Home > Lost, Reviews, TV > Lost Season 1, Episode 1 & 2: Pilot

Lost Season 1, Episode 1 & 2: Pilot

Welcome to the Lost Re-Re-Rewatch Project. In case you’re wondering, the answer is yes. This is my fourth round-trip to the Island, but my first time attempting to chronicle my thoughts on the show on an episode-by-episode basis. The mission: A post per episode. Nothing so epic and theory-heavy as Doc Jensen’s great stuff at EW.com, which I highly suggest you read (the theory game is a bit moot at this point anyway), but hopefully it will help scratch both my writing itch and my Lost itch at the same time.

Many of you will think it’s crazy to continue devoting hours upon hours to a show Ive seen three times over. I won’t disagree, and neither will my wife (though she will be long in bed when I watch most of these episodes). But I’m of the belief that no time is wasted that is spent appreciating and exploring good storytelling, and I hope you enjoy what I’m trying to do here over the next many months, particularly if you are a fan of the show. Besides, what is 121 hours, anyway?

Episode 1: “Pilot Part 1” and “Pilot Part 2

What is there to be said about this episode that hasn’t been said over the last seven-plus years? Cinematic in scope and production, this is nothing less than one of the greatest (and riskiest) television pilots in history. The extended opening crash/rescue scene, beginning with the famous, meme-to-be of Jack’s eye opening in the jungle, is of particular magnificence. I become only more impressed with this beach scene with each subsequent viewing and, believe it or not, notice something new each time. It’s the only segment in the entire series where the passengers of Oceanic 815 are truly strangers to one another, and hence to us. It’s not impossible to recapture that feeling amid the chaos of the crash’s aftermath.

To seasoned (re)watchers, the rest of the episode pales a bit in comparison to the hectic opening minutes. Jack and Kate’s meet cute, the duo’s first (with Charlie) of an infinite number of treks through the jungle to find the cockpit, and even the first attack by the “monster” (no sign of smoke just yet) might have been heart-stopping on first viewing, though I kind of doubt it. There are a lot of good moments, but it’s also pretty easy to spot a lot of what was wrong with the first season: Too much Shannon and Boone, a little too much Charlie and Walt, that sort of stuff (granted, the show needed to immediately appeal to people who like A. Hot twentysomethings, B. The Lord of the Rings and C. Kids in adult dramas).

The group’s first encounter of the “Monster” is pretty startling, and gives the producers a reason to get all the principals in the same shot for the first time. The opening half of this episode–which was actually the first of two parts, airing a week apart but which I am including as a single episode–ends with the evisceration of the “Pilot,” which is why I suspect this episode title endured.

(Aside: Producers confirm that, in the original script, the role of Jack was set to be played by Michael Keaton and the character was supposed to die during this episode. Wow. Asshole tendencies of both the character and actor notwithstanding, that fact should truly make most Losties grateful for the impact Jack, and Matthew Fox, had on the series.)

One creepy-special glimpse of John Locke weirdness aside, the second half of the episode is, primarily, a trek by many of the castaways into the heart of the Island to acquire a signal after Sayid fixes the transceiver. Again, too much Shannon, a little too much Charlie. Fortunately it contains the right amount of Sawyer, who is the one to use the marshal’s gun (more on him in the next roundup) to pop a cap in some polar bear ass. Ironically, said polar bear won’t really be explained until AFTER the series is over, in a 14-minute DVD-extra addendum.

The final shot of the episode is an all-timer, a sweeping, revolving panorama said group of voyagers standing around the transceiver, which has picked up a recording of a woman repeating the same “Help me, they’re all dead” message over and over… which has been playing for 16 years.

The best episode of the series? No. Best pilot ever? Probably not. But one of the 10 or so episodes of Lost that I can watch, context free, at any moment for any reason? Absolutely.

Overall Episode Grade: A-

Episode: Pilot, Parts 1 and 2
Director: J.J. Abrams
Best Scene: John Locke invites Walt to play backgammon. Acts creepy. Foreshadows the living hell out of the entire series.

Best line: “Two players, two sides. One is light, the other is dark.” — John Locke
Best throwaway moment: Locke smiles at Kate with an orange in his mouth, a la The Godfather. Kate looks disturbed (get used to it).
Worst moment: Contrived Shannon-in-a-bikini scene. Kate’s semi-contrived bathing scene.
Revelations: Kate was the fugitive, there is or was someone else on the island, there’s a big ass thing in the jungle that eats aviators, Charlie is a junkie, Jack’s a boozer, Evangeline Lilly was a pretty terrible actor in 2004.

Next episode: “Tabula Rasa”

(All images and ep-title links are courtesy Lostpedia.com)

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Categories: Lost, Reviews, TV
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