We also continue our theme of "reflections" by main characters in the side-verse. This time, Ben's face is reflected in the surface of the microwave as he heats up Roger's dinner.

Compare Roger's line to Ben of "imagine how our lives would've been different" to the same words spoken by Frank to Ben on the island. When Frank ponders how different his life would have been had he not overslept for the 815 journey, Ben says don't be so sure. The island still got you...

Alexandra Rousseau! What a joy it was to see this young lady alive, confident, with her whole life ahead of her. Apparently in this timeline the Besixdouze never crashed on the island. In fact, was Danielle ever part of a science team or expedition? It would seem that someone in possession of that kind of education wouldn't need "to work two jobs just to pay the rent." Was the island perhaps already underwater in 1988, the time of Danielle's crash? 

Is that supposed to be the Black Rock in Alex's history book in the section about the East India Trading Company?

Ben gets the ammo he needs to take down Principal Reynolds from Alex, when she tells him of what she witnessed between Reynolds and the school nurse. Ben is still skilled at lying, though, when he tells Alex he won't use this information. "A promise is a promise," he says (and has said in the past).

"What do you want" is a line spoken in this episode to Ben twice - once by Principal Reynolds, the other time by Ilana. Each time, Ben has just grabbed the upper hand, either with a folder of lascivious emails, or snatching up a rifle conveniently planted by Flocke (perhaps in the very hopes that Ben would eliminate Ilana, doing the very thing he told Sayid made Dogen a big jerk for - getting someone else to kill your enemy). What Ben wants is something he has to consider very heavily. He has one chance to get it right. And the thing he regrets most is how he didn't previously take his "one chance" to save his daughter. Now, his "Machiavellian maneuvers," as Reynolds calls them, have brought him to the point of choice yet again. Reynolds puts the ball back in his court (another gaming metaphor) by threatening to "torch" Alex's chances at getting into Yale. Now here is what is interesting to me about this whole thing and how it shakes out...

Ben does NOT sacrifice Alex this time... not even for an arguably greater good (which was also the case when he let Keamy kill her - his thought process (which he now rejects) was that one person's death - no matter how painful - was still insignificant if it would protect the island and everyone on it). Consider: she's a bright person. She'll succeed no matter where she goes to college. It doesn't have to be Yale - a place that's going to put her in debt to her eyeballs to pay for anyway. So would it really be so awful to derail her chances of getting into ONE of this country's many excellent colleges when the alternative would be fresh, competent, caring leadership for this entire student body from a principal who isn't just playing out the string and carrying on with the nurse? It doesn't matter. Dr. Benjamin Linus remembers that his charge is to best serve his student from his current role, and he does this, using blackmail to do nothing more than get out of detention and restore the History Club. This done, he takes a deep breath. Holds his head high. Knows he has done the right thing for Ms. Rousseau. He has done his job, and did not let the idea of power get the best of him. He's even happy to give up his parking spot to Dr. Arzt. It feels good doing the right things for the right reasons, making sacrifices that leave one with a strong sense of purpose.

In this timeline, Ben remembered that it's "about the kids," and that's why he makes the choices he makes. It was even the reason why he felt better leadership was needed at the school, because it was about the kids. Is LOST also "about the kids"? Kids like Alex, and Aaron, and Ji Yeon, and Little Charlie, and David?