Wednesday, October 21, 2009

3.09 Stranger in a Strange Land

Follow along! The episode guide for “Stranger in a Strange Land” is in Finding Lost — Season 3, pp. 75-81.

Probably my least favourite episode of Lost. And looking back on it a couple of seasons later, the entire episode isn’t a loss, really… there are some funny moments. But this flashback is utterly useless, and hell, the tribunal on the island seems to come from out of nowhere. At this point in time, the tattoo stuff was junk, Isabel is a one-off, they went nowhere with the plot, or Juliet’s mark, or Jack being separated from the rest of the group, or ANYTHING. As such, I don’t have much to say about it. That said, maybe at the end of season 6 they’ll do something with all of this and I’ll be referring to this episode as the harbinger of what’s to come. But regardless, I will never like Bai Ling. Nothing can change my mind on THAT point.

Fun things I noticed:
• There were so many things that seem to have been thrown into this episode just to confuse us, and a couple of seasons later they’re still not clear. Karl says they were giving the kids a better life. Does he know that or is he just going by Ben? (And since when did he ever listen to Ben?) Achara and the tattoo is a big, WHA?! a few years later.
• Jack is acting unlike himself. He always asks questions, yet he lets Cindy walk away without firing a ton of questions at her. He is known for not letting things go, and yet he pushes the button twice and then walks away. You’d think, like Sawyer, he would have pushed that thing until he’d been electrocuted, but instead he gives up really easily. Maybe he really does think he’s going to die.

Things that have new meaning:
• When Cindy says they’re there to watch, she utters one of the most talked-about lines to this day on the show. What does she mean? Is this yet another psychological experiment where some of the kidnapped watch other kidnapped and see how long it takes for them to break down? Are they sitting in the tribunal and watching Juliet? Why doesn’t she offer any more explanation? Of course, this scene is just one more moment of confusion that’s not explained, and hasn’t been to this day. Here’s hoping it is before the end of the series.

53 comments:

Marebabe said...

Dearest Nikki, I must confess that I wish I had your phone number for those rare occasions when the magic hour comes (and goes) without your latest scheduled rewatch post appearing for your fellow Lost fanatics to devour and then discuss. It’s like when my husband is overdue on a dark and stormy night: I begin to worry a little bit, and hope everything is OK with you and your family. Anyway, thanks as always for posting. And now, moving on to the first of this week’s four episodes:

I don’t hate Bai Ling completely. The only other thing I’ve ever seen her in besides this episode of “Lost” was 1999’s “Anna and the King” with Jodie Foster and Chow Yun Fat. She played Tuptim, and I really enjoyed her performance in that role. And I think that she did all right actor-wise with the material she was given to play in this episode of “Lost”. I get that most fans hate her with a passion, and I understand that probably most of the animosity comes from how frustrated we were getting during the wheel-spinning phase that the show struggled through in S3, before the end date was negotiated with the network. Actually, my main criticism of Achara the character is the same one I have for Bai Ling the actress: dressing like a prostitute. On-screen and off, she looks like a ho! There, I said it.

When Juliet was in trouble with her people for killing Pickett, how did she get caught? She must not have had enough bullets for that gun.

Karl said that they took certain people to give them “a better life”. Earlier we heard that they were only taking the “good” people. This sounds a lot like the concept of living a righteous life and being rewarded by getting to go to Heaven or Paradise. Were the Others actually thinking in terms of rewarding the good people?

When we briefly saw Zack and Emma in this episode, I noticed that both have grown quite a bit. And Emma’s sundress (at about 21 minutes) looks a LOT like the dress they made Kate wear (which was formerly Alex’s dress) at the beginning of the season, coral flowers on a white background. I actually went back and compared the two dresses to see if the material was exactly the same. I thought maybe someone on the Island was working as a dressmaker, and had a bunch of flowery fabric to use up. The dresses are merely similar in style and fabric, not identical.

celandinehaleth said...

My personal opinion is that season 3 is the kind of stuff we would still be watching if they had not finally agreed to and end date for the series. Yes, many things happen which are now recognizable plot points, but so often the flashbacks are uninformative and even the on island action adds little or nothing to the progress of the story. I have at least one friend who gave up on it at this point, and has never watched it again. I know until the very end of the finale and the first couple of shows in season 4 I had my doubts about continuing.

Anyway, as for this episode: Am I crazy or what, why did Sawyer and Kate walk back to the beach? Karl didn’t take the canoe did he? Surely he would not go back to the research island?

Knowing what we know now makes so many statements fraught with possibility. Most notabley when Cindy says about the Others, “They’re not. . . It’s not that simple.” Well time travel is certainly not simple, but I’d like to hear her explanation.

Juliet’s mark made me think of the “Mark of Cain” in the Old Testament. Was the mark to identify and protect her, or a mark of disgrace and reason to shun her. Of course on her back it would not be very obvious.

Marebabe said...

So, Achara’s gift is “not decoration, it’s definition”. She called Jack a leader. Remember in S1 when Jack said, “I’m not a leader.” And Locke said, “And yet they all treat you like one.” I found that interesting.

In this episode, Juliet was marked by branding, and Jack was marked with a tattoo. We were told the meaning of the Chinese characters in Jack’s tattoo (even though the translation was inaccurate. Thanks, Nikki! I got that from reading your book!), but never the meaning of the mark on Juliet’s back. I still wonder about that. The other thing that Jack and Juliet have in common in this episode is that Ben told them both that they could go home.

Seeing Diana Scarwid as the sheriff in this episode, I’m reminded of her role as Mother Superior (aka Mother Mary Mary) in S2 of “Pushing Daisies”. Nikki, I got on board with “Daisies” in S2 as a direct result of your ecstatic, joyous reviews. So, thanks for that. It was good (and ecstatic) while it lasted.

A lot of people have remarked about how the on-Island parts of this episode are really good, and it’s just the flashback parts that reek. Well, at the end, on the two islands and the stretch of water in between, we got treated to a really “good part”, a beautiful montage, complete with travelin’ music. We got two solid minutes of Giacchino goodness. One thing, though. They had a bigger boat in this final scene than we’ve ever seen before. What’s the story on the Others’ fleet? Do they have a marina full of boats?

glf said...

Hi – I couldn’t resist commenting again – particularly as this is the big baddie isn’t. This time I tried to watch with fresh eyes and be positive about it and ignore my concerns – why?, when was it? And Jack being so obsessive and determined in a very disturbing sort of way….

Conclusion – it was all about the mark – Juliet got one and Jack got one. Once again the script writers were more interested in being introverted within their own episode story telling.

Otherwise – yes Juliet’s mark seems now to mean that she was well and truly no longer an Other and meant she became a skipper.

And Jack – we were told yet again but this time in caps – JACK IS THE LEADER – A GREAT LEADER!!!! Now this time don’t forget it.

PS At least I didn’t fast forward through the flashforwards on this one – unlike ‘Further Instructions’ which I would now like to nominate as the most useless episode ever…

The Question Mark said...

The tattoo fiasco has always baffled me, so when I did the re-watch this week I used the new power of perception I gained by reading Nikki's books, and this is the conclusion I've come to.

I think Achara's gift of "seeing who people are" is a form of psychic or astral power, similar to the powers claimed by Richard Malkin and Isaac of Uluru.
To me, it doesn't make one mite of sense that Achara would refuse Jack a tattoo simply because he is an "outsider". So what, you can sleep with the guy but you can't give him a little ink? Is tattooing more sacred to her than merging her body with another human being?
So my theory is that, through her power to "see", she saw whatever Malkin and Isaac saw, and refused to tell Jack about it. But when he forced her hand, she wrote something incriminating on his arm, and then told all of her brother's friends that he hurt her or something. They take one look at the tattoo, beat Jack up, and drive the poor guy out of Phuket with his tail between his legs. Achara seems to regret doing this (notice how devastated she looks when she witnesses the beating on the beach) but she seems to believe she is doing it because she has no choice, in the same way that Richard Malkin seemed genuinely concerned for Claire's safety, but he sent her onto Flight 815 anyway.

I could be waaaay off, but that was the only connection I could sense between this episode and the rest of the series.

Marebabe said...

@The Question Mark: I read Nikki's chapter on this episode too, but I didn't manage to articulate such a swell theory about the whole "seeing" and tattoo thing. Well done!

glf said...

@ Question Mark - you and I are on the same page. The only point I see to the ep is that Achara can read Jack and she says HE IS A LEADER, A GREAT LEADER.
I think it's significant and we might look back on this as being the most significant clue we ever got...

Susan said...

glf I agree with you that it is a big clue but I also think there is a more significant one in season 5 (more on that when we get there).

Fred said...

This is a really tough episode to find anything in--I mean there is so little it felt like filler by the writers.

When Karl calls a set of the stars "Ursa Theodorus", what is he saying. Translated it means: "bear, God's gift". So are we to infer the polar bears are gifts from God (to whom)? Or that God has given a gift to the polar bears, i.e. surviving on a tropical island? Notice though this is one of the few instances we first see of Latin used by the Others, since Karl was once one of them. (Though technically, "Theodorus" is Greek, but you get the idea).

And what of the Sheriff's translation, "He walks amongst us, but is not one of us." We are all led to assume it refers to Jack, but it could easily apply to Ben. Ben never was meant to be one of the Others. Is this just classic misdirection on the part of the writers.

Talking about parallels, this is the first time Jack says he won't help Ben. Later in Season 5 he does the same, with the consequent effects, Ben becomes Ben after the Temple. And we hear the sheriff talk about the "incident." Oh yes, it's about Juliet and Pickett, but how often do words get used in multiple contexts.

My biggest beef is with the word "complicated." If I hear one more character say, "It's complicated." How many times has that word appeared, and how many times was it used to evade telling the audience anything?

The Shout said...

Hi Nik.Seems like an age since I last posted. Still loving the rewatch and keeping up with the blog though.

My interpretation of the 'we're here to watch' line is simply that they're there to watch the trial. I remember ABC used the line in a promo which probably gave it more importance than was intended. I do find it very strange that The Others thought it was neccessary to bring a coach party of kids to the trial - ' hey kids shall we go and watch a woman being forceably tatatooed. It'll be bags of fun'. Maybe it was part of the induction into their ranks. The rule of Law is an important aspect of The Others society.

I kinda of hope that The Sheriff makes a cameo if and when we finally get to see The Temple in Season 6, just so her appearance here doesnt feel so abitrary.

JW said...

I couldn't believe Lost cast Bai "oops, my nipple popped out... it was an accident, really" Ling. What, was Lady Gaga busy? Anyway, she does manage to keep her clothes on (probably with the help of double stick tape), but her acting is still terrible. Like I said previously, at least they didn't cast her as Sun.

Speaking of Sun, I don't like how Sun, Jin, and Sayid just pop up back at the beach with the others, boat somewhere else forgotten about, after their little adventure. If I were the writers, I would have had them discover the second island and then rescue Kate and Sawyer as the two were trying to escape.

Jazzygirl said...

Yeah I interpret the "we're here to watch" line as watching the trial. And honestly, I think it DOES fit for Jack to just tell Cindy to go screw herself (in other words of course!). She asks about Anna Lucia and the frustration on his face is real. I really expected him to say "are you F'ING kidding me?" LOL
To me, the big question mark is when the sheriff says "he walks among us but isn't one of us" and Jack says "that's what they say, that's not what they MEAN." Hmm...
And for all people that dropped the show around this time...well, I don't get that. If you truly TRULY love a show, you hang in and have faith. And those of us that did, were richly rewarded. :)

Nikki Stafford said...

Marebabe: Aw... you know, I can say with 100% honesty that when I was typing this up to post it late, I thought, "I have to hurry... Marebabe's going to wonder where I am!!" LOL! (I am SO not making that up.) It's lovely to be needed. Busy week, hubby out of town, and therefore I had to get the kids to bed and clean up, and I'd watched the episodes a few days ago and somewhere around 9:30 it suddenly occurred to me I hadn't actually posted the eps, I'd just watched them and taken notes!! Gah! So... lateness.

Tonight will likely be late, too, but I hope it won't be THAT late.

Nikki Stafford said...

celandine: Juliet’s mark made me think of the “Mark of Cain” in the Old Testament. Was the mark to identify and protect her, or a mark of disgrace and reason to shun her. Of course on her back it would not be very obvious.

Excellent point. If they really wanted to mark someone, they should have done it on her cheek where everyone would have seen it. But perhaps it's like Jack's tattoo... the only person who has to "see" the mark can see it without actually SEEING it, if you know what I mean. In other words, they could have been marking her for Jacob, who, if he ever comes across her, will know that she was marked, and will not protect her. Hence... her falling down a well.

(See, writers? I'm trying to help you out here and give you an explanation for this seemingly disparate piece of television you've given us...)

Marebabe: Great observation on the dress!!

Nikki Stafford said...

Marebabe: I agree with you about the majestic ending. I'll never forget the first time I posted on this episode and said I really loved that moment, and a friend of mine commented under it and said, "REALLY?! I thought it highlighted just how terrible this episode was." They said the ending was overwrought and cheesy to the extreme. I tried watching it that way this time around and... sorry... just couldn't. Still liked it. :)

EvaHart said...

This episode felt a bit of a filler if you ask me. The highlight was definitely the ending, the music was brilliant as always.

What I couldn't understand was why we needed another Jack flashback. It's only episode 9 of season 3 and we still haven't had a flashback of other key chracters so why do we get anotehr Jack one that doesn't really reveal much, except how he got a tatoo?

studiorose said...

I'm wondering who would win a "Nikki despises the most" contest - Bai Ling the actor or She Who Will Not Be Named, the character.

(I vote for the latter.)

That sheriff is one scary chick.

As for bringing the kids to a trial, they originally thought they were going to see Juliet get sentenced to death (and then actually executed on the spot?), not just marked. Yeah, those kids definitely have a "better" life now, Karl. Do you also show them R-rated movies?

Why did Jack presume the Others were there to watch something other than himself? If I were in his place, I would have presumed they were there to watch him get killed (now that his usefulness is over). Yet he told Cindy to "go" if she had something to "go watch." If they were going somewhere else to watch something, why mill around Jack's cage?

Cindy and the kids certainly seem content for people who have been kidnapped. Must be the calming effect of all those grilled cheese sandwiches. But why aren't they begging to be sent home, if they know it's possible? You can't tell me those kids aren't desperate to see their real parents and all their friends and family again; I don't care how many toys and treats they're given.

Fred said...

When Jin and Eko were hiding from the Others, they saw feet passing them and then the teddy bear. Did the Others get the kids to dress up and wander through the woods? I'm sure when we saw the scene with Eko and Jin there were kids in it (some adults too). So what gives? How fast did indoctrination take place? That really must be a better life to have changed them so quickly, or did they go into the Temple?

@celandinehaleth: The "Mark of Cain" was given by God to identify him, but also warn others that God would punish anyone who might kill Cain. It fits nicely with Jack's tattoo--another one who walks among us, but is not one of us. Also it would mean the Others could not kill Juliet fearing God's wrath.

Marebabe said...

@Fred: I think you've found the answer to what happened with Cindy and the kids! Your comment, "That really must be a better life to have changed them so quickly, OR DID THEY GO INTO THE TEMPLE?" jumped off the computer monitor and smacked me between the eyes! I instantly remembered what Richard Alpert said right before taking young Ben into the Temple, about how Ben's innocence would be gone and he wouldn't remember. Makes sense to me. :) That big smile is because something about Lost now makes sense! I'll happily continue in this belief until the writers prove us wrong.

Teebore said...

the entire episode isn’t a loss, really…

You're right, while the flashback is a complete waste of time meant only to parallel the island Juliet story, the episode isn't a COMPLETE waste, especially if the writers ever come back around to this "we're here to watch" and Other Sheriff business. Which they probably won't. But until then...

I like the idea that Cindy and the kids were mystically indoctrinated in the temple at some point. While their story might get overlooked in the final season, hopefully the temple will get dealt with in some way, and that info will help consolidate this theory.

Virgina Katz said...

I guess I saw this episode completely different than everyone else. I though the whole trial and marking of Juliet was fake, was intended only as a means of manipulating Jack to get him to continue treating Ben and his infected stitches. First off, I find it impossible to believe that Juliet killed Picket of her own free will because she cared about Jack that much and wanted his friends lives to be spared. I think Ben told her to save Kate and Sawyer by ANY means necessary so that Jack would save him and continue the surgery. So ultimately Juliet killed Picket on Ben's orders. If this is the case than I do not see her getting in trouble for following orders. It seems to me from what we know about the Others, mainly that they are liars and manipulators, that the whole thing was a farce intended to manipulate Jack. Jack was obviously becoming attached to Juliet, which I have a hard time with considering the nature of their relationship with him as her prisoner, but I love LOST and so I often suspend believe. The Others have obviously found Jack's weakness (beautiful women who are in a bind) and are exploiting it in order to save Ben. It seems to be working, Kate is the reason Jack did the surgery to begin with, so why not keep doing it. Save Ben, save Juliet. I don't think the mark matters and I don't think we will see it again. I have to also point out that we know Juliet is still working for Ben even after she defects and goes to live with the Losties. She is as good a liar as the rest of them even if she has other motives.

But like everyone else I hate this pointless flashback. It's purpose seems only to make Jack even more annoying.

studiorose said...

Alas, the "indoctrinated at the temple" theory doesn't work. If it did, the little girl wouldn't have remembered Ana-Lucia.

Marebabe said...

@studiorose: D'oh!!

Fred said...

@studiorose: the idea of the Temple and the children not working is likely true. But it's also possible the writers hadn't figured out the "no memory" rule just then.

It could also be something like the smoke monster enveloped them, as it did Rousseau's crew under the Temple. Who knows, but this is a good second bet. Anyway, I bet it's something mystical. though there is one point I recall someone talking with Ben and saying the children keep asking about their parents. To which Ben responds, they'll soon forget.

Marebabe said...

@Fred: Yes yes yes! In a S4 episode, as they're sitting down to dinner, Juliet tells Ben that Zack and Emma keep asking about their parents. And Ben replies, "They'll stop asking in time." So it seems from this exchange that the forgetfulness takes time to develop. I'll continue to hope for the mystical explanation and for the Temple being involved.

tiasabita said...

I've got some snowflake earrings that look just like Juliette's brand.

The scene with Cindy has always bugged me too but this time I did understand that she was referring to the trial when she said they were there to watch. But it's still strange how she approached Jack like he should be happy to see her then seemed hurt when he wasn't. And little Zach holding back just a little from the others when they were walking away and kinda glaring at Jack made me think maybe he's gonna show up again in the future/past and beat Jack's ass.

Batcabbage said...

With all this talk of indoctrination and the Temple, I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the room where Walt and Karl were brainwashed with the 'God Loves You As He Loved Jacob' videos. If they really are being indoctrinated, I'd think those rooms would be the most likely place it's happening.

Also, I may have missed something, but why would the little girl not remember Ana-Lucia, even if she had gone into the Temple like Ben did? Sure, Richard said Ben would be 'different' after his Temple cure, but I never understood that he would not remember anything about his former life.

JS said...

I am a little late to the party here, so excuse me for going back to Bai Ling and the pointlessness of the flashback.

I know they had to do it to explain Matthew Fox’s tattoo’s, but did they? I was planning to speed through the flashbacks, but I didn’t. I should have.

All the guest stars on Lost have been so amazing, even N&P provide (some) comic relief and (lots of) morbid satisfaction. This, this is just bad. I don’t care how he got his tattoo’s and that is saying a lot. I am still wondering about Shannon’s inhalers (comic con joke), and where Kate’s Tom’s airplane is, and if Claire ever got Charlie’s greatest hits list,… you get the picture. I do not think this advances the story, and even if it does she is just so damn annoying. At least his other women had brains.
Why couldn’t she give him a tattoo? What mysterious rule is being broken here? The “don’t do it or you’ll get beat up and no sodas” rule? I hated this flashback on many levels, but mostly because of HER.
I am OK just assuming Jack got tattoo’s when he was flipped out over his ex wife. I’ll do my best to refrain from doing a scene by scene analysis of what is wrong with this flashback. In my notes I have things like – she is gross, I do not see the attraction, that is stupid, that makes no sense, Why why why, etc, etc.

Marebabe said...

@Batcabbage: I don't remember Richard's exact words, but whatever he said right before taking young Ben into the Temple fueled all the speculation that Ben would have absolutely no memory of his life prior to that day. Remember when Ben said that he had been born on the Island? Some have guessed that he wasn't lying, that he really believed that his entire life had been spent on the Island.

JS said...

@Nikki - I think we are definitely giving the writers the benefit of the doubt, and because we are LOST fanatics, we give them a lot of credit and suspend disbelief, but I think this could have been tighter. I guess they had to have a worst episode.

We did get some development around Kate not being committed to Sawyer, and though Jack tried to be cold to Juliet, as previously mentioned, he does have a weakness for damsels in distress.

The most interesting thing for me is when Ben says, again, "the rules don't apply". Why not? I guess Ben breaks the rules when they serve him. Does he break them or change them? The fact that this is one thing they have come back to in later episodes salvages this episode for me.

Small inconsistency - How long did it take kate and sawyer to get a move on. They talked to karl in the morning, but didn’t leave until the evening and walked through then night??

Batcabbage said...

@Marebabe: Ah, OK, gotcha. I just checked out a transcript, and you're right, what Richard said could be interpreted that way. There's a whole discussion waiting to be had on that, but I'll stop now and wait til we get to 'Whatever Happened, Happened' in season 5. Thanks for clearing it up for me! :)

Marebabe said...

@Batcabbage: All part of our friendly service! :)

SonshineMusic said...

It seems really odd to me to have everyone trek over to the OTHER Island for Juliet's trial. Doesn't it make more sense to have the trial take place where they live? And how on earth did they get everybody there? They must have a fleet of ships ready. Just bizarre and makes no sense and did nothing plot wise.

about the temple indoctrinating theory... we don't know for sure what that memory thing means. I mean, obviously, Ben remembers his father and his life before the temple, so there's no reason the little girl wouldn't remember AnaLucia. (but I see this has already been covered slightly so I won't belabor the point)

@Virginia Katz: I like that idea about the whole thing with Juliet being a con. It actually makes a whole lot more sense to me that way. Hmmmm... that's why I love coming here and getting everyone else's two cents about things. It gives me so much more to ponder.

Nothing much to say that hasn't already been said. Hate the flashbacks like most everyone else here. I am not a Jack fan, but I have to say that Matthew Fox is a fantastic actor. Not in this episode. The scene in the tattoo parlor (or whatever it is) is just too horrendous for words. gag me with a spoon.

Something that clicked for me this episode, even though it is just barely referenced....

Jack and Juliet were going to leave the Island on a submarine, but John blew the submarine up.

Sawyer and Juliet were going to leave the Island on a submarine, but Jack was trying to blow up the Island (okay, not exactly, but you get my drift.)

Blam said...

@ Nikki: Jack only pushes the button twice because of the Rule of Three, which holds for both comedy and narratively satisfying drama. As ontogeny replicates phylogeny, so the lack of a third push is a microcosm for the episode's lack of narrative satisfaction and the series' lack of resolution of so many questions raised in the episode. And of course Jack is utterly devoid of humor until the Season 5 line "I'm making sandwiches."

Blam said...

@ Nikki: You made note in FL of Karl's repetition of the flashing message, "God loves you as he loved Jacob." I've found the past tense of "loved" quite interesting once we learned that the line probably refers to the Island's Jacob and not the Biblical figure (unless they're one and the same, although if they are then we're back to the salient point of Jacob being an actual still-extant figure). Since we don't know who created the film or what connection to or knowledge of Jacob they might have had, it's hard to gauge the significance, but there you go.

Blam said...

@ Nikki: You asked in FL why the Others' presumably highly valuable surgeon was sent to infiltrate the 815ers on the beach, especially since Ben had just discovered he had a tumor. And it's a great question that frustrates many of us -- moreso since the answer is likely that the writers only decided in retrospect that it made sense for the Others to have had a surgeon but that it was necessary for them to no longer have one. My own question, now that we've seen Ethan's birth on the Island and his teenage escapades with bad-hairpiece Ben, was how he acquired his skills; we know that at least some of the Others have traveled to the outside world, but for native Others to have significant long-term schooling there seems odd.

Blam said...

studiorose: As for bringing the kids to a trial, they originally thought they were going to see Juliet get sentenced to death
Oh, my. I know you mean "sentenced to death" as opposed to, say, "sentenced to life in prison" (or, say, branding)... but for some reason I read this as "sentenced to death" as opposed to "shot to death" or "stoned to death", i.e., Hey! Everybody pick up some sentences, the sharper the predicates the better. No, kids, put those down, those are interjections. Let me see those, Tom -- Yeah! Great! That's a nice run-on ya got there, buddy. Semi-colons? Awesome. Now git 'er!

Marebabe said...

@Blam: Regarding sentenced = bludgeoned, I'm enjoying the way you've elevated the discussion here. (Even had to consult my dictionary a time or two.) We're positively HIGH-BROW on the blog today. :) Frasier Crane and his brother Niles would absolutely love it!

Blam said...

Marebabe: Even had to consult my dictionary a time or two.
It was the "ontogeny replicates phylogeny", wasn't it? That phrase (and what it means, which is legitimately fascinating) has been stuck in my head since the year my roommate and girlfriend were bio/chem majors in college.

A.G.Wooding said...

The only aspect of this episode I tend to enjoy is Jack walking around the polar bear cage like Patrick McGohan in The Prisoner. He has that same crazed look and hes always pacing as if hes itching to start running down the beach again.

Marebabe said...

@Blam: Two things. 1.) How didja know? 2.) I'm really happy for you, finding a place to USE that phrase after all this time! :)

Blam said...

This was not the first time, Marebabe, nor shall it be the last. And on a totally different note, dig my verification word: "hootacha". I think it was a hit single for Deflated Ghost Chicken.

Marebabe said...

@Blam: Yeah, well, MY verification word is "fougle"! Another of their Greatest Hits. (OK, now I'm hearing that colonel from Monty Python in my head: "Right! That'll be enough of that. These posts are just becoming silly!")

Nikki Stafford said...

Great discussion guys! Oh, Blam, it's so fun having you back. :)

Now, back to the Temple discussion. I have to say, watching that episode where Richard talks about the Temple several times, I'm still with Batcabbage on it. I don't see why Cindy and the kids wouldn't necessarily remember Ana Lucia. Richard basically says that if we go through with this, his innocence and all memory of "this" will be gone. What is "this"? The shooting incident? His entire life? Being brought to the Temple? Because after the Temple, when he's bandaged up, Widmore-in-his-oh-so-hot-40s comes to see him and he mentions his father, and Ben says, "I don't want to go back to him." So they haven't wiped ALL memories. He hates his father, and when he kills him eventually, I would think it's because of everything Roger's done to him, all the way back to his childhood pre-Temple. I don't think his entire memory was wiped clean, just parts of it that didn't want to be on the island. So by that rationale, Cindy and the kids could have been brainwashed (either at the Temple or in Room 23, as someone pointed out) into wanting to stay on the island, but not necessarily forgetting anyone.

Batcabbage said...

@Nikki: Wow. Thanks for posting my thoughts about the Temple thing EXACTLY. I wasn't going to say much in case it was off-topic for this specific episode, but as I said in my post, Richard's words about not remembering could have been interpreted that Ben would have no memories from before that point - it's just not how I interpreted it. Just from a story standpoint, it would just be too weird if recently-recovered-from-a-fatal-gunshot-wound-Ben got back to Dharma and went 'Who the hell are you people? What's a Roger Workman? Dharma what? Who's Hostile? You mean those nice people that just sucked the bullet out of me and let me live? They seemed fine to me...'

Fred said...

I was wondering if Juliet is being marked for having killed Pickett, then why isn't Widmore? When we saw him in the time-traveling episode, Widmore kills his companion, rather than have his tell Locke, Sawyer and Juliet where the camp is. Will this be what Widmore gets banished for? I doubt it. But it does violate the rule of Others not killing Others.

SonshineMusic said...

@Blam: your comment about being "sentenced to death" so reminds me of something that would have come out of "The Phantom Tollbooth". heehee.

I'm telling you, though, some sentences CAN be murder.

Re: the temple discussion - that is definitely one of the mysteries I would like them to clarify in S6. What is the temple? Where did it come from and what does it actually DO? Fortunately I'm kinda hopeful those questions might actually be addressed.

(and my verification word is Adshom, which I'm pretty sure is the name of Deflated Ghost Chicken's drummer.)

studiorose said...

So, Emma would remember Ana-Lucia, but not that she was on a plane on her way home to see her mother mere minutes before she met Ana-Lucia, and in fact told Ana-Lucia that she wanted to go home and was promised by Ana-Lucia that she would be with her mother soon?

That's some pretty selective memory-erasing you've got going there, Temple. I'm impressed. :)

Cindy didn't forget that she was a flight attendant on Oceanic 815 and met Jack on that flight (and presumably also remembers that she has family/friends back in wherever she's from). Yet she seems perfectly fine with staying on the island with people who have kidnapped her and the children. It doesn't make sense, and I wish they would have 'splained that, other than by saying, "It's complicated."

Nikki Stafford said...

studiorose: I wonder if maybe part of the Temple's memory-erasing procedure is to remove all traces of memory from before the island? Notice Ben insists he was born on the island, but we know he wasn't. I think it not only erases memories, but alters the ones they do have. The kids would therefore remember Ana Lucia from the island, but maybe not immediately think of pre-island parents? Cindy would remember the plane because technically it's on the island, but maybe not anything before then?

This is me making wild, wild guesses, by the way. ;)

JS said...

@Nikki - Re: Temple theory, if it did erase off island memories, then why haven't they taken Juliet there yet? They could erase memories of her sister and Ben could keep her on island forever.

I think it the kids are slowly accepting they aren't leaving the island, and AL was the one person they bonded with that didn't end up with the Others. But that is just an alternate theory.

Blam said...

On the Temple: The way I remember it, Richard's line is "He won't remember (slight pause) any of this." Plus there was that remark about Ben losing his innocence. At the time, we speculated that it was a way for Ben to truthfully say that he'd been born on the Island, not only re-born but never having had a life outside the Others as far as he knew. Yet that theory was belied as soon as Ben was returned to Dharmaville and made Richard's comment pretty confusing. So while it's likely that either Cindy was an Others sleeper agent or that she and the 815 kids were quickly, powerfully indoctrinated after their abduction, I don't think that we can attribute their loyalties to wipes of pre-Island memory. This doesn't mean that the Temple didn't play a part in their induction, and I expect to see lots more on the Temple in Season 6.

Blam said...

I gots an idea. Now, I mean no disrespect to those who embrace the belief system that I'll refer to as "Xientology", but the fact remains that a great many people consider it to hold an unusual sway over its adherents and have a cosmological view that's unusual even within the context of religion. So what if healing and/or indoctrination in the Others' Temple imprints some kind of backstory upon newcomers that doesn't erase memories of their previous lives but turns them into sort-of retroactive sleeper agents, making them believe that their previous lives were missions of a sort that they had to endure (and in young healed Ben's case perpetuate) until such a time as they could rejoin their people, the way Xientology proposes that we're living in shells awaiting the day our energy can be released and we rejoin our alien forebears or whatever? I'm totally spitballing here, and of course we've seen Jacob, Esau, and Smokey as actual, apparently supernatural beings, but maybe in Lost's mythology something like Xientology, which is apparently rather judgmental, is real and operational, at least on the Island.

Fred said...

@Blam: I think the key is Rousseau's comrades, who went under the Temple. When they emerged, they'd have had the smae memories, as we see Robert did, but they had a new found zeal for the island--in Robert's case to do in Rousseau. I suspect the transformation of many of these children and Cindy involved something very similar. So hence, the Temple is involved, but as you point out we don't have any idea of how it happens. There, however, might be clue in Locke's encounter with the smoke monster--he says he saw into the eye of the island and what he saw was beuatiful. I think it is something symbiotic between the island/smoke monster and what is in a person. The person doesn't really lose themselves, but they have a "spiritual" awakening which gives them purpose, much as it did Locke. But Locke also went through a trial in which everything tested his faith, suggesting the whole effect may come off. But how does that work with Rousseau's crew, who seemed totally dedicated to getting rid of her? I guess we are back to ideas of spirtual possession. In Locke's case he got to see behind the curtain, and he thought the wizard was a wizard (the island was magical). Maybe something like that occurs with cindy and the children. Anyway, just rambling now.