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Lost

Lost is a drama about a group of plane crash survivors. They land on an unknown Pacific island and have to learn to live together. ABC 2004-2010

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Episode 5 - ...And Found

30 March 2012

Present: The tail section survivors decide to head to the other survivors camp. As they look for some food for the road, Michael makes a run for it, searching for Walt. Jin goes after him and Mr Eko goes with him. They see the mysterious Others walking silently through the forest before they find Michael. They take him back with them. At the beach Sun loses her wedding ring and is becoming distraught at the thought that Jin might be dead. Kate asks to see the messages in the bottle and there they find her ring.

Flashback: We see how Jin and Sun first met. Jin is climbing through menial jobs in the hotel business. He is hired by a hotel as their doorman. He is given strict instructions not to let people like himself in to the hotel. When he takes sympathy on a poor boy desperate for the toilet, his boss warns him. So he quits and goes for a walk. Meanwhile Sun is being pressured into finding a husband by her parents. When she is set up with the suave Jae Lee, she starts to fall for him. When she finds out that he is engaged to an American girl she leaves abruptly and goes for a walk. That is where Jin and Sun literally bump into each other.

The Good: After my complaints about the first four episodes, this story strikes a much more efficient balance. While the flashback doesn’t tell us anything too exciting, it serves to deepen our understanding of the characters while the island developments focus on Mr Eko and the Others.

The unarguable highlight of the episode is the scene where the Others go walking silently past Eko and Jin (see Best Moment). But that scene is only the climax of a strongly constructed sense of danger and mystery which surround the Others. At each stage of the episode their threat is built through the attitude of the tail section survivors. Ana Lucia warns Michael not to make any noise, she says they must all travel in pairs, Libby warns that they don’t go inland at all because of the Others. And then Eko and Jin come across a man who has been impaled on a stake. Before their shoe-less feet walk across the screen we have already had a dangerous and threatening picture painted. All of this characterisation is handled well and fills in some of the blanks left by the strange behaviour of the tail section survivors.

Ana Lucia begins to lighten up in her scenes with Jin and Sawyer which remind us of the spunky self confidence she showed when she met Jack (123). But it is Mr Eko who stands out most clearly. We could assume that English is not his first language from his slow, straight forward statements but that only adds to the mystery of who he is as he arms Sawyer and then abandons his friends to look after Jin.

It is of course Jin and Sun who we get to know better through their story. Most of it is pretty straightforward though. Jin’s desire to overcome his humble roots is hammered home. As is Sun’s desire for freedom from her family. But to the writers credit, Korea is characterised fairly well. Although Sun’s parents seem very illiberal to Western eyes, they throw in nice touches like her mother’s concern for her choice of shoe, which make them seem like real people rather than mere stereotypes. Similarly Jin’s boss may make disparaging remarks about poor people, but he does reward Jin’s hard work and clearly is expected to maintain high standards for his hotel. The show does a nice job of showing the different attitudes of the older Korean generation as well as their more Western influenced children.

Jin’s sense of morality comes through strongly here, both in the present (in his quest for Michael) and in the past (deciding to quit rather than work for a heartless boss). Jin has certainly changed our perception of him since the beginning of the show.

Hurley, as you would expect, pops up to make a couple of nice jokes about the possibility that Vincent has swallowed Sun’s wedding ring.

The Bad: Lost is in a bit of danger. Its formula is so wedded to its flashbacks that those stories need to be entertaining all the time. Throughout season one they were gripping because we didn’t know who the survivors really were. From the evidence of Hurley, Michael and now Jin and Sun’s flashbacks, it appears that many of the characters don’t have much more to their back stories. I may be jumping to conclusions but none of those three flashbacks told us anything we couldn’t have guessed. If that trend continues, it may be difficult for the show to maintain our interest in episodes which don’t have a high octane story going on in the present. Let’s hope the writers and producers have given this problem some thought.

Jack, Locke, Kate and Claire all pop up to collect their pay cheques this week by offering Sun advice on how to find her ring. Each in their own way make somewhat useless comments, designed to hammer home their characters in less than subtle ways. Jack’s is the least subtle as he drones on about his failed marriage in case anyone had missed episodes one and three of this season. Locke’s comments are fine but seem forced into the episode as does Kate’s odd desire to see if Sawyer has left her a note. Why and how would he have done that?

The Unknown: Are these Others the same as the ones who took Walt? The silent dirty legs seem somehow to speak of a greater mystery than a bearded American driving a boat (124). Why are they dragging a teddy bear behind them?! Who is Mr Eko?

Best Moment: As they are walking through the jungle Eko hears a branch break. He holds up his arm to Jin and listens. After a pause Jin runs over to ask what’s wrong and Eko thrusts his hand over Jin’s mouth and bring his finger up to his lips with a look of death. The scene cuts to the forest, alive and noisy with bird song but otherwise silent. Jin and Eko are hidden deep in a bush in silence. We watch from their perspective as a pair of legs in brown cloth-like trousers moves silently passed. Female legs covered in dirt follow, also silently. More follow, one by one until the final pair who are dragging a teddy pair on a piece of string. As creepy and imagination fuelling as television can be.

The Bottom Line: Jin and Sun’s flashback is hardly riveting but it is passable characterisation. Fortunately Mr Eko and the Others provide a ton of intrigue which is coming nicely to the boil.

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