Jack comes face-to-face with the Man in Black, as MiB tries to sell Jack on his plan to escape the island. Widmore’s people up the stakes, forcing everyone to make their decision on whether to leave the island, or stay.

Locke is rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, with Ben alongside, who tells the EMTs what little he knows about Locke. One of the emergency workers notes that the wheelchair Locke was in at the time of the accident probably saved his life, though it’s been smashed to pieces now. Locke speaks briefly to Ben and the EMTs, telling them about his next-of-kin, his fiancée Helen Norwood.

Locke arrives at the hospital at the same time Sun and Jin arrive in another ambulance, Sun still bleeding from her gunshot wound. For a moment, the two victims are wheeled side-by-side on their respective gurneys, and Sun briefly recognizes Locke. But she recoils in horror, desperately reaching out to Jin, whispering, “No! No! It’s him!”

At the police station, Detective Sawyer speaks to Kate in private after bringing her in. He reads over her record, and mentions how she doesn’t strike him as a murderer, and she reiterates her claim that she’s innocent of the crime. He asks if she remembers him from Oceanic 815, and ponders the coincidence of the two of them meeting up again this way. She asks if this is his way of hitting on her, and he laughs, saying it would never work between them because he’s a cop and she’s a criminal. She asks why he didn’t arrest her at LAX, but he (unconvincingly) denies having noticed she was wearing handcuffs on that elevator. Sawyer says he was just being a gentleman, holding open the elevator door for a pretty lady. But Kate counters with a theory that he let her go because he went to Australia and didn’t want anyone to know he was there. Before he can reply — though his expression confirms she’s right — Miles appears and pulls him away. Miles tells Sawyer about the homicide involving Keamy and his thugs, and their prime suspect is one “Sayid Jarrah.”

Claire enters an office building in downtown L.A., planning to meet with an adoption agency to discuss giving up her baby. Desmond finds her there in a seemingly-chance meeting, where he strikes up a conversation and eventually offers her the services of a lawyer he knows, pro bono, for consultation about her adoption contract. Though Claire initially thinks Desmond’s a creepy stalker type, she eventually concedes. The lawyer turns out to be Ilana, whose last name we learn is Verdansky. Ilana is astonished to find Claire in her office, as she’s been looking for her.

Sayid returns to his brother’s home and hastily packs a bag. Nadia finds him there and asks what’s going on, but he tells her not to worry, that everything will be alright for her and her husband now. He doesn’t tell her about Keamy’s death at his hands, merely saying, “I took care of it.” She understands immediately, but before they can discuss it further, Detective Miles Straume knocks on the front door. Sayid asks Nadia to stall the police so he can sneak away, and she obliges. But as Sayid tries to make his escape through the back yard, he’s nabbed by Sawyer, who arrests and handcuffs him on the spot.

Jack enters the same office building where Claire is meeting with Ilana, and has his son David with him. He gets a phone call from David’s mom, and promises to have the boy home after the two of them get something to eat, later. After hanging up the phone, Jack tells his son that it’s okay to be sad while they hear his grandfather’s will being read. David says he’s only sad for his dad. Ilana greets them both as they enter the same law office that Desmond brought Claire to, and she tells Jack that she has a surprise for him, before asking if he believes in fate.

She leads him to the conference room, where she introduces him to Claire. Jack recognizes her name from his father’s will, but he doesn’t know who she is, so he asks. Claire tells him that they share the same father, and it’s an awkward moment. They’re about to settle in to hear the reading of the will, but Jack gets an emergency phone call from the hospital, asking him to come in. Still reeling from the surprise that he has a sister, he apologizes and asks if they can reschedule.

Sun awakens in her hospital room, and is informed by Jin that the doctors have fixed her up. She’s going to be okay, and so is the baby. He tells her that their troubles with her father are over, and they’re going to be together from now on.

Jack and David arrive at the hospital, and David marvels at the fact that his grandfather had an illegitimate daughter all this time and never told his family about her. Jack leaves his son behind as he enters the surgical ward, and the nurses fill him in on the patient’s status. The surgical team was feeling “a bit over our heads” on this one, because the patient’s spine is so badly injured, and also had a preexisting injury that left him in a wheelchair. But Jack, taking a look at the patient’s x-rays, feels confident that he can handle it. “I got this,” he says. When he enters the operating room, he’s stunned to recognize the man on the table as John Locke, the man he met just days ago at LAX.

It’s night when Hurley leads his friends to see the Man in Black. MiB greets Jack and asks to “catch up” with him alone. Jack briefly consults with Hurley, who agrees, before walking into a clearing with MiB to chat. Jack is astonished at how much MiB looks like John Locke, and asks why MiB chose to impersonate him. “Because he was stupid enough to believe that he’d been brought here for a reason,” MiB says. “Because he pursued that belief until it got him killed. And because you were kind enough to bring his body back here in a nice wooden box.” Jack verifies that MiB can only impersonate someone who’s dead, before getting to the point: he asks if the times he saw his father, Christian Shephard, on the island, was really the Man in Black. MiB confirms that it was indeed him, and says he did it because Jack and his friends needed help with things like finding water. MiB says that he’s always been trying to help the Candidates leave the island, but couldn’t until Jacob was dead, because his selection caused them to be trapped on the island before they even came to it. Now that Jacob’s dead, they can all leave whenever they want. Jack wonders why MiB is still there if that’s true. MiB explains once again that it has to be all of them, leaving together. Jack is thrown at hearing this man who looks and sounds like John Locke talking about wanting to leave the island, when that was the one thing Locke always tried desperately to prevent. MiB says that Locke wasn’t the believer Jack now thinks of him as — he was merely a sucker.

As Jack and MiB start to return to camp, MiB hears that someone’s been following them. He shouts for them to come out, and it’s Claire, who says that she knows Jack is her brother. MiB leaves the two of them to reconnect, and their meeting marks the first time brother and sister have been reunited since finding out that they’re related. At first it seems as though Claire is going to be angry at Jack for leaving her behind when he escaped the island, but she finally breaks into a smile and tells him how happy she is to see him. She’s also happy that he’s decided to join them in escaping the island on the Ajira plane. Jack says he hasn’t made that decision yet, but Claire says that he has — his decision was made the moment he let MiB talk to him. “Whether you like it or not, you’re with him now,” she says.

The next morning, Hurley and Sawyer have a private conversation where Sawyer explains his plan to steal Widmore’s submarine in order to escape from the island once and for all. Sun, Frank, and Jack are invited as well, but Sawyer says that Sayid and Claire have “gone over to the dark side,” so they’re not to be told about this plan. Hurley protests that “you can always come back from the dark side,” but Sawyer doesn’t buy it. Claire approaches just then, ending their conversation, and offers Hurley a reunion hug.

Later, Jack talks to Kate about what he and MiB discussed privately — about all of them having to leave the island together — though he notes he hasn’t decided if he believes MiB or not. As they’re talking, Widmore’s second-in-command Zoe suddenly strides into camp and right up to the Man in Black. “You took something from us, and we want it back,” she says to him, referring to Desmond. MiB says he doesn’t know what she’s talking about, so she pulls out a walkie-talkie and asks her people if they have a fix on her position. When she receives an affirmative reply, she says, “Show them what we’re capable of.” Everyone but MiB and Zoe ducks when a rocket is suddenly fired from Hydra island and detonates just a few hundred meters from MiB’s camp. Zoe tells MiB that he has until nightfall to return Desmond, “or next time we won’t miss.” She gives him the radio and says to contact her when he’s ready to make the exchange. After she leaves, Locke drops the radio on the ground and smashes it. “Well,” he says to no one in particular, “here we go.” The war has officially begun.

MiB gathers his people together to tell them that it’s time to go. He sends Sawyer to retrieve a boat that’s docked offshore not far from their current position, which he intends to use to take the entire group across to Hydra Island together, where they’ll steal the Ajira plane. Sawyer asks Kate to help him with his mission. While MiB takes Sayid off to talk alone, Sawyer grabs Jack to have a private conversation of their own. Sawyer tells Jack of his plan to double-cross the Man in Black and take Widmore’s submarine, and asks Jack to find a moment later on when he can grab Sun, Hurley, and Frank, and secretly join him and Kate on the boat. Jack asks about Sayid and Claire, but Sawyer says neither of them are invited, because they’re no longer themselves.

Privately, MiB tells Sayid to go out to the well where Desmond is trapped, and kill him. MiB has decided that the only way to ensure that Widmore doesn’t get Desmond back is if Desmond’s dead. Sayid hesitates at this order, but MiB reminds him of what Sayid wants from him — Nadia to be returned to life — and that Sayid must do as he’s told if he wants that to happen. Sayid complies, and sets off for the well.

At the well, Sayid wastes no time, drawing his gun immediately to fire on Desmond, down at the bottom. Desmond wastes no time on pleasantries either, asking Sayid what MiB has offered him in exchange for killing him. Sayid admits that MiB offered to give back to him the woman he loved, Nadia. When Desmond finds out that Nadia is dead, he questions what makes Sayid think MiB can accomplish such a feat. “He brought me back,” Sayid replies. So Desmond takes a different tack. He asks what Sayid will tell Nadia when she asks what he had to do to get her back. Sayid stares him down, never wavering with his gun, yet considering having to tell Nadia that he murdered an innocent man in order to buy back her life, a price he knows she would never agree to…

Sawyer and Kate find the boat exactly where MiB said it would be, and it turns out to be the Elizabeth, Desmond’s old sailboat (which was stolen by the Others from Sayid, Sun, and Jin, years ago). Kate is surprised when Sawyer finally informs her that they’re not following MiB’s plan — instead they’re stealing the boat for themselves and taking their friends to the safety of Widmore’s submarine. But Kate’s real problem is with Sawyer leaving Claire out of the plan, because she promised Carole Littleton, Claire’s mother, that she would get Claire off the island and bring her back to her family. Sawyer flatly says no, stating that Claire is not the girl they once knew. “She’s dangerous. You really want her around Aaron?” he asks. With that, he leads the way to the boat.

As the Man in Black leads his people to the rendezvous point, Jack quietly asks Claire how long she’s been hanging out with “Locke.” “Since you left,” she replies. Jack asks if she trusts him, and she says yes. When he asks why, she says that “Locke” is the only one who never abandoned her.

Nearby, MiB pulls Sun aside and asks her if she’s seen Sayid; Sayid is running late, he says. He was supposed to catch up with them half a mile back. When Sun gives him the evil eye and says nothing in response, she pulls out her notepad and writes on it, “You did this to me!” He apologizes for what she thinks he did to her, but doesn’t believe he is to blame. Still concerned about Sayid, he tells Cindy to take everyone on to the rendezvous and he’ll catch up. He wants to go back and make sure Sayid is okay.

Jack senses his opportunity and calls out to Sun, Hurley, and Frank, telling them that they’re leaving the rest of the group. But Claire watches them go, suspicious of what her old friends are up to.

MiB finds Sayid walking through the jungle, trying to catch up with the others. Sayid informs him that the job is done — Desmond is dead. MiB is skeptical of how long it took Sayid to do it, but Sayid says he needed a moment to collect himself after killing an unarmed man. When MiB again registers doubt at Sayid’s strange behavior, Sayid challenges MiB to go see Desmond’s body for himself. Deciding he’s satisfied, MiB tells Sayid to hurry along, they need to catch up with the others and get to the boat.

Jack leads Sun, Hurley, and Frank to the sailboat, and they all quickly climb aboard. Sawyer explains his reasoning with wanting to take the submarine instead of the Ajira plane: in the three years he spent with the Dharma Initiative, the only way they got on or off the island was by submarine. So that’s what he plans to do, because he knows it’s a method that works. But before they can depart, Claire appears, having followed them. She’s got her rifle trained on them all, asking what they’re up to. Kate steps forward and tries to convince Claire to join them. Sawyer protests, but Kate says that Claire’s coming, or she (Kate) isn’t. Kate tells Claire that she never should have raised Aaron, and that the only reason she returned to the island was to get Claire, so she can be with her son again. Claire finally concedes and even hands her rifle over to Kate, but not before remarking that when MiB finds out what they’ve done, “he’s gonna be mad.”

Once they’ve cast off, Jack takes a quiet moment to himself to consider what’s happening. Sawyer notices and talks to him privately, asking what’s wrong. Jack admits that leaving the island doesn’t feel right to him. When Sawyer asks why not, Jack says it’s because he remembers how it felt the last time he left. He felt like a part of him was missing. He says that they were brought to the island for a reason, and if MiB wants them to leave, maybe it’s because he’s afraid of what might happen if they stay. Outraged at this, Sawyer orders him off the boat. When Jack tries to convince him that leaving is a mistake, that the island isn’t done with them yet, Sawyer again orders him to jump ship. Done trying to sway his friend, Jack apologizes for getting Juliet killed, and then jumps in the water, heading back for the main island. Kate’s alarmed and wants to go back for him, but Sawyer calmly tells her that Jack’s not coming, and refuses to turn the ship around.

Jack washes up on the shore of the main island, and the Man in Black meets him there, surrounded by his converted-Others followers. He asks if Sawyer stole the sailboat, and Jack says yes.

On Hydra Island, Sawyer and his group arrive on the shore. Zoe and her people appear and draw their weapons, ordering Sawyer’s people to drop theirs. When they comply, Jin suddenly appears over the rise, and is stunned to see his wife standing there on the beach. Sun is equally shocked to see the man she hasn’t seen in over three years, and a very long-awaited moment finally occurs as the two rush to embrace one another. Sun finds her voice again and tells her husband that she loves him and she never stopped looking for him. Jin promises her that they’ll never be apart again. Meanwhile, Sawyer tries to remind Widmore’s people that they had a deal and this isn’t necessary. But after getting a call from Widmore, Zoe tells them that the deal’s off. She orders all of them down onto their knees, and reports on her radio that she’s got the castaways in custody. “If you’ve got a sight line on Locke, fire when ready,” she says.

Back on the main island, a huge artillery shot is heard, and before anyone can do anything, a huge explosion rocks the shore where Jack, MiB, and his people stand. Jack is thrown clear of the blast, but most of the former Others are killed. MiB comes to Jack’s aid, and carries him into the island’s interior while more shots are fired. Placing Jack on the ground in a safe place, MiB tells Jack not to worry. “You’re with me now,” he says.

  • Appearances of Jack’s dead father on the island, Christian Shephard, are credited to the Man in Black.
    Who or what is Christian Shephard on the island, when he is known to be dead? [1.05]
  • Yes. While we still don’t know why the smoke monster chose to kill Nadine in the jungle, it killed Montand so it could pose as him, and lure the others into becoming infected.
    Why did the smoke monster kill Nadine, but leave Montand, Robert, and the others alive? Was it so it could “change” them, as it seemed to? [5.05] & Why did the monster single out Montand to attack and drag beneath the Temple? Was he merely bait to get the others to go down there on their own, or was there some significance to the monster picking him over the others? [5.05]

  • Sideways reality: Why did Sun recoil in horror at the site of John Locke, whom she’d never met? Did her near-death experience trigger latent memories of the island? Was she remembering Locke as the Man in Black, whom she feared?
  • Did Sayid really kill Desmond?
  • Why did Widmore suddenly call off his deal with Sawyer?

So. The single-character-focused episodes have come to an end, presumably giving way to nothing but ensemble pieces all the way to the end. The island storyline is building to its final conflict, and the Sideways stories are starting to converge. I still think that all of the Sideways characters are going to come together somehow in the end — which is very likely Sideways Desmond’s master plan — and decide what to do about their situation. Or maybe they’ll learn together how their second reality came to be, and what it means. Eloise’s comments to Sideways Desmond a few episodes ago make me think that there’s a design or intention at work in this Sideways reality, and that it’s meant to exist for a very important reason. In the end, we must find out what that reason is.

There was a great big elephant-in-the-room in this episode. Did you notice it?

Christian Shephard. Repeatedly referred to yet never seen, Jack’s father seems to be at the heart of this entire outing, and his influence is felt throughout, from the Man in Black admitting that he has been masquerading as Christian on the island, to the reading of Christian’s will in the Sideways world.

I’m probably way out in left field, but I keep wondering if Christian has some role yet to play on the show. His body has never been found — in either reality. Which could just be a bit of synchronicity between the two timelines… or it could be important. This will of Christian’s has now been a major plot point in two Sideways storylines, and I wonder if there’s something in it that bears some significance to the events happening there, possibly even providing clues or answers as to how and why the Sideways reality can co-exist alongside the original reality.

The one definitive answer this episode provided is that Christian Shephard on the island has indeed been the Man in Black taking the form of yet another dead person. His answer to Jack about appearing as Christian on Day 3 to help the survivors find water is meant to inform that Dead Christian has always = MiB. It fits, with each of his appearances outside of visiting Jack having been times when he’d manipulated Locke or Claire into doing his bidding. In fact, in the two times he met Locke, he was blatantly leading poor John down the path that lead to his death.

But wait. There is a fly in this logic ointment, and I’m betting you already know what it is. In Season 4’s “Something Nice Back Home,” Jack’s off-island spiral into prescription drugs and alcohol was influenced largely by the brief moment that he encountered his father in the lobby of his medical practice. It was only for a second, but Christian was definitely there, even saying Jack’s name aloud. The problem here is obvious: the Man in Black cannot leave the island. He’s trapped there. So who or what was the Christian Shephard that Jack saw at his office?

I can think of three explanations. The most likely one is that Jack’s exhaustion and his guilt over leaving the island lead him to momentarily hallucinate his father’s presence. Another possibility is that someone other than the Man in Black appeared at Jack’s office, in the guise of Jack’s father. Perhaps Jacob, whom we know can come and go from the island as he pleases (yet who’s never, to our knowledge, appeared in any other form than his own). The final possibility is that it really was Christian Shephard himself, appearing in ghostly form. Ghosts exist in the Lost universe, and have become a major part of the mythology, so this explanation is entirely plausible.

Moving on… We finally found out what became of Desmond’s sailboat, the Elizabeth. I always wondered why Ben was so intent on stealing it from the survivors back in Season 3, but after he had his people do just that, it was never seen again. Looks like he wanted it just to keep the castaways from having it. He tucked it away, anchored off a distant shore from the survivors’ beach, where it’s remained for three years, until now, when MiB found a use for it.

I don’t for one second believe that MiB has the ability (or the intention) to fulfill his bargain with Sayid. This is just a guess, but my feeling has always been that he was only able to bring Sayid back because Sayid wasn’t that far gone. And we don’t even know if Claire ever “died” before he infected her. She very well might have simply been infected while still alive. For the Man in Black to reach that far into the grave and bring back someone that’s been dead for years, their flesh rotting and falling off their bones — that’s a whole different story. I don’t buy it.

Next, I’ve got a question that’s been bothering me for a long time, and I’m going to attempt to provide an answer: Why did Claire never move through time with the rest of the castaways, after the Oceanic 6 left? As you may recall, Ben moved the island at the same time that the Oceanic 6 escaped on Frank’s helicopter. Ben’s action accidentally caused an unexpected consequence: the frozen wheel became dislodged on its axis — and the island became similarly dislodged in time. Sawyer, Juliet, Miles, Daniel, Charlotte, Jin, Rose, Bernard, and all of the other remaining survivors began jumping through time, witnessing events from the island’s past, and eventually winding up in the Dharma era of 1974, when all the time-jumping finally stopped. We know that the Others never jumped through time with the survivors — though we don’t know why — and likewise, when Ajira 316 came to the island, Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sayid all jumped back to the Dharma era, catching up with their friends as if they’d always been meant to be a part of the time-jumping adventures. Yet Frank, Ben, and Sun stayed put in the present. And now we also know now that Claire never jumped through time, either, remaining alone on the island in the present, for three years (around 2004-2007), where she buddied up with the Man in Black, who at first pretended to be her father but later took on the form of John Locke.

So the question is… Why didn’t Claire jump through time? The obvious answer would seem to be that it’s because she was infected. But what does that even mean? And what else can we glean from this supposition?

Consider this. Everyone that jumped through time had one thing in common: they were part of the Oceanic survivors’ camp. They came to be part of that camp through differing means — Juliet defected from the Others; Daniel, Charlotte, and Miles arrived on the freighter; everyone else was on Oceanic 815 — but they were all part of the same camp. The same faction, if you will. And we now know that that faction was comprised primarily (if not entirely) of Candidates — most of whom’s names were crossed off of Jacob’s list as he whittled down the potential Candidates to the final six. So it would appear that the only thing all of the time-jumpers had in common was their unknown connection to Jacob — him having touched them at some point in their lives. Claire was a Candidate at one time; “Littleton” was on the list, though it was scratched out like most of the others. So it stands to reason that Claire never jumped through time because she was already infected by the Man in Black when the time-jumping began. Following this idea to its conclusion…

Perhaps the infection is MiB’s way of negating Jacob’s touch. Claire was infected, and that’s why she didn’t jump through time with her friends. (She also stopped being a Candidate, though we don’t know if that was before she was infected or after.) Bottom line: the infection removed her from Team Jacob.

As for Frank, Ben, and Sun… my guess is that none of them jumped through time because they are not Candidates. Even though Sun could be the “Kwon” mentioned on Jacob’s list, she probably isn’t the Candidate Jacob designated with that name, because of the very fact that she never jumped through time. Jin did, so he has to be the Candidate.

The conclusion: Jacob himself determined who jumped through time and who didn’t. It was his designation as potential Candidates that sent them bouncing through time — that, combined with whether or not they were still part of Team Jacob (and not taken off the list, like Claire was due to her infection).

It’s the only explanation I can come up with that fits all the facts.

We’re all on pretty much the same page about what’s going to happen to Sideways Locke when Jack operates on him, aren’t we? It’s so obvious, you don’t even need me to say it. Jack’s not only going to repair the damage caused by the accident, our resident “miracle worker” is going to repair Locke’s spine completely, allowing him to walk again. Another echo of the island reality. It might be this very act that awakens both of them to the truth of the two realities.

As soon as Jin promised Sun that they’d never be apart again, my wife went, “Oh Jin, why’d you have to say that?” Anybody else thinking he totally jinxed them with that statement?

And speaking of their reunion… hate to say it, but I was kinda disappointed. Yeah, it was nifty how it was sprung on us unexpectedly, and it was nice, sweet, emotional moment. But we’ve been waiting for this reunion for such a long time, I thought it deserved a stop-the-earth-in-its-tracks, over-the-top-powerful, heartbreakingly wonderful emotional celebration. Instead, the writers chose to go understated with it. I can understand the dramatic choice — the thinking being that it will be impossible to live up to everyone’s expectations at this point — but I found it to be unworthy of such a momentous event.

My best guess about Widmore calling off his deal with Sawyer is that it probably has something to do with Richard, Ben, and Miles. The three of them were headed for the Ajira airplane with explosives the last time we heard from them, so I’d imagine that they got to Hydra Island but were taken captive by Widmore’s people before they could reach the plane.

I can’t explain why, but it was while watching this episode that I realized exactly what happened to Danielle’s teammates, back when they first found the Temple. I mentioned this earlier in the Answered Questions section, but allow me to fully explain… As you’ll recall, Montand was grabbed by the smoke monster and dragged beneath the Temple — sans his arm. Earlier this season, we saw his one-armed skeleton still down there, in those tunnels. So clearly, he died down there, even though Danielle and the others saw him again later. This means that the Montand they saw — and the one that called out to them for help from underground after the attack — was really the Man in Black. Yet Danielle was able to shoot and kill all of the others after they turned on her, so the logical conclusion is that Robert and the other team members were “infected,” just as Danielle would claim years later, exactly the way that Claire and Sayid are infected now.

Speaking of the infection…

Increasingly, and starting mainly with this episode, we’re seeing the people who are supposedly afflicted by MiB’s “infection” — namely Sayid and Claire — start to act a little more like their old selves. It felt like we had the old Claire back during the tender moment she shared with Jack, as well as when she hugged Hurley, and again later when Kate was able to talk her into joining the escapees on the sailboat. And we all know there’s no way on this earth Sayid really killed Desmond in that well. His zombie-like behavior is starting to show some cracks.

Favorite line of the night: “I just shot an unarmed man. I needed a moment.”

Once again, we’re circling back around to the big question about the “infection”: is it really incurable? Hurley and Sawyer even had a conversation about this very thing near the beginning of the episode. Sawyer was convinced there’s no coming back, but Hurley (being Hurley) believes that there’s always a way.

I’d be willing to bet real money that the one thing that can fight off the infection, the one thing that can cure it, is love.

Can Sayid and Claire fight off the infection, and revert to their old selves? I think we’ll find out in the final hours of the show.

Love is the key to miraculously unlocking the Sideways characters’ memories. And love is going to be the thing that frees Sayid and Claire of the Man in Black’s “infectious” influence. We practically saw it happen before our eyes in this episode, after all: Claire reverted to her true self when she reunited with her brother, and Sayid began questioning his actions when confronted with the notion that he would have to explain what he’d done to the one person in all the world that he loved more than any other.

Love is the answer.