Thursday, July 9, 2009

1.03 Tabula Rasa

Follow along! The episode guide to "Tabula Rasa" is in Finding Lost, pp. 21-24.

After the fun and foreign feeling of the pilot, “Tabula Rasa” begins to feel more like the show we know and love. Sawyer’s nicknames are far more inventive (“Al Jazeera,” rather than the obvious “Lardo”) and he’s not just an ass, but a really funny one. Jack’s holier-than-thou self is already in fine form – he can be a hero... but just for one day.

Fun stuff I noticed:
• This episode features the first time Sawyer calls Kate Freckles. Aww...
• Sawyer is a complete dick to Jack from the get-go.
• I don’t think I caught this in the numbers in my book, but the marshal’s temperature is 104, which is the numbers added up, except for the 4.
• Aaaaaand... this is the beginning of us saying, “shut UP Jack.” He acts like he’s the new marshal and Kate should be telling him everything and that she OWES him that. Um... if I recall, SHE is the one who sewed YOU up, Buddy. Ahem.
• Wow, Hurley’s CD player looks SO outdated only 5 years later!!

Things that have new meaning:
• Kate gives a fake name to Ray, and it’s Annie, the name of Ben’s childhood sweetheart
• Ray, the guy who owns the farm, has the same name as Jack’s grandfather (how AWESOME would it have been if, in hindsight, they hadn’t made this guy Australian, and instead Jack’s grampy was living in the Outback?)
• Ray’s arm is prosthetic, just like Chang’s hand. The camera holds on it, as if showing us that things and people and places aren’t always as they seem.
• I meant to mention this in the blog for the previous episode, but Rousseau’s distress call is so different now that we’ve actually SEEN Smokey come and kill them all
• In “Namaste,” Sawyer has his harsh talk with Jack where he reminds him that his reactionary leadership cost a lot of people their lives, and that instead, Sawyer’s going to think things through. And that sometimes the hard choice is the only one you can make. In this episode, Jack’s pouring all the stash of antibiotics into one guy, and Sawyer confronts Jack about giving their only meds to someone who’s going to die anyway.
• Charlie changes the tape on his fingers. It originally said FATE, now it says LATE... which is an interesting foreshadowing of the time travel that will happen in a few more seasons.
• Jack: “Three days ago we all died... we should all be able to start over.” Interesting choice of words, there, Jack. Hm... no wonder that whole purgatory theory started so early. And now Jack is detonating an H-bomb that will cause all of them to die... so they can start over.


humanebean said...

Now, one of the first questions I asked myself upon rewatching this episode - why a Kate flashback? In hindsight, why was it necessary/important to show us a snippet of Kate's backstory at this point? I know, given the plot unfolding in present time (BOY do you have to use those words advisedly, even in retrospect) it makes perfect sense to begin with The Kate Runner (apologies to Khaled Hosseini ... and to my 2nd grade English teacher for using two parantheses in the same sentence).

The tension in this episode is unbelievable - I remember starting to become frustrated with the choices made by Kate/Jack/Sawyer/Sayid while viewing this for the first time. In hindsight, I understand more fully that it really MATTERED to me and that my investment was total.

Why does Charlie change the word on his fingertape? Why "LATE"? Given our subsequent adventures in time, the choice of this word screams out for over-interpretation. Heck, why not "MATE"? Or, "DATE", even? Ah, yes ... my nitpicking starts early!

JW said...

Have to say, I didn't really like this episode as much as the pilots or what was to come after. It seemed a little stagnant. And this was back when I liked Kate, before she became pouty and didn't want to do anything that wasn't her idea. Still, I'm starting to realize how much I missed Claire... especially pre-Aaron Claire, because she was such a loveable goof. (By the way, I'm not blaming her for changing after having the baby. I understand why she changed. I just miss the old Claire.)

Writing is my Passion said...

Tabula Rasa. What an episode. The ending "BOOM!" after the close-up of Locke's face . . . still scares me after watching the episode 4 times.

I wonder if Hurley bought an iPod after returning to civilization? I haven't seen someone using a walkman since mine died three years ago.

Jenn said...

When I watched this episode for the first time, I felt like the change to word LATE signified how Charlie felt about rescue. That is, he was wondering what the heck was taking the rescue crews so long? They're late!
Or, maybe that it was too LATE for rescue?
That's what I though the first time I watched this episode, but now I wonder...there's the whole time-travel issue to consider.

Jazzygirl said...

Yeah I questioned the LATE thing too. I also wondered why they would make the farmer's arm prosthetic. Why bother? Was it just a signal of things to come? I find it pretty random.

SonshineMusic said...

1. I just think that it's so sad how many people that Kate has trusted have deserted, abandoned or betrayed her. The farmer was indicative of her entire life.

2. Jack says "It's none of my business. It's not my problem." Which kind of made me snort because he makes everything his problem.

3. Interesting - in the fuselage Sawyer is gathering food, smokes, Playboys - his "addictions" whereas Jack is gathering...Drugs! His addiction.

4. I really did NOT like Jin at first and now he's one of my favorites. :)

5. @Nikki: how AWESOME would it have been if, in hindsight, they hadn’t made this guy Australian, and instead Jack’s grampy was living in the Outback?

Oh so very, very cool. I loved him so much and I am dying for him to have some sort of great significance in Season 6.

Katey said...

Wow, I can't believe some people didn't like this episode. This is probably one of my favorites in retrospect! I've been a Kate fan ever since this episode. I know it's a touchy subject, so many people hate her guts or are at least indifferent, but once I saw the complicated side of her I was like "yes! you rock sista'!". I'd say her and Sawyer were my first favorites in the show--although Sawyer only took about three seconds of showing his face during the Pilot to become my favorite and Kate took three episodes, but still--I thought this was a great, great episode.

I think the reason I like it so much is because I am a NUT for the whole duality thing in our Lostie characters--and Kate is really the first huge does of that we get in the show and this episode just makes your head spin with confusion. She's a fugitive clearly on the run for something HORRIBLE as apparently they've tracked her to freakin' Australia and put her name up in some random hick town canteena! But yet from what we know of her from the Pilot she's kind and pretty sweet, sort of shy and introverted but ridiculously heroic and already side-by-side with Jack in hero-status as she took control of the whole radio-tower thing on her own. It just doesn't make any sense. I remember being like "oh my GOSH, this is going to be the best show ever" as I watching this episode, the Pilot had already gotten me hooked into this amazing plot--but the real gem was the characters. Interesting, complex, multi-faceted characters are platinum to me.

Anyway--I found this episode so fascinating! I loved it! And again I resonate my questions from before about the Marshal's relationship with Kate--is it just me or is he really strange? What makes him so vindictive towards her? It seems so extreme, he's obsessed. Was he some creeper who like...wanted her or was he just genuinely out to bring justice for good 'ole Wayne's death? I don't know, it just seems soo weird to me. Not that he's really all that important of a character--I just feel fascinated by him. Marshal Mars. =P

1. I know! So many people don't seem to feel that way for some reason but I for one think she has one of the saddest stories because it wasn't ever just one person who made her life miserable (i.e. Jack's dad) it was literally EVERYONE in her life. Every single person she came across even the people who were supposed to love her unconditionally disowned her, and betrayed her time and time again--it makes me wonder how it must have felt to hear Jack describe how he was going to erase their history with an H-bomb...she must have been overjoyed. =P

2. Seriously! I had a huge debate about that with someone on another site--I love Jack, I really do, but he has his faults and that is totally a big one--he says he doesn't care, but he ALWAYS cares and he makes everything his problem whether people want him too or not. Aw Jacky, you'd feel so much better if you just dealt with your own stuff for once and left everyone else to themselves. Try it sometime.

4. Oh me too! Although it didn't take very long for Jin to hit the top of my favorites list (my first place is a four-way tie though). I think I'd probably already started liking him by this time...heheh, I still thought he was an arse, but then again--so was Sawyer and I was in love with him from scene one! You smolder Sawyer, just go on and smolder with those anger eyes.

hopesprings said...

Isn't it interesting that Kate tries to volunteer information about her past? It seems like a more mature Kate--less like the "runner" we know so well.

Susan said...

I have to wonder if Kate would have told Jack the truth if he had been willing, or would she have just made something up?

neciedee said...

I agree that something feels really creepy about the marshall and his whole disposition towards Kate - much greater than just doing his job. I was also a little weirded out by kate leaning so closely over his unconscious body.

The final shot, I can't decide... were they trying to make us just start to question who this Locke guy is, and might he be a creepy bad guy or a big player? Or was there something to be thought of how he was mysteriously staring at/studying Vincent from a distance?

Teebore said...

“Three days ago we all died... we should all be able to start over.”

Boy howdy, did that get the purgatory theories rolling! Good point, though, Nikki, about how Jack is now literally trying to start them all over. I missed that.

And I missed the parallel to "Namaste" and how the differences between Jack and Sawyer's approach to leadership is on display more or less from the get-go.

Great stuff!

joshua said...

Nothing of much interest to add. That said, I was going back over things I missed about the first season after s5 wrapped up -- feeling nostalgic, I guess, knowing how close we are to saying goodbye to all this -- and one of the things that topped the list was Hurley's cd player. One of the first LOST questions I remember pondering was when Hurley would run out of batteries.

On the possibility of the show structurally cycling back to this first season for its last (and touching on what 'Writing is my Passion' posited: I would love to see Hurley open up that guitar case and pull out an mp3 player for s6.

Marebabe1 said...

I agree that the probable reason Charlie wrote "LATE" on his fingertape was that the rescue boat was very late, in the 815ers' collective opinion.

Near the very end (41 minutes and 41 seconds on my DVD timer), we can see Walt with some of the airplane wreckage behind him, and there is what appears to be a Dharma logo painted on the side of the plane. It's visible only for a few seconds, then it's never seen again, and certainly never mentioned. What's up with that?

Regarding that final image of squinty-faced Locke, I know that to many fans he looks like the face of pure, menacing evil. But to me, he just looks squinty-faced, the way people do when they are in bright sunlight. No doubt the showrunners wanted to engage and intrigue the viewers, piling on as many questions and mysteries as possible to get people hooked. But I never for one minute thought Locke was a creepy bad guy. Not even when he flashed that orange-peel smile at Kate!

Susan said...

Re the Dharma logo on the plane...

My source for this is Lostpedia, so if you want details you can check it out there, but basically it's just a standard marking for airplanes that just happens to resemble the Dharma shape.

Jenn said...

re: Hurley's discman.
I agree. Hurley should rock an iPod in S6.
He can afford to buy one with his cursed lottery winnings! Hopefully that doesn't mean his iPod will be cursed! Ha!
Wait, aren't the winnings gone? Maybe he can't afford one after all. Maybe he'll have to settle with a few packs of fresh batteries for the ol' discman.
Oh Lost—thank goodness for the re-watch; how else would we keep all these details straight?

SonshineMusic said...

@ neciedee: I was also a little weirded out by kate leaning so closely over his unconscious body.

I know, in watching it again it almost looks like she is about to kiss him or something, it's that kind of closeness. Really creepy.

kirathena said...

Episode 3, yay! Nothing deep here but it was an episode of character self-revelations for me!

I hate Kate. Seriously. I have a problem (haha, KHA-Kate Haters Annon). Yes, she is a complex character with a interesting backstory. But, all her problems seem to be of her own making & she always manages to make the wrong decisions that seem to screw up other people's lives. After saying that, the last couple of eps with her I didn't really mind her so much. This one as well. Looking back I think I do remember ambivalence about her until later on. Or, maybe I'm mellowing in my old Lost age. So, surprisingly I enjoyed this episode more than I thought I would.

My Jack annoyance rating for this episode is 3/5 for expecting Kate to tell him everything & then rebuffing her when she tries to trust Jack with it, trying to save everyone (dying Marshal & ALL the antibiotics), but gets a point back for having to clean up Sawyer's botched assisted suicide attempt.

Oh and a shocking realization has happened to me sometime about this episode! I always thought I liked Charlie quite a lot but as I re-watch I am starting to find him a bit boring & annoying. His stories all seem to be the same same: drugs & his ability to be useful. And we seem to be heading that way each time we see him. He needed more dimension!

I agree that Locke looked evil at the end. I wonder if they were trying to create that impression before next week to make him seem suspicious or if they hadn't decided yet if he would be?

EvaHart said...

I always thought that the Late on Charlie's tape was related to Calire and her baby being late. I only thought this because of teh way we see Claire holding her stomach when Charlie studies the newly chaged word. I could be wrong though as the baby wasn't late at this point, i can't remember if it was even late when she did give birth?

The Original Blawger said...

When this episode originally aired, I expected to eventually learn more about the U.S. Marshall. When he said to Jack, "She got to you too, huh?" I thought that implied a romantic invlovement between Jack and Kate was on the horizon, and there had been a romance between Kate and the U.S. Marshall at some point in the past.

Marebabe1 said...

Susan, thanks for the lead over at Lostpedia regarding the apparent Dharma logo on the plane wreckage. That explanation sounds good to me. However, when I went to Lostpedia to read it for myself, I tried typing in several different "searches" in an effort to find that item, and I never found it. Any suggestions on what I should type in? Or has it maybe been removed because it's now such old news? Again, thanks!

humanebean said...

Random Thought for the Day: the title for this episode, of course, refers to the treatise of philosopher John Locke describing each person as being born with a 'blank slate' at birth. Lostpedia helpfully notes that this also "emphasized the individual's freedom to author his or her own soul". This puts an interesting spin on the final shot of Locke's face in the firelight.

Locke has certainly been reborn. And, given Smokey's interest in ol' Baldy, the next episode certainly gives us pause to consider Locke's 'freedom to author his own soul'. Is this the beginning of the terrible bargain that Locke makes in order to be "one with the Island"?

Susan said...

Sorry Marebabe I should have included the source. If you go to Lostpedia and type Persistent rumors in the search bar, it will take you to a page where the logo is mentioned (it's #3 on the list). It even includes an off-site source for the information.

Marebabe1 said...

Susan, thanks much! I can see that I should probably spend some time just browsing around in Lostpedia. There's so much there!

Azá said...

Part 3:
• Rain - definitely plays a significant part on the show?
• Walt tells to his dad, Michael that Locke told him a miracle happened here?
• Sawyer says that rescue is not coming, perhaps his future past memory?
• Written by Damon only?

Benny said...

Interesting quotes:

Sayid: "Hope is a dangerous thing to lose." -- How much does that resonate in whole of lost.

Charlie (when using the wheelchair): "Whosever this was is probably better off than we are." -- In a sense...