~ This post is the second of an ongoing series in which we blather on about our weekly re-viewing of Lost. You can find the first post here, at Russ’s blog, and the next post after mine here, at Bryant’s. ~
Yay for Lost! Can I first say, I’m excited to be doing this! When we sat down in front of the TV a couple weeks ago and heard that eerily familiar dissonant chord gradually fill the room, I could hardly contain my excitement.
So. My task is to write something about the second episode: part two of the pilot. I’m not worrying too much about making this eloquent (as you can tell), so here comes the word avalanche—I’m just letting the thoughts all spill out. (And I make no apologies for plot spoilers! If you haven’t watched Lost yet, well then… honestly I don’t know what to do with you.)
If I had to rename this episode, I’d call it “Culture Clash” or something more clever that gives the same idea. As I watched it this time around, I noticed tons of instances where the writers pitted one character’s “normal” against another’s. And now that I think about it, part of what makes this show so wonderful isn’t just the crazy plot. It’s the characters. And even then, it’s not just that the characters are interesting (which they are); it’s that they’re so different. The writers have crammed lots of interesting people from diabolically opposed worlds onto one little island in the middle of nowhere, where no one’s “normal” is actually still the norm. And it’s fascinating.
Here’s a list of some culture juxtaposition from this episode:
- Jin tells Sun to button up her cardigan while Michael asks in a panic if they’ve seen his son. It’s not just the language barrier that makes things awkward here. It’s the dramatically different focus of each of the men (though to be fair, it’s because of the language barrier that Jin doesn’t know there’s a more pressing issue than Sun’s neckline).
- Shannon and Claire sit on the beach next to each other. Shannon: rude, curt, wealthy, skinny, working on improving her tan. Claire: kind, chatty, poor, VERY pregnant, worrying about how she hasn’t felt the baby kick.
- “Dumb redneck” Sawyer fighting it out with “terrorist” Sayid with “lardo” Hurley caught in the crossfire. It’s kind of a disaster in the heat of the moment.
- The awkwardness Hurley feels as he tries to bridge the culture gap between Sayid and himself. While seeking for common ground, he realizes his “buddy who fought over there” in the Gulf War was actually fighting against Sayid, not with him.
- A scene cuts to Kate bathing on the beach, out in the open, looking nearly naked in a skin-colored bra. Then the scene cuts directly to Sun, standing on the edge of the beach hesitantly, still in her buttoned-to-the-top cardigan sweater—not at all immodest by our standards but scolded for being so earlier in the episode.
- Jin’s sea urchin meal is comically rejected by Hurley. “What, that? What, eat that? Dude. Dude, I’m starving… but I’m nowhere near that hungry. No. No. No thank you! No way. No.”
- Claire grabs Jin’s hand to feel her baby kick (miraculously, after eating the food Hurley rejected). Clearly, this is not comfortable for Jin, but the joy of the situation helps ease the awkwardness. Both Claire and Jin stepped across their cultural comfort zone here: Claire when she ate Jin’s food, Jin as he felt the baby kick.
- Walt and Locke playing backgammon. Old white man. Young black boy. How do they become such friends? (And as a side note, when you first watch this scene, you think the emphasis Locke puts on the light and dark playing pieces might be an allusion to their different races, but it turns out it’s a foreshadowing of Locke’s complex relationship with the island. He’s one crazy complex dude.)
I love it. The jangle of different cultures and the common ground they find. I’m excited to watch for more as the show goes on.
Kate took off her cuffs on the plane while she reached for the oxygen mask, right? But Star pointed out that she was rubbing her wrists as she walked out of the jungle, as if she had just removed them. Is that weird? Doesn’t it make it seem like she got them off in the jungle? No? Maybe her wrists were just still sore? Did she not get them all the way removed in the air?
Importance to story: 5
Importance to character development: 5? 4.5?
Overall enjoyability: 4