Home > Lost, Reviews, TV > Lost, Season 1, Episode 17: … In Translation

Lost, Season 1, Episode 17: … In Translation

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:… In Translation

Overall Rating: B

In truth, this is the episode that begins the Season 1 endgame. Why? Because the raft moves from being a thing that Michael and background cast guy work on to being a major part of the plot. That’s not to say this episode is about the raft–it is completely and thoroughly about Sun and Jin–but the raft figures. By now you get the feeling that the season finale was already written.

As stated, most of the show is devoted to showing Jin’s side of the story of the only married couple on the Island. As we learned early in the season in “House of the Rising Sun,” the couple’s marriage in Korea is a rocket… a rocket built by their rivals in North Korea, that is. Jin is moody and works for her father, coming home late at night with blood on his clothes. Sun, who has learned English unbeknownst to Jin, is planning to leave him in Sydney… but doesn’t. In this flashback we learn more. We learn just how bad a guy Sun’s father is–in truth, he would have made a fine Big Bad for the show, in addition to or instead of Charles Widmore (but why do you need to know about him now?). We learn that Jin works for him only reluctantly, to keep Sun. But in doing so he loses his soul, and learns to intimidate, beat… kill?

In a couple of intense scenes, he twice visits the home of a government environmental official. Once he “delivers a message” in the literal sense. The official is so relieved he gives Jin his daughter’s prize Shar-pei (which becomes Sun’s beloved pet Bpo-Bpo). On the second visit, instead of letting another enforcer kill the man, he beats him bloody in front of the same daughter. “I just saved your life,” he whispers. It’s an excellent scene. Later he visits his poor fisherman of a father (whom he has told everyone, including Sun, is dead), who tells him to take Sun to America and run away, which Jin was presumably going to do once they landed in L.A.

On-Island, things are coming to a head between the two. Jin is convinced that something is up between Sun and Michael, and when the raft goes up in flames and Jin shows up with a scalded arm, there is no other suspect. Things escalate until Sun is forced to reveal to everyone that she knows English to exonerate Jin (who did not burn the raft, but was trying to put out the fire). Jin will not speak to Sun, who begs forgiveness and asks for a chance to start completely over. Instead he wordlessly walks to the beach… and begins to help Michael rebuild the raft.

Quickly about Sun and Jin: Knowing their full story arc–and perhaps having learned a thing or two about marriage over the last eight years–I appreciate their storyline more and more. Married people are tough to write on dramas, and it’s a credit to the producers and especially Yunjin Kim and Daniel Dae Kim that both of these characters are sympathetic despite their obvious flaws and mistreatment of one another. But aren’t all marriages like that?

Other bits from this episode:

— The fight on the beach between Michael and Jin is the impetus for Locke’s best moment of the season, the scene where he admonishes the castaways for being so focused on one another that they forget there are others on the Island.

” They’ve attacked us, sabotaged us, abducted us, murdered us! Maybe it’s time we stop blaming us and start worrying about them! We’re not the only people on this Island and we all know it!”

This YouTube video picks up on my favorite part of the scene–Locke’s “hand chop” during the middle of the speech. Take a look.

Tour de force acting from a guy who hasn’t been allowed to yell for almost an entire season.

— The raft burning incident provides the series first real whodunit? So, whodiddoit? You probably won’t see it coming, but it’s revealed quite well at the end of the episode.

— Raft politics take hold. There are four spots, Michael says. He and Walt have two. Sawyer bought another. Who has the fourth? By the end of the episode we have to believe it’s Jin. This particular “who’s going” issue will return.

— They’re setting up a real romance for Sayid and Shannon. They show flashes of chemistry while talking about her proficiency in tying knots. (“Maybe we should get some rope; spend a Saturday night alone together, and see what happens.”) There’s a little side plot with Boone. And still we don’t care.

— The Life and Death of Hurley’s CD Player. Gone for a good half-dozen episodes, the producers brought back Hurley’s episode-ending song for one last go round. As we see a newly liberated Sun drop her sarong and stand in the surf in a bikini, Damien Rice’s “Delicate” swells in volume. Then the CD skips and fizzles out. Hurley looks at the display. “Son of a bitch.”


“They can tell by the way I use my walk, I’m a woman’s man: No time to talk.”

Episode: “… In Translation”

Director: Tucker Gates

Best Scene: The entire bloody confrontation between Michael and Jin that leads to Sun’s revelation. Everyone seems genuinely shocked, and the scene has the desired effect. That’s before Locke’s 40 seconds of half-chop awesomeness.

Best Scene II: The one where Jin visits his dad. His dad is played by one of those Asian actors that just ooze kindness and wisdom.

Worst Scene: The Sayid-Shannon stuff. I get it. The Shannon-Boone stuff has to be resolved, and soon, but it’s just distracting no matter where you put it.

Best Line: Charlie: “You speak English?” Hurley: “Didn’t see that comin’.” It’s all in the delivery. Special mention for Sawyer’s “It’s Lord of the Flies time now” when he catches Jin treating his burned arm in the jungle.

Best Throwaway Moment: During Jin’s first visit to the Korean official’s home, his daughter can be seen in the background watching TV. On the TV? Hurley, getting into a car. Why? Check back in the next recap.

Revelations: Jin is a surly ass because Sun’s dad made him that way; Jin was going to flee in America with Sun; XXXX burned the raft because he doesn’t want to leave; Shannon makes her move; Jin is going to help Michael rebuild the raft.

Next Episode: “Numbers”

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

Categories: Lost, Reviews, TV
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