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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 7 - The Moth

10 December 2016

Present: Charlie asks Locke for his drugs back. Locke says he will give it to him if he asks for it three times. Charlie causes a cave-in which leaves Jack trapped. Charlie volunteers to climb in and save him, but when he does the tunnel Michael dug collapses. But Charlie finds a way out and he and Jack are saved. He gets his drugs back from Locke and chooses to destroy them. Meanwhile Sayid’s plan to triangulate the position of the French woman’s signal is successful. But before he can locate it, someone knocks him out.

Flashback: Charlie wants to be a good Catholic and so feels he should quit his band Driveshaft because of all the temptations he has experienced. But his older brother Liam convinces him to keep going once they get a recording contract. Once they hit the big time Liam develops a heroin problem and eventually treats Charlie like crap. Charlie takes up heroin himself. A few years later and Charlie is the user blaming the now sober Liam for making him this way, just before he gets on flight 815.

The Good: Although this episode continues the good characterisation of the previous few, it differs in an important way. In previous flashbacks we have seen glimpses of the characters lives which paint a picture about how they came to be on the plane. The flashbacks filled in details which helped explain why they were behaving the way they were on the island. Charlie’s flashback however, tells a more complete story.

It’s all about choice. His priest starts things off describing life as “a series of choices.” Locke then becomes his priest on the island saying he won’t throw away the drugs because “you wouldn’t have a choice.” He goes further and says that making choices is what makes you human, as opposed to a mere animal. When Charlie becomes a heroin addict he refuses to accept that it was his choice. As he meets the now sober Liam in Australia he screams at him “You did this to me.” Only when he chooses to risk his life and help Jack and then chooses to burn the drugs can he finally be redeemed.

The thematic simplicity of Charlie’s story can be seen as either a good thing or a bad thing (see The Bad). Let’s look at the good. One of the important things for shows like Lost is to give each episode its own identity, even if it is only part of a much larger arc plot. It’s so important that new viewers (especially seven episodes in) can tune in and easily pick up on what the show is about. This episode is the best so far at accomplishing that. The plot is logical and paced beautifully. Charlie’s three demands for the drugs frame his journey and tip off the viewer at each stage what to expect next.

The story does a great job of explaining who Charlie is as well. As we have come to expect now, our perception of who he must be is challenged immediately with the scene in the confessional. As Jack says “I wouldn’t have taken you for a religious man” and neither would we. The drug addict rock star turns out to have been a good Catholic boy. His story is tragic as he sees his own brother falling apart and is betrayed by him. We get a clear picture of why he is so desperate to be recognised on the island when we learn that he wrote the songs and his brother, as lead singer, took the credit.

The cave in plot supplies some action and drama and acts as yet another situation to draw out some more characterisation. Michael shows his value to the group (his construction background) and Kate’s burgeoning love for Jack has a spotlight shined on it. Both play their parts well. As does Sayid who has a nice moment, offering up a prayer for his plan. It’s a nice subtle demonstration of his background. Sawyer too gets a couple of nice scenes to show how he feels about being labelled a leech. His jealousy of Jack seems to be more about Kate than a desire to be leader.

The question of who attacked Sayid is a good cliff hanger to take the show forward. The moment itself is filmed very smoothly as the plan seems to be going so well until the branch swings into view. The attack is filled with a myriad of intriguing possibilities and so is a very good plot twist.

Sayid also points out how ridiculously lucky they all were to survive the plane crash. I’m glad someone did.

The Bad: The theme of choice is hammered on so much that some may be turned off by its predictability. Locke’s offer to Charlie seems pretty clear for anyone who has watched much television. Lost has presented several characters a chance for redemption or some other form of assistance so far. Kate has evaded arrest, Locke can walk again, Sun and Jin have escaped her father. So we know the show is likely to present Charlie choosing to go cold turkey and be redeemed. For some that predictability will make this episode less enjoyable. With the cheesy sight of the moth flying free at the end, you can hardly blame them.

Similarly cave-ins are not a dramatic plot. Have you ever seen a television show where a character was trapped and they weren’t rescued? Of course the point of the cave-in is not to make you believe that Jack will die, it is a task for Charlie to complete to be seen as making a good choice. But still, the fact that Jack is obviously not going to die seven episodes into the show does remove any real sense of drama or intrigue. Contrast that story with Sayid being attacked under mysterious circumstances. Sayid’s story has so many implications and potential consequences in a way which Jack being trapped does not.

Kate is unnecessarily rude to Sawyer when he comes to tell her about Jack. After freely offering her a lap top, it seems odd that she would be so hostile. It feels like it was written in to create a tense scene between them when he tells her the truth, rather than being what she would really say. Kate and Boone ought to be ashamed of the casual way in which they leave other people in charge of Sayid’s plan. It is the only plan they have to get off the island.

The Unknown: Who hit Sayid?

Best Moment: Charlie, looking like a lost child comes to tell Locke that Jack is trapped. But really he wants his drugs. Locke takes him over to see a moth cocoon. He shows him the top of the cocoon where the baby moth is trying to break free. “I could help it, take my knife, gently widen the opening and the moth would be free. But it would be too weak to survive. Struggle is nature’s way of strengthening it.” The analogy is obvious but that is no bad thing. Locke makes his point clearly, effectively and tellingly. Locke knows this because nature has clearly made him struggle. He seems to have studied long and hard for that walkabout and nature has blessed him with his legs. The moth is not just Charlie, it’s Locke and probably all the survivors. It’s such a good scene because of its ability to speak to the show as a whole.

The Bottom Line: Is this episode obvious and cheesy? Or is it beautifully paced and structured? In my opinion it falls between the two. Its obvious strengths make it enjoyable to watch but could one or two changes have made it even better? I believe so. It’s an interesting moment for Lost, this could be its worst episode so far, but it is far from bad.



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  • I really enjoyed this episode. It did get a bit cheesy at times but for the most part there was excellent storytelling and great symbolism.

    Charlie's character really came off well by the end of this episode. The flashback scenes really made you feel sympathetic for him.

    I loved seeing Locke helping Charlie. This sage Locke was excellent and I loved seeing him genuinely try to help out his fellow Lostaways. The moth scene with Locke was truly fantastic.

    This episode was Lost's first episode that really focussed on the theme of letting go. I noticed this theme in just about every character's story arc and Charlie was the first to truly let go of his baggage. Even Locke still hadn't let go at this point of the story.

    I also think that it's this whole letting go concept that made Lost so good. As soon as Charlie had let go of his addiction, the writers ran out of stories for him and his character became pretty bland and annoying until season 3. I definitely think that one of Lost's weaknesses is that it had throwaway episodes when the character's didn't have much story left to delve into. Charlie was the first to be effected by this.

    I agree with there being very little drama in this episode. It hurts the Episode a bit, but I think the storytelling and thematic exploration earns this episode a score over 70.

    Viewer score: 72 / 100

    Posted by Aaronic, 07/12/2016 3:15pm (4 years ago)

  • ["Kate is unnecessarily rude to Sawyer when he comes to tell her about Jack. After freely offering her a lap top, it seems odd that she would be so hostile. It feels like it was written in to create a tense scene between them when he tells her the truth, rather than being what she would really say."]

    You're probably right. But this was also the beginning of a history of Kate being emotionally abusive toward Sawyer.

    As for Locke . . . I realize that he had good intentions, but I did not care for the way he had forced his help upon Charlie. Charlie was the one who had to make the decision to stop taking drugs. Locke should not have made that decision for him.

    Posted by Rosie, 19/12/2011 8:23pm (9 years ago)

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