Since this season was initially meant to be 16 episodes before the writers’ strike, seasons five and six have been extended to 17 episodes each.
Locke and Ben: moving the island
Ben may have been captured by Martin and his men, but just as he predicted, a rescue party led by Richard soon shows up to rescue him- with Kate and Sayid assisting in return for being allowed to leave. To their surprise, Ben agrees to honour this deal, for he has bigger issues to deal with- such as moving the island.
Making his way back to the Orchid, Ben assists Locke in gaining access via the greenhouse, and once down in the station, he hurriedly makes preparations whilst Locke watches the last of the Dharma orientation videos. According to the video, the Orchid is built around a bizarre pocket of space-time that allows such phenomena as time travel with a specially sealed chamber known as the Vault. Ben, however, has other ideas for the Vault, and he immediately sets about blowing it apart so that he can travel even deeper- to the place where the island can be moved.
Unfortunately, the duo are interrupted when the seemingly unstoppable Martin shows up again- he may have been shot during Ben’s rescue, but his trusty bulletproof vest saved his life. Now, he has new for Ben- the detonator for the bomb he left on the boat is a dead man switch that will only go off if his heart stops, so if he dies, so does everyone on the boat. Nonetheless, faced with the man who killed his daughter, Ben cannot contain his rage, and so he ends up attacking Martin and fatally stabbing him.
Although Locke is concerned for the fate of those left on the boat, as far as Ben is concerned, it isn’t his problem- it was just another ill-advised emotional decision made in the heat of the moment. Now, Ben must go and move the island, but Locke isn’t to go with him, for whoever undertakes this task can never return to it. Instead, Locke must go and find the Others, for he is to become their new leader.
On the boat: thar she blows
Michael, Desmond and Jin have found the bomb, but there’s a slight problem- even the army-trained Desmond has no idea how to disarm the complex system of wiring without triggering an explosion in the process. The only thing they can do is freeze the battery with liquid nitrogen- but that will only give them as long as it takes until the canister runs out to figure out a solution.
As Desmond and Jin futilely search for a way to disarm the bomb, Michael keeps spraying the battery with liquid nitrogen- but upon Martin’s death, the detonator light turns from green to red, and with less than a quarter of a tank remaining, there doesn’t seem to be any way to avoid an explosion. Instead, the newly arrived chopper is forced to patch itself up and take Sun and Aaron on board, but with time against them, they leave moments before Jin can also get on. Now a devastated Sun must watch as her husband is left behind mere moments before the boat explodes, killing everyone still aboard.
The chopper: between a rock and a hard place
After assisting in the release of Ben, Kate and Sayid meet up with Jack, Sawyer, Hurley and Frank at the chopper, and despite Locke’s plea to Jack that he not leave the island, they are all more than ready to go. Unfortunately, on the way back to the boat, Frank notices that the fuel gauge is going down much faster than it should be- a bullet has pierced the tank. There is no choice but to lighten the load as much as possible, and when even tossing out all backpacks and other equipment has little effect, Sawyer decides to take action. After whispering something to Kate, he dives out into the ocean and heads back to the beach.
Unfortunately, no sooner have they reached the boat than Frank and the others find out the bad news- their place of sanctuary is about to explode. After taking Desmond, Sun and Aaron on board, patching up the leak and refuelling as best they can, the chopper takes off-leaving Jin behind. Their only choice now is to head back to the island, but even as they do so, it disappears, leaving them to crash-land in the sea once the fuel runs out.
Fortunately, as they float in their life raft, Jack and the others notice a boat, which just happens to belong to one Penelope Widmore. Everyone is rescued, but as they board, Jack remembers what Locke told him- in order to protect everyone left on the island, they will have to lie about what happened. To that end, everyone except Desmond and Frank put out on another boat and wash up on another island, ready with their cover story about being the only survivors of Oceanic Flight 815.
Flash forwards: they have to go back!?
Three years after the rescue of the Oceanic Six, Jack has become convinced that they have to go back, insisting as much to Kate in the scene we saw at the end of season three. The issue is prompted by the death of one ‘Jeremy Bentham’, a man who visited all of the Oceanic Six at some point previously. Still, with their lives on separate courses, who can be persuaded to go back?
At Ben’s command, Sayid is continuing his mission of assassination, hoping to avenge his wife. Meanwhile, Hurley is visited by an older Walt, who wants to know why the Oceanic Six lied about what happened on the island. Elsewhere, Kate is still living with Aaron, but she receives a fright one night when she catches someone in her son’s room- especially when that someone turns out to be Claire, complete with a warning that she must not take Aaron back. And, most surprisingly of all, Sun has just struck a deal between the company she now controls and one Charles Widmore- but what are her reasons?
Still convinced that going back is the only way, Jack pays an after hours visit to the funeral parlour where Jeremy Bentham’s body currently rests, only to run into Ben. Ben tells him that if the island is to be saved, everyone who was rescued must go back- and that includes Bentham himself, for the man who is now called Jeremy Bentham was better known in life as John Locke…
Observation and Speculation
- Well, it’s the end of the season, and what a twisted, convoluted season it’s been- are we ever going to understand what it’s all about? Why do I doubt it somehow?
- Presumably moving the island is what sent Ben to the desert (like a space-time recoil, perhaps), and could explain what the Dharma polar bears were doing there way back when Charlotte found them.
- What happened to Daniel and the people in the lifeboat that were heading towards the boat? Also, what about the generic island survivors aboard the boat- why was everyone so caught up with rescuing named characters that they forgot to pick them up?
- Is Sun working with Widmore because she believes Jin might still be out there somewhere?
- How and why did Locke leave the island? What is the island, anyway- an artificial construction, a massive life form, or something else? Certainly most normal islands can’t just teleport from one place to another.
- What exactly happened to Claire, and how come Hurley and the others have been seeing dead people? Have they really passed beyond the veil?
- Charlotte seems to have some prior connection with the island and is apparently looking for that place she was born- could she have been born on the island itself?
- Note that back in season one, Claire learned she was destined not to raise Aaron- a prophecy that came true when Kate became his ‘parent’.
- If the Oceanic Six and Locke have to go back and make things right, does that mean Walt and Desmond would have to return too?
- Did Michael really die in the blast or is the island still saving him for some future purpose?