"A wise man once said war is coming to this Island.  I think it just got here."

This week's episode of the final season of "Lost" was deceptively simple, and at this point, watching fans of the show micro-manage their expectations from week to week is fascinating.  I think part of the problem is a sort of separation anxiety that's setting in, and so instead of enjoying the ride from here to the end, fans are starting to go a wee bit crazy.  As a result, anything that strikes them as less than perfect gets magnified and they seem to be lose focus.

Relax, kids.  Even a week like this week, where things seem very direct and surprisingly linear, is packed with information and answers and suggestions for where we're going in the next two months.  Also, let's be fair... almost anything would have seemed like a comedown after last week's Richard Alpert episode, but I think Paul Zbyszewski and Graham Roland did solid work in building this Jin/Sun-centric installment, and in a few moments, I think they may have given us some major peeks behind the curtain.

It had to happen eventually that we'd get an episode that focused on the drive to get Jin and Sun together again, and they've been hinting at it in moments, but tonight, this long-separated couple took center stage, and there were some powerful emotional punches thrown and landed as a result.  In TIMELINE A, we backed up a few steps from the point we've already seen, picking up with Jin and Sun at LAX, just after Jin has been questioned by customs about the $25,000 in cash he was trying to carry into the country.  He's released, but customs keeps the money.  When Sun asks why he was carrying it, he admits that he's not sure.  Her father gave it to him just before they left and, as he puts it, "I do what your father tells me."

In TIMELINE B, AlternaLocke talks to Jin about how he needs all of the Candidates to leave the Island together.  He tells Jin how he saw the name "Kwon" written on the wall of the cave, and he's not sure who it refers to, but he promises that he'll reunite the two of them.  I may be wrong, but I think this is the first time we've heard AlternaLocke explain that he has to take all of the Candidates with him or he won't be able to leave.  That would be fairly important information, and it explains why AlternaLocke is working so hard to present himself as stable and sincere to each of the Candidates.

Sayid tells AlternaLocke that he doesn't feel anything since he was resurrected in the Temple.  Nothing at all.  It's sort of chilling the way tells him that might actually help with whatever lies ahead.  It suggests how bad things are going to get before the end of the show.  When AlternaLocke walks away from the camp to go find Sun, Widmore's men move in, shooting everyone with tranquilizer darts and then rushing off with Jin as a prisoner.  All of this before we get the opening LOST for the week and the first commercial.

By now, everyone in TIMELINE B seems to have broken up into the groups that we're going to see them in for the rest of the season, and we see Ben with Ilana, Frank, Jack, and Sun, all of them discussing their next steps.  Ilana wants to wait for Hurley to return with Alpert, confident it will happen.  Sun, though, is just as impatient as Jin is, determined to fine her husband and get off the Island, totally uninterested in her possible role as a Candidate or in any larger fate she might be destined to serve.  She and Jack have an interesting conversation out in her garden, the one she worked so hard on back at the start of the series, and it's clear that she doesn't care what Jack saw in Jacob's Lighthouse.

In TIMELINE A, we get some clarification about Jin and Sun's relationship.  They aren't married, but they are indeed romantically involved, and Sun is desperate to cut loose from her father and take Jin with her.  This errand they're running is just an excuse for the two of them to have a romantic holiday.

In TIMELINE B, Sun is still in her garden when AlternaLocke shows up to offer her a chance to be reunited with Jin.  She doesn't trust him, no matter how he presents things, and she ends up running away, with Locke pursuing her.  The chase ends when she slams into a tree and hits her head so hard that when she wakes up, she's had the English knocked right out of her.  She still understands what she's hearing, but she can only speak Korean.  This one plot point seems to be this week's big "what the hell are they up to?" moment for some fans, but I've talked it over with a few hardcore fans, and I think what we're seeing here is the wall between TIMELINE A and TIMELINE B starting to get thin and wear down.  In every single episode so far where we've had a TIMELINE A storyline, the person who is the focus of the episode has looked into a mirror in at least one scene, and tonight, when that moment came, it marked a shift in Sun's behavior in both timelines, not just the one.

TIMELINE A is fairly straightforward for the remainder of the episode.  While Jin and Sun are still in bed, basking in a bit of the afterglow, Keamy shows up at the hotel looking for the watch and the money that Sun's father sent for him.  When they tell him about what happened at customs, he doesn't seem to care.  Sun tells him that she's got an account of her own, and she's be willing to go get him the money from the bank.  Keamy takes Jin with him to the restaurant as collateral, which folds back into the events we saw in the Sayid-centric episode earlier in the year.  What we didn't see in that earlier episode was a moment where Keamy, alone in the walk-in freezer with Jin, explains to him exactly what that $25,000 was supposed to be for:  it's a payment to Keamy so he'll kill Jin.  Seems that Sun's dad is aware of their affair, and he's not happy that one of his employees is handling the merchandise, so to speak.  When Sun tries to pull money out of her account, she learns that her father closed the account and took all the money without telling her, leaving her helpless to do anything for Jin.

AlternaLocke, pissed off that someone took Jin from his camp, goes to the smaller Island to confront Widmore and his crew.  They've got pylons set up on the beach to keep him at bay, but he's able to get close enough that he and Widmore have a face-to-face conversation.  Widmore denies knowing anything about Jin, but he seems happy to taunt AlternaLocke a bit while he can.  It's strange... after all the seasons that Widmore's been a subject of loathing for fans of the show, could it be that he's actually working on the side of right?  Is he really part of the push to keep The Man In Black on the Island?  After all, it turns out that Shiela Kelly isn't a mercenary, but is in fact a geophysicist who is working to identify all the major pockets of electro-magnetic activity on the Island, something she wants Jin to help her with since he's the one who signed the maps that the Dharma Initiative made back in the '70s.  And Widmore's also the one who brought something special to help with the problem, something he's had stored in a cabin on the submarine until now.

Widmore, attempting to win Jin over to his way of thinking, gives him a camera that was recovered from Sun's luggage.  On the camera, Jin finds dozens of photos of Sun with his daughter, the daughter he's never seen, and that moment punched me in the gut.  It's a reminder of just how much value this show places on human connection and love, how much these characters have at stake, and how much they stand to lose as things start to get ugly in these last few episodes.  Damon and Carlton and company are going to make us hurt before this is all finished, mark my words.

Proof comes in TIMELINE A, when we see the moment where Sayid discovers Jin in the freezer, this time from Jin's point of view, and we see what happens after Jin gets loose.  Sun is brought back to the restaurant by "Mikhail Bakunin," the one-eyed Russian from the Island who appears to be a Keamy henchman in this version of reality.  He's the only one who speaks Korean, so he's the one who was assigned to be with Sun at the bank.  He finds everyone dead, and when Jin tries to get the drop on him, there's a fight.  A gun goes off several times, and Mikhail ends up with the correct number of eyes again (seems like fate loves a cyclops in every timeline) and Sun ends up with some fairly serious gunshot wounds.  It's a cliffhanger ending for her, and I'm curious to see what this means when Timeline A and Timeline B come crashing together in the next few weeks, as I'm absolutely sure they're going to.

Why?

Because of what Widmore had onboard the submarine.  Or who, I should say, since in the closing moments of the episode, we see them bringing the package ashore...

... and it's none other than The Constant himself, Desmond, and it does not look like he came back of his own free will.

Sayid sees Desmond, so next week, AlternaLocke's going to know what he's up against, and I'm guessing he won't be happy about it.

Desmond has always been a lynchpin to the mechanics of the Island, and I think Widmore knows exactly what he's doing bringing him back.  Things are going to start playing out quickly from here, so buckle up, "Lost" fans.  And please keep checking in here every Wednesday morning, because we're going to be recapping every single significant beat and idea, right to the bitter end.

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