LOST S3 E9 “Stranger in a Strange Land”

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Ever wonder where and why Jack got his tattoos?

Me neither.

But we got an episode about it.

I remember watching this episode for the first time live and thinking that it was terrible.  On the re-watch, I still think it is terrible.  I think that it is clearly the worst episode of LOST ever made.  What makes it worse is that it followed “Flashes Before Your Eyes” which was flipping brilliant and the exceptional “Not in Portland” before that.  Timing was really bad for this one.

The flashback to Jack meeting the beautiful Achara in Thailand and starting an affair and winding up with tattoos that, for some reason, offended her family.  Jack gets beat up.


That’s basically it, I believe.

Jack’s tattoos apparently say, “He walks amongst us, but he is not one of us”.  But according to Jack, that’s not what they mean.

There were a couple of interesting things happen.

  • We see Cindy again.  She, and the kids, come to see Jack at his cage.  Like he’s in a zoo.  The girl asks about Ana Lucia and Jack gets mad.  That’s why you don’t feed the animals.
  • Juliet is on trial for her murder of Pickett.  Jack gets Ben to pardon her.  They still “mark” Juliet.
  • Sawyer and Kate fight.
  • Carl cries.
  • Isabel, the “sheriff,” came to give the verdict in Juliet’s trial, and she seemed important, but is never seen again. Apparently she died off screen.

Okay, so I stretched the truth about a couple of interesting things happening.  After that scene with Jack and Cindy, there was not much more.

This episode was one of the major reasons why the producers of LOST went to ABC and got them to give an end date for the series.  The argument was that they knew where the story was going, but they did not know how many episodes they had to fill.  Flashbacks like this one are completely worthless, and if they knew how many they needed, they could take the narrative towards its conclusion.  They got ABC to agree to end the series after season 6, and the seasons 4-6 would be shorter in length, not the 23 as the other seasons had been.  This helped tighten the storytelling and develop the plot in the way to lead to an ending.

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