The exchange between Hurley and his mother in this episode is a classic Lost-moment.
It can't be coincidence that many of the classic Lost-moments do seem to involve Hurley, so maybe this is foreshadowing his importance. Jacob sure seemed to treat him as a VIP in the season finale!
HURLEY: We lied, Ma!
CARMEN: What do you mean you lied?
HURLEY: [Voice cracking] All of us--the Oceanic Six, we lied about what happened after the crash.
CARMEN: And what did happen?
HURLEY: Okay. See, we did crash, but it was on this crazy island. And we waited for rescue, and there wasn't any rescue. And there was a smoke monster, and then there were other people on the island. We called them the Others, and they started attacking us. And we found some hatches, and there was a button you had to push every 108 minutes or... well, I was never really clear on that. But... the Others didn't have anything to do with the hatches. That was the DHARMA Initiative. The Others killed them, and now they're trying to kill us. And then we teamed up with the Others because some worse people were coming on a freighter. Desmond's girlfriend's father sent them to kill us. So we stole their helicopter and we flew it to their freighter, but it blew up. And we couldn't go back to the island because it disappeared, so then we crashed into the ocean, and we floated there for a while until a boat came and picked us up. And by then, there were six of us. That part was true. [Whispers] But the re...
[Hurley's voice breaks. He takes a second to regain composure.]
HURLEY: But the rest of the people... who were on the plane? They're still on that island.
[Carmen puts her hand on her son's wrist.]
CARMEN: I believe you. I don't understand you, but I believe you.
HURLEY: A lot of people died, ma. And now this bad stuff is happening because... well, um... [sighs] we shouldn't have lied. [sighs]
We got to meet a young Widmore who turns out to be a ruthless bastard even back then, and we got to see Hawking as well in her pendulum room, making some time for Ben. After killing Locke and finding her, he's been charged with gathering up all the O6. The one reason I can think of him doing her bidding is that it is his only chance to get back to the island. Why does she allow him to help her though? Does she want him back on the island too? To help Jacob's nemesis kill Jacob? Or for some other reason? What exactly is Hawking's allegiance?
- She is working in a Dharma station... seemingly the very station that helped Dharma's founders to find the island (if we believe her later information).
- Ben meets up with Jill at the butcher shop who is taking care of Locke's corpse, and everything here hints at that The Others have a lot of people working for them off the island: is that what Hawking is doing? Working for the Others but off-island? Would she be able to do that even though she left the island and seemingly gave up her leadership there?
- What is her motivation for working so hard to get the O6 back to the island? Is she doing this work for Jacob? For his nemesis? For Daniel somehow?
BEN: I'm having some... difficulties.
SHROUDED WOMAN: Well, you better get busy... [chuckles] because you only have 70 hours.
BEN: No, no, that's not enough time. I need at least--
SHROUDED WOMAN: What you need is irrelevant.
[She turns, revealing her identity.]
MS. HAWKING: 70 hours is what you've got.
BEN: Look, I lost Reyes tonight. What happens if I can't get them all to come back?
MS. HAWKING: Then God help us all.
But if "whatever happened, happened", and nothing can be changed is all true, then why is she so worried? This same question applies to why she was previously so set on convincing Desmond to do what he was supposed to do: not propose to Penny and eventually end up on the island to push the button (and then fail to push it, bringing 815 down).
It seems to me that maybe things CAN be changed, but that Hawking and others (The Others?) believe that change is not a good thing. In Hawking's case she doesn't even want to change her son's fate! Or so it seems... All this has to be part of something larger that will come back to the surface in S6. It just seems that Hawking and Widmore have been manipulating people through various means... kind of like playing pieces. Backgammon anyone?