This episode was soooo boring. As usual nothing gets explained and very little happens. They even introduced new charecters, like we dont have enough already! i remember when Lost kept you on the edge of your seat waiting for another episode...those days appear to be long over now. i am beginning to get overly tired of their lets create a billion new questions per episode strategy. Cant they just explain it all and go from there?! At the moment you feel like they are about to explain it and then absolutely nothing happens all episode. i am gettin well and truly bored!
This episode was bad. If you caught the preview trailer for this episode then not only the scenes in it but the promoting commentary were hugely deceptive. Also all the major sequences were in that preview promo. Nothing else of importance happened.
First of all, I don't like what they have done with Jack's character at all. He used to be one of my favorite LOST characters back at the days of season 1, and then he went downhill. This episode is yet another proof of it.
You get the feeling that he is constantly frustrated about something but when he gets the chance to actually DO something about it, he just yells at people and messes it all up.
The flashback was almost out of place. Boring. That beautiful girl in it, somewhat helped, but then you realise that you are not watching LOST because of beautiful girls...
The rest of the story moves slowly and awkwardly. Kate and Sawyer talk, and it's a mess. They end it with an idiotic "good. let's go".
The Alex's boyfriend substory is neither here or there. On the others' camp basically two or three minor things happen. One of them is actually how the episode ends. But no cliffhanger.
On the bright side, the camera work seemed at least in one or two occasions really good. But of course that won't help save the mess of this episode.
Oh and we don't get any answers to the biggest mysteries.
PIVOTAL in stopping me from watching this show. I've been a fan since episode one season one and I'm becoming very tired of being given the run around. How anyone could possibly say this was a good episode is beyond me. The only ones who would like this are the Jack/Lost groupies who think they could never do wrong. The flashback was completely boring, unrevealing, and a waste of my time. I blame the writers (for writing this crap), ABC for lying about 3 mysteries being solved, and the fans (myself included) for watching this quickly declining piece of crap show. The funny thing is now I read Lost fans writing: It was character development, PLEASE that is such crap.
It's episodes like this that I finally understand why the ratings are declining. I haven't liked a single episode in season 3.
The episode mirrors the hottish Thai girl they've been flashing on promos for weeks. At first glace, it appears much will be revealed and it will be exciting, but upon closer inspection - it's kind of icky and disappointing. (Seriously - at the wrong angle that girl is 45-50, but that's just me being overly superficial.)
It's been an episode or so since Kate was in love so of course she's out of love now and back to hating and enjoying her inner turmoil. Sawyer tries to develop his character more with the nuances of a brick to the head. You can almost hear the writers saying, "We can't have that relationship developing so they'll have to misunderstand each other until Jack's back to be the source of awkwardness"...ENOUGH!
Alex reveals they have backyards, which we already surmised from the book club episode. P.S. He should have left the goggles on.
The fearsome sheriff is introduced and has some promise, but by the end of the show has done nothing but make a few extras seem nervous. She'll be back...but her set up wasn't very intimidating.
Juliet gets a mark (like Jack) and it will surely carry some type of ostracism...Good thing they put it where no one can see it, eh?
Jack has a tattoo and it symbolizes the traits the show has been pounding at since episode 1. A quick season update: Jack will not cooperate with the others. Yes, he will. No he won't. Oh, Ok. NO, he definitely won't. Yes. No. ZZZZZZZZZZ
The whole backstory for this episode was really poorly written, and I don't usually pay attention to episode writing - I've been forgiving in the past for "Transitional" shows..but transitional shouldn't mean garbage.
Example of bad writing (aside from my own): Every attempt is made to imply Jack's new friend is a prostitute. He wants to know and so he follows her. Did anyone think she was? I doubt it. The show has trained its audience to expect unexpected things- a good thing. Why the hamfisted plot "twist"? Maybe the weak reveal would be less disappointing if it hadn't been so lame and hard to believe.
She can't tell him what she sees (unless he shouts) and she is forbidden to do it (unless he takes his shirt off)... What world is this in? They just seemed to be trying to hard..it didn't work. In short, my attentions are beginning to flag. I've loved the show, but I'm still waiting for a solid episode this winter. It makes it much harder to put up with the 15 minutes of car commercials.
This episode is just one of the numerous ones why I hate being addicted to LOST. I am going to try and seriously quit the show this time, I went to bed sooooo angry last night. Hopefully this time I can stick to quitting...
It was such CRAP. There were supposed to be 3 big questions answered. The only things everyone here at work could think were 1) Jack's tatoo (even if that was a question... who the hell cares) 2) the others dont live on the smaller island the only work there (I pretty much assumed that, and even if you didnt, once again who the hell cares) and 3) the people kidnapped are still alive and "watching something" (also assumed and once again, if not... who the hell cares!!!!!)
When Ben's daughter came to jack to ask why he saved Ben, and Jack was like, "I have a question for you first", I definitly got excited thinking here we go, let's reveal something awesome. And he asks "what is going to happen to Julia?" That moment is when I was done. I told my friend, who is blindly obsessed with this show, I hope they cancel it after this season so it never gets to finish and EVERYONE ends pissed off with nothing answered. It would be so appropriate.
I was originally annoyed it was moved to a later time slot and it ran same time as South Park, so this is the straw that broke the cammels back. Lost is like a drug, you know it isnt good for you and you should stop, but you watch every week. Well that's it, I am done, NO MORE LOST!!!! And I seriously loved the show, but I have found myself leaving frustrated more times than fulfilled. It has lost one very big fan....
I seem to be the only 1 but I really enjoyed this ep.
Got to know more about how the others operate, their ethos and morl stand points.
Stuff about Jack's tatoos was interesting but need explaining which I'm sure will be clarified in
This episode was about Jack coming into his own again. First season he was "reluctant hero", second season he was "tragic/frustrated hero" and after this episode he seems to accept the idea of a leadership hero role. I loved this episode. Good for Jack
This episdoe was given a huge lead in by the advertisers that said that three huge things were to be revealed. When that didn't happen, many people were disappointed. However, this episode, when examined alone, was a great character development for Jack Shepard, and for a few other characters. The spark of first season was seeing these apparent strangers overcome some of their past mistakes and insecurities by opening up in this strange new location they were forced to make a home on. Everyone released a smile thinking Charlie gave up drugs or John Locke could magically walk. Jack proving he could be a leader when his father always said he couldn't, Kate getting a new shot at freedom, etc. A lot of second season lost that spark when some of the flashbacks got too serious and complicated and when the island became confusing and highly hostile. Tonights episode showed a character flashback in a positive and inspiring light again, giving it some magic of first season. Jack can do this. He can be the leader he chooses to be. He made some great decisions and compromises this episode. Kate and Sawyer showed some of their true colors and character definitions again AND we got a deeper look at the society of the Others. Okay, so they didn't give us all the answers we were looking for. But they gave us something. They should stop talking the show up. First season was popular because the audience talked the show up. Stop talking up the commercials and delivering little. That way, we can enjoy the episodes for what they are instead of condemning them for what they turn out not to be.
Ok so tonights eppy was Jack centric. I am not a huge fan of the Jack fb or of Jack, but throughout this season he has been getting better and better. The fb were kind of there just to fill in the time. i mean yeah it was interesting to learn about Jack's tattoos, but it wasn't imperitive that the audience knows. i wish there had been more revealed. i knew though that this was going to be a filler eppy because next weeks and Enter 77 will be the one where questions get answered. a lot of people are complaining that there isn't enough of the beach, well this episode needed to happen so that it could show Sawyer and Kate gettiong back to camp, otherwise people would complain that they made it back to camp to fast. I thought the stuff that happened on alcatraz was interesting. there were a couple more things revealed about how the Others live, and their legal system. I also liked the spark between Jack and Juliet. I think they both did an excellent job in this episode. I can't wait for Ben to be out of that bed, i want more of him and his story. The stuff between Sawyer and Kate was really sad. i mean it was good acting by both Josh and Evi, but it was bad conclusion to their relatioship, i hope the writers either end it better or do soemthing that keeps it still alive. it was also necessary to have that so that when they reunited with the beach dwellers they wouldn't have this relationship, and also it makes for good dramatic tv.
all in all i liked the eppy and can't wit for next week.
The promos for the last week claimed that three of the biggest questions will finally be answered: What happened to the kidnappend people, what is the meaning of jack's tattoos and where exactly do the others live.
This was a little misleading, it seems that the others live on the main island and most probably in the exact location that was shown in the season 3 premiere. They also revealed that "alcatraz" island was a place for projects and experiments. This question was satisfactorally answered and I am guessing that they will get into the exact experiments answer later. The jack's tatoos for one, I wouldn't consider as lost's biggest questions and infact people who are fans and haven't visited forum boards like tv.com probably didn't even notice that tattooo. The answers were given but in a very questionable and confusing scenario. The entire reason behind jack getting attacked, why did jack want the tatoo and why was bai ling afraid to put it on was never really answered. I also have the feeling that the show which has so many questions to answer will probably never answer the reason behind these flashbacks.
The children getting kidnapped was interesting but I dont see how they were willing to accept this better life when they realize that there were people on the island who were blaming themselves for losing the children. Cindy seems to be able to leave the island anytime, and I find it hard to believe that she refuses to do so. The Carl, Kate and Sawyer scenes could have waited and they could have cramped it in the next episodes along with the reunion. Jack and Juliet interaction was good and it will be interesting to see where that goes.
All in all, a step down from the last two weeks but definitely a step up from all episodes in the season 3 fall arc.
This episode is divided by a line--the good and the bad. The island part is great and the flashback was just plain bad. I saw little to no chemistry between Matthew Fox and Bai Ling which made it hard to care about the flashback considering she was in almost every scene.
The good was that we got 3 answers this week: the meaning of Jack's tattoos, where the others live, and a quick answer to what happened to the people the others took.
As a whole the episode was okay. Sadly, it was probably the worst of the season so far and nowhere near as good as the last 2 episodes. As a matter of fact I think I'm going to go watch "Flashes Before Your Eyes" again.
One of the central themes of “Lost” is the argument of “science versus faith.” Someone once said in the middle of season two when everyone hated Lost (surprise, surprise) that that central theme could, in fact, be applied to the Lost writers themselves. That you either have faith in the Lost writers – that one day everything will be answered and that it’ll all make sense – or you don’t. Well, it appears the casual fans and the unfaithful are deserting Lost by the truck full, all the while the faithful stay planted…positive that one day their loyalty will pay off. I’m part of the faithful myself. Out of everyone I know I’m the only person who isn’t considering turning the channel, or hasn’t already abandoned it (most everyone I know left during season two).
This series of episodes is “Lost’s” greatest challenge, and they’ve really got to pull something out of their hat soon if they’re hoping to stay in the top twenty shows (which will keep ABC from tampering with the show directly). But if ABC is hoping to save Lost than they’re going about it in the wrong manner. Promoting three major secrets to be revealed during a transitional episode? That’s a slap in the face to even the most faithful fans and could even potentially discourage them from watching. I’m sure even the producers of Lost were producing the preverbal brick when they saw that promo. The episode itself was fine for a transitional episode. The Jack flashbacks are seriously becoming tedious though, and these flashbacks in particular seem forced. Perhaps because we’re trying to cover a month worth of material in about ten minutes. But I didn’t really buy or care about Jack & Achara, and we could have used some more clarification on what Achara did and why she was unable to tattoo Jack. I’m assuming that it’s a cultural thing that we don’t understand, but a little more clarity would have been nice. I also thought the scene where Jack asks Achara to tell him who he is, and then to tattoo him, was extremely forced from Matthew Fox. Yeah, Jack is an unstable character who wants to get to the bottom of things and doesn’t like people deceiving him…but he just seemed like a madman when he was grabbing Achara and telling her to look into his eyes. I would think the rational Jack with his lack of faith would be more inclined to merely disregard Achara’s practices from the get go. As for the rest of the episode, I don't really have anything negative to say. Sawyer and Kate have made it to the main island and are having relationship problems already. Now that Kate has made her choice between Sawyer and Jack, she appears unhappy with it. She apparently doesn’t like her “real father” Sawyer and now wants her “adoptive father” Jack back. Meanwhile, Sawyer releases Karl, which I thought was kind of stupid – considering that their side could have at the very least interrogated him for information. Perhaps Karl will willingly tag along considering the fact that he considers himself a dead man walking…and perhaps Sawyer knows this. If this is the case than maybe it’s not so stupid.
Meanwhile, at “Club Other,” Jack has a conversation with the abductees. I’ve got to say that while I was a little peeved that nothing was really answered in the exchange, I did think the conversation itself was hilarious. Jack screaming at Cindy and the little girl asking about Ana-Lucia was pretty funny. Juliet has become ostracized by the Others, allowing Jack and Juliet to grow closer to one another. Juliet also becomes “marked” in a Scarlet Letter-like fashion (though perhaps it should be bigger and more identifiable). It would be interesting if this entire plan were hatched by The Others from the get go in order to manipulate Jack and possibly convert him to their side (similar to the abductees, which could have something to do with why they were “watching”). That they knew Jack would attempt to save his friends during the surgery and Juliet actually didn’t kill Pickett, but shot him with blanks to make it look like she did. Because honestly - without his handcuffs on - Jack does appear more comfortable around The Others than he should towards the end of this episode. Maybe when Kate, Locke, and Sayid finally find Jack…maybe he won’t be the same Jack that left. Anyhow, at the moment, Lost has two very big flaws. The first is romance. The Lost writers don’t know how to make us care about romance…actually, no, forget that…they do know how to make us care, but not about thrown together romances. When Jack is rubbing Juliet with aloe in this episode (which, by the way, seems more “Sun-like” than “Jack-like”), it feels real. It’s already one of the stronger romances of the series, and they haven’t even done anything romantic yet! Meanwhile, when Karl is talking about naming constellations with Alex in his backyard….? Who gives a damn!? Who the heck is Karl!? I tried talking about this with one of the people I watched this episode with and their response was “Who’s Karl?”
I know it’s probably important to the series, but at least give us more time with the characters before giving them romantic soliloquies about other characters we don’t even know! I bet most casual fans don’t even know who Alex is! The same thing can be said about Penny & Desmond last episode, Jack & Achara this episode, or even Sawyer & Kate in the last couple of episodes. When the Lost writers try and convey romance to us…it just slows down the pace of the show. They’ve been doing that a lot lately. Heck, I’m already dreading the Paulo/Nikki episode coming up here in the next few weeks…I mean, we don’t even know who they are and now they’re going to suddenly ask us to care about their story!? Secondly, I think the lack of exposition on Lost is a real problem. I was talking to someone about Lost the other day and they were going on the normal rant about how they don’t answer questions. They mentioned the polar bears. I had to tell them that Lost DID in fact answer the question about the polar bears. That they not only answered it in the Orientation film in the episode “Orientation,” but they alluded to it earlier this season when Tom told Sawyer that the bears were able to get the fish biscuits faster than him. The fact of the matter is that they answered the question about the polar bears so subtly that most people don’t even realize that the question was answered to begin with! I think a lot of people are expecting the answers to be obvious…like Tom would go “It only took the bears an hour to get the fish biscuit…And That's Where The Polar Bears Come From!!!!!”
It was the same thing this episode. Three questions were answered this episode (albeit, not major revelations like the promo suggested), but reading the forums most people don’t even know what the answers were! Perhaps, in order to retain the high ratings, the Lost writers should add an exposition dump or two into the mix instead of trying to remain subtle. I’d rather have an exposition dump than have my show cancelled, that’s for sure.
But, one things for sure. Lost is probably so much better on DVD than it is on TV. To watch each episode simultaneously; to actually know who Karl is and to actually pick up on these subtle questions being answered. Cause it’s really this week in between episodes that is killing Lost. Hell, you probably wouldn’t even think twice about Sayid not being in the past several episodes if you watched them consecutively on DVD. To end this review, Stranger In A Strange Land was a good transitional episode. It puts The Others and Jack on the main island, which’ll allow our original survivors to hopefully wage the war that has been promised to us for so long now. Hopefully that’ll regenerate some interest. You just have to have a little faith.
Ok, maybe calling this a piece of rubbish is a bit harsh, it wasn't that bad. The main problem with this episode wasn't actually the episode itself, but the trailers for it.
We were promised three of the biggest mysteries to be solved. No. Unless "Cindy's still alive" and "The others belive in capital punishment" were two of the biggest ones. The third was obviously how Jack got his tattoos. Gotta say that's the worst mystery of them all. It's insulting that it's classed as a mystery.
Besides the very hot Bai Ling that story was really dull. The backstory felt forced and just an excuse to show some half naked women. The way it jumped was done really badly too. The first scene they meet, the next it's a month later, it just seemed a really bad way to have some time pass. A bit more reasoning for Jack getting beaten to a pulp for getting a tattoo wouldn't have gone a miss either. Was it meant to be a cultural thing or what? Maybe it was because Jack came across as a bit of a wifebeater in the previous scene.
On top of that Kate and Sawyer were meant to get back to camp in this episode. But no. We just got some funnyish lines from Sawyer and a bit of a story from the relationship between Alex and Carl, who we aren't really interested in. Almost halfway throught the season and the main cliffhanger from last year still hasn't been resolved. That's just bad storytelling.
I'd like to say the only way is up, but I think season 3 is now definately a lost cause now. We'll just have to wait it out and stay in denial that season 4 will be better.
I found this to be one of those episodes where you don't learn much and was left wanting more but better. A tattoo on Jack's arm was about as good as it got. You did not find out what it totaly meant or why he got a kicking on the beach because of it. I am getting fed up of the others island and don't find anything with them I would like to know more about. However it left you with the cliff hanger of were the boat was heading and where they were taking Jack. Lets see more of the old island. I am missing Locke and his quirky ways
This is one of the worst episodes of Lost I have ever seen! I enjoyed it a tad bit more than the previous one that many seemed to enjoy for some reason. This episode focuses on Jack. Kate, Sawyer and Karl finally get to tehir island, but Karl leaves. They are deciding Juliet's fate, but Ben makes the order that Juliet be marked insted of executed. The question to where Jack got his tattoos is finally answered. He went to Taiwan for vacation, fell in love and disrespected the country. Giving him a girlfriend, tattoos and a good beating. Horrendous episode, they can do better.
Yes, I am probably among the most rabidly obsessed internet blogger fans of LOST (though I am a huge nerd and have absolutely no life whatsoever). However, I will not let this episode slip. How silly was this? I mean, the moving of Jack from one cage to another was pretty... uh... important... but I was appalled at the inconsistencies of the flashback. I mean, first of all, I am learning Chinese (I read at about a second grade level), and I asked my mom what the tattoos meant. Being too fast for her to see, she couldn't make out all of it, but she was sure it didn't mean "He walks among them, but he is not one of them" Isabella crap. And then, why would a Thai woman in Thailand make tattoos for Jack that were in Chinese? They didn't have to confine the whole story in Thailand just because of the poker game with Sawyer back in Season 2. And besides, Bai Ling is Chinese! Would've made more sense. At least Jack got his ass beat. Finally. I've been getting more and more crazy about Jack and his strange decisions. Check out 301 Tale of Two Cities again. "You can have the car, the house, I just want to know his name." Man, that guy certainly will do anything over something frivolously silly. He slammed poor Achara into the wall over the "Do me with the tats now plzzz" thing! Finally, some comeuppance. Well, all we can do now is pray that 310 Tricia Tanaka is Dead will prove me wrong about things.
im getting really sick of lost.
they act like its ok that they dont tell us anyting, and we should just keep watching and care about the new charecters.
well its not ok, tell us whats going on and then devolpe the show more, dont devolpe the show and charecters when we have no idea what the hell is going on.
i know, thats the way its been since season 2.
but now its getting to far, and Sawyer and kate had a chance to ask carl what is going on but they didnt, and jack had a chance to ask alex, but they dont even care anymore so why the hell sould we care??????
I will try to keep this brief and without spoilers. This episode was awful. Nothing interesting happened. We learned what Jack's tattoos mean. Ok. Now what? The episode looked like it would take a turn for the better when Cindy showed up, but she left as abruptly as she arrived. I could have watched the two minute preview and seen as much as I did having watched the entire episode. It was just poor. The flashbacks were boring. The plot was boring(as alot of Jack's episodes are). I expected THREE major secrets to be revealed, but I only counted one, and I don't consider Jack's tattoos a major secret to begin with. Good Luck next time Lost.
The previews for this episode stated that there would be some major questions answered. The most important, I thought, was what had happened to the children that were taken. We find out that the children are in fact ok, and with the 'others', but that was hardly the answer I was looking for. Have they been brainwashed? Who is thier caretaker? Have they been through any testing like Walt was? Where are they kept? If the writers are going to give a big answer to a 'big mystery', they should deliver! However, I do feel this episode was good in showing a bit more of Jack and how his character developed. We get to see him try and find himself in the flashback, and try and re-establish feelings of trust and companionship with his developing relationship with Juliet.
There is alot to take in at this point as this episode is split, we have 3 of them leaving the island, Jack having flashbacks to his time in Phucket and Juliet having to face a court of the others, for her actions taken in the last couple of episodes.
The 3 in the boat are half way across when Kate says that they have to go back for Jack, Sawyer disagrees saying it was Jack's wishes for them to leave him, Karl in a semi-daze tells them that if they go back they will kill them both, then mutters "God loved you as he loved Jacob" and passes out.
Tom goes into the room Jack is being kept in and tells him they are going to move him, Jack says is that your way of saying you are going to kill me, Tom asks him what kind of people does Jack think they are, so he rattles off a list of crimes only to get told, would you like some stones for your glasshouse and is moved to the bear cages outside, possibly the one Sawyer was in.
He settles down and shortly after Tom brings him a sandwich, Jack says he likes it the way Juliet does it, lightly grilled and with sticks in them, he asks after the other woman, the figurative sheriff, but when he is asked about himself helping out Kate and Sawyer he remains still and ends the conversation.
Kate believes that they should be heading around the shore, not into land, Sawyer argues saying they have no food, water or a map to navigate around the island and that they can go and camp on the island for the night. They get onto land and whilst it is still light Sawyer offers mardy Kate some fruit, who refuses and Karl tells them they should not fight as they are lucky to be alive and to be together. They talk to Karl about things, like projects, back yards and names of made up constellations.
Juliet is escorted to Jacks cage and asked if he'll help with Ben, as he has got an infection around his stitches. Jack refuses to help Juliet of Ben. Later Isabelle, the sheriff, approaches Jack talking chinese and asking if he knows what it means as it can be hard to translate, he says he does. He is taken to a room in the hydra where he is asked to explain questions regarding claims that Juliet asked him to kill Ben, he remains very silent and lies and says that he made it up to cause disdain amongst the ranks.
From Jack's flashbacks we learn that he spent about 6 weeks in Phuket, most of which is spent with a tattoo-artist / personality seer, but he makes her see into him and then tattoo it to his body, but she doesn't want to as he is an outsider, not allowed, but he insists, the following morning he is beaten by her brother and friends and told to leave the beach and country.
The following day Jack is like and feels like an exhibit, as the ones taken by the others are outside the bear cages, Cindy the stewardess is there, but the qustions are making Jack angry and he shouts at them to leave which they do. Alex comes to see him, breaks the cctv camera and lets him out in order to go and see her father, to get Juliet's execution stopped, which they do after he has promised to see that Ben is looked after properly.
and it was that.... the first episode from the third season to end quietly, without any stress or revelation at the end.... I see it as an episode to calm things a little bit.
Favorite moment: when the little girls asks about Ana Lucia... that was unexpected... so they arent really like the others, because they dont know that much
the rest I think most of the people already told what was bad on this episode. Its the least interesting episode on this season since its beginning, but it wasnt really that bad, I think Fir+Water was so bad and comparing to this one.... this one was fantastic...
As the followup episode to last weeks awesome series changing episode, Stranger was a let down. The expectations were just completely impossible for this episode to reach. This did not help due to the misleading advertising campaign of three of lost biggest questions will get answered. I am still not sure what they were. This episode on its own was a average lost episode. That means a few question get half answered and the show creates even more questions. We learn what Jack's tatoos mean and how he got them. We also learned Juliet's fate and her new positioning in Others hierarchy. This episodes seemed overall to be a setup episode for future episodes later on in the season.
First of let me start by saying that all LOST episodes are amazing however, if you had to pick the worst one this would probably be it. Many fans did not like this episode because they were tired of Jack episodes (although the next Jack episode is THE best in the shows history so far) and it had some painful to watch moments. Although it did have some good ones too! I loved the part where the people are watching Jack in the cage and Cindy (by the way this is the first time they have seen eachother since "Pilot") and the two children from the tailsection ask him how Ana-Lucia is. To which Jack replies along the lines of "Are you serious? If you've got something to watch, Cindy, go watch it!" Also, the ending of this episode is one of my favorite endings in an episode. The instrumental music is beautiful and the scenes they show are great. The color of the whole episodes is interesting too.
"It's what they say... it's not what they mean." I took Jack's final line of the episode to be applied not to what's written on his tattoos, but to the three monumental revelations we were promised in this episode.
LOST Episode 3.09 "Stranger in a Strange Land"
Airdate: Wednesday, February 21st 10:00PM-11:00PM
"It's what they say... it's not what they mean." I took Jack's final line of the episode to be applied not to what's written on his tattoos, but to the three monumental revelations we were promised in this episode. They SAID 'three of LOST's biggest mysteries will finally be revealed,' but what they MEANT was 'yea, it's gonna be another episode where nothing really happens but our ratings are falling to the lowest they've ever been so I guess we're better off lying to you so you'll all watch.'
I wasn't even aware prior to this episode that the meaning behind Jack's tattoos was considered to be one of the biggest mysteries on the show. I'd easily trade the answers of this so called mystery for about 100 other mysteries that have been left unresolved since the start of the series. But even the disappointment in uncovering Mystery # 1 wouldn't have been too much of a letdown had Jack's flashback held my interest in the slightest. It was good to see a Jack episode that didn't delve back into a story involving his father or his marriage for a change, but I still found his flashback as a whole to be lame and boring. While it did serve as a different mood setter for Jack's character and in essence reflecting on his attitude on the island during the episode, the attention focusing on a different side of Jack's character development shifted away from what an episode mid-way through the third season of a mystery drama SHOULD be focusing on: the development of the plot.
One of my biggest pet peeves with LOST has been its frustratingly slow storytelling methods in getting from Point A to Point B in certain arcs of the plot. For example, last season we had about a six episode span between the time Benry was caught in Danielle's net to the time Michael let him escape. With the question of whether or not Henry Gayle was actually Henry Gayle being the top storyline at that that point, that's six episodes where virtually nothing happened to further the overall plot. Much similar to the case this season, more so with the three episodes since the show's return, where the only real progress in the story has been Kate and Sawyer's escape.
This slow storytelling also applies to what we assume was the second almighty mystery reveal when we got to find out what happened to everybody else that The Others kidnapped. Well, we found out they're still alive. We found out they're here to "watch" Jack. And oh, we even found out that they were ever so unkindly not informed that Ana Lucia was murdered by Michael when he was forced to free Ben in exchange for his kidnapped son and to be let off the island. Guess the Others didn't feel that fit the necessities of giving them a "better life" as their Bobby Brady look-alike made claim to. But yea, another major letdown from what the hype of the episode seemed to promise. We didn't find out anything about the kidnap-ees, just that their story was reintroduced and that we probably won't get the answers we thought we were getting in this episode until much later on.
The biggest mystery of all is perhaps what the third major mystery actually was that we supposedly found out about. Even after rewatching the episode I have absolutely no idea what this third revelation was. Could it be the mystery of why Jack, Kate and Sawyer have all still never thought to ask the obvious questions to The Others of what is this place? Why are you all here? Where are we? I guess that mystery was resolved with Jack using his "free questions" to Alex of what's going on with Juliette and Sawyer opting to use his Other chat time to and encourage Carl to go back to his girl just in time to get killed by Captain Bunnykiller. The only thing I could think of for actually being the third mystery is where The Others really live. But again, that was also not answered and rather just introduced to us in the final minutes of the episode.
But seriously, even had there not been the huge hype with three big mysteries revealed, I still don't think I'd be pleased with this episode. It felt like we were watching a day in the life of Othersville when things go awry rather than an episode of that show called LOST where the mysteries of that weird island are supposed to be explained and events of actual importance are supposed to take place. The letdown of three promised to be resolved mysteries that were seemingly useless/not explained at all/not even sure what they're referring to, just made the episode that much more disappointing. The only thing I thought it had going for it was the continuance of Sawyer's new creative nicknames, Jack's witty responses to The Others, and the anticipation of next weeks's reunion/plan to rescue Jack and go to war with The Others. I hope this anticipation results in a strong outcome however, because this might be the worst three episode stretch LOST has ever had.
I am a huge fan of Lost. I don't need action to feel an episode was a good one. Even still: This 3.09 was a big disappointment!
It was OK in general TV series level, but on Lost scale it was one of the poorest episodes ever.
There have been this kind of calm episodes which have been really great. But this one was a weak one.
- Poor, loose flashbacks of Jack's life. - No real new mysteries, no answers to old ones.
All the greatest Lost elements were completely missing tho whole episode!
It felt like this episode never started... There has to be somekind of filler episodes sometimes, I understand that, but this one wasn't good even on a filler episode level.
And one more thing: so far I've understood that the focus has been on Jack/Sawyer/Kate lately, but now I start to get a bit frustrated. 1st and 2nd season had so many interesting characters. Please bring'em (more) back on 3rd one as well!
After last week's break from the main story, we focus back in to learn a little bit about Jack's past.
Let me talk about the flashbacks first. I've got to say that I wasn't overtly thrilled when watching the flashback sequences. It just seemed so...what's the point? So we finally get to see Jack in Phuket as we've been teased about for two and a half seasons now - but it's not really all that interesting. He hangs out on some island (which looks mysteriously like the crash-site island), meets a mysterious vixen, stalks her, and then...gets a tattoo. It feels like it was only thrown in there to answer the question of where they came from. Although I do get the mild parallels between the flashback story and the "modern" story - in both stories, Jack is a foreigner who doesn't belong. He is a "Stranger in a Strange Land." Not to mention that they didn't even show how he got the whole tattoo - just the Chinese stuff. Are they saving that one for another tattoo flashback episode? I hope not.
That said, the main story wasn't bad, it just...couldn't hold my interest for some reason. It felt a whole lot like filler. We learned a bit more about how the Others operate, I suppose, but I don't know. I can't quite put my finger on it, but something just seemed off to me. The Kate and Sawyer stuff mostly just irritated me because it is so obviously filler to keep them from returning to the beach as long as possible. There were some interesting character moments in there, but nothing that couldn't have happened once they got back to camp. They're putting off the eventual rescue attempt for as long as they possibly can and it's starting to grate my nerves.
Some other things - ABC claimed that this episode would answer three burning questions. They totally did, if your definition of "answer" is "let the audience know that they haven't forgotten about it without actually answering anything."
We got the tattoo stuff. Boring. Check.
The other "big" mystery that was "solved" was what's going on with Cindy and the kids who were abducted from the tail section. And we didn't really get what's going on with them. They just showed up long enough for the audience to realize, "Hey, those guys aren't dead or in limbo. The writers still remember." Other than that, it was vague nonsense about "watching" and whatever. Laaame.
I can't even figure out what number three is. Nothing caught my eye, so who knows?
Don't get me wrong - I know this is how Lost rolls. They answer questions with more questions before finally giving away the big reveal. I guess I blame the advertising department then, because come on - if you're going to claim that an episode is going to do something, make sure the episode is going to have the actual payoff so people don't get pissed. Sensationalism doesn't do anyone any good.
Oh well. Not a bad episode, but not really all that good of one either. Hopefully we get some better stuff next week.
To start it off, the Jack flashback was absolutely forced. There is no value to the main story on the island, the actions which Jack took in his flashback. The way the flashback was done was utterly pointless and simply irrelevant. The writing is weak, we do not know why Jack so wanted that tattoo, and is stalking of a stranger...WHY?
ABC promised to reveal THREE mysteries. The way they are presented are rather abrupt, and has no proper lead-up or purpose. Whether they can be called the BIGGEST mysteries is also questionable.
Back on the island, we *may* see something come out of Jack and Juliet, and the episodes ahead may be promising, given how this episode ended. The ending is actually a nice setup to the coming excitement - if the writers don't mess the coming episodes up that is.
The way the script and story was written again, was simply not up to scratch. Dare I say even some of the acting seemed extremely fake. The guest star Bai Ling does a proper awful job acting in general and even Jack...maybe the it was so poorly written that it was actually impossible to act properly? Even the scenes with Sawyer and Kate felt cheesy at times.
In the end, the "others" leave that island to go to their village and as Juliet says, what Ben calls "home". Did the master of liars manipulate language to his own advantage, promising to take Jack and Juliet back to his "home"? We can only wait and see.
As a whole, even Fire + Water had more convincing acting and scripts. 6.5/10, a very poor episode considering 9.2 means "average" at TV.com.
My personal "British University" rating...3.9/10, a fail.
Frankly, Lost seems to be heading into tough territory as far as I, a pretty devoted fan of the show, can see. People are getting more and more fed up with the lagging storylines. I personally don't think its the fault of the story; if we consider what happened in season 1 (essentially nothing but the survivors building a camp, finding a French woman, falling of a cliff and having a baby), and compare it with seasons 2 and 3, the later episodes have arguably more action and intrigue. And yet, somehow, Lost seems to be going as slow as ever. The central problem with the latest episodes, and probably the series in general, is that for all of the tension much of the clever arranged plots and characters generate, all excitement in the show (such as the brainwashing scene, the eye-patch man in the hatch, and indeed who the hell the others are in general) is completely disfused with episodes like 'Stranger in a Strange Land', which are basically schmaltzy extended metaphors about as inconsequential as a dirt in a quarry and serve to only make me puke at the over-done sentiment and the fact that all 120,000 interesting mysteries failed to be adresses at all!
Lost at the best of times has a tenuous grip on its audience, wanting to keep them just close enough to remain in the show's orbit but not to close as to bring them crashing onto the surface and revealing the mysteries to soon. The problem now is its alienated us, the loyal viewer, too damn much. Between the strange Sherrif Isabel, the tattoo artist whose job it is "too see who people are", the taken survivors "watching" and the sheer amount of slow-bloody-motion, I thought I'd stumbled into a pretensious art-house movie. I had that little idea what was going on, and without that I couldn't possibly be interested in this episode much at all. The only relief came from the interrogation of Jack and the strange courtroom scene, but that, of course, was frustratingly fleeting.
What do I want from the future? Less schmaltz and soap and more ideas actually being explored. I can properly receive the idea that two people are developing feelings for each other, or are missing each other, without slow-mo and violin music, and I need the development of metaphors such as "being marked" (the theme of this episode) about as much as I need a Sayid style bamboo-shoot up my index finernails. Lets see more of what Lost does, or rather should do, best. Intrigue, suspense, and exploration into the depths of the unknown jungles of the human mind (hows THAT for a Lost metaphor!)
Some episodes manage to balance the present and past with a strong sense of metaphor. At the very least, the connection between past decisions and “present” conditions should be strong enough for the audience to appreciate the point being made. When the metaphor or parallel is forced, the episode typically suffers as a result. And when the writers try too hard to build up connections that are obtuse for the audience, the episode doesn’t have a prayer.
It’s not entirely clear what the goal was coming into this episode. Jack’s flashback reveals that his true self is a leader of men, good and noble. And that has been shown over the course of the series to some degree. The flashbacks also seem to demonstrate how that positive aspect of Jack’s character is continually undermined by the most negative aspects of his personality. And this has also been aptly demonstrated over the course of the series. Jack is stubborn, impatient, entitled, and angry. Jack is also deeply troubled by that which defies logic and reasoning.
Of course, all of that has been established already. Now it feels redundant. The goal of this episode should have been progress towards that hidden nobility or a clear signal that his inability to move past his negativity will lead to something terrible. That’s been the hallmark of “Lost” since the first season. That’s where the episode fails to do anything new.
The writers use Jack’s mark, an indication of his true self, as an analogue to Juliet’s situation. Jack’s tattoo states “he walks amongst us, but he is not one of us”. The Others’ sheriff, for lack of a better term, interprets that as an ironic statement, applicable to his current situation. But it’s a rather clever way to refer to a leader. A leader is often forced to stand apart from the rest.
So what does this mean in conjunction with Juliet’s “mark”. Any kind of analysis is hampered by the fact that the meaning of the mark is only implied, not fully explained. Juliet appears to be some kind of social pariah, no longer trusted and barely tolerated. So in a sense, Juliet walks among the Others, but she is not one of them. If that literal meaning is wrong in Jack’s case, however, then is it also incorrect in Juliet’s situation? Perhaps the connection is that Jack and Juliet are perceived as outsiders, but they will ultimately emerge as the ones in control. Whatever the case, the writers were reaching for something there, and it’s quite possible that they missed.
There also seems to be a parallel between Jack and Sawyer. Sawyer appears to make choices that undermine his relatively new relationship with Kate. Jack seems to have something simple with Achara, but he can’t leave well enough alone and his choices destroy the delicate balance between them. Delving into the details, of course, the parallel doesn’t quite hold up.
For one thing, Sawyer’s problem with Kate has less to do with his insistence on survival and sympathy for Karl than Kate’s lingering feelings for Jack. Kate is the one feeling guilty about leaving Jack behind, even though Jack insisted on it. Kate is the one who wants to use Karl to pull together an attack plan. Sawyer may be insensitive to her emotions over the whole ordeal (and characteristically willing to screw things up with her), but he’s not creating a situation out of nothing.
On the other hand, Jack let his own insecurities and control issues get in the way of his free-spirited affair with Achara. Granted, her characterization was bizarre enough to test the patience and understanding of any reasonable man on the planet. Her personal style was one step short of exhibitionism. But this seems like a case of trying too hard to give Jack some small justification. The writers make Achara so over the top that the depth of Jack’s psychological damage is somewhat mitigated.
It’s fairly clear that Jack suspects Achara might be a prostitute. Her overall appearance is suggestive of a life on the fringe; she actually looked like the personification of an anime character. The comment about tasting something salty was, quite possibly, a thinly veiled reference to a certain sex act on her part. His decision to follow her into one of the less savory parts of town, complete with her barely-there red dress, was reinforcement of his assumption. It would have been a bit more intriguing if Achara’s questionable behavior was more subtle. It still ends with Jack acting like Achara’s entire life was his to question and dominate, so his issues were laid bare and the consequences were justly severe, but it wasn’t as effective as it could have been.
The point being that Sawyer’s situation with Kate was more about Kate, and Jack’s situation was all about Jack. So the parallel doesn’t quite hold water. The writers have also tried one final connection between the three relationships under study in the “present”, but that conclusion is based on assumption. The final act seems to draw a connection between Jack/Juliet, Sawyer/Kate, and Alex/Karl. One relationship possibly blooming, one relationship on the rocks, the last relationship in the midst of idealism. If that was the intended conclusion, then the rest of the episode wasn’t framed to lead into that or provide insight.
So ultimately the episode feels like a lost opportunity, revealing the origin and apparent meaning of Jack’s tattoo but little else of note. More than that, there’s no apparent progress in Jack’s development. It’s not clear when Jack’s trip to Bangkok took place, why he felt the need to find himself, or why he was so angry. And the trip to Thailand seemed rather extraneous and clichéd.
It certainly didn’t help that the ABC promotional department made the claim that three major questions would be answered during the episode. One has to wonder how they came to that conclusion (especially since the producers asked the same question). Yes, the mystery behind Jack’s tattoo was solved, but was that really a major question? The fate of those abducted by the Others is revealed, but only in the sense that they are alive and part of the Others’ community in some way. That still only counts as two possible questions to be answered. So what the hell were they talking about?
In the end, this episode simply didn’t come together. It couldn’t have happened at a worse time. “Lost” is struggling, thanks to the timeslot move and the dissatisfaction with the focus on the Others. This episode once again pertains to the Others and Jack’s unusual captivity, and that may continue to frustrate the audience. On the other hand, this is part of the complication phase of the season arc, so this is building towards something that might change the status quo in a major way. Hopefully this will be a momentary setback along the path.
The episode of "Stranger in a Strange Land" is a very poor one. I am a fan of Lost and loved every season. My favorite so far is season three, and I loved Season 2 as well. I had low expectations coming into this episode because, I have heard so many bad things about it. So it sank below my low expectations. The casting of Bai Ling as the tattoo artist was poor, as I believe she cannot act. Why Jack travels to this country is unexplained, as is what happens to him after he gets the tattoo. The current storyline, about the dealing with Juliet was fair, but why introduce the judgmental older woman, just to this bland episode. Many other pointless and unexplained things happen, which I won't dive into, and finally, after 38 excruciating minutes, a plot twist. Thank god, for that. I may be cynical, and may not know what happens in the future that can justify this episode, but even with so many Lost episodes leaving unanswered questions, this one seemed the most convoluted. Leave this episode alone, and in the words of the Foo Fighters, "Let it Die".
Worst. Episode. Ever. A perfect summation of "Stranger in a Strange Land". The plot moves at a snails pace. Once again, we focus only on the love triangle people, while everyone at the beach is sadly forgotten. We were promised three answers to three of Lost's biggest questions. That was just a flat-out lie. Really, how many people were wondering how Jack got his tattoos? If you are one of them, then you are a sad, sad person. Because you helped make this episode possible. At Guantanamo Bay, I'll bet that they strap prisoners into a chair, thier eyes taped open, forcing them to watch this episode over and over again until they crack.
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