Friday, 29 April 2016

The Lost Reviews: Part 4 - Season 1, Episodes 13-16

Welcome to the Lost rewatch project. Over the next few months I plan to watch 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.

Two of the less compelling characters on the Island, it has to be said.

113: Hearts and Minds

Written by Carlton Cuse and Javier Grillo-Marxuach, directed by Rod Holcomb

Airdate: 12 January 2005

Survivor Count: 46

Days on Island: 24 (15 October 2004)

Flashback Character: Boone
Flashbacks: Boone receives a telephone call from Shannon in Australia. She’s in trouble with her latest boyfriend. Boone flies to Sydney to rescue her, as he’s done several times before. He buys off the boyfriend with $50,000, but later discovers that Shannon set him up, as she feels she didn’t get a fair split of their parents’ business (we also discover that Boone and Shannon are step-siblings, not blood relatives). Boone, angered, prepares to fly back to LA but Shannon is dumped by her boyfriend, who runs off with the money, and she and Boone end up sleeping together. Afterwards, she tells him that back in LA things will have to go back to the way they were before, leaving Boone feeling used and manipulated.

On the Island: Boone is increasingly jealous of the time that Sayid and Shannon are spending together and warns Sayid off. Sayid is unimpressed. Boone and Locke are continuing to investigate the strange hatch they found in the jungle. Their attempts to open it all fail, as the hatch has no handle and is flush to the surrounding terrain. There is a window in the hatch, but they can't see anything through it and the glass is unbreakable. 

Elsewhere, Hurley is increasingly hungry for decent meat (as Boone and Locke’s trips seem to not be turning up any more boar) and tries emulating Jin by fishing. Instead, he steps on a sea-urchin and injures his foot. Jin helps him recuperate and gives him a fish he caught.

Sayid shows Jack something unusual in a compass he was given by Locke. Magnetic north from the Island is showing at a strong variance from where it should be based on solar observation. High metal contents in the rocks would result in a minor discrepancy, but this is much larger. Sayid is puzzled by it.

Kate stumbles across a garden that Sun has planted and helps her with laying the seeds. When Sun laughs at a joke Kate makes, Kate realises she can speak English. She agrees to keep her secret. 

Kate and Jack discuss the food situation. Although the survivors are doing better at catching fish and finding fruit, they still really need the boar meat as a source of protein. Kate suggests that Locke is deliberately not hunting the boar any more to keep more food for himself. However, Locke later says that the boar have started migrating out of the beach and valley areas, possibly in response to the survivors' hunting of them. Jack tries to get more of a feel for Locke and asks Charlie for his opinion. Charlie, who is grateful to Locke for helping him break his heroin habit, tells Jack that Locke is their best hope of survival.

Boone tells Locke that he wants to tell Shannon about the hatch. Locke asks him if he is sure. When Boone replies in the affirmative, Locke promptly knocks him out and leaves him tied up to a tree with a knife just out of reach. Boone can’t find the willpower to escape until he hears Shannon screaming. Once he gets free he finds Shannon tied up as well. They flee as they hear the Monster coming their way. Shannon trips and is promptly killed. A furious, traumatised Boone returns to the camp to find Locke waiting for him and Shannon alive and well. Locke asks him how he felt when he saw Shannon dead and Boone confesses that he felt relieved. Locke tells him it’s time to let her go. Boone ignores Shannon as she talks to Sayid and heads off into the jungle, back to the hatch.

Major WTFery: Locke's plan to turn Boone into his padawan is totally bizarre, and it's highly implausible that it worked so well.

Hindsight: The Island's bizarre magnetic and electromagnetic properties are revealed for the first time, whilst Locke's capacity for truly irrational behaviour is first hinted at. The flashback, although nicely messed up (and featuring a blink-and-miss-it cameo from Sawyer in Australia), does suggest that Boone and Shannon may be lacking the more compelling backstories of the other characters on the Island. This episode also hints at the "Man of Science, Man of Faith" relationship between Jack and Locke that will become more blatant in later episodes.

Review: Certainly an oddball episode. Boone and Shannon are not exactly compelling characters and Locke turning Boone into his minion is not really explored as well as it could be (it is returned to, more successfully, in subsequent episodes). The story with Locke getting Boone wasted and hallucinating to teach him a lesson that Boone accepts is highly unconvincing. It turns out that Hurley desperately begging Jin to pee on his foot to stop the urchin sting is the highlight of a rather weak instalment of Lost (***).

All together now: "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALT!" Makes you feel just like 2004 again.

114: Special
Written by David Fury, directed by Greg Yaitanes

Airdate: 19 January 2005

Survivor Count: 46

Days on Island: 26-27 (17-18 October 2004)

Flashback Characters: Michael & Walt

Flashbacks: Michael and Susan are expecting their first baby and planning a nursery. They seem very happy. A year later, after Walt’s birth, Michael is shocked when Susan tells him she wants to take a break from the relationship and is accepting a new job in Amsterdam. When Michael finds out she is seeing someone else, he resolves to go to Amsterdam to get his son, but is then hit by a speeding car and has to spend months in hospital. Susan comes to see him and they bury the hatchet. Susan tells him she is getting remarried and her new husband wants to adopt Walt as his own. Michael reluctantly agrees to stay out of Walt's life, apart from sending him a letter every year. Nine years later, in Australia, Susan comes down with an illness. Her husband, Brian, is concerned that Walt has some kind of odd power after a bird Walt was reading about in a book flew straight into their window and killed itself. Brian goes to New York to see Michael and tells him that Susan has died from a blood disease. Brian can’t raise Walt by himself so he lets Michael take custody of him. Michael goes to Australia to claim Walt but also takes Walt’s dog Vincent (actually Brian’s dog). A housekeeper gives him a box containing all the letters that Michael wrote to Walt over the years: his mother never gave them to him.

On the Island: Michael is angry when he finds Locke teaching Walt to throw knives and forbids Walt from having anything to do with him. Michael is also becoming concerned that people seem to be digging in on the island for the long haul and suggests taking action to escape, namely by building a raft. The others seem uninterested, so Michael enlists Walt’s help, but Walt gets bored and wanders off to see Locke. Locke tells Walt to go back to his father but Michael accuses Locke of trying to turn his son against him. Locke tells Michael that Walt is special and he should treat him like an adult.

Sayid, with Shannon’s help, is continuing to try to decode the papers he took from Rousseau’s base. He’s found odd references to a triangular area on the island with longitude and latitude coordinates, but Sayid doesn’t know where it is in relation to their campsite.

Walt runs off with Vincent and ends up getting chased down by a polar bear. Michael and Locke rescue him and Michael gives Walt something from his luggage: all the letters that Michael sent Walt over the years that his mum refused to pass on to him.

Charlie, after much soul-searching, decides to read Clarie’s diary (after retrieving it from Sawyer) and is pleased to see that she thought well of him, going as far as saying that she wanted him to protect her. Suddenly he reads about a dream she was having about a "black rock". He shows it to Jack and Sayid and they guess that the black rock (a phrase used by Rousseau) may apply to the triangular area on the map. They wonder if that was where Ethan took Claire.

Whilst out in the jungle, Boone and Locke are looking for Vincent, using Locke's dog whistle. Instead of the dog, they are startled by the sudden, unexpected reappearance of Claire...

Major WTFery: This episode touches on the idea that Walt has unusual powers. He apparently affects a bird into flying into a window in Australia and on the Island is attacked by a polar bear just after Michael burns one of his comics with a polar bear in it. The rest of the series would touch on this, but it turned out to not be as major a plot point as was first indicated. We finally find out what the black rock is in the season finale.

Hindsight: One of those episodes which is watchable the first time around, but deflates a little on a rewatch as we know now how little Walt's supposed powers would fit into future events. The black rock is of course the Black Rock, a 19th Century sailing ship that was swept onto the Island by a tidal wave (destroying the infamous four-toed statue along the way), bringing Richard Alpert onto the Island.

Review: This is a pretty watchable episode, helped by Harold Perrineau's game performance as the producers put him through a variety of hairstyles to help sell him being younger. There is some frustration that Walt's story is not more prominent in later parts of the series (although the epilogue mini-episode does at least try to wrap it up) but overall it's a pretty good episode. The highlight is Charlie manning up and taking Claire's diary from Sawyer by force. When Sawyer punches him, Charlie's response is a magnificently British "You hit like a ponce." (****)

Charlie takes a level or two in badass.

115: Homecoming

Written by Damon Lindelof, directed by Kevin Hooks

Airdate: 9 February 2005

Survivor Count: 46

Days on Island: 27-29 (18-20 October 2004)

Flashback Character: Charlie

Flashbacks: Back in London after Drive Shaft’s split, Charlie is addicted to heroin and has resorted to seducing rich girls and stealing from them to fund his habit. However, he falls in love with his latest victim, Lucy, and agrees to work for her father selling photocopiers. His addiction gets the better of him after he throws up during a demonstration and he is fired after it is found that he was stealing valuables from Lucy’s father. He tries to apologise, but Lucy refuses to talk to him, saying that he’ll never be able to look after anyone in his life.

On the Island: Claire has no memory of what has happened since the kidnapping and virtually no recall of anything after the plane crash. Jack confirms that she and the baby are unharmed. Charlie is confronted by Ethan in the jungle, who tells him that if they don’t hand Claire over again to him, he will kill one of the survivors. Whilst Charlie tries to help Claire get her memory back, Jack, Sayid and Locke take security measures against Ethan’s return. They establish sentries, but Ethan swims in from the sea under cover of night and kills Scott. The survivors agree to change tactics and employ Claire as bait whilst Locke, Jack, Sayid, Sawyer and Kate watch over her with the guns from the Marshall’s case. Ethan appears, but Jack beats him senseless after losing his gun. Charlie, who has sneaked along, picks up the gun and shoots Ethan five times, killing him.

Back at camp, Charlie tells Jack that he is absolutely 100% convinced that Ethan wouldn’t have told them anything and would have escaped and hurt Claire again if they kept him a prisoner. Surprisingly Jack agrees, but is still disappointed they didn’t find out anything about where Ethan came from. Claire tells Charlie that she is starting to remember things and that she trusts him.

Major WTFery: In this episode Ethan again demonstrates apparently superhuman strength, lifting Charlie off the ground with one hand (Charlie is a small guy but this is pretty unconvincing). This appears to be self-contradictory, as Ethan is then defeated by Jack in hand-to-hand combat. However, a deleted scene would have shown Ethan being injured during an attempt to breach the perimeter, with Locke getting in a lucky stab wound before being knocked out. This would have explained why Ethan was not fighting as well as he did previously and Jack was able to best him. This is the last time the Others show such abilities. Future episodes establish the Others as being firmly human, merely more experienced in living on the Island.

Hindsight: The story behind Claire's abduction is told in Season 2's Maternity Leave.

Review: This is, along with the "Jack's tattoo" episode, Damon Lindelof's most disliked episode of Lost. Which is weird because it's actually pretty decent. Charlie's flashback relies a little too much on the drug stuff, which is starting to get old, but the reference to the UK version of The Office and the "throwing up in the photocopier" incidents are quite amusing. The on-Island storyline with the survivors tooling up and taking down Ethan is also quite tense. Charlie shooting him dead is also completely justifiable, as Ethan was clearly not going to be cooperative and would probably have escaped and caused more chaos (Charlie's refusal to feel guilty about this later on is also refreshing). Overall, a decent, fast-moving episode that adds depth to Charlie's character and is pretty damn entertaining (****).

Lost's rain machine getting a workout.
116: Outlaws

Written by Drew Goddard, directed by Jack Bender

Airdate: 16 February 2005

Survivor Count: 45 (following Scott's death at the hands of Ethan)

Days on Island: 29-31 (20-22 October 2004)

Flashback Character: Sawyer

Flashbacks: When he was a child, Sawyer (then called James), was hiding under his bed when his mother was trying to throw his father out of the house, both their lives having been wrecked by the original Sawyer, a con-man. His father killed his mother before committing suicide. Years later, Sawyer is working as a hustler when he is told by a contact, Hibbs, that he has tracked down the ‘original’ Sawyer to Australia where he is living under the name Frank Duckett. Sawyer purchases a gun and goes to see Duckett, only to find him apparently living a simple life serving food from a fish van. Sawyer decides to spare him and return to the USA, but in a nearby bar he meets an American doctor (Christian Shephard, Jack's father) who tells him that life is fully of disappointment, "Which is why the Red Sox will never win the series." He also says how proud he is of his son and can’t face talking to him again. He also tells Sawyer to take care of whatever demons are eating him before they destroy him. Sawyer goes back to the van and shoots Duckett, but realises he’s been set up. Duckett is an innocent man and Hibbs manipulated Sawyer into carrying out the assassination. As he dies, Duckett tells Sawyer, "It'll come back around."

On the Island: Sawyer wakes up in the night to find a boar in his tent. It wrecks the place, dragging his tarp off into the jungle. Sawyer races after it, only for it to knock him down. Lost in the jungle, Sawyer hears the whispers for the first time. He hears Duckett's last words again, "It'll come back around." Convinced that the boar has some kind of vendetta against him, Sawyer vows to kill it and heads out into the jungle, accompanied by a much-amused Kate (who is trying to get Sawyer's gun back on Jack's behalf). Whilst hunting the beast they bump into Locke, who tells them a story about he when he was young his sister died and his foster-mother was distraught for months on end. Some time later a dog came into the house with no tag or collar and immediately went to Locke’s foster-mother. She adopted the dog and it kept her happy, even sleeping in Locke’s sister’s room. After his foster-mother died, the dog vanished. Kate asks if the dog was his sister somehow reincarnated and Locke says that’s silly, but his foster-mother certainly thought so and it made her happy.  

They corner the boar and Sawyer prepares to shoot it. However, he relents, insisting that “It’s just a damned boar.” He returns his gun to Jack and they talk briefly, Jack mentioning that the Red Sox will never win the World Series. Sawyer remembers hearing that exact phrase from a man he met in Australia, an American doctor who had fled to Australia to escape his past and was deeply proud of his son who was also a doctor. He ponders if this man was Jack’s father, but says nothing about it to Jack.

Meanwhile, Charlie is acting a little oddly. He brushes off going for a walk with Claire. Later on, he enlists Hurley's help in burying Ethan's body. Hurley goes to see Sayid and asks him if he things Charlie might be suffering from PTSD. Sayid talks to Charlie, who is adamant that he did the right thing. Sayid is impressed by his resolve but tells Charlie that he isn't alone, even if he feels that way, and can talk to the rest of the survivors. Charlie takes up Claire's offer of a walk. 

Major WTFery: Sawyer hears the Whispers, confirming they weren't just imagined by Sayid. Sawyer confronts the possibility that the boar is the reincarnation of Duckett (which might be a bit too WTF even for Lost) before concluding that it isn't.

Hindsight: Amusingly, the Red Sox did win the 2004 World Series several days after the events of this episode. However, this was months before the episode actually aired, causing some confusion for reviewers and critics. We also learn that Kate was married (but not to Nathan Fillion, as the episode I Do in Season 3 relates) and that Sawyer met Jack's dad and, as of the end of this episode, is aware of that fact.

Review: The premise for this episode is among the most bonkers in the series - Sawyer squares off against a boar he thinks is the reincarnation of a man he killed by accident - but it actually masks a really well-written episode with some smart, funny dialogue (who knew that Sawyer wore pink in the 1980s?). Robert Patrick is wasted in a very minor role though (****).

1 comment:

RosieP said...

Despite Walt being born a decade earlier, Michael had NO EXPERIENCE in being a father before he and the former met for the first time in Australia - a day before the crash. Many fans had criticized Michael for being a less than perfect parent. And I never understood this.

This idea that Michael should have known how to automatically be a father is ridiculous. Michael was in the process of learning how to be a father and naturally, he was going to make mistakes.

But that was nothing in compare to the mistake John Locke made by teaching Walt on how to throw a machete . . . without Michael's consent. What in the hell was he thinking?

All together now: "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALT!" Makes you feel just like 2004 again.

This joke is not only tasteless, but it got old sometime around 2005 to 2006. I didn't realize that the trauma of a parent who had his child snatched from him was so damn funny. This made me realize how infantile a lot of "LOST" fans could be.