Lost: The freighties vs. the island dwellers
"Welcome to the war." Ben Linus utters those words to John Locke in one of ABC's Lost promos, gun in hand. Since day one, Ben claimed that the freighter folks were going to kill everyone on the island. The show's three-hour finale is only a few weeks away. What do these last episodes of the season hold for the island residents? Can they hold their own against Widmore's team of scientists and thugs? Spoiler Warning: Some details from promos, interviews, and podcasts are mentioned.
Gallery: Lost Season Four
Roster: Apart from being mentally unbalanced, Daniel Faraday isn't much of a threat. He seems almost sympathetic to the islanders' plight, in fact. He helped Desmond with his time-traveling sickness in "The Constant" and is the most honest of the island visitors. Daniel's only shortcoming is his willingness to stand idly by while his colleagues lie and hurt the 815ers (I'm looking at you, Charlotte). If push comes to shove, Daniel will probably let the freighties do as much damage as they want.
Charlotte has proved to be far more dangerous than the average cultural anthropologist. Along with Daniel, she sneaked off to the Tempest station to (supposedly) undermine Ben, and beat up anyone who got in her way (Juliet, Kate, etc.). She's sticking to her agenda, no matter what. Miles is easily bought, but can Ben pay better than Charles Widmore?
Frank Lapidus is hard to pin down, mainly because of his personal connection to Oceanic 815. He wants answers about the crash, and believes that his employer, Charles Widmore, is also seeking the truth. Most of his future actions will depend on how much he already knows about Widmore's agenda. Lapidus is just the pilot, after all, and it's unlikely that he's been given as much information as the rest of the team. Frank's curiosity actually reminds me of John Locke, a trait that will make him more vulnerable to Ben's manipulation. Ben could get Frank on his side if he reveals the right things.
Keamy, Omar, and the rest of the team's muscle are the biggest threat to the island residents. So far, they've come off as scary mercenaries who shoot things when there's nothing better to do. These guys will do what they're told, and are the least likely freighties to suffer from a crisis of conscience.
Advantages: Thanks to their wealthy patron, the freighties have plenty of supplies, weapons, and capable manpower. They have a decent knowledge of the island, and they may or may not have Alex as leverage against Ben. The fact that only seven people make if off the island (so far) could indicate that the freighties harm some of the islanders or keep them on the island somehow.
Disadvantages: The freighter folks have been dropping like flies because of the island's strange properties. Michael's sabotage project has hindered their communication with the outside world and their ability to leave (he damaged the engine). Disloyalty, greed, and human emotion might also come into play. Remember--some of the freighter crew members were trying to escape in "Meet Kevin Johnson." All-out mutiny is a definite possibility. The unknown fate of the frieighties is another sign that things turn out poorly for them. We do not know for certain if any of the freighties make it off the island at all. In "The Beginning of the End," Matthew Abaddon wanted to know if "they" were alive. Was he talking about the members of his team?
Roster: Currently, the island consists of three communities--Team Jack, Team Locke, and the Others. All three of these groups are accustomed to wartime conditions. The Others were ruthless enough to take out the entire DHARMA organization at the Barracks. The 815ers have been battling the Others since they landed on the island. Is there any doubt that they can handle a few mercenaries and scientists?
The islanders also have friends on the freighter. Sayid, Desmond, and Michael have an opportunity to take control of the ship while most of the freighties are on the island. If Keamy and the others are already on the island, the ship's remaining crew members are unprotected. Sayid and his neck-snapping legs can get rid of Captain Gault and the doctor in no time at all.
Let's not forget about Ben. He's the reason the freighties are there in the first place. Besides self-preservation, Ben has another incentive for doing away with Widmore's team: they may be holding Alex hostage. Even if Ben does get captured, the war won't end there. If anything, Ben's more dangerous as a prisoner.
Advantages: I'm guessing that the Black Smoke Monster will play an important part in the upcoming war. We already know that Smokey turns up in this week's episode. Will it protect the island by killing the freighties, or will it hurt anyone in its path? Either way, the freighties are probably not prepared for Smokey.
Each group has different motives, but they all have the threat of the freighties' invasion in common. If the Others and Team Locke want to live on the island undisturbed, they will have to get rid of the opposition. The members of Team Jack might need to go through the freighties in order to be rescued. If they act as a united front, the islanders will outnumber the Widmore gang.
Disadvantages: Jack and Locke don't work well together. Their conflicting agendas could screw things up for the rest of the islanders. The Others haven't been very active this season, and could choose to hide out during the war. Plus there's always the off chance that Ben will give himself up in exchange for Alex. Finally, the small number of official Oceanic survivors worries me.
Who do you think will come out ahead in the war? Which side will incur the most losses?