Coolest reveal of the episode for me -- Miles doesn't need Ben's bribe because he knows something Ben doesn't: there's 8 million dollars in diamonds right below their feet, buried with Nikki and Paulo! And Miles did indeed dig 'em up! If those diamonds somehow come into play in helping resolve the story it's gonna be way cool.

JACK, HURLEY, & RICHARD

Jack makes the decision to follow Richard because, if nothing else, at least he isn't stalling about a return to the Temple, like Hurley clearly is. Not only is Hurley aware that something bad was supposed to happen at the Temple (and it indeed did), but he's quite possibly awaiting further instructions from Jacob - an admirable quality considering what we've explored previously about patience vs. rushing in. 

Earlier in this recap we explored how the show ever took us in the direction of being able to see Ben as a good guy. Well, consider how in this same episode it also finally took us full circle into seeing Jack Shepherd as a ministering man of faith. Locke's old refrain to Jack about how Jack does so believe in miracles, "you just don't know it yet," has always been one of my prooftexts for a time-loop theory - that all of this has happened before and will happen again, in some way shape or form. We're now seeing what that means. Here, Richard Alpert of all people has lost his faith - a faith that was based in the concept of Purpose. He's at the point of recommending that Hurley not trust Jacob... even though it's clearly a pretty special and unusual thing if Hurley is communing with a guy about whom Richard says, "I know he's dead." Despair has truly got the best of him if he can't even see through that disconnect. He views his gift of longevity as a curse now, which it would be if it had truly been for no reason and just a cruel joke (ala Flocke's view of the world).

Richard can't kill himself (reminiscient of Michael being unable to do so because the island was not finished with him yet), and Jack is immediately willing to put to the test whether any of them can die as long as there is still Purpose for them. This episode strongly suggests that faith has a lot to do with miracles which have a lot to do with purpose. If some higher power has something for you to do, then no matter what, you are going to see cool stuff happen: healings, death-defying moments, amazing coincidences, etc. Those things will strengthen your faith, which will only strengthen your resolve to see the purpose done. Jack is so convinced that Jacob had a reason for showing him that he's been watching him all his life that - even though he doesn't know what that reason is - he is ready to light the fuse (and even another fuse: "Should we try another stick?" he asks). Whe the fuse goes out, interestingly enough, Richard's fuse of faith is re-ignited, but he and Jack have essentially changed positions. Once upon a time, Richard had all the answers and Jack had none, being willingly blind to faith and purpose. Now? Now I can't make up my mind whether Jack is more suited to be the new Dogen, the new Richard, or the new Jacob. He would seem to have parallels to each part of this former island Trinity.

Richard, who had been so in despair from having "devoted my life in service to a man who had a plan," but now with that man gone, with a plan that never did get revealed to him, and with having witnessed much death and destruction, is snapped back to belief by Jack. He says, "Okay Jack, you seem to have all the answers, what now?" And that's very interesting to me. Flocke has promised several people answers. Yet his goal is to leave. Jack is now likewise associated with answers, but his goal is to "go back to where we started," be patient, retrace our steps, we'll find our way. Bailing vs. being willing to start all over again. Which takes more strength, but is worth more in the long run?