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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

A Tale of Two Cities
Season 3
Episode 1
Air Date October 4, 2006
Writer(s) J.J. Abrams
Damon Lindelof
Director Jack Bender
Flashback Jack Shephard

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Prev: Live Together, Die Alone
Next: The Glass Ballerina

Jack, Kate and Sawyer are taken to The Others' headquarters and each of their experiences of capture are revealed.


In what looks like a suburban home a woman puts on a CD (Downtown by Petula Clark) and prepares her house for guests. She sings along to cheer herself up as she prepares muffins for her book club meeting. The book is Stephen King's Carrie. During the meeting, just as a debate gets heated, the room starts shaking.  The book club members run outside to investigate—and we see they are a part of a small community of houses. Everybody tracks the noises upwards to see a plane, Flight 815, tear apart in mid-air. The fuselage falls in one direction while the tail section falls in another. A familiar face, Ben, the false Henry Gale, gives orders. He sends Ethan Rom to the Fuselage and Goodwin to where the tail section broke off to pretend to be passengers of Oceanic 815.

Jack awakes on a dark steel table in a room with plexiglass dividing it and a harness hanging from the ceiling. He tries to get out but the room is secured and locked. Somewhere outside, Sawyer awakes in a cage with a mysterious food dispenser. In a locker room, Kate awakes to find Mr.Friendly standing over her. He offers her a shower to freshen up and a new dress. Kate is then taken to breakfast with Ben during which he tells her the next two weeks will be difficult.

Jack is visited by the woman running the book club. She introduces herself as Juliet. She tries to reason with him but Jack stubbornly refuses, demanding to know where his friends are and what's going on. She offers him food if he cooperates in an attempt to gain his trust. But Jack isn't playing by her rules and lies when she asks him questions about himself. In the past, Jack has trouble with his divorce. He can't let go of Sarah without knowing for whom she left him. He attempts one last reconciliation, but it fails when he demands the name of Sarah's new love. He even goes as far as cold-calling numbers from an old cell phone bill of hers, trying to identify the new man. He discovers that one of the numbers belongs to his father. Jack immediately assumes the worst—that the new man in Sarah's life is his father.

Sawyer figures out the gizmos in his cage and gets a reward: a fish biscuit, water and grain. Mr.Friendly locks Kate in the nearby cage, mocking Sawyer on his way out ("it only took the bears two hours"). This solves the mystery of the Polar Bears. The DHARMA Initiative must have kept some sort of zoo and Sawyer is in one of the old Polar Bear cages. Sawyer throws the biscuit to Kate, and they reconnect over their meal.

Jack is again visited by Juliet. Beginning to get an idea of what kind of situation he's in, he decides to play by her rules. He sits with his back against the far wall so she can enter his "room" and bring him food. When she enters, Jack jumps her, threatening to cut her neck with a shard from a broken plate and demanding to be let go. Ben appears and tells Jack if he tries to leave through the door Jack's trying to open, they will all be killed. Jack throws open the door anyway, unleashing thousands of gallons of water. Ben escapes into a room before Juliet can make it. This forces her and Jack to work together. They fight their way into another room and hit an emergency button that begins to drain the water. Once safe, Juliet immediately punches Jack and knocks him out.

Flashback to the hospital where Jack overhears Christian on his cell phone. Thinking it's Sarah that Christian is talking to, Jack follows Christian. He bursts in on his AA meeting, confronts his father, loses control and physically attacks him. Jack is bailed out of jail by Sarah. Embarrassed about his behavior, Jack follows her outside trying to explain. Then Jack sees a man stands next to her car waiting. Jack asks if that's him. Sarah doesn't answer but tells Jack his father was so drunk when he called her that she barely understood him. Sarah also says that now Jack has something new to fix.

Jack wakes up back in his "room." Juliet is on the other side of the plexiglass waiting for him. He intuits where they are: underwater in an aquarium. Juliet nods. He states his deductions: it is another DHARMA Initiative station (the Hydra Station) and that the others are the remnants of the initiative. And Juliet responds, "That was a long time ago."

Juliet holds a folder thick with information on him. She explains that she knows a lot more about him than she previously let on. The information they have includes his father's autopsy report. The one question Jack has for her is whether Sarah is happy. Juliet tells him that she is. Broken by this revelation, Jack follows her orders so she may enter with food and crosses to the opposite side of the room.

As she steps into the hallway, Ben greets her with a congratulatory "Good work." She replies with a simple "Thank you, Ben."

Memorable QuotesEdit

"I'm a repo man. You know, when people don't pay their bills I go into the bank and collect their possessions. I'm a people person so I really love it."

- Jack

"Only took the bears two hours."

- Tom

Background InformationEdit

  • Among other things, we see that "The Others" lived in relative comfort at the time of the crash, in a "suburban" setting. Several of the major characters of "The Others" are in a book club meeting when the plane crash happens.
  • The nurse who questions Jack if his patient is ready to self-administer pain medication is also the same Nurse from "Deus Ex Machina" that greets Locke when he awakens.
  • The beginning of this episode is very reminiscent of that of "Man of Science, Man of Faith", with the same attempt to wrong-foot the viewer into thinking they are watching a flashback.

Dramatis PersonaeEdit

Guest StarringEdit