Juliet's flashback picked up right where "Not in Portland" left off, giving me a clear idea of how she got to the island, and a less-than-clear idea of what kept her there.
The flashback caught up with Juliet outside Mittelos Bioscience's private, high-security airport. Mittelos was still all about secrecy, taking Juliet's vitals before the trip and drugging her.
At the time of her departure, Juliet was still under the impression that she would return in six months. She was also willing to make the mysterious journey without knowing any of the details, and in spite of Mittelos' super-private status. Juliet's conversation with Alpert was very telling. A person would have to be a little shady to take a job under such suspicious circumstances, "special" or not.
One of the flashback's biggest revelations was the island's pregnancy problem. Pregnancy is fatal to women on the island, which will certainly be a major issue for Sun in upcoming episodes. The Others were conducting research on this issue, and Juliet had guessed that "it" happens at conception.
After asking Ben to let her leave the island to continue her work, Juliet was given some bad news. Rachel's cancer was back, and Ben promised that Jacob would cure Juliet's sister. This was, of course, on the condition that Juliet stayed on the island. These people are good.
I also learned that Juliet has incredible taste in men, after a nice little bedroom scene with Goodwin. I am not sure what purpose this detail serves, or how it fits in with Juliet's supposed "history" with Ben. Not that I mind more scenes with Brett Cullen; I'm just posing a question or two.
Juliet's discovery of Ben's tumor freaked out both her and Ben. The real source of Ben's fear was not discussed (it has to be more than just a fear of death), but Juliet was worried that Ben lied to her about Rachel's recovery. She made a second, desperate request to go home, which Ben denied.
In order to defend himself, Ben took Juliet to the Flame station's communications center (operated by Mikhail) to prove that Rachel was alive. Meanwhile, Mikhail was busy watching news coverage of the 815 crash, and doing research on the passengers.
The biggest revelation of the episode: Juliet is still with the Others, and all of her actions in "Left Behind" were part of a larger plan. Juliet's role in Claire's illness and recovery was also set up by the Others. And set your island calendars; Ben plans on meeting up with Juliet in one week, Lost time!
Poor, unfortunate Claire was made ill by the Others in order to help Juliet "save the day" and gain the crash survivors' trust. Apparently Claire still has some implant inside of her that the Others can manipulate. If Sayid and Sawyer are any indication, Juliet will have to do a lot more than cure Claire to win everyone over.
Sayid was awesome, as usual, and did not take his eyes off Juliet for a second. He'll have to find another way to separate Juliet from Jack if he wants to get any answers out of her.
How much do I hate Jack and his Other-trusting ways? His rationale for trusting Juliet was absolutely ridiculous. At this point, I'm not sure who's dumber: Jack, for trusting Juliet, or everyone else for trusting Jack. At least Sun and Jin didn't jump on the bandwagon. Sun even translated Jin's snarky comment for Juliet, which was the funniest part of the whole episode.
I'm still trying to figure out how much of Juliet's story to believe. She claimed that Ethan took blood samples, and that the Others used Claire as a "control" case for their fertility research. The kidnapping was, apparently, not part of the plan. The second part of the story is definitely true, since Tom's conversation with Ethan in Claire's flashback already revealed this.
Ultimately, Juliet "cured" Claire's illness, and won over...who, exactly? It didn't look like she was invited to join the ping pong league after that. There has to be more to her plan, and it seems to involve the return of Ben and the Others. I'm glad that Juliet turned out to be more than just a banished Other, but I would love to learn how she became such a manipulative schemer. I suppose that's for another episode.
Hurley let it slip to Juliet that Charlie was the one who killed Ethan. Will this put Charlie in danger?
Was Ben completely lying about Rachel's cancer returning? It could have been another way to keep Juliet on the island, like the video of a now-healthy Rachel and Julian.
Sawyer may not be able to use nicknames, but he did manage to call Ben a "bug-eyed bastard." Lovely.
After the plane crash scene, Ben mentioned that the Others might find more mothers on the plane. What will they do to Sun once they find out about her pregnancy?