One would hope that by getting another flashback on Juliet's life, we might finally get some damn answers as to what the hell the Others are up to. In 'One of Us', we get some answers as well as some from Juliet, but by the end of the episode we're so turned around, we're not sure what to believe--- not unlike the Lostaways and Juliet herself. But step by step.
Following 'Not in Portland', Juliet joined Mittelos Bioscience even though she knew nothing about it. One wonders why such a careful person as Juliet would leave her pregnant sister, even for six months. But even though she came to the island voluntarily, it's not long before she wants to leave. She is a groundbreaking fertility specialist, and the people on the island have a big problem--- none of the Others can carry a child to term without dying. And despite all of her research, there was nothing that she could do to stop it. But when she tried to leave, Ben emotionally blackmailed her by telling her that her sister got cancer, and that 'Jacob' could cure her. Now that we know a bit more about Ben, there's a very good chance he was talking out of his ass, but it was enough to buy Juliet's acceptance. Then three years passed, and Ben developed a tumor on his spine--- which went again the idea that no one on this island got cancer. Juliet tried to use it as a way off the island, but Ben managed to show he'd cured her--- without even leaving the island. But he kept Juliet focused on the fertility issues, and he kept her on the island.
Now it seems that the Others have cast her aside, but no one is as willing as Jack to just forgive or forget. Sayid starts the questioning early before the group makes it back to camp, demanding answer. Juliet looks him right in the eye, and says that if she told him everything, he would kill her. Her admission completely throws him. One can still imagine that he would press the matter if Jack wasn't in her corner.
But the real trouble begins when they make it back to camp. The survivors have seemed rudderless since Jack was kidnapped, and now with the season nearly two-thirds over, they seem overjoyed--- until Juliet walks out behind Kate and Sayid. Now think about it. The man who has effectively been leading your neck of civilization for 84 days returns, bringing back someone that is part of the kidnapping, torturing, imprisoning, and killing Others--- and tells them she's not to be touch. Jack's leadership has always been very shaky, but it very quickly seems like there's going to be a mutiny. (Everyone's so astounded by this that no one thinks to ask what has happened to Locke, the man who went out looking for them, until hours later But then considering that he blew up their way off the island, he might be even less welcome than Juliet.) Everyone is very hostile. Even mellow Hurley--- who seems somewhat ashamed that he's been recruited for guard duty--- seems somewhat disquieted. He treats her nicely enough, but then finishes by mentioning that they killed Ethan and buried him away from the rest of the survivors. Heavy, for that guy.
Then a new crisis emerges Claire comes down with a serious ailment, and seems to be near death. Juliet then spins a tale about what Ethan did to Claire when she was still pregnant--- which means some of what happened during Claire's flashback in 'Maternity Leave' was real. It doesn't explain why Alex was trying to save her, but maybe she was even less of an Other than Juliet. Juliet then leaves to get medical supplies, and again is corner--- this time by Sayid and Sawyer. She then manages to shame them by throwing the fact that they are ethically have the lowest morals pre-island, which seems to shame done, but still doesn't seem to justify what she and the Others might be doing. She saves Claire, and that's enough for her to win a grudging acceptance, but a lot of them are still suspicious.
What's equally odd is how willing Jack seems to be to protect her, and doesn't even seem to want answers to the questions that everyone else is asking. He tells Juliet that the reason he trusts her is because when the sub exploded he saw how badly she wanted to get off the island, which is interesting, considering how a lot of the people on the beach seem less focused on leaving the island. The doubts about Jack are being planted as well, and we wonder if he's worthy of the trust that he's lost.
And as we find out in the final flashback, they have every right to be. Juliet is working in concert with Ben yet again, though it's impossible to imagine why, less than 24 hours after she was supposed to leave the island, she would so willingly agree to fall back into line. This leads me to believe, again, that there's yet another way to get off the island, and somehow she might have been promised. It's a shocking twist, because up until now, we've kind of been on her side, and now we realize she's just as accomplished a liar as Ben is. (He'd be so proud--- if he didn't know that this was going to come back to bite him soon.)
We do learn some interesting things as an added bonus. For one thing, Mikhail was involved with the Other, and the satellites did work, and he knew about the plane and everyone on it--- it also explains how he seemed to know so much about Sayid, Kate and Locke when they came to the Flame station.. Equally important we learn that the man with the jet black eyebrows who recruited Juliet's full name is Richard Alpert. That was the name of a cohort of Timothy Leary, who studied the effects of mind-altering drugs on human beings and was a follower of eastern philosophy and... dharma. (Anyone else get a chill?) He clearly has Ben's trust because he seems to operate between the island and the mainland, but considering how reluctant Ben is to let anyone else leave, is it possible that Richard knows far more about this island than he is willing to reveal? And we also learn that Juliet was having an affair with Goodwin, the man we saw Ana Lucia kill in Season 2. We won't understand the full ramifications of that until later.
Despite everything Jack says, Juliet knows that she is alone. The reading of Jack's tattoo about walking among us, but not one of us could equally refer to Juliet, either with the Others or not. We still don't know what side she's chosen, but maybe she doesn't have one. Which makes her a real risk to both.