Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lost - Season 3, episode 9 - Stranger in a Strange Land

I have to admit, I liked this episode as much as I liked the Robert Heinlein novel of the same name, which is to say, Not At All. People at work today disagreed with me. They were happy to see Jack in focus, to see more hints about The Others, etc, etc. And yes, the episode was more "typical Lost," but I think this was a step backward in the development of the series.

The episode starts with Jack back in his glass cage in the Hydra Island. Tom (Mr. Friendly) comes in and tells him he's moving. Jack is in a pissy mood, he accuses Tom and his people of being savages, of "kidnapping and torturing people." Mr. Friendly talks about glass cages and throwing stones, accusing Jack's "people" of similiar acts. Which is completely "WHAT?" Sure, the main cast has done some bad things against the others, but nothing unprovoked. (Except maybe when Sun killed that lady on the boat in the beginning of the season. That was a little uncalled for.)

Mr. Friendly and his guards escort Jack out of his cell and through the halls of the Hyrda. On the way, he passed Juliet under equal guard. Jack looks shocked. He stares at the cuffs on Juliet's hands while she is led into his room.

On the water, Kate, Sawyer, and Karl are sailing back to the main island. Kate thinks they should go back immediatly for Jack. Swayer says she's crazy and they should respect Jack's wishes. Karl says something about Jacob, spouting some of that brainwashing mumbo-jumbo maybe?

After a break, we start on a beautiful beach. An unshaven Jack emerges from a hut on stilts. Are we still on the Hyrda? we wonder for a moment, before the shot opens up and we see Jack on a busy beach. He is in Phucket, Thailand. After buying a soda from a small boy, he sets out trying to assemble a brightly colored kite. He's not having much luck. He hears a childish giggling and looks up to see an attractive girl staring at him. She comes over to help and suceeds where Jack failed. They assemble the kite and fly it on the beach while making cute sidelong glances and teenage touches.

Later, Jack and the girl, Achara, are eating lunch at her brother's restaurant. Jack tries some strange scaly food and Achara's brother rejoices. "Very brave!" he exclaims. Achara asks him how he never learned to fly a kite. Jack starts to mumble something about his father and then Achara interrupts her, saying, "I'm not interested in your father." (And the collective audience thinks, "Thank God!") A moment later, a nondescript man approaches her and hands her a distinctive white envelope that might as well have had a dollar sign on it. Jack gives her a questioning glance. Achara says, "I have a gift," but doesn't elaborate.

Back on the Hyrda, Jack is in Sawyer's old Bear cell. Surprisingly, Juliet comes to visit him. She's just been to see Ben and he's not doing well. She took a Polariod of his post-op stitches and Jack confirms that they're infected. Juliet asks him to help Ben. Jack, shocked, refuses. He gives her the whole, "I would never help him!" speech, even though he just did. Juliet is disappointed but gives up pretty easily.

Later, a new Other approaches Jack's cage and introduces herself. Her name is Isabel and she's apparently "The Sheriff in Town" (according to Mr. Friendly). She asks Jack back inside to meet with her and Juliet to answer some questions about all the crazy stuff that happened two episodes ago. Jack evades her questions and lies to protect Juliet.

The next morning, a disshelved Jack wakes up to find a group of people outside his cage. He’s not very amiable before his morning cup apparently (like me) so he gives them dirty looks. A familiar face approaches the cage. It’s the stewardess from 815, the Oceanic flight. He asks her what “they” have done to her. She seems perfectly happy to be with the Others. And then a little girl asks about Ana-Lucia, to which Jack does not respond well. He lashes out at the girl and the group and tells them to go away.

Back on the main island, Sawyer, Kate, and Karl have set up camp. Karl tells some stories about his girlfriend, Alex, and stargazing while sprouting Other propaganda. (I don’t really know where the writers are going with this character. He seems rather pointless. Alex is way more interesting. Ten bucks says he doesn’t survive the season.)

Back in Thailand, a drunk Jack – looking very much like his father – is following Achara around the Phucket streets. He follows her to a red room, lined with candles, and decorated with Chinese symbols. Jacks asks her “What is this place?” and Achara says she’s a tattoo artist. Jack is as disappointed as we are to find out this is her big secret. But she says she’s not “just a tattoo artist.” She sees people and marks them accordingly. Jack is intrigued and demands she mark him. He almost attacks her (which is WAY out of character) and finally Achara agrees, but not before saying that this is against her people and there will be consequences.

Meanwhile, on the Hydra, Alex has come to see Jack to get some answers. Jack instead asks her questions about Juliet. Alex reveals that she’s going to be punished, maybe executed, for murdering one of their own kind. Jack immediately says, “Take me to your father.”

Jack rushes into the Operating Room, with a supine Ben looking as helpless and unfrightening as when he was Henry Gale (wayyy back in Season 2. I still don’t believe this guy’s suppose to be the big villain.) He says Ben is in serious danger, but he will help him if Ben stops Juliet’s execution. Ben, being ultimately selfish, agrees and Alex and Jack rush to another part of the Hyrda to stop the execution. They encounter Isabel and she reads a note from Ben saying that Juliet should not be executed, but she should still be marked for her crime.

On the main island, Kate and Sawyer wake up to find Karl missing. He’s off in the bushes, crying away his sorrow over losing Alex. Sawyer confronts him, calls him a funny nickname (which Karl doesn’t get), and Sawyer finally tells him he should go back for Alex.

In flashback, Jack wakes up his hut with a kite and goes through a similar scene like early in the episode. Except this time, the boy who sold him a cola runs away and Jack is confronted by Achara’s brother and some random thugs. They see Jack’s tattoo and beat him up. Why? I have no idea. The show doesn’t bother to explain.

In the Hydra, a freed Juliet brings Jack a grilled sandwich. Jack asks to see the mark and then breaks some aloe to alleviate the swelling and the pain. It’s a sweet moment. It’s unfortunate the whole relationship between the two of them feels so forced down our throats, it’s hard to believe.

Juliet informs Jack that the whole pack of Others is leaving the Hydra and returning to the main island. Jack joins the group (no guards this time?) as they help Ben onto the water. In the distance is a large boat.

Overall, a very weak episode that seemed to tread on the same ground that the first six episodes of the season did. I’m glad they’re leaving the Hydra. I also question any reasoning behind Jack’s flashbacks. Usually, the flashback segments shed much needed light on character’s motivations. This episode just seemed to show that Jack gets around with the ladies. Which we already knew. Although, to be fair, after last week’s Desmond awesomeness, any episode would be very hard to reach the same level.

Next week, Hurley returns to the front of the class! I couldn’t be happier.

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Blogger kovoor36 said...

i was quite disappointed with this weeks episode too! they said thye are giving us answers and i dont feel we got any good ones. im sure this prolly laying some foundation somehow. but the whole more mystery to get one crappy answer is starting to try my nerves. off topic, karl went to my grade school!! his sister graduated with me, i remember him singing wind beneath my wings at her bat mitzphah!! i agree, he wont make it to the end, but i was amazed to see him on national tv liek that!!:)

February 23, 2007 10:48 AM  

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