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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

87
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Viewer
90
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Episode 1 - Man of Science, Man of Faith

23 February 2017

Present: Jack convinces Locke to come back to the caves. There he tells everyone that they should all stay together until morning. Shannon loses Vincent and she and Sayid head into the jungle to find him. Instead Shannon sees a vision of a soaking Walt speaking backwards to her. Locke disobeys Jack and heads back to the hatch. Kate and then Jack follow. Locke lowers Kate down and when she disappears he follows her. Jack arrives to find them both gone. He heads into the hatch alone and comes across the interior of the hatch. Then a familiar face appears holding a gun to Locke’s head.

Flashback: The first scene is just a flashback as we see Desmond conducting his morning routine before an explosion shakes the hatch and he suits up and grabs a gun before looking up to see Locke and Jack peering down the shaft of the hatch. Further back in time we see Sarah being brought to the hospital and Jack preparing her for surgery. He coldly tells her that she may never walk again before Christian advises him to give her a little hope. Sarah’s fiancée looks horrified and bewildered about what has happened. Jack then promises Sarah he will fix her. After surgery he goes running in a stadium and bumps into Desmond who asks what if he did fix her. Desmond is preparing for a race around the world. Jack heads back to check on Sarah and is overjoyed to discover that she can feel her legs.

The Good: What an amazing start to the season. After we discovered that Locke was paralysed (104) it was difficult to imagine another plot twist which could rival it. But the opening sequence of this episode at least comes close (see Best Moment).

Yet again Lost has found a way to change the way we think about the show. The appearance of the interior of the hatch strongly implies that there is a lot more to this island than we could have imagined. If Desmond has been living in a man made house under ground, then what else could be on the island? The air is thick with interesting puzzles to solve too as we see a magnetic force of some kind in the hatch along with a strange mural on the wall, a quarantine sign on the door and drugs and guns at Desmond’s disposal. It’s all such a strong start to the season as it presents viewers with a brand new list of answers to discover.

The scenes with Kate being lowered into the hatch and Jack exploring it are very dramatic as well. There are touches of nice dialogue too as Kate suggests to Locke that he only wants her to go first to see if she will be eaten and then asks what she should say if she wants to stop. “Stop” Locke replies.

Of course it is Jack’s flashback and he is the one who gets some more layers to his character. The flashbacks are very strongly woven into the story which makes the whole episode feel even tighter and more important. Hurley criticises Jack’s bedside manner which leads to him coldly giving Sarah her prognosis in the past. Followed by Christian telling Jack to give people hope which flows back to the present where Jack tells the survivors that they will all be ok. The scene where Jack and Sarah cry together over her recovery is very good and there burgeoning romance is easy to imagine from there. Thanks to this flashback suddenly her line “I will dance at my wedding” (from 120) takes on a whole new significance which is impressive writing. Lost is writing for a generation of fans who watch their DVDs over and over and they do it very successfully.

But it is Jack’s reaction to the supernatural which is really under the microscope here and given a thorough examination. Pleasingly the writers address the fact that Jack, John and Kate all saw a column of black smoke in the previous episode. Locke follows up on the complaint that I had, that Jack seemed to ignore the black smoke, by asking “I wonder what Jack thinks he saw?” And while that conversation is going on Hurley lays out his entire story: that he heard the numbers from a guy in a psych ward, that he won the lottery with them, that bad luck happened and that those numbers are on the hatch. Jack’s reply beautifully sums up his state of mind about the island “You were in a psych ward?” Jack is such a “Man of Science” that he can see rational explanations for things which we as viewers know don’t have them.

Desmond asks in flashback whether Jack believes in miracles which he clearly doesn’t. It’s fascinating that Sarah recovered from a broken back (In Jack’s own words a miracle) just as Locke did on the island. It’s a dramatic irony that the identical experience (although obviously Jack didn’t break his own back) could draw the opposite reactions from Jack (the man of science) and Locke (the man of faith). Once in the hatch Jack seems almost thrilled to be in a man made building with a gun pointed at Locke. Here is the proof he needs to shut Locke up. “Is this your destiny?” he mockingly asks. And just at his moment of triumph, Desmond steps out. The man who he randomly met years before on the day a miracle occurred is now standing in the hatch on the magical island. Can it really be a coincidence? Jack is shaken to his core and we as an audience get both barrels of clever surprise and dramatic irony. It’s superb television storytelling and beautifully frames the episode with twin shocks.

Desmond’s presence on the island has its rational explanation (we can assume his race around the world led him here) while also suggesting yet another shift in our perspective of the show. We have seen hints of the characters meeting one another before (see Sawyer and Christian in 116) but now it seems we are being confronted with the likelihood that characters are being drawn to the island by a fate-like puppet master who has engineered “coincidental” meetings between the characters during their lives. This is given further credence when we hear that the man who died in the car accident with Sarah was Adam Rutherford. Shannon’s last name is Rutherford and her father is dead. Coincidence?

Walt’s appearance in the jungle mustn’t be ignored either. His soaking wet appearance is interesting considering we saw him being taken off the raft. It’s another intriguing development and of course a heightening of the supernatural elements to the story. It’s interesting to see Christian Shepherd given some more characterisation by giving good advice to Jack. Hurley has a fun line when he says “Life’s not so bad right? I mean, sure the others are coming to like eat us all and every once in a while someone blows up all over you but we do get to sleep in every morning.”

The scene with Sarah’s fiancée seems to try and convey that he is selfish and hint at why they won’t last as a couple. But actually in the shock of what has happened his questions about whether she will be able to go to the toilet or have sex again are legitimate ones. I actually think that scene is pretty good at conveying the life changing horror of her accident.

The Bad: Jack’s wig in the flashbacks will displease some people. Also he is almost too cold to Sarah to be believable when he tells her she will probably never walk again.

The Unknown: What is the hatch for? Who built it? What is the computer for? What is the magnetic force coming through the wall? How did Desmond get there? Why do they have drugs and guns down there? How did Walt appear in the jungle and why is he talking backwards? Is that really him?

Best Moment: The opening scene. We open on someone’s eye and then a flashing computer screen. A man wakes up and taps something into the computer which makes the beeping stop. He then puts on some music, exercises, showers and makes himself breakfast. At this stage almost all viewers will be thinking this is a flashback. We have never seen anything else like this before and the appearance of a record player implies some time in the past. The long haired man looks closest to Sawyer at this point. When he injects himself in the arm things become really intriguing and then the whole room shakes and the man rushes off to grab a gun and stare through a telescope toward something. At some point as the lens focuses on Jack and Locke you realise that what you have been watching is a man living inside the hatch. If you remained spoiler free this scene will have a tremendous impact on you. For all we have seen is jungle and beaches so far on the island. The idea that someone is living with washing machines and showers beneath the jungle is a shocking moment. It is beautifully delivered and once more changes your perception of what Lost is all about.

The Bottom Line: A fantastic episode and the best Jack-centric episode so far. Even without the two twists this would have been a great episode for characterisation and tension. But with the two twists this becomes one of Lost’s best episodes and a pitch perfect way to welcome viewers back and tell them that they must watch season two of the show.

('DiggThis)

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Comments

  • I did not remember this episode being this incredible at all. I thought it would be a solid high 70-80 score, but now that I'm watching it again I could not have been more wrong. This is a true masterpiece and is the best possible way to open up season 2. I could not agree more with your points above. This episode was fantastic on so many levels.

    First off, the opening scene is incredible. The twist is outstanding and it was the main thing I remembered about this episode. It was awesome to see the hatch right away without even knowing it, and added so much more to the episode. It made the subsequent scenes with Jack and Kate entering the hatch much more tense and mysterious as we never knew when Desmond could make an appearance. The inside of the hatch raises many exciting questions as well, which thankfully all do get a resolution. I think the hatch story is one of the best in Lost because of this.

    The flashback story was so much stronger than I remembered. There was such a strong link from the flashback to the on-island story and the final scene where Sarah regains feeling in her legs was incredibly emotional. Jack's encounter with Desmond was fantastic and tied in with the island story so well once Desmond makes an appearance.

    I love that there is so much follow-up on the finale. As you mentioned above, there were some excellent scenes with the survivors talking about the events in the season 1 finale which was really refreshing. I enjoyed the scene with Locke and Kate especially as they worked well together.

    Better yet was the follow-up on the man for science, man of faith discussion in the finale. Here we get a thorough examination of Jack's man of science lifestyle and it is brilliant. There are so many good scenes showing Jack's mindset about faith and miracles including his talk with Desmond and his talk with Hurley, both of which were tons of fun. Of course it all comes to a head in the very last scene when Desmond appears in the hatch. Masterful storytelling there. Additionally we get another appearance by Christian who is as good as ever.

    The scene with Walt was Also good to continue the mystery of Walt's abduction. I thought it was smart to leave the raft story out of this episode so we can have an entire episode dedicated to Jack.

    Overall, I think this is one of Lost's best episodes ever, if not the best. This episode really blew me away and I can't believe I didn't remember it being this good. Top notch storytelling and fantastic, gripping mystery made this episode a perfect premiere. Lost really deserves praise for this one.

    Viewer score: 90 / 100

    Posted by Aaronic, 19/02/2017 10:59am (4 months ago)

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