"The Cost of Living" Analysis and Spoilers for "I Do"
Early in the fifth episode of Season 3, The Cost of Living, an apparition of Yemi appears to Mr. Eko in his tent and says to Eko, "It is time to confess, to be judged, brother. I will be waiting. You know where to find me." Eko's tent then catches on fire—a tangible evidence that Eko was not merely dreaming, since Yemi had been holding a burning candle.
Ben asks Juliet at Colleen's funeral, "Why did you show him my X-rays?" thus proving that the X-rays really are Ben's and that Ben really did not intend for Jack to see the X-rays yet.
Ben reveals, "We had a plan to break you, Jack," and tells Jack that it wasn't a coincidence that Juliet looked like his ex-wife, Sarah. In other words, it seems that The Others intended all along to try to get Jack on their side by kindling within him a romantic interest in Juliet.
When Eko looks inside the plane, Yemi's body is gone. We know from Official LOST Podcasts that when people die on LOST, they're really dead. There are very obvious parallels between Yemi's appearance on the island and Christian Shephard's appearance in the Season 1 episode White Rabbit. The deceased person continually tries to stay out of reach, walking or running off into the jungle, and eventually leading to the place where the deceased person's body had once been. You might recall that Christian Shephard's casket was empty when Jack found it on the island. Initially, this prompted speculation that Jack's dad really wasn't dead, or that Christian's body never was on the plane to begin with. In light of new evidence, however, it seems apparent that when the smoke monster disguises itself as a dead person, the person's body is no longer where it should be. Apparently, when Jack thought he was seeing his dad on the island, he was really seeing a manifestation of the smoke monster. We might also assume that the black horse that Kate and Sawyer saw was really an appearance of the smoke monster, as could have been other character appearances on the island (possibly Hurley's imaginary friend Dave, who tried to get Hurley to jump off a cliff, or some post-kidnapping appearances of Walt, for example—or perhaps even some appearances of the dog Vincent, if you believe that crackpot theory).
Further evidences that the fake Yemi was tangible: Eko pulled out of his pocket the photo that Yemi gave him in the tent, and Locke found the cross necklace in the jungle.
One of the most interesting scenes in The Cost of Living is when Mr. Eko sees Yemi again, and rather than confessing of his sins, he explains that he feels that he has not sinned, but has done only what was required of him. The apparition of Yemi mysteriously remarks that Eko spoke to him as if he was his brother. This could be taken many ways, but based on the explanation in this week's Official LOST Podcast, apparently this was supposed to be understood to mean that this was not really Yemi, but that it was the smoke monster posing as Eko's younger brother.
At the end of the episode, Eko is thrown around violently and killed by the smoke monster, which shows that the smoke monster is not imaginary, but is a tangible entity. Before Eko dies, he whispers to Locke that the other survivors (perhaps specifically those who went to the Pearl Station) will be the next to die.
In the October 30th edition of The Official LOST Podcast, it was revealed that Jae Lee (with whom Sun had extramarital relations) did, in fact, commit suicide. Damon also said that the polar bears escaped "during the collapse of DHARMA."
In the November 6th Official LOST Podcast, Damon and Carlton reminded us that Bernard is not the only surviving "tailie." They confirmed that Cindy (who appeared to have been taken while Ana Lucia and her crew were hiking back to the fuselage survivors' camp) and Emma and Zack (the children who were among the tail section survivors) are still alive, among others. "Yes, we will be seeing Cindy and the kids" and "find out what The Others are doing with the children" after the 13-week break, sometime around episode 8 of this season.
Carlton indicated that the monster "could manifest itself as people, like Yemi."
Damon and Carlton indicated that "our time on Alcatraz [a nickname for the second island] will be coming to a conclusion" in this week's episode.
ABC's official synopsis for this week's Kate-centric episode, "I Do," is as follows: "Jack makes a decision regarding Ben's offer, Kate feels helpless when it looks like an angry Pickett is going to make good on his threat to kill Sawyer, and Locke discovers a hidden message that may guide him through the next steps of his journey to unlocking the secrets of the island. ... Guest starring are Kiele Sanchez as Nikki, Rodrigo Santoro as Paulo, M.C. Gainey as Mr. Friendly, Tania Raymonde as Alex, Michael Bowen as Pickett, Nathan Fillion as Kevin, Eden-Lee Murray as Suzanne, Mark Stitham as minister and Frederic Lane as the marshal."
**SCENE SPOILERS FOLLOW.**
Based on promotional clips for this week's episode, it appears that Jack initially turns down Ben. Later, Jack is permitted to talk with Kate, who tries to get Jack to do the surgery because Juliet has convinced her that it's the only way The Others will spare Sawyer's life. Based on last week's promo for the upcoming episode, Ben will probably end up undergoing surgery in this week's episode after all. Would Jack dare trust Juliet and intentionally kill Ben, turning his back on morals, or will he try his best to save Ben's life? If the latter (which seems more likely based on what we know about Jack), will the surgery be a failure, leading Juliet and The Others to think that Jack intentionally killed Ben?
If Jack is correct that Ben only has a few days left to live, why would it be so important to Juliet that Jack kill him? Why wouldn't Juliet just wait for Ben to die?
It's starting to become a lot more clear why The Others felt that they needed Sawyer. Apparently, they needed to be able to threaten to take Sawyer's life in order to get Kate to convince Jack to perform the surgery on Ben. Jack was the only one The Others really needed, because Ben needed him to perform the surgery. Kate was just the bartering chip they could use against Jack if it became necessary to coerce him, and Sawyer was just the bartering chip they could use against Kate to get her to talk Jack into performing the surgery.
In this episode, we'll also see Kate get married in one of her flashbacks. Presumably, the man she will marry is Kevin, who will be played by Nathan Fillion. As you might recall, in the Season 1 episode Outlaws, when Kate and Sawyer are playing "I never," she reveals that she was once married, but that her marriage didn't last long.