Lost/Tabula Rasa

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Tabula Rasa
Season 1, Episode 3
Airdate October 6, 2004
Production Number 102
Written by Damon Lindelof
Directed by Jack Bender
← 1x02
Pilot (2)
1x04 →
LostSeason One

Tabula Rasa is the third episode of the first season of Lost, and is the third episode overall.

Jack discovers that the injured man he has been trying to save is a U.S. Marshal. "Don't trust her, she's dangerous," the Marshal mutters repeatedly. When Jack asks him who "she" is, the Marshal shows him a picture of Kate, the woman Jack's been spending a lot of time with. On another part of the island, single father Michael questions his son about a conversation he had with another passenger - Locke.

Starring: Naveen Andrews (Sayid), Emilie de Ravin (Claire), Matthew Fox (Jack), Jorge Garcia (Hurley), Maggie Grace (Shannon), Josh Holloway (Sawyer), Malcolm David Kelley (Walt), Daniel Dae Kim (Jin), Yunjin Kim (Sun), Evangeline Lilly (Kate), Dominic Monaghan (Charlie), Terry O'Quinn (Locke), Harold Perrineau, Jr. (Michael), Ian Somerhalder (Boone)

Guest Starring: Fredric Lane (Edward Mars), Nick Tate (Ray Mullen).


Plot Overview

The Island

  • Sayid's transceiver party camps out for the night knowing they can't make it back to the shore by nightfall. Sayid makes the decision that no-one will tell the rest of the survivors about the message from the French woman. Shortly after returning to the shore, Kate tells Jack about the transmission.
  • Jack discovers the mugshot of Kate in the Marshal's coat. Hurley finds it as well. Jack feels it is not his business to know about what Kate did, while Hurley initially disagrees. In time he agrees with Jack, but he does act very nervous around her.
  • Sayid organizes three parties on the island that are to gather water, ration food, and locate electronic equipment.
  • The Marshal awakes from his coma as Kate is leaning over him. He attacks her, grabbing her by the throat, only to shortly pass out again. Kate seems anxious to euthanize him, but Jack replies he is "not a murderer."
  • Michael does not seem thrilled with Walt's association with Locke. While looking for Vincent (Walt's dog), Michael accidentally sees Sun topless as she is cleaning herself up.
  • Locke makes a whistle out of a piece of wood. Later in the episode, he blows the whistle, producing a high pitched sound that coaxes Vincent to run out of the jungle. Locke tells Michael he found Vincent, but thinks it would be better if Michael returns the dog to Walt.
  • The survivors become tense as they must listen to the Marshal, who cries out in pain loudly and frequently. Sawyer tells Kate that she is the only one with a gun, there is only one bullet left, and someone has to "do it."
  • The Marshal suddenly becomes lucid and sternly warns Jack about Kate. He then demands to speak with her. When Kate gets in the tent, he asks Kate what the promise was she wanted to ask of him was. Kate replies that she wanted to make sure Ray got his reward money. "He had a hell of a mortgage," she added. The Marshal realizes he will not survive and asks Kate to kill him. Kate, however, gave Sawyer the gun. He does not score a fatal wound, and the Marshal winds up making loud gurgling noises as lung collapses. Jack kicks everyone out of the tent to work on the Marshal. The Marshal falls silent and Jack exits the tent, not saying a word.
  • Kate personally offers to tell Jack why she was in trouble, but Jack does not want to know.

The Flashback

  • Flashback: Kate

Kate awakes in an elderly man's barn with the owner pointing a shotgun at her. He winds up taking her on as an employee, offering her a fair wage and a roof to sleep under. We learn the farmer's name is Ray Mullen. As Kate attempts to leave one night, Ray stops her and pleads she wait until morning so he can drive Kate to the train station. The next morning, en route to the train station, the Marshal drives up to the farmer's truck. Kate realizes she has been sold out, and Ray apologizes to her, saying he needed the $23,000 reward money. Kate grabs the steering wheel and runs the truck off the road. She pulls Ray's body out of the burning wreckage and drags him to safety. Suddenly, the Marshal appears and captures Kate.



  • What did Kate do to get the Marshal chasing after her?


  • The "secret" Locke told Walt was that a "miracle" happened to him, although we do not yet know what the "miracle" was. (1x02 - Pilot (2))
  • The promise Kate wanted to ask the Marshal was to be sure that Ray (the farmer) got his reward money. (1x02 - Pilot (2))

Arc Advancement


  • Sayid decides the party will not tell the others about the transmission they heard, claiming that if they do, the survivors will lose hope. He eventually tells the survivors that they were unable to get a signal, and if they gather more electronic equipment, he may be able to build a better receiver.


  • Sawyer remains a character that feeds off of conflict. He continues coming up with borderline-derogatory nicknames for other castaways (for example, calling Sayid "Al Jazeera"). However, he did show a bit of humanity when he failed to kill the Marshal and stood outside of the tent angry with himself for amplifying his suffering as opposed to ending it swiftly.
  • Charlie begins to show an interest in Claire.
  • Locke demonstrates woodsman skills when he builds the whistle to try and find Walt's dog. He also shows a sense of altruism by allowing Michael to take credit for finding the dog.
  • The Marshal is killed.



The Show

Behind the Scenes

  • Nielsen Ratings: On its original airing this episode scored 16.6 million viewers for ABC and was the highest rated show for the night among network shows.

Allusions and References

  • Episode Title: Tabula Rasa in Latin is the equivalent of "scraped tablet" or "blank slate." Originally an ideology proposed by philosopher John Locke, it states that a human is born innately neutral, and achieve their identity and interpretation of good and evil, among other concepts, through experience after birth.
  • Al Jazeera: Sawyer refers to Sayid as "Al Jazeera". Al Jazeera is an Arabic television network based in Qatar.

Memorable Moments

  • Jack, after learning Kate had a gun, runs over to the tent where the Marshal is being kept. We see Kate walking away slowly, when suddenly the gun is fired from within the tent. Sawyer emerges from the tent, and a gurgling sound begins to come from the Marshal...


  • Jack: Three days ago, we all died. We should all be able to start over.
  • Marshal: She got to you, too, eh?


  • Overall Grade: C with 1 review
  • Review Breakdown: A+: 0 A: 0 A-: 0 B+: 0 B: 0 B-: 0 C+: 0 C: 1 C-: 0 D: 0 F: 0
  • Kate episodes are tricky. At first glance, she seems like this epic, sweeping character with a huge backstory that we as the audience have to put a concentrated effort into fully deciphering. And yet, by the end of this episode, it seems like we've learned nothing about her. Kate the character feels very forced onto us by the producers, and as such, she really bogs the episode down. C --Wizardryo 03:20, 31 Jul 2005 (PDT)