Breaking Logs Relieves Sexual Tension
"And that's it?" Kate asks. "That's it", Jack tells her. Kate prying into Jack's week-long stay with the Others was more for the benefit of finding out his feelings than for not trusting his motives. Jack gives her nothing. Sayid markedly leads the four of them back to the beach, with Jack bringing up the rear in a far from leadership role. Yet once back at the camp, Jack is somehow the first to emerge. Not only that, but Jack assumes a command role once again over the crisis with Claire (who is fast becoming a crisis magnet).
And I think everyone watching almost choked when Sayid suddenly demanded detailed answers to THE most critical questions we've been dying to know. Juliet was cornered, no one to turn to, nothing to do but finally tell us who/what/when/where and most importantly, WHY. And then Jack shows up with firewood? GRRRRRRR...
His episode-long protection of Juliet could be nothing more than an innocent byproduct of all the kind words and sandwiches she brought him during a very rough few weeks. Or it could be something entirely different. More on that later.
It's Orange Juice... With a Considerable Amount of Tranquilizer
This was definitely the best line of the episode, right above "I had the day off". Juliet's induction into the Others was full of good info. At this point we're not shocked by Richard revealing how 'special' the island is, but it's still intriguing how he describes it. "You'll see things there that you never imagined". Ironic, because the island seems chock full of things that everyone has imagined.
Of extreme importance is Richard's line: "You have a gift". As he goes on to explain how Juliet was able to create life where life shouldn't be, it's obvious that she was chosen because her powers are akin to the way the island works. From the moment her ex met the grill of that bus we've known that Juliet was special even off the island, maybe in the same ways Walt was special.
Also very revealing are the extreme methods taken to reach the island itself. "You're gonna wanna be asleep" doesn't make much sense for a sub ride. Neither does "It can be kinda intense" (with a knowing chuckle). No, a roller coaster is intense. A sub ride is a study in monotony. Just ask the two really bored-looking guys drinking coffee. Which leads me to the next thing I noticed:
The Sub is Bogus
Shoot me for saying this, but the sub ain't real. It's literally nothing more than a prop - a way to explain how everyone gets to the island as well as an illusion to the fact that anyone can leave at any time (Ben's words). We've never seen it operate, or move, or do anything but sit at the dock.
Wouldn't a sub ride to the middle of the Pacific Ocean (or wherever the island is) take several days or even weeks? Are we to assume Juliet was kept unconcious the entire time? Her skirt looked pretty damned good. And why'd they take off her shoes (which, by the way, I never saw her put on...)
The sub is a deception perpertrated by the Other's inner circle upon the 'henchmen' of their group. Ben, Ethan, Goodwin, Richard, even Juliet eventually - these are the people who know the deal. Everyone else is kept mostly in the dark (even Tom, I think). Getting to the island requires more than just the sub, and the Other's method of travel involves more than just a few backpacks and some people covering their tracks. We'll find out more, but not for a while.
The New and Improved Sawyer
I'm all for character development, but our good 'old' Sawyer may be taking a permanant walk. Getting Claire aspirin, trading Jack's handshake in for a manly semi-hug... being alone has given Sawyer a chance to really explore his feelings - especially for Kate. He just about dry-humped her on the beach this episode.
Admittedly, watching the reactions of both characters during that reunion makes me rethink my original Kate/Jack thoughts. Sawyer's affection for Kate seems 100% legit, and Kate appears to feel the same way. Unless of course Juliet's closeness with Jack drives Kate's feelings for him into the open, thus stomping Sawyer back into the sarcastic mold he's struggling to break out of. That way might be more interesting, I think.
Ben - Pimp Granddaddy Mayor of Bamboozleville
Any doubts as to whether or not Ben gets 'too much credit' were obliterated this week, as the man demonstrated cataclysmically ridiculous powers to bull$hit just about anyone. The scams the dude perpertrated this episode were absolutely criminal.
I believe Ben needed Aaron born. Why? I have a few theories. But verified this episode, Ben needs Juliet to solve the fertility problem on the island. Juliet however, wants to go home. Tending to her sister Rachel and the upcoming birth of her child keeps Juliet from making that total 'commitment' to the island that Ben told Locke about a few episodes ago.
"I think it happens at conception", Juliet tells Ben. She's flat out lying. It doesn't happen at conception and she knows it - at this point, Juliet just wants to go home. After her suggestion to take someone off the island is rebuked by Ben, she shugs and informs him there's nothing more she can do at this point. Sorry, gotta run.
Ben predicts this line of conversation. Not only that, but he has the forsight to mock up some dummy cancer results with Rachael's name on them and bring them along to the beach in his carry-all man-purse. WHOA.
The fact that Rachael's cancer is bogus is obvious. It's easy enough to keep Juliet on the island, but Ben needs to keep her motivated. He needs her to want to go on with her research, much the same way he needed Jack to want to remove his tumor. The charts, the X-rays, the cancer - all fantasy. Ben's thinking ten steps ahead, as always.
Flash forward three years, when Ben's X-rays unexpectedly show a tumor. "I thought you said there was no trace of cancer on this island!" Oops. Juliet now has reason to doubt Ben's claim that (by Jacob's decree) her sister's cancer was cured. Cool glass-slapping scene. Great anger. Ben has to think fast. Jump a few days to the date of the plane crash. Juliet's still holding book club meetings but once again her motivation is gone. With possible newcomers to the island, Ben needs Juliet's work now more than ever. So he leads her to the Flame Station, where Mikhail's monitoring everything on several screens. "I want lists and files on everyone". Knowledge is power.
Then Ben nods and Mikhail flips on the wonderfully convenient Rachael-cam. "Hello Richard can you hear me?" Come on. Richard never even answers. Ben shows Juliet exactly what she needs to see: her sister is alive, her cancer is 'cured', and she's given birth to a healthy son. "Okay, thank you Richard! Get back soon!" - please. You've gotta be kidding me.
If Ben has the power to hook up live video feeds to the outside world, don't you think he would've granted Juliet a few phone calls? That alone might've appeased her - it would've let her know everything was cool with her sis and given her the incentive to keep up her work. But phone calls are the one thing Ben can't grant her. His only option is more deception. Ben does precisely what he told her he does when Pauolo spied on them in the Swan hatch: he finds out what's important to someone and then uses it against them.
"You need to stay here until your work is finished. Who knows, maybe there's even an expectant mother on that plane". Did Ben know this? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, he ended up needing Juliet's serum to keep Claire healthy through her pregnancy. Once Claire gave birth to Aaron, Juliet's work as a researcher was done - and her work as a pawn was just beginning.
Jack vs. Camp
The witch hunt scene where everyone gathered around Jack to question his motives on Juliet showed how much things have changed since he's been gone. "Isn't it enough that I trust her?" Jack asks. Sayid puts it very succinctly: "No, it's not". It's not like the old days, where everyone took Jack's word on everything. And suddenly Sawyer is asking some great, level-headed, rational questions, such as why Jack's opinion happens to go against the entire rest of the group.
Just as things get interesting Claire gets sick, and then Jack utters the most important line of the whole scene: "Before we got back, was she showing any symptoms at all?" Strange question. Seems to indicate that maybe Jack doesn't trust Juliet completely after all. A blow to the 'Jack and Juliet are in cohoots' theory.
Ethan's no Renegade
Although Juliet's story about Claire's 'withdrawals' from the serum was a complete fabrication, the fact remains that in season one Ethan did give her the injections. And I for one believe Juliet was telling the truth when she said Ethan acted alone by kidnapping Claire once he was found out... which doesn't make much sense. What possible motivation could Ethan have for acting alone?
Truth is, I think Ben ordered Ethan to do what he did - without Juliet's knowledge. Not much evidence toward this, just a gut feeling. It goes along with the way Ben keeps certain people in the dark about certain things and I think Aaron's birth was extremely important to him (especially if you subscribe to the Ben=Aaron time loop theory).
Goodwin Shacks Up With Juliet
And could you blame him?
We Cleared Our Schedules
Sawyer & Sayid confronting Juliet at the med-drop was one of the best scenes this week. Cornered again for answers, Juliet doesn't just skulk away - she instead delivers a moral asskicking that leaves both tough guys drowning in a sea of their own shattered righteousness.
Important here is the level of detail Juliet goes into. If we're to assume the Others learn all they know about the 815'ers from Mikhail's 'survelliance' (and I use that term loosely), it's a very, VERY long stretch to say they'd know about Sayid's torture of Basra. But for argument's sake, let's say they did.
Can someone then explain how in the WORLD they could know about the man Sawyer killed right before he got on the plane? There's no way they could know that through conventional means. This makes me question the Rachael-cam all the more. Where would they get such intimate info? Jacob? Hmmm.
One of Us
In the end, I think the phrase 'one of us' has a double-meaning. Watching Ben go over the plan to firmly implant Juliet into the 815 camp, I noticed several little hints that should be mentioned.
First we have the Trojan horse statue on the top of Ben's bookshelf. This represents an object embraced by the enemy (815) camp - one that appeals to them on the outside but has betrayal lurking beneath the surface. This doesn't apply to Juliet, as she's far from appealing. But it could apply to Jack. It's still very possible Jack could be the Trojan Horse, paraded happily through the gates of their city, whether or not even he knows it.
Second, look at Juliet's face when Ben asks her if she's alright. "I'm fine" she says, and he really examines her look. It's the look someone makes when they're trying to keep a straight face - when they're trying to really mask their true intent. I think it's possible Juliet plans to finally betray Ben. She's been pushed far enough. Perhaps she used the whole Claire activated implant crisis to gain some trust on the beach, but beyond that? She just might be hatching a plan of her own. Remember Juliet's last words to her sister: "I'm never gonna fit in with these people".
And we still don't know where Jack was during the whole gas mask scene. I'm thinking it's very possible Ben might anticipate some loyalty problems with Juliet. In which case Ben would hedge his bet by enacting not one but two plants into the 815 camp - Jack being the second one. Jack might be the backup plan. Jack might be the 'one of us'.
As Ben said, guess we'll find out "in a week" (island time) - which would probably occur during the finale.