Did I mention how much I loved the end of last week's episode?

"Do you recognize him?"
"Yes.  That's the man who killed me."

Now... about this week's episode...

... GIANT STATUE! HOLY CRAP!

I think it's now safe to assume that anyone who thought Sawyer was going to be the subject of the four-toed giant statue was wrong.  The statue is waaa aaaaay back in time in the Island's history.  And after just a glimpse of it, they're launched forward in time again, and they land sometime in the early days of the Dharma Initiative's struggle with the Others.  And this time, when they land, they land in a way that makes them feel like maybe John Locke pulled off what he was trying to pull off.  Maybe he put the needle back in the groove, because everyone's headache goes away, and there are no more flashes.

Now that the writers aren't bound to one structure that's the same each time, they are free to play with time in all new ways, and this time, the episode revolves around jumps either "Three Years Later" or "Three Years Earlier," each time as punctuation to whatever we've just seen.  And it really works.  It pays off that jump in chronology each time, and it sets up a sense of where the story's going, but not how it's going to get there.  The introduction of LaFleur is pretty wonderful.  Sawyer just took back ownership of a significant piece of the show's mythology.  He's not just a survivor.  He's a guy who knows how to live along the way.  He's just as driven by his feelings about the Island as Locke ever was.  He's just not as vocal about his crazy.

[more after the jump]

Faraday's really broken at this point.  And there's a lovely sad moment when he sees a little girl wall back.  Registers the red hair.  And as it hits him, that it's her, she waves.  And he just crumbles all over again.

We spend a lot of time this week with characters we either barely know or have never met before.  And, yet, we learn quite a bit about two of our characters.  Juliet and Sawyer walk away from this changed.  Connected now in the larger scope of the show.  Whatever happens, this episode permanently pairs them in some sense.  And it didn't feel forced, either.  I like what it was built upon, the choices that lead to them connecting.  And more than that, we see that Sawyer has become the sort of person who is always trying to do the right thing, to help however he can, who feels a pressure to try and make things better.  He's pretty far from the con man he was in his former life.  Even when he's confronted with a hostile Richard Alpert, he meets it head on, uses everything he's learned to mark his territory, his right to be on the Island, and Alpert's got no choice but to accept him based on what he knows.

But that raises the biggest question this week... Alpert met Sawyer.  He knows that Sawyer knows about Locke.  So when Locke appears on the island in the crash, they know him and Sawyer already. and also they presumably know Jin and Juliet and Kate and Jack.  Which makes this entire series a brain bender on a different level than it was before.  How does that affect how they're treated by the Others?  I may go back and watch again to see if the early stuff with the Other holds up now, matches any of what we know about them now.

The ending was awesome.  Simple.  Evangeline looked amazing, which is perfect for Sawyer's reaction.  It's a good set-up for something we won't see for two weeks, so I guess I've got a week off from doing these recaps, something I've come to enjoy as part of how I digest each week's episode.

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