I've been more or less enjoying this season so far, but this episode just made me yawn. I did have a new thought about "the rules", though, and we got an interesting look at Widmore's camp.
For the flashsideways, okay, it was neat to see that he chose to be a cop in the other timeline, and use his power of con for good, not evil. However, beyond that, the rest of the flashsideways was, pretty simply, a bore. Maybe that was bound to happen with the kind of loner Sawyer is, both in this timeline and our original. He had a date with Charlotte.... that amounted to nothing, leaving me wonder why that was even interesting to put in there. If it's significant and we'll see Charlotte again and this plays into some bigger plot, a hint here would be nice, otherwise we see Sawyer do Charlotte and kick her out. Wow... I mean, yawn. So this time he decided to be slightly less of a loner and let Miles in on his secret. Shrug. The only real interesting thing I found in the flashsideways was when Kate (so predictably Kate) crashed her car into Sawyer's and he ran and caught her. Like when Sayid found Jin in the locker, I can only imagine this will piece together into something bigger down the line.
The only other insight I got out of the flashsideways was that possibly there's more that's, well, wrong here. Do cops really work out sleeping with their mark when running an entrapment as okay? I figure maybe undercover spies might go that for, but our normal men in blue? It feels contrived, as did the blackmail scenario with Ben Linus. Assuming the blackmail was even reasonable, and threatening the principle with evidence that he had to hack the computers to get held weight and the consequence (losing job and losing wife) was actually worse than the alternative (resigning job, then when telling the wife, losing the wife), then he could have thrown in the good letter for Alex into the deal and, as principle, still kept his history club.
So, they feel a little contrived to me, a little off, and I'm wondering if this is just sloppy writing, forcing situations to make them relate to our original timeline even with the changes, or whether there's something more that's off with the FST. I guess I'll have to wait and see. It won't ruin the show enough for me to stop watching, at any rate.
Now, to our island.
Sawyer on the other island: it was easy to spot Zoe's con at the get go; I'm surprised it took Sawyer so long. Maybe he just wanted to be sure. So, the smoke monster had already taken care of the other plane survivors at some point. That was so obvious, they practically smacked us over the head with it. I asked myself when he had time to, but Locke as Smokey, we saw when he was doing his own recon on Sawyer back at New Otherton, he can travel pretty fast. I could see him having time after he tied up Richard, I guess.
Seeing Widmore's crew set up the portable sound fence pylons was kind of neat. I found Sawyer's recognizing and asking about a locked door very.... stupid. "Oh, they have something under lock over there." Yeah, and there was nothing indicating it was special. Here's an idea, hey, let's lock up our guns and ammo so only those we want to can have them. It doesn't need to be anything special. But now we know it's special because Sawyer pointed it out. Hmm... maybe at least put some kind of odd symbol on the door, have someone else double check the lock because they are very nervous about what's inside, anything else that would make some sort of sense. This one is very, very clearly the writers being lazy. I also found Sawyer's conversation with Widmore a bit dull.
One thing I was glad to see was that Sawyer isn't really "with" Flocke. He just wants to get off the island and he'll do it his own way.
Finally, one thought on "the rules". I was defending Jacob (or just pointing out a possibility) yesterday about the wiping out of the Army battalion in the 50's and The Purge, how Jacob, Richard, and/or the Others gave each party a chance to leave peacefully first, before they killed them. Last night, Flocke mentioned that he also gave the Templites the chance to leave peacefully, and killed the others that didn't. I was thinking, since seemingly both sides have done this, that maybe it's one of the rules. Give them a chance to leave peacefully first, then you have free reign to kill them. Something like that.
However, in Flocke's case I'm afraid the alternative, dying, may have been better than the choice, being with Flocke. But we'll have to wait and see. Of course, it doesn't have to be rules, I guess. It just worked out that way. Jacob, Richard, and/or the Others didn't want to kill the Army battalion and the Dharmaites, they just needed to protect the island, so in the interest of life they first gave them the option to leave the island. Flocke, however, maybe be needing his little army, so he gives the option so he gets a group of people to follow him.
But can anyone question that fueling Claire's hatred and revenge for three years, forget that it's a little cliche, is pretty bad/evil? I mean, he deliberately chose that route to make her into a hating killing machine out for revenge. It would have worked perfectly well to tell her that Kate took the baby off the island and Aaron is being taken care of fine, he was better off out of danger, and then promise her that he would help get her off the island and reunite her with Aaron. That would have been just as much a reason to live as hatred, revenge, and going after the Others.