- The episode opens with the cleverly timed reveal that “Henry Gale” told the truth about the smiley-faced balloon. What if the survivors had been mistreating him all along? For the second episode in a row, Henry mentions being the scapegoat. The survivors have no one to blame for what has happened to them… Except for their suspicious prisoner.
- While Ana-Lucia wonders why Henry drew the map in the first place, Sayid suspects that it was all a distraction so he could figure out his escape. But Sayid underestimates Ben; as seen in Exposé, Ben planned to use Michael long before the survivors even found him. Whether the survivors find the balloon or not doesn’t matter anymore at this point: the damage is done. The “loop” Hurley refers to is real, and every person in it has been caught in Henry’s web.
- Behind-the-scenes photos reveal some interesting easter eggs on the balloon’s basket that weren’t clearly shown in the episode.
- The “Minnesota Metallurgy & Mining Co.” sticker confirms Ben’s story that Henry Gale worked for a mining company.
- Mr. Cluck’s chicken shack is the company Hurley owned and worked for in a previous (and future) life.
- Nozz-A-La is a fictional brand of root-like soda from Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series. LOST c0-showrunner Damon Lindelof is known to be a fan of King’s.
- The other side of the balloon basket shows a “Widmore Labs” sticker. This is the third reference to Charles Widmore, who we will finally meet in Live Together, Die Alone.
- It’s worth pointing out that whoever killed the real Henry Gale made a grave for him. How sweet. But things don’t stay buried on this island…
- Henry makes the same deal with Locke as he did with Ana-Lucia: he will help them in exchange for protection from the other survivors.
- We will learn in season 3 that making promises and “keeping your word” is extremely important to Ben. More on that in later Observations!
Sayid (to Ana-Lucia): “You told him you would protect him whether we found this balloon or not.”
Henry (to John): “I’m going to need your word that you’ll protect me, no matter what.”
- Locke tells Henry “Thank you for not leaving me”. Henry’s loyalty is a nice contrast with Locke’s flashbacks in this episode, in which he’s abandoned by both his father and Helen. That is, until the next minute, when Locke discovers Henry had been lying to him all along. This show is funny that way.
- In the next episode, Locke will bring up a good question: Why would Ben come back? Jack suggests that it’s because he expected his story to check out, and that might very well be true… But knowing Ben the way we do now, I think it’s fair to say returning to Locke was his backup plan, in case Sayid really did consider the grave and balloon proof enough.