Monday, 9 May 2016

The Lost Reviews: Part 7 - Season 2, Episodes 5-8

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.

Jin and Sun's first meeting.

205: ...And Found
Written by Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, directed by Stephen Williams
Airdate: 19 October 2005
Survivor Count: 51
Days on Island: 47 (7 November 2004)
Flashback Characters: Sun and Jin

Flashbacks: Sun is taken to a meeting with a prospective suitor by her mother. Jae Lee unexpectedly turns out to be a charming and kind young man who shares with Sun a mutual irritation with their parents trying to organise their private lives. They meet several times and things seem to be going well, but Jae Lee confesses that he is in love with an American girl he met at Harvard and plans to marry her. He's only been using Sun to keep his parents happy. Sun wishes him well but is upset at the deception.

Jin is living in a small apartment with a friend, who tells him that (according to astrology) he will be led to love by the colour orange. Jin finds the idea ludicrous. Jin goes for a job interview at a prestigious hotel, but the manager ridicules him for being from a fishing village. Despite this, Jin gets the job on the condition that he doesn't let anyone "like him" into the hotel. Despite this Jin enjoys the job for several days, until a poor man comes up and asks to let his son use the bathroom quickly. Jin agrees, but his manager sees this and berates him. Jin, angry, quits on the spot and goes for a walk by the river. He passes a pretty girl in an orange dress and wonders if this is what his friend was talking about. He turns around and walks straight into Sun. This is the first time they meet.

On the Island: Sun realises she has lost her wedding ring and becomes frantic in her attempts to find it. Hurley suggests that Vincent may have eaten it. Locke tells Sun that the best way to find something is to stop looking. That's why he never gets angry any more, since he is no longer "lost" and trying to find something. Sun tells Kate about the bottle she and Claire recovered from the ocean. They dig it up, Kate keen to see if Sawyer was going to send a message to someone. However, they also find Sun's wedding ring, which she dropped when burying the bottle in the first place.

On the far side of the Island, the tail section survivors debate what to do next. Ana Lucia eventually agrees that they should hook up with the fuselage survivors, who seem to have had a lot quieter and more peaceful time of it. Before departing they gather food, with Jin impressing Ana-Lucia and Bernard with his fishing skills. Michael and Libby collect fruit and Michael tries to find out more information about what happened to the them. Libby eventually says that they have had some trouble with "them", meaning the Others, and indicates what direction they come from. Michael runs off, thinking he can find Walt. Jin and Mr. Eko pursue him, but Eko hears and something and drags Jin into the trees. They watch as several dishevelled figures pass by, one of them dragging a teddy bear. Eko confirms they are "the Others". They also find a corpse impaled on a stick, Eko only saying his name is Goodwin. Eventually they catch up with Michael. Eko tells Michael that the Others will not be found if they do not want to be found. Jin convinces Michael that it's better to work together with others. Michael agrees to accompany them back to the beach to get help.

The rest of the group leave the Arrow and head south. Sawyer's gunshot wound has become infected and he urgently needs medical attention.

Major WTFery: The tailies ascribe supernatural abilities to the Others, such as the ability to travel without leaving tracks and sneak up without any warning at all.

A very minor continuity error: Jin's resume has the wrong birthday on it. Jin turns 30 after the crash of Oceanic 815, but this is the age given on his resume, when he'd actually be 25 (or 27 sal in Korean terms). This is an occasional era on the show, when the "current" (on-Island) date or age is used instead of the age from the flashbacks. This is probably because whilst the producers kept very careful tabs on the on-Island dates, the flashback dates are much looser. We know that Jin and Sun married in 2000, so the flashbacks in this episode probably happened in 1999.

Hindsight: Later episodes confirm that the Others live very comfortable lives at the Barracks, and we already know from Ethan that they have ordinary clothes. So why are they traipsing around the jungle barefoot (with the kids)? This episode does suggest they travel barefoot to leave less of a trail, but this seems dangerous, mostly unnecessary and still doesn't explain why they're walking around dirty and dishevelled. The "jungle creep" version of the Others shown this season doesn't really add up with what we later learn about them.

This episode marks the first appearance of Goodwin, albeit as a decomposing corpse, as well as Jae Lee (who would appear in two further Sun and Jin flashback episodes) and Sun's mother.

Review: Jin and Sun's relationship is the emotional core of the show (and far more interesting than the love triangle between Jack, Sawyer and Kate), so it's fun to see how it started. Sun looking for her lost ring sounds like a boring, even desperate storyline but actually winds up being quite funny, with Hurley delivering his famous question, "So are you from the good Korea or the bad Korea?" to an astonished Sun. The stuff in the jungle with the tailies makes for some good moments as well, such as Sawyer's use of nicknames (calling Mr. Eko "Mr. Ed"). Not a busy episode, but a solid one (****)


206: Abandoned
Written by Elizabeth Sarnoff, directed by Adam Davidson
Airdate: 9 November 2005
Survivor Count: 51
Days on Island: 47-48 (7-8 November 2004)
Flashback Character: Shannon

Flashbacks: Shannon is working as a ballet instructor for young children in LA and is working hard to get into a dance school in New York, where her stepbrother Boone is working. Things seem to be going well, but Shannon then receives news that her father has been injured in a car accident. At the hospital she learns that her father is dead. Shannon is horrified to discover that she is not getting any money from her father's will as he left everything to Shannon's stepmother, who now seems disinterested in her. When Shannon tells her about the dance school in New York, her stepmother mocks her lack of commitment and worth ethic, and refuses to help her out financially. Boone tries to help and Shannon hopes she can stay with him in NYC, but Boone has been offered a job in his mother's company and is flying back. He offers Shannon some money, but she angrily rejects him, saying she can survive by herself.
On the Island: The tail section survivors regroup and set out for the beach camp. Michael wants to know what happened to reduce their numbers from twenty-three to just five. Ana Lucia tells him that on the first evening after the crash they lost three survivors to the Others and nine more a fortnight later. She tells them that the Others are smart and are animals.

At the beach camp, Sawyer and Shannon spend the night together but after Sayid leaves to get water, Shannon sees Walt again, dripping wet and speaking incomprehensibly. She screams, bringing Sayid, Charlie and Claire running. Sayid doesn't believe her story, leaving Shannon enraged. Shannon gets some of Walt's clothes and has Vincent smell them, hoping that he will lead her to Walt. Instead, Vincent runs up to the graves where Boone and the other bodies are buried. Sayid joins her and eventually says he believes her story. He agrees to go searching in the jungle for her for any sign of Walt.

Charlie is bemused that Claire ran towards Shannon's screams with the baby in her arms, making Claire feel like a bad mother. When Aaron keeps crying, Locke shows Claire how to swaddle him to make him feel safe and warm. Claire feels like everyone else knows how to look after Aaron better than her. Locke sympathises and points out that Charlie is just looking out for her. Claire says she never knew that Charlie was religious, and it's weird he's carrying a statue of the Virgin Mary around with him. Aware that the statues have heroin in them, Locke decides to see if Charlie has relapsed. He challenges Charlie to a game of backgammon and says that maybe a heroin addict shouldn't be lecturing someone on how to raise their child. Charlie corrects him and says that he is a recovering heroin addict.

The tail section survivors travel south along the east coast of the Island, but the going gets rockier and more difficult to traverse with the injured Sawyer. Mr. Eko suggests they cut inland through the jungle to save time. Ana Lucia objects, as the Others are harder to spot in the jungle, but it will cut hours off their journey and may be Sawyer's only chance of surviving. They make good time, even employing excellent teamwork to get Sawyer up a heavily wooded hill. However, when they reach the top they realise that they've lost Cindy, who has vanished without a trace. They hear the Whispers and move with greater speed and alarm.

A storm arrives and Sayid and Shannon keep searching in the jungle for Walt. Sayid tells Shannon he loves her, but is clearly still sceptical about her visions of Walt. Suddenly Walt appears again and this time they both see him. Shannon rushes off and Sayid pursues. Suddenly a gunshot rings out and Shannon staggers back, bleeding. Sayid holds her as she dies. He looks up to see a shocked Ana-Lucia, holding Sawyer's gun (which had one bullet left after the shark attack).

Major WTFery: Walt's visions are, depending on your POV, either leading Shannon to her death or are leading her and Sayid to a rendezvous with the tail section survivors.

Hindsight: Shannon's father dies at the hospital that Jack works at: we even see Jack walk past her in the corridor. We know from previous episodes that Shannon's father was in the same car crash that severely injured Sarah. Jack had to choose which person to save in a split-second and he chose Sarah.

Ana-Lucia mentions that she preferred Eko when he "wasn't talking". This reference is explained in the subsequent episode.

After Cindy's disappearance, she next (chronologically) appears in the Season 3 episodes Stranger in a Strange Land and The Brig, living amongst the Others.

The tailies head south down the east coast of the Island, which at this point has mostly been unexplored. They cut inland to avoid a rocky peninsula. If they kept going south, they'd likely find the submarine cable leading out to the Looking Glass, in the vicinity of Danielle's old camp. By cutting inland, they avoid an extra 1-2 days of traveling around the coast. They have to pass through hills (probably a low-lying part of the eastern mountain range) to get to the jungle area frequented by the other survivors. Incidentally, this makes the journey of the tail section survivors in this episode the longest trek carried out on the Island to date.

Approximate route of the tail section survivors from their crash site to the Arrow (red) and from the Arrow to where they meet the fuselage survivors (white). The beach where Sawyer and co. wash up is probably the one to the north-east of the Arrow.

Review: This is a frustrating episode because it highlights that the writers had never really known what to do with Shannon or how to make her a more sympathetic character. Which is a shame because this episode explains Shannon's backstory and motivations a lot better than they had done previously and suggested a more interesting character arc for her was possible. However, at this stage the writers are switching from their "exploring character for character's sake" to "only doing things to service the plot" mode. Shannon was really superfluous at this point so she is rather brutally dispatched. The shock value at the time was rather startling, but in retrospect it is signposted quite heavily. The on-Island story remains interesting as Mr. Eko emerges as a more moral person than we previously thought and Ana Lucia becomes more ruthless. (***½)

The five tail section survivors: Cindy, Libby, Eko, Ana Lucia and Bernard.

207: The Other 48 Days
Written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, directed by Eric Laneuville
Airdate: 16 November 2005
Survivor Count: 50 (due to Shannon's death in the prior episode)
Days on Island: 1-48 (22 September-8 November 2004)

Days 1-12: A beautiful day on a tropical beach. Suddenly, the tail section of a passenger airline comes screaming out of the sky and crashes into the sea. After the initial chaos, twenty-three bedraggled survivors gather on the beach. A big Nigerian man in a suit, Mr. Eko, helps rescue several people from the sea before he starts gathering the bodies for burial. Ana Lucia saves a little girl, Emma, from drowning by performing CPR on her, to the relief of her brother Zach. Another survivor, Goodwin, reports that he's found a man stuck on a seat in a tree. Ana Lucia rescues the man, who turns out to be Bernard. Libby helps with medical assistance: she dropped out of med school to train as a clinical psychology, but knows the basis of first aid. As the survivors regroup, a stewardess, Cindy, informs them that the plne was severely off course so the search parties won't know where to look for them. They light a signal fire in the hopes it will be seen.

That night Ana Lucia wakes up to the sounds of a struggle. Three survivors have vanished, but Mr. Eko is found with two strange men he has killed in self-defence. He refuses to talk after this incident. The survivors discuss leaving the beach rather than be attacked by the Others again, but two of their number, Goodwin and Nathan, point out that they need to keep the fire burning. They stay on the beach. Several survivors die from their wounds.

Days 12-23: On the night of the twelfth day on the Island, the Others return and take nine more survivors, including both Zach and Emma. Ana Lucia kills one of the Others and finds a strange knife on her body, along with a list of the nine people who were to be taken. Ana Lucia decides they have to abanon the beach now. Nathan still wants to stay, but Goodwin agrees it's been long enough. The group treks into the jungle and finds a pleasant riverside location. Nathan seems to resent Ana Lucia's position as group leader, although everyone else seems fine with it. They set up a new camp. Libby tells Ana Lucia that Nathan creeps her out. Ana Lucia ponders over how the Others got the names for the list and concludes that Nathan is a spy, as no-one can remember him from the planet. Ana Lucia digs the pit (the same one they later throw Sawyer, Jin and Michael into) and throws Nathan in it. Nathan angrily proteses his innocence. At night, Goodwin appears to led Nathan out. However, he then snaps his neck and hides the body. Upon discovering that Nathan has vanished, Ana Lucie thinks he's run back to the Others and will bring them down on their location. They leave the riverside.

Days 24-27: The survivors find the Arrow Station and make camp. They find a Bible, a glass eye and a radio inside. Mr. Eko takes the Bible. Goodwin and Ana Lucia go to higher ground to use the radio. Ana Lucia looks at the knife she took off the Other on the beach and notes that it's US military. She wonders how it got onto the Island. As they talk, it becomes clear that Ana Lucia has changed her mind and now thinks that Goodwin is a spy. She remembers that Goodwin arrived on the beach with completely dry clothes, as if he'd never been in the water. Goodwin admits she is right and tells her that Nathan is dead, and he was not a good person. He also tells her that the kids are fine and are in a better place now. They end up fighting. Ana Lucia manages to escape and grabs a stick. When Goodwin tries to jump on her, he ends up impaled. She leaves his corpse, goes back to the others and tells tham that they're safe now.

Day 41: Bernard is trying to get the radio to work and hears Boone's message from the Beechcraft. He replies, but Ana Lucia turns the radio off and tells them that it's a trick by the Others to try to locate them.

Days 45-48: Libby and Cindy find Jin's body as he washes up on the beach. They take him just inside the jungle and argue over what to do with him with Ana Lucia and Eko. Jin escapes and runs onto the beach, arriving just as Sawyer and Charlie wash ashore on their raft.

Events follow as in the last few episodes, culminating with Ana Lucia thinking the group is under attack and shooting Shannon dead.

Major WTFery: The glass eye in the Arrow Station was a plot point the producers meant to return to later on, but never got round to it, making it one of the more notable dangling plot threads in the series which was never addressed at all. The character of Mikhail, introduced in Season 3, is missing an eye but his eye socket is scarred over, suggesting that he had no use for the glass eye. It's possible that Radzinsky later lost an eye, since the box was left in the Arrow Station with a splice of the Swan orientation film that Radzinsky removed, and Radzinsky was on the Island for many years.

There is a notable continuity error in this episode: Goodwin emerges from the jungle ten minutes after the crash but in Stranger in a Strange Land it was said it would take him an hour to make the beach. It's possible that instead of walking for an hour, he took a former DHARMA vehicle part of the way, assuming the chaos of the crash would mask any sound.

The Others kidnap multiple people with (relative) ease, making limited sounds and leaving no trail through the jungle. This seems to be continuing the theme that the Others have supernatural abilities (such as Ethan's apparently supernatural strength in the first season), but later episodes confirm they are just ordinary people, albeit with long experience of living on the Island.

Ana Lucia says they were in the air for two hours before the plane crashed. Every other episode says that it was six hours. However, the Season 1 finale established that Ana Lucia was deliberately getting drunk so she'd sleep on the plane. It's likely that she slept for four hours and then woke up two hours before the crash. This incidentally explains why she and Jack never had the promised drink in the Season 1 finale.
Hindsight: The Others tried to take Mr. Eko on the first night, but on the twelfth his name was not on their list. This suggests that Mr. Eko was no longer considered a "good person" after his killing of the two Others, even though this was in self-defence. Eko's ambiguous relationship with the Island is further explored in The 23rd Psalm and The Cost of Living.

The knife Ana Lucia finds was almost certainly left behind on the Island by the US Navy expedition in 1954 (Jughead), or possibly by the DHARMA Initative later on.

Zach and Emma's fate is revealed in the Season 3 premiere, Stranger in a Strange Land, which confirms that they are fine living with the Others, moving between the Barracks and the Hydra Island, and being looked after Cindy, who was reunited with them after she was taken. When she is asked what happened to her after joining the Others, she says it's "Not that simple."

This is the first episode of Lost which breaks away from the flashback-present day formula and is one of only two episodes to present events completely in linear order, the other being Across the Sea in Season 6.

Review: This is the best episode of Lost to this point, all the more remarkable given that it focuses mostly on new characters the audience may not have built a lot of rapport with yet. The episode works by letting the audience fill in the blanks (the tail section survivors probably scouted the jungle and found food and water, we don't need whole episodes about it) and ramping up the horror element of the story. The tailies had it far worse than our heroes did down at the southern end of the Island, facing constant attack and paranoia. We're shown how Ana Lucia led the best way possible, not having the time to relax and regroup that Jack did, nor the firepower they had thanks to the Marshal's case (this is hinted at being the reason the Others were warier about directly confronting the fusies after Ethan's death). The contrast between their leadership styles is quite interesting and effective. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje gives a spectacular performance as Mr. Eko, doing a lot of acting and relating his inner turmoil with just his eyes. Overall, this is a tremendous episode of television and one of the high points of the series. (*****)

How to win friends and influence people.

208: Collision
Written by Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Leonard Dick, directed by Stephen Williams
Airdate: 23 November 2005
Survivor Count: 50
Days on Island: 48 (8 November 2004)
Flashback Character: Ana Lucia

Flashbacks: Ana Lucia is a police officer working in Los Angeles. She is cleared to return to work after being shot several times by an assailant. Ana Lucia's captain is also her mother, who tries to protect Ana Lucia by giving her a desk job. Ana Lucia manages to get back in a patrol car with her old partner, but at a domestic disturbance flips out and draws her weapon without just cause. Her partner covers for her. Back at the station Ana Lucia is told they've caught the guy who shot her. He even confessed. Ana Lucia fails to identity him. Instead she follows him to a bar and, as he's getting the car afterwards, shoots him dead. She says, angrily, "I was pregnant."

On the Island: Sayid draws his gun and tries to shoot Ana Lucia, but is overpowered by Eko. Ana Lucia ties him up to a tree and tries to figure out her next move. Eko takes Sawyer, who is dying, onwards towards the beach. After further discussions, Michael agrees to go for help and Jin takes Libby and Bernard to the beach, leaving Ana Lucia and Sayid alone.

On the beach Charlie, Kate and Hurley are playing golf. Jack is unimpressed and he and Kate agree to have a proper game at Hurley's golf course. Whilst looking for a missing ball they encounter Eko and Sawyer. Jack takes them to the Swan Station, which has better medical facilities. He washes Sawyer's wound and with Kate's help is able to get him to take some antibiotics. Locke and Eko briefly talk and Locke learns of Shannon's death. When he learns of it, Jack becomes angry and demands answers from Eko. Eko tells him nothing would assauge his anger,so is remaining silent.

Michael reaches the Swan and tells Jack about the stand-off. Jack tools up with guns, enraging Eko who believes this will only lead to more deaths and killing. Eko offers to take Jack and only Jack to Ana Lucia. Locke seems to trust Eko, so Jack agrees to trust him as well.

Jin, Libby and Bernard arrive on the beach. Jin and Sun have a tearful reunion, as do Bernard and Rose.

Ana Lucia and Sayid talk. Sayid tells Ana Lucia that he is a torturer and has done terrible things. She tells him about her shooting and her past in LA, but stops short of telling him that she murdered her attacker in cold blood. She tells him that ever since she was shot, she still feels dead. Ana Lucia cuts Sayid's bonds and gives him the gun and knife. Sayid asks what would be the point in killing her when they're both already dead? He takes Shannon's body back to the beach. Jack then finds Ana Lucia in the jungle and he recognises her from the bar before getting on the plane.

Major WTFery: Michael was in a hurry and Eko was already carrying Sawyer, but it's unclear why Jin, Bernard and Libby left Shannon's dead body behind rather than help take her back to the beach. It feels like it was done solely for dramatic purposes so Sayid could do it whilst looking pained.

Ana Lucia's next flashback episode confirms that she was not implicated in the death of her shooter. This is highly unlikely: her mother knew he was the shooter and that Ana Lucia deliberately lied so he could go free. Her partner on the force knows she was unstable and violent. It seems implausible that Ana Lucia would have gotten away with the murder, unless others deliberately turned a blind eye to what happened. Her mother does mention the possibility in Two for the Road but doesn't follow up on it.

Hindsight: Ana Lucia's flashback story continues in Two for the Road later in the season. Jack and Ana Lucia's first meeting in the Season 1 finale is referenced.

Big Mike, Ana Lucia's partner (portrayed by Michael Cudlitz who currently plays Abraham on The Walking Dead), reappears in the first episode of Season 4, where he interrogates Hurley after he escapes from the Island and asks him if he met Ana Lucia.

According to the producers, Sun and Jin's child was conceived between the events of this episode and the following one.

Review: An interesting episode, dealing with a messy and difficult situation and combining the happiness of the various reunions with the aftermath of Shannon's death. The parallels between Jack and Ana Lucia's leadership styles continue to be drawn, although the final shot of them standing off and the fact that they both worked their parents makes this rather blatant. The on-Island stuff is fine and it's great to see Rose and Bernard reunited and Jin and Sun, but Ana Lucia's flashback feels a little dull. (***½)

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