Season 3 Episode 16

One of Us

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Apr 11, 2007 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (130)

out of 10
1,551 votes
  • Big stepping stone setting up the final 5 episodes.

    While the "mini-season" started off uneven (or disastrous by myopic viewers), Juliet was consistently the most intriguing element of it. They even wisely started this successful leg of the season with her story, setting up how Mittelos recruited her to go "not quite [to] Portland". Now as the rescue phase of the season ends, it's fitting to turn to her again, which exposes a lot about who The Others are and what ramifications that'll have on the castaways.

    Elizabeth Mitchell delivers another great performance (the Emmys are for losers) as Juliet, showcasing even more shades of her character than we saw in her first flashback. The first episode showed her from a mousy, insecure, yet brilliant scientist in Miami to a determined, collected, and still brilliant woman on the island. What this episode does is bridge the gap and explain how exactly Juliet became the woman she is.

    Juliet had always wanted validation, but was continually placed under the thumb of people who can easily control her. This condition may still exist, at least with her relationship with Ben. Even free of her husband's control, she found herself buying into Mittelos' plans; this time their encouragement was the form of control.

    The two people who influenced Juliet the most were Ben and her sister Rachel. Juliet wanted to be with her sister in her recovery, as it is presumed little time passed between Rachel telling Juliet of her pregnancy to Juliet going to Herarat Aviation (anagram: The Ovarian Tiara, if that means anything). Unfortunately, that conflicted with her "opportunity" with Mittelos, and resulted in a decision that has greatly affected her motivations as her time on the island has gone on. Juliet's decisions are motivated heavily to appease those who brought her to the island in hopes that they'll bring her home.

    Thankfully, they didn't go the expected route and have Juliet and Ben be romantically involved, but rather had their history be related to Juliet's desire to leave the island and Ben's inability to let her. As the six month stay turned into three years, she has grown angry and resentful over Ben keeping her on the island forever. The revelation of Ben's tumor casts doubt over whether Rachel was ever healed, which Juliet seemed confident would happen with Ben's mentioning of Jacob.

    Alpert's video documentation of a living Rachel playing with her son Julian shows considerable premeditation on apart of Ben to convince Juliet that he was genuine and his tumor isn't a sign of weakness of Jacob's. Considering the time frame between their fight with the x-rays to the crash, this only intensifies the power or its perception. Ben said in "Exposé" that one of his keys in manipulation is using something someone values for his own needs, and Rachel is that for Juliet.

    Old scenes are spliced into the episode excellently, and are not just mere rehashes to fill time. The prologue from the premiere is reintroduced and is given a new context and added depth. While "This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody)" by Talking Heads would've been a better fit for the show and her situation (this is something my nerd heart can't get over), Juliet listening to one of the few contacts she has with her sister, who she assumes after her confrontation with Ben has died and will never see again, is far more interesting than her jilted by an ex-lover.

    Before Juliet's arrival on the island, more information is given as to Mittelos' functions. Juliet's assertion that none of her peers have heard of this group is fitting to the mystery of The Others. Mittelos likely shells out a lot of money to keep this operation quiet. Their presumed involvement with the bus crash killing Juliet's ex-husband showed the power The Others wield in the outside world, and their secrecy shows they are capable of much more.

    It's reinforced shortly after the plane crash, when Ben contacts Mikhail for the next phase of their operation: gathering intel on all 324 people on the flight (although only a fraction survived). To get as thorough a job as The Others have on finding out everything about the castaways, they need more than a reliable search engine to do so. It's possible that they are in some way a competitor to The Hanso Foundation, the group responsible for Dharma.

    This episode is the first one that gives some hint to what The Others' mission is. One major problem people have had, particularly those first six episodes, is that the only explanation for The Others' behavior is that they're antagonistic for the sake of antagonism. Now we see that part of their mission is to create life on the island, which seems to make the growing baby some kind of virulent agent, destroying the mother.

    The island killing pregnant women is an interesting concept. There were hints in "Not In Portland", with the 26-year-old woman's deteriorated uterus. Does the island not want human life on it and will consciously destroy any woman who comes close? It could be added that The Monster is the muscle to take care of those already born. This explains a major mystery lingering from midway through the first season: why they wanted Claire. Claire gave birth without incident and the only problem that arose besides the implant was Aaron's bizarre rash in "Maternity Leave" (perhaps there is more to that).

    One big factor is the conditions of Claire's pregnancy. Unlike Sabine and the other unnamed female Others, she conceived her baby off the island. This could explain why Alex and Rousseau didn't die because of the latter's pregnancy. This also brings up major questions about Ben's parentage, since we haven't seen either of his parents, and he claims to have been on the island his whole life.

    It does explain why they would want Kate and Sawyer to have sex and all the contrived ways to get them together. The Others must've ran out of willing females to try to carry a baby to term, so why would they care if a woman on the other side, one not on "the list", died? The Others would be willing to place her in harm's way if it could provide an answer to the fertility problem.

    Juliet's major motivation has been to get off the island to be with her sister again. Despite losing the submarine, she still has plenty of reason to believe that Ben has the capability to achieve that goal, whereas the castaways don't have any plan, spending more time hoping something or someone will come along to help them. However, Juliet has been mislead as to when she can leave the island before, which adds a tinge of uncertainty of which side she'll align with.

    The con Ben orchestrates for Juliet is remarkable. Since the beginning of the season, Juliet has been coaxing Jack to side with her. With the primary leader of the castaways won over, she took to the only member of the rescue team who could possibly sympathize with her who wasn't going with The Others. Now on the main camp, she has to win over the hearts and minds of the main group, who are wary of having one of the enemy come over to their side. So, what would be better than as Ben puts it, for Juliet to solve a "big crisis" involving the new mother?

    Implanting something in Claire to make her sick when she was abducted for a plan almost two and a half months later shows an astonishing amount of preplanning for The Others, even if the writers didn't think about that development way back in episode ten. It is a big step to swallow, but perhaps once we learn what Ben has in store a week from that final flashback, which should only be a few days ahead, it'll make sense.

    The success of the con and what its end game will be could drastically alter Jack's status as leader of the group. Being gone for three weeks and Sawyer stepping up following Hurley's advice, in addition to Sawyer not being one to relinquish power easily, adds to that. There is a clear rift between Jack and the other leaders, like Sawyer and Sayid. Both men have enough reason to distrust anyone from The Others and they're likely to gain some followers.

    One surprising thing is that no one calls Jack out for swaying his decision to protect Juliet based on his obvious feelings for her. Considering the heightened emphasis on romantic relationships between the lead characters, along with Sayid's ability to read characters and his desire to punish The Others, it seems remarkable no one would mention it while they were scrambling to save Claire.

    While Juliet saving Claire appears to have given her some leeway with the rest of the group, some members staunchly opposed to The Others, like Sawyer and Sayid, are bonding under their mutual enemy. Since Juliet isn't going to win them over as quick as the rest, she shows she's willing to step up for herself and call out the two for their past crimes. What happened in Basra is a likely story for Sayid in the future (added to his war hero father), as it could be on par with Sawyer killing a man in "Outlaws".

    Juliet's arrival and revelations could place the castaways in serious danger. However, the two who seem most likely targets are Sun and Charlie. Sun is in harm's way for being pregnant. In a twisted way, we're now inclined to want Jin not to be the father. Charlie's in peril because of Hurley's slip about what happened to Ethan. Juliet is smart enough to read between the lines, but what is she going to do with that information? If she is playing for The Others, the identity of their prized surgeon would make up for a lot of bad blood.

    He may not be in danger, but Juliet's arrival on the beach introduces a new dynamic to Desmond's storyline. He wasn't on the flight and therefore Mikhail wouldn't have researched him. However, in "Exposé" The Others monitored The Swan when the castaways inhabited it, which could imply that they watched him long before the castaways blew open the hatch door. This offers a plethora of questions, like were they somehow orchestrating events to get them into that hatch, so they could monitor the castaways better and hatch a plan to get Jack, or even allow the button not to be pushed? The closest piece of evidence to that is Locke and Boone's discovery of the hatch occurred shortly after Ethan took Claire and almost killed Charlie.

    The title of this episode recalls last seasons' "One of Them", where Ben was captured and brought to the Swan. Both moments were pivotal points in the seasonal arc. Ben's arrival to The Swan rejuvenated the second season, and provided many of its best moments. Juliet coming back to the beach protected by long missing leader Jack is going to produce a lot of sparks amongst the rest of the cast, as seen during the camp meeting the night she came in (something you'd think would happen more often).

    This episode is an effective start of the final phase of the season, offering us a lot of answers while setting up a lot of mysteries for the final leg. While it may not have explained as much about The Others as some wanted, it explains enough to add context and explanation behind some of their actions.
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