Claire encourages Charlie that she's not giving up on him either; believes he's going to be okay. Why is it that the image of birds soaring tells the mind to hope?

Sayid's group has found the barracks. It's a lovely afternoon, and everyone's having fun in the backyard - including JACK.

Off-Island

Jack's in Thailand, staying in a hut right on the beach. We'd learned previously that he'd been to Phuket, and that he learned to play cards and got his tattoos here (we never see him play any poker, though). He stinks at kite construction, but a local woman named Achara giggles and helps him get it ready to fly - it looks like a bird. She also speaks English.

Jack eats dinner with his new friend. Her brother is their waiter. She assumes Jack is there to "find himself" because after all, he's an American. During dinner, a man gives her a wad of cash in an envelope. She explains that, "I have a gift."

Jack's been with Achara for a month. She comes and goes, and he knows nothing about her. "There are things about this place that you could never understand," she tells him. Right, right, like her gift... and like the island.

Jack follows Achara one night. Down a back alley and through some beads he finds her. She works in a tattoo parlor, but is adamant she is NOT a tattoo artist, she helps people see who they are. That is her gift. Jack INSISTS she do it for him. But as he's an outsider, she's not allowed to mark him. She tells him he's "a leader, a great man," but that makes him "lonely, frightened, and angry." She warns there will be consequences if she does it. The next day, some locals beat Jack up, spit on him, tell him to leave the country after seeing he is inked up. Achara cries.

Young Hurley, who isn't overweight, wants to work on the car with his dad. Dad gives him the key, some encouraging words about hope... and leaves. Gives him a candy bar, saying, "Live a little Hugo, it's just a candy bar."

Hurley is being interviewed for a local news fluff piece by stereotypical Asian on-the-spot reporter Tricia Tanaka. With his winnings, he bought a Mr. Cluck's because, "I like chicken?" Randy, his former boss, now works for him. She's trying to lob him softball questions, but he's awkward, and goes on about his run of bad luck. We also learn that his former best pal Johnny ran off with his would-be girlfriend Starla. When Tricia goes in to get some footage of Mr. Cluck's, it's hit by a meteor (something Hurley had referenced previously in another episode).

Hurley returns to his mom's house covered in dust. Hilarious dialogue ensues about meteors and curses. His mother can prove there's no curse because... look! Your father returned to us after 17 years!

Hurley's dad takes him to a psychic to attempt to break the curse. She:

  • Sees he's come into a great deal of money
  • It hasn't brought him happiness, but misfortune
  • Sees numbers. 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42. There's darkness around these numbers.
  • Pulls the death card. Says it surrounds Hurley.
  • Says there is a curse on him, but it can be removed.
  • Asks him to remove his clothes to purge the curse.
  • Gives up the game when Hurley offers her $10,000.

Hurley's dad gives a great speech before Hurley leaves for Australia. Talks - like he did when he was the one leaving - about hope and luck. Admits he did come for the money, but that's not why he's talking to his son now. Says he should give all the money away, just leave enough for the new carbuerator the Camaro needs, and they can take that road trip to the Grand Canyon. But Hurley leaves anyway.

Sayid's whole flashback isn't very useful. We already know he was an torturing inquisitor. We already know he regrets this past. We can assume the memories of every face he tortured are burned on his brain. But we get this whole episode to make sure we know that. Sayid was working as a cook in Paris (were have these skills been on the island?). A man hires him to work in his restaurant, but it's just a trap to capture him and get him to admit he is the one who poured acid on the man's wife for a crime she didn't commit. Sayid denies it, until the woman comes to him personally, when he admits all. The woman has saved an old ragged cat who kids were abusing. The cat bites sometimes because he doesn't realize he's safe. That's how she feels. Sayid apologizes, so she lets him go by telling her husband they've found the wrong man. Back on the island, Sayid sees a similar-looking cat at Mikhail's Flame Station house. His cat is named Nadia, which gets Sayid's attention, but it's after gymnast Nadia Comaneci. So you tell me - what did we learn? Anything crucial? I'm seeing neither things we didn't know, couldn't have guessed, or clues to the story.