Ever since the "Lost" writers declared an exact ending date the show has improved drastically. There are no pointless or filler moments in the show anymore; every scene is vital, every action spurs the story on, and every choice has consequences. There are a few shows out there that would really benefit from this same kind of focus (looking at you, "Heroes"). A cast member does die in this episode, although everyone kind of saw it coming, and the Oceanic 6 are that much closer to getting to the blasted Island already. Plus, the smoke monster is back!

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The Oceanic 6 are coming together thanks to Ben's manipulative ways, but everything does not go as he planned for once. Sun draws a gun on him after having a conversation with her adorable little daughter, but Ben saves his skin yet again by swearing that Jin is alive. What's more, he has proof. Kate throws a hissy fit and drags Aaron off, and Sayid threatens both Ben and Jack before striding off into the mysterious darkness. You'd best look out, Jack. He can kill people with his feet. Ben persuades Sun and Jack to come with him to a church where he'll have proof of Jin's existence and answers. They whine in the car about how they want to kill him, and Ben hilariously snaps at them. It is kind of like a 'Don't make me come back there!' conversation.

Back on the Island, Jin is just starting to piece together how much trouble he's really in. Rousseau's team of Frenchies convince him to bring them to the communication tower, and in exchange they'll help him get back to his camp. This smart plan is never going to work, however, because the monster is back and it is hungry. And very devious. Apparently the team stumbles upon his lair, and he chomps on one of them before dragging another into a dark hole. They try to save the screaming man, but the monster rips off his body entirely and leaves them with a bloody arm. Wow, show, that was vicious! The Frenchies foolishly decide to go in after him after hearing the person ask for help. Guys. He just had his arm ripped off. He should be screaming and writhing and freaking out, not calmly asking for help. They don't get this Island yet and go in after him, leaving Rousseau, baby Alex, and Jin on the outside. Then they flash and Jin is transported to a time where Rousseau has killed her entire team. We see her kill her own beloved Robert after he tries to kill her. He helpfully mentions that the monster is a security system guarding the temple they were at. Interesting. We know that the monster can take the form of people, so is this the same thing?

Jin then runs into Sawyer (YAY) and they hug happily (double yay!). The group is together once again, but tragically this reunion falls short when the world keeps flashing over and over. Charlotte is unable to keep walking so Daniel stays behind. Man. This is a lesson to characters on "Lost": never fall in love. One of you will end up dying. The rest of the crew do get to the Orchid finally, but the station disappears and Charlotte's parting words of advice (to find the well) help them. Jin makes Locke promise not to bring Sun back, and then Locke falls through the well, breaking his leg. After an inspirational conversation with Christian Shephard about how he should never, ever listen to Benjamin Linus, Locke pushes the wheel and gets off the Island. To die.

How does it end? We learn the true identity of Daniel Faraday's mother (so called that), Desmond meets up with Sun, Jack and Ben, and finally they might be getting somewhere! This was one of the best episodes of the season so far, but every episode just seems to get better and better. Kudos for upping the stakes, "Lost." We'll stay with you until the bitter end … just don't kill Penny, okay?

"Lost" is on ABC Wednesday nights at 9 PM EST.

Lost Cast: Emilie De Ravin - (Claire), Matthew Fox - (Jack), Evangeline Lilly - (Kate), Ian Somerhalder - (Boone), Michael Emerson - (Ben Linus), Cynthia Watros - (Libby), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje - (Mr. Eko), Michelle Rodriguez - (Ana-Lucia Cortez), William Mapother - (Ethan Rom), M.C. Gainey - (Tom), Kim Yun-jin - (Sun), Daniel Dae Kim - (Jin), Terry O'Quinn - (Locke), Josh Holloway - (Sawyer), more

Story by Chelsea 'Dee' Doyle

Starpulse contributing writer