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Monday, October 09, 2006

Notes from A Tale of Two Cities, a Chat with Ryan Ozawa, and Spoilers

A few interesting points about A Tale of Two Cities:
  • Like Jack's ex-wife Sarah, Juliet is an attractive blond woman. This, along with Juliet's patience and calm tone of voice, may lead Jack to feel comfortable with Juliet. The exchange between Juliet and Ben (formerly known as the fake Henry Gale) at the end of the episode seems to indicate that this is all according to The Others' plans.

  • At the book club, Juliet reveals that Stephen King's Carrie [audiobook] [paperback] is her favorite book. Several fans have speculated that Juliet relates to Carrie because she is tired of Ben's apparent oppression.

  • Ben tells Goodwin and Ethan that he wants "lists in three days." Interestingly, the first time The Others abducted tail section survivors was on the first night, presumably before Goodwin's list was completed.

  • Jack and Kate each remove a small bandage taped to their arm. (Did Sawyer also get injected with something?) The fact that the camera focused on each of their bandages as the characters removed them seemed to imply that the injections are significanct. Was the injection more than just a sedative, and will it have any long-term effects?

  • Kate told Tom "I'm not showering in front of you," to which Tom replied "You're not my type." Did Tom mean that his type is not a murderer or a fugitive? It's quite likely that The Others know as much about Kate as Juliet knows about Jack.

  • When taking Kate to the beach, Tom doesn't tell Kate the real name of the fake Henry Gale, but instead refers to him as "he." Granted, this is not an unusual pronoun, but the thought crossed my mind that the fake Henry (who we find out later is really named Ben) may in fact be the leader of The Others, and if so, then Ben was referring to himself in the third person when he said to his torturers "You don't know what he'll do."

  • My wife pointed out that the beach breakfast scene has similarities to a scene from the Indiana Jones movie Raiders of the Lost Ark.

  • Is Ben trained in psychology? He analyzes Kate's words carefully to determine that she is more concerned about Sawyer than Jack. Shortly before this, Kate had asked Tom about "Sawyer and Jack," and Tom didn't seem to analyze Kate's words the way Ben did.

  • What specifically does Ben mean when he tells Kate that the next two weeks would be very unpleasant? What do The Others plan to do to Kate? Do they intend to keep her there for only two weeks? What do they plan to do with her afterward?

  • Who exactly is The Others' prisoner, Karl, and how did he come to be on the island? Is he actually one of The Others?

  • What happened to Kate between the beach scene and when Tom locked her up in the cage opposite Sawyer? Kate appears to have been crying, and her wrists are badly cut by the handcuffs, which they weren't when we first saw her.

  • Juliet explains to Jack that the building in which he is being held captive was called the Hydra station by the DHARMA Initiative, and was designed as an aquarium for sharks and dolphins.

  • Jack asks Juliet, "So you people are just whatever's left over of them?" to which Juliet responds, "Well, that was a long time ago. It doesn't matter who we were. It only matters who we are." Juliet's response brings up several questions. How are The Others related to the Initiative? It sounds like they might be former DHARMA scientists, so perhaps they stayed on the island to perform different kinds of research. More interestingly, if it's true that the DHARMA Initiative was a long time ago, why are there still food drops at the Swan station—with DHARMA brand food, no less? Perhaps Juliet was lying about DHARMA's demise.
On Friday night, I had a discussion with Ryan Ozawa about A Tale of Two Cities. A recording of the discussion can be heard in the latest episode of the JoshMeister's LOST Podcast. A transcript of this discussion follows.

Josh: It's great to be able to chat with you, Ryan. Just a brief introduction for those who don't know: Ryan Ozawa and his wife Jen were among the first LOST podcasters. Ryan currently blogs about LOST at hawaiiup.com/lost and manages the LOST Podcasting Network at lostcasts.blogspot.com. He's also known for capturing LOST sets on camera and reporting spoilers to the LOST fan community. Ryan, can you tell the listeners briefly about the most recent LOST sets you've visited?

Ryan: Most recently? Well, I gotta say they're very busy. I think they might have actually two or three camera units running around at the same time. Earlier this week they were up in the middle of the island here on Oahu again at a place called Waialua. It was the same place where Mr. Eko's village is, but it was a closed set so I couldn't get close enough to see what they were up to, but I know that that's where they were. The only other locations are the ones that I've been happily blabbing about so far which were the Palolo Valley [Recreation Center], the Convention Center of course which is the [Sydney] Airport, and the farm up here in Mililani.

Josh: That sounds really interesting. Can you tell us more about what it means to have a closed set?

Ryan: Well, just that when they're doing a scene that involves passing traffic or an office environment, you sometimes have an opportunity to actually watch what's going on and you'll actually see, you know, Terry O'Quinn [Locke] running across the street or you'll see Kate walking down the sidewalk, but a closed set is they have the opportunity to completely commandeer the area because it's private property and unless you actually have access to the set you're not going to see anything from outside.

Josh: I see. Okay, now you mentioned the Convention Center. There was a scene that was being recorded where it looked like, if I remember right, Locke didn't have a shirt on and he was being pushed in a wheelchair by Boone. Is that right?

Ryan: Yes, that's what I believe I saw. Lord knows what you actually see with this show until you see it on TV.

Josh: That's true. Well, hopefully we'll see that in an upcoming episode. Now, the other scene that you mentioned was a playground scene, and you described that Jack was performing CPR on a little girl in a schoolyard, and it seems like that scene would have been a part of the Jack flashback from the season premiere episode right after we see Jack sitting in the car and he kind of seems to be stalking Sarah, and it seems like that scene would have come right after that.

Ryan: Right. It was definitely cut.

Josh: Okay. Now, you got to see the premiere episode a little bit early because you're lucky enough, obviously, to live in Hawaii, and you got to see the [Sunset] on the Beach. It looked really fun from that little clip I saw on YouTube.

Ryan: Yeah, thousands of folks watching LOST together. There's nothing like it.

Josh: Yeah, I imagine it must have been a riot to hear people screaming at the show and everything.

Ryan: And to compare, you know, who gets the loudest screams, Hurley and Sawyer, and such like that.

Josh: Yeah. I wanted to ask you, were you surprised that the CPR scene was cut from the show?

Ryan: You know, I was probably disappointed. A friend of mine's kids were in that show. You actually see her son very briefly so she was thrilled about that. But as far as being surprised that it was cut, you know, not really. The thing is, for the benefit of us, I think, they film a lot more than actually makes it to air, and the best example of that I have was the wonderful scene where I got to be an extra on LOST, and it was very elaborate. They converted an old building in town into a bank, they shut down a major street just so they could have cars of a certain vintage driving past rather than seeing an Escalade or something, and they filmed Terry O'Quinn outside running into the bank right past me. They filmed him actually having a conversation, a speaking role with a teller, and then he goes into his safety deposit box, and when that episode actually aired—that episode was Lockdown—you saw absolutely nothing of the beautiful bank set, the fake ATM, you saw nothing of the street and the cars and the hapless pedestrians like me. They only had like one second inside the safety deposit box area and never saw all that work.

Josh: Wow, that's really interesting. It does make a lot of sense, obviously, for certain scenes to get cut. You know, a lot of times it ends up on the cutting room floor just because there's only so much you can fit into the episode, and obviously in the premiere episode they wanted to get the most important part and really kind of leave out the extra stuff, and maybe they just felt like that scene was a little bit of an extra thing.

Ryan: Yeah, and I mean basically the point was that Jack is an obsessive stalker, and I think that was established by seeing him sitting in his car. You didn't need everything else.

Josh: Right.

Ryan: And in fact, having him confront his wife at that point probably might have made it a little too much too early. They wanted to kind of build up his escalating jealousy.

Josh: Good point, yeah. And perhaps maybe we'll see that scene on the Season 3 DVD or something. That would be kind of fun, too.

Ryan: Oh, I definitely hope so, but you know I was waiting for the Season 2 DVD to see if the bank scene made it, but it didn't end up there, either. It's amazing, and I think, you know, scenes are deleted almost always for a good reason, and I'm sure that scene didn't meet the pacing or the style of the episode, but it just boggles my mind that it was a full day's work for a hundred people and nothing of it made it to air.

Josh: Yeah. Well, I guess we can just trust that the executive producers know what they're doing because the show's great.

Ryan: Right, right.

Josh: Now, regarding the premiere episode, I wanted to kind of just see what you thought were some of the most significant points from A Tale of Two Cities. What parts really stood out to you, or what seemed to really be a big part of the mystery, or just what were some of your initial reactions to it, even?

Ryan: Well, I mean, you know, everybody loved that opening sequence and I did too. Seeing it on the beach and everybody gasping at the same time was fantastic. So as far as visual impact I thought it was great. As far as its actual role in the narrative, though, I thought it was kind of extra. It was almost like they said to themselves, "How do we top Season 2 premiere?" and that really didn't, but jumping back 63 days to show that didn't really change too much. I would say that the effects probably really knocked you out, but as far as what you could learn from it, the only thing that I took away from it was, well, it looks like they were somewhat surprised that the plane had broken up, but on the other hand, it looked like they had training to deal with it and they jumped into action.

Josh: That's true, yeah. If I remember right, Ben, who we used to know as Henry Gale, said something like "There might be survivors from the front section" [the exact quote was "Ethan, get up there to that fuselage. There might actually be survivors..."], and that really surprised me because that's where all the main characters from LOST have come from, is from the front section of the plane. So it's almost like they weren't necessarily expecting them to survive, and that would have been, you know, Kate, Jack, Sawyer... they were all in the front section of the plane.

Ryan: Right, right.

Josh: Anyway, it'll be interesting, I think, to see what we'll learn about The Others and things like that. Now another thing, and this was kind of something that Cliff and Stephanie were talking about [MP3 link] on the Generally Speaking podcast that I thought was kind of interesting, was they pointed out that Ethan was working on Juliet's plumbing—he's the one who was under the house—and kind of in thinking back, to me it kind of seemed the same way, like maybe Ethan was somehow maybe romantically involved with Juliet or something because that just seems like a husbandly thing to do to work on the plumbing under the house, you know?

Ryan: Right, there was a distinct domestic vibe there, and maybe he's just the neighborhood handyman, but the way that the visiting older woman said, "Is he still not done?" and he says "It's a work in progress," there's obviously a relationship there. I'm actually curious how, you know, she knows that Jack has lost someone important to him—maybe there's some sort of vibe that they'll be able to connect if she was close to Ethan and of course lost Ethan thanks to Charlie.

Josh: Yeah, and that would be very interesting to see if Charlie becomes a target of The Others. I mean, he hasn't really seemed to have been, much, after obviously Ethan almost killed him, but it'll be kind of interesting to see what happens because, you know, if there was a relationship between Ethan and Juliet, then obviously Juliet's not very happy about her husband (or whoever he was) dying.

Ryan: Right.

Josh: Now, were there any other things that kind of stood out to you when you were just watching the premiere episode?

Ryan: From the entire episode?

Josh: Yeah.

Ryan: Well, you know, folks who are looking for the bigger picture and the larger mystery, I think you pretty much only had two conversations in the episode that had any meat for you. One was the book club conversation, in my mind, and the other one was the conversation that Jack and Juliet had after he nearly drowns, where, you know, basically he directly asks her, "Are you the DHARMA Initiative?" to that extent, and she, you know, says "Not anymore," you know, basically saying that whatever the DHARMA Initiative was, that's definitely not what's going on right now.

Josh: Yeah, I'm definitely going to have to watch that scene again. I always go back to Locke's comment, "We're going to need to watch that again." I always think of that every time I watch LOST.

Ryan: Definitely. Both Juliet and Jack were speaking of the uh, well I don't know about The Others, but definitely speaking of the DHARMA Initiative as "they," so neither of them being participants in that, so I thought that was interesting.

Josh: Yeah, that is very interesting to me, too. Well, hey, it's been really great to be able to chat with you about this, and thanks for all of your contributions to the LOST community. We all love you—you're our favorite fan in Hawaii.

Ryan: Oh, no. Well, I love all LOST podcasts. You know, I had to get out of the way because folks like you were banging down the doors and blazing the new trail, so I love all of the LOST podcasts.

Josh: Well, thanks, Ryan.

Ryan: No, it's my pleasure, Josh.

Josh: Have a good one.

Ryan: Aloha.

Finally, there are some interesting spoilers this week. On The Official LOST Video Podcast, the executive producers stated that there is more than one faction of The Others, confirming a long-running fan theory. Carlton Cuse also said that "we will be getting back to [Walt and Michael's] story, but not for a while," teased that "what did happen is very compelling," and promised that Walt is fine.

ABC has released details about this week's episode, The Glass Ballerina, which will feature Sun and Jin flashbacks. From an ABC press release: "Sayid's plan to locate Jack places Sun and Jin's lives in grave danger. Meanwhile, Kate and Sawyer are forced to work in harsh conditions by their captors, and Henry makes a very tempting offer to Jack that may prove difficult to refuse... Guest starring are M.C. Gainey as Mr. Friendly [Tom], Tania Raymonde as Alex, Paula Malcolmson as Colleen [a new character], Michael Bowen as Pickett, Byron Chung as Mr. Paik, Tony Lee as Jae Lee, Sophie Kim as young Sun, Joah Buley as Luke, Tomiko Okhee Lee as Mrs. Lee and Teddy Wells as other [sic]."

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