Claire dreams of her baby’s disappearance. In the dream, Locke says, “It was your respnsibility but you gave him away, Claire. Everyone pays the price now.” She goes through the crib, only to get blood on her hands. This episode will soon tell us that she wanted to put the baby up for adoption. Is the message that there is blood on the hands of anyone who doesn’t effectively nurture their children, and that such parenting has a broad impact, far beyond just the child?
Charlie overlty offers to be Clarie’s friend, noting how difficult the island experience must be for her, especially since she’s pregnant. If she needs someone to talk to, he’s here. Is he hitting on her, or trying to make a genuine connection, or both? It seems to be the first time that someone on the island is so overly offering to establish a profound connection — and yet this directness itself seems a barrier given that such connections usually best occur organically.
Flashback: A psychic sees something in Claire and refuses to do the reading, sending her away. How certain is prediction, and how does it relate to the series’ theme of not being able to change the past yet staying open to changing the future?
Claire wakes in fight, screaming: “He was tring to hurt my baby!” Much later on we’ll find out about the vaccine and the disease that kills the island’s pregnant women. In fear, not knowing what’s going on, Claire’s assumptions get the best of her here. And yet, what else could she think? When those trying to help don’t make their intentions clear, is it so unreasonable to fear them?
In response to Claire’s attack, Hurley decides to take a census, hoping that if they start “laying down the law” that perhaps people will think twice about such offenses. Is he reproducing civilization here, or just attempting to truly get know his community?
Charlie says he’ll be there all night to protect Claire. But she then flashes back to Thomas, very concerned about their situation, how there are always plans and responsibilities, and worried that it will be even worse when the baby comes. She says, “You can’t just change your mind,” but he leaves her. Thomas wasn’t there for her after he’d promised he would be — can she believe Charlie will be?
Jack is concerned that Claire’s experience was a nightmare. Charlie gets very defensive, “It’s not all in her head.” Soon after, Claire is offended at the same suggestion from Jack: “You think I’m making this up?” She is so put off she leaves the valley camp. The assumption is that if it’s in your head, it doesn’t matter. More to the point would be the fact that, if it’s in your head as opposed to a threat from outside, it certainly matters but must be handled quite differently. Jack doesn’t say it doesn’t matter, but neither do his sedatives offer a way of handling things effectively beyond the short-term — so often the case with the medical model.
Flashback again to the psychic. He seems in pain, horror. “This is important… It is crucial that you yourself raise this child… This child parented by anyone, anyone other than you… Danger surrounds this baby. Your nature, your spirit, your goodness must be an influence… There is no happy life, not for this child, not without you. You mustn’t allow another to raise your baby.” In response, Claire becomes very agitated, thanks him for his time and leaves. She is in denial about this. Is it a very special circumstance this particular person is in denial about, or is this about the responsibility of parenting in general? How many parents “run away” from the prospect of getting in touch with their true selves in order to provide unconditional nurture to their children?
To Hurley’s census-taking, Boone says, “Maybe we’re just not cool with you setting up your own little Patriot Act.” Yet moments later, directly seeking the manifest from Sawyer, he prompts Sawyer to say, “You sure know how to butter a man up, Stay Puft.” Hurley responds: “It’s a gift.” They both seem to be joking, and yet Hurley was effective in getting what he wanted without Sawyer’s usual negotiations. Hurley does seem to have some talent for communication, connection, cooperation — all of which suggest that the census is a bit more innocent than Boone’s accusation suggests.
When Claire experiences severe pains, Charlie runs to get Jack but finds Ethan first and tells Ethan to get Jack. Charlie comes back to Claire, who complains of the pain. With the Ethan connection, we can’t help but imagine, in hindsight, if she is, indeed, going through the island’s pregnancy-related disease.
Flashback: She’s puzzled at the psychic’s suggestion of giving the baby to a couple in Los Angeles when all he’s done is warn her against having anyone else raise the baby. He says, “This is what must happen… It has to be this flight.” Claire believes he was full of it, but Charlie helps her see that perhaps he was not: “All he wanted was that no-one else raise your baby. Maybe he knew.” That is, maybe he foresaw the plane crash, knew he couldn’t tell her about it, yet knew he had to ensure she got on the plane. If it was foreseen, though, did he have to try so hard? Would she have ended up on the plane without his involvement? When even the psychic felt the need to intervene, the suggestion is that the future is malleable. It’s as if he saw not one future but possible futures and became proactive in generating the preferred outcome.
Charlie reassures Claire, “I told you I’d take care of you… I won’t let anything happen to you.” But his promises will go unkept . Should he make such claims just to make her feel better in the moment?
Sayid comes back to the caves. He reports that he found the woman on the island, that “We’re not alone.” Soon after, Hurley informs Jack of a problem: one person in the group doesn’t appear on the manifest. He wasn’t on the plane with them. We now know the survivors are even less alone — and that Rousseau may not be as crazy as she seemed.
Ethan shows up with Claire and Charlie. “Ethan, where’s Jack?” But they just stare at each other. Ethan has not gone to get Jack. He was not on the plane, he was on the island before them, and he has some other purpose here. We certainly are meant to think his purpose sinister. Is it? Can we find the gray area where the survivors’ feelings of threat are understandable, yet without completely demonizing Ethan and the Others? Not for now.