Episode Review: It’s a solid episode, but nothing spectacular. “Tabula Rasa” serves as the first “true” episode of Lost, in that it has a character-centricity – Kate. It’s not surprising that Kate would be the first flashback told, since the original thought was that Jack would die in the Pilot episode, leaving Kate to be the de facto “leader” of the Survivors. This would have made the twist about Kate being a fugitive all the more surprising – as the leader of the good guys turns out to be a wanted criminal. But, with Jack alive and well, this merely adds some layers of intrigue to the character of Kate.
Deeper Meaning Explanation: “Tabula rasa” is Latin for “scraped tablet” or “clean slate”, and refers to the idea that individual human beings are born with no innate or built-in mental content, in a word, "blank", and that their entire resource of knowledge is built up gradually from their experiences and sensory perceptions of the outside world (thank you wikipedia!). Everyone starts out fresh, and is changed by life experiences – making them the person that they are.
In this episode, no one embodies this idea more than Kate, who (along with a lot of the other Survivors) is given a “fresh start” on the Island. Jack even verbalizes this thought at the end of the episode when he tells her that he doesn’t care what her previous crimes were. Everyone gets a new beginning on the Island.
Original Thoughts: Once again, there were none! I was still young and naïve, not realizing the depths of over-analysis waiting for me inside each episode. But after the drama-filled, heart-pumping series premiere, this episode calmed things down a bit and showed that Lost would be more of a character-focused show than an action-adventure one. I think without this episode, Lost would have lost (punny!) a lot more viewers turned off by the “fantasy” elements of the pilot. However, this roped them in, started building the love triangle, and fleshed out a number of characters – namely Kate, Jack, Sawyer, and Sayid.
New Thoughts: Or in this case, first time thoughts…
Charlie. His comment about the wheelchair really stuck with me. “Whoever’s this was is probably better off than we are”. Turns out Charlie was right after all. I was also puzzled by his changing of “FATE” on the tape on his fingers to “LATE”, after meeting Claire. I would have thought he would view his chance meeting with the lovely Claire as fate – I’m not really sure what is late about it… that he met her too late? That she’s overdue to pop out a baby?
Claire. Speaking of Claire, I was shocked at how likeable her character was in these early episodes. She’s smiling, laughing, and generally charming – not the whiny, one-track, over-dramatic Claire that we have nowadays. I miss old Claire.
Storm. Although it’s awfully convenient how the storm stops right after Michael tells Walt he’ll look for Vincent once the rain stops – I also noticed that you actually see the storm rolling in earlier in the episode, as opposed to the freak rain storms that come out of nowhere and disappeared instantly in other episodes.
Flashbacks. It’s funny how quick the flashbacks are in these early episodes. You’re lucky if each flashback scene lasts more than a minute or two. It seems that as time went on, more and more time of each episode began being devoted to the flashbacks, which sometimes served as a detriment to the episode, where the on-Island action was far more interesting. But I really enjoy the quick flashes of these early episodes. They get the point across, but still keep the action where it should be – on the Island.
Kate. The Marshal told Jack to never trust Kate, that she would do anything to get away. I wonder if we can apply this comment to the flashforward at the end of the third season. Perhaps Kate did do “anything” to get away and start a new life, even if it meant making some sacrifices that Jack was not as willing to make – such as lying about the Island and their experiences there, or even leaving others behind in return for their rescue. Food for thought…
Locke. This episode also showed the first instance of Locke “fixing” other people. He fixed the relationship between Michael and Walt by bringing back Vincent, the Island God. I had totally forgotten to chalk this “fix” up to him, but it means Locke had a hand in helping a large portion of the Survivors overcome their issues.
Music. Lastly, this episode began the Season One Lost Tradition of ending each episode with a slow musical montage, this time featuring characters reconciling. Sun and Jin. Michael and Walt. Sawyer and Sayid. It’s heart-warming! It also started one of my favorite segue traditions, of ending each episode with a close-up on the character who would take center stage next week. In this case… the currently mysterious John Locke.
Discuss! Up next is the episode that took Lost from good to great…