Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lost—Stranger in a Strange Land

This episode seemed to serve as a sort of "bridge" between "Not in Portland" and whatever is in store for next week. Basically, in a lot of ways this felt like filler. And rather confusing filler, at that.

The Front Story largely had to do with Jack's position at the Others' camp. Because of his position as the only available surgeon (Ethan was the previous surgeon, so the Others are in a bad way on that front), he has a bit of bargaining power, and he uses it to prevent Juliet from being executed for shooting the man who pursued Kate and Sawyer when she helped them escape. In the end, though, the Others all go "home," wherever that is, and take Jack with them.

At this point, it looks like the Others work on their island, but live elsewhere. The glimpse we got of them hanging out having a book club meeting was, I assume, a glimpse at their "real" homes--but it's still all very paranoia-y and weird. Juliet said Ben calls it home, but I didn't get a sense that she felt that way about it at all. Then there's the question of the other crash survivors, some of whom showed up to "watch" Jack. Are they on the island on purpose, or by accident? The flight attendant who spoke to Jack seemed to be more in on what was going on than the rest of Jack's crew, or any of the Tailies, for that matter. In any case, I found it all fairly confusing, although I did get the sense that this particular piece of plot is leading to a larger reveal next week.

In the meantime, Kate and Sawyer have made it to the other island, though not back to the camp. Sawyer sees Karl as a danger because of his attachment to Alex, and basically cuts him loose by telling him to go after her. He's not getting along with Kate too well, either, convinced she feels guilty about their romantic interlude (aka cage-bound monkey sex).

In the Back Story we're with Jack again, during a jaunt to Phuket, Thailand. There he runs into Achara (guest star Bai Ling [Angel], flaunting her breasts as usual). They engage in an intermittent relationship, but she has a secret. Control freak that he is, Jack can't leave well enough alone and follows her, trying to find out what she's up to when she's not up to Jack nookie. He tracks her to a tattoo parlor and insists that she tattoo him, using her gift to see who people are and mark them with their true selves. In spite of her protests that she can't, because he's not of her people, he gets nasty about it, and she finally caves. The result--Jack is beaten up and ordered to leave the island. We're not told exactly what the consequences are for Achara, but they don't seem to be good. Tying the front and back stories together, Isabel translates the Chinese text on Jack's tattoos as, "He walks amongst us but he is not one of us." He says that's what they say but it's not what they mean.

I had zero sympathy for Jack in his flashback. He acted like a prick, and I'm not at all sure what we were supposed to take away from that little glimpse into his past. It might have helped if the timeframe had been clearer--exactly when was in in Thailand? Right after his wife left, maybe? That might explain his bitter edge, but still doesn't excuse the way he treated Achara. Overall, this flashback seemed like a rather strained attempt to incorporate Matthew Fox's actual tats into the context of Jack's character.

In any case, overall this episode didn't do a great deal for me, but I'm hoping it's leading into some bigger reveals next week.