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Lost, Season 1, Episode 10: Raised By Another

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.

Episode 10: “Raised By Another”

Overall Episode Grade: C-

I’m going to have to admit something that only people who have an understanding of the entire series of Lost will understand–I have a hard time watching any Claire-centric episode with anything but cynicism. Her story, and that of her unborn child, in the end amounts to little more than a McGuffin mixed with a Red Herring (Red McGuffin? Sounds like a Valentine’s Day McDonald’s sandwich.).

But I’ll explore that sentiment later (much later). For the time being, Claire is an engrossing character if for no other reason than she’s preggers and, oddly, the only surviving main cast member on a plane from Australia who happens to be Australian. Weird.

As an episode, this one is tail-heavy, with one of the major plot points of Season One going down. Up until then we keep track of Claire, who is having strange dreams. Really strange dreams. Check it out.

This dream–what with Locke’s black and white eyes, the foreshadowing of Claire giving her son away–have me hopes that the writers had a plan for Claire and Aaron and their place in the Lost story. “He was your responsibility but you gave him away, Claire. Everybody pays the price now.” I may or may not have been right, but it was still a pretty cool dream. Plus it gave us a chance to hear one of Claire’s signature lines. Only click the preceding YouTube link if you don’t mind slightly spoilerish scenes from subsequent seasons (with Claire there’s really no such thing as a spoiler, at least in the macro sense).

Claire awakes screaming a second time, and this time we see a flash of something metallic. A knife? A syringe? Creepy. Obviously Claire is kooky, but is someone actually trying to get her? Jack doesn’t think so. Like the good 21st century doctor he is, he thinks she needs meds. Claire disagrees. So does Charlie, who sticks up to her to Jack. What does this bravery earn everyone’s favorite island bassist once he bears his soul? That’s right… Claire shoots Charlie down. For now.

Off-Island, we learn that Claire’s pregnancy was not planned. She’s shacking up with a dickish artist named Thomas. The less said of Thomas the better, despite Claire’s assertion that he’s “awesome,” which is a really weird word to hear in an Aussie accent. Needless to say, Thomas bails, and Claire goes with a friend to see a palm-reader for fun. And if there’s one thing we have learned that pretty girls in pop fiction should never do, it’s go see psychics (right Cersei Lannister?).

The psychic’s name is Richard Malkin. At first he won’t read Claire’s fortune, and then he does. What he says begets the episode’s title: “You must raise this child. There is no happy life; not for this child, not without you. You mustn’t allow another to raise your child.” (Doc Jensen toyed with the idea, later in the series, that Malkin actually said “you mustn’t all an Other to raise your child.” Intersting, right?)

Too bad, Rick. Claire’s giving the baby up to a nice couple who already know the words to “Catch a Falling Star.” But at the signing her pen won’t work. And then the attorney’s pen won’t work. And then Claire gets cold feet and runs.

She calls Malkin, who suddenly reverses course and tells her he has a family lined up in Los Angeles, but she has to get on A CERTAIN flight, which is of course Oceanic 815. The script does a hammer-between-the-eyes job of making sure you know that (at least Charlie and Claire think) that Malkin knew the plane was going to crash, and Claire would have to raise the child. Is this true? Probably?

Back to the Island: In light of the attacks, Hurley thinks he should take a census, so he sweet-talks Sawyer out of the flight manifest and goes around asking people who they are. Turns out, one castaway isn’t on the list…

Sayid gets back to the caves from his vacation of hearing whispers and being tortured by Rousseau. He’s a little strung out…

Meanwhile, Claire has a labor scare, and Charlie tells the friendly Canadian guy, Ethan, to go get Jack. But Ethan doesn’t. Because Ethan wasn’t on the plane… He stares menacingly at Claire, Claire’s eyes get wider (if that’s possible), and *BONK* end title screen. And Lost has it’s first major cliffhanger. Hooray!

Claire-Bear Stare!

Episode: “Raised By Another”
Director: Marita Grabiak
Best Scene: I’m okay with the end. William Mapother (Ethan) is a strange looking fellow, especially when angry, and there was definitely some thrill to finally learning that, yes, there are other people on this Island.
Best Line/Scene: “I am so not moving to the rape caves.”: Shannon to Boone upon learning that Claire was attacked. Shannon actually has a few good ones in this exchange, as Hurley asks them for their name and info. “Age? 20. Address? Craphole Island.”
Worst Line: “I could be your friend.” For Charlie this is taking the side door to asking for a relationship. C’mon, Pace. Just cut to the chase and tell her you want to be the one to steal her post-partum meds every morning, okay?
Best Throwaway Moment: When Hurley is explaining to Jack that no one really knows who anyone else is, and therefore need the census, it leads to this singularly funny line:

“Hurley’s not my name, it’s Hugo Reyes. Hurley’s just a nickname I have… Why? I’m not telling.”

Revelations: The psychic set Claire on her path to the Island; Ethan wasn’t on the plane; Ethan is for some reason obsessed with Claire; Sayid makes it back to camp.

Next Episode: “All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues”

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

Categories: Lost, Reviews, TV

Lost, Season 1, Episode 9: Solitary

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.

Episode 9: “Solitary”

Overall Episode Grade: C

There are three episode-types in Lost: Those that are essential to the folklore of the show; those that are building blocks, though you have no idea at the time; and Kate episodes. “Solitary,” which introduces characters and themes/places that wind up impacting the show in significant ways, is one of the second types.

Still, very little of any real impact happens here, unless you are a huge Sayid fan. Though why wouldn’t you be? All Americans love a reformed Iraqi soldier, amirite? In “Solitary” we get a hearty dose of Sayid’s background, which I won’t dwell on now because, in truth, it just doesn’t matter.

Speaking of Sayid and the infinitely handsome actor who plays him, Naveen Andrews (C’mon, admit it–he was the whole reason you went to see The English Patient with that freaky indie chick in high school), check out this clip of him on Ellen. The British accent is most disconcerting (Also: mild Season 2 spoiler alert).

Now that I’ve assured that my wife is watching, let us count the little ways in which this show is mildly important:

1. We meet Danielle Rousseau. She provides a wacked-out-island-bitch face for the voice we heard on the distress signal in the pilot. She tells Sayid–on the lam since he tortured Sawyer–about the “Others” on the island and says they stole her daughter. Sayid is skeptical (like any good reformed Iraqi would be).

2. We meet Ethan Rom. Quick, someone better do a census and see who wasn’t on the flight manifest! Hurley? Hurley?!

3. Oh, Hurley’s building a golf course, trying to get everyone to have fun, because that’s all the writers can find for Hurley to do at this point in the show. And boy do they have fun! Everyone has a grand old time watching principal cast members hit balls in the grass. And even ol’ rascally Sawyer, fresh off having his fingernails pried and an artery severed by Sayid, even gets in on the fun. That said, the golf course segments are among the more fondly remembered scenes of season one, if only because people are, you know, smiling. Thanks, Hurley!

4. At the beginning of the episode, Sayid finds a cable running along the beach and into the water. *Click* Season 3 Likes This!

5. Sayid hears the voices and becomes the original “Others” advocate.

6. Walt feels jilted by his dad and goes and hangs out with Locke. Just kidding! That doesn’t matter at all! Also, I can’t tell if Walt is purposely sporting a Tall-T and rocking a fad from the early ’00s, or if he’s just wearing clothes they found that are too big for him. Either way, bad look for a rich kid from Australia.

"Dude, where's my par?"

Episode: “Solitary”
Director: Greg Yaitanes
Best Scene: Okay, okay, I’ll dabble in the flashbacks. Sayid’s scenes with Nadia (his true love) and his sacrifice to get her out of Army hands are very well done. Iraq just looks like a completely shitty place to be a military man. Honorable mention: Hey! We hadn’t seen Shannon in a bikini in like two episodes! And that’s pretty much the only reason to keep her around, right?
Best Line: Sawyer to Kate when she tells him she’s headed to Hurley’s golf course: “A doctor playing golf? What’s next… Cop eating a doughnut?” Of course it’s all in Josh Holloway’s delivery. That writing kind of sucks.
Worst Line: “Accidents  happen when you torture people, Jack.”: Kate to Jack when she explains why Sayid left and he claims Sawyer’s injuries were an accident. Jack, you should listen to Katheryn Ann Austen, here, for she is the unabashed voice of peace and reason on the island. Little known fact: This exact line also appeared, verbatim, at lease twice in each episode of 24.
Best Throwaway Moment: Hurley and Charlie dancing on the green while Jack lines up a shot is pretty iconic. For people who gravitate to the “funny” characters in their dramas, this shot is like Charlie Bucket’s annual birthday Wonka bar.
Worst Scene: The final golf scene. Jesus. Sawyer finally tries to make friends, and who are the only three people who have something to say about it? Kate. Boone. Shannon. Um, he’d probably be nicer if you three would just shut up and look pretty.
Revelations: Rousseau is alive… and CRAY-CRAY!; Weird whispers are in the jungle; There’s a freaky cable running from the jungle into the ocean.

Next Episode: “Raised by Another,” where female Aussie accents go from “cute” to “cut me”.

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

Categories: Lost, Reviews, TV

Lost, Season 1, Episode 8: Confidence Man

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.

Episode 8:Confidence Man

Overall Episode Grade: B+

In the course of six seasons, Lost often dove into the pool of religion, spirituality and faith. In fact, Lost dove in and splashed around–some would go so far as to say Lost peed in that pool. With with the exception of the quasi-Commie Valhalla that was the Dharma Initiative, Lost largely stayed away from politics. But not with this episode.

“Confidence Man” is Sawyer’s season one coming out party, and in terms of castaway-on-castaway harm, the most violent in the show’s history. To this point Sawyer has established a reputation as a Bad Dude. He hordes items of importance. He gives people a hard time. But he’s also undeniably… Sexy? Charming? He certainly has Something, and for a program only eight episodes old, that’s saying… Something.

The conflict: Shannon has asthma. Sawyer has Boone’s book, which was in his carry-on, along with Shannon’s inhalers. Ergo, Sawyer must have Shannon’s inhalers. Boone gets his butt kicked going through Sawyer’s stuff. Jack is mad. End scene.

Sayid, recently recovered from a smack on the head, is convinced that Sawyer attacked him and broke the transceiver (again). Jack and Sayid, the ex-Iraqi Republican Guard interrogator–get medieval on Sawyer’s ass. They are convinced that torturing him–with a particularly nasty set of spikes under the fingernails–will convince him to give up the inhalers. The ploy doesn’t work. Only after conning Kate into a (rather hot) kiss, does Sawyer tell her he never had them. A fight ensues with Sayid, Sawyer is stabbed, Jack saves his life, but not before Sawyer tells Jack that, were the roles reversed, “I’d let you die.”

Whew.

When looking back on this episode it’s important to remember when it aired. November 10, 2004. Merely days following George W. Bush’s re-election to the White House. Two wars were on, 9/11 was a fresh(er) wound, 24 was a hit show and the debate over torture as a weapon against the enemy was incredibly relevant. And make no mistake: By having an Iraqi and an American doctor torture a fellow member of their community for absolutely no gain (even Shannon was fine, thanks to Sun’s Magical Eucalyptus Paste), the producers were making a statement. Sawyer’s remorse at the end of the episode–he strolls down the beach to explore, perhaps never to return (until next week)–is all the upshot we need. Lostie-on-Lostie violence just won’t work–unless you’re fighting over Kate, natch.

That it was Sawyer on the receiving end is perhaps poetic. The man likes pain. In his flashbacks we see how he worked at conning a couple out of $160,000, only to pull the plug at the last minute when he discovers they have a son. Back on island, Kate finally reads his mysterious letter. It’s from a young Sawyer, to the Confidence Man who did just the same thing to his folks, a saga that ended badly. He tells the story. He looks gruff. Kate is sad. End episode. (Extra points for a musical ending that doesn’t include Hurley’s CD player.)

In between we get Charlie and Claire’s peanut butter scene, which is cute. Also features another Hurley fat joke and Kate’s best wardrobe choice by a country-mile: the Kelly green scallop-shoulder thingy.

Episode: “Confidence Man”
Director: Tucker Gates
Best Scene: The torture scene. Very well done. Jack looks disgusted, Sawyer sells it, and Sayid looks insane. The following scene between Kate and Sawyer is also good.
Best Line: Sawyer to Kate when she asks him if he’s serious if he wants a kiss in return for the inhalers: “Baby, I’m tied to a tree in a jungle of mystery. I just got myself tortured by a damn spinal surgeon and a gen-u-wine Iraqi. Of course I’m serious.”
Best Throwaway Moment: Sawyer’s skinny dipping scene pushed the balance of male-female eye candy (already tipping perilously far to the female side) into the abyss.
Worst Scene: The flashback opener, with Sawyer with Jessica in a hotel room. Who just offers up $160,000? But I guess that’s the point. Also: Does every woman on network TV wear a bra during sex? Just asking. A sheet provide the same modesty and be twice as believable.
Revelations: Sawyer’s letter isn’t to him, it’s written by him; Sayid actually does know how to inflict pain on people; Charlie and Claire will have A Thing; Sun upholds the stereotype of all Asians–even rich ones!–being wizards with herbs and homeopathic remedies.

Next Episode: “Solitary,” where we discover the Island’s most bat shit crazy occupant.

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

Categories: Lost, Reviews, TV

Lost, Season 1, Episode 7: The Moth

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.

Episode 6:The Moth

Overall Episode Grade: C

I wish Liam had been the Pace who crashed with Oceanic 815.

There. I said it. Liam, the older and Alpha Heroin Addict of the Pace brood, is the more interesting brother. But he found his redemption in rehab and fatherhood, not an Island, so I’ll wish in one hand and shi* in the other.

Charlie episodes always trended toward the cloying (or, as in season two, the bizarre), and “The Moth” might be the schmaltziest of them. Not for the back story, which shows how Charlie–following his brother’s lead–spirals from devout Catholic/idealistic musician to smacked-out ex-bass player. That’s okay. The weirdness is on-Island, where Locke still has Charlie’s stash and will only give it back to him on his third ask. Oh. Okay.

After ask number two, Locke tells Charlie the Parable of the Moth, how the moth in the cocoon will only be strong enough to survive in the world if it works to free itself. You can’t help it. Even this is okay, especially because it’s well-delivered by Terry O’Quinn. But there’s a cave-in, see. Jack is trapped, and only Charlie is suitable to crawl through the rocks and free him. But there’s another cave-in and they’re trapped together. Uh oh.

Inside, Jack asks him about his withdrawal symptoms. It’s a nice chat until Charlie sees a… a… moth? It’s flying toward some air! And there’s light! Charlie digs and his hand emerges above ground. As second-life scenes go it’s disturbingly more evocative of a zombie-like rebirth than a proper resurrection, but maybe that’s our first clue to Charlie’s future on the Island.

Needless to say, Charlie tosses his stash into the fire in front of a proud Papa Locke and… wait, another moth flies into the night sky? Charlie cries? For the love of Pete.

Dominic Monaghan famously auditioned for the role of Sawyer (so did Matthew Fox, if you want your mind blown), and the role of Charlie was created after he was Josh Holloway’d by Josh Holloway. The year was probably 2003, and Monaghan was fresh of his run as Merry in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I suspect the accommodation was made in part to add a topical name to the cast for the Comic-Con fan boys. Monaghan wound up distinguishing himself, much as Charlie did, but that doesn’t mean that his character in Lost was particularly well executed. Until the end, anyway. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

The other developments are few. Kate and Sayid are trying to triangulate the radio tower, and Sayid is clocked over the head by a mystery assailant with a log. Kate and Jack are still annoyingly worried about one another (I can’t remember just when their relationship goes from sickening to simply awkward, but I’m looking forward to that episode greatly). Jin tells Sun to cover up. And so forth. Most of the time is spent moving rocks after the cave-in. And while I’ve never been a huge fan of Michael Dawson as a character, as an architect he certainly seems to be the third most useful person on the island (Locke is obviously first); second if no one is sick and Jack is simply trying to act tough.

Episode: “The Moth”
Director: Jack Bender
Best Scene: The opening scene of Charlie in the confessional is kind of funny; the ending flashback scene of a doped up Charlie in Sydney with a changed Liam provides a nice bookend.
Best Line: “Gimme a couple of Band-Aids, a bottle of peroxide and I could run this island, too.” Sawyer to Kate after Jack leaves him in a huff.
Best Throwaway Moment: Hearing “You All Everybody” in full concert arrangement was kinda cool.

Worst Scene: Not the Parable of the Moth, necessarily, but every coy moth-sighting that followed. I mean, come on.
Revelations: Charlie really was a rock God, unwillingly at first, who followed and then outstayed his older brother in heroin addiction; someone is sabotaging the effort to locate the radio signal.

Next Episode: “Confidence Man.”

Categories: Lost, Reviews, TV