Thursday, October 15

A Tale Of Two Cities (S3, ep. 1)

The Rewatch Column for "A Tale of Two Cities" has been lacquered and shellacked for your reading pleasure on! I'm offering a prize to the first person that figures out the subtle Sondheim reference in the column for "Live Together, Die Alone." If you think you know the answer, guess here in the comments.


  1. This episode starts the period of my least favorite consecutive series of episodes in the show. Even season 2, which riled me when they first aired but I've since come to appreciate, did not bother me as much as the first 8 episodes (a mini-season during the time of broadcast, followed by a several month hiatus) of season 3 did.

    The revelations about the Others were key to this. I could not fathom why they would pose as hillbillies, for lack of a better term, when they were living in suburban comfort, except that it seemed the show wanted to screw with us. Of course, it's later revealed that they are in fact inhabiting the homes of the now-defunct Dharma Initiative, and that in fact Ben may be "leading them astray" in some sense by having them abandon their naturalistic roots. Additionally, I was very angry when Eko was killed so unceremoniously. Again, this could not be attributed to bad writing, since the actor wanted out of the show, but it seemed an enormous waste and I thought his exit was rather graceless and abrupt.

    Despite these mitigating circumstances, I've watched these episodes since they originally aired, and they still get my back up. In the outside-world timeline of the show, as these episodes were ending, ABC announced that it had worked a deal with Lost to have the show run for a total of six seasons, with an end date set. This relieved one of my great fears for Lost, that the show would devolve into an X-files-like unending series of ever-extending mysteries with no answers simply to prolong the run of the show. And almost immediately, upon return of Lost in the spring, I noticed what I perceived to be a huge uptick in the quality of the episodes and the sense of focus of the show's writers.

    I'm not sure where I meant to go with this rant, other than to state that I felt, for whatever reason, that the beginning of Season 3 was the nadir of Lost. For the record, by the end of Season 3 I was a full-on believer again. I'll see if my feelings have changed when we get to this point in our rewatch.

  2. That's not an uncommon opinion as far as I'm able to tell, Greg. A good number of people seem to agree with you. As of now, I can't say that I agree though. I've found the first two episodes of Season 3 to be stirring, exciting stuff. I'd love to hear your thoughts as we rewatch them now.

    As for the Others and their faux hillbilly-ness: I'm very much under the impression that they simply wanted to mislead the castaways about their nature, their intentions, and their capabilities. By dressing up as 'savages,' the Others reinforce the idea of the philosophical 'Other' with both the audience and the characters.

    That's my two cents, at any rate.

  3. I remember being crazily frustrated with the first half of season three when it aired, but when I rewatched it over the summer, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. When you know everything that comes after, it's a much better stretch, I think. The only thing that does bother me (and just a little bit) is that it seems like the writers don't really have a grip on The Others yet, especially Ben. I still enjoy his character, and Michael Emerson is dependably awesome, but something about the way he's written seems very different from The Man from Tallahassee onwards.

    Has anyone guessed the Sondheim reference yet? I'm at a loss, but I suppose there's always Google.

  4. I'm guessing it's "Move On", but I don't know if you made the reference that small..

  5. I'm afraid the answer was "Sorry/Grateful" from 'Company,' Dustin. Someone guessed it late last night. Thanks for taking a stab at it, and thanks for reading!

  6. Ah, well thanks for letting me know. Good coulmn, btw. My own rewatch has lagged a bit, so they're almost in line now which is nice.

  7. I'm catching up! Just watched this one and I finally remember the main thing that irked me about these episodes. It's the behavior of the Others. They are treating the captives like dirt, then seem to act offended when Jack, Kate and Sawyer don't bow down and kiss the ground just because the Others are the "good guys." I've got to say, I'm never in more agreement with Jack acting like a total ass than with these episodes (good call on his repo man line by the way).

    I do have a new appreciation for the airstrip building scene, if not how the Others know to build one.

    I'm looking forward to getting back to the rest of the castaways.

    Keep up the recaps, good stuff!