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A Tale of Two Cities was a historical novel written by the Earth novelist Charles Dickens.

In 2285, Spock presented James T. Kirk with an antique hardbound copy of the novel for his 52nd birthday. Although Spock claimed that there was no implicit message in the gift, Kirk took special meaning in the final words of the novel: "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". (TOS movie: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

The novel was also a favorite read of Miles O'Brien's mother. In 2375, Ezri Dax lent Jadzia's copy of the novel to O'Brien. (DS9 episode: "Extreme Measures")

While discussing Dickens with Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Thomas Riker (under the guise of Commander William Riker) claimed that A Tale of Two Cities was his favorite Dickens work. While thinking about his upcoming plan to kill himself in an attempt to order to protect Federation interests, Riker said "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" echoing the last words of the book. (TNG novel: Triangle: Imzadi II)


This article uses material from the "A Tale of Two Cities" article on the Memory-beta wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


Up to date as of February 07, 2010

From Lostpedia

See A Tale of Two Cities (book) for the book which inspired the title of this episode.
"A Tale of Two Cities"

4 October 2006
Running time
Production code
Centric character(s)
Written by
Directed by

Episode transcript
[[{{{transcript2}}}|Part Two]]

[[{{{audiotranscript}}}|Commentary transcript]]

"A Tale of Two Cities" is the Season 3 premiere of Lost, and the 50th episode of the series as a whole. Jack, Kate and Sawyer find themselves in unusual locations after being kidnapped by the Others, who reveal themselves to be more sophisticated than anyone could have previously guessed.





Jack, spying on Sarah from his car.

Sipping his coffee from a distance, in his car, Jack watches his wife Sarah, as she plays with her young pupils at kindergarten. He notices her joke with a man there, and frowns as Sarah whispers something into his ear, causing him to laugh.

Later, Jack arrives at a divorce meeting. In the waiting room, he tries to spark conversation with Sarah, but she seems more interested in initiating the proceedings than talking to her ex. Jack fires his lawyer. His attempts to reconcile are also quickly interrupted as Sarah’s phone rings, and Jack overhears her laughing to the person at the other end. Jack asks her what his name is, a question we gather he has asked her many times since their separation. Jack tells Sarah that she can have whatever she wants in the divorce, but he has a right to know the name of the man who is with his wife. Instead of answering, Sarah walks out.

Jack calls contacts on Sarah's cellphone, in an attempt to find her lover.

At the hospital, Jack is trying to track down the man by phoning each of Sarah’s contacts, under the pretense that he has found her phone. His father, Christian, enters and tells Jack to accept the fact that Sarah has moved on. Jack disregards him, and phones the next number he has on his list. To his surprise, his father’s phone begins to ring. Asking him why his wife has been calling him, Christian tells him to simply "let it go." Jack refuses to listen, shouting for his father to tell him the truth. Christian says that it is because she was afraid for Jack’s health. The argument soon gets heated, as Jack touches a nerve by calling his father a drunk. Christian storms out of the room, but not before repeating that Jack needs to "let it go."

Jack confronts his father in front of the AA group.

Later, Jack is with a patient when he notices Christian’s cell phone ringing outside the room. Christian laughs as he chats, and Jack seems to suspect that his father has been lying to him. After his shift, he stalks Christian to the Lynford Hotel. Bursting into the room he entered, Jack finds that he is actually in an AA meeting. However, undeterred, he demands Christian’s cell phone, but is asked to take a seat by the team leader. He immediately stands on guard, and starts mocking his father and things in his past. Jack explicitly accuses Christian of sleeping with Sarah. Christian shakes his head in disgust. As Jack moves to leave, Christian yet again tells him to "let it go." This time, Jack retaliates, charging at his father and tackling him to the ground.

Sarah reminds Jack that now he's got something to fix.

Jack sits in a cell, but is quickly told that that someone has paid his bail, meaning he’s free to leave. As Jack leaves, he finds that the person was Sarah, who tells him that she’s called him a cab. She runs out, and as Jack follows, he sees a man waiting by a car for her. He demands to know if that’s him, and Sarah replies that "it doesn’t matter who he is, it just matters who you’re not." She reveals that a drunken Christian phoned her, asking for her to help Jack, and that his alcoholism is something for Jack to fix now. She then leaves, ushered away by the man with her.


Juliet is trying to uplift her feelings.

A woman is preparing to host a book club meeting at her house. Initially she plays some music ("Downtown" by Petula Clark), then looks at herself in a mirror. She seems upset, crying, and trying to keep her composure. The oven timer goes off and she discovers the oven is billowing smoke: her muffins have burnt. She hurriedly takes them out, burning her hand and dropping them on the floor in the process. The doorbell rings, there is a woman at the door. Outside, a man is working on the plumbing. The two women go inside.

Adam and Juliet argue over the chosen book.

Later, the book club meets; the book being discussed is Carrie by Stephen King. A man named Adam complains about the woman's -- now identified as Juliet -- choice of this book and remarks that "Ben" wouldn't read it "even in the bathroom". Juliet argues with Adam that it's her favorite book, stating "here I am, thinking that free will still actually exists on..." She is interrupted by a rumbling, possibly an earthquake, which suddenly occurs, shaking the house and occupants who all quickly get into the doorways. After it ends, they run outside, and we see that the house seems to be in a cul-de-sac community. The man repairing the plumbing stands up, revealing that he is Ethan.

Ben witnesses the crash of Flight 815.

The man who claimed to be Henry Gale exits another house nearby, seemingly troubled. While everyone else is looking around, he looks up, as though he expects to see something in the sky. The other people follow his gaze, and witness the mid-air break-up and crash of Oceanic 815: the tail going off in one direction, the fuselage in another. The fake Henry Gale tells Ethan Rom and Goodwin to each go to one of the crash sites, that Goodwin can make the shore in an hour. They are both instructed to act as survivors in shock. They must come up with an adequate story if they are asked, but stay quiet if they aren't. He tells them: "Listen, learn. Don't get involved." They also must provide him with "a list" in three days. They both run. The fake Henry now comes closer to Juliet, who is still holding the book. "So I guess I'm out of the book club", he says, probably in reference to a past event. The camera then pulls back to reveal, whilst a dove is passing by, that this community of houses is in a clearing in the jungle, a possible volcano crater, on the Island.

On the Hydra Island

Jack awakens in the Hydra.

Jack wakes up in a holding cell. He sees chains across the ceiling. He seems to be on some kind of table. He looks at his arm, which has a band-aid on it: someone apparently took a blood sample. He tries to open some kind of hatch/door but it is locked. Some kind of electronic device used to "communicate" is on the wall, but it does not seem to work. Jack sees another door on the opposite side of the room, but when he walks toward it he collides with a glass wall blocking his way. Water is dripping from the ceiling. Jack tries to break the glass, unsuccessfully. He shouts for Kate, but hears no reply.

Sawyer presses the button, ignoring Karl's advice.

Kate wakes up in a bathroom with Tom standing over her. He indicates a clean towel, a new bottle of shampoo, and an unwrapped bar of soap, and tells her to take "a nice hot shower." She refuses to shower in his presence, but Tom laughs and tells her she's not his type; he then leaves. Kate sees that she too has a band-aid on her arm; someone also took a blood sample from her.

Sawyer awakes in an outdoor cell resembling a zoo cage. He looks around and sees speakers and a big tube with an unknown DHARMA logo on it. Also, he notices other nearby structures, including a cage similar to his, with a man inside it. Sawyer tries to get answers from him, but the man does not respond. Sawyer looks around his cage some more and sees a strange contraption/button inside that has a large "button" with a knife and fork painted on it. Assuming the contraption provides food, he tries to figure it out, and pushes the button. A "Warning" sound goes off. Sawyer pushes the button again, the same sound goes off. As he is about to push the button for a third time, the other prisoner in the cell opposite his warns him not to. Sawyer pushes the button anyway, and receives a painful electric shock.

Juliet introduces herself to Jack.

In his cell, Jack notices a security camera. He begins struggling with some chains hanging from the ceiling, but then Juliet walks into the room, on the other side of the glass, telling him to stop. She knows his name, and she introduces herself as Juliet. Jack continues to tug on the chains. He becomes angry as he wants to know where his friends are. She says she will tell him, as soon as he lets go of the chains, but he does not believe her and continues working with the chains.

Ben explains his manners to Kate, during their breakfast.

Kate takes a shower. When she emerges, she finds that someone has taken her clothes and left her a dress instead. She puts it on, reluctantly. Tom and three Others bring her to a beach, where "Henry" is waiting at a covered table with chairs, freshly cooked food, utensils, and coffee, with a pair of handcuffs on the side. He compels her to handcuff herself. She asks "what did you do with Sawyer and Jack?" But "Henry" notices that she started the question with Sawyer and not Jack. Kate asks for her clothes, "Henry" tells her they burned them. When she asks why he's doing all this, "Henry" responds that he gave her a dress to make her feel "like a lady," fresh food to make her feel at home, allowed her a view of the beach because her friends are seeing the same beach, and utensils to make her feel civilized. He tells Kate that he gave all those things to her so she'll have something to hold on to, because "the next two weeks will be very unpleasant."

Juliet brings Jack grilled cheese on a plate.

Back at Jack's cell, water is still dripping down, and Jack tries to drink it, but it is not drinkable. Static is then heard coming from the "communication" panel on the wall, then whispers, followed by the voice of Jack's father, saying "let it go." Light suddenly is switched on, and Juliet has food for him, with a water bottle with the Unidentified "Line" Logo on it. Juliet tells Jack that she wants to give him the food, but he must move away from the door. Jack refuses and tells her to tell the man on the intercom to stop trying to communicate, but Juliet tells him that the intercom has not worked in years. Jack notices a yellow button behind Juliet and asks what it is for, to which Juliet replies "for emergencies." When Juliet asks what Jack does in "real life," he lies; he also lies about his marriage. But when Juliet asks him where his plane came from, Jack tells the truth: Sydney. He also tells her the truth about why he was on the plane. Juliet says to him that he can trust her, but Jack still won't budge so Juliet leaves, eating the sandwich on her way out.

Karl apologizes to Sawyer for involving him in his attempt to escape.

In Sawyer's cage, he attempts to puzzle out how the food dispenser works. The other prisoner starts to ask him some questions about the location of the survivors' camp, how long it would take to go there, and the people from the plane. Then he picks his lock, causing an alarm to go off, barking "Subject escape." The man picks Sawyer's lock and tells him to run the opposite way. He does, but Juliet finds him and Tasers him in the neck with the same darts used in "Live Together, Die Alone". Sawyer is returned to his cell, and the other prisoner, Karl, badly beaten, is forced to apologize for asking him to help with his escape.

Ben calmly discusses Jack's options, who's holding Juliet captive.

Back in Jack's cell again, Juliet convinces him that he needs to eat and drink, as the drugs they gave him have side effects, including dehydration. Jack asks if she is a doctor, and her reaction seems to confirm this. Jack finally agrees to the food, but when Juliet enters with the tray, he attacks her. He removes her Taser and drags her out into the hallway. "Henry" appears, and Jack threatens to kill Juliet if she doesn't open the door. "Henry" says he might as well kill her, because if the door opens, all of them will die anyway. Jack shoves her away, and quickly tries to open the hatch door. "Henry" runs out of another door, closing it on Juliet, now trapped with Jack. Jack opens the first door, which pours water into the hallway. He and Juliet manage to close the door and Juliet tells Jack to push the yellow button, but when Jack turns, Juliet knocks him out.

Sawyer isn't happy with his fish biscuit.

After some experimentation, and with the help of a large rock Sawyer found outside the cell, he soon figures out the mechanism that delivers food and water. The water streams out a pipe into a trough, kibble falls on the ground, as does a large fish biscuit with the word DHARMA on it -- it's obviously animal food. As Sawyer drinks the water, Tom puts Kate into the cell that Karl had occupied. He takes off her cuffs. She also has visible cuts from the handcuffs and Tom remarks "cut you up pretty bad, didn't they." Tom, noticing that Sawyer was able to obtain food, first congratulates him, and then mocks him by telling him that the bears figured it out in two hours.

Kate chews on Sawyer's biscuit.

Kate is now in the cell across from Sawyer's, and he tries to make her feel better by joking around. She seems distraught, so Sawyer asks if she wants something to eat. Kate says yes, so Sawyer throws her the fish biscuit, which she eats pitifully.

Juliet and Ben exchange cold thoughts.

Jack is back in the cell, which he concludes was an aquarium for dolphins and sharks: they are underwater. It is one of the DHARMA's stations and is called the Hydra. Jack says that the Others are "just what's left of them," to which Juliet replies "that was a long time ago. It doesn't matter who we were." She reveals she knows much about Jack. She produces a stack of documents several inches thick, and reveals that she has a copy of his father's autopsy report, his divorce records, information on his friends and family, etc. "This, Jack, is your life" says Juliet. Jack wants to know something, and Juliet asks him what it is. Instead of asking who Sarah left him for, Jack only wants to know if his ex-wife is happy, and Juliet says she is. Jack agrees to Juliet bringing him food and letting her alone, so Juliet steps into the hallway, where "Henry" is standing, waiting. He tells her she has done a good job, and she replies, "Thank you, Ben," revealing "Henry"'s real name.



  • The nurse that speaks to Jack was the same one who checked up on Locke in "Deus Ex Machina".
  • In the official podcast, Damon Lindelof explained that the "two cities" refer to the two "societies" of the Others and the survivors.
  • Kate's cage is taller than Sawyer's cage, and has platforms at different levels. There appear to be no mechanisms as in Sawyer's cage.
  • When Karl tells Sawyer to run, Sawyer runs past what looks like a bird cage.
  • Kate and Jack were shown with a needle wound in their arms covered by a bandage, but Sawyer was never shown to have a similar wound (however a promo picture did show Sawyer with his sleeves rolled up to reveal a bandage).
  • This is the highest rated episode of Lost's season 3 on ABC with a total of 18.82 million viewers.

Production notes

  • Elizabeth Mitchell joins the cast as a regular in this episode as Juliet. The yet-to-be-introduced Kiele Sanchez and Rodrigo Santoro also join the cast as regulars in this episode as Nikki and Paulo, though neither appear in this episode. Additionally, season 2 guest stars Michael Emerson and Henry Ian Cusick are promoted to the regular cast, though the latter actor does not appear.
  • Charlie, Claire, Desmond, Eko, Hurley, Jin, Locke, Nikki, Paulo, Sayid, and Sun do not appear.
  • Following this episode, Jack and Kate are the only regulars to appear in every season premiere of the series.
  • This is the only season premier of the series to not feature Hurley, Sun, Sayid and Locke.
    • This episode holds the second place for featuring the fewest regular cast members to date, five -- Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Ben and Juliet. The remainder of the regular cast does not appear and aren't mentioned (though Sawyer makes an indirect mention of Sayid as "our Iraqi"). This would later happen again, with the same characters, in "Not in Portland" and "Stranger in a Strange Land". This episode falls back only to "Dead Is Dead", to date.
  • This episode is the one and only time that co-creator J.J. Abrams has returned to work on the show since "Pilot, Part 2".
  • During the "Previously on Lost..." recap before this episode, we see the scene at the Pala Ferry pier from "Live Together, Die Alone" where "Henry" says "Your friends are coming home with us," in response to Hurley's question. However, rather than using that actual dialog, you can see that Henry's line has been dubbed over, and he now simply says "You're coming with us". This was, perhaps, done to delay the surprise of the Others' homes in the first scene, or at least to keep the idea of such a connection from being made before the surprise is revealed.
  • A deleted scene from this episode involved an extended conversation between Juliet and Amelia before the book club meeting, which was later released as a mobisode titled "The Envelope".
  • Another deleted scene from the episode involves Jack saving a girl that is suffocating on the playground at Sarah's school. After saving the girl, she eerily tells Jack not to trust "her."
    • The girl was also seen in the Hydra in promotion stills for the episode.
  • Another deleted scene had Kate resorting to desperate measures to get out of her handcuffs, injuring her wrists in the process. The resulting scars are clearly visible in several subsequent scenes and episodes.
  • Thus far, "A Tale of Two Cities" is the only episode of Lost to feature a horn part in its musical score.
  • An audio commentary with Damon Lindelof and Elizabeth Mitchell for this episode is available on the Season 3 DVD.

Bloopers and continuity errors

  • When Tom pushes the latch down on Sawyer's cage, he doesn't actually close the shackle on the lock.
  • The crossword puzzle is the Monday, July 31, 2006, Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle, authored by George Shayler.
  • Juliet says Jack attended Columbia University, but on his wall in his office is a degree from the University of California. See here The degree also has his name misspelled as "Shepard."
  • In the shot of the Mid-air break-up, the left wing separates when in "Pilot, Part 1" the entire wing is lying on the beach.
  • In the shot of the Mid-air break-up, the right engine explodes and separates from the wing when in "Pilot, Part 1" the engine is lying on the beach.
  • The aircraft shown crashing is a Boeing 767 rather than a Boeing 777. The plane is also shown with a completely different livery than in the pilot.

Recurring themes

Recurring themes in Lost
Black and whiteCar accidentsCharacter connectionsDeceptions and consDreamsEyesFate versus free willGood and bad peopleImprisonmentIsolationLife and deathMissing body partsNicknamesThe NumbersParent issuesPregnanciesRainRebirthRedemptionRelationshipsRevengeSacrificeSecretsTime

Cultural references

Cultural references in Lost
(direct references only)
ArtBooksCarsGamesMovies and TVMusicPhilosophyReligion and ideologiesScience

See also

Literary techniques

Literary techniques in Lost
ComparativeIronyJuxtapositionForeshadowing PlottingCliffhangerPlot twist Stock Characters:  ArchetypeRedshirtUnseen character
Story:  FlashbacksFlash-forwardsFlash-sidewaysRegularly spoken phrasesSymbolismUnreliable narrator 
  • The Revealing of the character for Juliet closely resembles the revealing for the character Desmond in the previous season premiere "Man of Science, Man of Faith". (Juxtaposition)
  • Juliet listens to "Downtown", a song describing city life, while living on a tropical island isolated from the rest of the world. Furthermore, the song's primary theme is escaping one's troubles, something which Juliet was never able to accomplish on the Island. (Irony)
  • The scene where Jack nearly drowns ironically foreshadows Charlie's death scene at the end of the season. "Through the Looking Glass". (Foreshadowing)
  • Tom saying "You're not my type" to Kate before she takes a shower foreshadows Tom's homosexuality as revealed in the fourth season. "Meet Kevin Johnson". (Foreshadowing)

External links

  • Press Release
  • Promotional Photography
  • Wizard Entertainment 'TV QB' - Lost: Season 3, Episode 1: “A Tale of Two Cities”

This article uses material from the "A Tale of Two Cities" article on the Lostpedia wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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