Home > Lost, Reviews, TV > Lost, Season 1, Episode 16: Outlaws

Lost, Season 1, Episode 16: Outlaws

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 title:Outlaws

Overall Rating: B+

Lost, in its finest seasons (that would be 4 and 5), was never a long-form show. The arcs were powerful but abbreviated, punctuated by “oh s**t*” moments that had a lot of power, but not a ton of buildup. Not so with Season 1. Pre-Dharma, pre-Ben, pre-freighter, pre-apocalyptic battle, there was still time to sit around letting the characters get tipsy and talkative.

And “Outlaws” features two of the finest pieces of one-on-one dialogue the show managed to muster in 120-plus episodes.

The two scenes elevate this episode from forgettable to indispensable all by themselves. I’ll focus on them for the purposes of this review:

1. The famous “I Never” scene between Kate and Sawyer. As annoying as Kate-Jack dynamic is early in the series, the Kate-Sawyer relationship is much more palatable, which probably says more about Josh Holloway and Matthew Fox and their characters than it does about everyone’s favorite punching bag, Evangeline Lilly. This scene is pitch-perfect. Camped out alone because they’re chasing a board that is seemingly terrorizing Sawyer, they sip on airline bottles of booze and play “I Never,” that sorority house favorite that allows you to get to know the person you want to sleep with and get drunk, all at the same time. The writers use the game to get us intimate with both Sawyer–who is the focus of this episode–and Kate, who is not, but we still learn a lot about her. I won’t analyze it verbatim, but I encourage you to watch it on YouTube, here. It is funny, poignant, sad and enlightening. One of my very favorite scenes in the entire show.

2. The other scene is a similar, if more depressing, bit of soul-bearing. We learn that, in Sydney, Sawyer met a drunk-off-his-ass Christian Shepherd at a dumpy bar. They talk. We learn that Christian holds no ill will for Jack, who prompted the fatal bender when he turned him in for operating under the influence. In fact, Christian admires Jack, but lacks the strength to call him and tell him so. His other revelation is less productive: He convinced Sawyer that, whatever it is he is in Sydney to do, he should do it if it will ease his pain. Unfortunately, this means killing a man who owns a shrimp truck, who Sawyer mistakenly believes is the man who conned his folks, leading to his the murder-suicide that took both his parents (recalled in the show’s horrific cold-open flashback). This scene is embeddable, fortunately:

That Sawyer is the focus of both of those scenes speaks to Josh Holloway’s embodiment of this character and the obviously well-mapped arc the producers had for him from the get-go (reportedly both Matthew Fox and Dominic Monaghan auditioned for the role of Sawyer, but male-model Holloway landed it). The episode was also directed by series consigliere Jack Bender.

The rest of the episode doesn’t live up to these scenes, though we wouldn’t expect that. Sawyer’s flashback not only reveals the moment of his parents deaths, but also the series of events that led him to Sydney and killing an innocent (at least to him) man. The guy’s dying words of “It’ll come back around” stayed with me the remainder of the series, wondering when Sawyer’s comeuppance for this mistake would hit. It’s debatable whether it ever did, though it’s my strong opinion that Sawyer’s anemic Season 6 story arc was among the biggest mistakes the series ever made.

The theme of the episode seems to be “Do you have what it takes to kill?” Or, as my good friend Maria Villalobos would say: “What does it feel like to kill a man?” (Click here, go to the 1:58 mark). We learn that answer about Sawyer, though we still have our doubts about just how smart of a killer he is. The side plot involves Charlie dealing with PTSD (or maybe just a case of the quiets) after killing Ethan in the previous episode. Hurley’s worried about him; Sayid tries to connect. Eventually Charlie goes for a walk with Claire and seems to be at peace. Whatever.

Watch the two scenes above–there are no spoilers to speak of–and enjoy Lost at its finest.

“I never… smiled in an episode of Lost before.”

Episode: “Outlaws”

Director: Jack Bender

Best Scene: Game of “I never,” linked above.

Worst Scene: Nothing bad here, though some of the boar-tracking on the island with Sawyer and Kate is a little silly. You don’t need the analogy, really; we know Sawyer is a reluctant killer.

Best Line: “I only made out with him because torturing him didn’t work.” Kate to Jack when he’s mad she’s going boar-hunting with Sawyer.

Best Throwaway Moment: Two Sayid moments: One, when he’s reveling in Sawyer’s frustration at his tent getting ransacked by the boar. The other comes when Hurley asks him if he had that “Gulf War Syndrome” (meaning to say PTSD), and ex-Iraqi army member Sayid looks sheepish and says “No, that was the other side.”

Revelations: Sawyer murdered a man in Australia; he met Jack’s father at a bar; Kate has also killed someone (and was married!); Ethan is actually dead, for good; Sawyer becomes the second castaway to hear “The Whispers,” after Sayid.

Next Episode: “… In Translation”

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

Categories: Lost, Reviews, TV
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