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"Lost" Episode 9: "Stranger in a Strange Land"

"Lost" Episode 9: "Stranger in a Strange Land"

This week’s "Lost" was less time-bending and more hearts and stars (and naming stars with the one you "heart"). Last week’s episode sure was thought-provoking, while this week’s was like receiving a textbook that went missing last semester.

However, being promised answers to at least "three of the biggest mysteries" of the show, I expected to learn some awesome, interesting information. What I got was... Bai Ling. The fact that she's the answer to anything in this show almost makes me never want to watch it again. Almost.

Jack Likes Juliet, Which Is A Step Up From Bai Ling

I love Jack’s description of The Others after Tom innocently asks him, “What kind people do you think we are, Jack?”

Um, let’s see: The kind who would "take a pregnant woman, hang Charlie from a tree, drag people out of the jungle, kidnap children..."

Mouth breathing all the while, Tom knocks on the glass walls of Jack's cell and says, "How about I get you some stones?" I could have sworn he said, “How about I get you stoned?” That would be a very different episode, though.

For more thoughts — and spoilers —

"Sheriff" Isabelle (who is rocking quite the 'do) mentions that most of The Others don't live on the island with the cages; they only work there. Thus, there is either a third island or The Others live on another section of the original Island.

Isabelle examines Jack’s tattoos and says, “The 5 and the stars are very cute," which might not mean much, since the writers had to write in Matthew Fox’s existing tattoos. But then again, there is a starry motif in this episode, too. She also says that "the Chinese I find a bit ironic,” referring to his other tattoos, which translate to: “He walks amongst us, but he is not one of us.” She says this as everyone's looking at Ben, so the comment seems to apply to him as well as Jack. Jack claims that that’s what they say but not what they mean.

The Others have a judicial system that seems to take its cues from The Scarlet Letter or The Crucible. Juliet was going to be executed for killing Danny, but Ben makes an exception (so Jack will help him) and says she should just be “marked.” This includes what looks like burning a symbol into Juliet’s lower back.

Bai Ling Flashbacks/Nightmares

In a baffling move, the people behind "Lost" actually hired Bai Ling and her sharp chest bone — and not just to serve a joke, either! I'm sure her character name means something, but I'm not going to dignify her involvement by using her character name. She's just Bai Ling. And now we know that Jack has a thing for bobbleheads.

Jack spent time in Phuket (which we already knew) and met Bai Ling; she “saw who he really was” and branded him with her tattoo-y ways. She said she could see that he is a leader and a “great man,” but that that makes him angry and lonely. It seems the men of Phuket really hate lonely great leaders.

In keeping with last week's many references to being a "good man" as opposed to being a "great man," there is negativity around being a "great man." I'm thinking there is something about how "great" men cannot be — or inherently are not — "good" men.

The longer I watch Bai Ling, the more I think she might be the Crypt Keeper.

Carl Is Not A Tough Guy

When Carl mentions that The Others have backyards, Kate is so crestfallen. She would totally kill for a backyard. Carl says they kidnap children because they think they can “give them a better life,” with yards and everything. He says he and Alex used to make up names for the constellations, such as Ursus Theodorus — the teddy bear. Between that and the sobbing, I can totally see what Alex sees in that one. Rrrowr! Sawyer tells him to "cowboy up"! I love that guy. We find out that Carl doesn't know what "The Brady Bunch" is, so he's probably spent his whole life with The Others — or at least he was taken as a child.

Is There A Surgeon in the House?
The Others had “an excellent surgeon, named Ethan,” meaning the Ethan who was killed off by Charlie. He’d tried to kidnap the pregnant Claire, though there was some speculation that he was trying to protect her somehow from The Others. This would make sense, too, because in "Not In Portland," he was recruiting Juliet to be their fertility doctor, so he probably knew that The Others were sketchy about pregnancies, etc.

His full name was Ethan Rom, an anagram for “other man,” and the name Ethan means “gift of the island.” I think Jack’s reason for being on the Island is to save Ben, or at least he was on the Oceanic flight because he was a surgeon. I think he's like another "gift of the island."

Field Trip!
Cindy has something to do with the stolen children, and they watch Jack like he's a zoo animal. The bucktoothed girl asks a caged Jack how Ana Lucia is doing... Are these the viewers who stopped watching after Season 1?! Then Cindy seems surprised and offended that Jack, a caged man, would be screaming at her.

The teddy bear is a symbol in this episode: first the constellation, and then the kids are holding a teddy bear, like the one they dragged through the jungle when Walt was kidnapped. What do you think the teddy bear means?

Photos copyright 2007 ABC

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