Juliet (one of my favorite characters) was front and center in this episode, as is our old pal and nemesis, Ben Linus.

We flash back to Juliet’s initial stay with “The Others” on the island. On her first day, she meets Harper, the island therapist. Harper’s less than impressed with Juliet’s “celebrity status” on the island and immediately adopts a hostile tone to Juliet, but is interrupted when Tom (aka Mr. Friendly Beard) escorts Juliet to the new home that Ben has done up for her, complete with the opera classics on CD Ben knows she loves.

Meanwhile, back on the beach, and Jack discovers that Daniel and Charlotte (the Boaties) have taken off into the jungle. Jin did not stop them as Jack had said to everyone that they were ‘friends’. Jack is another of my favorite characters, but boy, does he have trust issues. He expects everyone to tell him everything, but he’s as cryptic as the rest. Jack and Juliet set off into the woods to find them.

While separated from Jack and tracking through the jungle, Juliet hears “the voices” and is all of sudden standing face to face with Harper, her former therapist. She tells Juliet that Daniel and Charlotte are attempting to reach the Tempest, a Dharma station. It appears as though the Tempest contains poison gas and a release system, enough to kill everyone on the island. She says that Ben sent her to find Juliet to stop them. When Juliet asks how this is possible since Ben is a prisoner of Locke, Harper simply states that Ben is exactly where he wants to be right now.

Fast forward, or backward in time. Remember Juliet’s relationship with a man named Goodwin. Well, it turns out ol’ Goodwin is Harper’s husband. And in the flashback, he takes a shine to Juliet, who has found her sessions with Harper inexplicably more hostile. It’s also revealed that Ben has a bit of a crush on Juliet himself, causing Harper to warn Juliet about her relationship with Goodwin. “You belong to him,” Harper hisses.

In the present, Ben plays some more mind games with Locke. He strikes a deal with Locke that if he lets Ben live in a cabin under normal conditions, he’ll tell Locke about the owner of the boat. Locke agrees, and Ben shows him a videotape of Mr. Widmore (Penny’s dad — remember him buying the log book last weekend) beating an Other to a pulp. Ben seems to think that the island represents some kind of miracle attraction to people (making Locke walk, allowing dozens of people to survive a horrific plane crash). He also gives Locke a folder containing everything he knows about Widmore. But Locke wants more. He wants Ben to tell him who his spy is on the ship. Ben agrees, but he warns John that he “might want to sit down for this”. We of course aren’t told this episode.

Remembering back to the plane crash, Ben had sent Goodwin to infiltrate the Tailies camp as a passenger, which eventually leads to his death at the hands of Ana Lucia. Ben even takes Juliet to Goodwin’s body to show her, ending in the ominous warning that Juliet does indeed “belong to him”.

In the present, Juliet and Jack encounter Kate in the jungle, who was knocked out by Charlotte when she encounters them in the woods. She’s suspicious after they tell her they’re going to get extra sat phone batteries that they’d dropped from the helicopter, even though she spots their phone working just fine. After asking to look through Daniel’s duffle bag, she sees 2 gas masks, and is knocked out by Charlotte. When Jack finds, Kate, Juliet says she’s going to get water, but takes off after them instead. She reaches the Tempest, and they are inside in Haz Mat suits and Gas Masks. She points a gun at Daniel and tells him to stop. But Daniel explains that they are actually trying to prevent the gas from being released by Ben. She doesn’t believe him, but is waylaid by Charlotte. Meanwhile a countdown to release begins, with Daniel at the controls feverishly. He stops it with 2 seconds left, and it turns out they were telling the truth. As they leave, they encounter Jack and Kate. Kate is naturally suspicious, and goes with Daniel and Charlotte back inside to check things out. But Jack says he trusts them. He and Juliet share a quiet moment, but Juliet tries to push him away, saying that if Ben found out how she felt about Jack, he’d come after him. Jack says he’s ready for him, and kisses Juliet.

We close out the episode with Hurley and Sawyer playing horseshoes. They then see their arch enemy, Ben Linus, walking calmly to his cabin with fresh linens. He looks over smiles and says “See you at dinner!”

Thoughts: Although this episode was a Juliet flashback, it was really about Ben. The lengths he will go to protect the island and what he feels is his. I actually think in some ways he IS the island, and the two have a symbiotic relationship. Time will tell.

Kinda weird that Juliet would take up with Jack so quickly given how recent everything is. I mean the plane crash is about 90 days old. She lost her boyfriend maybe 2 1/2 months ago. But Jack is her ideal, you knew it was going this way. However, with what we know happens with Jack and Kate in the Oceanic Six future, it would appear that Juliet won’t be in the picture for long.

Next week….we’ll finally learn that Michael is the last of the Oceanic Six and Ben’s spy on board the frieghter….Dunh dunh dunh!!!