Monday, July 30, 2012

LOST: It Wasn't Purgatory, episode 3, Tabula Rasa

The face of a criminal?
Tabula Rasa

Events: The episode opens with a huge reveal for Jack (not for us, as we learned in the pilot's second half that Kate was wearing handcuffs next to the Marshal)---Kate is a criminal. The Marshal, feverish and sputtering, insists over and over that Kate is dangerous and shouldn't be trusted. Through a series of flashbacks we learn that Kate worked for an Australian farmer named Ray Mullen, who turned her in for reward money, but her crime still remains a mystery. Meanwhile, the group that went on the transceiver-hike makes its way down the mountain again, avoiding the jungle after dark. Once everyone is back on the beach again, Sayid announces that their mission was not successful while Kate shares with Jack the discovery of the French Woman's transmission. The Marshal's health continues to deteriorate, and Jack starts to take criticism from the other survivors for wasting resources to keep the man alive. The conclusion chooses to linger not on Kate's crime or the Marshal's unpleasant death but on forgiveness and new beginnings. Just after Walt explains to his father that the bald man, Mr. Locke, told him "a miracle happened here," Jack tells Kate, "we should all be able to start over," (the title of the episode, translated, means Blank Slate). As the instrumental soundtrack draws the episode to a close there come some extremely tender, human moments: Boone fixes Shannon's sun glasses with a paper clip and smiles affectionately as he drops them into her hand; Sayid tosses Sawyer a piece of fruit; and Walt is reunited with Vincent, his dog. That said, however, there was something extremely unsettling about that last, almost-scowling wraparound shot of Mr. Locke (?).
The face of a criminal.

Greater Meaning
: The crafty significance of Locke's backgammon game (Pilot Episode, part 2) seems to be its representation of the theme of duality (two sides, one is light, one is dark) given the events and differences in philosophy seen on the island thus far, and Jack is key. As he searches the fuselage for medicine, Sawyer ransacks luggage for contraband. As Jack does his best to treat his patient, the Marshal, Hurley faints at the sight of blood and the other survivors start pressuring Jack to put him out of his misery. As a doctor, Jack's first principle is to do no harm; his world is scientific, structured. The interesting point comes (specifically in this episode) when Jack's role as a doctor and as a leader intersect. A utilitarian leader would have perhaps conceded the point that a wounded man, suffering loudly, should be killed for mercy's sake and in order to preserve supplies for the rest of the group. Jack, though trained as a surgeon and no doubt familiar with the concept of triage (clearly aware that the man's condition was dire), did not act as a utilitarian and sacrificed materials to save just one man.

We should all be able to start over.
Kate, too, is an interesting character for this reason--her nature is at odds with itself as she's a peaceful, compassionate felon. She sews Jack's wound for him, breaks up fighting between Sawyer and Sayid, needs help in disarming a weapon, and in the flashback, saves the life of the man who ratted her out to the law. And through all these events, or in spite of them, we cannot help but wonder more about her (and her crime).

Further Questions:
She's dangerous.
1. What did Kate do?
2. What are Kate's trust issues?
3. What was the miracle that Locke told Walt about?
4. Did Ray Mullen ever get his money?
5. Was Locke upset about something at the end?

6. Was the Marshal telling the truth?