One of the ways that I know what a good job the writers of "Lost" (and Josh Holloway) do such a good job with Sawyer is the twinge of sadness I felt last night ...
when Sawyer and Juliet were embracing in the kitchen. They both looked happy, which is not a look I am accustomed to with Sawyer. But there was also a sense that, "Lost" being "Lost," he wasn't going to get to stay happy -- that the three years he had just enjoyed were going to get fouled up somewhere in time. And, sure enough, at the end of the episode, there he was back in a tangle of time and commitment, with Kate throwing him into turmoil just by standing there, curiosity and uncertainty on her face.
So that mentions a couple of good scenes in an episode that had plenty of them. After it was over, I had to go look up Horace Goodspeed to remember how the pieces fit together, and they do, quite well. (Nor could I remember how Sawyer knew about the Black Rock and had to look that up. My memory is sieve when it comes to most "Lost" backstory.) But the episode worked nicely on its own: Sawyer getting to be the con man again, the '70s compound, Faraday seeing young Charlotte, the encounter between Richard and Sawyer. Even more, there was the current through the episode in toto, that given a chance Sawyer would reinvent himself as a solid citizen, that his bookish side would come out, that he could function within an organization without snarling and calling someone "Peaches." Or, to draw on one from last night, "Plato."
Also interesting, in the context of the show, to see that the island was not a bad place to be -- once the time jumping was fixed, of course. Yes, there were the conflicts between Dharma and the Others (and we know that could be headed to a deadly place), but there was also something peaceful about it. And that as much as Kate, Jack, Hurley et al. intend to "rescue" their friends, sometimes people don't want to be rescued.
Even when your team includes Jimmy Barrett and Herc.