Episodes focusing on Sayid have always featured a sense of dread and paranoia. Nothing is what it seems and the audience is hesitant, much like Sayid, to make too much out of good fortune. Sayid's departure from the island provides us with some of the widest shot footage of the island to date. It is, in every sense of the word, a "big picture" moment for the series. Yet, Sayid is leaving the island, at least in part, to undertake the mission of investigating the freighter and the people on it for Jack and the other survivors. His plan is intelligent to the extent that it gets him off the island. To the extent that now that he is off, he has no viable means of communicating with anyone on the island. And judging by the flawhforwards of Jack and Hurley and the Desmond's comments in the season 2 finale, Sayid is not likely to return to the island in the present. One of the highlights of this episode feature 3 of the best manipulators on the island - Sayid, Locke and Ben. Sitting in a room together for a few moments, a lot happened. Sayid appealed to Locke's logic and his interests. Ben planted a foundation for Sayid's future betrayal. It also begs a lot of questions. What did Locke receive in exchange for Charlotte? Miles was already Locke's captive. Whatever else Locke received, does Ben know about it? Did Ben and Sayid's future relationship begin in this room? This brings us to the biggest question from this episode - what does Ben hope to accomplish in the flash forward? He makes the statement that Sayid wants to protect his friends. This seems consistent with Hurley refusing to talk to Abbadon in the premiere; the Oceanic 6 are lying to protect their "friends" who remain on the island. Until this episode, the audience was left to wonder who was left to warrant protecting and why were the likes of Jack and Hurley protecting them? Now there is a major new wrinkle to those questions - what is Ben's interest in protecting them? Ben's interest may be in protecting the island as a whole. Perhaps he is acting on new orders from Jacob or even Locke. But at first glance, it does not seem consistent with his immediate present conflict with Locke.
The other highlight of the episode is the Sawyer/Kate scene in the bedroom in which many have submitted that he "proposed." Sawyer has definitely come along since "The Brig." He recognizes that his future on the island is brighter than his future off it. He is still in a dark place but now sees hope. He also sees that this is even more obvious for Kate than himself. This is not so obvious to Kate for some reason. His gesture of awakening her to this is a call to who he sees as his soul mate. Kate's eventual departure from the island tells us that either she was an idiot or she made a very logical calculated decision. Despite some of Kate's tendencies, the second option is most likely. If she learns that she is pregnant with Sawyer's child, she likely chooses to leave at the last minute but Sawyer does not find out until it is too late to stop her. This explains her vehemence in refusing future Jack's assertions that they have to go back. If the Oceanic 6 are truly protecting those that are still on the island, it seems that Jack will be the one who is most reckless in endangering them and that Kate is the most reluctant. If she knows she is protecting Sawyer, she is likely to be content at punishing herself and protecting Sawyer. This episode confused some of the plotlines that seemed to be coming together after "Through the Looking Glass" "The Beginning of the End" and "Confirmed Dead." But this is a welcome confusion at this stage of the game since we are just over halfway through the overall narrative.