Wednesday, February 07, 2007

"Not In Portland"

LOST is back and as usual it left viewers with more questions than it answered, but the biggest questions might be: Why didn't the producers put an episode like this in the first six of last fall? This was by far the best episode of Season 3 because things actually happened. More happened in this one hour of LOST than happened in the six hours of nothingness that we were given four months ago.


From the beginning, I had read that this was to be a Juliet-centric flashback, so I was not surprised to see the episode start with the fertility doctor in Miami, and I was also not surprised to see Ethan pop up from the get go. What I did not expect was that the medication Juliet was giving to her sick sister was a fertility experiment as opposed to a cancer treatment.

Moving on from there, as expected, Sawyer and Kate were able to pull off their escape from the cages with the assistance of Alex. Again, no real surprise there. We saw bits of this in some of the LOST Moments and honestly, who else could have had access to the prison island and be willing to help them escape. It was cool to see that Alex had a little hiding place and I'm sure there are plenty more like it both on the prison island and the big island. Alex has a boat and she'll help Sawyer and Kate escape if they help her rescue her boyfriend Karl.

Meanwhile, we learned about how Juliet was once married to her questionably ethical boss in Miami and that she, of her own questionable ethics, was stealing drugs for what I still thought was a cancer treatment for her sister. Back in the operating room, Juliet orders the recapture of Sawyer and Kate with a threat to kill if they can't be returned to the cages. With this Jack, spills the beans to Tom about Juliet's secret communication to Jack about killing Ben on the operating table but making it look like an accident. Tom kicks Juliet out of the operating room for this and the fact that she can be of no assistance in helping Ben. Of course, about this time, Ben comes out of his anesthesia and asks for Juliet to be brought back into the room.

Back in Miami of the past, Juliet's ex-husband and boss coerces her into sharing her research with him so that he can get a publication and be part of the work she is doing, for his own financial benefit of course. Then on the prison island, Tom retrieves Juliet who has a very private conversation with Ben that we, the viewers, are not privy to, although it certainly makes Juliet very emotional. After the conversation, Juliet declares that if Jack continues the surgery, Juliet will help Sawyer and Kate get off the prison island.

In Juliet's past we see her getting what seems to be a very good job offer from a smooth talking recruiter. He hints at her fertility research and shows her lots of slides of the Portland area, the location of the company he represents. Curiously, he shows her a medical slide of a woman's endometrium that she analyzes and believes to belong to a 70-year-old woman. The recruiter tells her quickly that it is from a 26-year-old before telling her that she could have complete freedom of research at their company. At this point, I was pretty sure this part of the story was going to get he to the island which leads me to the question: who's that slide belong to? What's wrong with the female Others? Finally Juliet declares that she would like to take the job, but because of her ex-husband, she can't leave. The only way she could is if he were "to get hit by a bus."

Back on the island, Alex, Sawyer and Kate storm the building holding Karl and we see that he is in a Clockwork Orange-esque "brainwashing/programming" room. Loud techno music is being played and seemingly random images and phrases are being displayed on a large screen. Before Carl is released, we see the following phrases: "Plant a good seed and you will joyously garner fruit," "Everything Changes," "We are the causes of our own suffering," "God loves you as He loved Jacob," and "Think About Your Life." We also catch a quick glimpse at Gerald DeGroot. All this even hypnotizes Sawyer until he is snapped out if it by the rescue of Karl. Pickett is right behind Sawyer and Kate until he is informed by Juliet that they are to be released. Always one to hold a grudge, he refuses and continues his pursuit.

Back in Miami, we find out that Juliet's research does work and that it has caused her cancerous sister to become pregnant. Juliet goes to tell her ex-husband about the success and he takes it as a major breakthrough for his research. She refuses to share information with him and as he is threatening more coercion...he is hit by a bus!

Back on the island, Jack is working on Ben with Tom doing his best not to vomit from seeing the blood. Jack is making conversation and asks if they have the power to get off the island, why wasn't Ben taken to a facility for surgery. Tom responds with: "Because ever since the sky turned purple..." At this point Jack accidentally cuts something that bleeds out and in typical LOST fashion, the answer to a big question is snatched away from us just as it was about to be given.

Alex, Karl, Sawyer and Kate reach the beach and Alex's boat. As the escape is imminent, Pickett approaches with gun drawn, ready to kill Sawyer. Just as it appears that he is about to shoot Sawyer, Juliet shows up and shoots Pickett three times and kills him! I'm really starting to like Juliet! Juliet tells everyone they can go, except Alex. Alex of course asks why and Juliet says: "We both know your father and the only way he'll let Karl live is if you're here when he wakes up." So as many of us speculated, Ben is Alex's father. This opens many questions about Danielle's entire story? If she is Alex's mother, was she once part of the Others? Was she ever really on a research team that crashed on the island? I have been wanting a Danielle flashback since the beginning of the second season. I hope that we get a little something about her this year.

Jack's still working on Ben and gets Tom's help suctioning the blood during the surgery when Kate walkie talkies in to tell Jack that they are safe. She tells Jack the story of his most terrifying surgery experience the he told her in episode one. All the while, Tom is looking on wondering if Jack is the best person to be performing spinal surgery on Ben. Jack is satisfied with the story and tells Kate to never return to the prison island to rescue him. Jack tells Tom to turn off the walkie talkie and thus ends the conversation. Sawyer, Kate and Carl set off to return to their island leaving Juliet and Alex watching from the beach.

Back in Miami, Juliet is identifying the body of her dead ex-husband. She breaks down and cries but is comforted by Ethan Rom and the recruiter for the company from Portland. She asks how they knew she was there and they have some cover story. She starts putting things together and thinks that they killed her ex-husband the way that she flippantly suggested in her meeting with him. They want her to come work for them for six months and she can be back in time for her sister's baby to be born. She asks if her sister can come but is denied because they are actually outside of Portland and there are no clinics that can treat her sister's cancer.

Back in the operating room, Ben is recovering from successful surgery and Jack asks Juliet what Ben told her that made her help Sawyer and Kate. She doesn't want to tell him, but Jack demands that for all he has been through, he deserves an answer. Juliet replies, "I've been on this island for three years Jack; three years, two months and twenty-eight days. He said that if I let him live and I helped you, that he would finally let me go home." Personally I saw this coming during her flashback, but this gives us a real time frame to work with. One of the people that Roxi and I watched this episode with informed us that on the time on the show (December 3, 2004), counting back three years, two months and twenty-eight days would put Juliet on the island on September 11, 2001. Very interesting.

So this was a pretty good way to start back in on LOST. Not the best episode ever, but it actually delivered some of the goods. I just hope that they don't feel the need to insert a bunch of filler episodes otherwise the producers may lose the goodwill that I am feeling for them right now.

UPDATE: Roxi found this video of Room 23 (the brainwashing room) on YouTube:

Also, as mentioned on, here is a file posted on YouTube that supposedly plays the audio from the above scene backwards and it reveals several different voices saying: "Only fools are enslaved by time and space."

I'm not sure if this is legitimate, but it would seem to go along with other hints by the producers about island time vs. real world time as well as a hint in the name of the company that Juliet is being recruited for: Mittelos Bioscience. Mittelos is an anagram for "Lost Time." And although I don't try to read too much into the books that appear in the show, the guy who was guarding the building where Karl was kept was reading a copy of Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time." Perhaps these are all coincidences or perhaps they will never be addressed again on the show, but something tells me that they will be mentioned again.

Next Week on LOST:

(US Trailer)

(Canadian Trailer)


Luke said...

I gave it some thought last night after you guys left and realized what was bothering me about that episode.

Overall I really liked it for the same reasons you mention, but there was something in the back of my mind that was just kind of nagging at me. Then it hit me...story arc.

"Not it Portland" was the perfect end to a story arc that we last watched sixteen weeks ago. Well, not perfect, because we still need to actually see Kate and Sawyer arrive safely on the beach, and to learn what the fate of Jack will be, but those things are fairly easily imagined. Kate and Sawyer will arrive safely. Jack will go back to his cell...naturally.

I really wish now that the producers had let that episode air as the conclusion to the mini-season. I realize the need for a nice suspenseful cliffhanger, but story-wise it would have made so much more sense to have given us that one weeks ago. Now we are pretty much all done with the "Others-ville" story line, and can return to the original cast-aways that we all fell in love with. I'm anxious to see so many characters that have been 100% absent this season. The cool part is that Jack was left behind, and those characters will have to come to his rescue. That should be very exciting.

Glad to have had you guys over. I'm looking forward to next week already. Desmond flashback episode...kick ass!

Luke said...

Looks like we ended up doing the same thing regarding time on the island.

I kept reading so many different cool things about time that I decided to put them all in one place.

Luke said...