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Elizabeth Mitchell on Juliet and Sawyer and the New Season of Lost

When she joined the cast of Lost in season three, Elizabeth Mitchell’s calculating doctor, Juliet Burke, was not obviously a friend or an enemy to the survivors of Oceanic 815, and she unsettled viewers with her oddly calm demeanor and dubious motives. Since then it’s become clear that she was just as much a prisoner as anyone on the island, and fans gave her the nickname “Jacket” for her brief romantic interlude with Matthew Fox’s Jack Shepard. We spoke with Mitchell about the new season and hear her theory on why the Others brought Juliet to the island.

What’s going to happen this season?
There’s a tremendous amount of danger, for me and all of the people left on the island. It is a continual struggle, and it makes for some kind of bizarre and possibly intriguing alliances. I would never have put Juliet and Sawyer in the same room together, but I think it’s very exciting and fun that they are [now] because she always seemed to be fairly impervious to his charm and he seemed to be impervious to her machinations. That should bring some lovely sarcasm.

Will Juliet fare well?
Juliet has always been fairly mercenary in her desire to survive. She sits back and kind of tries to figure out how to use things to her advantage, but in this situation there’s really no sitting back to be done. So she’s just dealing with more immediate and present danger.

Juliet’s hardly innocent, but is she the show’s most sympathetic character?
I think yes. But, of course, Michael Emerson would say the same thing about Ben.

Did the writers name her after Shakespeare’s tragic heroine?
I’m certain it’s not random because they’re never random. It does seem to me that she’s pretty much destined for tragedy, whichever way she goes, no matter how hard she tries to fight against it. She does seem to be someone who gets a bit caught up with men, as far as love goes.

As we saw in season three, Juliet’s favorite book is Carrie by Stephen King. What do you make of that?
I think it’s wonderful because you’re thinking teenage girl, rampant emotion, sex, lust, you’re thinking all of those things. You think of her as being an intellectual because she is so smart. So what you’re saying with that book is she’s an intellectual wrapped in the shell of a teenage girl.

Juliet literally drank the Kool-Aid before arriving on the island, but did she ever really fit in with Ben and his people?
There are things that she knows that we never hear her discuss again. So, obviously there were agendas that she was participating in.

Does Juliet really love Jack?
I thought she felt very passionately about him. The way that she acted around him was very much like a woman who had fallen for someone, so it would be an interesting choice if she didn’t love Jack. But at the same time, it’s always tied up in her endgame, which of course is to get off the island.

How did you feel when you found out that Jack and Kate end up together?
I’ve always really liked Kate and Sawyer together, so I thought that was kind of a bummer. It’s hard to say how ego-wise I felt about it or how I felt about them together. Obviously, I’m sure that Juliet wouldn’t have thought it was that great.

What’s your theory about why the Others were interested in Juliet’s work?
I’ve always thought that the Others, because of Richard, don’t age. They are timeless, but they cannot procreate. I think the fact that Juliet is a genius in her field for the most part means she would probably be one of the only people who could figure out why that is and how to fix it.

Photo: Courtesy of ABC