Lost/A Tale of Two Cities

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A Tale of Two Cities
Season 3, Episode 1
Airdate October 4, 2006
Production Number 301
Written by J.J. Abrams (teleplay)
Damon Lindelof (teleplay/story)
Directed by Jack Bender
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The Glass Ballerina
LostSeason Three

A Tale of Two Cities is the first episode of the third season of Lost, and the fiftieth episode overall.

Jack, Kate and Sawyer begin to discover what they are up against as prisoners of "The Others."

Starring: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Mr. Eko), Naveen Andrews (Sayid), Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond), Emilie de Ravin (Claire), Michael Emerson (Ben), Matthew Fox (Jack), Jorge Garcia (Hurley), Josh Holloway (Sawyer), Daniel Dae Kim (Jin), Yunjin Kim (Sun), Evangeline Lilly (Kate), Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet), Dominic Monaghan (Charlie), Terry O'Quinn (Locke), Kiele Sanchez (Nikki), Rodrigo Santoro (Paulo).

Guest Starring: Julie Adams (Amelia), Blake Bashoff (Karl), Brett Cullen (Goodwin), M.C. Gainey (Tom), William Mapother (Ethan), John Terry (Christian Shephard), Julie Bowen (Sarah Shephard).

Co-Starring: Stephen Semel (Adam), Alexandra Morgan (Moderator), Julie Ow (Nurse), Sonya Seng (Receptionist).


Plot Overview

The Island

  • Juliet and a group of people are having a book club meeting when a quake shakes the house. Everyone goes outside in time to witness Oceanic Flight 815 break up overhead. Ben ("Henry Gale") orders Goodwin to head for the remains of the tail section and Ethan to head for the fuselage. They're to pose as survivors and make up cover stories if anyone asks who they are. He wants them to listen, learn, to not get involved, and bring him back lists in three days. Ben notes the Stephen King book Juliet is holding and says, "I guess I'm out of the book club."
  • Jack wakes up in a dimly lit room bisected by a transparent wall. He's had some blood drawn from him. A woman, Juliet, comes in to interrogate him. Jack demands to know where his friends are, refusing to comply with Juliet's requests. Juliet tells him he's a stubborn man. She later returns to Jack's cell with food, asking him to sit with his back against a wall so she can enter and leave it for him. However, Jack refuses her offer. She asks him what his profession is. Jack replies that he's a repo man and he's never been married. Juliet asks Jack where he was flying from and why. He tells her he was flying from Sydney and was bringing his dead father back home. When Jack demands to know what's going on, Juliet leaves.

    She later returns, again, with another plate of food for Jack. She tells him that the drugs they gave him have a side effect of causing dehydration and, if he doesn't eat or drink something, he'll start hallucinating. She tells Jack to sit with his back to the wall on the opposite side of the door. He complies, but when she opens the door he rushes her and manages to hold her hostage. He drags her out of the cell and heads for a door with a wheel on it. Juliet warns him not to use that door. Ben appears at the opposite end of the hall and tells Jack that if he opens that door everyone here will die. Jack shoves Juliet in Ben's direction and starts turning the wheel. Juliet runs for Ben's door, but he closes it just before she gets there. Jack opens the door, and a wall of water pushes him back and starts flooding the room. Juliet and Jack enter the other side of Jack's prison room and close the door. She tells him to press the yellow button. He does and the water starts to drain, but Juliet knocks Jack out with a right hook to the face.

    Jack regains consciousness back in his cell with Juliet back on the other side of the glass. Juliet confirms that they're underwater and the place was used to house sharks and dolphins. Jack asks her if this place is one of The DHARMA Initiative's stations. She tells him they called it "the Hydra". With a large dossier-like file on Jack's life on a table, Juliet tells Jack some biographical details from his life. She says that she has the autopsy report on his father and that the file has lots of information on Jack and his family. Jack asks if his ex-wife, Sarah, is happy. Juliet says that she is. She asks Jack to again sit with his back to the wall so she can bring him food. He does. Juliet leaves the room to where Ben is waiting. He tells her she did good work.
  • Kate wakes up in a large communal shower area. She's had some blood drawn. Tom ("Mr. Friendly") is waiting for her to wake up and suggests that she have a shower. Leaving her by herself, Kate has a shower but finds that her clothes are missing. She notices a note on a locker and finds a sun dress inside for her to wear. Tom takes her to have breakfast on the beach with Ben. Once seated, Ben asks to her to put on a pair of handcuffs or else she, "won't have any coffee." After she complies, Ben tells her she's having breakfast on the beach so she would have "something nice to hold on to" as the next two weeks are going to be "very unpleasant."
  • Sawyer wakes up inside of an open-air cage that appears to have once housed large animals. He notices they're next to a very large building and to a large pipe with a DHARMA logo on it. Inside his cage is a food dispenser that requires that a pedal be held down, the dispensing button pushed and a paddle struck all simultaneously in order to dispense food. Sawyer sees a young man, Karl, held in a cage across from him. Sawyer tries to ask him questions, but Karl doesn't respond. Turning his attention to the dispenser button, Sawyer presses it twice but it only results in a "warning" message from a speaker. Karl warns Sawyer not to press the button again. Sawyer ignores the warning and gets a nasty shock from the dispenser button. Karl asks Sawyer how far away his camp is, but Sawyer gives a smarmy, non-answering reply. Karl picks the lock on his cage, then picks the lock on Sawyer's cage. As alarms sound, he tells Sawyer to run in the opposite direction of him. Sawyer takes off, but comes across Juliet, who hits him with a taser dart. He is dragged back to his cage. Tom drags up Karl, who has a bloody nose and makes Karl apologize to Sawyer for involving him in his escape attempt. Karl is then dragged off. Sawyer figures out how to get the food dispenser to work and is rewarded with a fish biscuit, some food pellets and water. Tom appears with Kate and locks her in the small cage opposite Sawyer's cage. They have some banter to keep each other's spirits up and Sawyer tosses Kate the fish biscuit.

The Flashback

  • Flashback: Jack

Sarah is seeking a divorce from Jack. However, Jack is obsessed with finding out who Sarah is seeing. He offers to let her have the house, the cars, everything, just so he can know the name of the man. Refusing to answer, Sarah simply gets up and leaves.

With a list of numbers on Sarah's cell phone, Jack starts calling them one-by-one in an effort to find Sarah's boyfriend. His father, Christian, comes into his office and sees the list of numbers. He tells Jack that he needs to stop and that his relationship with Sarah is over. Jack refuses, telling his father that he wants to know everything about the man and what it is about him that made Sarah leave. One of the numbers Jack tries is Christian's cell phone, and Jack asks his father why Sarah was calling him. He says it was because she was afraid for him and could see that he was slipping. He tells Jack that he knows something about obsessive behavior and that it is exactly what's going on with Jack. Jack retorts that being a drunk is not obsessive.

Jack doesn't believe his father and follows him to a hotel. Inside, Jack confronts him and demands his cell phone. Christian points out that he's attending an alcoholics anonymous meeting, but Jack continues to demand Christian's cell phone. The AA meeting's moderator asks Jack to join in, telling him that Christian has told everyone all about him. Angry and upset, Jack demands to know what Christian told them about his marriage. He then tells the group that Christian manages his marriage with a bottle of scotch before every dinner, but the moderator replies that Christian has been sober for fifty days. Jack suggests that his father managed to turn that corner by having a new lady friend — his wife. Taken aback, Christian tells him to let it go, and Jack attacks him.

Sarah bails Jack out of jail. She tells him that his father called her, so drunk she could hardly understand him, and told her Jack was in jail and to help him. Jack sees Sarah's boyfriend across the street from the station and demands to know his name. Sarah tells him it doesn't matter who he is; it only matters who Jack isn't.



  • Are the Others members of the DHARMA Initiative?
  • Why are the next two weeks going to be "very unpleasant?"
  • Who is Karl?
  • Where is the Hydra?
  • Why is Juliet so tense at the beginning of the episode?
  • What kind of conflict is there between Ben and Juliet?


The Cursed Numbers

  • Jack's pager had the time 7:15:23 AM on it. 15 and 23 are two of the numbers.


  • Tom's statement that it only took the bears two hours to figure out the feeding mechanism suggests that he may have been one of the DHARMA staff at the Hydra station.

Arc Advancement



  • Jack finds himself a prisoner of the Others, notably Juliet.
  • Sawyer and Kate are prisoners of the Others, but kept relatively close together.



The Show

  • The Nurse: In Jack's flashback, the nurse he talks to about the removal of a patient's catheter is the same nurse that Locke talks to after he wakes up from his surgery in season one's Deus Ex Machina.
  • Missing in Action: Eko, Sayid, Desmond, Claire, Hurley, Jin, Sun, Charlie, Locke, Nikki, and Paulo do not appear in this episode. (Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Ben/"Henry Gale" and Juliet are the only regulars who appear in this episode.)

Behind the Scenes

  • Mystery Girl: Promotional images released by ABC for the episode show a young girl standing inside Jack's cell with Jack lying on the table. This scene was cut from the aired episode.
  • Location, Location, Location: The Others' community is YMCA Camp Erdman in Waialua, HI. Sarah's place of work was filmed at Palolo Valley District Park in Honolulu, HI. The Hydra's cages and exterior shots were filmed at Paradise Park, a closed tourist attraction in Honolulu, HI. Interior shots of St. Sebastian Hospital, and interior and exterior shots of the hotel Christian went to for his alcoholics anonymous meeting were filmed at St. Francis Medical Center in Honolulu, HI.

Allusions and References

  • A Tale of Two Cities: The episode title is a reference to Charles Dickens' 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities. In the official Lost podcast, executive producer Damon Lindelof explained the title is also in reference to the "city" of the castaways and the "city" of the Others.
  • The Amazing, Changing CD: The CD jewel case Juliet picks is for "Speaking in Tongues" by the Talking Heads. The CD inside is actually a DualDisc, one side a CD and the other a DVD, for the album "Okemah and the Melody of Riot" by Son Volt. The song that plays is "Downtown" by Petula Clark.
  • Juliet and Carrie: The novel Juliet picked for the Others' book club is Carrie by Stephen King.
  • Moonlight Serenade: The song Jack is listening to in his car, while watching Sarah, is "Moonlight Serenade." It's a cover of the same song Hurley and Sayid picked up in The Long Con.
  • B.F. Skinner: The cage Sawyer is kept in could be a form of operant conditioning chamber or "Skinner box." The Skinner box was created by B.F. Skinner and used to study operant conditioning, the use of consequences to modify the occurrence and form of behavior. The animal being studied presses one or many response levers and their behavior is positively reinforced with food or water. B.F. Skinner was mentioned in the Swan's orientation film.
  • Sawyer the Thunderer: Upon successful completion of hitting the levers and switches, the music the machine in the polar bear cage plays is "The Thunderer" by John Philip Sousa. Sousa was an American composer and conductor best known for American military marches. "The Thunderer" was composed in 1889.
  • Ben & King: At the beginning of this episode, during the book club meeting, Adam (one of The Others) points out that "Ben wouldn't read this in a damn bathroom!" The book they are talking about is Carrie by Stephen King. In "Maternity Leave", when Locke gives Henry Gale/Ben "The Brothers Karamazov" to read, the latter asks:"Don't you have any Stephen King?"

Memorable Moments

  • Sawyer disregards Karl's warning and is shocked by the food dispenser button.


  • Kate: Why did you bring me here? Why did you make me put on this dress? Why are you feeding me breakfast?
    Ben: I brought you here so you'd look out at the water and feel comforted. Comforted that your friends are looking out at the same ocean. I gave you the dress so that you'd feel like a lady. And I wanted you to eat your food with a real, live fork and feel civilized. I did all those things so that you'd have something nice to hold on to. Because, Kate... the next two weeks are going to be very unpleasant.
  • Tom: [escorting Kate into a cage] Stick your hands out through the bars, I'll take off your cuffs. Scratched you up pretty bad, didn't they? I'll bring you some antiseptic later.
    Sawyer: How about you bring me an ottoman? While you're at it, I could use a blow dry.
    Tom: Hey! You got yourself a fish biscuit! How'd you do that?
    Sawyer: Figured out your complicated gizmos, that's how.
    Tom: Only took the bears two hours.
    Sawyer: How many of them were there? [Tom leaves] You okay, Freckles?
    Kate: Yeah. You?
    Sawyer: Just swell. I requested that cage, but whatever.