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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


Episode 23 - Exodus (1)

23 February 2017

Present: Danielle arrives in the camp to tell them that the “others” are coming. She says sixteen years ago she saw black smoke in the distance on the day when they took her baby. Now the black smoke appears over the horizon once more. Jack, Kate, Locke, Hurley, Arzt, and Danielle head off to the Black Rock (which turns out to be a ship) to pick up dynamite. Their plan is to blow open the hatch and hide inside. Everyone else helps Sawyer, Jin, Michael and Walt set sail on the raft. Everyone says goodbye to one another before they leave.

Flashback: We flashback to the day that Oceanic 815 set off. A disobedient Walt is brought into line by an angry Michael. Jack shares a drink and a flirt with a woman who is also on the flight. Sawyer is told by the police that he is being deported to America and is not welcome back. We discover that Sawyer’s real name is James Ford. The Marshall taunts Kate about the things she did as he checks the guns with airport security. Sayid leaves his bag with Shannon and she tells security about it just to prove to Boone what she is capable of. Sun tries to be a good wife to Jin while secretly understanding the mocking of an American couple behind her.

The Good: The idea of flashing back to where all the characters were and who they were before the flight is a lovely idea. It gives you a broad sweep of how the island has changed their lives. The most interesting scene is Kate with the Marshall. We get the explanation that he is the one who put the toy plane in the safety deposit box, presumably to try and tempt her out of hiding. It’s nice to have the explanation though it isn’t entirely satisfying (see The Bad). Shannon reminds us of what a bitch she used to be when “telling” on Sayid. Her description of him as simply “Arab” is a wonderfully fitting character moment. It’s both subtly racist and bimbo-like, both displaying her lack of interest in other people’s lives.

On the island the goodbye scenes are mostly touching and appropriate. The best of all is Jack and Sawyer (see Best Moment) which is an excellent payoff for the cross over between Sawyer and Christian (116). But Jin and Sun’s goodbye is equally emotional. Her gift to him of some phonetic English phrases is kind and very logical, which is good to see. But his confession that he believes he is being punished for the way he treated her is so moving. As we saw in his flashback (117), he tried to protect Sun from knowing what a brutal man her father was. And yet he clearly believes her desire to learn English and leave him was his fault. It’s so sad and his desire to rescue her by leaving on the raft is very selfless. His character has changed entirely in our perception across the season. Walt also has a nice moment handing Vincent over to Shannon which was very sweet.

The inclusion of Arzt on the trek to the Black Rock is an interesting twist. He is certainly a contrary character which might add a new dimension to the show. Hurley has a nice moment of comedy with him when he says “I think Lesley’s a bitchin name.” The Black Rock turning out to be a ship is a clever twist. It also gives a plausible explanation for why there would be dynamite lying around. The reappearance of the “monster” is welcome as it has been a shadowy threat all season without a hint of what it really is (see The Unknown).

The final shot of the raft setting sail is visually beautiful and well filmed. Finally the absolute right moment is chosen for a music montage! It is swiftly followed by the ominous black smoke which sets the stage really well for the final episode of the season.

The Bad: The explanation of Kate’s plane is fairly understandable. It makes sense that it was put there to taunt her because it was difficult to think what other value it could hold. But as the Marshall mockingly says, Kate went through the trouble of robbing the bank and killing people to get back this symbol of her childhood love. It’s a weird thing for a person to do. Even if you accept that Kate desperately needed to cling on to this symbol of what she once was, how can she justify killing and stealing to get it? How does that make her conscience feel? It would be plausible if Kate acted like Sawyer and seemed to have a flexible sense of morality where she could convince herself that bank robbers deserved what they got. But her behaviour on the island is moral and kind, so again I state that her character is poorly written.

The Unknown: What is the significance of Jack’s conversation with Ana Lucia? I thought Jack was a drinker, he certainly looked to be knocking them back before his wedding (120). Why do “The Others” warn people that they are coming by sending up black smoke? Where did Rousseau’s scratches really come from? How did the Black Rock get on the island?

Rousseau claims that the “monster” is a security system, there to protect the island. How does she know this? Is she guessing? What is it protecting the island from and oh yeah, what is it!?

Best Moment: Jack comes to see Sawyer who is hacking away at a tree branch. He gives him a gun for the raft and says goodbye. Sawyer realises the time is right to do something nice. So he tells Jack the story of the man he met in a bar in Australia. He tells Jack the story which Christian told him about his argument with Jack. Jack does a great job of reacting to this. He looks deadly serious and interested and then his eyes begin welling up with tears which he fights from letting out. Sawyer finishes with “Small world, huh?” Jack agrees and Sawyer wishes him luck. Beautifully done.

The Bottom Line: The most satisfying thing about this episode is the feeling that the writers knew where they were going all along. The finale is set up perfectly with two groups setting off on quests, the mysterious “Others” coming for a sinister purpose, the hatch about to be opened and the “monster” lurking in the jungle. The flashbacks remind you of a season’s worth of character development. We have barely scratched the surface of the mysteries of the island and yet we know the survivors so well.

It is a huge credit to the writers what a great job they have done with the characters. Seeing them all say goodbye it is striking to think that I don’t dislike any of them. Characters are of course a conglomerate of casting, acting, writing and directing. And yet none of the character strike me as unconvincing or out of place. Aside from Kate’s back-story and Charlie’s murder of Ethan, I have barely had a serious complaint all season. I can think of no higher praise than that!



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  • This was an excellent first part of the season finale. The plot was set up well, but there was so much more to this episode than just set-up.

    First, the set-up was excellent. Small scenes or mentions with Rousseau, the Others, the Monster and the Black Rock reveal brought real excitement for the the next part. This season of Lost is probably the slowest in terms of plot development, but it made this finale so much more memorable since it was the episode where the plot finally took massive steps in addition to some excellent character moments, which I'll mention now.

    The characters really shined in this episode. The goodbyes were all very emotional as you have stated above and they provided more emotion than most TV shows nowadays can throughout their entire run. It was the small scenes that made Lost the most emotionally effective show I have ever seen. Like you, I especially loved the Jack/Sawyer scene and I think it was one of the best scenes from this entire season.

    The flashbacks were excellent as well. I enjoyed seeing the characters before the flight, and it goes to show how incredible the character work was this season since those flashbacks actually worked for me. Had the characters been shallow, the flashbacks would have been an utter failure and I'm very glad that Lost was able to go beyond the next level to get us to love the characters. I especially loved seeing Boone and the Marshall again. Both of their flashbacks were highlights of the episode. I like that there were a couple loose ends tied up from the Kate storyline. I also enjoyed the introduction to Ana Lucia.

    Furthermore, the raft launch scene was fantastic as well and I think it was the best scene in this episode, even with how enjoyable the Jack/Sawyer scene was. There was just so much emotion there.

    The only issue I had was when everybody helped out with the raft. It raises the question of why nobody was helping Michael except Jin in the earlier episodes. It's not like everybody else was too busy, since they all were able to pitch in here. Surely more people could have helped out with the best chance to escape the island.

    Aside from that little nitpick, this episode was incredible. It's a prime example that set-up episodes can be so much more than only set-up. Lost has impressed me once again.

    Viewer score: 80 / 100

    Posted by Aaronic, 18/02/2017 7:31pm (3 years ago)

  • Yeah but what about the bank robbery? People have argued that she never planned on killing her fellow robbers and only did so to protect the manager.

    But quite how she thought robbing a bank was ever going to be a clean activity I don't know. The level of planning involved in commiting that crime should have bothered her a lot more than it apparently did.

    I remain convinced that Kate was a character the writers didn't spend enough time fleshing out before the series began.

    If you see the latest comment in the forum (Aug 2011) you can see a link to a fascinating interview where Damon L admits how rushed the writing of the early episdoes was.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 05/08/2011 10:07am (9 years ago)

  • Just because Kate's behavior on the island was "morally kind", doesn't mean she was incapable of the crimes she committed off island. And even on the island, she stole the dead Joanna's identification, tried to manipulate Jack and Sawyer over the marshal's briefcase and tried to get Sawyer tossed off the raft.

    Posted by Rosie, 05/08/2011 12:07am (9 years ago)

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