Welcome to Othertown, USA!

Welcome back, one and all, to my pride and joy: the weekly Lost recap, where I rely on screenshots to distract you from my cobbled-together theories and treatises on the most insignificant details spread throughout the ABC show. Anyway, let’s get right to it. We open with the now-customary, season-opening closeup of an eye; said eye belonging to a woman waking up in her house in what appears to be Anytown, USA.

Juliet

With a nod to one of the show’s most well-known fans in Stephen King (and his column in Entertainment Weekly), she heads up a book club consisting of others from the neigborhood. “Others,” indeed, as we find some familiar faces making an appearance when a familiar plane breaks apart overhead (we catch a nice glimpse of the electromagnetic pulse emanating from Swan Station as well–remember that this opening scene takes place on 9/22/04, the date and time Desmond nearly didn’t push The Button in time). We’re smack dab in the middle of the Others “town” on the Island, confirmed when “Henry Gale” appears and starts dispatching his Others to the crash sites (Ethan to the fuselage, Goodwin to the tail; which ended up being not so good for both of them). “Gale” certainly appears to be firmly in control of the situation in this utopian paradise.

Oceanic Crash

Once we get to Present Day again, we see our heroes locked up in various cages. An animal pen for Sawyer, a shark tank for Jack, and a, well, I guess Kate’s cage is that dress for now. Sawyer catches a gander of our newest Dharma station, with what appears to be some sort of aquatic/insectile creature for its logo. We later find out it’s a hydra; the station’s focus appears to be zoological. Zeke/Tom makes reference to the (polar) bears that were once housed there, and Juliet confirms Jack’s suspicions that sharks (and dolphins) were once housed in his cage/aquarium. The shark glimpsed way back in episode 2×03 was likely housed in one of the tanks Jack finds himself confined to at some time.

The Hydra

Kate, on the other hands, wakes up in a locker room under a clean-shaven Zeke/Tom’s watchful gaze and gets a hot shower and fresh clothing before being taken to a beachfront breakfast with Mr. “Gale.” When she was being led onto the beach and came into sight of Gale, you could sense the hesitation and fear in the Others’ manner. They seem to genuinely fear the nondescript Gale, for reasons we have yet to determine. If they’re “the good guys,” why do they so fear their leader? During the course of the breakfast, Gale makes reference to the next couple of weeks being “unpleasant.” No doubt the Others have some experiments in store for our three captured castaways. Sawyer’s apparently going to be subject to experiments meant for hungry bears.

Sawyer is housed in a pen across from another captive, who we’ve never seen before, a young guy named “Carl.” It would seem Carl’s been there a while, based on Zeke/Tom’s treatment of him after the escape attempt. An Other who’s fallen into Gale’s bad graces? Another castaway? We’ll find out down the line, I’m sure.

Carl

Much of the rest of the episode is spent divided between Jack’s flashbacks to his messy divorce with his wife and his interrogation/conversation with Juliet. We see a Jack we haven’t really seen yet: a jealous, angry man wanting to blame everyone else for what’s gone wrong for him, whether it be his father, his ex-wife, or her new husband. Jack may not be the all-American nice guy he’s been made out to be thus far. Gale referred to he and his group as “the good guys” in season two’s finale. As we begin to see more of Jack’s past, perhaps it’ll become more clear that he could be one of the “bad guys” after all (if you buy into Gale’s assertion). Both Kate and Sawyer have blood on their hands from past transgressions.

As far as Juliet, she’s clearly capable of manipulation (and shooting you with a taser gun) but also seems to have a capacity for kindness. Seeming to be a psychologist, she’s also armed for Jack’s interrogation/questioning with a knowledge of his entire life–about his ex-wife, whether or not she’s happy, Jack’s father, his death, etc. How exactly did she come into possession of such information on a deserted island far from civilization, with Jack having been on the island only 65 days? Clearly, the Others have connections to the outside world still, likely in the form of the Hanso Foundation.

Juliet

I have a feeling the Foundation is going to figure largely in season three, particularly having seen Sarah Widmore in the real world at the end of the season two finale. In fact, I think I might go as far as asserting that the outside world (and not in flashbacks) is going to have a much larger role during this season. Series co-creator Damon Lindelof alludes to a change midway through the season that will “really open things up” to a new direction. I can’t think of of a more concrete way to shift the show’s direction than to turn the focus away from the Island and back to “reality,” with or without the castaways. An obvious avenue to link the Island back to the real world is with Michael and Walt, as they’re undoubtedly making their way back to reality.

Quick Hits:

  • Music during opening sequence is “Downtown” by Petula Clark. This may aid in decoding the episode’s title, “A Tale of Two Cities,” with Othertown being one “city” and the rest of the island being the other. In a more abstract sense, the two cities could be viewed as the seemingly pleasant, charming facade of Othertown in contrast to the harsh, often brutal reality of the Dharma stations and jungles.

    Othertown

  • The Stephen King book Juliet’s book club is reading is Carrie, about a unpopular schoolgirl, often the target of ridicule, who discovers she has telekinetic powers and uses them to wreak vengeance upon those who’ve wronged her. Does Juliet identify with the girl? None of the others in the book club appear to like the choice of reading material much.
  • During that book club meeting, you can see someone who may be Miss Clugh (last seen in the season two finale) in attendance.

    Book Club

  • Speaking of reaches, here’s another one for you. The name “Juliet” brings about, at least in my mind, Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. One of the characters in the play is Benvolio, who is characterized as “having a disposition to do good; possessing or manifesting love to mankind, and a desire to promote their prosperity and happiness.” Now knowing Gale’s real name to be Ben, perhaps that would be an apt description of his aims on the island. His ultimate goal is to preserve the prosperity of what the Others have there, ruthlessly and at any cost, and this is where he diverts from his “benevolent” namesake.

    Ben

    When Jack opens the door outside the cells and lets the water on, Ben certainly made a quick exit, leaving Juliet for dead. He didn’t seem to care too much about Jack cutting her throat with a plate, either. Not quite so benevolent, is he? Based upon Juliet’s expression, she certainly didn’t think so.

  • I’m just full of reaches in this post, but why stop now? During the scene Jack witnesses his father taking a cell phone call, he appears to be in the middle of treating a sleeping patient. A distracted Jack apparently okays the patient to begin self-medicating with painkillers.

    Jack's Patient

    The nurse doesn’t think that’s too great an idea and questions a distracted Jack, who is focusing his growing anger at his father. I’m just throwing this out there, but there’s a potential connection with that patient there. Perhaps Jack’s lack of focus led to his death.

  • When asked by Jack about the Dharma Initiative, Juliet shies away from it, saying “that was a long time ago.” She doesn’t really own up to being a part of the Initiative, but doesn’t exactly deny involvement either. In my last Lost post, involving the summerlong Lost Experience online game, Dr. Mittelwerk mentions that the Initiative failed “years ago.” Perhaps the Dharma researchers living on the island eventually found themselves at odds with the Hanso Foundation on the mainland and just cut off all contact or just disappeared. This, of course, speaks to the overarching mythology behind the show: just what is the purpose of the Island; and why are all these different groups there?
  • Our up-to-the-minute guide to the Dharma stations:

    Station 3: The Swan (electromagnetic)
    Station 5: The Pearl (psychological)
    Station ?: The Arrow (unknown)
    Station ?: The Staff (medical)
    Station ?: The Hydra (zoological)
    Station ?: The Flame (as yet unseen)
    Station ?: The “Closet” (broom storage)

    By my count, that’s all six or seven stations on the fluorescent map in Swan Station, if you want to consider that glorified broom closet an actual station.

  • There are some obvious, but minor clues to take note of in Jack’s crossword puzzle. Nothing life-altering. See for yourself:

    Crossword

Other Stuff From Other Sources:

  • Another Orientation video from this summer’s Lost Experience game:
  • This is my theorizing based upon a comment from this week’s podcast with show creator/producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. They said something to the effect of “viewers may have seen the security system/Cerberus/monster at some point during last season without having known it.” My theory?

    Horse

    I think that’s Mr. Cerberus. Nanobots, I tell you!

Updated: October 4, 2006 — 11:43 pm

5 Comments

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  1. brilliant insight. i really look forward to reading more. could juliet and the others learn the details of jack’s personal life by drugging him with some sort of truth serum and simply questioning him?

  2. I’d say yes, but how then would they know that his ex-wife is “happy” when Jack asks Juliet?

  3. Petula Clark, I believe, was also playing when Desmond got on the exercise bike last year…..

  4. oops, you’re right…i just rewatched that one…

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