With the departure of the raft, the castaways are left to return to the problem at hand. The column of black smoke continues to billow from deep in the jungle and they need to get to safety. Charlie goes to help Claire prepare herself and her baby for the move and finds her on the edge of panic. Everyone is terrified, but Claire must deal with the certainty that the Others are after her baby.
Charlie goes to Sayid and asks him for a gun so he can protect Claire and the baby; he knows Jack handed them over to him before he left on the mission to the Black Rock. But Sayid is reluctant -- Charlie is emotionally involved. "If you really want to help Claire, get her packed and take her and her baby to the caves."
At the Black Rock Hurley asks what we are all thinking: "How exactly did something like this happen?" And Rousseau answers it succinctly: "Are you on the same island I am?" And before they have time to discuss the matter any further, Rousseau tells them that the explosives they are after are located in the hold -- and then she disappears back into the jungle. They don't have time to worry about that, however and Jack, Locke and Kate make their way inside the Black Rock while Hurley and Arzt keep each other company outside.
Inside the Black Rock, three things become clear: 1) From the equipment on board this ship was likely headed to a mining colony. 2) Its passengers were not on board voluntarily. 3) There are several crates of dynamite still inside.
Arzt is having a very frank conversation with Hurley outside the Black Rock. He wants Hurley to know that, just because they might not be in the "cool clique" there are forty-some-odd other passengers that survived that plane crash and they are just as important as anybody else. And as Jack and Locke emerge carrying a crate of explosives, Arzt sees his chance to prove it to them.
Arzt immediately tells Jack and Locke to set the crate on the ground - - very gently. And when they do he gives them a lesson in the volatility of old dynamite. When dynamite is exposed to heat it sweats pure nitroglycerin. And Nitroglycerin is the dangerous explosive ever invented. He takes Kate's shirt and dips it in water before carefully wrapping the dynamite gently within it. And now, Arzt is in the zone. He tells them that they are going to do exactly as he says if they want to survive this ordeal. And they are only going to transport as much as necessary to -- BOOM! Jack, Kate, Locke and Hurley are thrown to the ground as an explosion rips through the air in front of them. No more Arzt.
We FLASHBACK to the Sydney airport. Sun is handing Jin half of a sandwich when she accidentally spills a cup of hot tea in his lap. He makes his way to the bathroom and as he does we see Sayid being returned to his gate after being detained and questioned as a result of Shannon's prank. Jin is at the sink, doing his best to take the stain out of his pants and shirt when an American tourist asks him for help with the paper towel machine. When he gets a look of confusion from Jin, the tourist figures it out -- Jin doesn't speak English. But then something extraordinary happens -- the tourist starts to speak in Korean. Fluent Korean. And what he tells Jin shakes him to his core. Mr. Paik has heard of Jin's plan to leave his employ and to start a new life for himself and for Sun in California. Mr. Paik will never let that happen. Never. And if Jin wants to stay alive he will conclude his business in America…and promptly return to Korea. As the "tourist" walks out of the bathroom, Jin is left shaken and afraid.
But that Jin is in stark contrast to the hopeful and confident one we see on the raft, which is far enough out to sea now for the four passengers to see just how large the island really is. And as move further out to sea, Walt wonders if the other castaways are going to be all right. Michael speaks for us all: "I hope so."
Back on the beach, Sun stares out to the ocean, trying desperately to catch a last glimpse of the raft. She looks at her wedding ring, buoyed by the rekindled love it represents. And she hopes that Jin is okay. She hopes that they will send help for them. She hopes…
Shannon is doing her best to drag an enormous amount of luggage up the beach while seeing to Vincent at the same time. When her overstuffed bag falls open, spilling its contents on the sand, Sayid comes to ask her if she really needs all that stuff. She says that she does and upon closer inspection Sayid notices that most of the things belonged to her brother, Boone. Shannon is hanging by a very thin thread. Sayid offers to help carry her things.
Back at the Black Rock, the fallout of what happened to Arzt is beginning to land on the team. But one of them is taking it very hard indeed. Kate goes to try and comfort Hurley when he tells her that this happened because of him. "I'm kind of…bad luck," he says. Kate assures him it was an accident, but Hurley is unconvinced. Meanwhile, Jack and Locke are forced to deal with the dynamite. And the outcome of the previous try does nothing to calm their nerves.
We FLASHBACK to Charlie waking up in the shambles of a trashed hotel room and searching desperately for his drugs. An unconscious woman lays in bed and it is only when Charlie pushes her aside to continue looking that she wakes up. When he tries to make an awkward escape and promises to send her an autographed copy of his album we learn that she doesn't give a damn about his band, or for him for that matter. It took some doing, but Charlie has finally managed to find a bigger addict than himself.
Back on the beach, Charlie has fashioned a sling for carrying the baby out of an old airplane blanket. It's ingenious -- and it works. Claire is sincerely grateful and kisses him on the cheek when Rousseau arrives out of the jungle in near hysterics. She needs Sayid -- right now! Charlie takes off to go and find him and as soon as he is gone, Rousseau becomes fixated on the baby. Claire notices the scratch marks on her arm and begins to remember something terrible -- she was the one who left the marks. "Why did I scratch you?" she asks, but it's already too late. Charlie has just found Sayid when they both hear someone screaming for help. They follow the sound to find Sun holding an unconscious Claire in her arms -- she's been knocked out. And the baby is gone. They have to go after her.
Back at the Black Rock, the team draws straws to decide who will carry the two packages of dynamite. And Locke and Kate are the "winners." Jack is not pleased that Kate will be carrying a bomb on her back.
Out on the raft, Jin and Michael test the radar system while Walt notices Sawyer reading all the messages from the bottle. "Who the hell is Hugo and how does he have 160 million dollars to leave his mom?"
Meanwhile Sayid and Charlie race toward the black smoke, stopping only to pick up the guns from the Halliburton case. When Charlie asks why they are running toward the black smoke, Sayid tells him that he thinks Rousseau is trying to deliver the baby to the Others -- in exchange for something, or someone else…
Claire and Sun arrive and Claire demands to go with them -- it's her baby that was taken! Charlie looks her in the eye and promises to bring back her baby. "Get him back, Charlie. Get Aaron back."
We FLASHBACK to Michael on the phone in the Sydney airport -- waiting to board the flight that will change his life forever. He is speaking to his mother. Pleading with her to take Walt off his hands. "What am I supposed to do with him? He's not supposed to be mine," he says. Michael's mother turns him down however and when Michael hangs up the phone he turns to see Walt standing there behind him. And Michael's heart sinks.
Back on the Raft, Michael looks at his son, considering just how far the two of them have come. He brings Walt back to the rudder and teaches him how to steer the raft. Using a small compass he teaches Walt how to navigate and allows him to steer the raft for a short while until BANG! -- The raft lurches left, they've hit something and, Oh my God, it's sheared the rudder off the mount. As it begins to float away, we see any chance of success literally floating away with it. Every second taking it further and further away.
Sawyer peels off his shirt and dives in the ocean swimming as fast as he can towards the rudder. When he finally reaches it, he turns to see the raft far behind him. Too far. Jin hands Michael a rope and they manage to get it to Sawyer, who then ties it around the rudder and Michael and Jin reel him in. Sawyer climbs back aboard the raft, exhausted. Michael and Jin thank him, but when Michael goes to hand him back his shirt, he notices the gun wrapped inside…and he isn't pleased.
Back at the Black Rock, the team is making ready to transport the dynamite to the hatch. Locke and Kate will carry the explosives in their packs while Hurley and Jack break the trail and keep a lookout for the monster. Or the Others. Or God knows what else…
Sayid and Charlie are moving towards the black smoke. Charlie is having a great deal of difficulty keeping the pace and when Sayid sees this he forces them to take a quick break at the site of the Beechcraft. Not knowing Charlie's past, Sayid points out the heroin hidden inside the statues and as he again moves off we see the struggle Charlie never thought he would face again wash over his face. How can he possibly resist all this?
The explosives team makes its way slowly and methodically through the jungle. Hurley asks Locke what he thinks is inside the hatch. "Hope," Locke says. "I think Hope's inside." And as they move on we hear the cry of an animal unlike any we have heard before. Hurley sums it up for all of us. "Whoever named this place 'Dark Territory,'" he says, "Genius." And as if on cue, the Monster bursts onto the scene. Jack, Kate and Hurley scatter, but Locke keeps his calm and stays put -- he has seen this beast before. But it soon becomes apparent even to Locke that this time is different and he is knocked to the ground at the Monster's feet. Jack looks back in time to see him cowering there on the jungle floor and he runs to his aid, but Locke is already up and running, The Monster hot on his heels. Jack runs after him and sees Locke being dragged away through the jungle by his feet. In a final push, he throws himself down in time to catch Locke's hands and gives everything he's got to slow him down. Just as Locke is going to be dragged down an enormous hole, Jack wedges his feet against the edge and it's now a tug of war for the fate of Locke. Kate arrives and Jack tells her to get the dynamite, but when she removes her pack he tells her that it is actually in his. No time to argue, Jack can't hold on much longer …"Hurry, Kate!" Locke tells them to let him go "I'll be okay," he says, but Jack isn't having it. He tells Kate to throw the dynamite down the hole and we wait a few seconds before a huge explosion rips through the jungle floor. Locke is released. For now…
Back on the raft, the sun is beginning to set. Michael finds the makeshift dictionary that Sun made for Michael and tries to communicate with Jin as they put the rudder back in place. And there is something else -- Michael takes the watch he found all those weeks ago and returns it to Jin. But Michael isn't the only one who has changed since then. And Jin gives it right back to him, the trouble between them finally in the past.
Back at the caves, Sun does her best to comfort Claire who is in agony over the loss of her baby. She tells Claire that Charlie will bring him back to her. "How do you know?" she asks Sun. "Because he said he would. Charlie will bring your baby back."
And we find Charlie resuming his mad dash through the jungle with Sayid when they see the baby wrapped in its blanket at the foot of a tree. "There," Charlie shouts and takes off running towards it, but Sayid tells him to wait. Charlie picks up the baby and pulls back the blanket to reveal a log. And picking it up has released a booby trap of rocks hanging in the tree canopy above him. By the time he looks up his head is split wide open by the falling rocks. Sayid sees him bleeding badly. He tells Charlie he'll have to go back, but we all know that's not going to happen. "You're a soldier, Sayid, what do you do when someone is wounded?" Sayid has an idea. And he pulls a bullet from his gun and removes the lead from the cartridge. He then pours the gunpowder in the open wound and strikes a match. "This is not going to be pleasant," he says. And from the pitch of Charlie's scream we know he is correct.
FLASHBACK to a hotel room. The sun is clearly up, but Hurley is very much unaware of this as he snores peacefully. Something causes him to open his eyes and when he checks the clock on the bedside table, it is blank. He goes to turn on the light, but nothing happens. There must have been a power outage. And by the time Hurley realizes what time it is he realizes that he is in very serious danger of missing his flight home. And he can't miss this flight -- his mother's birthday is tomorrow. Well, today, actually when you consider the whole time change thing and…well, forget it.
In a "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" series of mishaps that simply must be seen to be believed, Hurley finally manages to get to the gate just as they close the door for boarding. He pleads with the gate agent to let him on board and when she calls down to the plane Hurley has his answer: "This is your lucky day."
Back in the jungle, Hurley is repeating the numbers, those prophetic numbers over and over again in his head. When Kate overhears him repeating the number 23 she asks if the number has some special significance to him. But Hurley isn't ready to talk. "It's just a number," he says and they go to catch up with Jack and Locke.
And speaking of Jack and Locke, push is coming to shove. What starts as an argument about how they handled the situation at the Monster's hole turns into a much broader discussion. Locke tells Jack that he appreciates that Jack is a man of science, but that he himself is a man of faith. Locke believes that the island has all brought them here, every one of them for a reason, to take them down a certain path. And that path ends at the hatch. "All of it happened so that we could open the hatch," Locke says. Jack replies that they are opening the hatch so that they can survive. "I don't believe in destiny," Jack says. "Yes, you do," Locke replies. "You just don't know it yet."
Back on the raft, Michael and Sawyer argue about how often to check the radar screen. Sayid said every hour is the way to do it, but the battery could run out and they have no idea how long they are going to be out there. When Sawyer begins to question Michael's disciplining (or lack thereof) of his son, Michael learns that Sawyer's own father killed himself when he was eight years old. And them Michael makes a connection. There are only two reasons someone like Sawyer would want on a mission as crazy as this raft: "You're either a hero…or you want to die." And Sawyer's answer only confirms what Michael already knows. "I ain't no hero, Mike." And then, the radar BLEEPS. Michael and Sawyer can hardly believe their eyes, but as they look at the screen. It shows a contact, at 8 o'clock. Something…is out there.
FLASHBACK to the Sydney airport. Locke is waiting to be loaded onto the plane when the gate agent tells him the special wheelchair they use to get handicapped passengers on and off the plane is missing. They will have to carry him. And as the look of helpless frustration colors his face we CUT to the island… and this new version of Locke. Steady and confident, he leads the explosives team to the hatch. And Locke begins to direct the team on how to prepare the charges and the fuse.
Meanwhile, Sayid and Charlie have followed the smoke to a large fire burning on a yet unseen section of beach. They carefully make their way to the edge of the brush, guns in hand. But the fire on the beach is untended. There aren't even any footprints. Just as Charlie and Sayid wonder what is going on, they hear the baby crying from the jungle and they shout for Rousseau to come out. She does, crying, Aaron safe in her arms. She tells them that nobody was here when she arrived. All she wanted was to get her Alex back. She thought if she gave them the baby… Charlie has Aaron in his arms and accuses Rousseau of making the whole thing up. She tells them she is sure she heard them whispering. She is certain they said they were coming for the boy…
Back at the hatch, Locke and Jack share an uncomfortable moment finalizing the shape charges on the Hatch. When they finish, they go to the end of the fuse where Locke volunteers to light it, telling the others to take cover. He'll have enough time to get clear after lighting it. Jack calls Hurley over from where he was guarding the other dynamite and goes to take cover with Kate. She indicts him for taking the dynamite in his pack and Jack stands up for himself, saying everyone wants him to be a leader until he makes a decision that they disagree with. If she wants to continue second-guessing him that's fine, but if they get through this night alive, Jack says, "We're going to have a Locke problem."
Hurley makes his way back across the hatch on his way to where Jack and Kate are when he spots the numbers written on the hatch. And he freaks out. "Stop! We can't do it, the numbers are bad!" Jack Kate and Locke don't know how to react, but Hurley repeats his warning over and over. Locke hasn't come this far to stop now and he lights the fuse sending them down a path towards… the unknown. And when Hurley tries desperately to stamp out the fuse before it reaches the dynamite, it is all Jack can do to tackle him to safety before the charges go off and the night is pierced by the rocket of flame and the blast wave shakes the canopy violently in its wake.
Back on the raft, the radar continues to show the contact getting closer and closer to them. But wait a second… now it's moving further away. Sawyer is desperate to use the flare, but Michael is reluctant. How do they know it's not some piece of debris? They only have one flare! As the contact moves further and further away it becomes clear that this may be their only chance. Walt begs them to cry and Michael finally relents. "Please, God," he says as he fires the flare into the sky. And it's a few agonizing moments before we see the radar contact moving changing course and returning towards them once more. The entire crew begins to jump up and down in delight as their rescuers continue to close the distance towards them. Jin scans the horizon and turns to tell them to stop talking and listen. Very faint off in the distance is what sounds like a motor. We wait with the crew and hold our breath until a LIGHT goes on and floods the raft. It's official -- there is a boat coming to rescue them. It's all they can do to hold back the tears as the boat gets closer and closer, all of them knowing that the ordeal is finally over.
But it isn't.
The boat arrives and what starts as elation quickly turns to something else. Four men, man this small craft and they demand that they hand over Walt. "We're going to have to take the boy." Michael is confused at first, then worried. He tells them he's not handing over anybody. And as Sawyer slowly moves for the gun hidden in his waistband, it all goes very, very badly indeed.
One of the men in the boat pulls his gun -- and he's faster than Sawyer. Sawyer is shot and falls off the raft into the water. Jin jumps in after him. When Michael moves to help, one of the other men on the boat boards the raft and takes Walt, bringing him back on board the boat. Michael tries to stop them, but he too is knocked into the water. Another man on the boat throws something on the raft and before we know it, the whole thing explodes. As Michael drifts among the wreckage he can hear the screams of his son, pleading for him to come and save him as he is being pulled away into the darkness. And as Michael screams after him he is left to watch his son disappear.
Back at the caves, Claire waits uncomfortably with the rest of the castaways when something extraordinary happens. Sayid and Charlie return…and Charlie is carrying baby Aaron in his arms. Claire is overwhelmed with relief and joy as the rest of the camp rallies around the two of them. And as they revel in this victory, Sayid moves off to wash away his dirt in the nearby stream. Shannon finds him there and throws herself into his arms, no longer upset with him, just relieved to have him back. They share an honest embrace as we switch back to Charlie who is sitting next to Claire and the baby and tending as best he can to his head wound. In his pack, the head of one of the statues from the plane is just visible. Oh. No.
We FLASHBACK to the plane, as Oceanic Flight 815 continues to board. We see a very pregnant Claire making her way down the aisle. Kate being led to her seat by the Marshal, her handcuffs discreetly hidden by a coat over her arms. A dejected Sawyer trying to find his seat, and wondering where to go now. A heartbroken Locke sitting in his seat, mourning the loss of his dream to complete his walkabout while Jack, oblivious to this man places his carry on in the compartment above him. A strung-out Charlie struggles to fit his guitar into one of the storage compartments as Sayid takes his seat and bears the scorn that all Arab men must suffer in the form of looks of mistrust by the other passengers. Jin checks the watch in his carry on, no longer confused about his position with Sun's father. Wanting nothing more than to be with his wife who, although she sits in the seat directly next to his, could not be further away. Michael fastens the seatbelt for a son he doesn't know…and doesn't know if he can raise. The Marshal reattaches Kate's handcuffs to her seat, as she ponders her fate and how she wound up in this position. Sayid takes a picture of Nadia from his pocket and dreams of being able to see her again at the end of this flight. Shannon nervously digs through her bag looking for something when her brother Boone hands her an asthma inhaler, which she gratefully accepts. An exhausted and sweaty Hurley makes his way down the aisle awash with relief at making his flight. And on and on they go, each of our castaways crossing paths with the other, blissfully unaware of what will happen a few hours from now and how completely they will be forced to rely upon each other.
And back at the hatch, Locke, Jack Kate and Hurley emerge from the jungle to inspect the results. The scattered wreckage and acrid smoke give way to the warped metal of the hatch itself. Jack and Locke pull the door aside and finally reveal what is inside. And as they hold the torches over the opening and look down into the hole what they see is…
Utterly and completely beyond their belief.
To be continued…