[A lot of these posts come from conversations with others -- Jason, Ximena, Brad and Chris. So thanks.]
Season four has been spectacular, which makes this less than perfect episode feel worse than I think it actually is. In a flashback we learn Juliet had an affair with the married Godwin, and that Ben had a kind of giddy crush on her, which turns into a snarl of "Because you're MINE" at the end. In the present time Jack, Juliet and Kate hunt down Davies and C.S. Lewis (Juliet has been commanded by an Other) because they are going to a new station to possibly release a toxic gas that will kill everyone. Turns out they are just making it inert so Ben cannot use it. Ben tells Locke about his man on the ship (which we don't hear) and about how Charles Widmore is the man who sent the freighter -- and Locke lets him out.
My main problem was that, especially given the reveals we have gotten this season, the reveals here we not that shocking because they merely made explicit what had been implicit, rather than twisting us around with something NEW. Four times.
One. Ben snarl was pretty exciting -- you really see this character lose it, which it interesting. For all his super-manipulation he is clearly very emotionally immature which makes sense given what we know of his background. That was the point of the Ben Juliet flashback -- but it took me a minute to realize it. They episode played like revealing that there was a failed romantic thing between Ben and Juliet was something I did not know, but it had been so strongly implied for such a long time ("I guess I'm out of the book club" being one of my favorite LOST lines) it seemed redundant.
Two. Similarly, I thought the Jack and Juliet kiss was weak, not only because it pales so much right after Desmond and Penny, whose love TRANSCENDS TIME (I love LOST). For more than a year romantic thing between them anyway I kind of forgot they had not kissed before. Brad pointed out that one good thing you can say about it is the episode clearly establishes that the conflict that is coming is Ben versus Jack.
Three. Charles Widmore is the guy who sent the freighter. Brad called this last week, and again -- it was pretty well implied with his buying the Black Rock diary or whatever, and being insanely rich (plus that actor almost always plays psycho-businessmen).
Four [sort of] -- is there any chance that next week's episode will, as the preview narrator says, show us a face we never thought we would see again? Because, it seems clear who it has to be. I vaguely hope there is some kind of Marvel Zombies style fake-out coming, and what we know about who has been hired this season is a red herring, and that it is something nuts, like Mr. Eko. Brad pointed out that most lost fans have not noticed the actor's name in the opening credits every episode even though we have not seen him yet, so my objection may just be a little unfair. If I was watching six or seven shows and not reading Wikipedia entries on LOST this would be a real surprise. My fault I suppose. Brad said that when he appears again, he better have changed in a really surprising way.
The other thing about this episode that bothered my was Locke. Maybe this is also unfair, because he is only of my favorite characters, but he seems to be really degenerating. No plan, no cabin, dictatorial in a less than awesome way, and now this -- it is a little hard to remember because we saw the event nine months ago, but didn't Ben shoot him and leave him for dead in a pit of corpses literally TWO or THREE DAYS AGO (in island time)? The AV Club thinks that Locke releasing him means whatever he told him must be so compelling that it was WORTH letting him go but I cannot see how that could be. I keep hoping this is part of a Locke master plan, but I do not know. It just feels like Locke flip flops a lot -- a quest (season one), frustrated by not knowing what to do next (season two), on a quest (season three), frustrated by not knowing what to do next (season four).