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Saturday, June 27, 2009

LOST Rewatch: S1E13 "Hearts and Minds" and S1E14 "Special"

Here are some of my thoughts after rewatching episodes 13 and 14 of the first season of LOST, as part of my contribution to The LOST Rewatch (see my previous rewatch posts). When I get a chance, I'll post my rewatch commentaries in the podcast feed as well.

Stay tuned for my commentaries on episodes 15 and 16, "Homecoming" and "Outlaws", coming soon!

Season 1 Episode 13 - "Hearts and Minds"

This episode starts out on Boone's eye as he jealously watches Sayid flirt with Shannon.

We find out that Shannon has been pulling a long con on Boone: she consistently feigns involvement in an abusive relationship to get Boone to pay substantial amounts of money to her boyfriends to get them to leave her, and then the faux boyfriends split the money with her. Shannon sees it as her way of getting what Boone's mother owes her after treating her unfairly after Shannon's father died.

Sayid discovers a magnetic anomaly on the Island after Locke gives him a compass. Sayid notices that the reading on the compass is dramatically incorrect based on where the sun rises and sets. He tells Jack, "A minor magnetic anomaly might explain a variance of two or three degrees, but not this." Sayid presumes the compass to be defective, but of course this episode takes place before anyone knew about the powerful magnetic anomaly at the Swan Station.

In the past I've heard rumors that in Boone's dream sequence, Shannon was missing an arm after the monster killed her. However, after watching this scene again, I can confirm that this rumor is not true. Each of Shannon's arms is clearly visible in a couple of shots as Boone approaches and picks up her body.

Jack asks Charlie about his opinion of Locke, to which Charlie replies, "Trust him? No offense, mate, but if there's one person on this island I would put my absolute faith in to save us all, it would be John Locke." Charlie's assertion may have been partially true, but sadly Locke didn't save Charlie.

Locke told Boone, "I gave you an experience that I believe was vital to your survival on this island." As shamanistic as Locke may seem, he was rather incorrect about this one. Boone didn't even survive until the end of the season.

Season 1 Episode 14 - "Special"

We begin the episode on Michael's eye. Through the flashbacks in this episode, we learn how Michael ended up being separated from Walt very early in Walt's life, and we learn that this was quite a struggle for Michael.

Locke teaches Walt how to throw a knife. When Walt visualizes throwing the knife into the tree, he can do it perfectly. Walt excitedly says, "It was weird. I actually saw it, in my mind or something, like it was real," to which Locke responds, "Who's to say it wasn't?" Here we have yet another hint about Walt's apparent psychic powers, and we get more hints later in the episode. Locke tells Michael, "Maybe you haven't spent enough time with him to see it, but he's different. ... And we're not back home, Michael. As long as we're here, I think Walt should be allowed to realize his potential."

Shannon decides to help Michael build a raft and asks Boone to help her, but he just says "No thanks." Boone apparently has so much faith in Locke that he thinks the hatch is more important than trying to find a way off the Island.

In a flashback, Walt's adoptive father Brian Porter ignores Walt when Walt is trying to talk to him. When Walt got angry at Brian, a bird suddenly hit the glass window and died. Walt had been reading a book about birds when he became angry. Brian seems very disturbed by this.

In one of the LOST: Missing Pieces mobisodes (which are officially part of the LOST canon), we learn that Walt was held in Room 23 after being captured by The Others—the same place where Alex's boyfriend Karl was later brainwashed. When Walt was in that room, several birds of all shapes and sizes crashed into the window and their bodies piled up outside.

In another flashback we learn that after Walt's mother Susan died, Brian came to Michael to convince him to take custody of Walt because "Sometimes when he's around things happen. He's different somehow."

When Walt wanders off with Vincent, he is chased by a polar bear. Earlier in the episode, Michael burned the comic book that Walt was looking at, and the pages Walt had been reading showed a polar bear attack. Obviously, Walt was angry about his father throwing his comic book into the fire. Was this polar bear a manifestation of Walt's anger, or summoned by his anger or his visualization of a polar bear?

The comic book that Michael burned was Hurley's Spanish edition of Green Lantern and Flash: Faster Friends Part One, the same one that Walt was reading in "Pilot, Part 2" (see my rewatch commentary for that episode). I was curious about the words that Walt was trying to read aloud, which didn't sound much like Spanish except for "oso polar" (polar bear) at the end. (I happen to speak Spanish, by the way.) I took a screen capture of the comic book so I could find out what it really said. In Spanish, the sentence is "Wally se pondrá muy feliz cuando sepa que me comió un oso polar," which in English means "Wally will be very happy to know that I was eaten by a polar bear." Wally and Walt are both nicknames derived from the name Walter (Walt's full name is Walter Lloyd).

In a flashback, a nurse suggests a silly joke for Michael to write in his birthday card to Walt, and says "Trust me. Mother of 4 talking here." This is another appearance of one of the Numbers.

After fighting the urge to read Claire's diary in her absence, Charlie ultimately succumbs to the temptation. He reads in her diary that she dreamed about a black rock: "I had that weird dream again, the one with the black rock I can't get away from. I try to leave it but it won't let me." Charlie wonders if it was the same black rock that Danielle referred to. Of course, we know that there's a slave ship on the Island called the Black Rock, but there have also been other black rocks including the large black rock at The Line. Refer to Lostpedia's article on the Island's various black rocks.

At the very end of the episode, Locke and Boone are looking for Vincent, and they come across Claire walking through the jungle all by herself, perhaps still delusional; as we find out in the next episode, she doesn't remember anything beyond being on the plane, and yet she went with strangers back to their camp prior to revealing that she has amnesia.

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LOST Rewatch: S1E11 "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues" and S1E12 "Whatever the Case May Be"

Here are some of my thoughts after rewatching episodes 11 and 12 of the first season of LOST, as part of my contribution to The LOST Rewatch (see my previous rewatch posts). When I get a chance, I'll post my rewatch commentaries in the podcast feed as well.

Season 1 Episode 11 - "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues"

At the end of the previous episode, Ethan was staring creepily at Claire and Charlie, and meanwhile Hurley began telling Jack that Ethan wasn't on the flight manifest. This episode begins with Jack and Locke trying to find them. Locke finds footprints and evidence of two people having been dragged off. Jack says, "This doesn't make any sense. How could one man drag two people, one pregnant?" For a while, many fans assumed that The Others had superhuman strength because of hints like this about Ethan. Oddly, this never seems to have been fully explained on the show, and we now know that at least some of The Others—including Ethan—are normal humans who have been recruited by The Others. We know that Ethan and Ben were originally DHARMA Initiative members' children, Juliet grew up off the Island and was recruited for her medical expertise, Cindy, Zach and Emma were tail section survivors who were assimilated, John Locke was chosen as the next leader of The Others before Ben's departure from the Island, etc. Richard Alpert and Jacob comprise a different class of Others who never seem to age, but we haven't seen any indication of them having unnatural strength.

So, since Ethan was apparently born to normal human parents under normal circumstances, did he have some help from other Others that we never found out about? Presumably if Ethan had assistants, they could have walked in each others' footsteps when dragging away Charlie and Claire, or perhaps they dragged the bodies in such a way as to cover their tracks. However, based on the conversation that Tom had with Ethan (as seen in a flashback in the Season 2 episode "Maternity Leave"), it sounded like Ethan acted on his own, even before making the list that Ben ordered him to make. The mystery of Ethan Rom's apparent superhuman strength remains unsolved.

Walt does exceedingly well against Hurley at Backgammon, rolling exactly what he wants twice in a row (4 and 3, then double sixes). Hurley contends "No one is that lucky," to which Walt responds that his step-dad Brian Porter "said I was the luckiest person he ever knew." Yet again we have subtle hints that Walt may be able to subconsciously make things happen with his mind.

When Walt beats Hurley and Hurley walks away, Walt says "You owe me 20,000 dollars!" Hurley replies seriously, "You'll get it." I wonder whether Hurley ended up giving Walt his $20,000 after they both made it off the Island.

Shannon is concerned about Boone not being back yet after Jack and Kate bring back Charlie. Kate tells Shannon reassuringly, "If there's anyone on this island that your brother's safe with, it's Locke." Considering that Boone ended up dying because of his later adventures with Locke, I guess Kate was wrong about that after all. Earlier in the episode, as Boone carries a torn red shirt for making markers of where they've been, he comments to Locke about red shirts on Star Trek indicating the characters who "always got killed," a foreshadowing of his own fate. Locke remarks, "Sounds like a piss-poor captain." I suppose this turned out to be a self-referential comment considering that Locke was partially to blame for Boone's death, having sent him into the perilous situation that got him killed.

The episode ends with Locke and Boone accidentally discovering the hatch; John throws Boone a flashlight, Boone fails to catch it, and it lands with a metallic clank on the steel hatch door.

Season 1 Episode 12 - "Whatever the Case May Be"

Sayid comments that "Everything is getting washed out to sea. This can't be normal. The tide shifting so suddenly, rising in so short a time." Does this sudden shift of tide have anything to do with the Island constantly moving? Another theory is that the sudden tide shift may be evidence of time dilation, the phenomenon observed by Dan Faraday that time moves more slowly on the Island than off the Island.

Shannon says that Boone "and Locke have been leaving before sunrise and coming back after dark for the last 4 days." Of course, 4 is one of the Numbers. Later, Kate tells Jack that the Marshal had 4 guns in the case.

Later in the season we find out that Kate's toy airplane had belonged to her childhood sweetheart, Tom Brennan. When Tom died, the Marshal retrieved the toy airplane and put it in a safety deposit box (number 815, the Oceanic flight number and also two of the Numbers, 8 and 15, put together).

Kate pulled a long con on Jason the bank robber; she made him think that her name was Maggie, and she developed a relationship with him apparently for the sole purpose of getting him to orchestrate the bank robbery that would get her to the safe deposit box. Clearly, Sawyer is not the only person on the Island with a history of pulling long cons.

Why is Jack so concerned about getting Kate to tell the truth about her past? Jack has challenged her in three different episodes since initially stopping her from voluntarily revealing her past in "Tabula Rasa", telling her "We should all be able to start over." So much for that idea; now Jack wants to get Kate to confess everything to him.

After being pressured by Jack to tell the truth about the toy airplane, Kate tells Jack, "It belonged to the man I killed!" We find out later this season in the episode "Born To Run" that Kate didn't actually kill Tom Brennan, although he died because of his involvement with Kate's plan to speak to her mother in the hospital. We don't find out what really caused Kate to begin her life on the run—murdering her biological father, Wayne Janssen—until the Season 2 episode "What Kate Did".

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

LOST Rewatch: S1E09 "Solitary" and S1E10 "Raised By Another"

Here are some of my thoughts after rewatching episodes 9 and 10 of the first season of LOST, as part of my contribution to The LOST Rewatch (see my previous rewatch posts). When I get a chance, I'll post my rewatch commentaries in the podcast feed as well.

For those who are strictly following the Rewatch schedule, you'll notice that I didn't get a chance to watch all four episodes this week. I found so much to research and write about these two episodes that I spent several hours on them, so I've had to put off episodes 11 and 12 for now. You can subscribe to this blog (see the links in the sidebar) and/or follow me on Twitter to be notified about my LOST articles as soon as I publish them.

Season 1 Episode 9 - "Solitary"

The episode begins with Sayid sitting on the beach looking at a picture of Nadia with a note written on the back. He later tells Danielle that the writing says "You'll find me in the next life if not in this one" and we find out in a flashback that Nadia wrote this.

The episode title has reference to both Sayid, who has been traveling by himself around the Island, and more particularly to Danielle, who has been all alone for 16 years (16, of course, is one of the Numbers which we find out about in a future episode).

Sayid notices a cable partially buried in the sand. He digs it up and sees that one end goes into the ocean, and he decides to follow the other end into the jungle. Kate tells Jack that Sayid has been gone for two days, so apparently it's a pretty long walk to get to the cable when following the shoreline. We now know that the cable goes to the underwater DHARMA station known as The Looking Glass. According to Mikhail Bakunin in the Season 3 episode "Enter 77", the cable's main purpose is for communication, and that the other end goes to the Flame Station.

While following the cable, Sayid triggers one of Danielle's snare traps. He wakes up in Danielle's lair and hears voices repeating over and over again in French, Spanish, and English the words "Where is Alex?" It is well known that Danielle speaks French and English, but apparently she also speaks Spanish, or at least knows some basic phrases.

Regarding her science team's crash on the Island, Danielle says that "Our vessel was three days out of Tahiti when our instruments malfunctioned." She doesn't specify which direction their vessel had been heading, or whether she was going to or coming from Tahiti, but assuming a similar rate of speed to the 9 knots Desmond was traveling when trying to escape the Island, the Island was definitely in a different place when Danielle arrived than when Desmond arrived (refer to my Google Earth file and search the globe for Tahiti to see its location in relation to where Desmond thought the Island was).

Danielle claims that she and her science team "made camp" and "Dug out this temporary shelter" in which she is now living. Her story seems to conflict with what we later see in the Season 5 episode "This Place Is Death," in which (as far as I can recall) it appears as though Danielle and her team never left their initial camp on the beach. Danielle tells Sayid that two months after their vessel crashed on the Island, they were coming back from the Black Rock when something happened (implying that that's when her team got infected), and she says that "The Others" were "the carriers" of the sickness. From what we later see in "This Place Is Death" it is implied that going into the Cerberus Vent—the hole in the ground next to the wall surrounding the temple—caused Danielle's colleagues to become infected, so it doesn't look like they ever went to the Black Rock with her unless it happened sometime after that event. Another discrepancy is that Danielle tells Sayid that she hasn't seen other people on the Island, although she's heard them whispering in the jungle; however, we know that she saw Ben when he took Alex from her. There are a number of inconsistencies in Danielle's story, many of which are detailed in the Lostpedia article about her.

Danielle explains that the sickness "took" her team members "one after the other," which is why she killed them. "I had no choice. They were already lost." Her use of the word "lost" is interesting, and may hint at some sort of connection with the title of the show. Does being changed by the Island make someone lost?

Danielle finally explains who Alex is, saying only that "Alex was my child." Danielle doesn't correct Sayid's repeated assumption that Alex is male, and hence for a long time most viewers probably assumed that Alex was Danielle's son until eventually a teenage female named Alex is seen on the show.

We hear whispers for the first time on the show when Sayid makes his way through the jungle as it's getting dark. By the time he makes it back to the caves, he tells Jack that they're not alone on the Island, and his franticness implies that he's referring to the source of the whispers, not just to Danielle.

Another notable event in the episode (or should I say "an Other event") is when Ethan Rom shows up at the caves with Locke, and Locke introduces him to Hurley as his hunting partner. This is the first time we've seen Ethan on the show. We see him later in the episode among other spectators at Hurley's golf course.

Season 1 Episode 10 - "Raised By Another"

The episode starts on Claire's eye as she begins to have a frightening dream about her baby. Among other occurrences in the nightmare, Claire sees a scary version of John Locke who tells her "You know what's happening. He was your responsibility but you gave him away, Claire. Everyone pays the price now." Assuming there's some significance to Nightmare Locke's words, what does he mean by "everyone pays the price now"? How would "everyone" (perhaps meaning the other Flight 815 survivors) be harmed by Claire's choice to fly to Los Angeles to give up Aaron? Perhaps the meaning is that if Claire hadn't been on the plane, Ethan would not kidnap her and try to take her baby, Charlie might not get hanged nearly to death by Ethan, Ethan would not get shot and killed by Charlie, etc. Certainly a lot of things were set in motion because of Claire being on Flight 815.

When Nightmare Locke looks up at Claire, we see very clearly that his left eye is white and his right eye is black. This gets back to the theme of black and white, light and dark, but perhaps more significantly it may have been a hint about who Locke would ultimately become—or rather, that Jacob's enemy would ultimately take on the persona and appearance of Locke. The real John Locke was loyal to the Island and to Jacob, hence the all-white eye. In contrast, Jacob's enemy (who would pose as Locke on the Island throughout Season 5) wore black when Jacob wore white in the beginning of the Season 5 finale, indicating that he's not one of the "good guys"; hence, Locke's all-black eye in Claire's dream may represent Jacob's enemy.

Also interesting is what Nightmare Locke had on the table in front of him: crystals (possibly quartz) and a deck of cards (perhaps tarot cards), which are tools of the fortune telling trade. This may be an indication that the things Locke said to Claire were wise and based on knowledge of future events, or perhaps they may have just been a concoction of Claire's mind because of her interest in psychics, astrology, and the like.

I also find it interesting that Claire would later become friends with Locke after having seen him in such a frightening nightmare.

After Claire wakes up screaming a second time, she claims that someone held her down and then just ran away. Ethan is one of the people who comes running up to see what the commotion is about, and Jack asks Ethan to bring some water for Claire.

In a flashback, Claire's boyfriend Thomas says during their breakup fight when discussing the baby, "Perfect. Now I get all your daddy abandonment crap." We didn't realize it at the time, but it sounds like Thomas was referring to Claire having previously mentioned that her dad had abandoned her. We now know that Jack's dad Christian Shephard is also Claire's father, and that Christian chose to live with his wife and son in the United States rather than staying in Sydney with his mistress and his daughter. Later in the episode, Claire says that her dad used to sing "Catch a Falling Star" to her when she was little, so perhaps Christian made frequent visits for some time after Claire was born.

Hurley begins taking a census to find out about all the survivors, presuming that one of them may be responsible for attacking Claire the previous night. One of the people he talks to is Ethan, who reveals that his last name is Rom. Ethan Rom is an anagram for "Other Man." Later in the episode, Hurley gets the flight manifest from Sawyer and discovers that Ethan's name was not on the manifest.

Richard Malkin, Claire's psychic, says "It is crucial that you yourself raise this child. ... This child parented by anyone else, anyone other than you— danger surrounds this baby. ... There is no happy life—not for this child, not without you. ... It can't be another. You mustn't allow another to raise your baby." Many fans have pointed out that the line "You mustn't allow another to raise your baby" could also be interpreted as "you mustn't allow an Other to raise your baby."

Richard Malkin later tells Mr. Eko in the Season 2 episode "?" that "...I'm a fraud. ...I make my living as a psychic. You see, that's what I do. I gather intelligence on people and I exploit it. Every day I meet people looking for a miracle, desperate to find one. But there are none to be had." Why, then, did he give Claire her money back after both readings, and why was he so persistent for four months trying to convince Claire not to give up the baby for adoption?

Perhaps Richard Malkin really does have some psychic ability after all. My theory is that someone either paid or threatened Richard Malkin to get him to tell Claire about the supposed couple in Los Angeles, offer her money with the promise of more in L.A., and give her the ticket for Oceanic Flight 815. It may even be that his daughter Charlotte Malkin was nearly drowned by whomever was trying to get him to convince Claire to take that flight. Perhaps Jacob (or someone on his side like Richard Alpert) used Richard Malkin to make sure that Claire would come to the Island. It could be that Richard Malkin told Mr. Eko that he was a fraud because of the guilt he felt about having just deceived Claire.

In a conversation with Claire in the jungle, Charlie shares a different theory about the psychic. He speculates that Richard Malkin was a real psychic and that he knew that Flight 815 would crash on the Island, that Claire would survive, and that this would force her to raise the baby herself. Now that we've seen more of the story, however, Charlie's theory is less plausible. If Richard Malkin really sent Claire to the Island on purpose to force her to raise her baby, he should also have foreknown about Claire's unexplained disappearance in the middle of the night to go with her dead father and that Aaron would afterward be raised by Kate, not Claire.

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

LOST Rewatch: S1E05 "White Rabbit" through S1E08 "Confidence Man"

Here are some of my thoughts after rewatching episodes five through eight of the first season of LOST, as part of my contribution to The LOST Rewatch (see my previous rewatch posts). When I get a chance, I'll post my rewatch commentaries in the podcast feed as well.

Season 1 Episode 5 - "White Rabbit"

The episode again starts with a closeup of Jack's eye, but this time it's a flashback of Jack as a boy. This is the first time we've seen a flashback that doesn't deal directly with how a character ended up on the Island.

Someone is drowning, and Charlie yells for Jack and claims "I don't swim." That's a bit strange considering that Charlie didn't seem to have any problem with swimming when he volunteered to go to The Looking Glass, the underwater DHARMA station, in the Season 3 episode "Greatest Hits."

Jack saves Boone from drowning, but fails to save Joanna, whom Boone had been trying to rescue.

Kate tells Claire she's "sorting the practical clothes from the impractical." One of the next items she sorts through is camouflage. Why wasn't anyone wearing that when they were at war with The Others?

In a continuation of the flashback, Jack's father (whose name we now know is Christian Shephard) tells young Jack not to try to be a hero, and to not try to save everyone because "You just don't have what it takes."

Jack finally sees his father up close on the Island and gets panicked. We find out later that part of the reason why he's so shaken up by this experience is that his father died in Australia prior to Flight 815.

In a flashback, Jack's mother says that Jack can't refuse to go save his father, "Not after what you did." We now know what she was accusing him of: turning his father in for drinking on the job, leading to Christian getting fired and running off to Australia. We also now know why Christian chose Australia; he had a mistress and a daughter there (Carole Littleton and Claire Littleton, respectively).

Locke volunteers to go into the jungle to look for water because someone stole the last of the bottles (we later discover that the thief was Boone). Locke eventually catches up with Jack and saves him from falling off a cliff. Locke saved Jack's life! You'd think Jack would have been a lot nicer to Locke after that.

When Charlie is talking to Claire, the tattoo on his shoulder is very prominent. It says "Living is easy with eyes closed." This is a quote from the Beatles song "Strawberry Fields Forever" written by John Lennon (preview/download a cover version on Amazon MP3).

John Locke gives his famous line to Jack, "But I've looked into the eye of this island, and what I saw... was beautiful." Locke also talks about how he generally doesn't believe in magic, but the Island is different.

Jack has a flashback to Australia, specifically to when he identified his father's corpse. Christian died of a massive heart attack caused by overdrinking.

Back on the Island, Jack thinks he hears his father walking behind him. He tries to find his dad, and ends up discovering the caves and freshwater falls instead. He discovers Christian's casket nearby and finds it empty! This is very similar to the Season 3 episode "The Cost of Living" in which an apparition of Yemi appeared in Mr. Eko's tent, and when Eko went to the drug smugglers' plane (which Eko had previously burned in the Season 2 episode "The 23rd Psalm"), he discovered that Yemi's remains were missing. In both cases, the bodies were missing, and the apparitions led the main characters into a deadly trap; Jack nearly fell off a cliff to his death, and Eko was violently beaten to death by the smoke monster.

In Jack's speech, he tells them that "'every man for himself' is not gonna work" and "if we can't live together, we're gonna die alone." This is the origin of the oft-repeated phrase on LOST, "Live together, die alone."

Season 1 Episode 6 - "House of the Rising Sun"

The episode starts on Sun's eye. In this episode we find out about how Jin went from being an innocent and loving man to being so full of anger. Jin asked Sun's dad (Mr. Paik) for his permission to marry her, and Jin was granted permission only under the condition that he work for Mr. Paik for two years. During this time, Jin was forced to deliver "messages" from Mr. Paik, which basically meant that Jin's job was to brutally beat people to get them to comply with Mr. Paik's demands.

This is the episode where we learn about the so-called "Adam and Eve" skeletons at the caves. There have been many fan theories about Adam and Eve ever since this episode first aired, including that they might be Amelia Earhart and her flying companion Fred Noonan, and there seemed to be hints to this effect in the Find 815 ARG. Out of all the theories I've heard, the one that seems the most plausible to me based on what we've seen up through Season 5 is that it's Rose and Bernard, who after being taken back in time to 1974 decided to avoid the rest of the Island's inhabitants and live on their own in peace. The clues we get from this episode are Jack's analysis that "there doesn't seem to be any major trauma to the bones," that "someone laid them to rest here," that "It takes 40 or 50 years for clothing to degrade like this," (which I find a little bit unreliable since Jack is a spinal surgeon, not an archaeologist) and that "one of them is female." Jack also speculated that "they must have lived here." One of them carried a pouch with two smooth stones, one white and one black. Locke coined the pair's nickname: "Our very own Adam and Eve."

This episode begins the feud between those who refuse to leave the beach in case of possible rescue and those who want to move to the caves to be near the fresh water and natural shelter. Eventually it seems that everyone ends up living on the beach, which never seemed to be fully explained on the show. After Claire was attacked during the night, Shannon swore off the idea of moving to "the rape caves," and this feeling of insecurity at the caves was probably shared by other survivors. However, Jack mentions how much work it is to haul fresh water from the caves to the beach, and to the best of my recollection we never hear about that particular challenge again once everyone ends up on the beach.

We find out in a Sun flashback that she can speak English, and that she learned it so she could escape from Jin at the Sydney airport. Sun finally reveals privately to Michael that she can speak English so that he'll give the watch back to Jin so that he can be set free.

For the first time, Locke speaks about sacrificing something to the Island to get something in return. He tells Charlie that he must sacrifice his drugs so that he can get his guitar back, and after Charlie agrees, Locke points up to where Charlie's guitar is. Later in the season, Locke believes that Boone's death was a sacrifice that the Island demanded.

Michael uses an axe to break Jin's handcuffs. Where in the world did he get an axe?

Season 1 Episode 7 - "The Moth"

Charlie starts to go through withdrawals from not taking his drugs, and with a lot of help from Locke he overcomes his addiction (at least for now). The episode title comes from an object lesson that Locke teaches to Charlie. He says that if he was to help a moth escape from its cocoon, it would be too weak to survive; the struggle to get out is nature's way of strengthening the moth. Locke implies that Charlie is like the moth, struggling through a difficult situation, and that he can be strengthened by voluntarily overcoming his addiction to heroin.

Sayid points out to Kate that it doesn't make any sense that they survived the plane crash with just a few scrapes, and he says that there's no way it could have been just "blind, dumb luck" as Kate suggests. (Again, this goes back to my theory that somehow Jacob made it possible for them to survive as part of his social experiment, to see if people would ultimately live in peace on the Island.)

Jack gets trapped in a cave-in. When Charlie goes in to help Jack get out, he says "I'm here to rescue you." In the season 4 episode "Confirmed Dead," Daniel Faraday introduces himself to Jack saying, "I'm Daniel Faraday. I'm here to rescue you." These lines seem to be an homage to Star Wars (Episode IV: A New Hope) in which Luke introduces himself to Leia saying, "I'm Luke Skywalker. I'm here to rescue you." Earlier in the episode, Sawyer says the line "Well, that's the real trick, isn't it?" in reference to moving to the caves, which is also a line from Han Solo in the same Star Wars movie. There have been a number of other references to Star Wars on LOST.

We find out in this episode that prior to Drive Shaft becoming popular, Charlie had been a religious person of the Catholic faith. He gave that up for the band because his brother talked him into believing he was a "rock god." While trapped in the cave, Jack says to Charlie, "I wouldn't have taken you for a religious man," to which Charlie replies "I used to be." Jack's remark is similar to something Claire says in the Season 2 episode "Adrift" when she discovers Charlie's Virgin Mary statue (she being unaware of the fact that it's filled with heroin); Claire says to Charlie, "I didn't realize you were so religious," and Charlie replies that he isn't, but that the statue "might come in handy."

As Sayid tries to triangulate the signal coming from the radio tower, someone knocks him unconscious with a stick. We don't find out until a later episode that it was Locke who knocked out Sayid.

Season 1 Episode 8 - "Confidence Man"

Sawyer is reading Watership Down (Wikipedia, Amazon), a novel by Richard Adams. Sawyer later reads the book again in the Season 3 episode "Left Behind". Lostpedia lists a number of similarities and shared themes between Watership Down and the LOST story.

The book originally belonged to Boone, and when Boone saw Sawyer reading it, he assumed that Sawyer must be in possession of his bag. Shannon ran out of medicine in her asthma inhaler, and Boone accused Sawyer of having his bag, which contained the inhaler refills that he had packed. Throughout the episode, Sawyer endures the ire of the other survivors as they seek to help Shannon and assume the worst of Sawyer.

Sawyer makes Kate read the letter that he carries around with him. Since it's addressed to "Mr. Sawyer," when watching the episode for the first time the viewer (like Kate) assumes that a child wrote the letter to him and that he was responsible for the death of the child's parents. Thus he knowingly cons Kate by making her read the letter.

In keeping with the con theme of the episode, Locke cons Sayid into thinking it was Sawyer who knocked him out in the jungle, even going so far as to suggest a somewhat credible theory that Sawyer could have created a slow fuse to set off his rocket by using one of his cigarettes, which would have given Sawyer an alibi. Locke even hands Sayid one of his knives to use if he's ever confronted by Sawyer again.

Sayid says that when he spent five years as a Communications Officer in the Republican Guard, "part of my training entailed getting the enemy to communicate." We find out later that this "training" was actually given to him by the United States military (specifically Kelvin Inman) when Sayid was captured and coerced into torturing his own superior. Kelvin would later become Desmond's hatch mate.

Sayid tortures Sawyer, and Sawyer says he'll only talk to Kate. He uses the situation to take advantage of her and get a kiss from her, and then admits that he never had the inhaler refills in the first place.

Kate figures out that Sawyer was actually the one who wrote the letter when he was a boy, and he comes clean: "How's that for a tragedy? I became the man I was hunting. Became Sawyer." We learn from the flashbacks in this episode that he became a con man who did many of the same despicable things that the original Mr. Sawyer had done. However, there was a significant difference between him and the original Sawyer: he had compassion on a couple whom he had been planning to con out of $160,000 when he found out that they had a child. Seeing the boy reminded him of his own childhood and what Mr. Sawyer had done to him. He walked out on the con because he didn't want to become the same person whom he hated and blamed for his parents' deaths. (Incidentally, $160,000 contains "16" which is one of the numbers.)

Sayid, feeling ashamed because of having stooped to using torture, losing his temper, and badly injuring Sawyer's arm with Locke's knife, takes a backpack and goes for a walk along the coastline, telling Kate that he's going to map the Island. This trek will lead to Sayid's discovery of a cable going between the jungle and the ocean (which presumably goes to the underwater station, The Looking Glass) as well as his discovery of Danielle Rousseau's makeshift home on the Island.

Charlie woos Claire with a jar filled with imaginary peanut butter and convinces her to move to the caves.

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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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