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What Is The Monster?

We see a little plane, plummeting through some water and landing on the bottom of a fish tank. A scary Nick-Nolte-looking dude looks on. He appears to be in the office of a travel or touring company in the Caribbean. There's a newscaster's voice warning viewers that there are about to be some graphic images of the wreckage shown. Nick Nolte hears this and slowly approaches the small, staticky television, which is about to show a picture of the pilot's body still in the plane. The television goes all snowy, but after Nick hits it, the picture comes back. It's a completely gruesome picture of a corpse sitting in the cockpit, with his hands still wrapped around the controls. There's a close-up of the hands, and Nick looks confused. He picks up a phone and calls the government hotline set up to take calls about Oceanic 815. He insists on speaking to a supervisor, claiming to have important info about the crash. The operator resists, until he tells her that he's certain the picture they're showing is not the pilot. A supervisor gets on the call, and Nick tells him that the corpse is not the pilot, because he never took off his wedding ring and the corpse is not wearing a ring. The supervisor wonders how Nick knows so much about the pilot. Nick tells him, "Because I was supposed to be flying Oceanic 815 on that day."

On the island, a rather beat-up-looking Nick Nolte...I mean, more beat-up-looking than usual. All dirty and unkempt, looking like a hobo. Not like usually...okay, this is hopeless. You know what I mean. He staggers through some trees and up a hill. At the top of the hill is a steep bank. He pulls himself up the bank using a tree root, and comes face to face with a cow. A polar cow! The cow walks away, and Nick climbs the rest of the way up. And then he falls over. His phone is broken, but he does have a flare gun in his pocket, and shoots a flare up into the sky.

Charlotte sees the flare, and wants Locke and the others to go rescue whoever it is. Everyone stares at her, and she points out that she risked her life getting there to try to save them. Hurley and Claire want to check out the flare, but Locke tells them Charlotte is lying. Everyone bickers, but Charlotte decides she's just going to go without the others. As she's telling Locke that he's not the boss of her, a shot rings out, and Charlotte collapses. Everyone looks around in shock, and we see Ben holding the smoking gun. (A quick shot of Carl looking flummoxed establishes that it is his gun.) Sawyer tackles him, and starts beating on him (some more). As he does that, Locke examines Charlotte's body. And she wakes up. It seems she was wearing a bulletproof vest.

Over at the spot where Nick Nolte collapsed in a heap...on the island, I mean. Not in some gutter somewhere. Anyway, over there, Jack and his group have found him. Jack says that he's alive, and Daniel and Miles try to wake him up. His name is Frank, by the way. He wakes up with a start, and tells them that lightning struck the helicopter. We establish that he doesn't know where Charlotte is and that he saw a cow. Miles tries to get him to focus, asking where the chopper crashed. His professional pride wounded, Frank tells him, "Crash? What kind of a pilot do you think I am? I put her down safe and sound right over there." Everyone walks to the crest of the hill, and they see the helicopter sitting in a clearing at the bottom of the hill. Commercials.

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