Well, evidently the bomb went off. But it didn't entirely do the trick of re-setting our heroes into a pre-Oceanic crash setting. Instead, we now have two time streams in play.
On the island: Jack, Sawyer, Hurley, Kate, Miles, Jin and Sayid all regain post-explosion consciousness on the, well, island. But it's now the present (or whenever) day. The Hatch is there, blown up. But the explosion didn't prevent its construction.
Elsewhere on the island: We see that whoever's been marching around in the guise of Locke is the man in black we saw at the end of last season. And, as speculated, this man in black is also the smoke monster we've been wondering about since season 1.
Richard Alpert and the Others on the beach have figured out something's not quite right. When Ben comes stumbling out of the statue alone, Richard demands to know what happened inside. Ben lies (how unusual) that Locke and Jacob are still inside. But Richard knows he's being duped. He forces Ben to look at the real Locke, lying dead on the beach in his nice funeral suit.
Ilana's people--evidently Jacob's bodyguards--decide to bring Ben back into the statue to confront the fake Locke. Fake Locke, however, turns into a smoke monster and kills them all. Smokey tells Ben "I'm sorry you had to see me like that." He also says that, unlike the real Locke, he wants nothing more than to get off the island and go "home."
Then he marches out onto the beach and beats up Richard, tossing him over his shoulder and marches into the jungle after telling the assembed Others that he's "very disappointed" in them.
Back with Jack and the rest: The group hears Juliet's voice from inside the Hatch wreckage and go to work, furiously, to get her out. Ultimately, Sawyer makes it to her side. She's in bad shape. Before she dies, she manages to say "I need to tell you something important..." but doesn't finish. Later, via Miles' "I hear dead people" power, we learn she want to say "it worked."
Meanwhile, "I talk with dead people guy" Hurley is visited by the ghost of Jacob who tells him to bring Sayid to the Others' temple so he can be saved. Sayid is on the verge of death from his gunshot wound. The rest of the group minus Sawyer and Miles who are burying Juliet, go to the temple and are soon captured by a new, mysterious group of Others led by a Japanese man, Mr. Dogen, and his hippie-ish assistant Lennon.
These Others also eventually capture Sawyer and Miles and bring them to the Temple too. We learn that all our heroes are on a list provided to Hurley, hidden inside an ankh inside Charlie's old guitar case (this is such a weird show).
These Others place Sayid in a pool of clouded water (apparently it's normally supposed to be clear) and try to revive him. But this doesn't work. Sayid dies and his body is placed on the ground near Jack and his group.
The Japanese man demands to learn more of Hurley's association with Jacob and is freaked out when he learns that Jacob is dead. The temple crew goes on full alert, spreading sand (or something) all over the place to keep out Smokey. In the midst of all the action Sayid comes back to life.
Meanwhile in the other new/old time stream: Most of the folks we know from the Oceanic crash are back on the plane, which doesn't crash. It lands in L.A. and none of the characters remembers or knows anything about the island. They move forward as if none of that happened. Some of them meet and talk, but have no memories of their previous relationships. Also, the body of Jack's dad has gone missing and Jack has a mysterious cut on his neck.
The show's producers say these sections are "flash sideways," allowing them to depict what might happen had the characters never landed on the island. Will it all somehow fit together in the end? I don't know.
And, there's a wild scene where we see that the island, complete with food statue, is leagues and leagues below the sea.
- Why is the island underwater in the sideways time frame?
- Is the sideways time stream actually a flash forward to later in the season? I mean, perhaps what happens on the island in future episodes will ultimately lead to a re-set, which our characters placed back aboard the plane, never realizing any of this stuff happened?
- In the temple, Lennon demands to talk privately with Jack, who refuses, but they are both interuppted by Sayid's sudden resurrection.
- Is Sayid still really Sayid? Or is he a new vehicle for Jacob?
- Why the deliberate space between "LA" and "X" is the episode title?
- Where is Smokey's home and why are/were he and Jacob on the island? They seem to be playing parts and locked into them. They can't leave the island. They can't kill each other. They have been there for centuries but haven't aged past their 30s or 40s.
- Will the real Locke remain dead?
- Where did Smokey go with Richard? What is their past history?
- What's up with Jack's cut?
- What's up with Desmond being on the Oceanic flight and suddenly going missing? Is he keeping his promise to Jack to "see you in another life, brother."
- On the plane, Desmond is reading Salman Rushdie's "Haroun And The Sea of Stories."