Generally characters in this show are introduced by name only when they have some role to play in the overall story. Sometimes in a flashback to establish a connection between two losties or possibly to fill out a main characters back story and provide insight into their life and motivations. I think the latter is the case with the subject of tonight's wacky mystery.
Annie, our young Apollo candy bar eating school mate of Benjamin Linus is a mystery that has been rattling around my little brain for quite a few months now. Really we weren't given very much to go on here so I am going to do some sleuthing and maybe jump to a few conclusions along the way.
At the time Ben first met Annie she appeared to be a little younger than Ben although they were in class together. She obviously had been on the island for some time as she was familiar with classroom procedures and by her opening line to Ben, "Hey, You're new huh?". I noticed she handed Ben the Apollo bar with her left hand although I think this was just for the camera's sake to position the candy bar so the camera could pick it up better. I say this because later in the classroom scene Annie is shown writing with the pencil in her right hand.
Some observations here. At no time does Horace mention he has a daughter nor does Olivia (the teacher) indicate Annie could be her daughter even after the gun shots are heard. She directs Annie to lock the door as if Annie has done this before (she even says to Ben " Don't worry, it's only the Hostiles") but I think a parents natural reaction would be to get close to their child in an emergency. Olivia would have been more protective if it were her daughter. Later, after the purge, when Ben closes Horace's eyes back at the barracks, there is no evidence of Annie. Somehow I doubt that she would approve of Ben killing her parents. Therefore I conclude that Annie is not the child of Horace and Olivia Goodspeed and was not on the island at the time of the Purge.
Annie's comment at the swing set was that" Now we never have to be away from each other" was touching but clearly not true. I believe Annie left the island shortly after this point in time as evidenced by the way Ben handled the doll on the morning of the Purge. He saw it on the table and picked it up very gently, almost reverently and it was clearly worn by years of handling. The paint was worn off and faded. This would indicate Ben carried it with him or held it many times over the years while thinking of Annie, not something he would do if she were around to talk to or spend time with.
Then there's the scene with Ben in the tent holding the doll and reminiscing as Richard walked in. Ben asked him "You do remember birthdays, don't you? Today just happens to be mine". the question has a double meaning as the doll indicates the only person to remember Ben's birthday was Annie. To me this indicates Ben only ever knew Annie as a child and not as an adult. Because if Ben knew her as an adult, he would have a more appropriate keepsake of a woman than a childhood gift. Also, there is no picture other than of Alex, his adopted daughter in his house or tent.
One goofy theory is that Danielle is Annie. There is no glint of recognition in either one's eyes when they meet in either scene, when Ben is caught in the net and she shoots him with the crossbow or when they meet at the radio tower and he introduces Alex to her mother. Also their subsequent conversations about fleeing the freighter people show no sign of emotion, and clearly Ben shows emotion when thinking about Annie as seen when he looks at the doll. Danielle's accent is just a bonus to indicate that she is not from the island and did not conceive Alex on island.
There has been some speculation that Annie got pregnant on the island and died in childbirth and this is why Ben has the obsession with children being born via conception on the island. I disagree. I think that the conception/maternal death has always been a part of the islands makeup. This is why there is not a large thriving indigenous population on this island dating back to antiquity, Ben's obsession is caused by his guilt over his own childbirth, and thus has meaning to him of significantly greater importance than the rest of the others. This explains his need to recruit Juliette to try to grow his little island population.
As we will see in a flashback, Juliette has been involved in some interesting lab work in the Orchid Station, directed by none other than Charles Widmore. Yes, 'Ol Chuckie has been to the island more than once and we are talking about after the Purge. But back to the topic of tonight's discussion.
If Annie left the island as a child, she had to be the daughter of someone of some importance in the Dharma Initiative. I believe she is Charles Widmores daughter. No not Penelope, but Penny's older sister. Ben has been traveling off island to try to get to her and this caused the rift between Ben and Charles Widmore that has eventually resulted in open warfare between the two and ultimately Widmore sending the Freighter and it's crew to capture Ben and bring him to Charles.
They are prepared for what the island has to offer because Widmore knows the islands secrets and picked the team for their skills and abilities. Just as Desmond was exiled to Mystery Frickin Island so he would stay away from Charles Widmore's other daughter. That was three years ago and Charles was probably still speaking with Ben at that point since Widmore was on island during the time Juliette was there. He probably told Ben he was sending Desmond to the island and he should keep an eye on him. Kinda nice that it worked out Kelvin did just that by keeping Desmond busy for the next three years pushing a button.
Annie will return to the island at some point and it will be a significant moment for all concerned. It would not even be out of the realm of possibility that the skeletons in the cave are Ben and Annie, although I've really thought all along they would be Desmond and Penny.
Remember The Past:
With all the comings and goings to and from the island that Ben must be doing, I think we have a pretty good idea now who or what his CONSTANT is.