More, with spoilers, after the break...
Now before I get back to Rose and Bernard and why I think they're important, I want to further explain why I call
tonight's episode "Couple's Night." The second main story line to this episode involves Jack traipsing off
into the jungle to confront the Others and try to set up an exchange, a fair trade: Henry Gale (the man in the bunker)
for Walt. And who does Jack choose to take along on this trip? Kate of course. There are lots of interesting moments
between the two in the journey worthy of note. As they walk along they have the typical married couple-esque bickering
that we see mirrored in Rose and Bernard's disagreement throughout the episode. This bickering revolves around
different topics, like how Kate never told Jack about finding the other bunker with the makeup kit and the beard, and
how Jack has excluded Kate from the group dealing with Henry Gale, locked in his box in the bunker.
Also, Kate ignores Jack and walks into one of Rousseau's traps. They are both stuck in a hanging bag, face to face, bodies pressed together, and they are both awkwardly trying to avoid inconveniencing the other in the most "we're about to kiss any minute" way. They don't of course because this is T.V. and the T stands for tease. They both try to shoot the rope and set themselves free and Jack succeeds after a nice little "listen to me . . . no give *me* the gun" tug of war that is again the same bickering / flirting that Kate is so good at with both Sawyer and Jack.
At the end of the episode, they are both sitting at a campfire where Jack has shouted himself hoarse taunting the Others and asking them to come forward and make a trade. Kate says, "I'm sorry I kissed you." Jack looks at her and says, "I'm not." And then they exchange an indecipherable look and would appear to just start to think about leaning into each other when Michael comes running out of the woods with a torch, collapses, and the episode ends.
Whew! Now that that story line is done with, let's get to the more interesting bits: back to Rose and Bernard... oh, wait, I forgot to mention the Locke subplot. After we leave Rose and Bernard at the very beginning and before Jack runs off into the woods, we are presented a view of Locke, sitting in front of the computer in the hatch, obsessing over a piece of paper where he's trying to remember what he'd seen on the wall when the door came down on his leg, all the while as the timer has started it's final countdown and there is a beep beep beep. Jack jars him back to reality and he enters the numbers, but stares ruefully at the clock as it resets. So, the whole episode, Locke obsesses about the drawings on the wall and whether or not Henry actually entered the numbers and hit the button. At one point he goes up to the door where Henry Gale is locked up and asks him if he really didn't push the button. We see Henry smiling at this point, because he realizes he's managed to get to Locke. Anyway, this subplot wasn't really enthralling. Basically, Locke is shown losing his faith in the whole number button business (and he tells Ana "It's not my button" when she presses it for him while he's out wandering about the island). But he seems to recapture some of his love of the island from season one, before he was locked up in the hatch all the time, and this seems to occur because of a shared experience with none other than Rose.
So, thankfully, rather than using different actors to play a young Rose and a young Bernard and giving us a whole big swatch of their lives, we simply receive their lives since they met one another, which as it turns out would appear to be under a year ago. They meet when her car is stuck in the snow and he helps her get it out, her protesting all the while that she would have gotten out of it by herself (again playing up the bickering flirting like Jack and Kate have). But then as he starts to leave, she takes the initiative and offers to buy him a cup of coffee. Then the next flashback, they are sitting with a view of waterfalls and Bernard gets down on one knee to propose to her, a mere 5 months after they met, as he's been a lifelong bachelor and yet he feels as if he's known her forever. This occurs immediately after she is admonishing him for not admiring the view. And as he is down on his knee she reveals that she is dying of cancer with only a year to live. He presses on with his proposal despite her news, and she accepts.
The next flashback occurs while they are on their honeymoon in Australia and Bernard has arranged for Rose to see a healer without her knowing about it. This section is particularly interesting because it begins with them driving through the outback, Rose saying "We're lost" and Bernard, who is driving, maintaining "We're not lost." This was very layered, as it's a comment on their future lives on the island, as well as a slight reveal that Bernard had an agenda to have her see his healer. But ultimately they were both simultaneously right. They weren't lost, because Bernard knew where they were going, but they were lost because the healer worked by pulling energies from the earth and the spot in Australia wasn't the right spot to heal Rose. Rose tells the healer thanks anyway and resolves to tell Bernard that it worked and that she was healed.
The next flashback occurs right before the flight. At the airport, as they prepare to leave their honeymoon. They're newlyweds. I still cannot get over that. Anyway, Bernard walks off and she drops her medicine out of her bag and who should roll by in his wheelchair to hand her her dropped drugs, but Locke.
There's an interesting moment in this episode when Rose walks up to Locke sitting on the beach and says, "You're sitting in my spot." As they are sitting there talking, she notes that he'll be back up and walking in no time, and he says to her: "Jack says four weeks." She responds, "You and I both know it won't take that long." She knows that the island healed Locke's legs and that it will do so again, and she also knows that the island has healed her too and she tells Bernard this at the end and he promises her that they will never leave the island. He gives up on his futile effort to build a big S.O.S. in the sand. So, again, they are lost and found at the same time. Lost on the island, but found in each other and her health.
All in all it was an interesting episode, although I'm not really sure what Locke is thinking of his entire exchange with Rose or about the hatch and the numbers at this point. Also, the show went for the song montage ending showing different couples hanging out. Another reason I call the episode 'couples'. Notably, Sawyer's partner was the dog. Is someone going to die soon?