Home > Lost, Reviews, TV > Lost, Season 2, Episode 1: Man of Science, Man of Faith

Lost, Season 2, Episode 1: Man of Science, Man of Faith

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:Man of Science, Man of Faith

Overall episode rating: B

“Man of Science, Man of Faith” was Lost at its mainstream pinnacle. The audience had spent Season 1 gradually gravitating to the show, reaching a critical mass just as the season ended, and America was left with five months to speculate: “What’s in the hatch?”

You remember “Exodus,” the Season 1 finale. Locke and company blow the lid off the hatch in the jungle, while meanwhile the raft is blown up and Walt taken by some grungy looking fellows in a motor boat. Michael, Jin and Sawyer are left for dead.

So by fall 2005, audiences wanted some ANSWERS, DAMMIT (sound familiar?). This premiere did a nice job following up on one plot point, and completely ignored the other.

And it didn’t take long at all to answer the question of what was in the hatch, as we were treated to one of Lost‘s signature season-opening scenes of awesomeness. Behold (pardon the ad).

So, in just about three minutes, we learn that there is currently a man living in the hatch. He listens to record albums from the ’60s. He eats cereal and works out. He shoots weird substances into his arm. But we don’t even know that all of this is happening in the hatch, however, until there’s an explosion and we see he is extremely well armed. And as we follow the sight on his gun across a series of mirrors, the camera pans UP the shaft of the hatch and we see Jack and Locke, just where we left them, staring into the abyss.

How awesomely unexpected was THAT?

But you know what? After the opening credits run, there is very little left about this episode that is truly ingenious.

The flashback is the important but hardly season-opening worthy story of how Jack met Sarah Shepherd, his ex-wife. We knew he “fixed her” in the hospital, but here we see the story. It’s really rather trite; you can tell he falls for her, especially when her sleazy fiance, Kevin (played, IMDB tells me, by none other than Hell on Wheels star Anson Mount!) acts repulsed at the idea of her needing care for the rest of her life (“You mean, she won’t be able to go to the bathroom by herself?”). Jack, previously chided by his father (and on-island by Hurley) for a lack of bedside manner, goes to the other extreme: “I’m gonna fix you.” He says as she nods off in the OR. And, somehow he does.

Two interesting things happen along the way here:

1. The crash in which Sarah is nearly killed was a two-car crash. The other driver? Adam Rutherford, who we will only implicitly find out is Shannon’s father. He is sent to the same ER at the same time, but doesn’t make it (time of death? 8:15 a.m.). His death sends Shannon on a downward spiral that will be explained in an upcoming episode, but in the ER Jack has to make a decision: Sarah or Adam. Choices matter.

My suspicion is that the producers had bigger plans for Sarah as a character as of the start of Season 2. Julie Bowen is good here, especially the scene where they find she has regained feeling in her legs. Perhaps her greatest contribution to the show, though: Hooking up with Jack and making him get a damn haircut.

Jack and Desmond: REALLY early for the USC game.

2. After Sarah’s surgery, Jack has a bad feeling. He goes for a significant run, one that will be revisited from a number of perspectives over the course of the series. He’s running an excruciating workout (every step in the Los Angeles Colosseum) when he turns his ankle. To the rescue comes a grinning Scotsman. They talk about motivations for running so hard at such a late hour, and Jack spill his guts about Sarah. “I couldn’t fix her,” he says. “But what if you did?” the man, who identifies himself as Desmond, says. So they skip around the subject of miracles. Desmond finally says “You have to lift it up.” It’s a phrase loaded with meaning. Does he mean Jack should take it to the lord in prayer? Or does he mean Jack’s ankle? Oh Desmond, ever the double agent. He concludes the conversation with one of Lost‘s classic lines: “So long brotha. See you in another life, ya?”

(Lost veteran nerd talk here for a moment: As I’ve re-re-re-watched this series, the thought strikes me: Is there any possibility that this Desmond, smirking and undeniably faith-driven, is an all-knowing, time-traveling, perhaps even Season 6 Sideways-world Desmond? Later episodes will probably disprove this, but he just seems to know something the old, flawed Desmond probably wouldn’t. Sorry… had to go there.)
One final question: Can anyone really just run inside the L.A. Colosseum in the dead of night whenever he or she feels like it? Yet I get chased out trying to go rappelling at Plaster Stadium? Bah.
Meanwhile, back at the caves, Jack, Kate, Locke and Hurley address the people. Here, after being scolded by Hurley, Jack shows them his “good” bedside manner. With no others on the way and no way to get everyone down the hatch, he tells them they’ll be here to see the sun come up, together.
It doesn’t matter: Locke and Kate are headed to the hatch with wire. Locke lowers Kate in, a bright beam of light shines up, and she falls. Jack, unable to let her go anywhere without him, returns to the hatch to find both of them missing. So he lowers himself down, naturally.
What he finds is just perfectly bizarre. At the bottom of the hatch is a bunker, well-supplied. High points include a geodesic dome, a weird mural on the wall prominently featuring the number 108, a bizarre, corroded wall that attracts the metal key hanging around Jack’s neck… and a computer, with a blinking green square, waiting for someone to enter a command.
That’s when Locke, at gunpoint, tell Jack not to touch it. Jack is angry (first words, of course: “Where Kate?”) and lashes out at Locke about this being his destiny. “All roads lead here, right John?” he says. But then he’s cut off by the man with the gun, the man in the hatch. “I’ll blow his head off, brotha.” That’s right… it’s Desmond, the man from the Colosseum.
*Bonk*

The hatch computer: Making emoticons before they were cool.

Episode: “Man of Science, Man of Faith”

Director: Jack Bender

What the title means: Typically, “Man of Science, Man of Faith” as it pertains to Lost applies to Jack (science) and Locke (faith), and the conversation they had in the Season 1 finale. That applies here, too, but I don’t think that’s it. It goes back to Jack operating on Sarah with science, and having no confidence that he did the job. But then he meets Desmond, and gets some faith. The next day: Sarah’s fixed. The man of science has learned to become (however temporarily) a man of faith. It’s a microcosm of Jack’s journey on the show. To be happy he must be both.

Best Scene: As I mentioned, the opening montage of Desmond going about his day in the hatch, set to the forlornly peppy “Make Your Own Kind of Music” by Mama Cass Elliot, is an all-timer. Both for the weirdness, staying power, and the immensity of the reveal. At this moment in its existence, more people than ever were expecting Lost to DELIVER, and it did. As Lost devolved into a true genre series people began to stray, but almost EVERYONE watched this moment, of this episode, of this season.

Worst Scene: I have so little time left to (SPOILER ALERT) pick on Shannon, I’ll do it here. She loses Vincent, see? She and Sayid chase him into the woods. Shannon falls down. When she looks up she sees Walt (an obviously taller version of Walt… Malcom David Kelly had a very inconveniently timed growth spurt), drenching wet. He doesn’t speak, just puts a finger to his lips and says “Shh.”

Oh, okay. Indeed no one on the raft turns up in this episode, which is understandable if a little disappointing.

Best Line: The best moments here don’t have a lot of dialogue, but Kate does get off a zinger when Locke asks her if Jack thinks he’s crazy. “Why, because you want to drop into a hatch that’s been locked from the inside by a foot-thick steel door that says “quarantine?” Sarcasm never fails.

Best Throwaway Moment: I like the conversation between Jack and Christian, in which the elder Shepherd lets Jack know that it’s okay to give people hope, even when there isn’t much. It simultaneously sets the tone for a few of Jack’s finer moments, and lets the audience know that Christian Shepherd was not a bad man, and not a bad doctor.

Revelations: The hatch is a strange, fully equipped bunker with a man living in it, a man Jack met years before in L.A.; Jack saved Sarah Shepherd at the expense of Shannon’s father; he didn’t think he saved her, but it turned out to be a miracle.

Next Episode: “Adrift” Mmm… I smell burning raft.

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

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Categories: Lost, Reviews, TV
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