'Lost': One of Us
Here's my plea to Darlton: in Season 5, give me at least one Juliet-centric episode, and make sure it rocks as hard as this one. Seriously, "The Other Woman" was a major downer after the stellar episodes featuring Dr. Burke in Season 3, with this surpassing the admittedly awesome "Not in Portland." More than a little of the We Have to Go Back campaign has felt like actual work: but these last eps of Season 3 are pure pleasure to recap. Strap in, kids: this is Lost at its finest.
(My initial take on this episode can be found here.)
One of Us
4) In Short
"We like our OJ with no pulp and extra sedatives."
The Fractured Four are walking back to Lostaway Beach in silence. It's like the Island's version of the Walk of Shame. They eventually make camp near a stream. While breaking down firewood, Jack updates Kate on the week that was: he agreed to take care of Ben, kept his head down, and didn't ask any questions. Kate doesn't quite believe him. Back at the stream, Sayid eyes Juliet wearily. He wants to know...everything: the terrorizing, the list-making, the kidnapping.
But most of all, he wants to know who she is. She insists that should she tell Sayid everything she knows, Ben would kill her. Sayid promises just such a fate should she not answer. In swoops Dr. Jack, announcing she'll answer when she's good and ready. Furthermore? Juliet's under Jack's protection. So he's now like a combo of Johnnie Cochran and Kevin Costner in The Bodyguard. Awesome.
On the beach, Charlie hears Aaron crying something fierce. He's surprised to find Claire fast asleep right next to him. When he finally wakes her, she tells him she feels a bit off. Charlie volunteers to take care of Aaron while she takes a nap.
Back in the jungle, Sayid takes his frustrations out on a series of low-hanging vines. Juliet and Jack hang back from him, flirting as they discuss the impending arrival at the camp. Later that day, Claire still isn't feeling any better. Sawyer goes to get her some medicine, and on the way, sees Jack, Juliet, and Sayid come around the bend. Things go from happy to "ruh row" when Juliet makes her way around the corner as well.
Hurley sits down on the beach next to an isolated Juliet. He notes that he doesn't recognize her from the day at the Pala Ferry; Juliet sorta hilariously says she had the day off. Even Hugo has to suppress a smile on that one. Juliet deduces that Hurley's been sent to keep an eye on her, and things go from casual to serious with Hurley casually noting that the last Other to visit their camp ended up buried just a few yards from where they currently sit.
That night, everyone looks at Jack with a distrustful eye. Seems they think Jack's not exactly one of them, with Sawyer assuming primary interrogation duties. Just when things threaten to come to blows, Claire starts drooling blood from her mouth. When Juliet asks what's wrong with her, Sun says, "What do you care?" Heh. She then runs to Kate, stating that she might know what's wrong with Claire. Why? Oh, just because she did it to her, that's why. Oh. Well then.
Sayid and Sawyer wearily watch Kate bring Jack to Juliet. Dr. Burke tells the pair that Claire's having a latent reaction to medication administered by her. What medication? Glad you asked! Juliet reveals that no woman can give birth on the Island; the body eventually turns on the fetus and treats it like a foreign entity. Claire is the first person to give birth on the Island since Juliet's arrival. She further reveals that Ethan spent time taking blood samples from Claire previous to her abduction, with the later injections meant to save her life. Ethan only took her after being discovered via Hurley's census. OK, everybody got that? Cuz there's gonna be a quiz later.
Juliet explains that what's happening now can be stopped if she re-administers the serum. She tells them that Ethan kept a case of it under a tree by the caves. Much to Kate's surprise, Jack allows her to retrieve it. Upon arriving at the aforementioned tree, Sayid and Sawyer surprise her. Standing in front of a tree marked with a symbol oddly like that on her back, Juliet confronts both of them with their own moral shortcomings, obtaining the case of medicine from Sawyer's limp hand. As she walks by, a wave of relief passes over her face.
Upon Juliet's return to camp, Charlie's unwilling to let her touch his special lady friend. Before she injects Claire, Jack tells her that if this doesn't work, he'll be unable to protect her any longer. But the following morning, everything seems hunky dory with the new mother. Jack brings Juliet some supplies to make her own tent that she's allowed to erect a little off from the main camp. Juliet wonders why she doesn't have to explain herself to Jack: he tells her that when the sub exploded, he saw that she wants to get off the Island more than anything in the world. And that? That makes her "one of us," he says.
Juliet pulls up to a building with her sister Rachel in tow, telling the guard she's with Mittelos Biosciences. A security camera that looks an awful lot like the one in New Otherton looks upon them. Ethan knocks on Juliet's window and offers to take her bags. Richard greets them both, with Juliet expressing surprise at the existence of an airport in such a remote location. Juliet and Rachel say their tearful goodbyes, and Juliet gets in the van with her new colleagues.
We see Juliet and Richard inside Herarat Aviation. Richard notes that while six months seems like an eternity to her, time seems to fly while with his people. Ethan takes her vitals as Richard casually pours her a glass of OJ and tranquilizer. Juliet finally starts to express panic over the nature of Mittelos Biosciences. Richard calmly responds that she possesses a gift: the ability to create life where none previously existed. And deep down, he feels she knows where they are going is special. With Richard still talking, Juliet hurriedly downs the roofie cocktail in one big gulp and passes out instantly.
When she comes to, she finds herself inside a submarine, strapped down to a cot. Ethan apologizes for the restraints, but insists the last leg of the journey is "bumpy." He helps her out of the cot and to the top of the submarine, where she gets her first good look at home away from home. Ben greets her on the dock, and says how much he looks forward to working with her.
Juliet stands over a woman in the operating room of The Staff. Ethan declares the woman on the table dead, takes off his rubber gloves, and throws them into the trash. Goodwin is also in the room, and tells her he'll talk to Ben on her behalf. As she looks upon the sea some time later, Ben comes up and tells her it was Sabina's choice to get pregnant. Juliet theorizes the "problem" derives at conception, and to prove her theory, she needs to take a woman off the Island. Ben refuses this request. Juliet notes she can't help anymore, and wants to go home to see Rachel give birth.
Ben then tells her Rachel won't be giving birth; the cancer has returned. He produces medical documents to this effect, which send Juliet into a rage. Ben makes her an offer: if she chooses to stay on the Island, he will cure Rachel's cancer. He notes that no one on the Island has cancer, and Jacob himself promised that he would cure her. But Juliet has to choose to stay.
Juliet is eating ice cream in bed with Goodwin. Bow chica wow wow. It's nearly three years to the day that she arrived on the Island. A knock on the door brings some interesting x-rays, courtesy of Karl. Juliet storms over to Ben's bungalow: looks like Ben's got himself a case of the cancers. He's stunned to get this news, even scared. Juliet senses his fear, and calls Ben a liar. After all, how can he claim to cure cancer when he has it himself? He insists Rachel is fine, which prompts Juliet to break down into tears. She asks him one last time to go home, in between her sobs. Ben once again tells her no. INSANE scene.
Back to the start of Season 3: guess we know now why Juliet was crying when we first see her, don't we? Everything's the same up until the point where Ben mentions he's out of the book club...only this time, we stay with Ben and Juliet. Turns out he's got something he wants to show her. He leads her to The Flame, and gives my all-time favorite line reading: "We're approaching the house! Don't...shoot us." Just kills me every time. Inside, Mikhail's already gathering intel on the passengers of Flight 815. Looks like all the equipment's working A-OK, in contrast to Mikhail's assertion in "Enter 77."
Ben asks Mikhail to uplink to Richard in Acadia Park. Mikhail flips a switch, and we see what looks like a live feed from Miami. Inside the feed? Rachel with a happy baby boy, named Julian. Turns out Rachel's cancer mysteriously disappeared two years ago. With Juliet touching the screen with tears in her eyes, Ben callously cuts off the transmission. "I'm not a liar, Juliet," he tells her. Ben notes she can't leave until her work is finished, and who knows: maybe some new mothers are on that plane!
In Ben's bunaglow, just a few days ago, Juliet recites the plan back to Ben one last time: drag Kate into the jungle, earn enough trust to go back to the beach, and save Claire from the newly activated implant inside her body. Ben hands Juliet a gas mask and tells her he'll see her in a week. One of the best cliffhangers the show ever produced. Hot damn.
16) The Mythology
OK, I usually don't like talking about babies. Just kinda my thing. I hang with my infant nephew, watch a little Jon and Kate Plus Eight, and sorta limit my baby-centric activities to that. But there's no getting around the B word when discussing the mythology of the episode.
John Locke loves to say that everyone on Oceanic 815 was brought there for a reason. I'm not sure I subscribe to that theory (I think a good chunk were, but not all), but it's a solid enough assessment. Every one of the Others was brought there for a reason as well, although not every reason derived from the Island. In the case of Juliet Burke, it was for a reason derived from the mind of Ben Linus, not the will of the Island.
The reason Juliet fails is for this very reason: it's not the will of the Island. You can analyze this through all the pseudo-science you want. Electromagnetic anomalies, space/time continuums, lethal gas emissions during the Purge...these are all fun and fine and possibly could impact the nature of childbirth on the Island as seen at present. But methinks it's a bit more than that. And all this is revealed in the moment in which Ben tells Juliet that Jacob will cure Rachel's cancer.
When he says that, it's a bluff, a ruse, and in Ben's traditional fashion, an improvisation. Jacob doesn't have an interest in Rachel; Ben has an interest in Juliet. And while some people think Rachel's medical regression was merely a ruse to keep Juliet on the Island, I think it's a far more fascinating idea if Ben received Rachel's cancer years later as punishment for essentially taking Jacob's name in vain.
Here's what I mean: Ben's fertility obsession stands in stark contrast with the will of the Island. Richard says as much in "The Brig" to Locke. Ben's research with Juliet is conducted behind the Island's back, which is why the monster scans Juliet in "Left Behind": it's never "seen" her before. When confronted with Juliet potentially leaving the island, Ben plays the Jacob card, and since he's not a liar, has to now confess to Jacob what he's done. Jacob seemingly rewards Ben by curing Rachel, but such a reward comes with a terrible price down the line.
Obviously there are holes in that, as there are with any theory, but it's useful to remind you once more why all this started in the first place. Ben's obsession with fertility stems in some way from his childhood sweetheart Annie. I firmly believe this, even without any direct evidence suggesting it. It's the only thing I can think of that would prompt such slavish devotion from Ben in the face of the Island's will. And it's perhaps the only thing that will prevent Ben from killing Penny in Season 5. (Ben will face a choice: return to the Island and potentially reunite with Annie, or exact his revenge upon Charles and never return. Methinks he chooses Door A. Props to the wife for suggesting this theory to me, because it makes a whole host of sense.)
23) The Moment
Juliet throwing Ben's glass to the ground, scaring the person that until now has been the show's Boogie Man.
42) In Retrospect
Did Juliet actually arrive via sub? We know the last leg is "bumpy," but can the sub actually leave the Island at all? Maybe once upon a time it could, but perhaps post-donkey wheel it no longer could. If not by sub, Juliet could have arrived the same way Ben seemingly could. Let's call this way the "back door" for convenience sake.
It's pretty clear that the back door is accessed by only a few special folk: Ben, Tom, Richard, and Ethan. More than likely Juliet never learned about it; otherwise, she would have been gone a long time ago. It's clear the sub still worked before Locke blew it up; the Others used it to steal Des' boat back in "The Glass Ballerina." It can traverse the nearby waters, but according to Ben, would never have been able to return had it taken Jack home because the sky going purple knocked out all communications to the Island. I just can't help but wonder if this was the case when Juliet arrived as well.
More to the point: if there is this back door, why can't Ben simply go back through it now? Is that door somehow "locked" post-donkey wheel?
108) In Summary
As good as "Not in Portland" is, I have to say I prefer this one in terms of Juliet-centric episodes. Everything in the present is as compelling as the past: Juliet's presence in the Lostaways camp adding energy to everything that happens there, and the information downloaded in the past is mind-blowingly cool.
Kind of amazing to watch this episode, then watch Sawyer grabbing Juliet's hand and running her to safety in the Season 5 promo, no? Just shows you how much Lost has evolved, and how much episodes such as this laid the long-term groundwork for the story to come.
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Ryan also posts every 108 minutes over at Boob Tube Dude, then peruses Zap2It's Guide to Lost Facebook group. He also encourages you to join the all-new Zap2It's Guide to Lost Twitter feed. Pretty soon he'll have as many platforms as Sawyer has dirty looks for Juliet.