Thursday, 5 May 2016

The Lost Reviews: Part 6 - Season 2, Episodes 1-4

Welcome to the Lost rewatch project. I am currently rewatching all 121 episodes of the TV series which aired for six seasons from 2004 to 2010. This is very much a rewatch thread, with the show watched with knowledge of what is to come in later seasons. If you've never watched Lost before, you definitely do not want to read this blog series.

Without further ado, let us continue after the jump.

Desmond's reaction to yet another Jack flashback episode.

201: Man of Science, Man of Faith
Written by Damon Lindelof, directed by Jack Bender

Airdate: 21 September 2005

Survivor Count: 44 (following Dr. Arzt's death in the previous episode)

Days on Island: 44 (4 November 2004)

Flashback Character: Jack

Flashbacks: Two patients, a young woman and an older man, are brought into Jack's hospital after being in a horrific car choice. Jack has a split second to decide which to work on and chooses the young woman, Sarah. The older man, Mr. Rutherford, dies. Sarah has extensive spinal injuries and Jack is certain she will never walk again. Sarah's fiance, Kevin, seems horrified at the idea that he might have to provide lifelong, intensive care for Sarah. Jack tries to be open and honest about her chances, but his father, Christian, advises that he try to give her more hope. He performs an operation which is extremely unlikely to succeed but may just restore mobility to her legs. Late at night, Jack goes out running in a local stadium and bumps into a Scottish man named Desmond, who is about to embark on a round-the-world solo sailing race. Desmond encourages him to believe in hope. Jack returns to the hospital and discovers that Sarah is starting to regain feeling in her legs again. Jack bursts into tears at the miraculous recovery.

On the Island: A man wakes up in a pleasantly-furbished apartment. He does some exercises, puts on some breakfast and listens to some music. An Apple II computer starts beeping in an adjacent room. The man taps a series of numbers into the computer: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42. The beeping stops and a timer starts counting again from 108 minutes (the sum of the Numbers). Suddenly, the room shakes from a violent explosion. The man uses a telescope-and-mirror system to peer up a shaft at the end of a passageway. He sees Jack, Locke and Kate peering back down the shaft...

Above the hatch, Locke is all for exploring the revealed shaft immediately, but Jack disagrees. The original plan was to use the hatch as a refuge from the Others but the ladder built into the side of the shaft was damaged in the explosion and doesn't extend all the way down, so everyone will have to be lowered in and out by rope. This will be both dangerous and time-consuming. Jack suggests they regroup at the caves and Locke, reluctantly, agrees. As they prepare to leave, Kate overhears a panic-stricken Hurley reciting the Numbers and sees a warning on the inside of the hatch: QUARANTINE.

At the caves, Shannon loses track of Vincent. She and Sayid go looking for the dog and split up to retrieve him. Shannon suddenly sees Walt appear, dripping wet and talking nonsensically. Walt then vanishes as Sayid appears. Sayid isn't sure what to make of Shannon's story.

Hurley tells Jack about the Numbers and him winning the lottery, but Jack appears sceptical. Back at the caves, they report Arzt's death and learn about Danielle's kidnapping attempt, and that the threat from the Others was an invention. Jack decides to reveal the existence of the hatch to the whole group and that they plan to explore it at dawn. In the meantime he suggests they sit tight and post sentries. However, Locke gets impatient and decides to head into the hatch immediately. Kate reluctantly decides to go with him. Since she is lighter, Locke lowers her down first but is momentarily blinded when someone switches on the light at the bottom of the hatch. By the time he recovers, he finds that someone has grabbed Kate. He prepares his own descent.

Jack decides to go in after Locke and Kate. Descending to the bottom of the shaft, he finds the homely bunker as well as a series of much more utilitarian linking corridors. He finds several octagonal logos, with either the words "DHARMA" or "Swan" on them. On the wall is a mural with the Numbers written on it and the words "I'M SICK." He also finds a doorway that has been bricked and concreted up, and the key around his neck (to the Marsha's gun case) starts moving to towards the door, as if magnetised. Continuing to explore, he finds the computer. Suddenly a man enters holding Locke at gunpoint. Jack thinks he recognises the man from somewhere: it's Desmond, the man he met in Los Angeles years earlier.
Major WTFery: The hatch is revealed as leading to an underground bunker or station of some kind. The nature of this bunker is unknown (but rather rapidly explained further in the next few episodes). There's also the Island's electromagnetic mystery and the sheer, mind-boggling improbability of Desmond and Jack meeting by chance. Finally, there's Walt's bizarre appearance to Shannon.

Hindsight: This is a significant episode for introducing the character of Desmond, who would go on to become one of the most popular characters on the series by the time it ended. It also introduces the Swan Station and its computer, re-highlights the electromagnetic properties of the Island (previously established Season 1 with the incorrect reading for magnetic north), hints that the "chance" meetings between the characters in their flashbacks may be part of a grander design and is also the first episode to reference the DHARMA Initiative (although only in written materials at this stage), making it one of the more mythology-intensive instalments of the series. 

There's also some interesting duology between this episode and the series finale: Desmond and Jack work together to save the Island in The End and Desmond tells Jack to "rise it up", meaning his leg here but in fact Desmond does "rise up" the seal on the source of the Island's energy in the finale, allowing Jack to then re-seal it. 

This episode also marks a shift in the show's use of music. In Season 1, a number of contemporary pop songs were played with the intimation being that Hurley was listening to them on CD thanks to his discman. This stopped when his discman batteries died. Starting in this episode, the show starts using more classic rock and pop from the 1960s and 1970s, apparently played from the vinyl collection in the Swan Station.

In this episode it is confirmed that the Swan Station is half a mile from the caves, which in turn is about one mile from the beach. It is assumed that the Swan Station is between the two, as people stop using the caves in the second season and the Swan has running water, making it an easier watering supply post than the caves. Presumably, after the destruction of the Swan, the survivors return to using the caves for their water again.

The episode takes place over a period of just over 108 minutes, making it (probably) the episode that covers the shortest amount of time in the history of the series.
Review: A striking opening that wrong-foots the audience with the opening sequence, introduces one of the show's most popular characters, answers several questions and then replaces them with fifty new ones. It's an intensive episode that replaces the paradigm of survival from the first season with a new one of there being a mystery that needs to be solved and Jack and Locke butting heads on how to do it. Jack's obsession with "fixing things" and his conviction that everything has a rational explanation is also established. This is less successful as a stand-alone episode, but it does the job of making you want to watch on to find out what's going on almost immediately (****).

Return to Craphole Island.

202: Adrift
Written by Steven Maeda and Leonard Dick, directed by Stephen Williams

Airdate: 28 September 2005

Survivor Count: 44

Days on Island: 44-45 (4-5 November 2004)

Flashback Character: Michael

Flashbacks: Having initially agreed to letting his ex-wife Susan and her new husband have custody of Walt, Michael is disturbed when they ask to let the husband adopt Walt. This will involve Michael loosing all parental rights. Michael initially fights to retain access, but Susan convinces him that her and her new partner will be able to provide for Walt much better than he can and give him a really high quality of life. Michael is distraught but forced to agree that they are correct. He says goodbye to Walt and gives him a present: a toy polar bear.

On the Island: Following the destruction of the raft by the sinister Others and Walt's abduction, Michael and a wounded Sawyer manage to get onto floating pieces of debris from the raft. They initially hear Jin yelling in the distance, but are unable to locate him in the water. A shark circles around them, to their consternation. Sawyer has to extract the bullet from his shoulder with his bare hands and with no medication, to Michael's disbelief. Michael and Sawyer fall into bickering, Michael blaming Sawyer for making him fire the flare to draw the Others in but Sawyer pointing out  that the Others only had a short-range boat and must have been looking for them specifically. Sawyer reminds Michael of Danielle Rousseau's warning that the Others were "coming for the boy" and it must have been Walt they were after all along, not Aaron. With their makeshift raft disintegrating, Michael and Sawyer find one of the pontoons from the destroyed boat. Whilst trying to retrieve it, Sawyer is attacked by the shark, which has a curious octagonal logo on his back. Michael uses the gun Jack gave Sawyer, either wounding the shark or scaring it off. They manage to get on the pontoon, with the current carrying them back to the Island at dawn.

Back at the caves, Claire is bemused to find one of the Virgin Mary statues in Charlie's bag, but not the heroin hidden inside. Charlie reveals a little of his religious background, but says he mainly picked up the statue because it looked nice.

In the hatch, before Jack's return, Locke descends the shaft and finds Kate unconscious in the bunker. Desmond holds them both at gunpoint. Desmond asks Locke if he is "him". Locke's messianic tendencies kick in and he says he is, but is unable to answer the code query that Desmond asks him. Locke and Kate explain that there were in a plane crash some 40-odd days ago and Desmond asks how many of them are ill. He is mystified when they say that no-one is ill. Desmond suggests that Kate tie Locke up, but Locke tells him about Kate's criminal background and that she is more dangerous than a box company manager from Tuscon. Locke ties Kate up instead, but it was a ruse so he could slip Kate a spare knife. Locke locks Kate in a side-room, but Kate quickly escapes from her bonds. She discovers she is in a supply room stuffed full of food, drink and produce, all with a "DHARMA" logo on it. She can't help grabbing a chocolate bar before using the ventilation system to escape.

The Apple II computer starts beeping and Desmond has Locke enter the Numbers. He is reluctant to explain why this is necessary. After Locke completes the process and the counter resets, they hear Jack arriving. Desmond walks out holding Locke at gunpoint, and Jack realises he recognises Desmond from somewhere.

Sawyer and Michael come ashore on a beach. Jin bursts out of the jungle and runs towards them screaming "Others!" Several figures emerge from the jungle behind him...
Major WTFery: The hatch continues to give up more questions than it answers, the most notable at this stage being "Where does all the food come from?", given that it clearly hasn't been there for 20+ years.

The shark has a DHARMA logo on its back, suggesting that DHARMA's influence on the Island was rather wide-ranging.

Hindsight: The - rather cheesy - final shot of the episode was composed in such a manner that the producers didn't have to cast the actors for the tail section survivors just yet, saving them an additional episode's worth of fees.

This episode was originally written as a Sawyer flashback rather than a Michael one, and some scenes were shot featuring Jolene Blalock (who had just completed filming Star Trek: Enterprise) and Kevin Dunn. Kevin Dunn later played the role of Gordy in The Long Con, suggesting some of this storyline was recycled for that episode instead. In that case, it may be the Blalock was originally going to play the recurring role of Cassidy, Sawyer's ex-girlfriend, but was unavailable for the filming of the later episode and was recast. This has never been formally confirmed, however.

The DHARMA shark would be referenced or appear several more times in the show. According to the producers, the shark's nickname is "Ezra James Sharkington".
Review: It's a sign of confidence in the show that the producers were able to include a "jumping the shark" reference and just roll with it. This episode is, like its predecessor, a fast-paced and incident-packed instalment of the show but one with time for reflection in Michael's flashbacks, which explain further his connection to Walt and his need to find him. However, the overly-elaborate mini-flashback to Locke and Kate entering the hatch and being captured feels a little redundant, and the fact that the Swan Station storyline ends pretty much where it did last week is disappointing. The raft story is more interesting, especially Sawyer calling the Island "home" for the first time. (***½)

Well, that explained that then.

203: Orientation
Written by Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Craig Wright, directed by Jack Bender

Airdate: 5 October 2005

Survivor Count: 44

Days on Island: 44-45 (4-5 November 2004)

Flashback Character: Locke

Flashbacks: Locke is attending a counselling group to try to get over the trauma he experienced at the hands of his father. He meets a woman named Helen and they fall in love. However, Locke keeps periodically driving over to his father's house to stake it out. His father becomes angry and tells him to leave. When Locke asks why he betrayed him his father tells him there is no why and he needs to get over it. On their six-month anniversary, Helen gives Locke a key to her house on the condition that he stops being obsessed with his father and commit to a life with her. Locke agrees, but can't stop his visits to his father's house because he is afraid to move on. Helen follows him one night and asks him to take a leap of faith with her. He agrees.

On the Island: A dazed Jin, Michael and Sawyer are dumped into a pit in the ground. They ponder how to escape and resume the search for Walt, but a young woman is then dumped in with them. She is Ana Lucia Cortez. She tells them she was sitting in the tail section of the plane when it broke off and landed in the water. She got ashore and has spent 40-odd days surviving in the wild before being caught by their mutual captors. Sawyer confides their escape plan, since he still has his gun (which only has one bullet left for it). Ana Lucia seizes the gun and gets their captors to pull her out: she is one of them, and only wanted information from the survivors.

At the hatch, a stand-off ensues between Jack and Desmond, with Locke stuck inbetween. Jack realises he recognises Desmond from somewhere but can't work out where. Kate slips out of the ventilation system and is bewildered to find an incredibly well-stocked armoury with a lot of guns in it. She grabs a shotgun and uses it to knock out Desmond with a butt to the head. As he falls, Desmond lets off a shot which damages the computer used to input the code. Desmond panics, saying that if they don't enter the code then everyone on the Island - maybe everyone in the world - will die. Kate rushes off to get Sayid, whose electronics knowledge might be helpful in repairing the computer. Desmond shows Kate out the "front door", a hidden doorway in a cliff-face.

Desmond explains that three years earlier he was on his around-the-world solo race when the boat ran aground on the Island. He met a man named Kelvin who had been living on the Island for several years, manning the station. According to Kelvin, at some point a man or a team would come along to relieve them in pressing the button and they would be able to leave. Kelvin died in an unspecified manner, so Desmond took over pressing the button himself. Jack thinks the story is absolutely preposterous and that nothing will happen if they don't press the button. Desmond, irritated by Jack's scepticism, tells him to watch the orientation film.

Jack and Locke watch the film, in which a man named Dr. Marvin Candle welcomes the viewer to the DHARMA Initiative. Candle explains that the DHARMA Initiative was founded in 1970 by Gerald and Karen DeGroot at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with the aim of creating a place where pure scientific research and experimentation could be carried out. The location of these experiments would be the Island. These experiments would include meteorology, psychology, parapsychology, zoology (with a shot of polar bears), electromagnetism and utopian social engineering (the latter inspired by the work of B.F. Skinner). The expense of building the infrastructure on the Island would be borne by Alvar Hanso, a billionaire Danish businessmen and former munitions magnet interested in science and technology. Six scientific research stations were built on the Island, with the Swan serving as Station Three. The Swan's original purpose was to study the unusual electromagnetic properties emanating from this part of the Island. According to Candle, at some point prior to the making of the film (which is dated to 1980) there was an "Incident" on the Island. As a result of this incident, the Swan Station's purpose was adjusted. Every 108 minutes the code needs to be entered into the computer otherwise there may be another "incident", which would have grave consequences. As the film ends Locke notes, "We're going to have to watch that again."

Desmond fails to repair the computer, instead shorting out the power. He concludes that the computer cannot be fixed and that the countdown is now going to run out. With 30 minutes left, he decides to try to get clear and runs off. After seeing a photo of Desmond with an unknown woman, Jack chases after him, telling him he doesn't believe anything will happen and this is all part of the behavioural experiments the DHARMA Initiative was running. Desmond suddenly recognises Jack from Los Angeles and asks what happened to the woman Jack was treating, Sarah. Jack tells him he married her, but they're now divorced. Desmond won't say where he's going, but wishes Jack well and says he'll see him in "another life."

Sayid and Hurley have arrived at the Swan Station with Kate and Sayid quickly sets about fixing the computer. Hurley is shocked to see the supply room with its food supplies. Sayid gets the computer operational and Lock enters the Numbers. Hurley tells him not to use the Numbers because of his fear of the curse, but when Locke enters a wrong number (32 instead of 42) he clams up. Jack returns and tells Locke the right number. Locke and Jack argue over whether they should continue pressing the button. Locke asks Jack why it's so hard to have faith and Jack asks Locke why it's so easy for him. Locke becomes angry, saying that faith is never easy. Jack hesitates but then enters the Numbers with a second to spare. Locke agrees to set up a shift pattern so they can continue the work begun by Desmond.

Major WTFery: Well, the DHARMA Initiative, its background, the Hanso Foundation, the use of the Numbers, the Incident, Dr. Candle, the background and fate of Desmond and about fifty other things as well. In terms of introducing core concepts of a show's mythology, very few shows have dropped so much information in just one episode before, certainly not this early in the show's lifespan, and unpacking it all will take the show a very large chunk of the rest of its run.

Hindsight: From later episodes and spin-offs, we learn that DHARMA is an acronym, standing for Department of Heuristics And Research on Material Applications. They were active on the Island from the early 1970s until either 1988 or 1992 (the conflicting dates given for the Purge, when the DHARMA Initiative's on-Island activities were shut down by the Others). The DHARMA Initiative located the Island by comparing US government records, which indicated that the Island had been visited by US Navy forces in the 1950s, and the last known course and location of the Black Rock, a slave ship lost in the Pacific Ocean in 1867. Alvar Hanso's great-grandfather, Magnus, had been captain of the Black Rock and Alvar was obsessed with the mystery of the missing ship. This part-inspired him to fund the DHARMA Initiative, especially when it was confirmed that the Island was also the last resting place of the Black Rock. Once the Island's unusual magnetic properties had been better explored and understood, DHARMA built magnetic research stations in the outside world (such as the Lamp Post Station in Los Angeles) so they could locate the Island no matter what.

It appears that by 1973 the DHARMA Initiative had already put a number of installations (such as the Barracks and the Pala Ferry) in place on the Island and begun construction of the science stations. They were aware early on that there were other people on the Island, nicknamed the Hostiles, but in 1974 forged a truce with them. By 1977, the Hydra and Arrow stations had been built and the Swan Station was under construction. The Flame, the Pearl and the Orchid were either already under construction, or built subsequently to the Swan. These stations were all planned at the time the Swan was built (hence its numbering), but due to situations taking place on the Island several additional stations were constructed, namely the Staff, the Looking Glass and the Tempest. In 1977 the Incident took place, which resulted in the near-destruction of the Island in an electromagnetic cataclysm. The Swan was built to periodically vent the build-up of electromagnetic energy. After the Purge the Swan and its caretakers were left alone by the Others; possibly they either didn't believe it was doing anything useful, or weren't sure and decided that there was no harm in leaving it.

Although DHARMA was destroyed on the Island, with this setback eventually seeing the organisation collapse in the exterior world as well, its work continued through the Hanso Foundation, who continued to fund supply drops to the Island to maintain the work at the Swan Station. There appears to be a relationship between the Hanso Foundation and the Widmore Corporation (founded by a former Other exiled from the Island), although the exact nature of this was never clarified in the show itself.

This episode (and a few subsequent ones) ask the question of what will happen if you don't press the button. We discover the answer, fairly violently, in the Season 2 finale.

Ana Lucia was of course established in the Season 1 finale, as a nice bit of foreshadowing laid down by the writers for the appearance of the tail section survivors this season.

This episode marks the very first appearance of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Mr. Eko, although he is unnamed at this point (a stand-in portrayed him briefly in the previous episode). Extras portray Bernard, Cindy and Libby in this episode (shot from behind or briefly), as the actual actors were not hired (or rehired) until the following episode.

This episode also features the first appearance of Sonya Walger as Penny thanks to Desmond's photograph...well, it does now. On the first airing the episode featured a totally different actress, as Penny was not cast until the season finale. The picture in this episode was changed for subsequent reruns and the DVD and Blu-Ray releases.

This is the first of several episodes to explain the origin of the polar bears on the Island: the DHARMA Initiative was experiment with zoological research, including what happens to polar bears when you transplant them to a totally foreign environment. When the DHARMA Initiative collapsed, the polar bears broke free and went to live in the wild on the Island. Both the producers and fans would become increasingly bewildered as viewers would claim that they hadn't explained where the polar bears came from even after this episode and the opening instalments of Season 3 made their point of origin clear.

This episode also marks the first appearance of Francois Chau as Pierre Chang, better known as "that guy in the DHARMA videos". He is known for his various candle-related pseudonyms (Martin Candle, Mark Wickmund and Edgar Halliwax). He intermittently shows up in DHARMA orientation and training videos before becoming a recurring character in Season 5.

Review: There's the distinct feeling of the writers enjoying themselves with this episode. With the existence of the hatch and the DHARMA Initiative having been written into the pilot episode but pulled out for time, this gives the writers the chance to finally start revealing the shape of the show's mythology and backstory, and this backstory is (more or less) developed and followed-through on over the next four years, although unfortunately some of the more important chunks are left for the spin-off project The Lost Experience to expand upon. In terms of the actual episode, the obsession/anger between Jack and Locke continues with the theme and tone that will continue for the rest of the series, whilst Henry Ian Cusick's performance as Desmond is sympathetic even as he's not being as helpful as he could be (a positive fan reception to the character would see him return at the end of the season) and the deception with the raft survivors is entertaining. This makes for a busy episode that rewards later rewatches. (****½)

Gnome Revenge.

204: Everybody Hates Hugo
Written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, directed by Alan Taylor

Airdate: 12 October 2005

Survivor Count: 51 (the count increases by 7 thanks to the confirmation that there are additional survivors from the tail section of Oceanic 815)

Days on Island: 46 (6 November 2004)

Flashback Character: Hurley

Flashbacks: Hurley realises he's just won the lottery and passes out. He wakes up and ponders whether he should claim the money, realising it will change his life and maybe not for the better. However, he becomes irritated at the small-minded pedantry of his boss, Randy, and walks out on the spot. He has a day of fun with his friend Johnny, asking out an attractive girl at the record store and gnome-bombing Randy's front lawn. They go to the gas station where Hurley bought the ticket, with Hurley still not sure if he wants to claim the money, but there is a news team at the station and the customer service helper recognises Hurley as the guy who bought the ticket. Johnny feels betrayed by Hurley not telling him about the money and Hurley realises that things are going to change.

On the Island: Hurley has a dream in which he is stuffing himself senseless in the Swan Station's pantry. Jin suddenly appears, speaking fluent English. Jin asks him how he learned English, but Jin tells Hurley that he is actually speaking Korean. Jin tells Hurley that "everything is going to change" and a man in a chicken costume appears. Both vanish and Hurley wakes up, having nearly missed entering the Numbers into the computer. He enters the code and Kate chides him for nearly missing the window. She says she's written the Numbers on a piece of paper in case he forgets them, but Hurley says there's no chance of that.

Jack and Sayid conduct a thorough exploration of the Swan Station. They discover that the station is drawing its power from a geothermal source, which is presumably inexhaustible, and this includes providing hot water for showers as well as electricity for the lights, heating and the computer. Sayid is most interested by the source of electromagnetic energy, which the entire complex is built around. All of the entrances leading to that source have been blocked up with six-feet-thick concrete, rendering it completely inaccessible. Sayid is concerned about this, as the only previous time he's seen anything like this is after the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl.

Claire finds the bottle of messages for the survivors' families that was put on the raft. She asks Shannon and Sun what they should do, as it means something may have happened to the raft. Rather than cause a panic, they decide to bury the messages.

Hurley is put in charge of rationing the food that's in the Swan Station, but he is unhappy with the job, believing it will cause trouble as the survivors fight over potato chips. He also hates having to be secretive, such as having to evade Charlie's questions at the beach. This gets more irritating when Locke simply tells Charlie everything he wants to know. Hurley enlists Rose's help in inventorying the food but, fearing that the haul will divide the community, he decides to blow up the room with the extra dynamite from the Black Rock. Rose stops him, pointing out how dangerous and rash that is. Hurley eventually decides that there is no point at all trying to ration it: the food would last one guy three months, so trying to ration it for forty people is stupid. Instead, he gets Jack to agree they should use it all up in one celebration and feast on the beach. Everyone tucks in and has a good time, especially Charlie and Claire who finally get to share a tub of peanut butter.

Michael, Jin and Sawyer are released from the pit by their captors, who are all now revealed to be survivors from the tail section of Flight 815. One of the other captors, Libby, tells them that there were 23 survivors in the tail section of the plane. The survivors take them to their hide-out, which appears to be a second DHARMA station, the Arrow. This station is considerably smaller than the Swan and is devoid of any of the comforts of the other station. As well as Ana Lucia, there is a Nigerian man named Mr. Eko; one of the flight attendants from the plane, Cindy; and a middle-aged man. Libby confirms that there used to be 23 survivors, but doesn't elaborate on what happened to the other seventeen.
Major WTFery: The extreme lengths (and expense) that the DHARMA Initiative went to in order to shut off the electromagnetic power source are rather concerning.

This episode features a potential continuity error. In the final montage sequence on the beach we see Jack, Kate, Sayid, Locke, Hurley, Charlie and Rose present. This accounts for everyone who knows about the hatch, where exactly it is and about the need to enter the Numbers and push the button. It seems questionable if, especially this early in the process, the survivors would leave the Swan Station altogether for a party on the beach and risk missing pushing the button, even assuming it is as close as it could be (potentially just half a mile into the jungle).

Amongst the survivors from the tail section is Cindy, the air stewardess speaking to Jack in the opening moments of the pilot. The producers decided to include Cindy amongst the tail sections after positive fan reactions to the character and her prominence in the pilot episode. However, there is a possible continuity error here, as Cindy was last seen pursuing Charlie right down to the very front of the plane when he was trying to dispose of his heroin. It is questionable if she had time to get right to the very back of the plane inbetween trying to apprehend Charlie and the crash sequence starting.

In one of the show's weirder moments, when Hurley is drinking the DHARMA milk we can see a "Missings Persons" advert on the side of the carton, as is commonly done in some parts of the United States. The advert is for Walt. This advert gives Walt's date of birth as 8/24/94 and that he was last seen in the "middle of nowhere". This sequence is weird because it takes place in Hurley's dream sequence (so isn't literally true) but Hurley himself doesn't see the advert: it is solely an Easter egg/shout out from the producers to viewers.

Hindsight: At one point the producers seem to have considered allowing the survivors to find a way of reaching the source of the electromagnetic energy, which would be a reactor-style room (hence the Chernobyl references). This room was designed and it appears on the blast door map of the station (as seen in Lockdown). However, this idea appears to have either been abandoned for budgetary reasons or judged unnecessary for plot ones (the failsafe switch under the floor may have replaced it). The destruction of the Swan Station in the season finale rendered the issue moot. However, the non-canon Lost video game Via Domus does depict the reactor room as a large chamber containing two magnetic coils and its own computer.

When Sun is burying the bottle, you can see her wedding ring fall off. This becomes a plot point in future episodes.

Randy, Hurley's boss at the chicken restaurant, is the same guy who is Locke's boss at the box company. According to the producers, Hurley felt sorry for Randy who was rendered unemployed after the restaurant was obliterated by a meteorite and got him a job at the box company he had just bought.

The second DHARMA station is called the Arrow. Confusingly, the producers would later say that the Arrow did not count as one of the six stations, as it was really only a storage facility. However, later still they would change their minds and say that the Arrow was Station Two.

This episode confirms that air stewardess Cindy survived the plane crash. Cindy became a bit of a fan favourite for a minor character, with fans frequently asking if she had survived the crash. This led the producers to including her amongst the tail section survivors. She would go on to appear - very intermittently - throughout the course of the series and would be one of the very few survivors of Oceanic 815 (and the only crewmember) to ultimately survive the series.

This episode marks the only time that Jin speaks English without any trace of an accent. He spends Seasons 1-4 speaking only Korean, with the occasional word of English he's picked up. By Season 5 he's finally learned English, but speaks with an accent to the end of the series.

This episode establishes that Hurley is a fan of the band The Hold Steady. Writer Edward Kitsis was a childhood friend of the Hold Steady's lead singer. More recently, the Hold Steady recorded the raucous rock version of "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" for the third season of Game of Thrones.
Review: Hurley episodes tend to be good value and this is a solid one, with some good moments of humour. However, Hurley's dilemma on the Island is fairly artificial and it's a bit weird that no-one has asked where all the food comes from, since it's clearly not been stored in the Swan for twenty years. Continuing from the episode before it, there's a lot of backstory and mythology revelations in this episode to chew over. (****)

No comments: