Not In Portland

It’s hard to separate the euphoria over the return of “LOST” from the gleeful appreciation of a good individual episode. “Not In Portland” didn’t even give us a glimpse of the other three quarters of the cast, but nonetheless was a strong kickoff to what will be the longest stretch of consecutive new episodes ever. We got our first Other flashback, further cementing Juliet as a complex, tough yet sharp female character and Elizabeth Mitchell as a supremely talented actor. Considering how little we know about Juliet, I was surprisingly taken in by her scenes with her sister.

Oh yes, the story. A lot of meat to chew on for those who hunger to know what’s happening on the island. We get a taste of the recruiting methods of the DHARMA Initiative (or whatever its current incarnation), and the unique talents they wanted from Juliet. We learn that things definitely changed when “the sky turned purple,” and that the Others may now be in no better shape than our survivors. Karl’s punishment, or programming, via the “Clockwork Orange” style sensory overload will provide weeks of frame-by-frame analysis. Ben’s paternal relationship with Alex (a.k.a. Sheena) is confirmed, as well as some “history” between Juliet and Ben. And we get a sense of the next mini-arc… which somewhat resembles most of the previous mini-arcs of separation and rescue. There were a lot of things to like about “Not In Portland,” but again, the fact that it means “LOST” is back is the best part of all.

It was nice to see Kate, wardrobe notwithstanding, recover some of her butt-kickingness. “Actually,” notes Jen, who is not among Evangeline Lilly’s biggest fans, “Kate isn’t annoying me half as much this season as she has in the past.” Sawyer, of course, was in top scruffy, charming form, complete with nicknames and Star Wars references. We think we’re going to like Tom (he’ll shoot you, but he won’t like the blood), and we’re definitely not going to miss Pickett. And Alex’s story can only get more interesting from here.

Where is Danielle, anyway?

Surprisingly, Jack came across as the weakest of the three this week, as he almost instantly goes from badass in charge to hapless player in yet another of Ben’s schemes. Seeing him watch impotently from the observation room as Ben and Juliet talked was a far cry from the Jack of the cliffhanger closing last year.

It was certainly nice to see Ethan again, though his limited role tonight makes me wonder if there’s still more for him. Perhaps he’ll show up in other Other flashbacks, part of the recruiting team? Speaking of limited roles, though… we sure would’ve loved to see more of Zeljko Ivanek. Jen’s convinced we haven’t seen the last of Sherry the research assistant, by the way.

Location Notes: The Miami medical facility was the University of Hawaii Medical School in Kakaako. You could actually see the Honolulu skyline out the window of Edmund Burke’s office. And the bus was TheBus, the unmistakable white, gold and brown city transit system here in Honolulu. I gotta say, I was surprised the moment of impact was so sudden and brief. By all accounts, there was some impressive stuntwork staged for the collision that left the stuntman pretty banged up.

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31 Responses to Not In Portland

  1. virusx says:

    wow really?????????????

  2. virusx says:

    wooooo first one hahaha first time aswell

  3. MontaukJimbo says:

    This is it folks .
    I put forth that;
    -It is Time travel, but it is not perfectcausing “Nasty Side effects”
    -We will see Duplicates of certain Cast members from Past/Future ala “TimeCop”
    -There is also a “GroundHog day” feel to this whole plot
    -The Huge Statue of a Four toed Giant is Ancient Rhodes Colossus
    —The computer in the film “Colossus: The Forbin Project”. Forbin is the designer of an incredibly sophisticated computer that will run all of America’s nuclear defences. Shortly after being turned on, it detects the existence of Goliath, the Soviet counterpart, previously unknown to US Planners. Both computers insist that they be linked, and after taking safeguards to preserve confidential material, each side agrees to allow it. As soon as the link is established the two become a new super computer and threaten the world with the immediate launch of nuclear weapons if they are detached. Colossus begins to give its plans for the management of the world under its guidance. Forbin and the other scientists form a technological resistance to Colossus which must operate underground.

    –Others need Babies as “Blank Slate” for antiToxin manufacture because they are Sterile and Infected

  4. debbie says:

    Hey! Watch out for that bus!!!!!

  5. sodadood says:

    I don’t know about anyone else, but this episode got me reinvested in the show all over again. Finally a flashback about an ‘Other’, and even a first glimpse at Ethen. I’m still ‘lost’ as to how Juliette’s stint ‘not in Portland’ is tied to the Dharma Initiative because if Dharma came in the 1980s, where did they end up, why are Dharma supplies still being delivered to the Lostees’ island?

    I also found it weird that Tom was skiddish around Ben’s blood, yet when he was dressed as Mr. Friendly, he seemed like a real butt-kickin’ bad ass. Overall, I really liked how they’re beginning to tie in the Others and explain a little bit about how they formed. But as always, now I have more questions than answers; and I love that about the show.

  6. jake/yvon says:

    What was the purpose of Karl’s exposure to the images and loud music? Clearly a reference to Clockwork Orange (and perhaps recent US torture techniques), but why program Karl–to what end? For what circumstances? The manipulation harks back to the “free will” discussion we saw on the first “others” episode–at the book club meeting at Juliet’s home. But although the others dispute free will and seek to manipulate psychologically (Ben in particular seems to be a master of this), the others’ control techniques don’t work very well and they have to fall back on crude violence, aggression, etc. This suggests how far the Dharma project has gone off track.

    Juliet says she’s been on the island for 3+ years, but Ben said earlier that he was born on the island. The scans we saw during Juliet’s recruitment show a young woman whose womb appears aged beyond her years–was she transported to the island because of its healing powers, or is the discrepancy between her actual and apparent age due to the island?

    Interesting mention of conditions changing “since the sky went purple…”–in relation to not being able to transport Ben off of the island, but what else might this have affected? (If Ben can’t go off of the island for surgery, then is his promise to allow Juliet off of the island a lie?)

    I liked this episode–it seemed tauter than the brief arc we saw in the Fall.

  7. jim says:

    Great episode, and needless to say, we all await the weeks to come with great eagerness.
    But here’s a question to mull over: if the Others are living so close to the earth, without a great deal of amenities, how in the world are they able to rig up a state-of-the-art audio/visual torture room like the one in which we find poor Karl? Doesn’t it all seem the slightest bit, uh, UNLIKELY? Oh well, I guess looking for interior logic in the plot details ain’t what Lost is all about. But it’s still great fun to have the whole illogical mess back in our lives…

  8. ldyminerva says:

    My husband brought an interesting tid-bit. Is the room Karl is in the same “room” that Ms. Kul(?) threatened to put Walt back in if he said too much to Michael?

    Over all i loved this episode. Juliet is such a fascinating character that it makes me hope that Ben does screw her over cuz i don’t want her to leave the show.

  9. G.K. Darby says:

    It’s nice to see the show back on track complete with great acting, wonderful literary references and a minimum of the soap opera shmaltz that seemed to characterize the “mini-season.” Ryan, once again, I loved your analysis.

  10. meg says:

    while jack watched the meeting between juliet and ben, did anyone read lips?

  11. Phil R says:

    Just an interesting point I haven’t seen anywhere else… while taking Karl out, there is a photo up on the screen in Room 23, it is an image of Gerald DeGroot. Not random at all I am sure.

    Also, that copy of ‘A Brief History of Time’ sure did look worn out. Interesting that it was being written in like a text book of some sort.

    Lastly, is Ethan part of the Dharma collection crew? He gathered information about Juilet and her sister… and then gathered information about the survivors on the beach.

  12. Dan says:

    In honor of a great show, I think you should start up the podcast again. 🙂

  13. Adriano says:

    The whole sensory deprivation setup is another Lost anachronism that I guess we have to accept for now (remember the new washer & dryer in The Hatch). Although I continue to be fascinated at why Ben hasn’t sprung for newer monitoring equipment. How about a new paint job? Seriously, though, the lack of remodeling suggests that the building where Jack is being kept and the cages had to be put back into use in a hurry when the plane crashed and different survivors began being taken. In contrast, the houses we see in the Season 3 opener looked kept-up. The medical hatch in Season 2 also had the feel of a building put into use in a hurry. On the other hand, the operating room where Jack worked on Ben is in another building and it seems to kept up (except for the broken crash cart).

    All this leaves us with same question: so what were they doing before September 22, 2004? Why are The Others on the island at all? Well, that is a thread in of itself so I will stop there.

    It’s good to be back!

  14. scotty g says:

    Ben is just like any father who does not want his daughter to date. That is why he is torturing Karl.

  15. Julie says:

    “Is the room Karl is in the same “room” that Ms. Kul(?) threatened to put Walt back in if he said too much to Michael?”

    Oooh good call Idyminerva. I remember Mrs. Klugh saying that. That room is so creepy!!! I can’t imagine poor Walt in there! But I wouldn’t put it past them. More of my comments here:

  16. Erik says:

    I have to say I really enjoyed the episode (and was quite shocked by the bus incident, awesome), but I definitely felt some sadness reading the credits and noticing that Harold Perrineau’s name is no longer there. I guess he and Walt really did get to go home. I was hoping they’d be back.

  17. Sunan says:

    “Is the room Karl is in the same “room” that Ms. Kul(?) threatened to put Walt back in if he said too much to Michael?”

    I’m not entirely sure if that one would make too much sense since that room that Karl was in was on the Alcatraz island and all the stuff that happened with Michael and Walt happened on the main island.

  18. Sloane says:

    I dont think that Alex is really bens daughter.. i think that the conditioning, that we saw alex’s boyfriend in the middle of, makes all of the kids (that the others take) think that ben is their father. I just cant see how they could tie Danielle to Ben sexually.

  19. Jen says:

    “I’m not entirely sure if that one would make too much sense since that room that Karl was in was on the Alcatraz island and all the stuff that happened with Michael and Walt happened on the main island. ”

    Jack, Sawyer and Kate thought they were on “their” island, too. There’s no reason why Walt couldn’t have been in the Clockwork Orange room. I think the room is designed to keep people awake, and if they take the sensory-and-sleep-deprived out of the room, they sleep. Like Karl. Karl probably hadn’t seen Alex in a week and all he wanted was to sleep. Walt could have left Alcatraz very easily and not even known it.

  20. Julie says:

    “I dont think that Alex is really bens daughter.. ”

    I’m pretty sure we knew from season 1 that Alex was the daughter of Danielle and her dead husband Robert, right?

  21. Julie says:

    Did not enjoy this episode. Same old Jack, Sawyer, Kate, and The Others crap from the mini season and ignoring the rest of the cast who I find far more interesting.

  22. Eric says:

    This was a very dissappointing episode that did not live up to all of the hype!! Lost still has a way to go before I will consider it is back to the formally excellent show it once was!

  23. Dave says:

    I thought this was a great episode and I’m happy to be back reading everyone’s comments. It’s great to have the show back on and better to be able to go into the episodes in mind-numbing detail. =) Not a big fan of the later start time, though.

    I thought the Juliet flashback was great and well-done. I have to assume that Rachel is being treated for ovarian cancer or endometrial cancer or something where she A) would be sick and need experimental therapy, and B) would have virtually zero chance of becoming pregnant (e.g. she had a hysterectomy). But did they ever tell us what this was?

    LOVE the Ethan sighting and the general creepiness of the Dharma project. We’re starting to see how this all comes together and I do like it. I still wonder how much of what’s going on now is a case of the inmates running the asylum, though Ben (and to a lesser extent, Ethan and Goodwin) seem to be more in line with Dharma rather than semi-unwilling captives like Juliet and Alex.

    Regarding things changing when they sky went purple, maybe the Others have lost some of their powers? Maybe they can’t get off the island any more? Maybe they just mean that one of the Losties has sabotaged their energy supply…

    Interesting that Juliet seems to think she can now get off the island. She must believe in Ben’s power. Maybe Jack will be her “medical replacement?”

    Benry Gale cannot possibly be Alex’s father unless:
    1) Danielle just doesn’t remember being impregnated.
    2) Danielle was impregnated experimentally against her will. Which is maybe a prelude to Juliet?
    3) Danielle has some sort of dissociative fugue where she wouldn’t remember that the man she found in the jungle had fathered her daughter.

    The episode also — with Dr Burke being killed by a bus as Juliet had suggested — makes me wonder whether Benry somehow got Jack there to do his surgery on purpose. Maybe the crash of flight 815 wasn’t a coincidence after all… remember the mantra… don’t mistake fate with coincidence.

    Enough babbling by me.

  24. Paul_inYork_UK says:

    I thought this was a great episode. Seeing one of the Others’ backstory was enthralling, and Juliet is an intriguing character. My favourite moment though was when Sawyer said about falling for the Wookie maneuvere, that was hilarious!!

    Also did anyone notice the similarity between Juliet’s husband getting hit by the bus which was a direct copy of one of the characters in the film Final Destination dying in exactly the same way.

  25. HeyBrah says:

    Where was it ever made clear that Ben is Alex’s father? … couldn’t the guy with the eyepatch be “him” as well as the actual father of Alex?

    The whole bus incident reminds me of an urban myth in which a crime boss stated to another crime boss (back in ’62) that the only way to get the goverment off their backs was to kill President Kennedy. We should all watch out for what we say “tongue in cheek”?

  26. Dave says:

    … and there’s a fantasy sequence in Mean Girls where a character dies the same way.

    I mean, or so I’ve heard. ; )

  27. Perry says:

    Bus death scene: Also in MEET JOE BLACK, that extremely long Brad Pitt movie I sat thru so I could watch the Phantom Menace trailer before and after the movie. 🙂

  28. Andre says:

    today i was learning about the hansiatic league in europe, which started way back in the 14 hundreds. does anyone think that this hansiatic league and the hanso foundation might have a connection?
    also, what happened to all the number talk or “mystery” this season. i feel like the producers are focusing more on relationships instead of whats happening on the island like it did in the other seasons. i hope it goes back to that.

  29. carlo says:

    ben will be removed from power shortly. he has betrayed Jacob (who must be his father, unless the biblical references are meaningless) by sacrificing the people on the list (sawyer, kate) to save his own life (something that Ben said He would never do). i expect jacob to make an appearance very shortly and ben’s role on the island to be drastically reduced.

  30. Chris says:

    Juliette just said “WHen your father wakes up” but never said a name…there is a chance that Alex’s father is not ben, but simply a tired other;)

  31. Scott says:

    As far as bus scenes go, there was a kick ass, nearly identical one, in Felicity. Some of you may have heard of the shows creator, one Mr. Abrams.

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