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By RD Heldenfels Published: March 30, 2006

Still wondering what message we should take from the use of Les McCann and Eddie Harris's version of ''Compared To What,'' the song playing when Locke is exercising. Great tune, of course. I've had the album for years, and saw McCann and Harris perform it at the Hampton Jazz Festival back in the '70s. I keep thinking that its use may have had to do with the line ''trying to make it real -- compared to what?''  After all, last night's episode was one that gave us another taste of Old West civilization-building on the island, with Jack and Sawyer as the cowboys staring each other down across a card game.

Liked the scene, too, although I would have expected Sawyer to be a smarter player than he was shown. And, if he can cheat, why hadn't he done so before going mano a mano with Jack?

Also enjoyed the latest twist in the is-he-an-0ther story. But I've been muttering for some time that, even if the balloon was there, it didn't mean the guy wasn't an Other, so the payoff was not a huge surprise. Am more curious about how the parachute drop fits with the doors dropping in the hatch.

Of course, I know that lots of you have freeze-framed the shot of the symbols Locke saw, and no doubt there are interpretations aplenty flying around out there. I have nothing to add right now.

As for the Locke flashback, I thought it was leading -- at last -- to an explanation of Locke's being in a wheelchair, perhaps because the thugs chasing his father had knee-capped him. The story as it played out felt concluding -- since Locke's father was leaving and his relationship seemed over -- and unfinished -- since his father could pop up yet again, and Locke is still walking.

Watchable episode overall, but still one that left me feeling impatient.

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