LOST Rewatch: Stranger in a Strange Land

LOST Rewatch: Stranger in a Strange Land January 29, 2015

Tom Friendly tells Jack they are moving him. Jack says that if they are going to kill him, they should have the honesty not to call it “moving” him. Tom asks Jack what kind if people he thinks they are. he says the kind of people that would kidnap a pregnant woman, hang Charlie from a tree, and take children. Tom taps on the window in his cell and says, “You see this glass house you’re living in? How about I get you some stones?” As they lead him away, he passes Juliette in handcuffs. Jack is moved to one of the cages. Juliette is in trouble for having killed one of their own people.

In a flashback, we see Jack in Phuket, Thailand. He is on the beach and a woman named Achara helps him with his kite. He later is in bed with her and asks her about herself, and she says there are things which happen there which he would not understand. Later, Jack follows her to see where she goes. She says it is where she works, and he should not be there. It is a tattoo parlor. But Achara says she is not a tattoo artist, she sees who people are and marks them. It is not art, but definition. She says Jack is a leader, a great man, but this makes him lonely and angry. He demands that she write it on him, even though she says it is against her people and that there will be consequences. The next day, some men beat Jack up, spit on him, and tell him to leave not just the beach but the country.

When they get back to the main island, and the kids come up in conversation, Karl tells Kate that they took the kids to give them a better life – better than theirs. He tells them that they just work on the smaller island, but live on the main one. Sawyer is surprised that they have backyards there. Later we learn that Karl has never seen The Brady Bunch.

LOST Others sherriffA woman named Isobel (whom Tom calls the “sheriff”‘) reads Jack’s tattoo, which is in Chinese. She says she finds it ironic. She takes him to ask him a few questions, including whether Juliette asked him to kill Ben. He says that he was lying, trying to turn them against one another. Isobel asks him why he is lying for her, and he requests to go back to his cage.

Later, Cindy visits Jack, and when he asks why, she says they are there to watch. We also see one of the children, who asks how Ana Lucia is doing. Jack gets angry. Later, Alex breaks the video camera and asks Jack why he fixed up Ben after everything he had done to his people. Jack says he saved Ben because he said he would. Alex talks about the reading of Juliette’s verdict. She says that they have strict rules about killing one of their own – “an eye for an eye.”

Jack says he would be more impressed with “you people” if they had a decent surgeon. Ben says they had an excellent surgeon – his name was Ethan. Jack gets Ben to prevent Juliette’s execution. Ben commutes her sentence, saying that the rules don’t apply, and has ordered her to be marked instead. The next day, Jack asks to see how they marked her. It is star-shaped. He has her break a branch from an aloe plant and puts some on it. She asks why he helped her, and he says that Ben told them both that he will let them go home, and they are going to help each other to make him keep his word.

As Sawyer bosses Kate around, she asks whether she should walk beside him or ten paces behind, an interesting reference to a patriarchal cultural practice. And Isobel reads Jack’s tattoo, saying, “He walks among us, but he is not one of us.” Jack says that is what they say, but not what they mean.

The fictional culture of the Others makes for an interesting way of exploring cultural difference, set alongside the other cross-cultural elements in the episode. The Others are heirs to an ancient culture, and the fact that they have a close tie to a particular land, are willing to take extreme measures to defend it, and have a rigid moral code that deals differently with insiders than outsiders, doesn’t make them particularly mysterious. It makes them human. And in many respects, these cultural values are close to those reflected in the Hebrew Bible.


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