The penultimate episode of “Lost” saw a return to form Tuesday night, which means there were plenty of familiar faces and absolutely no signs of last week’s crazy-island-mama drama. Good thing, too. After all, viewers still have to contend with two different realities, conflicting body counts and a laundry list of unsolved mysteries.
Not that any of those long-term head-scratchers met their resolution. No, this glimpse into the ongoing unknown simply set up the action for the finale night’s big bang and teased at the ongoing mini-mysteries.
Why? The alt-action alone was enough to explain the forward momentum, and the on-island segments reinforced it.
Back in Los Angeles, where Jack, sister Claire and his son David were busy playing alternate-reality house, the good doctor received a call from an Oceanic rep about the recovery of his father’s missing coffin. Nice timing, only the call didn’t really come from a rep. It came from the ever-crafty, other-reality reminder, Desmond.
It seems Desmond was still a man with a single mission: remind and reunite his other-reality pals. To that end, his next prank-with-a-purpose started when he showed up at the scene of his last crime, the high-school parking lot where he plowed down Locke.
Conveniently enough, Locke, fresh from his hit-and-run vacation, wheeled in front of Desmond, who looked tempted to repeat his violent performance. That is before Ben Linus, of European History fame, stepped in to stop him.
Rather than give Ben a drawn out explanation about how Desmond’s really more interested in jogging Locke’s memory than killing him, Desmond gave Ben a hands-on example by beating him into remembering his other life. The pounding served a second purpose for the professor, who later scored a sympathy dinner with Alex and her remarkably hot mom, Rousseau.
For Desmond there was more work to be done, so it was off to the LAPD, where he confessed his crimes to Detectives Ford (aka Sawyer) and Miles Straume. The act earned him a spot on a van to the county jail, conveniently situated alongside Kate and Sayid. In other words, just where he wanted to be.
With the help of a cop on the take (Hey, Ana Lucia!) and Hurley, Des and his new-old pals were free and ready for stage two. What’s stage two? All signs point to a big alt-world reunion for the would-be and once-were friends at the benefit concert for Pierre Chang’s museum.
While all that excitement mounted in La-La Land, the island saw its fair share of huge shake-ups. It began with the new alliance that took place shortly after Ben, Richard and Miles finally made it to Ben’s old stomping grounds. While rummaging around for a stash of C-4, the trio ran into Widmore and Zoe. If the two weren’t unwelcome enough — especially given the bad blood between Ben and Widmore — the group soon learned Smokey was on his way to join them.
That’s the sort of news that inspired Widmore and his flunky to hide out, Miles to run away, Ben to wait and see and Richard ... for some reason, Richard went out to greet Smokey, assuming the big bad guy wouldn’t harm a hair on his immortal head. Well, hopefully that’s still an immortal head he’s got. Otherwise, Richard was unceremoniously flung through the air to his death.
After making short work of the ageless man, Smokey took his human form for a little one-on-one time with Ben.
“I need you to kill some people for me, Ben,” Smokey deadpanned.
With little hesitation, Ben was on board with the new alliance of evil. To prove it, he even ratted out Widmore’s hiding place, giving his new boss a chance to grill his old enemy.
Smokey first met Zoe, whom he immediately killed before asking Widmore to tell him everything he wanted to know. When Widmore seemed reluctant to share his Desmond-related secrets, Smokey offered to sweeten the pot with a promise not to kill Widmore’s daughter, Penny.
While that loosened Widmore’s tongue, it also prompted Ben’s trigger finger. Apparently, after losing Alex to the man’s freighter folks, Ben didn’t want to stand by while Penny got a free pass. After killing Widmore, Ben let Smokey know he was ready to get on with the killing.
Elsewhere on the island, Jacob took solid form long enough to meet with the four remaining candidates in line to replace him. Yes, four. Jack, Sawyer, Hurley and Kate, whose name had been crossed off the list earlier.
According to Jacob, crossing off a name is just a matter of chalk lines. Kate was a mother for a brief while, so he took her off. She was welcome to stay in the running — if she wanted to. In fact, despite how important Jacob’s role as protector of “the light” is, each of the candidates had to make the choice to follow his lead or not.
One of them could step up as the new island big shot, or they could all walk away. It wasn’t a safe choice, but technically they had free will.
That’s all Jack needed to know. When faced with the choice, the new man of faith decided it’s the role he was always meant to assume. After a little water-into-wine action from Jacob, Jack did just that.
That’s all there was to it. Well, that and some expert snarking from Sawyer: “I thought that guy had a god complex before!”
Ree Hines can’t believe the end is nigh! Follow her on Twitter and tell her about all your pre-finale thoughts at .