There's one more thing to discuss in the 2004 timeline - the wildest thing of all. In this iteration of 2004, the island IS UNDERWATER. A virtual Atlantis (speaking of which, all the Atlantis and Purgatory theories from Season One? They amazingly were resurrected Tuesday night in some ways. I'm going with this being the producers smiling at us and indicating the "full-circle" nature of thematic elements, though).

So how did it happen, and when? Well, we know it happened past the crumbling of the statue, past the arrival of Dharma. We know Dharma still did come to the island, from the existence of the barracks area and the infamous Dharma-branded shark. The security pylons are in place. The obvious guess is that the island sunk as a result of the H-bomb explosion set off by Juliet in 1977... except that this makes it very hard to explain how everyone else involved in that explosion so conveniently time-flashed to 2007 to join the other Losties who were already there hanging out by the big foot. Oceanic 815 did shake and shudder as it flew over the island (is the electromagnetic anomaly exposed and active, but from so deep underwater not strong enough to pull apart the plane?). Come to think of it, why is 815 even headed over this spot? They originally only happened upon that point by accident - when their communications malfunctioned and they had to turn around to land in Fiji.

This island perhaps being blown into the sea in the blast in 1977 - but our friends being flashed out to 2007 where the island still very obviously exists - is the biggest clue that tells me right now, we're dealing with "A Separate Reality" in the form of either two versions of events - two timelines, or else varying iterations of one timeline. And something is STILL going to have to occur to resolve this.

2007 - THE TEMPLE

I want a word with the producers, who have been unnecessarily cruel. Twice this week I relived the gut-wrenching scene of Sawyer saying goodbye to Juliet when she was pulled down the hole to end Season Five. Then, they make us live through him having to say goodbye to her as she dies in his arms. Come on, man! Not fair!

Okay, that having been said, we do learn some very interesting things here:

Kinda like when Desmond - on that very spot - once turned the failsafe key, and none of him, Locke, Charlie, or Eko died from it, so too are our friends safe (fair question: all of Desmond's clothes were disintegrated last time. How come Juliet's still got hers on? ;-)). Jin, who has experienced time-flashes before, lets us know that this is probably what happened here... and I just want to quickly say that this is sheer brilliance. Nobody I knew saw this possibility coming, despite all of us knowing that the strange energy material under the island can do these things when energy is applied to it, ala turning the wheel.

The theory goes that when Juliet touched off the bomb, the resultant reaction with the electromagnetic material was a time flash. We may question the convenience of that flash putting this group into the exact day, hour, minute second as Ben, Sun, Richard, Flocke, Ilana, and Company, but that's the way it has to be. Speaking of the time flashes, did you catch how this season we have a "new sound" that plays as we switch between the scenes of 2004 and 2007? It's not the old "whoosh" sound that used to occur between Island-and-Flashback. No, now it's the sound we heard so much of in early Season Five with the time flashes. Gotta be more than a stylistic choice, dontcha think? Are our characters perhaps caught in some toggle between times, like Desmond's consciousness used to be? Perhaps instead of bleeding from the nose, they now bleed from the neck (Jack's spot? Okay, I don't really believe that one)? Is there a constant for them in both time periods (all of each other for each other?).

LIVING Juliet bemoans the fact that, "It didn't work." DYING/DEAD Juliet attempted to tell Sawyer and does say through Miles that, "It worked." So what's the deal? At what point did she gain this insight? What is it based upon? Has she had a glimpse of the alternate timeline? And maybe most importantly, will we really never see her again? I hope not. I'm not much about the characters and relationships as much as the mystery, literature, and religious overtones of this show, but I sure hope to see a version of a time where Sawyer and Juliet get a happily-ever-after. On a related note, did anyone else notice the weird not-quite-Smokey-esque-but-close sounds coming from the grave when Miles was down close to it? Kinda scared me a bit...