Swan, Arrow, and Pearl,
Okay, I've calmed down. I've taken a few days, read a handful of articles (including your posts), and eased my anxieties a bit. A bit.
Now, since I've been thinking about those two things, I realized that they both happened pretty early in the episode and that probably biased me against the rest of the really cool things that happened. The more I think about it, the more I love the coming war between the Jacobians and Esau. In the NYT article from Wednesday, Mike Hale talks about my favorite line of the episode, "I want to go home." And assumes that if the Island is not Esau's home than perhaps he was imprisoned there and Jacob's purpose on the Island is primarily as Warden. (Here I must acknowledge that I was completely wrong in thinking that Esau and the Smoke Monster were two completely different entities. I am eating a slice of humble pie.) So the rest of this season for the Others and the Survivors and Jacob is finding a way to keep Esau on the Island. Also, when Arrow suggested that Sayid is Jacob now, that was something I hadn't even considered and got me really excited.
When Sawyer kicked Jack in the face... that was awesome. And, if Sawyer hooks up with Kate again I will hate him as much as I love him right now. He better be heartbroken for the rest of the series.
As far as the LAX story goes, I thought (after I got over the shock of hating the idea of it) it was pretty entertaining. It made me really respect the acting job that the cast is doing on this show. Because in this episode all of them are essentially play two almost entirely different characters, except Kate who never seems to grow or change at all. I don't know if I see the exaggerations of character that y'all did, I think it just highlighted how great the character development on this show has been when we were reminded who these people used to be.
Was it still the best thing on television on Tuesday night. Absolutely. But, for the first time ever I am feeling worried about them pulling this off.
P.S. I think that 90% of writing quote might actually be from the movie "Wonder Boys" now that I think about. Also, hyperlinks are super fun.