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‘Lost’ Season Three: Ep. 9 “Stranger in a Strange Land”

Well, it seems at least they are chipping away at a few of the many unanswered questions.

First of all, we find out how Jack got the weird Chinese-lettered tattoo. In classic flashback style, we see Jack in Thailand, apparently fed up with his father and his ex-wife and living the carefree life on the beach. He meets Bai Ling (with a character name I couldn’t begin to spell) and soon they are having a steamy affair. But she also has a secret, too, which she can’t divulge and this drives Jack crazy. So Jack follows her one night to where she works–a tattoo parlor of some sorts. She isn’t a typical tattoo artist, though. Oh no. When she does her stuff, she “sees who people are” and she “marks them” accordingly. She tells Jack he is a leader, a great man, but this makes him lonely, frightened and angry. He demands for her to mark him, even though she warns him it is against her people’s beliefs. There will be consequences. It is indeed true because later, Jack gets beat up by the chick’s brother and bunch of guys. They tell him to leave the country.

Back in Lost time, Tom is moving Jack from the underwater tank to the cages. Jack thinks they are just going to kill him, which surprises Tom. What kind of people does Jack think they are? Jack replies, “The kind that strings people up to a tree. The kind that kidnaps pregnant women and children.” But the real reason they are moving Jack is so they can hold Juliet in the tank. That’s right, young Juliet is in some serious doo-doo for killing Pickett. Seems the Others have some rules about murdering one of their own. We also meet Isabel, who, according to Tom, is the sheriff of the Others. She interrogates Jack on whether Juliet indeed asked him to kill Ben in the operating room. Jack really thinks these people are a bunch of whackos, but he says Juliet never told him to kill Ben. He made it up. Isabel wonders out loud why he is lying for her.

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Sawyer and Kate are rowing the boat towards their island. Kate wants to turn back to go get Jack, but Sawyer reminds her that Jack doesn’t want to be saved and Captain Bunny Killer (Ben) would probably kill them on the spot. Kate glowers at Sawyer. She does this a lot in this episode. Meanwhile, an ailing Carl misses Alex and tells Kate and Sawyer that the Others only work on the island they just escaped from. On what? Kate asks. “Projects,” he replies. The Others actually LIVE on the main island, which would explain why in the first two seasons they were always hanging around and why at the beginning of the third season, in the Others “neighborhood,” they watch as flight 815 crashes over them.

Jack wakes up in the cage to find a bunch of people standing around staring at him. One of them is the Tailie Cindy, who was taken by the Others in the second season. A perplexed Jack asks the question we’ve wanted to know for awhile: What are they DOING there? She tells Jack they are supposed to watch. To watch what, who the hell knows? Then the little girl who was also taken from the Tailies, along with her brother, whispers something to Cindy. Cindy turns to Jack and asks how Ana Lucia is doing. He flips out and screams if they are there to watch something, then go WATCH! Get away from him.

Oh, and Ben is in trouble again. His stitches are badly infected and he needs more intense care. Jack isn’t about to help him again. In fact, a distraught Alex comes up to Jack’s cage and demands to know why he saved Ben in the first place, after all Ben has done. Sure Ben is her dad, but she obviously doesn’t hold much affection for the man. Jack doesn’t give her the real answer, but he wants to know what’s happening with Juliet. She is apparently getting sentenced to death. Yikes. Jack screams at Alex to get him out of the cage and bring him to Ben.

And there’s Ben, all paralyzed and infected. Jack wonders why they don’t have their own surgeon, but he is told Ethan was their surgeon. Oh. Jack says he will take care of him if Ben calls off Juliet’s execution. He complies and writes a note, which Alex delivers. There will be no execution, but Juliet is to be marked. Isn’t that sweet? Now she and Jack are BOTH marked.

Juliet shows up later at Jack’s cage with a grilled cheese sandwich. He wants to see what they did to her, and she shows him how they’ve basically branded her. Nice. Why is Jack helping Juliet? Because Jack wants to make sure Ben keeps his word about letting them go. Now because the Losties know about this research island, Juliet says they are going back to where they live. “Home” is what Ben calls it.

Sawyer and Kate continue to bicker until finally he tells Kate to stop feeling guilty–not about leaving Jack but about sleeping with him just because she thought he as a dead man. “Don’t beat yourself up about it.” She says she’s not. Then we end with a montage of all the would-be lovers: Carl looking at the stars; Alex looking at the stars; Sawyer and Kate, walking through the jungle with Sawyer looking longingly at her; and then on the boat, going to wherever they are going to, Juliet and Jack share a moment.

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But Jack is indeed a stranger in a strange land, something he should be getting used to by now.

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