BEWARE! HERE THERE BE SPOILERS!
Don't say you weren't warned. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk LOST!
First of all, let's discuss the title of this show for a minute: "The Substitute". That's a nice little play on meaning. In the flash-sideways, Locke is a substitute teacher. However, in the original timeline he is a substitute physical form, for Smokey/Nemesis to inhabit. Nice.
I thought this was the most shocking moment of the night:
Ben: "He was a much better man than I will ever be. And I'm very sorry I murdered him."
I don't know about you, but I was shocked when Ben stepped up to say something at Locke's graveside. It was wildly inappropriate, but at the same time it was like watching the Grinch's heart grow... Ben didn't have to say those things, and he didn't have to admit amongst mixed company that he killed Locke. Do you think he was really sorry, and honestly meant the things he said? I'd like to think so, but Ben has ALWAYS had an ulterior motive for all his actions. I'd like to think he's a changed man ever since Alex was killed and it seems like that might be the case. Don't get me wrong though; I still don't have much sympathy for him, and I still think he's one of the most evil twisted masterminds ever to appear on TV. And let's not forget he might have admitted to this murder, but the little weasel coped to a lie when Illana asked him what happened to Jacob, and he said the Nemesis killed him. (Then again, I might not be so quick to admit to a crying girl with a gun that I was the one who murdered her master. It's all about picking the right time, I suppose...)
I thought this was the most heartbreaking moment of the night:
Helen: "Miracles do exist, John. And the only thing in this life I ever waited on, was to find you."
In the original timeline, Helen is dead. Or at least, that's what Abbadon told Locke. In the flash-sideways timeline, not only is she alive, but her and Locke are planning a wedding together. In some ways, this alternate timeline is like the happy ending these characters never received. It's especially poignant to watch these scenes with Locke, knowing that the Locke from the original timeline was broken, sad, alone and now dead. As it stands now, it seems like there's more hope for happiness and redemption in the alternate reality than in the original timeline. (Even Hurley is a successful, confident, happy, lucky guy in the alternate reality.)
And finally, here's the funny moment of the night:
Lapidus: "This is the strangest damn funeral I've ever been to."
Well said, Captain Lapidus! Leave it to Hurley and Lapidus to always say whatever is on the audience's mind!