Oh. My. God. Now what did they have to go and do a thing like that for?
Just when I had fallen completely in love with Dr. Juliet Burke over the course of last night's brilliant episode of Lost ("One of Us"), Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse had to go and pull the rug out from underneath me again. One of the joys of watching this series is that nothing is ever, ever what it seems and, thanks to that magical narrative device known as the flashback, the audience's perceptions of past events on the show can be changed over and over again as little pieces of the truth are revealed.
Is Juliet evil, as that final scene between her and Ben would seem to indicate? I don't think so. Nothing on this series is ever quite as black or white as it initially appears to be. Throughout last night's episode Juliet showed us that her main characteristic is that of self-preservation. She wants off of this island and she's willing to do whatever it takes to do that, even if it means siding with the devil himself.
Juliet admitted that she dragged Kate into the jungle and then handcuffed herself to her; if questioned by Kate, she would say that she did it to gain her trust as she didn't want to be left behind. She was given a gas mask by Ben (and certainly not gassed) and could have been that mysterious blonde woman we saw before the attack on Kate in last week's episode. As for helping Claire, it certainly did manage to turn the tide of suspicion against her and got the Losties to start trusting her ... fast. Of course, none of them know that the real Claire got mysteriously ill and that the Others activated the implant inside her, causing her to become wildly symptomatic, and planted the serum in Ethan's old drop point (marked with a symbol suspiciously similar to that branded on Juliet). As for the Others, they plan to rendezvous with Juliet in a week, leading me to wonder what exactly her mission is. She's managed to infiltrate their camp (much as Ethan did or her lover Goodwin did with the Tailies). Is she after the now-pregnant Sun?
As much as the episode's ending made me want to scream at the television, Lindelof and Cuse did a fantastic job of making me fall deeper in love with Juliet's character. Whether it was her frustration at being forced to say goodbye to her sister Rachel, the way she downed the tranquilizer-laced orange juice they offered her at Herarat Aviation (an anagram for A Variation Earth), or the way she transformed from a mousy researcher into a sexy woman (and ended up in bed with Goodwin), Juliet is a complicated beast. She bravely squared off against Sayid and Sawyer for the serum briefcase in the jungle, turning their guilt over the murders they committed over the years against them, but then walked off, a look of abject terror on her face. And she turned on Ben when he once again refused to let her off the island, knocking a glass out of his hand and screaming in his face. Juliet is one person you do not want to mess with.
As for the Others, they proved that they can make good on some of their miraculous claims. Mikhail really did have a huge data network he used to communicate with the mainland at The Flame ... which Ben used to show Juliet that her sis Rachel was not only alive -- her cancer in remission completely -- but she did give birth to a baby boy, Julian. And somehow, in some way, the enigmatic Jacob did manage to cure Rachel's cancer, as promised by Ben. But why -- if none of the Others ever got cancer -- did Ben develop a huge spinal tumor? And why was he so scared by that turn of events? But for all of their promises and miracles, the Others can't seem to procreate (the pregnant mothers all die before giving birth), as something odd happens during conception. Which explains why they were so interested in Claire and her baby (though I am still not sure why Ethan had to hang Charlie along the way) and why they've been taking children. The future of their race (and way of living) depends on new members, whether they be born (thanks to Juliet) or taken and conscripted.
In any event, I cannot wait to see what Juliet and Ben have up their collective sleeve and just what Juliet is doing in camp. And, maybe, just maybe, the writers will prove my love for Juliet to be a good thing after all. Or will she turn on us completely and wind up killing Charlie as revenge for his murder of Ethan?
Next week on Lost ("Catch-22"), Desmond convinces Charlie, Hurley, and Jin to accompany him on a journey across the jungle, while Kate turns to Sawyer after catching Jack alone with Juliet. Can it be Wednesday already?
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Jace is an LA-based television development and acquisitions junior exec who watches way too much television for his own good and would love a TiVo for every room in the house. (He's halfway there.) His blog, Televisionary, can be found at televisionary.blogspot.com.