LOST: A Tale of Two Cities

Or … “What in the Dickens was that?” (Sorry.)
Be warned: there are spoilers about tonight’s episode after the jump.

Links and Miscellanea:

  • video from the LOST season premier screening (appropriately) on the beach in Hawaii, via The Honolulu Advertiser. (†Pop Candy)
  • This year, the podcasts will be video podcasts. I guess that’s the wave of the future now that PADs have those little video screens on them. (I had a bit of trouble with the ABC video player freezing up). Here are the highlights:
    • Damon Lindelof was wearing a hydra station ballcap.
    • This season, we’ll learn why Locke was in the wheelchair.
    • We’ll also learn all about Jack’s tattoos. (I’ve got to admit, that’s not on my top five mysteries I’d like solved. It’s not even in the top forty.)
    • Lindelof confirmed that there are, as many have speculated, more than one faction of others. His wording made it unclear whether that means two, or even more groups in this increasingly non-desert isle.
    • At some point (and it isn’t clear when) we will be returning to Michael and Walt’s story and what happened to them after leaving the island. Carlton Cuse claims it’s “very compelling.”
  • “Let’s talk about the left foot.” A cover story from Newsday, focusing on the impact of LOST on television and culture.
  • An AP article about Faux Henry Gale. “The reason The Others seem so frightening is like everything in the real world — it’s frightening when it’s unknown. Their agenda is unknown to us; therefore we fill it up with terrible imaginings. … Who’s really the intruder? Who’s the bad guys? Who’s upsetting who? Who has the right to be there?” Don’t be taken in by Michael Emerson’s wily ways. FHG is pure evil.
  • The New York Times on LOST’s innovative approach to merchandising, new media-style. (†tv filter, where you can also find an “open letter to LOST” for season 3.)
  • I remember hearing about this last year, but Inside Entertainment is reporting that there are now “LOST Mystery of the Island” jigsaw puzzles that come with a spoiler warning on the box. (†Evil Puppet Masters)

Observations and Speculations:

  • The book club The book that Juliet has chosen to discuss, which we very, very briefly caught a glimpse of (with the DVR on super slow-mo) right after the earthquake struck, was Stephen King’s Carrie. One of the book club members, Adam, complains that Ben (who we find out at the end of the episode is Faux Henry Gale) wouldn’t read this kind of “popcorn.” It’s clear the Others feel a strong urge to defer to Ben. The LOST creative team has consistently cited King as an inspiration and an influence. Later, outside, FHG/Ben sees the book and comments, “I guess I’m out of the book club.
  • You might recall that in episode 2.15, “Maternity Leave,” when Locke brings Ben f/k/a Henry Gale a copy of The Brothers Karamazov, Ben tells him, “Don’t you have any Stephen King?” Which is just further proof—as if we needed any—that Ben is a duplicitous, evil man.
  • Oh, and by the way, what is a group of people on an isolated island doing having a book club. Where do they get the books?
  • Where the hatch only had LPs, Juliet’s cozy little bungalow has CDs. By the way, that was the classic bubblegum pop song by Petula Clark, “Downtown.” Unlike many of the artists whose music is featured on LOST, Clark did not die in a plane crash (and, in fact, is still alive.) Juliet looked like she was really trying hard to convince herself that she’s happy with her lot in life. Then again, she appears to have been attached to Ethan, so I can’t say I blame her.
  • That bungalow appears to be decorated in very contemporary Pottery Barn/Crate & Barrel fashion. What’s up with that?
  • Did you notice that after the tremor subsided and the Others came out of their respective homes, they were all looking toward the skies? And that Ben only had to give out the most perfunctory of instructions to Goodwin and Ethan? You get the idea that they’ve done this before. Also, there were many more Others than I expected.
  • The hydra station, an abandoned DHARMA initiative site near the Other’s town, is the former zoological research station where dolphins, polar bears, and sharks (and likely some other animals) were once kept. If you listen, you can also hear chickens and roosters (which explains how the Tailies found a chicken on the island) and well as what sounds like cows.
  • So who was the kid in the cage adjacent to Sawyer, Karl? And what happened to him when his cage was vacated to make room for Kate? At first, I thought he might be a mole, but with the way the Others roughed him up, I’d say that’s probably not the case. Is he possibly another plane crash survivor? This island’s getting more and more crowded by the episode. Why didn’t Danielle ever see anyone else before meeting the Losties?
  • Jack’s flashbacks didn’t do much for me. We understand that Jack was pretty torn up about his wife leaving him, and that his misdirected jealousy and paranoia may have lead to his father’s decline. But that’s not really essential information, is it?
  • Juliet claimed to have a copy of Christian Shepard’s autopsy report. That would seem to put and end to the speculation that Christian’s not really dead, wouldn’t it? (I mean, the Others wouldn’t lie, would they?) Also, in case you didn’t catch it, that was Jack having an auditory hallucination through the intercom, hearing Christian say, “Let it go.” Another in a long line of apparently meaningful island-induced hallucinations.
  • So why *do* the Others know so much about the Losties? How is it they have come to find out so much about Jack in such a short time? Was the research all done post-crash, or did they actually have something to do with Jack ending up on the island? (My guess is the former, but that assumes that the Others have quite amazing research capabilities.) And why did Kate, Jack and Sawyer all have blood drawn by the Others?

In true LOST fashion, this episode raised many more questions than it answered. I liked it, though it’s the weakest first episode of a season so far. (Episode 1.1 and 2.1 set the bar pretty high.) I’m not sure why it was called “A Tale of Two Cities,” as it only focused on the Others’ village. I guess it was just an excuse to sneak another Dickens reference in there.
I’m ready for next week’s episode, which will pick up with Sayid, Sun and Jin’s story. I can’t wait.


31 thoughts on “LOST: A Tale of Two Cities

  1. I’m just going to spitball some theories about the title. A TALE OF TWO CITIES centers on two men who look nearly identical, so much so that they are mistaken for one another. I believe that the writers are setting up a major plot revelation having to do with twins. Witness the “BAD TWIN” book tie-in. Also, keep in mind that many books about twins, or twin worlds are featured heavily in the work of Stephen King.

    My biggest burning question here is who is Karl? I think he’s a twin–Rousseau had twins, but it is yet to be revealed. Karl is one, and the other is the girl that helped Claire escape. The ages are about right.

    Libby also is a twin. Trust me on this one.

    Also don’t be shocked when Jack kills the guy who’s dating his wife, and runs off to Thailand to get tattoos and hide from authorities.

  2. Wait, do we know Rousseau had twins, or are you just speculating here? I dont remember her mentioning twins.

    Also, no way did Jack kill off his rival. If he did, he would have more closure on the subject of his ex-wife and her affair. (question: anyone else get a sense we are supposed to view her sympathetically? Because I do not.)

  3. That was a great opening sequence. But, yes, it was a weak show overall. I kept wondering what was happening with Sayid, Hurley, etc.

    I think Jack’s story has come and gone–he’s dead.

  4. This was a good first episode, of a different kind than 1×01 and 2×01, necessary because the finale of Season 2 was so weak (Weak, I tell you!)

    And how many times do I have to tell you, Ben (FHG) is not evil.

    Best moment of the episode — Sawyer smiling after Kate takes a bite of the fish biscuit. Awesome.

  5. The manipulation that takes place here make me want, on a very primal level, for the survivors to rise up and kill every single one of the Others.

    I’m evil too.

  6. It would seem to require a rather painful and twisted process to persuade us that Ben (FHG) is good. A big part of the problem is that this group achieves its hidden purposes by such strange, secretive and coercive means.

    For just one example, _how_ would the show explain that kidnapping a child and using that child as a bargaining chip to achieve its ends (via a desperate father) could serve a good purpose? That is something that would be very complicated and even if it was sincerely attempted, the attempt would probably fall flat.

    In their interactions with their captives, it’s amazing how well the Others shift between condescending, all-knowing superior smiles and momentary gestures of empathy.


  7. Ben is evil, Juliet is evil (but not sure she wants to be), the Others are eeeevilllle.

    The two cities: The two cages (of Jack and Sawyer)?

    I still think Karl is a mole. Also, Kate.

  8. I watched it, the first episode of the series I have seen. I’m actually pretty grateful that it wasn’t too good, because that relieves me of seeing any more episodes. I think the construction of the show is very poor, and the concept of revealing life lessons in flashback while incarcerated on an island, is just puerile and not terribly interesting. Although perhaps a more traditional way of telling a story, I’d be much more interested watching these people live their life, rather than re-live it.

  9. D,
    Season 1, Episode 1. Then Episode 2. Rinse and repeat until you arrive at Season 3, Episode 1. Only then will we allow you to speak.

  10. I’m allowed to speak now, as far as I know.

    I’ve revealed my biases before. One wouldn’t think I would like Lost, as indeed I didn’t.

    One thing is for sure: I will never watch it again during primetime. The commercials drove me to distraction. I will only watch a series like this on DVD.

  11. Bryce, I watched the first two seasons of 24 and then lost track of it. I started disbelieving that they could amp up the wattage any more than they already had. Plus, certain despised characters refused to go away when there didn’t seem to be a justifiable plot excuse to keep them around.

    But yes, I think I get your point … obviously 24 complicates good and evil a bit. If Lost comes up with an explanation for the weird stuff that is going on, making what seems apparently evil good … well, I’ll be impressed.

  12. LOST!
    Our fateful paths have crossed!
    At first, we tried to get along,
    Until the show went awf’ly wrong,
    And made us sing this title song —

  13. D. Fletcher, I think this is the idea you’ve been looking for … you’ll have to put the whole thing to song. I’d particularly be interested in the song about the living smoke cloud that comes out of the jungle. That’s just begging for a song …

  14. For anybody who has yet to see it, you can catch last night’s LOST premiere (as well as a slew of other ABC shows) on abc.com for free.

    I just got done watching it, and all I have to say is “aweeeeesome”. I agree that it opened more questions than it answered, but that’s the LOST style I’ve come to love and embrace.

  15. Oh, he’s the creator of the show, eh? Ok, sorry not to know everything about everybody.

    His time will come and go, just like David E. Kelley and all the other trendy writer/producers.

    Just noting Abrams first three movies, none of them exactly gems.

  16. David E. Kelley….sigh. Yeah, Calista Flockhart can suck the life out of anyone’s career. Witness what she’s done for Harrison Ford.

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