Well, week two of the show's back-to-basics mission wasn't as entertaining as week one, but it advanced the plot more, so it's a wash. Things we seem to have learned:
- That the Dharma Initiative's people are long dead;
- That the undersea cable Sayid found way back in early season one leads to a sonar hub;
- That Miss Clue (or however you spell it) wasn't on Alcatraz because she was keeping Andrew Divoff (who'll always be Frenchie from "EZ Streets" to me) company;
- That there's more than one broadcast facility on the island, since Rousseau had never been to the cow farm but has previously referred to using an antenna to transmit her distress signal;
- That The Others have a source of fresh milk (albeit a smaller one than they had before the episode started);
- That Locke loves pushing computer buttons.
I'm not going to complain too loudly about Naveen Andrews getting an entire episode to himself after being MIA almost all season, but we know how guilty Sayid feels about his torture career. We've hit this same emotional note three or four times already, and despite good performances by him and the actress playing his victim, it's yet another flashback that felt like it was there not because the writers had anything interesting to say, but because this is the format they've established for themselves.
The ping-pong story got exactly the right amount of time, and while I thought the bet was unfairly stacked in Sawyer's favor -- a week of no nicknames versus permanent reacquisition of "his" stuff -- I'm glad the writers won't be able to lean on the nicknaming crutch for at least a couple of episodes. (The show's abandoned the strict one episode=one day timeline, but the next episode looks like it picks up shortly after this one.)
I'd be more annoyed at the destruction of The Flame if I didn't feel confident in the existence of a second broadcast place. The idea of a transmitter that didn't work but could be fixed at some point down the road is more interesting than "Gilligan's Island"-ing a potential rescue scenario by just blowing the place up.
But won't someone mourn for the cows?
What did everybody else think?