Rose and Bernard's story will likely be remembered as Lost's most consistently compelling and surprising plot thread: L. Scott Caldwell's theater commitments meant that she wasn't available often enough for the characters to become the subject of wheel-spinning, and so no scene with Rose or Bernard was ever wasted. The show's main characters may have consistently missed the point of their own stories, but Rose and Bernard could always be counted on to put a button on who the people around them were and bring the show's underlying themes to the surface.
Bernard's introduction was also one of the show's biggest surprises. Not only did the moment redeem Rose's unflappable confidence, it was also Lost's clearest statement about love and prejudice: Because Rose had never mentioned that she was in an inter-racial marriage, most of the audience members had just assumed that her husband was black. Hurley spoke for the audience, as he so often did, when he said, “Rose's husband is white? Didn't see that coming.”
When we finally saw Rose and Bernard reunite, their easy comfort with one another seemed like the type of mature love that is earned through decades of living, fighting and laughing together. I for one expected their inevitable flashback episode to explore what it had to have been like for them to meet and fall in love decades ago: Did they meet as young kids during the Civil Rights era? Maybe we were going to be in for an inverted version of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? Was it possible that their relationship was going to serve as some kind of analysis of 1980s American business?
As we all know now, their flashback didn't go further back in time than a year or so. It was silly to think that they would have been able to find two actors to believably represent both of the late-middle-aged characters twenty years earlier. But part of me thinks that if they really tried, they could have found someone to play Young Bernard. I know that I did on the subway a couple months ago, and you can see a picture of him after the jump.