After being bludgeoned with The Shape of Things to Come, I found Something Nice Back Home something of a relief. Had the main island storyline - Jack with appendicitis - happened a year ago, it would have been a real edge-of-your-seat deal, but since we all know Jack gets off the island, I wasn't worried about him, and that was okay. I could use a break from worrying. I thought there might be potential for concern in the future, since I wasn't sure at first whether we were seeing before or after Jack's first flash-forward. Once I was sure it was before, I realized we were just seeing Jack spiral into drugged-out alcoholism; while that's depressing, it's nothing we didn't already know about, and at this point I'm banking on him coming out of it. The biggest source of concern for me was Claire, but it seems to me if Hurley is questioning whether Jack should be raising Aaron, the likelihood is that Claire still could be raising Aaron herself.
We saw Claire wander off with Christian. Dan posited a theory he'd heard, that Claire died in the barracks and was seen by Sawyer as an apparition, like several other castaways have seen. Miles, meanwhile, could see her because he sees dead people. Interesting theory for sure. How was she holding Aaron, though, if she was dead? Anyway, I'm most certainly not ready to give up on Claire yet. I took her disappearing into the forest with Christian as a sign of hope that when the Oceanic Six left, she could not be found so Kate took Aaron with her, but that she will resurface at a later time. I really don't know what's up with Christian though. He seemed pretty corporeal to me. Maybe this island has a regenerative effect, and everyone who's died eventually shows up again. Maybe they're all at the temple with the Others. I just know I was disappointed that he and Jack didn't get to have their little chat after all.
And why couldn't we see another Hurley-Charlie chat? Okay, so it probably would have been totally superfluous. Just referencing Charlie was nice, and I like the idea of the two of them just hanging out, old buddies at the funny farm. I also dug the Christmas Carol vibe I got from Hurley when he said Charlie told him Jack would be getting a visitor. I guess that makes Charlie Marley, or Charlie via Hurley anyway. Marley, whose first name happens to be Jacob, who I am totally pumped to see this week. I also can't wait to see Horace and find out what the heck he's doing walking around and talking all these years later. I hope it's not just some bad dream Ben is having. I would be so disappointed.
It was nice to see Jack and Kate together in the future, however briefly, and it was a bit of a thrill to watch Jack propose. Of course, the blissful union couldn't last, and if they go back to the island - and you know they will - it's probably just going to be the same old love triangle all over again. I'm relieved to learn that Sawyer was still alive when Jack and Kate left the island, not that I really expected otherwise. Kate shouldn't have lied about whatever she was doing for him, which I'm guessing involved Clementine, but she's a chronic liar, and she knew Jack's reaction to it would be bad. There's just too much weirdness there. Even if she'd been totally up-front with Jack, I think it would have caused tension, even though Sawyer is hardly a real threat to their relationship when he's still stuck on the island.
I also took hope from Jin's threat to Charlotte that he may well still be alive on the island, where he stayed because his top priority was getting Sun to safety, even if they couldn't be together. I thought Rose's sassiness to Charlotte was a little odd, but I guess she earned it. While I'm warming a bit to Miles, Charlotte's behavior is bugging me, and I loved the way Daniel took her to task for it, especially considering that he has a crush on her. I liked Sun and Jin's conversation on that topic, and the fact that Charlotte is spurred into admitting her understanding of Korean by Jin's threats against Daniel tells me she's not quite as tough as she looks. Anyway, I thought Rose seemed a little more cynical than I'm used to for her, but it was still great to see her, and I thought her comment about the timing of Jack's illness was very intriguing.
Nice that Miles got to show off his Ghost Whisperer skills again, though the circumstances were most unpleasant. And so much for us getting a Danielle flashback. Moreover, I certainly did not need to see their dead faces lying in the dirt. I'm surprised, though, that Keamy and his thugs bothered to bury them. Or did someone else do the job? I liked Sawyer's pained expression when he saw Karl, who he'd nurtured; I so wanted to see that mentoring relationship continue. Miles generally came across as a pretty good guy in this episode, and I felt bad for him getting so much flak from Sawyer, not that I really blamed Sawyer for being suspicious. I like Hero Sawyer quite a lot; if this is his way of redeeming himself for all his dastardly deeds, I'd say it's a good strategy. I hope he keeps it up.
I think my favorite part of the whole episode, though, was when Frank, who knew only Miles (who he didn't particularly like), came bursting through the brush and urgently warned these strangers to hide, then put himself on the line to lead Keamy and his merry band away. I suppose his life may not have been in immediate danger, since they needed him to fly them back to the ship, but it still seemed like a really gutsy and downright decent thing to do. I'd say Frank is definitely one of the good guys. Really, I think all the freighter quartet are, but Frank and Daniel keep impressing me. (Nathan is disappointed that his theory about the reasons for Daniel choosing Desmond as his constant seems to be baseless. It would have opened up some interesting conflicts... Then again, does Desmond really need any more conflict in his life?)
The Juliet-Kate dynamic was well played in this episode, but I'm a little tired of all the Sawyer-Kate-Jack-Juliet tangles. I was more interested in seeing Bernard get a chance to make use of his medical skills. He did right by Jack, no question. But Jack... What a control freak, wanting to supervise his own appen..omy! Have a little faith, Jack. That's never been one of his strong suits... Incidentally, when Jack told Kate, "You're not even related to him!" I felt there was an implied "...and I am." I think that in the future, he knows that Aaron is his nephew, and if so, he's probably going to find out about it quite soon on the island. How appropriate that he's reading Alice in Wonderland to him...
Now it's up to Sawyer to take care of Aaron until they get to the beach, and it seems that probably should be their priority at this point, since they have no idea how to track down Claire and those snipers are probably coming back. They need to get Aaron to safety. But I'm not sure if we'll even see them tonight. The focus is going to be on the freighter and, more importantly, John. I think we're going to get some answers about Jacob, and it's about time. This episode didn't make me think too hard; tonight's will. I expect important bits of mythology to be cracked. Besides, John flashbacks are usually pure gold. I'm pumped. Just don't kill anybody else, okay?