The first flashback episode of LOST was Kate-centric and we see how she was captured by the Marshal Edward Mars and wound up on Oceanic Flight 815 from Sydney, Australia.
This episode was entitled “Tabula Rasa” which, in its modern meaning, means “Blank Slate” and it comes from the theories of philosopher John Locke. No, not the John Locke on the show, but, of course, that is why they used the phrase. Tabula Rasa is one of the big themes from the show itself, this time referred to by Jack.
Kate wanted to tell Jack what she had done in the real world to get Mars to chase her, but he stops her. He said that everyone has a right to a new start here on the island. It hadn’t mattered what had happened before. Jack said three days ago, we all died.
Now this was a popular theory from early on in the series, to explain the odd things happening. It most likely stemmed from this very moment of dialogue. However, it means more than the literal interpretations of it.
Jack recognized that the past was unimportant to where they were right now and that this gave everyone a chance to start anew. Kate had been nothing but selfless and heroic since crashing on the island and Jack was giving her the benefit of the doubt.
There were some other key events that happen in Tabula Rasa.
We had one of the first examples of the numbers showing up as the reward money for Kate was at $23,000. The numbers, 4 8 15 16 23 42, are everywhere in LOST in some variations. They were on Oceanic 815. There were 48 survivors. There will be many more examples of the use of these numbers repetitively.
Edward Mars is an interesting case. We know as the series goes on that the Island has healing properties. Locke can walk. Rose’s cancer is gone. Things like that. However, Edward Mars suffered from the shrapnel that had been lodged in his abdomen and he was dying slowly. Strange that the Island did not seem to want to save him. Or did they just not give it a long enough time? The whole “putting him out of his misery” thing may have been worse yet. I also had not realized before, but when Jack went back into the tent after Sawyer failed to kill Mars with the gun, Jack does put him out of his misery. We don’t see it, but if you pay attention to that scene, it is certainly implied.
We get some great parts with Sawyer. This is the first time that we see that he is more than just a jerk. We start with his nicknames. I believe this is the first time he used “Freckles” when referring to Kate. When he is looting the luggage in the plane, he says that he is in the “wild,” but later with the botched attempt at putting Mars down, Sawyer displayed some remarkable acting in his facial responses. The horror of what he had done truly came through the exterior of his vernacular.
We get the first inkling of the relationship that would develop between Sawyer and Kate as well as the relationship between Sawyer and Jack, both of which are major connections for the series.
It is interesting early that they were certainly planning on pushing a relationship between Michael and Sun, but nothing major ever comes from that.
Speaking of Michael, I never understood why he is so opposed to Locke, especially when Locke went out of his way to help Michael look good in Walt’s eyes by finding Vincent. Maybe Michael is just jealous of the attention Walt gives to Locke. When you really look at it, Michael is really one of the worst characters here among all of the rotten people looking for a clean slate.