Thanks for your comment Sarah. I hope all is well with you.
In that comment Sarah called this episode one of the most boring and a waste of an hour of her life. I have to disagree, for one reason: I've come to the conclusion that we have to change our expectations about Lost. Not lower them certainly, but change them all the same.
For four seasons we were treated to a standard format (current storyline supported by flashbacks that elaborate on life pre-island) and a consistent purpose (character development with tiny nudges forward in plot, often creating more questions as it went).
Now we are jumping left and right in time and place, or camped out in a strictly chronological time line.
I'll admit, I don't like it nearly as much. But, we are in the end game. We have a limited amount of time to discover as many answers as possible. As long as I'm still entertained - and I am - I'm sticking around.
Now as for the episode itself, the net is strangely abuzz with theories on every bit of this week's story. I don't get it. To me it seemed straightforward. Locke leaves the island and is found by Charles Widmore.
He is given Matthew Abaddon as a driver and sets out to recruit the Oceanic Six, with a side trip to see Walt. Not a whole lot happens, unless you count the Six saying 'No', and eventually Locke wants to see his ex-fiance Helen. Abaddon - who says he guided Locke onto the walkabout (and hence the island) because it's what he does - brings him to Helen's grave site.
While at the cemetery Abaddon is shot and killed by an unseen assailant
Eventually, after facing the fact that he's failed in his task, John decides to hang himself in his hotel room. Ben forces his way in, cops to killing Abaddon, spins yet another yarn about how 'special' John is, and talks him out of the act.
He gets the name of John's contact from him and then, in a wee bit of a shock, strangles Locke and stages a suicide.
On the island, in our current time (?) John is resurrected, with full memory of his death. He joins the survivors of Flight 316 and discovers Ben among the injured survivors.
* * *
So why all this over the top net frenzy? Ack, don't bring up Locke's return from the dead. If you hadn't guessed the whole 'Wrath of Khan' death bit weeks ago you're a fool.
I wasn't happy to see that flight #316 crashed.
a) because it means more innocents have died in the name of the Losties
b) it means it can't be the plane masquerading as Oceanic 815
c) it really annoys me that we're treating the island like a rest stop. What, anyone can get stranded there now?
I suppose one could question if Helen is alive or not, and if the gravestone was a scam; but either way, what would it matter to the viewer?
You could wonder if Matthew was indeed murdered, but he works for Widmore and Widmore's enemy Ben admits to the deed. That's a pretty compelling argument for closure.
And as for the murder scene. Hmm. You can argue convincingly that Ben solicits the unknown contact from Locke and then kills him to resume his place as leader of the Others. Or that he knew of Hawking but was alarmed to hear that Locke did and needed to prevent his use of her.
My take? I don't know which of the two scenarios is closer to the mark, but I know this: Ben knows that Locke will do the Lazarus bit, and so the murder is really more of a . . kidnapping I guess.
As for Walt, yeah, he'll figure into the endgame eventually. It doesn't interest me much, but it's inevitable.