As Always *SPOILERS* if you aren't caught up....
So, the first casualty of the time shifting has occurred and it is Charlotte Staples Lewis. She tells Faraday (and us) that she lived on the Island as a child with the Dharma Initiative and was forced to leave with her mother (although her father stayed, significant? perhaps). Whenever she would subsequently speak of the Island her mother told her that it was all in her head, that she had made it up.
That's a nice little shout of to Narnia right there, if you ask me. With Charlotte being named after CS Lewis, I like that they did this. If you'll remember from the books, in The Last Battle it is revealed that whenever Lucy would speak to Susan about Narnia, Susan would act as if Narnia never existed and it was just a game that they played as children. Seems quite similar.
Then Charlotte told Faraday that there was a strange man around when she was a child who told her she needed to leave the Island and never come back or she would die (at which point I knew that our red head CS Lewis was about to be no more). Faraday tries to comfort her with news about his contact with Desmond, but is shocked when she says that she thinks that man was him.
Now, we know from the video released from this offseason's ARG that Faraday was around during Dharma and we know from the opening scene in this season, so the question becomes did Locke actually stop them from time shifting when he steadied the Donkey Wheel and they are stuck in Dharma time period or did he just steady the time shifts so they aren't occurring with the frequency at which they had begun to occur? After all, Locke believes that it won't stop until the people who left the Island (the O6 et al) are returned.
I figure that the time shifts will keep occurring, but not with the same frequency as the last couple of episodes.
Every time that we meet Smokey, the producers promise us, we'll learn something new. In the episode Exodus Part 1, Rousseau told us that the Smoke Monster was a security system that protects the Island. In this episode we learn that in actuality it protects the Temple. (And yes, I believe that the temple that Jin and Rousseau's party find is the same one that Benry directs Richard and the Others to go to in the Season 3 finale.)
Remember in the episode Exodus Part 2 when Smokey grabbed Locke? It tried to take him underground similarly to what it did to the unfortunate and now armless member of Rousseau's team. Apparently when they came back they were different. And it wasn't just because Rousseau had already gone crazy (where we know she end's up eventually) and assumed they were different and "sick" as she puts it. When she decides to listen to Robert (Alex's real father) he tries to shoot her, but the gun misfires and she instead shoots him.
So, Smokey was the source of the sickness that Rousseau spoke about when she had to kill off her team. So then, what would have happened to Locke if he had been taken down that hole?
Well, Locke does go down another hole in this episode down a well on a rope in a scene very visually similar to a scene from the early season 2 episode Adrift when Locke goes down into the Hatch on a rope. In the season premiere the opening scene was a visual quote from the season premiere of season 2's opening and in this episode we got a visual quote from the second season 2 episode. Very interesting.
Anyway, time shifts again and Locke finds himself underground while those above are holding a rope but the well is gone and they no longer have access to Locke. Christian Shephard, however, is there to assist Locke. He tells John that it had been his job to move the Island, not Benry's.
I'm no longer a proponent of my theory that the Island wanted John to lead the Others all along and Benry was just a substitute. I'm now under the impression that Locke was never suited to this work and was never meant to it. Of course, that still doesn't answer where Jacob is now, why Christian is the one telling people what to do, and why Benry got sick in a place where you're supposed to get better. Despite the many, many answers we've been getting so far this season, there are still a lot of questions.
One that I believe is pretty clear now is that Eloise Hawking (who at one time in the episode Flashes Before Your Eyes told Desmond that he was destined to push that button when she didn't want to sell him that engagement ring) is in fact Faraday's mother, so kudos to all of us who had that figured out immediately. I loved the shock on his face when he realized that Eloise Hawking, Faraday's mother was in fact the woman from his past, however, that was awesome.
Until Next Time, I'm very interested to see when the LOSTies are after Locke resets the Donkey Wheel and I'm interested to see when and where Locke appears off Island.