A Juliet-centric episode of "Lost" tonight at least made clear some battle lines in what seems to be the upcoming conflict.
Elizabeth Mitchell does, indeed, do a bang-up job with the character of Juliet, and she helped define the Us vs. Them mystery in tonight's episode focusing on her past. According to Ben, and what the editors of the show are leading us to believe, Penelope's father, Charles Widmore — who we saw in the last episode at auction buying a journal from the Black Rock, the 19th century ship the castaways found marooned in the middle of the island early on — is an evil overlord out to find the island so he can exploit (or sell) its powers. As suspected, it must be clearer now that Charles Widmore set up Desmond to go on that sailing trip in order to get stranded on the island — so he could find it. Perhaps he hired the absent-minded professor Daniel because he learned that Desmond would be his constant in the time shifts. There are no coincidences in life, and definitely not on this show.
No flash-forwards tonight, but I now have a flash-forward theory of my own: Ben's man on the boat is Michael.