Maternity Leave is the fifteenth episode of the second season, and the fortieth episode overall.
A desperate Claire, along with Kate and Rousseau, attempts a return to the scene of her kidnapping where she believes she might find the cure for Baby Aaron's mysterious illness. Meanwhile, Jack and Locke must keep their prisoner a secret from the rest of the survivors.
Starring: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Mr. Eko), Naveen Andrews (Sayid), Emilie de Ravin (Claire), Matthew Fox (Jack), Jorge Garcia (Hurley), Josh Holloway (Sawyer), Daniel Dae Kim (Jin), Yunjin Kim (Sun), Evangeline Lilly (Kate), Dominic Monaghan (Charlie), Terry O'Quinn (John), Harold Perrineau, Jr. (Michael), Michelle Rodriguez (Ana-Lucia), Cynthia Watros (Libby).
- At night on the beach, Claire tries to calm a crying Aaron. She wakes up Locke and tells him that Aaron is burning up and has a rash, and that she needs to find Jack. With Jack on shift at the Swan, Locke tells Claire that he'll go and send Jack to her. After Locke leaves Claire alone at her shelter, Rousseau appears and tells Claire that her child is infected and is sick. Kate shows up to protect Claire and demands that Rousseau leaves their camp. Once Jack arrives and looks over Aaron, he tells Claire that Aaron probably has a typical virus for children his age. Kate tells him that Rousseau was there and said the baby was sick, but Jack dismisses Rousseau's warning, telling them that no one has gotten sick during the two months they've been on the island and Rousseau is crazy.
- In the morning, Claire approaches Libby and asks Libby to help her remember what happened when she was missing for two weeks on the island. With Libby's help, Claire has a flashback and then wakes up screaming, yelling she saw Ethan Rom and that he did something to her. Kate gets a gun from Sawyer after telling him she and Claire are going after Rousseau, but declines his offer to help. Kate and Claire set off into the jungle and Rousseau finds them. Rousseau takes them to where Claire scratched her, then asks Claire where they're going next. Perplexed, Claire tells Rousseau that she scratched her because she was trying to take her back to "them." Rousseau is furious with Claire, telling her she lied and said she remembered. As Rousseau argues with Kate, Claire wanders off and remembers where Ethan took her. With Kate's help, Claire pulls a tarp off a doorway to another station. The group descends inside the darkened bunker - The Staff - and Kate finds and distributes DHARMA-branded flashlights. Claire and Rousseau find the nursery the Others were going to keep Aaron, while Kate, after turning the power back on, discovers a locker room. Claire finds the operating room and the refrigerator that had the medicine in it, but discovers that it's completely empty. After having another flashback, Claire realizes that Rousseau helped her escape and wasn't trying to bring her back to the Others. After leaving the Staff, Rousseau splits off from Kate and Claire. Before she does, however, Claire tells Rousseau that a girl with blue eyes helped her escape, that she wasn't like the Others in that she was good. Once Kate and Claire return to the beach camp, Jack tells Claire that Aaron is fine and his fever has broken.
- At the Swan, Jack and Locke keep an eye on Henry Gale. Locke gives him a book by Dostoyevsky for some reading, but Gale asks him if he has any Stephen King. Locking Henry back inside the armory, Locke tells Jack that they can't hide Henry down inside the station forever and wants to know what the long-term plan is. In response, Jack tells him that they don't have a long-term plan for the button but they keep pushing it, and they'll keep doing what they're going unless he's got a better idea. Able to hear their conversation through the thin armory door, Henry Gale suggests they let him go. Later, Locke brings Henry some food. As he's about to leave, Henry asks Locke if he's the genius or the guy who always feels like he's living in the shadow of a genius. He tells Locke that he doesn't understand why Locke lets Jack call all the shots. Locking Henry inside the armory, Locke starts doing the dishes before losing his temper and pushing all the dishes on the counter to the floor.
- On the beach, Eko is chopping down trees he marked earlier with an X. He enters the Swan and finds Locke changing light bulbs. In the Swan's bathroom, Jack is with Henry Gale and he closes the door and motions for Henry to be quiet. Eko asks to borrow a saw from Locke and, when Locke leaves to get it, Eko notices a cot set up inside the armory. Back on the beach, Eko talks to Jack who is getting water. He asks Jack who the man is they're keeping inside the hatch and asks to speak to the man alone or he won't keep the man a secret. Jack takes Eko back to the Swan and tells Locke that Eko knows about Henry. Locked inside the armory with Henry Gale, Eko recounts his tale about how he killed two of the Others the first night he was on the island. He apologizes to Henry, telling him that he's back on the righteous path and regrets his actions, and finally asks for Henry's forgiveness. Henry asks him why he's being told this, and Eko tells him it's because he needed to tell someone. Eko cuts off two long strands on his beard and leaves Henry.
- Flashback: Claire
Inside an examination room, Claire is in a hospital gown and on an examination table. A man asks her when her last check-up was, but Claire tells the man it's been a while since she's going to Lost Angeles because there's a family there and she's giving them her baby for adoption. The man tells her he understands and gave her a mild sedative because these exams can be stressful. He pulls out a set of keys attached to a DHARMA key chain, opens a refrigerator, and fills a syringe with a liquid from a vial. The man, Ethan Rom, tells Claire that it's a little medicine for her baby and she’s only going to feel a little pinch.
At a later point in Claire's stay inside the Staff, Claire is again inside the examination room and Ethan administers another injection of medicine for her baby. An obviously drugged and dazed Claire asks Ethan if he has to put it in her tummy as it really, really hurts. Ethan tells her he knows, but the baby needs it. After giving her the injection, Ethan tells Claire that, since she's been such a good girl, he has a surprise for her. He leads her out of the room, down a corridor, and eventually into a nursery room. Ethan tells her it's for her baby. Asking Ethan where Charlie is, Ethan replies that he's fine and, once they got far enough away from camp, he let him go back. Ethan lets her play with a crib while he steps outside into the corridor to talk to a man - Mr. Friendly. Mr. Friendly is dressed in clean clothes and is clean shaven. He tells Ethan that he was supposed to make a list and then bring Claire in, but Ethan tells him they knew he wasn't on the plane because they had a manifest. Unhappy with Ethan's excuse, Mr. Friendly asks Ethan what he's supposed to tell "him".
Later, Ethan helps a still-drugged Claire outside of the Staff. He apologizes to Claire about this being the first time he could get her outside, but his friends are afraid she'll run away. The two sit down on a log and Ethan lets Claire drink from his DHARMA-branded canteen. She tells him it's sour, but Ethan merely takes a whiff and tells her he hadn't noticed. Ethan tells Claire that he's going to miss her and wishes she didn't have to go, but there’s not enough vaccine for both her and the baby. Once she’s delivered the baby she can go back to her friends and hopefully not get sick. Asking if she wants to see the baby, Ethan tells her that no one is going to take her baby from her unless that's what she wants. He tells her that they are good people, a good family, but she needs to be sure if she is going to trust them with her child.
Later inside the nursery, a young girl wakes Claire up and tells her she has to go out immediately. She shows her to the door and the two peek down the corridor to the examination room which has been turned into an operating room and is full of people in surgical scrubs. The young girl closes the door and tells Claire that they're going to cut Claire's baby out of her tonight, that they're going to kill her. Claire, still dazed from the drugs, tells her that Ethan wouldn't hurt her and she needs to talk to him. Fighting with Claire, the young girl puts a rag over Claire's face and Claire passes out. The young girl tells Claire that she will thank her one day.
Out in the jungle at night Claire regains consciousness as an alarm can be heard off in the distance. Claire yells out for Ethan, telling him that she wants him to have the baby. Rousseau appears out of the jungle as, off in the distance, Ethan yells for Claire. Rousseau tells Claire to be quiet, but Claire yells for Ethan and tells Rousseau that she needs to give her baby to them so he'll be safe. Rousseau tries to quiet Claire and drag her away, but the two struggle and Rousseau finally knocks her out with the butt of her rifle.
- Why was Ethan administering a vaccination for Claire's unborn baby?
- What is the purpose of the Staff?
- Why do the Others apparently have costumes and make-up on when they are out in the jungle?
- Who is the man Mr. Friendly refers to when talking with Ethan?
- Who is the young girl that helped Claire escape from the Staff?
- Ethan Rom attacked Claire in her sleep. (1x10 - Raised by Another)
- Ethan Rom was one of the Others. (1x10 - Raised by Another)
- Ethan wanted only Claire because of her unborn baby. (1x11 - All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues)
- Claire escaped from Ethan through the help of a young girl and then Danielle Rousseau. (1x15 - Homecoming)
- Claire was drugged and kept inside the Staff by Ethan and the Others. She was repeatedly given a vaccine of an unknown nature for her child. (1x15 - Homecoming)
The Cursed Numbers
- The medicine Ethan administers for Claire is takes bottles with labels that read CR 4-81516-23 42.
- The present condition of the Staff differs substantially from what Claire remembers in her flashbacks. Either the Others packed up much of their things and abandoned the station when Claire escaped or Claire is combining experiences of what happened before the crash to what happened to her when she went missing. Libby said the combination of experiences is possible. In example, the Oceanic airplanes on the crib's mobile are similar to those that Claire saw in her dream in Raised by Another. In addition, the mobile played "Catch a Falling Star", the same song that her father sang to her and the song that Claire wanted the prospective parents to sing to her baby when she met them for the adoption process.
- Kate discovers a locker room containing ragged clothing the Others wear when they've been seen and a kit containing theatrical glue and a false beard, much like the one worn by Mr. Friendly. Coupled with the fact that Claire saw Mr. Friendly sans beard and dressed in modern clothing, it's possible the Others dress in "costume" when they appear out in the jungle.
- The medicine bottles that Ethan was using to vaccinate Claire's baby with bear the same label as the bottles that Desmond was using on himself in the Swan.
- Claire tells Rousseau that a young girl helped her escape, a girl with blue eyes. Rousseau's child, Alexandra, had blues eyes. It's possible the young girl that helped Claire is Alexandra Rousseau.
- Kate, Claire, and Rousseau discover the Staff.
- Kate gets a gun from Sawyer.
- Eko continues his work regarding marking and now cutting down trees for something.
- Claire now remembers her time when she was abducted by Ethan.
- Sawyer finds a new pair of glasses to read with.
- Eko knows about Henry Gale, but agrees to keep him a secret.
- 1x14 - Special: Rousseau carried Claire on her back and placed her where Locke and Boone found her when they were searching the jungle for Vincent.
- 1x23 - Exodus, Part One: The scratches that Locke first noticed on Rousseau's arm were when Rousseau got Claire away from Ethan and the Others.
- The Shark: The canteen that Ethan carried with him bears the same DHARMA logo seen on the shark in Adrift.
- Flashbacks: This is the first episode in which the flashbacks directly correspond to the present narrative. It is also the first flashback to take place on the island (with the exception of The Other 48 Days.
- Missing in Action: Charlie, Sayid, and Jin do not appear in this episode.
Behind the Scenes
- Awards: For his role as Henry Gale in this episode, Michael Emerson was nominated for an IVy Award for the 2005-06 season for Best Guest Actor or Actress in a Drama Series.
Allusions and References
- Mr. Eko's confession to Henry Gale.