Wednesday, October 7, 2009

3.01 A Tale of Two Cities

Follow along! The episode guide for “Tale of Two Cities” is in Finding Lost — Season 3, pp. 6-12.

Just as season 2 began with a setting and character we didn’t know and a song from the 60s, season 3 does the same thing. Watching it now, it’s interesting to see our beloved Juliet in these early scenes, where she was almost as unreadable as she is now. Much like Ben, who we know SO much more about now, and yet we still don’t know how sincere he is, Juliet has continued to switch sides throughout the following seasons. I don’t have much to say about this one that I didn’t say already in my book, but it’s definitely a good one to discuss…

Fun things I noticed:
• I never tire of seeing Jack run toward the open door and smack into the glass wall. Heehee…
• No, Kate. You’re really not Tom’s type.
• Hm. They mention an autopsy of Jack’s father. I couldn’t help but wonder if it was done by the same guy who’d done the autopsy on “Charlotte” in “?” He didn’t know living from dead, according to the father…

Things that have new meaning:
• Now we know that the opening scene happens the morning after Juliet has seen Ben’s X-ray, and she realizes that he’s got a tumour after reassuring her that he’s saved her sister from cancer. No wonder she’s so upset and distant at the beginning. A deleted scene from the opening was used as one of the mobisodes, “The Envelope.”
• Amelia, the older woman who shows up at book club, is the one I was referring to throughout season 5 as possibly being the older version of Amy, the woman who gives birth to Ethan in season 5. She certainly talks to him like she’s his mother in this episode. But if that’s the case, how did they defect to the Others?
• “Let it go, Jack.” It’s interesting to me that Jack is highlighted as the obsessive one in this episode, and yet aren’t most of the characters obsessive in some way or another? Hurley’s obsessed with the numbers, Kate can’t stop running, Sawyer’s obsessed with, well, Sawyer, Locke is obsessed with what his father did to him… Jack’s certainly not the only person on this island who can’t let go.
• It’s CRAZY to see the first encounter between Juliet and Sawyer. He runs from her, she tasers him in the neck. Ah. Love at first sight.


Marebabe said...

After the earthquake that interrupted the book club meeting, everyone in New Otherton went outside and looked up. Why? They hadn’t heard the sounds of the crashing plane yet. Some have guessed that the reason Ben was looking up was that he knew it was time for the crash of Oceanic 815. (Right on schedule?) But it wasn’t just Ben. Everyone was scanning the sky. We now know that the trembling was caused by the “system failure” down at the Swan, but our book club members didn’t know that, at least not right then. I think the people were looking for evidence of a volcanic eruption (spewing lava, smoke and/or ash). Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions tend to go together. I wonder if the Island’s volcano has erupted at any time in the last 50 (or 500) years? Was an eruption ever seen by the Dharma folk? Or the ancients who built the giant statue? (That word, “ancients” always reminds me of Stargate SG-1. Wouldn’t that be an awesome crossover episode, if we found out there’s a Stargate on Lost Island? But I digress...)

New Otherton must have a big gym, because that’s a really big locker room where Kate showers. Also from those opening scenes, Kate must’ve really wanted some coffee! She traded handcuffs for coffee. Think of the significance for Kate, who has spent much of her life on the run, who has been a captive before and is a captive now, to put on those handcuffs. She was clearly feeling hopeless, and figured that wearing the cuffs wouldn’t make her any more helpless than she already was. She was totally defeated.

Regarding Jack’s suspicions about his father and Sarah, y’know, Christian Shephard was Sarah’s father-in-law. They’re family. I have all of my family’s various phone numbers programmed into my cell phone. There’s nothing the least bit fishy or suspect about it. I think Jack was already going off the rails pretty badly at this point. His drinking and pill-popping only made things worse. And another thing: How did Jack get Sarah’s cell phone away from her? Didn’t she miss it?

Marebabe said...

Until this rewatch, I had forgotten that, when Juliet and Sawyer first met, she tasered him. For them, it was a very long road to being in love!

What was the point of marching Karl back to the cages and making him apologize to Sawyer? Every time I see this episode, that little item seems even weirder to me.

In the scene where Jack is giving instructions to a nurse and sees his dad in the hall talking on his cell phone, I thought I recognized the actress playing the nurse as the same one who checked on Locke after his kidney-transplant surgery. I confirmed it by checking the end credits for “Deus Ex Machina”. It is indeed the same actress, Julie Ow. So what does that tell us? It either means that Locke’s surgery was done at St. Sebastian’s Hospital, another path-crossing coincidence, or it just means that these nurse roles were both so small that the casting people thought no one would ever notice. And really, I never noticed it before. This must be the 6th or 7th time I’ve rewatched Season 3.

In Jack’s file that Juliet has on the table in front of her, there is a copy of Christian’s autopsy report. We know that Mikhail was gathering info on all of the 815ers, but how did he manage to get his hands on things that were not public records? An autopsy report is pretty private and confidential, isn’t it? Actually, I just now thought of the likely explanation for it. Mikhail is a computer wizard and hacker extraordinaire!

Debi said...

Hi, first time commenter.
I have been reading your blog and the other comments for some time, but everything had always been written before I got to it, so I never joined the conversation.

I had started re-watching the series last year before the start of Season 5, but went too slow and only got through Seasons 1 and 2 before 5 started. So this is the first time that I have watched Season 3 since the original viewings. It's been long enough that I can almost recapture the sense of not having seen the episodes (though not entirely, since I have now seen Season 4 and 5, so know more about the characters). I am struck by how cruel the Others are to the Losties - the skin on Kate's wrists rubbed raw, making her work all day in the sun in that dress (hello 2nd or 3rd degree sunburn - and yes you can get at least 2nd degree sunburn - I have), all the tasering. I suppose it is for the purpose of getting Jack to do the operation, but as you point out in your book, Nikki, why not just ask him? It really seems over the top, as though the Losties are being punished for appearing on the island and upsetting the calm lifestyle of the Others.

One item that I note, is in your book you mention that Jack and Kate got injections as indicated by the bandages. However, since these bandages are in the crook of their elbows, it is more likely that they had blood taken, just like Michael when he arrived at the camp. I wonder if we will ever learn what the Others were testing them for. Radiation sickness (indicated by anemia)? An infection of some sort? It is possible that Sawyer also had blood drawn - since he wears a shirt through the first few episodes this season, we don't see.

Anyway, thanks for all the informative comments and speculations over the years.

Anonymous said...

It didn't occur to me to wonder on first viewing about this, but what exactly happened to Kate between having breakfast with Ben and being thrown into the cage opposite Sawyer? Her wrists didn't get that badly chafed from picking up a fork and a coffee cup. And she seemed really, really subdued and traumatized. I kept waiting for Sawyer to ask what happened to her, but he never did, though it was obvious *something* had.

Gillian Whitfield said...

Love this episode. Juliet is an excellent character. I hope she isn't dead!

I said the EXACT same thing about Sawyer and Juliet's first meeting! I really couldn't believe that they fall in love after that first meeting.

The beginning to this episode is amazing. This was the second episode I saw before I really started watching.

Susan said...

I have some comments to post a little later, but just wanted to answer a couple of questions.

I don't think Jack has Sarah's phone, I think he has the phone bill or records.

As for Kate, there is a deleted scene that shows her somehow hanging off a locker door, trying to get out of the handcuffs -- this is how she hurt her wrists.

Seabiscuit said...

Like I said in my comment on TGB, I can barely stand to watch Juliet here when she was still awesome. I loved how she took charge and made sure everyone was safely positioned during the earthquake. Sigh.

Sawyer and Kate seeing each other was so sweet. And sharing the fishbiscuit. Aww. And on a side note, I love how Josh Holloway runs. His legs are so long he just bounds like a deer.

Jack running into the glass was a hoot. Someone left that door open just for that purpose, I'm sure. Hee.

JS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tiasabita said...

This is where I originally started watching LOST and I only lasted a few episodes till I gave it up due to the unexplained and excessive violence. Why was I hearing so much about this awesome show? I just didn't get it. I got sucked back in later on in the season, (obviously!) and I sure hope we see a logical explanation to the brutality in S6.

It's so funny to see how Sawyer checked out Juliet for just half a second before she tasered him! But I guess he doesn't miss an opportunity to appreciate the ladies.

I know this is LOST we're talking about, and a TV show en general, but there's no way J & J could have closed that heavy door on all that water!

I think you mentioned in your book, Nikki, that repo man was a strange job for Jack to select. (Sorry, the book is at work and I read the chapter a couple weeks ago.) Was it maybe to give the image that he was a tough guy, that he was gonna show no mercy? It's interesting that Jack then turns to mush whenever the uncomfortable and deeply painful subjects of his dad or his ex-wife are brought up.

Katey said...

I'm back guys! (d'ya miss me) Well, at least, I'm going to try and be back for as long as can.

I enjoyed your assessment of Kate in that first comment, so true right? She was absolutely at her lowest point so far which seems weird because she's just had a shower, been given a beautiful dress to wear and brought out to a pampered breakfast on the beach on a beautiful day...that for Kate is defeat. I think we talked about it in an earlier episode but I loved listening to the commentary on this episode, and how the writers talked about the process it took them to decided what exactly Ben could do to Kate to break her, and how they decided that forcing her to put on that dress was what would put her in her most vulnerable state. She's so guarded and walled up inside her gruff, beat 'em down, run like the devil's after you, she-woman cage that just the simple act of making her indulge herself was enough to break her completely into utter hopelessness. I thought that was the most interesting twist out of the three of them (Jack's being the whole "glass room" and Sawyer being in the polar bear cage).

Hey, welcome! :) I agree about the Others too, they really, really, really puzzle me. The more I try and figure them out the stranger and more inconsistent they get. Then again, I suppose the idea of a sort of "puritanical" utopian society leaves plenty of room for that--all the double-standards and insane punishments and whatnot. But still, it's bizarre. The thing that gets me is how they convert people--I mean, we saw Juliet as a normal woman back in the real world, and somehow, in the course of her three years, she became one of them. Yet she's still humane in the end, but she's also far different from the same person she was, she's willing to expend people's opinion of her to get to the end goal, willing to hurt people, lie, cheat, whatever--and she did all this to the losties even while attempting (as we found out later) to defect to them! It's so strange...and the same thing with Cindy and the kids. I always get freaked out during that one scene coming up where Cindy and the kids and a bunch of people are just mulling around the cages and acting brainwashed and bizarre. The Others are just so dang STRANGE! I don't understand it!

And that brings me to something else I've wondered about for a long time, and forgive me for jumping the gun on this one but, when Juliet first defects to the Losties, she tells Sawyer and Sayid (I think it was them...) that if she told them everything she knew about the Others, they'd kill her. Why would they just drop that? You'd think that after years of living together, fighting together and trusting each other in Dharmaville, she would feel reasonably able to tell Sawyer at least everything she knows about them. Could it be that, somehow, all this time she hasn't actually defected at all but it was all somehow one big long con? Unlikely, sure. But it's weird right?

Susan said...

My first time through this season, I had the (unoriginal) opinion that it spent too much time in Othersville and that it took forever to bring Jack etc. back to their comfy beach homes. Now whenever I rewatch this season I recognize all the good stuff that I overlooked the first time through.

Ok on to this episode.

I LOVE the plane crash -- so well done and unexpected. It's one of my favorite scenes (and the special effects are much better than the submerging sub will be in season 5).

What is with the intercom in Jack's cage? Juliet says it's not working, and it doesn't seem to be a lie, but it gives Jack some weird info in the next few episodes.

One of the things I enjoy most about these early season 3 episodes is Jack's sarcasm when dealing with the Others. Sure he's their captive, and they know how to manipulate him, but for the most part he doesn't take anything from them.

Re Christian and Sarah, I find it interesting that Christian uses Sarah's name for AL. I think that's why many of us go along with Jack in thinking Christian is Sarah's new man.

Fred said...

One thing that struck me about this episode is how much it brings to mind the notion of behind the scenes--like the Wizard of Oz. When Juliet walks out of the cell and talks to Ben, they show a different attitude. Did they expect Jack to charge Juliet and try to take her captive? When Juliet helps Jack close the door to seal out the water, she tells him to push the button (more button pushing), then she knocks him out. I got the impression she could have taken Jack at any time he was holding her.

Also I noticed, when Jack is threatening to kill Juliet, the scene looks like the one with Keamy and Alex. The whole episode is about Jack giving up control (his obsessive need to control everything, what his father calls "fix things").

Sawyer needs to learn to care for someone else--first a stranger, Karl. Sawyer sees the consequences of participating in the escape, when Tom brings Karl to apologise before Sawyer. Sawyer has to be brought to a point where he cares for Kate.

And Kate has to learn to not run. To think of others. Both Sawyer and Kate are very much alike in that they are concerned only with themselves for various reasons.

I like that when Sarah tells Jack that when his father phoned her he was drunk--this is after we learn from the AA meeting he had been sober for 50 days. So Jack was the trigger that got his father drinking again. Of course Jack never saw things that way.

Jazzygirl said...

In watching this again, I'm a little confused about things in terms of the S5 stuff and time travel, which has always thrown me off. I too wondered why they were looking up. Also, isn't Othertown on the second island and the plan crashed on the "main" island? How would Goodwin and Ethan get there so fast without being seen coming from a boat?
As for the runway, Nikki, you mention they are building the runway for the Ajira flight...did they KNOW this at the time? Or at the time are they just building one with the thought that they'll start using planes? And if they DID know LOL

SonshineMusic said...

@Marebabe:“ancients” always reminds me of Stargate SG-1

Yes! Oh my werd, a crossover episode would be hysterical, but totally not in keeping. Maybe a spoof episode. Anyone have mad video skills?

@tiasabita: It's so funny to see how Sawyer checked out Juliet for just half a second before she tasered him

That struck me as funny too, like, hello there and then ZAP! Ha!
They had an interesting little moment at the runway as well, right before he kisses Kate.

@Katey: welcome back! I know I've missed you and your comments :)

@Jazzygirl: about the plane crashing. This really impressed me this time, because unless you're really paying attention it doesn't look like there are two islands, but if you do, you can see that there are. At least it looked like it to me.

SonshineMusic said...

Okay, now some comments of my own....

I love Juliet's line, "Excuse me for thinnking free will still exists on this..." Ah! There is the question. Does free will exist on this Island or not?

And this is the thing that has bothered me all through the rewatch. Ben tells Goodwin and Ethan that he wants lists in 3 days. The Tailies are attacked the first night and then a few days later. The Losties are never attacked in that way and Ethan never delivers any lists, but it's been over two weeks by the time he kidnaps Claire. It just doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever.

Another fantastic Juliet quote: "It doesn't matter what we were. It only matters what we are." Talk about a profound statement for the show in general. Everyone (the Losties in particular) are desperately trying to leave behind the past, but it's easy to see that it DOES matter what they were, because they can't leave it behind.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I only noticed this because I watched the episode with headphones on (hubby was sleeping), but the Others looked up in the sky because they heard the plane coming. It was faint at first, but you could hear the engine struggling and that's when they all looked up.

Susan said...

Jazzygirl, it can be a bit confusing, but Otherville is on the main island, and the Others were there when the plane crashed. When Michael leads Jack et. al. to the Others' trap, they are still on the main island. At some point that we don't see, the Others take Jack etc. to the Hydra island.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, @Debi for raising the question that has nagged at me since seeing Juliet and Sawyer in Dharmaville.

Didn't she tell him who the Others are, how they got there, how they live, why the fake village (to bring Michael to), how they get to the mainland, why are people on the other island, why the violence, and a thousand other questions? Juliet was still somewhat spooky on the island but now in her Dharma life with Sawyer she’s just another Lostie.

When we first saw Jack going to Sawyer's house in Season 5, I was thinking, FINALLY we were going to finally find out who the Others really are because surely Sawyer would have learned by now from his ‘wife’, but it never comes up.

Huh? I sure hope all these enduring questions about the Others get answered in Season 6 because so much of the first half of season 3 is STILL a mystery three years later. Hopefully they weren't just making it all up as they went along and erasing it a few weeks later.

The Question Mark said...

@ Fred: very insightful comments about how and why jack, kate and Sawyer were treated the way they were by the Others. I've never looked at it that way before, and now that i do it makes perfect sense!

In regards to the runway, the Ajira plane lands four years in the future, if I'm not mistaken. The only possible explanationas to how the Others know of this is if either Jacob, Richard, or Un-Locke informed them of it. I'm curious to see how that gets resolved.

The plane crash scene at the beginning was beautiful. And like you pointed out, Nikki, I absolutely LOVE how this season, Season 2, and Season 5 all open with strangers in a strange environment playing 60s music. I really, REALLY hope Seaon 6 starts in the same manner, it's because a Lost staple for me now!

The Question Mark said...

Actually, to elaborate a bit, it's a VERY big mystery as to how on earth the Others know that the plane is going to land. In my recollection, during all of the season 5 time-travel, the Island only ever seems to flash to the past, never to the future, which makes sense to me, because the future isn't written yet.

Since the Others couldn't have flashed to the future, then the only possible explanation is that somebody who knows about rhe Ajira plane landign on that runway will still continue time-traveling during Season 6. How and why is still p in the air, though...

Marebabe said...

@studiorose: That's very interesting, about the sound of the stuggling plane overhead. I'll be looking at that again, with the volume WAY UP.

The Shout said...

The Question Mark:

During the Season 5 time flashes the Losties did go to the future. When they returned to the beach they found the Ajira waer bottle and took the canoe only to be shot at by persons unknown.
Jacob seems to be able to traverse time and space pretty readily, as we saw in the Season 5 finale, so I assume he passed down the order to build the runaway. His orders seem to be taken on blind faith so they might not have known why they were building it.

Nikki Stafford said...

Re: Why they look up: Good question, Marebabe, and I thought the same thing when I watched it this time around. I backed it up and I'm pretty sure Ben comes out first, looking at the sky, and the others see him do it and they look up, too. He could have great hearing, and could hear the struggling plane, or maybe, on his way out the door, he actually saw it in the air (it was fairly close to the ground, considering how high a plane should be).

OR... if you think about it, a plane would NEVER go over the island. They've never seen nor heard one since coming there, and so even if it was the tiniest sound in the air, their heads would have looked up to see the plane.

OR... Ben somehow knows the future. How? I have no idea. But maybe he does. He's always acted like someone -- like Eloise in season 5 -- who knows what's going to happen next.

Teebore said...

One of the things that struck me while re-watching this ep was how "Other-ish" Juliet was at this point. After knowing her so well more recently as the "Reluctant Other" it was kind of a shock to see her again calmly manipulating Jack and taking orders from Ben.

I don't consider it mis-characterization by any means (especially since her unease with the Others will be established quickly enough in a few episodes time); rather, it's a tribute to how well developed her character is that I was so thrown off by her initial character when watching it again.

What was the point of marching Karl back to the cages and making him apologize to Sawyer? Every time I see this episode, that little item seems even weirder to me.

I always figured it was a combination of the weird behavior modification to which they were subjecting Karl (in Room 23) and an attempt to reinforce to Sawyer that A. Escape is impossible and B. Bad things happen when you try.

I'm hoping that when we finally find out the Others deal once and for all, some of that explanation will also help explain why everyone follows Ben's "let's manipulate these people into helping me instead of just asking" plan."

I mean, I know manipulation is second nature to Ben, and that the Others are pretty loyal to their leader, but wouldn't SOMEONE close(r) to him (Tom, maybe?) say "hey, Ben, you know, maybe we should just ask Jack to help?"

As for Juliet spilling all her Others secrets to Sawyer, it's certainly possible she did; there hasn't been too much of an occasion thus far in which Sawyer could show off that knowledge.

Otherwise, it's certainly possible that when settling down into 1970s Dharma life the pair agreed to just leave their past in the past. After all, I'm sure there's thing Sawyer would rather not tell Juliet.

JW said...

It shows how much I love these dicussions that my first thought when seeing Juliet and Sawyer's first meeting was, "Well, I bet this one will be talked about tomorrow on Nikki's blog!"

I enjoyed this episode, and it's one of those that's really fun to rewatch because it's such a different perspective watching it with all the knowledge we have of the others.