"Lost: Stranger in a Strange Land" - Mania.com

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  • Episode: Stranger in a Strange Land
  • Stars: Evangeline Lilly, Josh Holloway, Mathew Fox, Michael Emerson, Elizabeth Mitchell
  • Directed By: Paris Barclay
  • Created By: JJ Abrams, David Lindelof

"Lost: Stranger in a Strange Land"

By STEPHEN LACKEY     February 23, 2007

LOST Season 3 Image

I’ve been complaining lately that the marketing campaign for Heroes over-hyped the episodes to a degree that while the episodes were good, they were underwhelming due to the promises of the promotions.  Well, now Heroes and LOST have another thing in common.  The ads promised that this week we’d get the answers to three of the series’ most intriguing questions.  I knew that it wouldn’t be that easy, but I didn’t expect the almost complete non-answers that were provided.  I’m not even sure what all three of the answers were! 

The most obvious of the answered questions was what the meaning of Jack’s tattoo is.  First of all, I could care less what the tattoo means and second of all we were told the literal translation of the tattoo but not what it means.  The other obvious answer is what happened to the tailies that were taken.  The only answer we now have is that they are still alive and that they “watch”, whatever that means. 

Again, this episode focuses solely on Sawyer, Kate, Jack, and the Others; leaving the rest of the merry band out in the cold.  This episode however isn’t a step back to the nightmare that was the first six episodes though.  Juliette is in trouble because she killed one the Others and the law on the islands is an eye for an eye so she is being investigated by “the Sheriff” Isabelle.  This scenario was intriguing to me because we were able to see more of the inner workings of the Others and their hierarchy.  What’s confusing is that when Juliette first approaches Jack for help and tells him that she is in trouble, he denies her any assistance.  Ben’s recovery from the surgery isn’t going well and she believes that if she can convince Jack to help her that she might be able to get out of trouble.  Later, Jack lies for her and then makes a deal to help Ben recover if Juliette is spared.  The only thing I can figure is that Jack initially didn’t have a grasp on exactly what being in trouble meant and when he found out she was to be executed he decided to help her out.  There’s a definite chemistry between the two of them, plus Jack likes his sandwiches grilled with tooth picks. 

It seems like the Others are working to try and separate Jack from his cast away buddies.  First Jack gets offered a ticket off the island by Ben, then there’s this attraction building between Jack and Juliette, and now even Tom is taunting Jack by discussing the fact that his friends left him without looking back.  Could this whole thing be a mind game to try and get Jack to switch sides?  I don’t know, but I enjoyed Tom in this episode, more so than in previous appearances. 

Meanwhile Freckles, Sawyer, and Karl are rowing away from the prison island and Kate is fighting with Sawyer to turn the boat around.  Sawyer is the man and he says no, so Kate shuts up.  Does this really seem like a typical response from Kate?  Once back at the home island Kate tells Sawyer to row the boat around the island to their home beach.  Sawyer again says no that they don’t have a map and that they should make camp until morning.  Again, Kate shuts up and does as she’s told.  This started to really bug me because she’s typically a lot stronger willed than this.  She finally gets interesting when she takes the initiative with Karl and starts asking questions, good ones.  During this conversation we learn that the Others in fact still live on the home island and just use the prison island for projects.  He says that they abduct people in order to give them a better life.  Just when things start getting interesting they turn in for the night.  The next morning Sawyer finds Karl crying over his lost girlfriend.  Sawyer tells him that he must go after her even if it means his life.  Now this ticked me off because I was hoping Karl would make it back to the home beach where Sayid could work him over for more answers.  The scene did open Sawyer’s feelings up about the love triangle that he is currently tangled in with Kate and Jack.  He knows that Kate’s desire to go back for Jack is built on more than just loyalty or friendship.  This feeling was cemented when Kate hesitated to tell Sawyer he was wrong when he told her to stop feeling guilty over having sex with him because she thought he would soon be dead. 

Along with the island story we get a fairly boring flashback of Jack living it up on a remote beach in Thailand.  He meets an exotic woman (Bai Ling) who helps him fly a kite, and then helps him with a lot more.  During their relationship, Jack becomes aware of a gift that she is keeping secret.  He eventually forces her to reveal her gift, which is to mark people with tattoos that represent who they really are.  He asks her if she can see who he is, and when she says yes he insists that she mark him.  She says he is a leader, but that makes him lonely and angry.  She tells him that if she marks him there will be consequences and he says something like “there always are”.  He gets ‘em the next day when the woman’s brother and some of his buddies beat the crap out of Jack and tell him to leave the country.  Oh, the tattoo reads “He walks amongst us, but he is not one of us.”  The tattoo was something I never thought about and the resounding message of it doesn’t really intrigue me.  The fact that this flashback has connected to Juliette being marked with a primitive tattoo as a murderer does intrigue me a bit though. 

While I didn’t appreciate the flashback the events on the island do seem to be building to something and I really hope the writers make it pay off.  Now Jack is on his way back to the home island with Ben to treat him.  Wouldn’t it be interesting if Kate, Locke, Sayid and some of the others put together a raiding party and found the home of the Others?


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lister 2/23/2007 10:23:16 AM
Blame the promo. Not the show. Alternately, you could stop watching promos. Or believing them.
monkeyfoot 2/23/2007 11:27:32 AM
I've watched Lost since its inception and have enjoyed it a great deal. In the middle of the second season when others would complain about the ambiguity in some episodes I defended it. Not anymore. After the excellent episode dealing with Desmond, they give you an episode that is promoed to answer questions, but in fact introduces more. My main complaint is in all our hero characters. Jack, Kate, Sawyer and the other survivors are the ones we as an audience are supposed to identify with as they experience one bizzare event after another. Like us they must be filled with questions about what is going on. But when they meet the Others and have the opportunity to get answers they make no attempt. If you where on the island and finally could converse with the Others, what would you say? Why are we here? Why can't we leave? What are you doing here exactly? WTF is going on around here? Why do you know all about us? What is the Monster? What do the numbers mean? Why did you take the children? And the Tailies? What are you doing with them? Et cetera,et cetera, et cetera. They're are a torrent of questions any person would ask that are heroes never do. They will ask some little question, get an obscure answer and then leave it at that. No follow up - ever. As though they are in a fog and can think to ask anything obvious. They just except what little they are offered and remain frustrated. I know the Others would have had to kill me to shut me up! Or I'd kill them! If they intend to continue this obsucrity for another 3 or 4 years, they can count me out.
spviii 2/23/2007 12:10:59 PM
Was the older lady running the trial the same woman who ran the shop where Desmond tried to buy the ring?
gimpythewonder 2/23/2007 1:51:26 PM
I actually enjoyed this episode. Now while jacks tatoo has never been a mystery that i was overly concerned about, it does tell us more about who he is as a charachter. And i seriously doubt that the ad makers are that involved w/ the rest of the show, if they are that upsetting to you then ignore the ads for Hero's and Lost and just enjoy shows that we're lucky to have.
scoundrel 2/23/2007 2:49:53 PM
You're not the only one the promos annoyed. I listened to the official lost podcast the day after I watched the episode and Lindenhof and Cuse seemed pretty pissed about the ad campaign. I agree about Tom. The first couple minutes of the episode Jack threw a lot of stuff in his face about what the Others had done to them and I thought "we are going to get some answers! Sweet!" But all we got were stories about tattoos which is NOT a big mystery on the show. If I hadn't seen the promos, I would've liked this episode a lot more. I thought the flashbacks were interesting and tied in well with what happened on the island. There's always consequences. He got beat up in Thailand and he feels responsible for what's happening to Juliette, mostly because he outed her and then she killed Pickett. So I didn't think it was a bad episode, per se, but I was definitely anticipating a lot more because of the stupid promos. Those marketing guys should be fired.
lister 2/23/2007 3:01:24 PM
People complain about the Lost promos promising too much. They complain that the promos for 24 reveal too much. They complain about the inaccuracy of the promos for Heroes. Stop watching the promos, Clouseau. Problem sol-ved!
Captmathman 2/23/2007 4:03:39 PM
I personally avoid promos for precisely that reason; if I'm already gonna watch, all I really need to know is if there's a schedule change coming up. But a lot of folks do watch the promos, and do develop expectations based on them. And when those folks are disappointed, it has negative repercussions on the show, as they might not come back. Here, in particular, the promos seemed to say to an increasingly disaffected audience, "We get it, and this week, we're gonna give you some answers!" Those answers were less than the borderline fans wanted/expected (probably), and now the credibility of the promos in the future will have less impact on the borderline fans. Also, I thought Jack didn't want to help Juliette with Ben initially, because when she said she killed somebody, he didn't know it was Danny she killed, or that it was to save Kate and Sawyer.
karlschneider 2/23/2007 5:05:08 PM
I hate the Heroes promo's as well, though the one for this coming episode is bad ass. No more crappy guy voice, seriously a bad ass promo. As for avoiding promos, how in the hell are you supposed to do that? Shut your eyes whenever one pops on TV? I'm going to go see if I can't find the latest Heroes promo on YouTube. If I can, I'll upload it to Mania's video section, so keep an eye out. Edit: Couldn't find the one I saw ... it was a sweet promo though.
lister 2/23/2007 6:54:05 PM
I never need to see promos. I stop watching before they come on. I time shift commercials, watch online or simply hit the mute button when they come on. And I don't subject myself to commercial radio. If I do watch one, I just don't believe the hype.
tandaemonium 2/24/2007 12:17:32 AM
I don't watch promos of ANYTHING for this reason as well as many others and I still think this was the worst. episode. ever. Seriously. KILL Jack, Sawyer, and Kate. And Charlie too. The show would be ten thousand times better. Who are these people who like those characteres? I don't get it.
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