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Saturday, June 06, 2009

LOST Rewatch: S1E01 "Pilot, Part 1" through S1E04 "Walkabout"

Here are some of my thoughts after rewatching the first four episodes of LOST, as part of my contribution to The LOST Rewatch. Later I'll post my rewatch commentaries in the podcast feed as well.

Season 1 Episode 1 - "Pilot, Part 1"

The episode starts with a closeup of Jack's eye. This started a theme where if the episode starts on someone's eye, that person ends up being the main character in that episode.

Jack saved the lives of Rose, Claire (who nobody knew at the time was his sister), and Hurley on the beach. He also saved Charlie's life by going back to help him get up when they were running from the monster.

There are lots of main characters in the first episode who later died: Shannon Rutherford, Boone Carlyle, Charlie Pace, Michael Dawson, John Locke, and possibly Claire Littleton (although her status has not yet been confirmed, it seems likely that she died somehow; why else would she completely abandon her baby and later be seen in Jacob's cabin with her dead father?).

When we first see Kate, she's walking out of the jungle holding her wrists, which appear to have been bleeding. We didn't know it at the time, but she had just gotten out of her handcuffs.

Characters who changed dramatically over the series: Sawyer, Locke, and especially Jin; he was initially very self-centered and controlling of his wife.

After Jack told Kate the story about his first residency surgery, she said "If that had been me, I think I would've run for the door," to which Jack replied, "No, I don't think that's true. You're not running now." Kate was, however, running from the law again; she had escaped from her handcuffs and didn't disclose to anyone that she was a fugitive. Another note about that scene is that Jack left out the part of the story that we learned in the Season 5 finale about his father being the one who told him to count to five.

Charlie writes FATE on his fingers; fate is one of the themes of the show.

Hurley is kind-hearted as always. He checks up on pregnant Claire and her "baby stuff" and after giving her a meal he walks back to hand her a second one.

Jack says he blacked out on the plane, but Kate says "I didn't. I saw the whole thing." If she truly did not black out at all, she might have some insight into how people survived the fall. How could Jack fall all the way from the plane and land on his back with only a scratch? And since he had been in his seatbelt, how did he end up landing far away from his seat and in the middle of the jungle? Perhaps the miraculous survival of so many people was part of Jacob's plan; he allowed them to survive so they could be part of his social experiment. Jacob brought Oceanic Flight 815 to the Island just like he brought the Black Rock and other groups in an attempt to prove his enemy wrong.

In the first few episodes of the series, almost every time the monster is nearby it knocks over trees. If the monster had been on the Island for a long time (and we now know that it has), there wouldn't be many trees left standing. Later in the series the monster doesn't seem to knock down trees quite as often.

Why did the monster kill Seth Norris, the pilot? Did he have sins for which he was unwilling to repent, as perhaps may have been the case with Mr. Eko?

Season 1 Episode 2 - "Pilot, Part 2"

Walt finds handcuffs in the jungle and shows them to Michael (of course, we know they must have been Kate's, or more accurately the Marshal's).

Sawyer assumes that Sayid was the one in cuffs, and he accuses Sayid of being responsible for the plane crash, which resulted in a fist fight.

The first time that Sawyer really gave someone a nickname on the series is when he calls Hurley "Lardo." (One could argue that he called Sayid "buddy" before that, but it's a common term and in my opinion doesn't really quality as one of Sawyer's nicknames, which usually have some reference to the person's character, attributes, or the situation.) Sawyer calls Jack "Doc" for the first time right after that.

Sayid offers to try to fix the transceiver. As he does so, Hurley introduces himself to Sayid and then finds out that Sayid was in the Gulf War in the Republican Guard. Hurley had expected Sayid to say that he fought in the United States military, and was speechless he found out that Sayid had been on the side of Iraq.

Jin slaps Sun's hand when she tries to take some food that he's prepared, but he offers it to Hurley first, who laughs and says he's hungry but there's "no way" he'd eat that.

The first literature sighting of the series (at least, the first one I noticed) was Hurley's Green Lantern comic in Spanish with the polar bear in it, which Walt looks at on the beach.

We get a hint that Michael doesn't know Walt very well when he asks Walt whether he reads Spanish. Later Jack asks Michael how old Walt is, and Michael responds, "Nine," and then immediately corrects himself, "Ten. Ten."

Sawyer reads the letter he wrote to the real "Mr. Sawyer," probably thinking in part about the man he just murdered in Australia and the fact that the real Sawyer is still out there; perhaps this is part of what motivates him to go on the expedition to higher ground to try to use the transceiver.

Walt talks to Locke, the first full conversation that anyone's had with Locke since the crash. Locke teaches Walt about Backgammon, introducing one of the themes of the show: black and white, light and dark. "Two players. Two sides. One is light. One is dark." This seems to be a direct parallel to Jacob and his enemy in the Season 5 finale; Jacob wears white while his enemy wears black. It's interesting that the writers seem to have been setting up for the Season 5 finale (and presumably much of the plot of Season 6) with this seemingly insignificant conversation between Locke and Walt in the very first episode.

Locke tells Walt a secret, presumably about how he got the use of his legs back after the crash.

Sawyer shoots a polar bear in the jungle. We now know that the polar bear was part of a DHARMA Initiative experiment, and that the bears were previously kept in cages at the Hydra Station on the smaller island. Sawyer later reveals that he got the gun from the U.S. Marshal (Edward Mars), and Sayid gets his chance to accuse Sawyer of being a criminal. Kate takes the gun away and pretends to not know how to use it (later in the series we find out that she does indeed know how to use a gun), so Sayid instructs her how to dismantle it. She gives the bullets to Sayid and the handgun back to Sawyer, who tells Kate that he knows her type.

We find out in a flashback to the plane how Kate got the cuffs off. When the oxygen masks came down in the plane, she couldn't reach her mask, so she took the keys from the unconscious Marshal and uncuffed herself. After putting an oxygen mask on herself, she put one on the Marshal, which presumably saved his life (if only temporarily).

Shannon translates Danielle's message being transmitted from the radio tower. According to Shannon, Danielle says that she's all alone, and "It killed them. It killed them all." We now know that Danielle was referring to the sickness, not the monster like everyone assumed at the time. Sayid estimates that the message has been playing on a loop for 16 years and 5 months (16 is one of the Numbers, which we don't find out about until a later episode).

Season 1 Episode 3 - "Tabula Rasa"

This episode has a lot of firsts, including the first "Previously on LOST," the first time Sawyer called Kate "Freckles," and the first pre-flight flashback (Kate in Australia).

The Australian farmer has a false right arm, perhaps the first missing body part on the show, which became a theme (Marvin Candle's prosthetic arm in The Swan's orientation film, Danielle's comment about Montand losing his arm, the glass eyeball in The Arrow, Mikhail's missing eye, etc.) In the first part of the Pilot episode, there was a man whose leg was badly injured and Jack tied his necktie around the man's leg to slow the bleeding, but it was not entirely clear from the shots whether part of the leg was actually missing or whether it was just severely wounded.

Speaking of missing arms, in the Season 5 finale we found that Dr. Pierre Chang lost his arm when something fell on it during the Incident. His arm was later missing when he played the role of Dr. Marvin Candle in The Swan's orientation film. Does this mean that all or at least some of those who were present will somehow survive the explosion of the hydrogen bomb? Richard Alpert also said to Sun in 2007 that "I watched them all die" referring to Jin, Sawyer, Juliet, Dan, and Miles, who were in the 1974 DHARMA new recruits photograph. Perhaps he only meant this figuratively, as in he assumed they would all be dead, but somehow they all survived.

We get the first hint that Walt may have the power to make things happen with his mind; Michael says he'll look for Vincent as soon as it stops raining, and immediately it stops raining.

How does Locke know how to make a whistle that Vincent would hear? Did he learn how to do that as a Webelo, or as part of his four-year preparation for the Walkabout (which we find out about in the next episode)?

Locke finds Vincent and then lets Michael take the credit. Why was Michael so against Walt hanging out with Locke after that? Because of the Locke's case of knives in the next episode?

The episode title "Tabula Rasa" has reference to Jack's line to Kate after she told Jack she wanted to tell him what she did. Jack said to her, "I don't want to know. It doesn't matter, Kate, who we were, what we did before this, before the crash. It doesn't really— Three days ago, we all died. We should all be able to start over." "Tabula Rasa" means "blank slate" in Latin.

Charlie changes the tape on his fingers to read "LATE" instead of "FATE". What is the significance of the word LATE? Did he write that because the hypothetical rescue party was late in coming to save them?

Why did they end the episode giving us such a creepy view of Locke with strange music?

Season 1 Episode 4 - "Walkabout"

The episode starts on Locke's eye on the beach. He wiggles his toes and moves his legs.

Jack decides they need to burn all the dead bodies in the fuselage to prevent the boars from coming back to scavenge their remains. Sayid points out that it isn't right for Jack to do this without regard to their wishes or their religions, and Jack doesn't care; at this point he's very much the man of science, not a man of faith. We later find out that Sayid practices Islam.

Michael sees Locke opening his case. We find out later in the episode that Locke has had a case full of knives this whole time. Where was he when Jack was looking for a blade in Pilot, Part 2?

Jack called the jungle "the heart of darkness." Heart of Darkness (Wikipedia, Amazon) is the name of a book by Joseph Conrad, first published in 1899. Some of the themes of the story parallel themes in LOST.

Kate tells Jack she's a vegetarian, but she just ate bacon and eggs in her Australia flashback in the previous episode.

Claire asks Jack to lead the funeral, but Jack refuses, saying it isn't his thing. Perhaps the reason he's so opposed to the idea (aside from not being very religious) is that he was thinking of his own father whose body was on the plane, and for whose funeral he was flying back to Los Angeles. Later in the episode, Jack begins seeing his father walking around on the Island.

One of the "log carrying guys" was using Locke's wheelchair to haul logs. Later in the episode, they burned the wheelchair. Why in the world would they have done that? Granted, it's difficult to roll a wheelchair on anything but paved ground, and they couldn't find the person to whom it had belonged so they probably assumed that the owner died in the crash, but at the very least they could have kept it to use as a chair.

Claire finds an envelope with Sayid's name on it and gives it to him. It contains photographs of Nadia. This is the first time we see her face, but we don't yet learn her name or the reason why Sayid was flying to L.A.

Locke calls Kate "Helen." In a flashback we see Locke talking to a woman on the phone and calling her Helen, but it turns out that John is a customer and that he's paying $89.95 an hour to speak with her. At this point in the show, we don't know about the real Helen, and many viewers (myself included) assumed at the time that this was the only Helen to whom he was referring.

Locke is confronted by the monster and lives! Why did it let him live? Did it know about his destiny to become a future leader of the Island? If the monster is Jacob's enemy or associated with him, did it somehow know that Locke would be instrumental in Jacob's death?

Rose tells Jack that her husband Bernard isn't dead, and Jack argues that he was in the tail section; Jack presumes that everyone in the tail section died. Rose says that the people in the tail section are probably thinking the same thing about them. This is the first time we've been given any hint that there might be survivors from the tail section of the plane.

Just after his conversation with Rose, Jack sees his father Christian Shephard on the Island for the first time, and he's wearing his signature suit and white tennis shoes. We don't know yet that this apparition is his father or the significance of the white tennis shoes.

Locke emerges from the jungle with blood on his face and dragging a boar. Did Locke kill the boar by himself, or did the monster kill it? Just before Locke heard the monster, he had been hunting a boar. When Michael congratulates Locke, Locke seems confused, and doesn't actually admit to having killed the boar. Whether he killed it or not, Locke does end up becoming the main provider of food through his hunting.

Why does Locke lie to Michael and say he didn't get a look at the monster?

We find out at the end of the episode that Locke was in a wheelchair before the plane crash! His miraculous healing was apparently the secret that Locke had told Walt about.

Locke was in Australia to go on a walkabout (hence the episode title), for which he had been preparing for four years (4 is one of the Numbers).


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4 Comments:

Blogger Sayid'sgirl said...

Good recap of the episodes.
I do disagree with one thing. I don't think they burned the wheelchair. I think it was just very close to the fire and the cameara angle made it appear to be burning.
Also when Locke's leg was hurt by the blast door in season 2, Kate said there was a wheelchair on the beach. But Locke didn't want it and they got him crutches.

Are we sure it was the Smoke Monster that Locke seen? In season 3 he told Eko he seen a bright light. I'm assuming he was talking about this meeting.

I think that the monster (or whatever it was) killed the boar.
But why was Locke so bloody? Did he have a confrontation with the monster?

At the end of Tabula Rasa when the camera panned around Locke and they played the intense music. It lead me to believe that Locke couldn't be trusted.

Looking forward to the podcast commentaries.

Sunday, June 07, 2009 3:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Ike said...

What shoes was Christian wearing in the casket initially?

The shoes Jack put into Locke's casket for the attempt to parallel his father's experience were dress shoes...

Monday, June 08, 2009 9:40:00 AM  
Blogger the JoshMeister said...

Ike:

Jack put white tennis shoes on Christian Shephard's body in the casket prior to Flight 815. These tennis shoes were still on Christian's body during the flight from Sydney to LAX, and hence that's what the apparitions of Christian have been wearing on and off the Island. In the Season 5 episode "316" Jack explained the white shoes to Kate. Quoting from my post about 316:

Jack explains the white tennis shoes that Christian wore on the island: they were Jack's because he didn't think Christian was worth a nice pair

For my full commentary on "316" see this post.

Monday, June 08, 2009 1:11:00 PM  
Blogger Telmo Couto said...

Was I the only one who noticed that the island's magnetism from the swan can be heard in every flashback of the 815's crash? Among all the noise, you can hear the same strange "magnetic" sound we hear during the "incident"

Tuesday, June 09, 2009 2:46:00 AM  

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