What a great, great episode. That had everything that makes Lost Lost.
In two realities, Ben Linus walked away from the episode without his power but a better man because of it. I've never had to dig my own grave - yet - but I would be in even less of a rush than Ben was.
Not Lost's Dr. Linus is a good man no matter how you cut it. He didn't kill his father and in fact looks after him, he genuinely cares about his students, and pressed against the wall with a Faustian bargain, he did what his Island counterpart would didn't or couldn't do and chose Alex over his own Machiavellian ascension to power. The scenes of Ben and Alex together as teacher and student were pretty amazing. They are so much better off for the Island and Jacob not existing in their lives.
Ben's line: "The Island always gets you in the end" (paraphrase) is pretty much the moral of Lost. But not of Not Lost. I wish Not Lost would continue after Lost ends in 9 episodes from now.
Now someone explain to Dr. Arzt why Dr. Linus is a terrific guy. Arzt never got to meet Ben on the Island before the dynamite blew him up and Hurley spent two days picking him off his shirt. He probably wouldn't have liked Island Ben anyway, and vice versa.
Jack is also a changed man. Completely 180 degrees philosophically and internally from the man he was before. Well, he's still a hothead, but he found faith.
Plus we finally got some pretty solid answers on Richard. He's not a cyborg. Jacob touched him and gave him a gift. Not just immortality but unlimited Island credit to the Men's Express hidden somewhere in the Jungle. To this day, no centuries-old pirate dresses better than Richard Alpert.
I think my favorite random thing of the episode was Miles' callback to Nikki and Paulo, two jabronies buried with $8-million in diamonds. Then later, he dug up the diamonds. Miles keeps his head down and keeps doing what he's doing - surviving and being funny - and he'll end up better off than anyone else when this is all over.
"I'll have you." I don't think anyone expected Ilana to say that. Ben was so bowled over, all he could do was follow her back to the beach. I was pretty damned moved seeing Ben break down and bare his soul and his guilt the way he did.
I loved the return of the patented Lost slow motion musical interlude, featuring the reunion of Jack, Hurley and Sun, who haven't seen each other in 30 years, give or take.
When I saw Alan Dale in the opening credits, I got super excited that Charles Widmore was in this episode but I got so caught up in Ben and everyone else's stories in the episode, I'd totally forgotten about Widmore when he appeared in the sub. So Jacob wasn't lying that someone was coming to the Island. Business is about to pick up.