Since the series began, Charlie has been flitting about somewhat aimlessly, trying to talk to people, hoping to be recognized for the rock god he thinks he is, while slowly going through an enforced detox. Throughout the episode, he looks haggard, with the hood of his shirt making him look like some scraggly hermit, isolated from the rest of the world. There is some appropriateness to this, because, as we see in the first (very amusing) flashback, Charlie was a religious man before he became a rock star. Now we get a sense about what Charlie's life was like, pre-crash. Drive Shaft was founded by him and his older brother. The front man had no talent, got into fights and did a lot of drinking, whoring, and snorting, while the bass player, stayed in the background, tried to hold the band together, and looked after his brother. Unfortunately, in the process, he became addicted to heroin. Worse, his brother got clean, started a family, and was able to let go of the music. Charlie wasn't, and his brother was not able to understand or even sympathize with his fate. Charlie came to Sydney hoping to get the band back together, claiming that his brother owed him. Liam's offers to help his brother out seem half-hearted, perhaps because he doesn't want to get that close to the flame that nearly burned him alive.
Now, on the island, Charlie's moral crisis is mirrored by a more immediate one. Charlie is still trying to help, probably more to distract himself than anything else, but all he does is get in the way. This leads to him causing a rockslide that traps and pins Jack. Simultaneously, Charlie is begging Locke to give him his stash back. In a very biblical way, Locke tells Charlie that he will return the drugs if he asks for it three times (shades of St. Peter) The second time he asks for it, Locke shows him a cocoon and using the (somewhat labored) metaphor of a moth emerging from it to tell him what he needs to do. This leads to Charlie eventually crawling his way inside an opening in order o rescue Jack. And it is seeing another moth that enables him to save both Jack and himself, bringing him closer to redemption. What Locke's neglects to mention that moths are attracted to flame, and, as we see in the flashback, Charlie has a self-destructive streak in him.
There's quite a bit going on beside this. As was clear in the last episode, the castaways are divided into those who go to the caves, and those who stay on the beach. Joining Jack, Locke and Charlie are Hurley, Sun and Jin. Remaining on the beach are Sayid, Kate, Sawyer, Walt and Michael, Shannon and Boone, and Claire. (Again, we see very little of her in this episode) Because of the need for water, there will be a lot of traffic, and there will some fluctuation in the episodes to come. Sayed, with the assistance of Kate and Boone, has not given up the hope of rescue. He is now trying to track the Frenchwoman's signal back to its power source, with the use of the transceiver, newly constructed antenna, and bottle rockets. (MacGyver, eat your heart out.) This process is aided and hindered by the ever slimy Sawyer. Sawyer by now has become a scavenger-packrat, controlling all of the supplies he harvested from the fuselage a few days ago. When Syed needs the battery from a laptop computer, Kate has to go to him to get it, and he seems to enjoy making everyone squirm. A triangle is beginning to form between him, Kate and Jack, and because he knows he's always going to be low man on that totem pole, he loves to screw with their heads. This is clear, when Sawyer goes after Kate intending to tell her about what has happened to Jack, but her scorn causes him to hold back. He only tells her when it is at its greatest level of inconvenience for everybody. When the rockets are fired, and the antenna starts to work, someone knocks Syed unconscious, the automatic assumption is that he did it. Considering where he was in relation to Syed, this seems very unlikely, but we think it regardless. However, we're going to learn soon that there are an even greater number of suspects than we'd think.
Furthermore, even though Jack and Kate have a pretty tense scene in the episode's beside, the minute Sawyer tells her what's befallen Jack, she starts tearing ass back to help him. She does the same at the cave in, even though there's a good chance that she's making it worse for him
Some of the other characters are starting to come more into focus. Locke is now taking a position as the island disciple. He knows what will happen when he withholds the drug, and he does so anyway, knowing the frenzied state. Furthermore, while everybody on the beach seems to head over to the caves to help get Jack out, Locke shows no interest in leaving the boar he is curing. Why? Does he somehow know that this is the island testing Charlie? Then, why doesn't he show up at anytime to either offer assistance or see how Charlie's doing? Maybe this is another example of his faith.
Michael now does the first really constructive thing other than watch Walt since he got here, in lending his assistance in construction to find safe passage into the hole, as well as organizing a system to get Jack out. This skill will become critical to the castaways as Season 1 progresses.
The other characters are very vaguely shaded. Boone seems to be back to trying to help out without helping. He intends to help Kate and Syed, but when he learns of the cave in, he runs off, giving instructions to Shannon (who doesn't seem anymore reliable than she does when they crashes a week ago) to finish his project. He doesn't help a great deal when it comes to freeing Jack. Ultimately, Boone seems rudderless, looking for someone to lead him. His sister doesn't seem much for trustworthy, only half-listening to Boone's instruction, and not exactly being alert when the rockets go up. (Frankly, I'm amazed the thing came off at all. Sun and Jin are trying to settle in, but he still seems to controlling, and far too worked up about how his wife is dressed.
Though 'The Moth' is an interesting episode, it doesn't reach the same high standards that have been set by the previous six episodes The writers seemed to make Charlie's character a bit weaker than some of the others, especially in the early going. Dominic Monaghan is a fine actor, but Charlie always seems like he's having trouble fitting into his skin. This episode is also less about the mysteries, and more about simple survival, which is compelling but is somewhat less than what we've come to expect. However, bigger and better stories are about to come.