The Others’ society is revealed as Jack, Kate, and Sawyer find themselves in captivity among them. (Recap includes My Big Theory about The Others!)
|Story by Damon Lindelof
Teleplay by J.J. Abrams & Damon Lindelof
Directed by Jack Bender
On the day that Oceanic 815 crashed on the island, the Others witnessed the crash from the place where they live: a village comprised of small houses nestled far inland from the beach where the fuselage crashed. Just before the crash, a woman named Juliet Burke, inside her own small home in the village, struggled to suppress her own mysterious agony while setting up for a meeting of the Others’ “book club.” The book club argued over the merits of the book Juliet chose for them to read, name-dropping “Ben” repeatedly as someone that Juliet had obvious antagonistic feelings towards. Their meeting was interrupted by at powerful earthquake that shook the entire island — an earthquake we already know to be caused by Desmond Hume almost not pushing the button down in the Swan station and activating the electromagnet. All of the Others ran out of their houses to stare in horror and wonder as Oceanic 815 flew right over their heads and tore itself apart in the sky before crashing in three locations. The man we know as Henry Gale — in reality, the Others’ leader, Ben — exited his own house to watch these events unfold, and then barked orders to Goodwin and Ethan to infiltrate the survivors at the two major crash sites and report back to him in three days with “lists” — the same “lists of good people’s names” that Goodwin would later tell Ana-Lucia about after she figured out who he really was.
Following the deterioration of his marriage to Sarah, Jack went on an obsessive mission to find out who the new man in her life was. At one point, he learned that his father Christian had been in contact with Sarah outside of his knowledge, and he eventually accused his dad of having an affair with his wife, even going so far as to attack him while he was at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. When he landed in jail for the attack, Christian called Sarah to ask her to post Jack’s bail. Sarah later told Jack about this, revealing that Christian had fallen off the wagon due to Jack’s actions (so we now know that Jack was largely to blame for his father taking up drinking again after fifty days of remaining sober — and it was his drinking problem that would lead to the chain of events that ultimately caused his death).
Following his abduction by the Others, Jack wakes up in a dingy metal room that we’ve never seen before. It’s a cage, and he is a solitary prisoner. He pulls a bandage off of his arm where blood has been drawn. One wall in the room is outfitted with a floor-to-ceiling plexiglas window, and there’s a video camera watching him from a corner high above. When Jack jumps onto a cot that’s dangling from the ceiling via chains and tries to break the chains apart, a woman named Juliet enters the adjoining room — behind the plexiglas — and tells him to give it a rest. Juliet tries to strike up a civilized conversation with him, and though he’s not interested, it’s clear that she’s not quite the same as the rest of the Others.
Kate — who also has a band-aid on her arm — wakes up in a shower room where the water from one of the showers is already running. Tom stands nearby and asks Kate to take a relaxing shower, using supplies he’s already provided for her. Then he exits and leaves her to it. When she’s finished with her shower, she’s alarmed to find that her clothes have disappeared and been replaced with a dress. Tom returns and takes her outside and down to a beach where “Henry Gale” waits with a table, chairs, and a prepared meal. A pair of handcuffs also await her at the table, which Henry instructs her to put on if she wants to eat. Henry expresses an interest in the love triangle that exists between her, Jack, and Sawyer. He then tells her that he arranged all of this for her so that she’ll have a nice, comforting memory to hold onto, because the next two weeks of her life are going to be “very unpleasant.”
Sawyer wakes up in an outdoor cell. He sees a large Dharma Initiative facility nearby that sports an octagonal logo different than any we’ve seen before. A second cell faces him from across a small walking path, and inside is a teenage boy who refuses to talk to him. Sawyer discovers some kind of dilapidated food dispenser in his cage, and when he tries using it, it delivers an electric shock so powerful it knocks him off his feet.
While Jack is alone in his cell, he thinks he hears his father’s voice over the facility’s intercom. Juliet returns and brings him food, but he refuses it. When he asks about the voice on the intercom, she tells him that the intercom hasn’t worked in years. Juliet asks him questions about his occupation, and then about what he was doing in Sydney before the crash. After he explains, she promises that he can trust her, and that she’ll never hurt him. When he asks why he and his friends were brought here, she doesn’t answer and leaves him alone. She returns again later and informs him that the drugs the Others used when he was brought here are going to make him dehydrated and cause him to hallucinate if he doesn’t eat something soon. She manages to talk him into it, but when she moves to enter his cell, he attacks her and demands to be set free. He holds her and drags her out of his cell, until they come upon a large door that he tells her to open, but she says she can’t or they’ll both die. “Henry” shows up and says that Juliet is telling the truth. Jack tosses Juliet aside and starts opening the door himself, so Henry runs and seals himself off from the two of them, leaving Juliet stuck with Jack. The door blows open and tons of water pours in, flooding the place in moments — they’re underwater! Juliet saves him by pulling both of them into her side of his cell and sealing the door. Once they’re safe, she punches him in anger and knocks him out.
Sawyer continues to try and figure out how to operate the food dispenser in his cage. The young man in the cage across from him asks how long it would take to reach the survivors’ camp, and what the survivors are like there. The young man subsequently picks the lock on his cage and then lets Sawyer out too, telling him to run in a different direction than the way he goes. Sawyer passes a number of empty animal habitats as he runs, but soon comes face-to-face with Juliet, who whips out a taser gun and zaps him. He’s returned to his prison, and Tom soon drags the young man — whose name is Karl — bloodied and beaten, to Sawyer’s cage and forces him to apologize for involving Sawyer in his attempt to break out.
Later, Sawyer finally gets his food dispenser to work, but he’s rewarded not with a meal but with processed “fish biscuit” animal food. Tom leads Kate in just then, and deposits her in the cell opposite Sawyer where Karl was previously being held. Noticing what he’s holding, Tom remarks to Sawyer that it “only took the bears two hours” to get a fish biscuit. When Tom is gone, Sawyer throws Kate his fish biscuit so she’ll have something to eat.
It’s quite a while before Jack wakes up, back in his cell. He notes that the facility has been drained of water, and realizes that it’s an underwater aquarium. Juliet, who’s watching him in her adjoining room again, points out that sharks and dolphins were kept here. She tells him that the Dharma Initiative named it the Hydra station. Jack asks if the Others are the leftovers from the Dharma Initiative, but Juliet stops short of giving a solid answer. She opens a large file folder and shows him that its entire contents are about him: his history, his work as a spinal surgeon, even current information on his family, including his father’s death certificate from Sydney. When Jack realizes he has an opportunity to find out what’s become of his family while he’s been stranded here on the island, the question he asks Juliet is a surprising one: he merely wants to know if his ex-wife Sarah is happy without him. Juliet says that Sarah has indeed found great happiness, and Jack is overcome with relief. Jack is now severely dehydrated, and Juliet pleads with him to please allow her to bring him some food and drink, and he agrees to behave himself this time. When she walks outside to the hallway to retrieve the food, Ben is waiting for her, and he compliments her work.
- Ethan Rom is just one member of a large society living on the island known as the Others. Among them, he is a much more jovial and friendly character than the menacing man we originally met as Claire’s abductor.
Question: Who is Ethan Rom? [1.10]
- Ethan was living among his people in a small village on the far side of the island. It’s unknown how long he has lived there.
Question: Where did Ethan come from, if he was already on the island before Oceanic 815 crashed? [1.10]
- From what we saw of their village, there appear to be several dozen Others living on the island, at the very least. Given the size of the place, there could be as many as a hundred or more.
Question: How many others like Ethan are on the island? [1.10]
- The Others live in a manmade village of small houses situated in a clearing in the jungle, far from the survivors’ beach.
Question: Where on the island do the Others live? [2.11]
- Surprisingly civilized. The Others appear to live a lot like you and I, in houses that have electricity, plumbing, and plenty of modern comforts. They wear modern clothes, and relate to one another much the same way that Americans do, though everyone defers to their leader, Ben.
Question: What is the Others’ society like? [2.11]
- Though it still seems as though he answers to someone of greater authority than he, for all intents and purposes, the leader of the Others is Ben.
Question: Who is the leader of the Others? [2.18]
- What’s the source of Juliet’s animosity towards Ben?
- Why did the Others have Kate shower and change into a dress?
- Who was Karl? Why was he locked up?
- Since he wasn’t returned to his cage, what became of Karl?
- Why was Karl interested in joining the survivors’ camp?
- Tom mentioned that “bears” were once the occupants of Sawyer’s cage. Did he mean polar bears? Is that how polar bears came to be on the island — brought there by the Dharma Initiative, to be used in their experiments?
- Is Jack right that the Others are leftovers from the Dharma Initiative?
- Where did the Others get such detailed information about Jack?
“A Tale of Two Cities” is the sixth Jack-centric episode of the series
This is the twelfth episode of the series to begin with a close-up on a single eye opening. The eye belonged to Juliet Burke.
This episode marks the first credited work by J.J. Abrams on the series since the pilot episode, which he also co-wrote with Damon Lindelof, and directed.
What can I say about that awesome opening flashback scene that hasn’t already been said? It was thick with answers, explaining so many mysteries all in the space of four and a half minutes, while also introducing Juliet and showing us pretty much all we need to know about her relationship with Ben. The sight of the Others living in a small city in the middle of the island was jaw-dropping, and seeing the crash of Oceanic 815 again from this new perspective was equally astounding. That final pan-out revealing the incredible size of the island, along with the relative positions of the Barracks and the multiple crash sights of the plane, putting a perfect cap on one of Lost’s all-time most astounding scenes.
Season 3’s flashbacks, even more than Season 2’s, lacked the thrill of the surprising twists and revelations that Season 1’s flashbacks contained. Many of them felt superfluous, telling us very little that we didn’t already know about these characters, with the exception of the flashbacks that revealed Juliet’s history and some of Ben’s. Jack’s flashback in this episode — which could be labeled the most unnecessary of all, given that Jack has been given more flashbacks than any other character on the show — actually worked for me, because of how much they altered our perception of Jack as an obsession-driven, tragic figure. It wasn’t a full retcon of his character either, because it dovetailed so nicely into what we already knew about him.
So. Season 1 was all about the survivors of Oceanic 815. In Season 2, we met the tailies, and were introduced to the first bits and pieces of information we would receive about the Dharma Initiative. Season 3 promised to take us inside the society of the Others, finally pulling back the curtain on just who they are and what they’re like. And it did just that — with the notable exception of explaining exactly the most tantalizing and elusive fact of all about the Others: their origins. As of Season 5, we still have not gotten a solid answer to this question. But I have a theory…
My Big Theory about The Others: We know from “The Incident” that Ben (and his predecessors) always ordered the creation of these lists at the behest of Jacob himself. We also know from “The Incident” that Jacob is somehow ultimately responsible for everyone that comes to the island — from the Black Rock to Oceanic 815, and who knows who else. Put these facts together and it looks like when the Others — who live their lives devoted to Jacob in some fashion — put together their lists that they’re following some longstanding protocol instigated by Jacob that’s enacted anytime a new group of people are “brought” to the island by Jacob. The Others are to weed out the “good people” and invite them into their society. We saw them do this with several members of the tailies including Cindy the flight attendant, with Walt, and even with young Ben and young Ethan in the past. This explains why the Others often seem cold and unsympathetic when doing what they do — in their eyes, they’re not doing evil, they’re serving the will of a much higher power. So any minor transgressions they commit along the way are justified, in the end. This also explains why the Others see themselves as “the good guys.” I’m going to go on record now and suggest that no member of the Others is truly indigenous to the island. Jacob and his nemesis in “The Incident” implied that there have been countless individuals brought to the island over the centuries. I believe that all of the Others have been “brought” to the island by Jacob throughout history, indoctrinated into the Others’ numbers, and repeated this cycle ad nauseum. For what reason Jacob is building numbers of followers on the island, isn’t entirely clear, though it’s almost certainly related to his never-ending conflict with his nemesis — a fact easily inferred from Ilana and Bram’s words and actions in “The Incident.” So there you have it: an explanation of who the Others are and where they come from. All that’s missing now is the why.