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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

75
/100
Viewer
71
/100

Episode 19 - S.O.S

25 April 2017

Present: Bernard wants to big a huge SOS sign on the beach to help the survivors get rescued. Initially people agree but he slowly drives them all away. Rose is unhelpful but eventually admits the reason is that the island has healed her cancer. Bernard vows to never leave the island. Locke is having doubts about the button and his ability to remember the blast door map. Rose helps encourage him to keep going. Jack heads out to try and exchange Henry for Walt and Kate goes with him. They get caught in one of Rousseau’s nets on the way. Once they reach the “line” they find Michael.

Flashback: Bernard and Rose met in the recent past. He asked her to marry him at Niagara Falls. She accepted but told him that she was in remission from cancer. On their honeymoon he took her to Australia to visit a healer. The healer can’t help her but she tells Bernard that she has been healed in order to stop him wasting the time they had left together. Finally in the airport, just before flight 815, Rose saw Locke in his wheelchair. So she knows that the island has healed her too.

The Good: It would be understandable for the viewer to see this episode as filler. The flashbacks are those of minor characters and it may be that they fail to hold the interest of some viewers. But for dedicated followers of Lost this is a very important episode. It confirms one of the major unspoken themes of the story, that of the characters wanting to stay on the island. And it happens to be one of the best episodes of the whole season.

Much of the reason for this is that the Lost writers are still much better at scripting character’s first flashbacks than they are at their subsequent ones. The first flashback is almost always intriguing and interesting because it throws light on the characters on-island behaviour. This episode is no different. We discover that the route of Rose’s calm and unexcitable demeanour is a faith in the island. She isn’t helping with rescue attempts or hatch duty because the island has saved her. Not only did it take away her cancer but it brought her husband back to her safely. The fact that she knows all this because of Locke is so simple and clever.

Her desire to stay on the island (and subsequently Bernard’s) is a major development for the show. The music montage which follows has an important purpose. It highlights that most of the survivors have reason to stay on the island or at least be hugely grateful to it. We see Sun and Jin (whose pregnancy seems like a miracle), Claire (who is now glad she didn’t give up her baby), even Hurley (who might not have attracted Libby’s attention in the real world) and of course Locke. This is an important story because it paves the way for the show to slowly develop and change and we are seeing why rescue has started to slip from some of the characters’ minds.

The flashbacks show Bernard and Rose’s romance as so sweet and moving. The scene where he proposes has particularly lovely aspects. His fifty plus years of bachelorhood mean he doesn’t care if Rose is dying; he still wants to spend every day with her. His desire to do something about her cancer mirrors perfectly his behaviour on the island. Her decision to lie to him makes perfect sense too as she doesn’t want him trying to fix her when she has made peace with her illness. Their simple motives and loving behaviour makes for an engaging and heart warming story. Their emotional hug at the end is the perfect happy ending to their story. We also get a hint of an explanation for healing when Isaac implies the energy which helps him heal people may be magnetic (which of course we know is present in abundance on the island).

In the meantime hooray for Bernard! Finally one character seems to behave like a real castaway. He cajoles and criticises the other survivors for getting so comfortable on the island and demands that they look for a means of escape. I have criticised the show for its characters lack of realistic behaviour and this at least tries to address that. Both with the SOS sign (which is a nice logical idea) and with the suggestion that the survivors are getting many benefits from staying put. We also learn that Eko has been chopping trees up in order to build a church. That leads to a logical and clever line on his part when Bernard asks for his help to find rescue – “People are saved in different ways Bernard.”

Meanwhile Locke’s frustrations grow and Rose seems to encourage him not to get too downhearted which obviously adds to her story while reminding us of his mission. And Jack and Kate find Michael which sets up the next episode and presumably the rest of the season very nicely. In the meantime Jack and Kate have a great scene together when they get caught in one of Rousseau’s nets (see Best Moment).

The Bad: That SOS sign was built way too close to the sea. Those rocks would have been washed out to sea by the next day.

Kate’s explanation for not telling Jack about her recent exploits (the medical station etc from 215) is ridiculous. I have said this too many times by now but why haven’t Claire and Kate told everyone about what happened and what they found there? Kate moans about not being told about Henry, well so what? Isn’t finding evidence of the Others lying a bit more important than your petty issues with Jack? I don’t really see what purpose all the secrets serve in terms of the writing of the show. It just makes the characters look like idiots. If you were on an island with a hostile force threatening you wouldn’t you want to share all the information you had with the friends who you are relying on to keep you alive?

Similarly the survivors bitching about having to lug rocks around makes them all look selfish and stupid as well. Everyone toiled to help Michael launch the raft on time (123) and yet they can’t be bothered to haul some rocks. Even though it could help them get home. We don’t have evidence that the minor characters have reasons to stay on the island, so their lack of will to help seems like poor writing.

The Unknown: What is it exactly that healed Locke and Rose?

Best Moment: Kate and Jack get trapped together in one of Rousseau’s nets. It is a clever excuse to showcase the banter and sexual tension which exists between them. He teases and criticises her in typical self righteous Jack fashion. He also logically points out that by shooting the rope, the Others will know where they are. Then he jokes around with her about being a better shot. The scene is really well filmed and acted. They seem genuinely out of breath and uncomfortable. It’s a really fun and sexy scene to showcase their relationship.

The Bottom Line: Bernard and Rose’s story is very simple and enjoyable. It is told in a clear and interesting fashion and perfectly compliments the main theme of the show. It’s sad that Lost has struggled with the character’s subsequent flashbacks. But this is a reminder that when we see someone’s first story, it is usually superbly told.

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  • I agree with your points, but I don't think this episode is quite as strong because it doesn't feel like the kind of episode that should happen towards the end of the season.

    Isaac really reminded me of Richard Malkin from "Raised by Another". It's interesting lore to show that there is some kind of supernatural that exists in this world, but unfortunately Lost never really delved too deep into that which made it feel kind of tacked on.

    I disagree that this episode was better because it's the first flashback. While that does add to it, I don't think that it's why this worked so well. I think the main part of what makes this episode so strong is that it had a proper conclusion to Rose and Bernard's story with them happily living on the island. While most Lost episodes have great character stories, not all of them have a satisfying emotional payoff, and this one did, which is why I think it was so successful. If you head back to a lot of the best Lost episodes, most of them have a big moment of emotional payoff at the end, just like this one.

    Viewer score: 71 / 100

    Posted by Aaronic, 25/04/2017 2:11pm (5 months ago)

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