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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 9 - Solitary

21 December 2016

Present: Sayid finds a cable on the beach. He follows it into the jungle and gets caught in a trap. He is then tortured by the French woman (who left the transmission) who keeps asking him where is Alex. Sayid befriends her and convinces her to let him go. She says she killed her whole team because they became sick and that she can hear other people on the island. On his way back to the camp Sayid hears the whispers of people he can not see. Meanwhile Hurley tries to help everyone relax by building a golf course. While Michael is playing Walt finds Locke and asks if he can teach him how to use a knife.

Flashback: Sayid is a torturer for the Republican Guard. Nadia, a girl he knew when growing up is brought to him. She won’t tell him anything and he falls in love with her. His commanding officer instructs him to kill her but instead he helps her to escape.

The Good: It’s yet another excellent episode from Lost. Both Sayid’s flashback and his capture by Rousseau are both gripping. There is no obvious path for the plot to go so both stories keep you guessing until the end.

Unlike other characters there is no great twist to Sayid’s story. As we already know, he was a torturer and clearly regrets some of what he had to do. The writers make it clear he is not inherently bad as he not only cares for Nadia, but refuses to put his family in danger by deserting his post. The juxtaposition is what makes his flashback so relevant. On the island he is the one being tortured and it’s interesting to see him slowly try to turn Rousseau, the way Nadia was able to turn him.

Rousseau is a fascinating character. The sight of the cable running into the jungle is a big moment. It is the first sign of current human activity on the island (the skeletons were decades old) and her appearance so soon is interesting. The writing, casting and direction of her character are excellent. Being alone for sixteen years makes her understandably eccentric, lonely and paranoid. The way she takes to the story of Nadia, almost childlike, feels very authentic. Having been starved of human contact and intimacy it seems so natural that she would cling to this tale of love and loss. The scenes with her and Sayid are both tense and dramatic and exciting for the overall plot. With each piece of information she gives we get a step closer to understanding the island (see Best Moment).

The final reveal that she wasn’t crazy and there really are whispers in the jungle is quite the moment. Although we don’t know what it means, it definitely confirms the supernatural suspicions we already have about the island. Could there be other people living there?

Hurley’s golf course plot is harmless fun. Jack articulates it well when he says that the golf course makes people feel safe. Hurley is spot on that without entertainment they will all be more stressed. Walt’s interest in Locke will doubtless lead to some kind of tension with Michael. It’s nice to see the hypochondriac survivor featured, as we haven’t yet got to know any of the non-regular cast of survivors.

Once more it is nice to see Sayid praying (when hung from the tree) as it makes him seem more authentic.

The Bad: The decision to switch from Arabic and subtitles to English is an interesting one. I only put this in the bad column because coming on the heels of an all Korean flashback (106), it seems like a cop out to switch to English. In many ways it is a good decision. One assumes the actors couldn’t all speak Arabic and that it would have turned off some viewers to have another foreign language episode. However it’s an odd lack of consistency.

The Unknown: Is Rousseau telling the truth? If so, were her friends really sick? If so with what? Who are the other people? Are they really whispering in the jungle? What happened to Alex? Rousseau also says of her friends sickness that “they were already lost.” It’s an interesting choice of words. Could the survivors all be sick? Could they all be in some way deluded or indeed lost?

Best Moment: Rousseau gives Sayid her broken music box to mend. He says he will if she tells him her name. She says tells him and he asks how she came to be on the island. She tells him her story, how they were a science team who crashed on the island. They survived for two months before they all died. Rousseau breaks off in her story “we were coming back from the black rock…it was them…they were the carriers.” An exasperated Sayid asks “Who were the carriers?” She replies “The others.” He asks again “What others? What is the black rock? Have you seen other people on this island?” She looks off into the distance and says “No but I hear them. Out there in the jungle, they whisper.” Sayid gives a look of pity and disappointment. “You think I’m insane” she almost pleads. “I think you have been alone too long” he replies. It’s a wonderfully acted scene and in retrospect it is even more significant.

The Bottom Line: An intense and intriguing episode. It opens the door to all sorts of potential island mysteries. Though more straightforward than some episodes, it is no less enjoyable.



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  • This was an excellent episode with some great character moments and tons of interesting island stuff.

    First of all, I love Sayid. His episodes are always gripping, and while this episode didn't have a twist, it had more than enough character work to provide the emotional engagement.

    The pace was excellent, and it was great seeing Sayid do and receive torture. The flashback did wonders as it made Sayid a more likeable character, while also introducing a long running story arc for him in Nadia.

    Rousseau was amazing, as she provided an early source of information to fuel the growing mystery of the island. The mention of a security system, whispers, the black rock and sickness builds up a lot of intrigue and left me excited for more when I first watched it.

    On rewatch though, it's unfortunate that a lot of the question brought up here were given unsatisfactory answers. It seems that the writers didn't even come up with an organizedidea for Rousseau's backstory and so they just kept adding things to make it more interesting.

    The B-plot provided some harmless fun and kept the characters very consistent. There were some minor progressions in storylines too, which I enjoyed.

    Overall, this was another very good episode of Lost's fantastic first season. I remember the quality keeping up throughout the season, and if all the episodes are as good as this, I will be more than pleased.

    Viewer score: 75 / 100

    Posted by Aaronic, 20/12/2016 5:44pm (4 years ago)

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