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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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Blogger dan x said...

Charlie says he can't swim because he wants to cover up the fact he's high/in withdrawal, and in no condition to swim, surely?

Monday, June 15, 2009 1:01:00 PM  

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