I was super excited about last night’s episode — were we finally going to get the answer to what a candidate really is!? When Jack told Locke he thought he was a candidate for spinal surgery that could help him walk again, I thought we were going to get a Locke-centered episode. In a way we did, but it was a Locke/Flocke centered episode, and while I really liked the first 3/4 of it, the last 1/4 was really not my favorite. In fact, it might have been my least favorite episode if not for the first 3/4.

So, let’s plunge right in, shall we?

The big thing.

No more Sayid, no more Sun, no more Jin. This was the part of the episode I didn’t like. Not because I’m super upset that they died, but because it seemed out of left field and rather anti-climatic to me. Plus, I’m a cynic. I’m not a “true love” “love overcomes all” kind of person. So I’m cynical when it comes to love, mostly because I like things to have a basis in reality — this smacked of the unreal to me. Goodbye Sun and Jin, I wish your death hadn’t been so dramatic.

Sayid’s death, on the other hand, I am much more inclined to believe. After all, Sayid was in between a rock and a hard place knowing he had no emotions, but fighting his ever-present battle with his past and the person he wanted to be. Even though he couldn’t combat his new inner evil and keep it from being used by Flocke, he was able to redeem himself through sacrifice. Which strikes me as a totally Sayid thing to do.

But Hurley? Hurley’s reaction to their deaths killed me. We should have seen more of him than of Jack, because that totally did not make me feel sad. (See? Totally cynical.) So our remianing Losties are Jack, Kate (who was shot in the showdown at the sub), Hurley, and Sawyer (who is presently unconscious). Miles is presumably traipsing around the jungle with Ben and Richard, but where is Lapidus? We know he was on the sub, but no one seems to care if he made it out or not.

Did we learn anything else important? I think so! I really, really think Jack is onto how Flocke is forced to operate on the island. We already know he can’t kill Jacob, but it seems he also can’t kill any of the candidates either, and is trying to get them to kill each other instead. Though I’m not sure I’m with Jack that the bomb just wouldn’t have gone off if they did nothing. Personally, I think this is confirmed with Flocke knows that some of the Losties are dead, but not all.

Desmond isn’t dead!!! But, if Flocke knows Sayid, Sun and Jin are dead, wouldn’t he know that Desmond isn’t? Or is Desmond more than a candidate?

And what about Widmore? After the Desmond episode I was more inclined to trust him, but now I’m not so sure. It seems to me like he’s trying to to do the same thing Flocke is doing — gather all the Losties in the same place. Plus, that whole “tampering with the power source” of the electric fence is a little suspect to me. If you had an electric fence that was going to save your life, wouldn’t you make sure the power source was secure?

I found the sideflashes to be somewhat disappointing. Locke’s accident doesn’t seem to trigger any island memories, nor does seeing Jack. Nothing seems to really be triggering memories for Jack either. We do get to see Bernard, who seems to know more than he’s letting on.

In an ironic twist, Locke’s initial side-flash injury occurred when he was flying a plane with his dad a week after earning his license. I know a lot of people have talked about the sideflash lives being “better,” but I think they are really remarkably similar. After all, on the island, Locke is eaten up with guilt that he trusted his father. In the sideflashes, he’s eaten up with guilt that he injured his father. In both cases, he can’t move on past his guilt. The emotions and hang-ups are the same, but the event behind them is different. I’m not sure I can qualify a better or worse.

And my favorite snappy line? In memory of Sayid: “Welcome to Hydra island. At least you didn’t have to paddle.” Oh Sayid, we will miss your dry humor.