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Lost, Season 2, Episode 6: Abandoned

December 1, 2012 Leave a comment

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.

ShannonIslandEpisode Title: “Abandoned”

Overall Rating: B

If ever there were a case of an episode being too little, too late, it’s “Abandoned.” For 30 episodes now Shannon Rutherford been, at best, the Island’s token attractive bitch, the leggy counterpoint to Kate’s simmering bad girl or Claire’s new-mom-next-door. At her worst, Shannon has been a sulking, sniveling distraction, first to Boone and now Sayid.

Part of the reason for this is that her only real showing in Season 1 was the Boone-centric non-classic “Hearts and Minds,” where we see Shannon con her step-brother out of $50,000 with her abusive Australian boyfriend, who eventually splits with the cash prompting a drunk Shannon to seduce Boone the night before they board Oceanic 815 (which is what he’d always really wanted). The on-island plot was all about Boone learning to let Shannon go (he hallucinated her death) as she begins her relationship with Sayid. There’s no real arc there for her.

Which brings us to “Abandoned,” in which Lost‘s producers finally give us Shannon’s epitaph: Tragic distraction (but still pretty!).

It’s a disservice to the character that this flashback wasn’t in Season 1, or at least woven into “Hearts and Minds.” In the space of a month we see Shannon go from a pleasant (if spoiled) young ballerina with career ambitions to a bitter husk of a woman who we believe might actually try to con Boone out of his money, and certainly use her looks to get what she wants. The quick version: Shannon’s father (who is married to Boone’s wicked mother… seriously, she might be the worst woman character on the show) is killed in a car wreck (more about this wreck in a second). But somewhere along the line her father changed his will to exclude Shannon, and the wicked one isn’t about to help her out, despite the fact that she’s earned a prestigious internship in New York. Broke and alone, Boone offers her money… which she refuses instead of taking the internship. Now, this isn’t entirely believable; lots of people move to New York without a dime to their name. But we also get the feeling Shannon’s never worked for anything in her life. (Note: As futher evidence that Shannon gets no respect, she’s not even mentioned in the brief episode synopsis on Netflix. In the episode in which she’s killed. Godspeed, my dear.)

The big moment here, which isn’t even presented in this episode: Adam Rutherford, Shannon’s father, is the other driver in the wreck that also paralyzed Jack’s future wife, Sarah. In the season premiere we saw Jack make the call in the ER to save Sarah and not Adam, thus sealing a number of fates. What a tangled web Lost weaves.

Still, this flashback is effective in, for the first time, making the casual Lost fan feel actual sympathy for Shannon Rutherford. Just in time for a swift kick… erm, bullet… in the gut.

On-Island, Shannon is slipping farther into madness… or is she. After rarely appearing in the season’s first five episodes, we find Shannon being  wooed hardcore by Sayid, who has built her (them?) a little romantic hidey hole. After love, Sayid goes for water, and Shannon sees Walt standing in the tent. Walt covers his mouth with a finger. “Shhh.” Shannon doesn’t “shhh.” She screams.

Of course Sayid doesn’t believe her, which begins the episode’s (literally) fatal spiral. Shannon gives chase with Vincent, hoping he can track Walt. The chase takes her past Boone’s grave, where she has a poignant moment of reflection. It feels like a weird episode of “This is Your (Island” Life,” in retrospect. Eventually Sayid catches up to her in a rainstorm, and she has her final breakdown. “I need you to believe in me. No one believes in me… they think I’m some kind of joke. They think I’m worthless.” “I need you to believe me,” she says of the chase for Walt. Almost on cue (okay, entirely on cue) Walt appears and Shannon and Sayid both see him. The whispers begin and Shannon gives chase.

This seems like the appropriate time to talk about the limited action across Island. Sawyer, Jin, Michael and the Tailies are still traipsing across the Island, and Sawyer is in a bad way. They’re dragging him on a stretcher through the jungle, and in the middle of the hike Cindy–originally seen as the stewardess flirting with Jack in the pilot–is taken by the Others, allowing us to see for the first time just how efficient they are at nabbing Tailies. There are whispers, things are getting weird, someone is running through the jungle. At the height of the tension, it begins to rain. Cut back to…

Shannon pounding through the jungle after Walt. Sayid yells for her to stop, to wait for him. A shot rings out…

Sayid catches up to Shannon, who has taken a bullet in her midsection. She collapses. He holds her. She dies. Standing a few yards away is the Tailie group, with Ana Lucia holding the gun. Obviously this was an accident, which means we can only blame creepy-wet-ghost-Walt and the whispers for what happened, a secret we’ll suss out in a few seasons… or maybe never.

Here’s my takeaway of this episode: I wish Lost had made me like Shannon before the episode where they killed her. I know, Maggie Grace wanted to go film The Fog or some show on the CW, so it kinda limited their options, but the girl’s story had… um… legs. What “Abandoned” did accomplish was to, at the last minute, make her an overall positive contributor to the show’s larger lore, something it never manages to do (perhaps appropriately) with the woman who killed her. Did they make her important enough–particularly her relationship with Sayid–to warrant her appearance in the series finale? That’s debatable, though the final, muddy conversation between the two may just be enough to do it, when Sayid says “I’ll never leave you.” Still… c’mon.

SayidShannonJungleEpisode: “Abandoned”

Director: Adam Davidson

What the Title Means: Shannon was “Abandoned” by almost everyone she knew… except Sayid.

Best Scene: Not to take away from the whole “death of a major character” drama going on, but the other on-Island set piece is pretty tense in its own right. Through a conversation with Claire, Locke learns that Charlie has found a statue of the Virgin Mary and is keeping it in his stuff. Locke, along with Sayid, is the only member of the crew who knows about the plane and the only person besides Jack who knows about Charlie’s old heroin habit. There’s a terrific scene between Locke and Charlie, who is accusing Locke of stepping into his role as Aaron’s Island protector. Stay tuned for more here.

Also, Shannon getting shot and dying. That has some shock value, particularly the first time around.

Worst Scene: The scene where her stepmom cuts Shannon off is almost too cruel to believe. I also cringe during Ana Lucia’s overly emoted account of what happened to all the other Tailies (taken by the Others). When a character makes a sob story as annoying as hell, you have a problem with casting.

Best Line: “You’re a shrink? Maybe you should talk to my shoulder.” Sawyer to Libby when she’s asking him how he’s feeling.

Best Throwaway Moment: The flashback scene with a slightly younger Boone. He has his Vampire Diaries hair! Swoon-worthy!

Revelations: Shannon was once a upwardly mobile young woman; the Tailies have had more than a dozen of their members taken by the Others; Locke is on to Charlie’s heroin stash; Shannon (and then Sayid) see Walt; Shannon is accidentally killed by a spooked Ana Lucia.

Next Episode: “The Other 48 Days”

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Categories: Lost, Reviews, TV