Thursday, October 05, 2006

Why is the Lost season 2 premiere called A Tale of Two Cities?
I found out about a month ago that the season premiere of Lost would be named after a Dickens novel so I started looking into it then. After we saw Our Mutual Friend flash by our screen in a very big way during the season 2 finale, it's not a coincidence that they're giving their season premiere episode this title. I don't think the significance of it is necessarily in the title itself (though there's a suggestion that we've already watched the one "city" on the beach for two seasons, and now we're discovering another one) but in the plot of the novel.

I will admit outright I haven't yet read this book. It opens with one of the most famous lines in English lit: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," an appropriate tagline for the show if ever there was one. And the novel had other details in it that link it to Lost (plot spoilers for the Dickens novel ahead):

-the novel takes place during the French Revolution. One of the biggest influences on the Revolution was Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose namesake on Lost is hidden somewhere in the jungle, with a rifle slung over her shoulder and looking for her daughter, Alex
-the main plot of the novel involves two men in love with the same woman -- one is a respectable man of society, the other is an alcoholic who wants to be a good man, but can't seem to manage it (sound familiar?)
-Lucie, the woman with two suitors, discovers her father is alive (she thought he'd died years earlier) and going crazy in a jail where he's been sitting for 18 years. Kate, Sawyer, and Jack are all in jails in this episode, and Jack is thinking about his father, who is dead (as far as he or any of us know)
-when Lucie chooses the more respectable man (Darnay) and marries him, he is charged with treason, and is sentenced to death. The other man (Carton), the alcoholic, visits him in the prison and offers to switch places. He loves Lucie so much that he knows she would be happiest if Darnay lived. Darnay refuses, so Carton drugs him, frees him, and takes his place. The novel ends with his execution, and the other famous line: "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done. It is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known." Does this mean Sawyer will make a similar sacrifice in the future?

I'm sure anyone who's read the book could talk about it at far greater length. One of the biggest scenes in the book is the description of the storming of the Bastille, and maybe that is foreshadowing the rest of the Losties trying to save our trio?


Anonymous said...

thanks Nikki.

but what about the lady who knits?? (Madame Defarge, says SparkNotes) ... Claire was knitting when the Others had her. There we go -- she will become vengeful and die by her own bullet!

My heart got all heavy thinking of Sawyer making a big Desmond-esque sacrifice...and he's already given up his fish biscuit. -cb

Nikki Stafford said...

Ooh, good one! Is Madame Defarge the one whose family was all killed? When I was reading about it a couple of weeks ago, I think she's the one whose sister was raped and killed by the Marquis, and then the rest of her family was killed but she was put into hiding (she was a little girl) and she grew up seeking revenge, but is killed when she tries to exact it. She grew up without a family, just like Claire. Good catch! And... uh... yikes.