...and they won't be pretty.
My unscientific sampling suggests that at 10:58 Eastern Standard Time, millions of Lost fans were moaning the same thing: "Nooooo, not Penny!!!" I base this on the fact that not only is that what I was saying, but several minutes later when I called my daughter, that, not hello, was the first thing she said to me.
It's pretty clear at this point -- to me, anyway -- that time travel (in body and not just mind) from the island is possible, though not easy, and last night Ben pulled it off, jumping from (probably) late 2003 to 2005. Apparently the desert is the arrival point (hence the "ancient" polar bear remains with the Dharma charm previously found in mid-desert).
One suspects that this is Ben's first such trip. Witness his glee at confirming that yes, of course, it's 2005 (Michael Emerson so rocks):
The big mystery is the nature of the Ben/Widmore rivalry. The game of Risk played by the men in the early scene serves as metaphor for the rest of the episode. But how? When Widmore tells Ben to go ahead and kill him, Ben says, "You know I can't do that." Yet Ben is earlier stunned to find that Widmore has "changed the rules" (NOT "violated" them). That Ben "can't" kill Widmore suggests that there's something going on beyond a pissing match between these two men, some larger force that restrains him.
Oh, and now we know how Ben manipulated Sayid into being his personal assassin. (This leads us to wonder who really killed Nadia.)
Of late, I've been inclined to believe that Ben was being truthful all those times that he has said, "We're the good guys." Despite the fact that many of his actions have had heinous effects on individuals, he seems to subscribe to utilitarianism as his worldview.
But threatening Penny? That's clearly just personal. And mean.
(The splendid screencaps come from here.)