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.
SYNOPSIS: On his sojourn, Sayid finds a cable in the sand. But it leads him to a trap, and when he regains consciousness, he’s tied to a bed frame in a hut, which somehow has power. A woman electrocutes him, demanding to know where someone named Alex is. Sayid realizes that this is the French woman from the distress call. When he finally convinces her that he is innocent and not one of “the Others,” she tells him that her name is Danielle Rousseau and she came when her scientific expedition was shipwrecked on the Island. But her colleagues, including her lover Robert, were infected by a “sickness,” and she had to kill them. When Sayid tries to escape, but Danielle corners him with a gun. She tells him that she can’t let him leave because then she’d be alone again. He persuades her to let him go and invites her back to the camp, but she leaves. Elsewhere, Hurley sets up a golf tournament to ease the survivors’ tensions, and Walt asks Locke to teach him knife-throwing. In the flashback, Sayid is forced to interrogate his childhood friend Nadia, but they become close, and Sayid facilitates her escape.
THOUGHTS: The first time I saw this, I was surprised enough by the cable in the sand—but then even more surprised that Sayid meets another person on the island so soon. On any other show, this development would have been drawn out over the course of an episode or even multiple episodes, not just revealed in the first act. But that’s Lost—always advancing the plot by leaps and bounds. The tables are turned when former torturer Sayid becomes the tortured, but just like how Nadia connects with Sayid, he too bonds with Rousseau. She’s pitiable in that she’s desperately lonely but too maladjusted to even consider joining the survivors’ camp. As for the flashback, every time I watch it, I am always awed by the simplicity and eloquence of the dialogue between Sayid and Nadia. All of that praise for this episode said, I’m ambivalent about the whole “sickness” thread, since it’s not really fleshed out fully by the rest of the series, but that’s only a minor quibble.
“Raised by Another”
SYNOPSIS: Claire wakes up from a nightmare screaming. Jack passes it off as a one-time event, but the next night, Claire claims to have been attacked. Not seeing any signs of trauma, Jack wonders if Claire is having delusions. He offers her some mild sedatives, but she is outraged that he doesn’t believe her, and she leaves the caves. Charlie tries to reason with her en route to the beach, but then she starts having contractions again. She tells Charlie to get Jack, and Charlie tells a guy named Ethan. Meanwhile, Sayid returns and says that there are others on the island, and Hurley—having conducted a census of the survivors—realizes that Ethan was never on the plane. Ethan confronts Claire with a creepy smile. In the flashback, Claire is ditched by her boyfriend soon after she gets pregnant, and she decides to give the child up for adoption. A psychic tells her that she must raise the child herself or else the child will cause unspeakable evil. She refuses, and he gets her onto Oceanic 815 under the pretense of meeting adoptive parents, presumably knowing all along that the plane would crash and Claire would be stuck with her child.
THOUGHTS: What a creepy episode this was. Creepy dreams, creepy nights, creepy psychic, creepy Ethan. The dream was appropriately surreal, with a lot of nice touches, like the baby mobile made out of models of the Oceanic plane and Locke’s one white eye and one black eye—the latter speaking again to the light/dark motif that would play so heavily into Locke’s fate. I thought Emilie de Ravin did a good job in her character’s flashback, in which her performance could have devolved into histrionics, but de Ravin plays it realistically and not overly melodramatically. But the real MVP of this episode is William Mapother, who was able to switch from affable Ethan to psycho-killer Ethan so readily. And I especially like how his full name, Ethan Rom, is an anagram of “other man.”
“All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues”
SYNOPSIS: Jack and Locke rush out to find Charlie and Claire, but before long, John doubles back to assemble a search party. Kate and Boone join him, and they come across a disoriented Jack. They find one of Charlie’s decorated bandage strips and assume they’re going the right way, but then Kate wonders if it’s a dummy trail. She and Jack go one direction, and Boone and Locke go another. When it starts raining, Jack slips and falls into a gully, where Ethan attacks him, with the warning that he’ll kill one of his hostages if Jack and Kate continue following him. But they do so anyway, and soon Jack and Kate come across Charlie’s body hanging from a tree. When Jack is finally able to resuscitate him, he says that he doesn’t remember anything beyond the fact that they only wanted Claire. Meanwhile, Locke and Boone happen upon something steel in the jungle, and they make haste to uncover it. In the flashback, Jack witnesses his father Christian operating on a woman under the influence of alcohol. The woman dies and her husband threatens to sue. Jack reluctantly agrees not to tattle on his dad but does anyway when he finds out the patient was pregnant.
THOUGHTS: This was a unique episode in a couple ways. First, it’s the second Jack-centric episode of the season, and some of the characters haven’t even gotten their own flashbacks yet. Despite the show being an ensemble drama, Jack is clearly set up as one of the lead characters, if not the main character. Also, this episode doesn’t have any secondary storylines. Sure, the search party splits and goes different ways, but they’re all on the same mission. We only get a few moments with the other survivors, like Sayid, Sawyer, Michael, Walt, and Hurley. The most potent scene of this episode was when Jack was trying to save Charlie. When this episode first aired, the whole viewing audience and I were pretty much convinced that Charlie was a goner. I’m accustomed to drawn-out CPR scenes, but I was sure he was dead when they cut to a long shot. That made me think “end of scene,” but no! He lives! Crafty filmmaking.
“Whatever the Case May Be”
SYNOPSIS: Kate and Sawyer find a pond and two corpses from the crash underwater, still buckled into their seats. They also find a Halliburton case underneath the seats,which Kate recognizes. Sawyer thinks it has special meaning to Kate, so he takes it. After Kate tries repeatedly to get it back, and when he gives up trying to bust it open, he offers it to her as long as she tells him why it’s so important, but she refuses. She goes to Jack and warns him that there are guns inside but that they have to exhume the marshal’s body to get the case’s key. Jack bargains with Sawyer and gets the case and then helps Kate unearth the key. They open the case, finding the guns and, oddly, a toy plane. Jack demands to know what it is, and Kate confesses that it belonged to the man that she loved/killed. Elsewhere, the tides rapidly come in, submerging the fuselage and forcing the survivors on the beach to find a new camp. Rose helps Charlie ask for spiritual guidance, Locke and Boone continue unearthing the steel plate, and Sayid has Shannon translate Rousseau’s notes. In the flashback, Kate helps stage a bank robbery but then turns on her fellow robbers, interested only in the safe deposit box with the toy plane inside.
THOUGHTS: And here’s Kate’s second episode! Kate is vying with Jack for the “main character” title. I know some people regard this as the season’s worst episode, but I still really enjoyed it. I didn’t think the reveal of the toy plane as the MacGuffin was anticlimactic. In fact, I thought it was intriguingly bizarre—why would Kate go to such pains just to rescue such a small tchotchke? (We’ll find out much later.) I also enjoyed all of this episode’s power plays between Jack, Kate, and Sawyer. Even Sun gets into the fun, eavesdropping on Jack and Kate’s private conversation under the guise of not knowing English. And Kate establishes herself as the epitome of badassery, especially in the flashback, when she shoots her three accomplices in rapid-fire. (There’s a reason she’s dressed in black most of the episode.) The writers are toying with us by leaving the crime for which Kate was arrested ambiguous. Was it the bank robbery? Was it the murder of the toy-plane man? Another crime entirely? (We won’t know for sure until next season.) Plus, I loved the last image. Shannon sings “La Mer” before Michael Giacchino’s soundtrack takes over the melody; Kate looks at the toy plane, and we see it silhouetted against the campfire. Très symbolique. (One snide remark: it seems like every single episode features someone startled by something rustling in the jungle! It gets a bit repetitive, but it’s one of the only Lost tropes I can think of.)