I’m on a quest to re-watch every episode of Lost, one per day. As I polish off each DVD, I’ll post my thoughts on the episodes contained therein.
“Pilot, Part 1”
SYNOPSIS: In the aftermath of the horrific crash of Oceanic 815, the survivors recuperate while wondering both about the possibility of rescue and about the ruckus in the jungle. Jack, Kate, and Charlie set out to find the cockpit. They find the pilot, miraculously alive, who tells them that they were a thousand miles off-course at the time of the crash. The monster comes back and kills the pilot, while the three other survivors escape with their lives.
THOUGHTS: A hell of a way to start a series. In the beginning, everything was so simple: it was just a survival show. Who at the time could have conceived the scope of the drama, mystery, and emotion to come? J.J. Abram directs with tautness and precision, balancing action with introspection neatly, and only revealing as much—in the story and in each frame—as necessary. It’s fun to think of all the ways the show will have changed by the end, but for now, I’m enjoying going along for the ride again and recalling my reactions when I saw this the first time.
“Pilot, Part 2”
SYNOPSIS: Sayid and Kate lead an expedition to find better reception for the plane’s transceiver. Meanwhile, we learn that Charlie’s a junkie and that Kate’s a fugitive. The latter fact seems likely to be exposed when the U.S. Marshal regains consciousness as Jack tends to him. Also, Jin domineers Sun, Boone and Shannon bicker, Locke acts mysteriously, Michael tries to connect with Walt, and Claire rallies when her baby starts to kick again. After finding higher ground (and fending off a polar bear), the expedition realizes that another distress signal has been broadcast from the island on a loop for the past sixteen years.
THOUGHTS: Things are gettin’ freaky! Two more mysteries are introduced in this episode: the polar bear and the distress signal. Also, our understanding of two of the main characters, Charlie and Kate, is deepened as we delve into their dark pasts a little. And we get to know the rest of the characters a bit better. While perhaps less action-packed than the first half of the pilot, the second did have its fair share of pulse-pounding crash flashbacks. My favorite part of the episode, however, was when Locke taught Walt about backgammon, and held up two pieces—”one light, one dark”—introducing the white/black motif that would play so heavily in the final season (and in Locke’s future, as well).
SYNOPSIS: The U.S. Marshal takes a turn for the worse when his wound becomes infected. He clues Jack into the fact that Kate is a fugitive. The expedition returns, having decided to lie about finding the distress signal and about the realization that the plane was a thousand miles off-course. When Kate suggests they end the marshal’s suffering, Jack tells her that he knows about her past. As it turns out, Sawyer tries killing the marshal but botches the job, so Jack has to finish him off. Kate tells Jack that she wants to tell him what she did, but Jack says that he doesn’t want to know because their pasts don’t matter now. Elsewhere, Locke finds Walt’s dog Vincent, and Charlie flirts with Claire. In the flashback, Kate befriends a farmer in Australia while on the run and stays with him for a while, but he turns her in in exchange for $23,000 because he needs to pay off his mortgage. Kate tries to escape through a car crash, but when she stops to save the injured farmer, the marshal catches up to her.
THOUGHTS: Here’s the first post-pilot episode, and the one that defines the format of the show henceforth. Whereas this is typically the time when other shows would ease back, Lost matches the quality and production values of the pilot episode. So far, each episode has flowed into the next very organically—plot points set up in one episode lead to conflict in the next. One aspect of the format that I’ve noticed is that this episode and the last both ended with close-ups of the next character to be featured with flashback stories. Just coincidence, or was this a creative decision that was then abandoned? This episode ended with a very intense shot of Locke with ominous music, and I’m curious to know why. Guess I’ll have to find the script.
SYNOPSIS: When a pack of boars rampage through the survivors’ camp, Locke suggests hunting them for their meat. He, Kate, and Michael go on an expedition to do just that. Michael is nearly gored by one of the boars, and Locke continues on solo. But then the monster confronts Locke, and Locke stares it down with a mixture of fright and wonder. He eventually brings back the dead boar but lies about having seen the Monster. Meanwhile, Sayid improvises an antenna to try to find the distress signal and its power source, Shannon exploits Charlie to prove herself to Boone, Jack comforts Rose even though she’s certain her husband Bernard is alive, Jack starts having visions of his father, and Claire organizes a memorial service to honor the dead as the survivors burn the fuselage. In the flashback, we see Locke in a dead-end job with a ridiculing boss and an unrequited relationship with a phone-sex operator. When he tries to go on an “authentic Aboriginal walkabout,” we realize that he was wheelchair-bound before the crash.
THOUGHTS: Easily one of the best and most-appreciated episodes of Lost and all because of the twist at the ending—the way it was played out and the ramifications it has for the character of Locke and, for that matter, the character of the Island. Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible accompanying score by Michael Giacchino (available on the Season 1 soundtrack as the track “Locke’d Out Again”). Also, I appreciate the interconnectedness of the various storylines of the episode. The boards rummaging through the fuselage sets off the memorial storyline and the hunting storyline—which then indirectly prompts the fishing plot, too. Another mystery is set up in this episode: why is Jack seeing this man in a suit?