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Lost, JORGE GARCIA, MATTHEW FOX, EVANGELINE LILLY, JOSH HOLLOWAY

ABC/MARIO PEREZ

John Locke has it right. It is hard to let go!

Episodes like tonight's Lost remind us just how much we're going to miss this crazy-awesome series when it ends this Sunday.

Click in only if you've seen tonight's episode, cause there is much to discuss, including the reveal of which co-star punched Michael Emerson in real life...

Henry Ian Cusick, aka Desmond. Apparently one of those punches in the crazy-good parking lot scene (I die!) accidentally made contact, and Michael Emerson got quite the shiner in real life a few weeks back. That black eye was pretty obvious in subsequent island scenes in this episode, which begs the question: Lack of sufficient spackle/concealer or an intentional nod to injuries bleeding between the two worlds, which could also be the case with Jack's recurrent bleeding neck? Hmm…

Jack Is the New Jacob! After raising his hand at Jacob's self-burning (weird!) campfire and volunteering to protect the island, Jack drank the cup, absorbed the knowledge and became "like" Jacob. So now Jack will go on forever as the island protector, right? And that's the end of that? Maybe…I have to say, full disclosure, I do not know the answer (I am keeping myself mostly spoiler free for the finale), but I have doubts about Jack "sticking" as the island guard for a few reasons (see if you agree):

  1. From the very beginning of Lost, we've been told that this series is all about destiny. Not choice.
  2. It seemed that the island chose the past protectors, not the other way around. (Cue Allison Janney's words last week to Jacob: "I see now that it was always you.")
  3. Jacob noted hesitation in Jack's voice when he volunteered, asking "Is that a question?"
  4. Jacob told Jack he would protect the island "as long as you can"—which isn't even a legally binding marriage vow as far as I know.
  5. This is really out there but must be said: Desmond sure has had that look of the protector/Jacob lately: glossy-eyed, blissed-out, calm and plain and brutally honest and knowing exactly what to do. What is up with that?

Ben Is the MIB's Puppet; Widmore Was Jacob's: As Ben and Charles Widmore's long-running rivalry comes to a tragic end tonight—Linus shot him! To try and hurt Penny! You bastard!—we are left wondering what the big Ben v. Widmore pissing match was about all these years. My theory? All along, Ben thought he was talking to Jacob, but it was the MIB wrongfully portraying Jacob. (Ben said tonight: "I was told I could summon the monster. That was before I realized it summoned me.") And Widmore, it seems, was actually talking to the real Jacob. (Tonight he told Ben, "Jacob brought me to the island.".) Both were led to believe they were special. And chosen by Jacob. But perhaps neither were.

Ben Is Reentering the Dark Side: Volunteering to kill whomever MIB wants, ratting out Widmore, shooting Widmore dead… A few days ago, I asked Michael Emerson if Ben would end the series redeemed, and he reiterated that Ben is "preredeemed" by the island, perhaps hinting to the MIB's ruse all these years. And of course, off the island, in the Sideways world, Benjamin is a big old softie, tearing up at Alex's need for a father figure after enjoying a good homecooked meal from Rousseau. (Darlton, I know you already shot and edited the finale, but any chance Ben could end up in the Sideways world, shacking up with Rousseau?)

Kate Was/Is a Candidate: We found out tonight that Jacob crossed her off the list because she's a mother now. Does this mean she's meant to raise Aaron? And does this mean the Kwon that remained on the list was Jin?

Terry O'Quinn, Lost

ABC/Mario Perez

Terry O'Quinn Needs an Emmy: To be able to flip back and forth so seamlessly from the ruthless Man in Black slitting Zoe's throat to a meek, sweet and guilt-ridden Locke trying to let go in Jack's office? Ay, so good. Any other actor would make this character whiplash laughable, but T.O.Q. rocks every moment of it. Epic awesome.

WHAT LIES AHEAD

The end.

Ugh.

Ugh.

Ugh.

I don't even want to give any spoilers tonight because you have so little time before you get all the answers you are going to get. Less than a week. Five days and counting.

Please remember to come back to this very section next Sunday night (very late) or early Monday morning for the last-ever Lost Redux, and exclusive video from my Lost party in Los Angeles, where I'll attempt to tackle any lingering questions. (Key word: attempt.)

My one hope? That after the series finale airs this Sunday, our faces all look like Jack's did tonight right after he drank the cup. "Aha! This is what it's all about."

But the reality is Damon and Carlton have told us many times now that there will be unanswered questions, and the finale focuses more on the characters and what matters to them.

And given that the real explanation of the island is transmitted not by words but by the drinking of a cup we can't get our grubby little non-candidate hands on, we should be prepared this Sunday to just…go along for one hell of a final ride. And savor every last minute with these characters who've given us some of the best TV of all time.

You can't tell I'm getting sentimental or anything, can you? Naaahhhh….

We're still selecting the final candidates (see what I did there) for my Lost party, so if you still want to attend, email me at tvdiva@eonline.com, or tweet me at @kristindsantos.

And if you've missed our exclusive "vintage" Lost video (my all-time favorites), see it here and here.

Do you think Jack will remain the protector? If not, who could it be? And what did you think of tonight's episode?

Follow me on Twitter for constant updates from the New York upfronts.