Lost: Not in Portland
(S03E07) It was a long wait, but "Not in Portland" definitely built up a momentum for the next fifteen weeks. We got our first Other-centric flashback, courtesy of Juliet, and a better sense of the pecking order (and family structure) on the "other" island. Plus Sawyer got to use a whole mess o' nicknames!
After this episode, Juliet has become even more intriguing. Anyone who can impregnate male field mice and maintain a professional relationship with an ex has got my respect. Dr. Juliet Burke was once a meek fertility genius working for her ex-husband at Miami Central University. When she wasn't fidgeting nervously, she was performing secret experiments on her own sister, who badly wanted a child. On a side note, am I the only one who had trouble picturing Juliet married to Zeljko Ivanek? The minute I saw his name in the credits, I knew there was going to be trouble (watch the "Roland" episode of The X-Files if you don't believe me). Juliet was a bit of a mouse herself in her pre-island days, and you have to wonder what happened during the subsequent 3 years, 2 months, and 28 days that made her a cold-blooded killer.
It appears that Mittelos Bioscience had a hand in Juliet's transformation. The "Portland-based" company recruited her under shady circumstances (did anyone notice Ethan outside Juliet's sister's apartment?), presumably separating her from her now-pregnant sister. Any guesses as to what illness sis was suffering from? FYI, there is already a website for Mittelos Bioscience for those of you who are interested (I'm not sure of its origin, though). I was hoping that Nestor Carbonell would use his Suddenly Susan accent in his role as Dr. Alpert, but no dice. How convenient that he forgot about Juliet's desire for her ex to get hit by a bus so soon after the ex was actually hit by a bus! At least Ethan Rom was there with tissues to make the entire scene extra creepy. This new company adds yet another dimension to the DHARMA mystery, something that I hope this season will touch on.
Back to the island. Thanks to Jack's OR stunt, Sawyer and Kate got a tour of the Other island, and it certainly was educational. During a brief shootout with Pickett and his minions, Alex showed up to offer some assistance. The trio hid under a camouflaged trap door that I'm convinced was an homage to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. There were, of course, some strings attached to the rescue. Save Karl, save the world, or something to that effect. Alex, convinced that her boyfriend was being kept alive, took Sawyer and Kate to the last possible place he could be. Unfortunately for Karl, it was also the scariest possible place he could be. After tricking and beating a guard, played by Mac from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the group found Karl being given the Clockwork Orange treatment. Strapped to a chair, Karl was being made to watch a hugely disturbing (and confusing) array of words and images. Among the phrases: "God loves you as He loved Jacob"; "We are the causes of our own suffering; and, "Think about your life." Hopefully Karl will survive the trip back to the island with Kate and Sawyer, if only to shed some light on that video.
Let's not forget about Jack, though. The man had to process a ton of information in a short amount of time--two islands, Ben waking up, Juliet turning on him only to change the game plan again, plus the small matter of spinal surgery. Why was Jack's unintentional slip-up during the operation necessary so soon after his intentional mistake? Was there not enough dramatic tension at the moment? Jack also got some male bonding in with Tom, who seemed keen to get to know Jack as well. Could there be another love triangle in the works? OK, probably not. Ultimately, Jack saved Ben and successfully removed the tumor. He also got Juliet to tell him how Ben persuaded her to help Sawyer and Kate--with the promise to let her leave the island. Mittelos Bioscience must have a strict employment contract.
The best moment of the episode had to have been when Juliet killed Pickett. Someone had to get the Death Pool rolling. That beach scene was one of the most effective parts of the entire episode. Kate's final conversation with Jack made her true feelings a bit clearer, and Sawyer noticed. The parallel between Jack's sacrifice for Kate and Alex's decision to stay on the island to spare Karl and appease her "Dad," Ben, was a nice touch.
So many questions! Will Karl survive? Will Kate return to save Jack after all? Will anyone mourn Pickett's death? I think we all know the answer to that last one. Until next week!