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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 17 - ...In Translation

12 January 2017

Present: Sawyer buys a spot on Michael’s raft. Michael tries to stop a fight between Jin and Sun and gets a slap for his trouble. That night someone sets Michael’s raft on fire. Sawyer ties up Jin and drags him to the beach where Michael beats him up. Sun speaks English to stop the fight. Locke then tells everyone that Ethan’s people must have burnt the raft. Later though he confronts Walt who really did it. Jin leaves Sun and goes to help Michael build the new raft.

Flashback: We see Jin’s side of Sun’s flashback. He says he will do anything, including working for Mr Paik in order to be with Sun. Paik asks him to deliver a message to the Secretary for Environmental Safety that he is displeased with him. When that is all Jin does, the Secretary hands over his daughter’s dog because he is so grateful. Then Paik is furious to learn that his factory did not reopen immediately. He sends a hit man with Jin to deliver a proper message. To avoid murder Jin beats the Secretary up in front of his family and tells him to reopen the factory immediately. Jin goes to see his father, who he claimed was dead, because he was ashamed that his father was only a fisherman. His father doesn’t care and is just happy to see him. His father suggests that he and Sun stay in America and start again.

The Good: Jin’s story is interesting, sad and touching. It is told logically and dramatically and finishes with the reveal that Sun can speak English. It is very good throughout.

The logic flows from seeing Jin’s side of Sun’s flashback. Where through her eyes Jin became cold and distant, we now see him desperate to protect her and provide for her. He is willing to beat up a man in front of his family in order to avoid killing and confesses to his father that he doesn’t want Sun to know what her father is really like. Both those scenes make Jin thoroughly likeable and the discovery that he had made the same decision as Sun, to leave Korea, is fascinating. The island is the new start which they both needed, making it very sad that he ends the episode saying it is too late for that now.

The flashback scenes themselves are excellent. It adds a lot for Western viewers to see the deeply respectful, deferential and polite world in which Jin has to operate in. It adds another level of sympathy for him to be dealing with the rough and unjust treatment he gets from Michael and Sawyer. The scene with the Secretary giving Jin his dog is a personal favourite (see Best Moment), but it only just edges out Jin going to see his father. Jin’s father is so kind and understanding that it is heartbreaking to see Jin tell him he was ashamed of him. His tolerance recalls the story of the prodigal son but also gives us a clue as to what made Jin the good man he became. Seeing the same scene in the Kwon bathroom is not a pain either. Now with the knowledge of what Jin has had to go through we can see it with fresh eyes.

The revelation that Sun can speak English is really well handled. By holding off on it for so long it really means something. Charlie and Jack react very naturally too, angry that they had been talking openly around her this whole time. And finally Locke says what I have been begging someone to make a fuss out of. The fact that there are clearly other people on the island. The later scene with Locke and Walt is also interesting, when they both reveal that they don’t want to leave the island. As Lost goes on I suspect many of the characters will reach the same conclusion. It’s becoming clear that the survivors were in some way meant to come to the island for a fresh start. The Jin and Sun story is so good because they have been given (in a strange way) exactly what they wanted; a life away from Mr Paik, but their lies have cost them their love.

The other characters have their moments too, Boone continues on his path away from Shannon, as he tries to give Sayid a fair warning about who she was. Locke dishes out more advice to her and the beautiful blonde being attracted to the Iraqi soldier will please the PC brigade. Finally the montage comes to an end as Hurley’s batteries die. I appreciate the realism of that moment and for once a montage was mildly appropriate.

The Bad: Why does Sayid listen to Boone? It seemed out of character.

I know that Lost is on in a prime time slot on family friendly American television, but could there be a really unlikeable character amongst the survivors? Socially awkward Locke has turned into everyone’s favourite guidance councillor, hardened criminal Kate wouldn’t hurt a boar, snarky Sawyer feels bad about the things he has done and now domineering husband Jin turns out to be a really nice guy. By removing the edge from every character the show suffers a hit in its credibility. Annoying, difficult or nasty people are everywhere in life and if every survivor is a nice person it doesn’t make the show seem entirely plausible or gritty.

The Unknown: Why was Hurley on the television in Jin’s flashback? It looks like next week maybe time to learn more about him. Was Jin definitely going to flee to America? It was implied but not confirmed.

Best Moment: Jin goes to the secretary’s house and tells him he is there to deliver a message from Mr Paik. The Secretary begs him not to do it in front of his daughter. Jin looks confused and says he only came to say that Mr Paik is displeased with him. The Secretary couldn’t be more happy to hear this. He thanks Jin profusely and begs him to accept his daughter’s dog as a gift. It’s such a strange moment for Jin as the Secretary thanks him again and again for telling him that Mr Paik is displeased with him. It’s such a subtle scene which speaks volumes about the world of Mr Paik’s business and how little Jin truly understands it.

The Bottom Line: A superb character episode, Jin plays his role really well and the logical storytelling is excellent.



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  • This episode was another excellent character in a season that has been filled with them.

    Jin's story is very well told and turns him from a more antagonistic character to a real nice guy who we can sympathize with. Jon's father is also great, considering that most Lost characters have issues with their fathers. It's refreshing to see a genuinely caring father now.

    I loved seeing the other side of Sun's story in "House of the Rising Sun" and it really goes to show how good of a man Jin used to be. There are many great scenes throughout the flashback that express this.

    Meanwhile, on-island the burning of the raft is an excellent story to keep us engaged. The obvious culprit is set up to be Jin, so it isn't that surprising when he is revealed to be innocent. The surprise comes from the fact that Walt did it, saying that he likes it here. Considering his special nature, this is a pretty good development.

    I liked that Lost set up its next couple episodes with subtle hints to their story. This happens when Locke talks about his father and when Hurley is seen on the little girl's tv.

    Lastly, I agree with your points about Sun's reveal and the side stories with the other characters. They were very good in my eyes as well.

    Overall, I have to give more praise to Lost. There were a couple poor episodes recently but the season has got back on track.

    Viewer score: 72 / 100

    Posted by Aaronic, 10/01/2017 6:04pm (4 years ago)

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