Synopsis: Jack decides that they should try to trade Henry for Walt. Meanwhile, Bernard tries to work towards rescue by building a giant SOS on the beach. When Jack and Kate go out into the jungle to the line to meet with the Others, however, the person that greets them is not who they'd expect.
After the last few episodes, which have fallen a little flat on the character front, we get what is a quieter episode but a more successful character-based one. Bernard and Rose, despite doing very little, somehow seem to matter a lot just because they are one of the island's successes. And what's fascinating about this episode is that Bernard and Rose's problems don't arise from resentment or hatred or disappointment, but from their own love.
So after a very sweet meeting that also encapsulates both characters' approaches to life, Bernard and Rose fall in love. Bernard proposes to Rose, only to learn that she has cancer and it's pretty much untreatable. But whereas Rose has accepted this, Bernard thinks he can fix it with a faith healer in Australia.
Now, in the present, Bernard wants to get them rescued while Rose just wants to settle in to the island. And Bernard's need to do something and Rose's acceptance of life's troubles are what the other one needs and finds charming, but unless they find some middle ground, it will also destroy them. Bernard's drive leads him to waste valuable time, but it's also what makes him still want to commit to what could be a very dire and draining marriage with a terminally ill woman. Rose's acceptance means she doesn't reject Bernard, but it also means that she'll just accept their issues without confronting him.
And once Rose actually confronts Bernard, revealing to him that it's not the faith-healer that cured her, but the island itself, then he can see that what he needs to do is be with her, not affect a rescue.
The whole storyline is very well handled, and the actors playing Rose and Bernard really sell what could be overly sentimental by letting the tiredness and disappointments in life play across their faces. Neither of their plans is made in ignorance or denial, but because their lives have led them to places where they think that is the best way to struggle on.
- The show's approach to religion and the supernatural is interesting. I don't think we've seen anyone with religious or spiritual faith who isn't motivated to something greater by it or at least treating it as an honest calling. For example, you'd think the faith healer (a Patrick Stewart look-alike) would be a charlatan, but instead he genuinely believes in what he's doing and offers to return money that's been donated when he can't affect a cure. And he turns out to be right in his way.
- I think it helps soften Bernard by showing him talking to that girl on the crutches as Rose is with the healer. Nice moment that shows why Rose loves him, even as she makes a decision that could really haunt them both.
- The Island is starting to strike me as some sort of giant immune system, like something out of Grant Morrison. Everyone who comes there in crisis finds their buttons pushed by the Island itself and they either heal or die. Or they heal and then die.
- On the other hand, really sucks for someone like that guy who broke his leg with the Tailies. Or Boone. Why didn't the Island help heal them?
- I like Kate's fiery nature coming out at Jack in this ep. From the annoyance she expresses about being kicked out of "the club" to her apology for kissing him... and Jack kind of deserves it.
- So they're building a church? Hmm... Plus, Charlie gets a replacement savior in Eko!
- So what happens when the amount of people who want to stay are about the same size as the group that wants to be rescued?
- And Michael Emerson barely says or does anything in this episode, but every moment he's on, you don't want to look away from him, hoping for some sign of something.
- Hurley: "We built a raft...That got blown up."
- Bernard: "Where's Craig? Where's Frogurt?"
- Kate: "Gonna waste another bullet?"
Jack: "We'll still have 13 more to shoot each other with."
- Bernard: "We won't ever leave, Rose."
- Also Bernard: "I would offer to take down the sign, but we didn't get very far."