Nikki and Paolo are dead. I'm nearly sure of this, though the burial site was a bit away from the main beach action and we didn't see Vincent at all in this episode, unless I missed him, and my Vincent radar was tuned so high this week I don't think that was likely. Anyway, my point is, I suppose it's ever so slightly possible Vincent was off digging up Nikki while nobody was paying attention. But if they totally buried those two, I don't see how even a hearty Labrador could get her out in time to make any difference. And given Damon Lindelof's press release, it seems apparent it's curtains for those two, though if it was just done as a concession to fans, I find it frustrating; why can't people just trust that the writers know what they're doing? Why is everyone so darned impatient? Are they in a hurry for this show to be over?
Euphoric visions of Vincent flashbacks aside, my money was on a Kate flashback this week, given the previews with her and Juliet. Been longer since we got a Kate flashback - slightly - and we care more about her. Very interesting, having her meet up with Cassidy. It's girl bonding week; in the flashback, they're united by Sawyer, though not yet, while in the present, they're united by Jack. I didn't notice the first time that Kate's mom was Sabrina's aunt. This time it jumped out at me. I was angry with her for turning in her own daughter, who was trying to save her. But then she didn't want to be saved, and neither did Jack, and the point is apparently that Kate needs to learn when to just walk away. Sometimes "no" means "no". Both of her rescues backfired horribly, bringing misery not only to herself but to the people she was trying to save. It's hard to fault her too much, since her intentions are noble, but I can't help but be a little frustrated with her. (Incidentally, I find it interesting that, as in The Saint, she appropriates saints' names for herself, thanks to her religious upbringing. I don't recall her mentioning her Christian background before.)
Kate and Juliet don't like each other much. Big surprise. And if Juliet was planning to play nice before the whole gas-and-run incident, Kate went and wrecked it by shattering her pretty sandwich. Oh, yeah, and trying to knock Juliet out. That went well. Juliet is still a bit of a wild card; she seems like she's on the outs with the Others at this point, but could she have been planted? Was she really afraid of being all alone? She seemed pretty scared throughout the episode, but it's hard to tell when Others are acting. Kate, meanwhile, was heartbroken when she realized that this whole thing was her fault - her fault for shacking up with Sawyer, her fault for coming back to get Jack. Of course, it's a lot of other people's fault too, people who actually were consciously trying to hurt Jack. She wasn't, but she might have guessed he'd find out about her and Sawyer. Not that she and Jack were at the peak of their relationship when they got abducted by the Others anyway. Her remorse in the moment when she realized Jack knew about her little sleepover and later when she actually talked to him again was so overwhelming whatever frustrations I felt with her choices mostly melted away. I think Juliet is all right, just not as likable as Kate, and she sure was cold in most of their interactions. Like the way she told Kate about the cameras and about her extensive knowledge of Jack's life. And what is up with the Smoke Monster and the force field?
Just as compelling: What is up with Locke?? Can we say ominous? It's nice that he tried to defend Kate. It's nice that he came back to say goodbye. But where was he going? Why was he going? Are he and Ben the best of buddies now that he went and blew up his sub? What's the deal with his dad? Welcome to the world of "What the heck's going on?" I do not want the show trying to cheat me out of one of my favorite characters. Locke is one of the good guys. He is. But what does that mean? Sayid certainly didn't have much to do in this episode, except to say, "No way are we bringing her along!" And for Jack to say, "Oh, yes, we are!" And guess what, Sayid? In case you forgot, you just rescued boss-man. So you got John off your back, but now you've got Jack to contend with.
did not refer to Vincent, nor to Nikki and Paolo. It referred to those abandoned by the others, especially Kate and Juliet. And those abandoned by people who cared for them, meaning Kate and Cassidy. And the threat of being abandoned by the rest of the group for Sawyer, in by far my favorite part of the episode. But then I always do tend to like the beach stuff better.
How lovable was Sawyer here? He spent most of the episode totally bewildered, not wanting to admit that he relies upon other people to survive and certainly not that he likes being liked. I felt so bad for him, shooting Sun several tentative smiles and being crushed as she shut him down. It wasn't just about not wanting to get voted off the beach. Sawyer really does like Sun and Jin and he doesn't want to lose their friendship. Sun will forgive him. I'm sure of it. If just will take a little time. Anyway, his attempts to gut a fish were utterly pathetic (not that I could do any better). His awkward conversation with Claire was one of the most hilarious scenes I have witnessed in the show's history. Maybe my overall loopiness this week had something to do with it. But I was in gales of laughter as he tried to make small talk with her over the very vocal objections of Aaron and then lamely, evidently so as not to appear too generous, explained his gift away with, "I don't really like blankets."
And then there was his chat with the reclusive Dez, who didn't exactly object to his companionship but wanted to know his "angle". He doesn't miss a trick! And anyway, maybe he should have objected, with all the racket Sawyer was making. It seemed like people were lauding Sawyer for the boar, but did I miss something? It was Dezzy who shot it, right, the old eagle-eye? And you would think he would've done all the cooking and such too, but maybe he took Sawyer under his wing and showed him how things were done. And once the pig is skinned, I guess it's just barbecue so even lazy ol' Sawyer can handle that. Charlie was around even less than Dez, but darned if he didn't wind up with one of the best moments in the episode, when it suddenly becomes clear to Sawyer that he's been had. His incredulity is absolutely priceless. "That's gotta be about the lamest con in history!" I really studied Josh Holloway's face in this episode. His expressions were so marvelous he didn't even need to talk - but of course his talking was terrific too! It will be nice to have that week over with, though... I can't help it, I miss the nicknames!
Hurley... Hurley... Hurley...
Pure joy. That's all I can say. He is absolutely brilliant, beating Sawyer at his own game, tricking him into endearing himself to the rest of the group, to taking a more active role in the beach affairs, to admitting that he stands out as the de facto leader, whether he wants the job or not. (And it seems like after hearing Hurley out, Sawyer is actually willing to give it his best shot; it's sort of a shame Jack will be relieving him of his duties so quickly.) Hurley's so helpful, so funny, so wise, so absolutely decent... Gosh, I felt like I would burst for the love of him. I guess it's clear now he's won out over Charlie - but I'll always love you, Dom! Anyway, I seriously was giddy throughout nearly every beach scene in this episode, and then when Hurley got all serious on Sawyer it was like Gandalf's pep talk to Frodo in the depths of Moria, and it was so perfect... And then that deliriously happy barbecue scene with the lilting Hawaiian music and everyone, even dour Dezzy, smiling, just a moment of blissful serenity of the very rare sort. I can only recall maybe four or five scenes like this in the whole series. It's a perfect moment. Which probably means it's the calm before the storm, as Hurley somewhat suggests, this time recalling Gandalf's words to Pippin. Hmmm, can he be Gandalf and Sam all at once? Is that allowed? With Locke gone, I guess he can act as the resident helpful advisor. And Hurley never has an agenda like Locke sometimes does. He just wants everybody to get along. He just wants peace and brotherhood. Hurley is my hero.
Um. So yeah, between Hurley and Sawyer, the beach pretty much crowded out whatever else was happening in the episode for me, even though it was the B-plotline. I'm all for a bit of mystery, but I'm much more interested in character development. I'm a little worried about where Locke is headed, but Hurley is more astonishingly awesome than ever. Charlie, meanwhile, seems to be fading into the background a bit... Not good. Tell me they're not phasing him out in order to prepare us for his death. Somebody saaaaaaaaaaaaaaave him! Come on, Dez, put on your red cape and fly, man!
Wow. I need to go to bed before I post something radically irrational...