NEW YORK -- Two "Lost" tough guys, Mr. Eko and Ben, showed surprising vulnerability as both confronted personal demons on the CTV drama.
One even wound up face-to-face with the show's deadliest monster. Those who have yet to watch Wednesday's episode are advised to stop reading.
An injured Eko (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) had a vision of his brother, Yemi, a Nigerian priest. "It is time to confess. ... I will be waiting. You know where to find me," Yemi told Eko.
Eko, overcome by fatigue and fear, trudged clumsily through the jungle on his way to a downed small plane that held Yemi's body. His visions continued as That Thing -- you know, the nefarious smoke monster -- slithered nearby.
Pre-crash, Eko had become a priest after Yemi was killed while trying to stop his plan to smuggle heroin out of Nigeria. As a youth, he was reluctantly drafted into the dark side by village-raiding guerrillas who ordered Yemi to shoot an innocent man ... or die. Eko grabbed the gun from Yemi and followed through.
Back in the castaways' camp, Locke ( Terry O'Quinn) recruited Sayid ( Naveen Andrews), Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) and two comely newcomers to find Eko and visit the small bunker dubbed "The Pearl" to try and communicate with the Others.
Eko, spotted in the forest, took a knife to Locke's throat when asked if he was searching for Yemi. "What are you afraid of?" Locke asked. Yemi's body, it turned out, was no longer in the plane.
Inside The Pearl, Locke and crew discovered that one of the bunker's multiple television screens was connected to a TV in another bunker inhabited by a guy with an eye patch. The guy was aware they were watching him and covered his screen with his hand.
Meanwhile, Jack ( Matthew Fox) learned he was right -- those X-rays he saw in last week's episode belonged to Ben (Michael Emerson), who has a fatal tumor on his spine. Ben, he of the creepy mind games, was distressed when Jack, a spinal surgeon, figured out he was dying.
"We had such a wonderful plan to break you down, Jack, wear you down until you were convinced we weren't your enemies, get you to trust us," he said. "Then, of course, we'd lead you to believe that you were choosing to do whatever we asked you to do."
Ben's strategy involved using bait: the lovely Juliet ( Elizabeth Mitchell), who resembles Jack's ex-wife. In a reversal of power, he asked his brooding captive to think about the operation. The plane crash that left Jack stranded, he said, was "proof of God."
Juliet had her own message: She rolled in a TV and played Jack a secret video of her brandishing flashcards that advised him to botch Ben's surgery. "No one would ever know," one card read.
In a clearing on an island not too far away, Eko refused to confess his sins to Yemi during a second encounter. "I've only done what I need to do to survive," he said.
But Yemi was not what he seemed. "You speak to me as if I were your brother," he said. Suddenly he was gone -- seconds later, a wisp of you-know-what blew through the trees.
That wisp became a vicious dark cloud, snatching and beating Eko, who last season had triumphantly stared it down.
Eko died with Locke at his side, after whispering something in his ear. Sayid, standing nearby, asked: "What did he say, John?"
"He said we're next," Locke replied.