The season 4 finale is in three parts, and its title alludes to the Wizard of Oz. Part 1 begins with a flash forward, of the Oceanic Six on a Coast Guard plane, being taken to a military facility near Honolulu. Their families are there to meet them, other than Kate’s and Sayid’s. At the press conference, we learn the story they are telling of surviving the crash and reaching an uninhabited island in Indonesia. After the press conference, we see Nadia come to see Sayid. Later, we learn that Sun has used her Oceanic settlement to buy a controlling portion of her father’s company. Hugo’s parents throw him a surprise birthday party. He hears whispers before the guests surprise him, and in fear he picks up the solid gold Jesus statue. His mother says, “Jesus Christ is not a weapon.” That remains one of my favorite quotes from the series. Hugo’s father fixed up the Camero, but when he looks at the dashboard, the numbers on it are those with which he won the lottery, and so he gets out and runs away. The Oceanic Six comes to the funeral. So too does Claire’s mother, who is out of the hospital. She tells him that his father had a daughter, and that it was Claire.
On the island in the present day, they overhear Keamy on the chopper talk about going to the Orchid. Dan tells Charlotte that this is the secondary protocol and that they need to get off the island right away. Sayid returns with the raft and they begin ferrying people off the island.
Ben uses a mirror to signal his people as they are on their way to the Orchid. At the Orchid, Widmore’s men are already there. Ben hands himself over to Keamy and his men, giving John instructions on how to activate the elevator that leads to the actual Orchid station underneath the greenhouse.
Part 2 takes us back to the first flash forward, depicting Kate stopping the car and coming back to confront Jack. They talk about Jeremy Bentham (who we later learn is John Locke) and Kate thinking he was crazy and wondering why Jack believed him. She also mentions the horrible things that happened on the day they left the island.
We hear whispers just before Ben’s people arrive to rescue him from Keamy. I wonder whether the whispers were only sometimes the voice of the dead, and other times just us overhearing the Others speaking in hiding. Sometimes whispers are just whispers.
In a flash forward, Walt and his grandmother go to see Hurley in the mental hospital. Walt says that Jeremy Bentham came to see him, while no one else did. He asks why they are lying about what happened, and Hurley says it is to protect those who didn’t come back.
Locke tries to persuade Jack to stay, that he knows this place is special. When Jack isn’t willing, Locke says then he has to lie to protect it. Jack says it is just an island. Locke says it isn’t, it’s a place where miracles happen. Jack says that there are no such thing as miracles. Locke says they’ll just have to wait and see which of them is right. Ben comes back and he and Locke enter the elevator. Locke asks Ben if this is the “magic box” and he says no. He lets Locke see the orientation video for the station. Dr. Chang (Edgar Hallowax is the name he uses, and so it is his coat that Ben borrows) explains that there is a pocket of negatively charged exotic matter, and he also talks about time travel and the importance of not putting anything metal in the chamber. Meanwhile, Ben has been doing exactly that.
Michael tries using liquid nitrogen to freeze the battery and prevent the explosives on the ship from detonating.
Sawyer jumps off the helicopter to lighten the load since it is leaking fuel.
Miles makes reference to Charlotte having made an effort to get back here to the island. Later she tells Daniel that she plans to stay, and that she is still looking for the place where she was born.
Keamy is still alive, as he is wearing body armor. He gets down to the Orchid station. He shows that he has a trigger which, if his heart stops beating, will detonate the C4 on the freighter. Ben stabs Keamy multiple times anyway, not caring about the innocent lives on the freighter, preferring to kill the man who killed his daughter.
At the start of part 3, Sayid goes to bring Hurley out of the insane asylum to someplace safe. He tells him that Bentham is dead, and they said it was suicide. Before they leave, Hurley makes a chess move and says “Checkmate Mr. Eko.”
Keamy dies, and the red light on the detonator on the boat turns on. Desmond tries to warn the chopper not to land. Michael runs out of liquid nitrogen, and then hears whispers and Christian Shepard appears, telling Michael that he can go now. Jin runs to try to get to the chopper but they have already taken off, and the boat explodes. And so we have the Oceanic Six on the helicopter.
In a flash forward, Sun goes to see Charles Widmore, saying that they have common interests.
Ben puts on a warm jacket. He says that whoever moves the island can never return. He tells Locke goodbye, apologizes for making his life so miserable, and sends him to lead his people. When Locke gets there, Richard Alpert says, “Welcome home.” Before Ben turns the donkey wheel that moves the island, he looks up and says, “I hope you’re happy now, Jacob.” There is a glowing light, then the island disappears, and there is nowhere for the helicopter to land, so Lapidus ditches it in the water. They make it to a lifeboat Sayid threw out before the crash. At night, Lapidus sees a boat, and says “God Almighty.” It is Penny’s boat.
In a flash forward, Kate dreams she sees Claire, who tells her not to bring him (Aaron) back to the island.
The episode ends with Jack breaking into the funeral home to see Jeremy Bentham’s body. Ben is there and says the island will not let him return alone – they all need to come back together, and Ben offers to help. At the end of the episode, we see that Jeremy Bentham is in fact John Locke.
This was a powerful as well as puzzling finale, as it made us wonder if Locke’s time on the show was over, whether the Oceanic Six would return, and what terrible things happened after they left. Great, intriguing, mysterious, suspenseful storytelling, which works well even on a second viewing.