"Not in Portland" is the seventh episode in Season 3 of Lost, and the fifty-sixth produced hour of the series as a whole. It was the first episode to follow the season's opening "mini-season" and subsequent 13-week broadcasting hiatus. The broadcast of "Not in Portland" was preceded by a new recap episode titled "Lost Survivor Guide". While Jack is in command as the fate of Ben's life rests in his hands, Kate and Sawyer help Alex in return for a boat, and Juliet makes a shocking decision that could endanger her standing with her people. Flashbacks show how Juliet ends up on the Island through a meeting with Richard Alpert in order to care for her sister.
The Miami skyline
Juliet sits on a beach, crying, as the sun sets over the water. Heading inside a bleakly lit corridor, she passes Ethan, who says "hello." Inside a candlelit room, Juliet finds a woman sleeping. Using a zippered kit, she removes a syringe and fills it with a substance marked A4993-E3. The woman awakes, and Juliet discusses treating her, not because she is her doctor, but because she is her sister. She injects Rachel.
Juliet sneaks into the Miami Central University Medical Research Laboratory after hours. She gets a call from Diana, a secretary at Mittelos, regarding Dr. Burke's appointment to see Dr. Alpert the following day. Inside the lab room, Juliet pockets several bottles of the medicine she previously used on her sister and is interrupted by a man and woman entering the room, flirting and caressing each other. Juliet hides, but her cell phone rings, giving her away. The man moves over, and after Juliet makes up a story as to why she is there, he introduces Sherry to Juliet Burke, his ex-wife. He asks Juliet to leave, and smugly asks her to turn the lights off.
The next day at work, Juliet studies genetic data on her computer, but is interrupted by Sherry, who besides being involved with her ex is now a new research assistant. She asks Juliet to report to Dr. Edmund Burke immediately. In his office, Edmund reveals that he is fully aware of what she has been doing and suspects that the patient is her sister. He wants to collaborate as her findings could change the face of medical science, making both of them rich. He points out that the alternative is ethical and even legal scrutiny.
Juliet watching the slide of a womb CT sequence.
Juliet attends her meeting with Richard Alpert from Mittelos Bioscience. He presents a slide show about their facilities in Portland, Oregon, in the hope of recruiting her as a head of department. His pitch of independent funding and research freedom intrigues Juliet, who asks why they are interested in her. Alpert talks about Juliet's research, specifically the fact that she managed to impregnate a male field mouse; he is clearly impressed with her work. He asks her to examine a slide of a womb CT sequence. Juliet assesses that it is a human womb, and judging by the scan, most likely of a barren patient in her 70s. Alpert tells her that the woman is in fact just 26 years old, and that she could find out more if she worked with them. However, Juliet begins to cry, stating that her ex-husband would never let her go and short of his getting hit by a bus, she was bound to him. Apologizing, she leaves, adding that she is no leader.
Rachel's positive pregnancy test.
Back at home, Juliet tells her sister about the interview and her confusion as her experiment is a failure, but is shocked to learn that she has not failed, as Rachel has discovered that she is is pregnant. Rachel has the box and instructions for a Widmore Home Pregnancy Kit on the table. With the resolve that all she must do now is get healthy again, Rachel and Juliet embrace, and talk about confronting Edmund. ♪
Edmund's last moment.
The next day Juliet finds Edmund talking to his mother rudely on his cell phone outside the lab. She tells him that Rachel is pregnant, but refuses to allow collaboration and testing on her own sibling. As Edmund argues, he steps out onto the street and is hit by a bus.
Ethan is introduced to Juliet.
Juliet goes to the morgue to identify Edmund's body and sign paperwork. The doctor leaves her alone and she cries. She is interrupted by Richard Alpert and Ethan Rom. She half recognizes Ethan, and think aloud about her comment to Alpert about Edmund getting hit by a bus. Alpert says he doesn't recall, and that Juliet must still be in shock; she cannot blame herself for that "tragic accident." He knows about her sister's pregnancy because of their "very thorough recruitment process" and asks once more for Juliet to join their research, just for six months. Juliet asks whether she can bring her sister, but Alpert admits it may be difficult for her to get her treatment at such a remote facility, as it is in fact "not quite in Portland."
On Hydra Island
Kate and Sawyer escape the cages area.
In the Hydra surgery room, Jack uses the walkie to tell Kate to leave the island with Sawyer and contact him when she's safe with the story he told her when they first met. Kate and Sawyer attack and knock out Pickett and Jason, and Sawyer smashes Pickett head against the food button. They lock the Others inside the cages and escape. In surgery, Juliet calls Jack's bluff and instructs Ivan to get Danny and recapture Austen and Ford, authorizing them to kill them if necessary. ♪♪ Juliet tells Jack that they can't escape because they are on a separate island. Jack is furious and tells Tom how Juliet had asked him to kill Ben. ("The Cost of Living") Though she denies it, Tom orders Juliet to leave the surgery.
Sawyer and Alex enter her hideout.
While Ivan releases Danny and Jason, Kate and Sawyer make it to the beach and call Jack to ask for help in getting a boat. Danny and the two Others catch up, however, chasing them into the woods and destroying the walkie in the crossfire. ♪ Sawyer runs out of ammo and Kate is about to get shot by Jason when Alex shoots him with her slingshot and motions for Kate and Sawyer to follow her. She brings them to a hole covered by a camouflage hatch while their pursuers run past them.
Ben wakes and overhears Tom confronting Jack about Juliet's betrayal. Ben asks that Juliet be brought to him and Tom gets her.
Kate, Sawyer and Alex leave their hiding place. Alex says there is no tunnel to the main island but that she will take them to a boat if they help her rescue her boyfriend, Karl, who is being held prisoner somewhere on the island.
Ben talking to Jack after he woke up.
Ben congratulates Jack on his ploy and then asks to speak to Juliet alone. Jack and Tom watch from the observation room but cannot hear what Ben and Juliet discuss. Tom says that Ben and Juliet "have history." Juliet comes out, tears in her eyes, and asks Jack to finish the surgery. In return, she will help his friends escape.
Alex brings Sawyer and Kate to another part of the Hydra compound in the jungle. An Other, Aldo, is sitting guard outside, reading Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, and Alex approaches, claiming to have captured Kate and Sawyer. As they argue about "her dad" not wanting her to be there, Sawyer knocks him over and mocks him for falling for the "ol' Wookiee prisoner gag."
Karl in Room 23
Kate threatens to shoot Aldo in the knee (she tells Sawyer later that she wasn't bluffing), so he reveals that Karl is at the end of the hall in Room 23. Kate knocks him out and they break into the room, where Karl is strapped to a chair with an IV in his arm and LED glasses on his face. He is being forced to watch a video with strange flashing images, text, and sounds. Sawyer is momentarily entranced by the video but Kate snaps him out of it. They remove Karl from his chair, and Sawyer carries him out over his shoulder.
Danny and company find Aldo, just as Juliet catches up with them after monitoring Kate and Sawyer's location from the Hydra video feeds. She tells Danny about her new orders to let them leave, but Danny counters that Ben would rather die than let them go.
Danny's dead body, after he was shot by Juliet
Jack continues the surgery. He asks Tom why they didn't take Ben off the island for surgery. Tom starts to say something about when the "sky turned purple ..." but is interrupted when Jack accidentally snags an artery.
The fugitives load Karl onto Alex's small canoe. Sawyer comments on Alex being the "boss' daughter," and she confirms this. Danny arrives and is about to kill Sawyer when Juliet appears and kills him, shooting him several times in the chest. Juliet tells them to leave on the boat, but that Alex must stay behind because that's the only way Ben will let Karl live. Alex agrees, saying goodbye to Karl. Juliet gives Kate her walkie-talkie.
Kate, Sawyer and Karl leave Hydra Island.
The surgery is interrupted by Kate on the walkie-talkie informing Jack that they have a boat and are being let go by Juliet. ♪ Jack makes her tell him the story he told her when they first met. Kate tears up as she recounts how he conquered his fear when one of his early surgery patients was in jeopardy, by counting to five. The story focuses Jack and he is able to stabilize Ben. He makes Kate promise never to come back for him, and Sawyer, Kate, and Karl reluctantly sail away in the canoe as Alex and Juliet watch on. ♪♪
Juliet returns to the station, and meets Jack in the observation room. He asks what will happen now that he has removed the tumor for Ben, and Juliet says he'll go back to his cell until they figure out what to do with him. Jack demands to know what Ben said to make Juliet want to save his life, that after all they have put him through he deserves that. Juliet sadly tells Jack that she has been on the island for three years, two months, and twenty-eight days, and that Ben told her if she co-operated and he lived, he would finally let her go home. Juliet becomes emotional and leaves the room.
- The medicine Juliet tests on her sister is labeled "TEST SAMPLE A4993-E3".
- In Rachel's room, the base of the lamp on the nightstand is an octagon with a yin-yang symbol. It is reminiscent of the DHARMA logo, specifically the Swan.
- When Juliet opens the curtains in Miami, a plane with the Oceanic logo flies by.
- Rachel's pregnancy test is from Widmore.
- On the table next to Rachel's pregnancy kit is a copy of Glass Patterns Quarterly, 1998 Vol. 14, No. 1 Spring-Magazine.
- Juliet says she has been on the island for 3 years, 2 months, and 28 days, which means she arrived September 5th, 2001. This date is within a few months of Desmond's arrival.
- In Edmund Burke's office a sailing trophy can be seen.
- The bus that hits Edmund can be seen a few seconds before it hits him, as he is walking out of the building it is stationary at a bus stop to his left.
- The bus has an ad for Apollo candy bars.
- This is the first time since his introduction that Rodrigo Santoro (Paulo) does not appear.
- In an interview, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse state that there are two Easter eggs in the episode.
- The first was identified as an anagram: Mittelos which translates to "lost time" This was confirmed in the 02/12/07 Podcast.
- The second was not identified, but is likely the backwards speech found in the Room 23 video: "Only fools are enslaved by time and space."
- A Lost: On Location for this episode is available on the Season 3 DVD.
- This is the first episode to feature a full centric episode for an Other. The earlier Jack centric "A Tale of Two Cities" featured a Juliet flashback.
- This is the first episode to feature future main cast member Nestor Carbonell as Richard Alpert.
- This is the first episode that does not feature any scenes on the main island. The only other such episode is "Happily Ever After".
Bloopers and continuity errors
- As Kate and Sawyer leave the cages, Kate locks the cage. However it was shown in the previous episode, "I Do", that Kate broke the lock to get into Sawyer's cage.
- Contrary to the opening shot of Juliet's flashback, there are no sandy beaches across from the section of the Miami skyline shown from Rachel's room. A plane would not be flying that low in that part of downtown Miami.
- In Juliet's flashback, several years before 2006, she carries a handbag from the 2006 J. Crew collection. This bag also appears in "One of Us".
- After Ben's surgery, his audible pulse seems normal, but the monitor shows it is above normal at around 180+ bpm.
- The episode takes significant artistic license in the scenes surrounding Ben's spinal surgery:
- To diagnose a spinal tumor, an MRI or CT scan is needed, not an X-ray. And to even try and use an X-ray, two views are needed, AP and lateral (Jack only saw an AP chest film).
- When Ben was on the operating table, he was "anesthetized" by Jack, who asked him to count back from 20. Ben wasn’t intubated. Without intubation, Jack would not be able to monitor basic respiratory functions, such as CO2 build-up, and would have no method of ensuring prolonged sedation (gaseous agents are used continuously via secure airway). Further, Ben would not be able to breathe, as the muscle relaxants effectively stop the diaphragm from moving. To survive the surgery, he would have needed to be on some sort of positive controlled ventilation.
- The small incision in the "kidney sac" would not have had the effect that Jack claimed.
- The one-hour time limit is fictional. The kidney does have receptors and nervous mechanisms for detecting and controlling blood pressure via negative feedback loops, but making a "nick" in the cortex of the kidney would not initiate any response in blood pressure. This may have been a bluff on Jack's part; no one else at the station would have known any better.
- There was not enough blood loss to affect blood pressure. Humans can lose up to 15% of blood volume (about 750 mL in a 70 kg man) before blood pressure even begins to drip. Normal blood pressure is 120/80. But on the show, Ben's blood pressure drops to 60 systolic, which would be almost fatal.
- Karl is being subjected to some kind of psychological conditioning in room 23. (Psychology)
- Pictures of Alvar Hanso and Gerald DeGroot can be seen.
- A 1921 US coin is seen, with the old US motto "E pluribus unum" (From many, one). In 1956 it was changed to "In God We Trust." This coin is shown in the screen with the superimposed words "Everything Changes."
- When the scene is played backwards, a woman's voice can be heard clearly amongst the flashing images and sounds repeating "only fools are enslaved by time and space."  (Time)
- Many slides show close-ups of dolls, fish and women's eyes. (Eyes)
- There are close-ups of a picnic table and swings, both featured in "The Beginning of the End" during Hurley's flash-forward.
- Among the messages shown, we can read: "We are the causes of our own suffering" and "God loves you as He loved Jacob".
The Season 3 soundtrack includes two cues from this episode. "Teaser Time" contains the first soundtrack statement of the Others' mystery theme. "Here Today, Gone to Maui" combines several themes, including the life and death theme.
|Animals • Black and white • Character connections • Children • Coincidence • Death • Deceptions and cons • Dreams • Economics • Electromagnetism • Eyes • Fate versus free will • Games • Good and bad people • Imprisonment • Isolation • Leadership • Life and death • Literary works • Mirrors • Missing body parts • Nicknames • The Numbers • Pairings • Parapsychology • Parent issues • Pregnancies • Psychology • Rain • Redemption • Relationships • Religion • Revenge • Salvation • Secrets|
- Juliet works in "Research Lab A-4". (The Numbers)
- Karl is being held in Room 23. (The Numbers) (Imprisonment) (Isolation)
- Sawyer and Kate lock Pickett and Jason in one of the cages. (Imprisonment)
- Ben asks Jack for three minutes, since he has only "twenty-seven minutes to live." (Time)
- Aldo is reading the book A Brief History of Time. (Time) (Literary works)
- Dr. Alpert asks Juliet to work for him for six months. (Time)
- Alex and Karl are forcibly separated. (Pairings)
- Alex, Kate and Sawyer use a mock capture to find Karl. (Deceptions and cons)
- Juliet gives the exact length of her stay on the Island: three years, two months, and twenty-eight days. (Time)
- Juliet impulsively says she wishes Edmund to be hit by a bus, and he actually dies that way soon after she says it. (Fate versus free will)
- "Mittelos" is an anagram for "lost time." (Time)
- Pickett is killed by Juliet. (Life and death)
- Edmund Burke is hit and killed by a bus. (Life and death) (Car accidents)
- Juliet's research allows her sister to get pregnant, the 26-year-old woman is pregnant, and Richard mentions that Juliet successfully impregnated a male field mouse. (Pregnancies)
- The main objective of Juliet's research involves promoting pregnancy in adverse conditions and the study of prenatal abnormalities. (Life and death)
- Alex must stay behind, or her father (purportedly Ben) will have Karl killed. (Parent issues)
- Juliet injected Rachel with 4cl of the drug labeled "TEST SAMPLE A4993-E3". (The Numbers)
- Sawyer calls Karl "Cheech", Alex "Sheena", "Lollipop", and "Underdog." (Nicknames)
- Ben’s heart monitor displays the number 108. (The Numbers)
- Alpert admits that the place he wants to bring Juliet is "not quite in Portland". (Deceptions and cons)
- A yin-yang symbol appears in Juliet and Rachel's apartment. (Black and white)
- Karl is forced to watch a brainwashing video in Room 23. (Psychology)
- The Room 23 video features a slide which says "God loves you as he loved Jacob." (Religion)
| Cultural references|
(direct references only)
|Art • Automobiles • Games • History • Literary works • Movies and TV • Music • Philosophy • Religion and ideologies • Science|
- A Brief History of Time: Aldo is reading this book by Stephen Hawking. Published in 1988, it is a landmark volume in popular science writing receiving worldwide acclaim. (Literary works)
- Star Wars: Sawyer tells Aldo that he fell for the "Wookiee Prisoner Gag." It refers to the trick Luke Skywalker and Han Solo used when they pretended Chewbacca was their prisoner in order to enter the prison of the Death Star. (Movies and TV)
- A Clockwork Orange: The Room 23 set up is reminiscent of the Ludovico technique in this film. (Movies and TV)
- Edmund Burke was an Irish statesman, author, orator and political theorist. (Philosophers)
- The Bible (Literary works) (Religion)
- Rachel is treated for fertility problems and shares her name with the Biblical character Rachel who also had fertility problems (Genesis 30:1). Rachel was the favored wife of Jacob. (Religion)
- One of the video clips in Room 23 showed a slide with the words "God loves you just as He loved Jacob." When these frames are on the screen, the background shows a staircase which may refer to to the biblical story of Jacob's Stairway to Heaven. (Religion)
- Yin and yang. A yin-yang symbol appears in Juliet and Rachel's apartment. (Religion)
- One frame in the Room 23 slides shows a black and white Buddha. (Religion)
- A Room 23 video frame has the phrase "Plant a good seed and you will joyfully gather fruit," which is from the Buddhist text Dhammapada. Some of other sayings also appear to resemble Buddhist precepts such as the Four Noble Truths. (Religion)
- Carrie: The Stephen King novel that Juliet and the book club were reading in "A Tale of Two Cities", appears again on Rachel's bedside table. It features a young girl with secret telekinetic powers. (Literary works)
- Sheena, Queen of the Jungle: Sawyer calls Alex Sheena. Sheena is a jungle-dwelling comic book character, able to communicate with the wild animals. She was fiercely proficient in fighting with knives, spears, and bows, and improvised with makeshift weapons. (Movies and TV)
- Underdog: Sawyer refers to Alex as "Underdog," the main character from a children’s cartoon TV show. The cute puppy could transform himself from Shoeshine Boy into a superhero every time someone was in trouble. The series aired from 1964 to 1973. (Movies and TV)
- Cheech & Chong: Karl is called "Cheech" by Sawyer. Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong were a comedy duo who found a wide audience in the 1970s and 1980s for their stand-up routines, which were based upon the era's hippie, free love and especially drug culture movements. (Movies and TV)
|Comparative: Irony • Juxtaposition • Foreshadowing Plotting: Cliffhanger • Plot twist Stock characters: Archetype • Redshirt • Unseen character|
Story: Flashbacks • Flash-forwards • Flash sideways • Framing device • Regularly spoken phrases • Symbolism • Unreliable narrator
- Juliet impulsively says she wishes Edmund to be hit by a bus, and he actually dies that way soon after she says it. (Irony)
- Both Juliet's sister and the 26-year old woman are pregnant. (Juxtaposition)
- Juliet tells Alpert, "Whatever you think I am, I'm not." (Regularly spoken phrases)
- Juliet tells Alpert that she's not a leader. Yet while on the Hydra island she displays her leadership qualities by tracking Kate, Sawyer and Alex in her charge to allow Kate and Sawyer to escape, even making the decision to kill Pickett to ensure their survival. (Juxtaposition) (Irony)
- When Ben awakes, asking to get Juliet, in the following flashback Sherry appears to escort her. (Irony)
|A-Missions • Crimes • Economics • Leadership • O-Missions • Relationships • F-Missions • Rivalries • S-Missions|
- The rivalry between Pickett and Sawyer is resolved by Pickett's death. (Rivalries)
- Juliet is offered a position to lead a group of scientists, but she says she "isn't a leader". (Leadership)
- The A-Mission to escape Hydra Island has been accomplished. (A-Missions)
- Alex is willing to let Sawyer and Kate use her boat if they help her find Karl. (Economics) (Relationships)
- Pickett, Jason and Ivan pursue Kate and Sawyer, but fail to recapture them. (O-Missions)
- Juliet works for her ex-husband. (Relationships)
- Kate repeats the story that Jack told her on the first day of the crash. ("Pilot, Part 1")
- Tom says they can't bring Ben off the island for surgery because the sky turned purple. ("Live Together, Die Alone, Part 2")
- Sawyer indicates that he already knows Karl. ("A Tale of Two Cities")
- Jack reveals Juliet's plan to have him kill Ben on the operating table. ("The Cost of Living")
- Sawyer asks Kate if she didn't believe him when he told her they weren't on their Island. ("I Do")
- Richard Alpert tells Juliet that they are "very thorough in our recruitment process." Jack said he was thorough in his tests on patients, as did Gabriela in her research about Jack's work. ("The Hunting Party")
- Jack tells Juliet she has three minutes to speak with Ben on the operating table. She shortly thereafter kills one of her own people. This parallels the episode when Ms. Klugh tells Michael he has three minutes to talk to Walt, and shortly thereafter Michael kills Ana Lucia and Libby. ("Three Minutes")