the show, I think we're due an answer on why he's so "special." That and why Libby was in Hurley's mental hospital.
The episode's biggest strength though was in redefining the Ben/Charles Widmore war. We've pretty much accepted that we're on Ben's side. But it seems the writers worried Ben was becoming too warm and cuddly, and it was time to remind us what a cold-hearted bastard he is. Hence last week's potential murder of Penny, the shooting of Abaddon, and biggest of all, killing Locke.
It seems Ben wasn't lying when he told Jack he didn't know Locke killed himself. In fact, he knew he didn't. Ben gave a whole big nice speech to make sure Locke wouldn't do the deed, only to do the killing himself. Maybe Locke wouldn't be let back on the island if he committed suicide. Or maybe Ben just knew the island didn't let suicide happen (see also: Michael and Jack). Still, this episode showed Widmore helping Locke on his quest as Ben ended it. Might we be on the wrong side?
The "Ben's been injured!" cliffhanger seems like a silly tease, as the promo shows him up and about, broken arm and all next week. I'm certainly ready to see everyone back together, and have Caesar and Ilana show their purpose without getting too much screentime. Biggest hope for this coming week: an answer to what Ben did to Penny.