This is the first episode to feature flashbacks for characters that aren't full time series regulars. Viewed on its own, this episode is pretty much fine-the actors do a good job, the musical score is nice, and the ending is quite good. When it's put into its place in the season, however, it suddenly loses quite a lot of its shine. For the second episode in a row the ongoing plot is advanced very little, and it's actually advanced less in this episode-at least the Fenry subplot of last episode appeared for more than a couple of minutes. For the first time since his appearance, Fenry has only one line of dialogue, and appears on screen for less than two minutes.
The main plot of the episode involves Rose and Bernard, though, and we'll get to Fenry later. L. Scott Caldwell is once again a joy to watch onscreen, and no matter how bad things get on that island, as long as Rose is still there I would feel safe. She gets to show some emotional depth in this episode, though, as Bernard decides to build a massive S.O.S. signal on the beach. The main plot ties directly into the flashbacks, as both characters act in the same way we see them acting months previously. Bernard, as he says, has to try. When he sees that the Losties are building dining room tables and churches (Eko's mystery project finally revealed), he decides that people have gotten too accustomed to life on the island, and for good reason. We've seen everybody else, and how their past lives have sucked miserably. Aside from maybe Ana-Lucia, who still has the Others hanging on her head because of what she's done, Bernard is the only person who really doesn't seem comfortable on the island. We've seen him be rather irritable, the direct opposite of his wife, who hasn't lost her cool the entire series thus far. Therefore, he's going to build a signal, and he's going to use as many Redshirts to help him as he can. Rose, though, wants to let things be, something consistent with her.
I always find the sequences around the signal to be somewhat humorous, as every time we see the beach there are less people there. This episode is a great trivia one, though, as it gives us names of four more castaways-Richard, Jerome, Craig, and Neil the frogurt guy. None of them last long, though. Claire leaves rather quickly, and Hurley and Libby disappear after a bit (their relationship is developing, however). Jin is the last one who's there, and his decision to leave is completely hysterical. He's speaking Korean, but it's still clear what he's saying-"You want to do it on your own?! Fine, go ahead!" Jin is more concerned with his wife, who is now pregnant, if you recall. The final scenes between Rose and Bernard are quite moving, and excellently played by both actors. It's not often on television that you see a couple that's older and married. Most couples are either young and dating/engaged, or they're married, but still not over the age of forty. Rose and Bernard are an elderly couple compared to everyone else on the island, yet the drama between the two of them is just as relevant as the drama between Jack and Kate.
The flashbacks are different from the other flashbacks, in that they cover a great deal of time very shortly. This has to happen because there really can't be follow-up flashbacks to these. L. Scott Caldwell and Sam Anderson aren't under a season-long contract, so the producers can't turn the flashback camera on them once or twice a season. Therefore, this episode goes from when the two first meet all the way up until they board the plane-if the characters were series regulars, the last couple of flashbacks probably would have been shown in the Season 1 finale. The flashbacks are nice, though, in that they present a crisis for both characters. Bernard finds out that his wife is dying of cancer, and decides that he has to do something. Therefore, he spends $10,000 to get his wife in to see a faith healer. Rose's "I didn't ask for this!" is the first time we see her raise her voice, and it makes quite an impact. Then, when Isaac says that he can't heal Rose and that her "place" is somewhere else (the island), she has to make a decision. Ultimately, she makes the right one. She tells Bernard everything worked out fine, so that they can enjoy the time they have left. She's healed on the island though, and the comparison between her and Locke is great. I love the scene between the two of them by the ocean. Roes encourages Locke to go back to the hatch and try and see if he can renew his faith. Rose has gotten new faith since arriving on the island-she's healed, and she knows Locke is too.
Locke, meanwhile, is having a crisis of faith. His belief in the button has shattered, and he's barely pressing it now. He tries to do away with the hatch completely, but can't bring himself to do it. He doesn't allow it to become his hatch again anymore though-he says to Ana-Lucia, "It's not my button." He freaks out at the armory door when Fenry won't give a definitive answer on whether he pushed the button or not, and almost loses his faith completely. By the end of the episode, though, he's recovered some of it-he redrew the blast door map right (although very sketchily), and maybe he'll be able to recover. That takes place in the music montage at the end of the episode, which can be annoying and sappy for some people, but I like having things resolved nicely, and a happy ending. Therefore, seeing everyone together, and Sawyer feeding Vincent his dinner, is something I enjoy. The song that plays is well chosen, and the way Michael Giacchino ends the scene, with his own music, is also really good.
The last subplot of the episode involves Jack and Kate. Jack decides to go out to the line in the jungle and demand that the Others trade Walt for Fenry. All I can say is, it's about time someone other than Michael did something about Walt! The kid's been missing for nearly three weeks, and Michael disappeared trying to find him. Neither were mentioned again. Therefore, Jack suddenly doing something about it is a nice change of pace. Normally I'd have a problem with Kate being all mushy-gushy over Jack, and especially the net scene, but the rest of the scenes are good enough to balance it out. The net seems to have been put in there only for the Jack-Kate shippers, but the rest of the scenes have little, if any, romantic moments. The scene when Kate tells Jack about her and Claire's adventure is excellently played by Evangeline Lilly, and Matthew Fox's yelling while at the line is brilliant. The camera work is also great here, as it just circles around Jack's head again and again, all while the rain continues to pour down. It's a great image, and probably my favorite moment of the episode. Of course, the sequence is remembered for the end-after Kate basically says, "I don't like you," and Jack basically says, "I like you, though," they hear noises, and Michael stumbles out of the jungle, half-conscious. It's a great way to end the episode.
Overall, the episode doesn't really do anything wrong. It just suffers from poor timing. Frankly, the only thing that will have more than subtle importance to the remaining four episodes of the season is Michael's return. I think if this episode had been shown earlier in the season (with changes, of course) it would have worked fine, but its placement here just slows down the pace that had come up so brilliantly in Lockdown, just like the previous episode did.