What an odd episode. Lost: Stranger in a Strange Land seemed almost one-note, to borrow from Tim Gunn, in it’s singular pursuit of explaining the “mystery” of Jack’s tattoos.
I’m sure there’s more to it than that, but here are my brief thoughts:
- He Walks Among Us But He Is Not One Of Us
- Stranger in a Strange Land
- Situational Morality
- …In Translation
The meaning of the Chinese letters tattoo on Jack’s arm given to him in Phuket, Thailand by Achara.
Actually, according to Jack, that’s what they “say” not what they “mean”. Maybe he groks the tattoo on a different level.
I’m also uncertain/unconvinced that we’ve put the tattoo issue to bed just because we got a little backstory. We’re still missing the part about the number “5” (not one of the numbers) and the symbol that appear above the Chinese characters.
The title of the episode is both a reference to Jack’s tattoo, but also to his position both in Thailand and amongst the others.
It’s also a reference to Robert Heinlein’s novel
Stranger in a Strange Land which may or may not deal with a divine being, a saint or an angel, coming back to earth.
Could Jack be some kind of deity reincarnated?
Or is it also a play on the story of Gershom? Does that make Juliet into Moses and Ben into God (or some other permutation – it’s late and I’m not biblical scholar)?
I think what it means is that even though Jack is an “outsider” in one sense, he’s mostly an outsider because of himself. He choses the lonely, isolated path.
I really don’t want to go here, but Jack is making me or, more precisely, Jack’s decisions are making me.
He won’t help Juliet save Ben’s life because then he’d be doing Juliet a favor, but he will lie for her to Isabelle/The Sheriff?
He won’t do something because Juliet wants to be the self-sacrificing one, but he will do it because he gets to be the savior?
He won’t do it to save Ben, but he will save Ben if it gets him closer to Juliet and forges some kind of alliance between them?
I really can’t figure out the motivations because I think they’re not rational (which is OK) and I think they tie back into these conflicting desires to receive love/acceptance AND to be some kind of maverick/savior. The two can sometimes happen together but they can’t peacefully coexist forever, something has to give.
Look at Achara. He could accept the love and deny his desire to fix and save, his quest for self-knowledge OR he could follow his heart (and her) and get that tattoo. I’m saying his heart wants two different things, which is part of the reason he can’t find happiness, he’s defining it twice and looking for one answer (consciously) and two otherwise. I think. 😉
Plus, from a law enforcement standpoint, is the end-around of the “law” of death penalty committed by Ben a good precedent and how does this affect the Others?
Clever reference to a Season 1 episode, …In Translation, by Isabelle.
The flashback deals with Jin and Sun, most importantly Jin working for Sun’s father. Another man who walked with people but was not one of them.
It could also be a commentary/clue concerning the tattoo itself. The biblical passage, Exodus 2:22, is often translated in many different ways and biblical scholars still argue about it’s meaning.
Also, just for kicks, wouldn’t it be cool if Jack had fathered a son with Achara?
I also think we’re meant to believe that the island(s) have a government or laws, but that system is being lost in translation somehow. Who is Isabelle and from whence does her authority eminate? Likewise, who is Benjamin Linus?
Bonus point: for all you official podcast listeners, anyone care to define the “3 secrets revealed!” from tonight’s episode. Cuse and Lindelof spotted us the tattoos, what were the other two, in your opinions?
Other ephemera: “ursa theodorus” was cute; Kate and Sawyer bonding (through argument) as opposed to the inverse previously; Cindy (and the kids) not knowing about Ana Lucia’s death (shouldn’t they have known, especially if they’re “watching”).
That’s all for tonight; I’m tired.
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