The 'Lost' Hour: Season 1 and 2 Review -- White Rabbit, House of the Rising Sun, Moth
Thursday, July 2, 2009; 3:00 PM
Join "Lost" bloggers Liz Kelly and Jen Chaney this summer to discuss "Lost's" first and second seasons. Each week, we'll assign a few episodes to watch. Then join Liz and Jen each Thursday at 3 p.m. ET to talk about what happened and how those early shows tie in (or not) to "Lost's" looming final season.
For the the Thursday, July 2 discussion watch these season 1 episodes:
5. "White Rabbit"
7. "The Moth"
Liz and Jen, both obsessive "Lost" fans, have been writing their weekly dueling analysis of the show since 2006. When not debating the merits of Sawyer's hotness, Liz Kelly writes the Celebritology blog and Jen Chaney acts as movies editrix and DVD columnist for washingtonpost.com. For episode analysis, discussion transcripts and more, visit washingtonpost.com's Lost Central.
Jen Chaney: Welcome to yet another installment in "Lost: The Rehash." (Or maybe, The ReHatch? Perhaps that's a better title to use once we get to season two.)
Three quick points/provocative questions from me re: moments in the episodes we covered today, then it's over to Liz for more. (Warning: these points contain spoilers about future seasons. So if you're totally new to "Lost," read with caution.)
1. In "White Rabbit," Christian tells Jack via flashback that, "When you fail, you just don't have what it takes." Based on what happened after the Oceanic Six returned to regular life, that would seem to be true. When Jack realized he perhaps made a mistake by leaving the island, he got all pill-poppy and bearded and obsessed with depressing Nirvana songs.
But will this turn out to be the case in general? Based on the season five finale, do you think that Jack's plan to "undo" the pain of the Losties' lives will succeed? And if it doesn't -- if he "fails" -- will Jack have what it takes to regroup or has he redeemed himself?
2. In "House of the Rising Sun," it's made very clear that Sun's plan is to ditch Jin at the airport, disappear and make her family think she is dead so she can start a new life. Interestingly, Sun eventually found herself on the other side in a similar situation: she believed Jin was dead when, really, he just disappeared. Was what happened to Jin -- nearly being killed on the exploding freighter before Sun's eyes -- some sort of cosmic punishment for Sun, given the plan she once had in place?
3. Charlie's guitar -- and guitar case -- were crucial pieces in this episode. The presence of his guitar, as pointed out by Locke, was what made him turn away from drugs and try to -- to use this phrase yet again -- start a new life. Is that why Jacob wants Hurley to bring that guitar case on the Ajira flight? Does it have to be there so that Locke can convince Charlie to have faith and fulfill his destiny?
Liz Kelly: I am running late and I'm sure some of the questions address most of the points I would have raised, so I'll just limite myself to this:
I'd completely forgotten about the white and black stones found with the skeletons of Adam and Eve in the caves. That fact, taken with Locke's description of backgammon to Walt last week and the season six finale where we are led to believe that Jacob and No. 2 are light and dark/opposing forces, really has me thinking the producers knew where they were going as early as season one.
To which I can only say "Wow."
Morgan Hill, Calif.: I don't think I could have waited week to week for the next episode. I just started watching when the reruns started on SiFi and get 9 episodes a week.
Jen Chaney: Hey there, Morgan Hill. That's the thing about watching shows on DVD, online or OnDemand after they've aired. You can completely binge, as opposed to taking the steady diet approach that comes when watching during the regular season.
I am sure I would have binged if I had held off on watching "Lost." But I'm sort of glad I didn't. The waiting -- as Tom Petty has made abundantly clear -- is definitely the hardest point about watching during the regular season. But having a week's pause in between also gives us time to absorb, digest, read the blogs and discussion forums and prepare the following week.
Now, this several months between seasons thing, on the other hand? That just sucks!
Washington, D.C.: Last week we discussed the possibility that Locke is already possessed (or whatever) by the man in black. Yet, in The Moth, we see the brilliant, healing side of John Locke, as he helps Charlie come to terms with and then decide to break his addiction.
This Locke certainly seems more like Jacob than the man in black.
Is it possible that, in fact, Jacob and the man in black are both trying to gain influence over Locke in the early days of their crash, which is why we see such varying personalities from Locke (i.e. Locke the drug addict healer vs. Locke the Sayid knocker-outer and torture enabler, when he gives Sayid the knife)?
The other possibility is that it is indeed the man in black influencing Locke, but Jacob's nemesis has a good side as well and is a far more nuanced character than we are now led to believe.
Jen Chaney: He definitely see-saws back and forth quite a bit, doesn't he? I feel like we all may (understandably) start to interpret every Locke moment now through the prism of the Man in Black information we got from this past season finale. I still haven't decided if it's a valid interpretation or not.
I do think, at the least, the writers wanted the other characters and the audience to not quite know what to make of Locke in that first season. Just when you start to think he's a man of integrity, he does something vaguely sinister that makes you question that integrity. As to whether that relates back to the Man in Black, I'm still undecided. But it's certainly fun to consider.
Liz Kelly: Agreed -- I could be accused of getting carried away with the man in black interpretations (with all apologies to Johnny Cash) and Jen is right to remind us that we could be retrofitting something into these early seasons that just didn't exist.
One thing the "Lost" writers have always done really well is to create rounded characters (no matter how hard Evangeline Lily ends tries to make Kate one-dimensional) and to show the duality of human nature. Sawyer -- he's the con man with a heart of gold. He looted the plane and tries to sell off supplies, but he's there in a pinch. Jin -- he loved Sun so much that he was willing to kill for her father. Sayid -- he's a man of integrity, but ends up torturing Sawyer and, later, Ben Linus.
So it isn't out of the question that Locke's noble and dastardly actions are just the normal range of behavior of which each of us is capable.
Ben's Place (aka Baked Ham a plenty): Not really a question, but a comment/revelation: On a recent trip to Philadelphia, I kept hearing the smoke monster all around me. It was freaky! I continually felt the need to run and hide. Then I discovered where the sound was coming from. It was the taxi meters! At the conclusion of every ride, the meter would make that noise as the cabs were pulling away. I don't know if it was printing receipts or what, but I'm sure it was the meter. Has LindeCuse ever said where they got the sound for Smokey? If not, I'm POSITIVE this was where it came from!
Just thought I'd share (even if I am waaaaay behind the curve and this "mystery" has been solved long ago).
Liz Kelly: Something tells me the Smokey sound is not an amplification of a taxi meter. But stranger things have happened. Any amateur foley artists out there who want to venture a guess?
Jen Chaney: Actually, this reader is right. People behind the scenes of the show have indeed said that a taxi meter is part of the sound mix. (Lostpedia confirms it.)
Good ears, Ben's Place!
Denver, CO: When you say several months between seasons suck ... well, I deployed to Iraq Jan 2007, right after Season 3 ended, returned from my lovely 12 month tour in Jan 2008, just in time for Season 4. If this were a contest of suck-ness, I vote that my suck waiting time wins!
Jen Chaney: All right, I'll give that to you, Denver. You definitely win.
On the bright side, at least you returned from deployment in time for the fourth season. It was so nice of ABC to arrange everything around your schedule.
Portland, OR: Rewatching these episodes is making me see Locke (or is he already UnLocke?) in a completely different light. I had forgotten how sinister and oddly in control he was in these first episodes. It is difficult to reconcile this Locke with the man who tried to hang himself post-island or even with the man who lost faith in the power of button pushing. What do you ladies think - was Locke himself up until his death and resurrection, or were there traces of Number #2 from the moment the plane crashed?
Liz Kelly: Remember, Locke is coasting on the high of having regained the use of his legs and he believes he's found his place in the world on the island. He tells Jack (after saving Jack's life):
I looked into the eye of the island and what I saw was beautiful.
This is the man of faith talking. And Locke retains that strong faith unwaveringly until Ben Linus enters the picture and starts getting him to question what he believes about the island. But that's season two and something we can revisit when we get there later this summer.
Also, remember that Locke's encounter early on with Smokey could be interpreted as the moment at which he became possessed (fully or in part) by No. 2. And that could account for his seeming omniscience, too.
Jen Chaney: As I said before, I'm not sure about the traces of No. 2 yet. I think one could easily interpret it that way, but I'm not totally prepared to just yet.
As Liz suggested, one could easily reconcile post-button pushing Locke with the fact that his deep faith has been shaken. He gets his faith back when he returns to the island, resurrected. And (possibly) possessed. And, definitely, convinced that no one can tell him what he can't do.
Alexandria, Va.: This may be a bit of a stretch, but recently I got back into a favorite album from about 20(!) years ago, "Diesel and Dust" by the great Australian band Midnight Oil. And there are a few things about it that remind me of "Lost" - it captures the isolation and sometimes desolation of that part of the world, and several songs hint at the struggles of civilization, man vs. machine and potential post-nuclear apocalypse. There are a few moments musically that sound like they could be part of the "Lost" soundtrack as well. Like I said, it may be a stretch, but for anyone who enjoyed that album and also likes "Lost," it might be a good time to revisit it.
Jen Chaney: Wow, I'll have to go back to "Diesel and Dust" now to see what you mean.
The fact that they are Australian is a weird coincidence, isn't it?
All I know is I saw Midnight Oil live once, and my God, Peter Garrett (lead singer) is a scarily imposing figure. (See
.) He kind of looks like an ultra-tall version of Locke.
Liz Kelly: How can we sleep while our beds are burning?
Jen Chaney: Liz, enough with your ridiculous questions. The time has come to say fair's fair.
Liz Kelly: Jen. Don't even get me started. Just pay your rent, ok? Pay your share.
Silver Spring, MD: "really has me thinking the producers knew where they were going as early as season one."
You mean, as opposed to all these times they've been saying they've known where they were going since season one?
Liz Kelly: Listen, smartie -- there's a difference between a general over-arching idea of how they'd like things to end up and the inclusion of specific details that don't pay off until four seasons later.
Jen Chaney: Right. I think we all wonder to what level of detail the writers really knew what they were doing in season one. Yes, they knew broadly how they wanted the story to end.
But I think they have been deliberately vague when pressed to say which details they knew would be key -- Christian's sneakers, Charlie's guitar, for example -- because it takes away some of the mystery. And I think they definitely want to preserve that, at least until the show is done.
Has anyone seen my razor?: Don't let's succumb to the bias of knowledge of future events when rewatching these old episodes! Just because Locke is "possessed" in season 5 does not mean he is "possessed" in season 1.
And moreover, at no point is Locke "possessed" by the man in black. Locke is dead, his body is accounted for. Rather the man in black has merely assumed the FORM of Locke in all the post-Ajira crash island scenes, just as he (or some other island entity/ies) occasionally assumes the form of Christian or Yemi or Kate's horse.
I do not know why Locke needs to be dead for the man in black to assume his form, but please note that this in no way contravenes the facts above!
Jen and Liz, you Rawk.
--William of Ockham
Liz Kelly: I'm not sure whether to respond to the point you raise or your sarcastic signature. Occam's razor, indeed.
Maybe "possessed" is the wrong word, but the man in black did exert some influence over the living Locke in order to get things to play out to the point where he'd have the opportunity of assuming his corporal identity. So it isn't out of the question that the island -- in the form of Jacob or No. 2 -- is tinkering with Locke already. Much as it is obviously already tinkering with Jack by having him chase his dead father through the jungle.
Jen Chaney: True, fair point. Possessed might not be exactly the right word.
How about if we just refer to what happened as The Weirdness? You know, sort of like M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening"?
Washington, D.C.: Okay, so I understand you both (and us, hopefully) have other jobs to attend to - but can we possibly keep going into Seasons 3 and 4?
I'm re-watching Season 4 right now, and in the third episode, Locke (leading his merry band of Losties who believe the Freighter Folk are there to do them harm) has encountered upon the ash line that surrounded Jacob's cabin in the finale when UnLocke found the "loophole". Or so we think. He's looking for Jacob's cabin, finds it to be no longer where he thought it was, and reaches down and touches the ash line. I think there's a lot of insight in Season 4 that would definitely be worth re-watching before we get into the last season.
Liz Kelly: Maybe for a small fee we could arrange something.
Kidding. Let's get through 1 and 2 first. Then we can talk about it in September.
Jen Chaney: Uh, Liz? Today probably isn't the day to be joking about Post employees receiving small fees.
But seriously, folks...
I am with Liz on the waiting until September. I say this mainly because I am tired and my chest hurts. That's right: I now have adopted the same decision-making process as Grandpa Simpson.
Liz Kelly: Thanks for drawing the diagram, Jen. All hopes of that one sliding under the radar may now be dashed.
Wait -- Jen -- your chest hurts? Should we, uh, be worried or giving you aspirin or anything?
Jen Chaney: Don't worry, Liz. I don't think cardiac arrest is imminent.
Unless of course someone gets mad about my fees joke...
Having a brain fart: I don't remember what the deal is with Christian wearing sneakers in recent Lost land. Could you please explain?
And I gotta hand it to you...I can't discipline myself to only watch 3 eps per week. Of course I'm probably not as busy as you guys, and the only thing I watch in the summer regularly is So You Think You Can Dance, but I'm already half way thru the first season. I plan to re-watch all 5 seasons before the last one starts.
Jen Chaney: Happy to refresh your gassy memory.
Remember, Jack had to put his father's shoes on Locke's feet in the "316" episode last season. And during that episode, he said something to Kate about how he outfitted his father with white tennis shoes after his death in Sydney. And in season one, Christian is indeed wearing bright, white sneaks.
Thanks for admiring our discipline. Business definitely is part of it; life has this way of preventing me from ODing on "Lost" episodes. Perhaps that's what the island wants.
Falls Church, Va.: I'm watching White Rabbit right now. The first five minutes and I have questions/comments!
1. Seems appropriate for Jack to have the same flashback in Season 5 "you shoulda stayed down Jack"
2. I thought Charlie was a great swimmer? But he claims that he can't swim. Isn't that why he was sent to the Looking Glass?
3. Seriously there is NO ONE ELSE in the whole encampment besides Boone and Jack that can swim and help the drowners - give Jack a hand why dontcha?
Liz Kelly: I noted Charlie's statement about not being able to swim, too. Maybe we're to assume he learned in the weeks between the crash and his swim down to the Looking Glass?
Here's a question I have: Why is Jin so obsessed with Sun's modesty on island? He's constantly making her button up her sweater, when in Korea she seemed to be quite free to wear whatever she wanted -- including that silk shoulder-bearing number she wore the night they snog at the restaurant.
And another -- does anyone else get the feeling that early on the producers were toying with developing some kind of romantic relationship between Sun and Michael? In "The Moth" there's a moment where Walt says something to Michael like "These caves sure are neat, I think I'm going to like living here" and the next shot is Michael turning around to look questioningly at Sun. Then the show moved on...
Jen Chaney: Yeah, the Charlie swimming thing has been noted before, especially since we know from later episodes that his dad actually taught him to swim. I think it was a continuity error.
And yes, I also think they really overdid it with Jin's overprotectiveness. And I'm not sure why; it doesn't jibe with his character in flashbacks or later in the series. But because he doesn't speak English, it plays into this stereotype that he's an overbearing Korean husband -- remember the woman in the airport who makes that same snide observation about him, which Sun understands since she actually can speak English?
Maybe, again, the writers were toying with the notion of prejudice and how we tend to assume things about people without knowing the real story. It's what happens constantly between the characters, and we as viewers sometimes fall into the trap, too.
Natick, Mass.: re:I do not know why Locke needs to be dead for the man in black to assume his form...
I believe that Locke has to be dead to give the power of Resurrection to the Nameless One taking his form. Even Richard and Ben are bowled over by Locke being resurrected -- they're so focused on this new event that they never consider they're being scammed.
Jen Chaney: That's a fair assumption. But as far as Ben being bowled over ... I don't know. He knew Locke needed to be dead. But I wonder if he just killed him so he could serve as Christian's proxy, or because he had some inkling that he really had to resurrect. As with all things Linus-related, I am not quite sure what the real story there is.
Natick, Mass.: Every time we see Locke off-island, either in flashback or as Jeremy Bentham, he is a different character -- than the on-island version. The on-island version can be admired, but not quite trusted -- note that he attacks Sayid early on. The off-island flashbacks seem to consistently show a man who can be manipulated. My theory is that Nameless One zeroes in on Locke as someone he can manipulate to his purpose early on. He tests him, sometimes influences him, perhaps occasionally possesses him. I don't think that's just looking through the prism of the recent finale. I think it explains Locke's inconsistent on-island behavior -- a man who can be admired but also one that can't be completely trusted--note he attacks Sayid early on. Even with all that happened to Locke on-island--all his achievements -- he is a poor leader when he returns to the mainland, unable to persuade anyone to his mission. I think the main difference in on-island and off-island Locke is the influence of Nameless one.
Liz Kelly: I don't want to alarm you or anything, but did you suffer a head injury recently? Just asking.
Off-island Locke is a man out of place in the world. An adventurer stuck in a cubicle, a man of action stuck in a body that can't function. So that might account a bit for the differences between off and on-island Locke's. Of course he would behave differently when he finds himself not only wholly able to function physically, but dropped into an environment that values the skills he possesses above those valued back here in the real world.
Jen Chaney: Well, I would argue that the island is what makes Locke in control. It heals his legs, and his confidence and perhaps even gives him the skills he doesn't have off the island.
But again, I'm still not sure that means he turns into the Nameless One right after he shows up on the island. Am not ruling it out, but am not totally convinced either.
That said, please continue developing your theories. I like trying to be persuaded see this differently.
Annapolis, Md.: Just an observation--Christian's body was not in the coffin. Did we ever see his body on the island? When Locke "resurrected" his body was still around. Any significance?
Liz Kelly: I can't remember. My thought when Jack opens the coffin is that the Oceanic Airways people might have purposely loaded an empty coffin on to the flight just to mollify Jack and get him out of their hair.
Jen Chaney: No, we don't ever see a dead Christian on the island. That's a really good point, one that I'm not sure how to explain. But I'll think about it more.
Liz's thought about loading an empty coffin is valid. But Jack didn't seem to instantly recoil as soon as he saw the coffin itself, in a way that would signal, "Oh crap, this isn't even the right coffin." Granted, not that coffins are so memorable in their style choices. But I got the sense that we, the viewers, were supposed to assume that Christian somehow escaped the coffin, as opposed to never being there in the first place.
I could be wrong, though.
Liz Kelly: Thanks for joining us again today. Have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend. Don't launch bottle rockets from any orifi, etc.
Next week we'll be discussing season one's next three episodes: "Confidence Man," "Solitary" and "Raised by Another."
Jen Chaney: That's right, ladies: the next episode in our trio of rewatching of a Sawyer flashback.
While you mull on that, we bid you adieu. Thanks again for the questions/comments and we'll see you here next week, at the same time.
Charlie not being able to swim:: What if it was not a continuity error but Charlie being too cowardly to attempt the rescue? That would be consistent with the troubled character he was prior to stopping the dope.
Jen Chaney: Sorry, going to answer two more...
Good point. Maybe Charlie was lying. People on "Lost" are known to do that.
I still think it was just a screw-up, though.
Lost Salon!: You shouldn't joke about the fees thing! Imagine how much money you could make for the Post by charging people to watch Lost episodes with you.
Jen Chaney: Ha! Well, we would never charge for such a thing. We would consider it a public service, not to mention a pleasure.
It's possible, as we did with the happy hour in May, we
may host some sort of "Lost" viewing party in the future. We promise you this, though: if we do, we will not let it affect our journalistic integrity. Our objective views on Sawyer's hotness and Ben Linus's manipulativeness will remain, as always, untainted.
All right, seriously, have a good Fourth. Later, Skaters (and Jaters).
Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.