A lot to get into after last night's episode. I think that it is time we took a good long look at time travel and how it works. Up until this point, I wasn't sure that such a discussion would really become necessary. After all, Faraday told us in LaFleur, "It doesn't matter what we do. Whatever happened, happened."
Faraday believes (and mostly works from this premise) that the Dharma age LOSTies are stuck in a cycle. Whatever happened to them in the past, whatever events they precipitated are events that have already occurred. They don't really have the ability to change them. It is this fact that Faraday is struggling to accept at the beginning of LaFleur. The female CS Lewis told him just before she died that she thinks he was a strange man who scared her when she was a child, telling her to leave the Island and never return. Faraday swears to himself that he won't tell her that, he won't be that scary man to the child version of his love, but by the end of the episode when he sees Charlotte as a little girl, do any of us doubt that he will do what he has already done? And the even more sad thing is that he will do it knowing that it is hopeless. She won't listen, he knows this because she has already died in his arms. Faraday believes that anything that they do is what they have already done. They can't change anything.
This belief is given some credence somewhat by events in LaFleur (clarified in Namaste) when Juliet is able to save baby Ethan's life. Sawyer tells Juliet, "You've got to help her, you're the only one who can." If he is to be believed, would Ethan have survived his birth if Juliet hadn't been there? If not, then Faraday was at least partially right when he said that "whatever happened, happened."
This time travel argument is a rare one in television and film, far more often you get the view that traveling to the past can somehow change your present (aka the future). Two movies I can think of that take this same view are Timeline (based on the book by Michael Crichton which does an even better job of showing this point) and the first Terminator. Since it is much more likely that more people have seen the first Terminator, we'll stick with that one. In Terminator, John Connor sends his good friend Kyle Reese back in time to protect his mother because SkyNet has sent a Terminator to kill her so that John Connor will never be born. In the process, Kyle and Sarah have sex and John Connor is ultimately the product of that union. If the Terminator had not been sent back to kill Sarah and John had not sent Kyle back to protect her, then John would never have been born in the first place. Not only that, but the Terminator that is sent to kill Sarah Connor is found and the pieces of the futuristic technology are also what sets in motion the creating of SkyNet. Since these events had happened in the past, SkyNet had no choice but to send a Terminator back, ultimately creating itself, and John had to send Kyle back knowing that Kyle was his father and therefore creating himself.
It is a big cycle that cannot be changed. "Whatever happened, happened."
With the end of He's Our You, however, it appears that maybe that isn't the case here. Sayid shot Young Ben. Now there is the chance that Young Ben is somehow not killed by this wound (after all, I hear one of the workmen is actually a doctor) and maybe Sayid always had shot Young Ben, making it just another step in turning poor, tormented Young Ben into evil, manipulative Benry who wipes out all of Dharma. If, however, Young Ben does die, then it turns out our LOSTies can in fact change things. At least to a point (but we'll get there later).
So, working from the assumption that the LOSTies can change the future (and therefore their own past) we move away from Timeline and the first Terminator and into Back to the Future and the second Terminator. Films that I figure most of you are familiar with. In the Back to the Future trilogy, events changed by Doc Brown and Marty McFly change the way everything happens. When Marty gets his parents together by having his father face up to Biff, his father is no longer the weak, uncertain person Marty remembers and is instead a successful author. The entirety of the timeline that Marty knew has changed.
In Terminator 2, John and Sarah are once again hunted by a Terminator from the future, and this time John sends back a reprogrammed Terminator to aid them. In the course of the film they recover the parts of the first Terminator and destroy the lab as well as the man who had helped create SkyNet, thereby making sure that Judgement Day never happened. By their actions they believed that they forestalled the future that originally had taken place.
If this is true for LOST, the future of the Island will look vastly different with no Benry Gale. For one thing, the purge will not occur, meaning that Dharma might still be on the Island and doing their thing when Flight 815 crashes. Everything we've seen could change.
There is however a third possibility even if Sayid did somehow succeed in killing Young Ben.
Way back in season 3 when we saw the episode Flashes Before Your Eyes, LOST told us of another possibility of time travel. Things could be changed somewhat, but the universe had a way of Course Correcting. Ms. Hawking tells Desmond that the man with the red shoes is going to die. When it happens Desmond asks why she didn't warn him. She answers that if she had warned him he wouldn't have died in that way, but he would have still been killed because that is what was supposed to happen.
This idea is just as rare (if not more rare) in television and film then Faraday's theory. In fact I can only think of one other film that has used it, and since we've already talked about the first two Terminator films, it is fitting that this idea comes from Terminator 3. At the end of Terminator 2, John and Sarah believe that the future is safe, Judgement Day has been averted. In T3 they discover that it hasn't been averted, just delayed. They changed the how, but the event still happens. The machines rise, SkyNet goes crazy with the killing, and John Connor is once again humanities only hope. Only the how changed. The universe course corrected.
So, Sayid kills Benry, it doesn't really matter, it doesn't really change anything. Someone else will facilitate the Purge. Someone else will take over leadership of the Others. Someone else will make sure that the LOSTies will suffer. Because that's the way it was supposed to happen. The universe will course correct as it always does.
Of course, there is always the possibility that Benry was never supposed to do all that he did and that Charles was right. It was his Island and Benry took it from him. Maybe this is the Island's way of course correcting, putting the LOSTies in a position to change the future, make it where Benry Gale doesn't get to do all of the awful things that he has done. Maybe the LOSTies are here to create the future in the way that it was actually supposed to happen.
Until Next Time, I guess we'll have to watch and find out.