The 'Lost' Hour: Season 1 and 2 Review -- Confidence Man, Solitary, Raised by Another

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Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly
washingtonpost.com Staff
Thursday, July 9, 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 9 discussion watch these season 1 episodes:

8. "Confidence Man"

9. "Solitary"

10. "Raised by Another"

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.

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Jen Chaney: Hello, people. Before we dive into the next three episodes in our season one re-watch-athon, wanted to mention a couple of quick things.

Those of you who run in geek circles will know that the fervor over Comic-Cun, which begins two weeks from today, is beginning to ramp up. I will be there again this year -- though, sadly, sans Liz. But I'll try to make Liz and all of you feel like you're right there with me in San Diego by Twittering A LOT (especially from the Lost panel) and perhaps doing some other fun stuff. More info to come, but feel free to become a

follower on Twitter now

, so that you're super-extra prepared.

And speaking of Comic-Con, many of you also may have heard about the big

write your own "Lost" theme song contest

, the winner of which will be announced during the "Lost" panel. Liz, I am thinking that maybe we should put together a little ditty? Or maybe our readers care to share their musical "Lost" ideas?

Liz Kelly: I'm running a bit late coming from last hour's Celebritology chat, so I'll be brief.

This week's episodes were really meaty -- lots of foreshadowing of later plot lines and the introduction of some old faves -- Danielle, Ethan. Let's talk.

And, Jen, I'm so with you on the theme thing. Can you play any instruments?

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Michael Emerson: Not really a question or a thoery but I have to gush about Michael Emerson. I am rewatching LOST from the beginning and just finished up the 2nd season. I had forgotten how brilliant he has been from the very beginning, with his sinister smile and bug eyes and playing the LOSTies against each other. Give that man an Emmy!

Jen Chaney: We're technically not (back) up to season two as a group yet. But agreed, as we've said so many times before: Emerson is genius.

Liz Kelly: Agreed. One of my favorite interviews is the phoner I did with Emerson back in February.

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The Lost Workout Plan: I just want to say thanks for doing these season 1 and 2 reviews. They came at the perfect time for me -- my extra, ancient TV, which I use to distract myself while running on the treadmill, no longer works due to the digital transition (no cable in that room). I now set up my laptop and watch past seasons online while I work out. The episodes are so engrossing, my workouts have been longer!

Jen Chaney: Fantastic! "Lost" not only entertains and enlightens. It also gets you into shape. Tell the truth: do you sometimes pretend you're running up and down the steps in a stadium, Jack-and-Desmond-style?

Liz Kelly: Teresa goes up the stairs, Teresa goes down the stairs.

Mr. Liz has been getting way into the re-watch, too. The other night he suggested we continue with seasons 3 and 4 during the fall.

Jen Chaney: I am jealous. I have to watch alone. My husband still can't commit to watching all of "Lost"!

Clearly his priorities -- working, helping to take care of our son and our home -- are drastically out of whack.

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Wash, DC: So after rewatching Raised by Another, I was convinced the psychic was not a hack. Then I reread Lostpedia's article about the psychic and I am confused again. What do you think? Could he tell the future? Did someone (read: Widmore) pay him off to send Claire to the island, although why would he do that? Did a desperate couple pay him off instead? I don't know, the episode made me believe the psychic was genuine.

I really thought Thomas went from caring to jerk in a flash. I really think something was up there but maybe I'm just reading into it because this is Lost. The psychic said Thomas would have no further part, and it does seem like it, but what do you think? If Aaron is special, what plans are in store in the last season because nothing has really happened yet...

Liz Kelly: I had forgotten how powerful the psychic bit was. I totally got chills when he said:

"You have to raise this child. Danger surrounds this baby. Your goodness must be an influence in the development of this child."

That last bit, especially. It implies that if Claire doesn't raise Aaron -- and how can she now that she's supposedly dead -- he will be susceptible to some kind of evil "Boys from Brazil-esque" corruption.

Jen Chaney: You know what I thought about with Thomas? The Doubting Thomas, which I believe Ben talked to Jack about in season five. You raise an interesting question: did Thomas have the standard, stereotypical doubts about committing to fatherhood or was he picking up on bad vibes?

And I also think the psychic was genuine. He seemed too freaked not to be. Plus -- and we'll get to this in more detail when we revisit season two -- I wasn't sure the psychic was entirely honest when he told Eko that he was a fraud. I thought he may have been attempting to avoid excess attention on his daughter by making Eko go away.

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Lexington: In "Raised by Another" - hello creepy Locke dream that Claire had! I can't believe I've forgotten this crazy Locke role he used to play before we got into the other Other business.

In that dream, when he looked up, he had one black eye and one white eye. Conflicted already between the two forces? Or used by both? I'm not sure, but it does seem to me that his presence there at least is serving almost as what we assumed the smoke monster did -- standing in for our own worst fears/memories... a.k.a., "It was your responsibility, but you gave him away..."

Liz Kelly: I noticed the same thing -- this is yet another instance of the black vs. white references and the interesting bit about both light and dark being contained within Locke is the idea that one person can embody the duality of good and evil. And that gets me to thinking about destiny, course correction and the like -- it seems that early on in the show, we were given hints that these characters did have the power to change their own fates and the future -- Claire's influence could lead her unborn child to the right path, John Locke could be good or evil...

The No. 2 theorists could also speculate that Locke's freaky eyes were early evidence of Locke already being partly under the influence of Esau.

Jen Chaney: Or, again, early evidence that Locke could not entirely be trusted, perhaps because of Esau or his own ego.

Liz Kelly: Locke was so much more interesting when he was inscrutable.

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Songwriter on the edge: Here's my suggestion for a Lost song. It goes something like this :

Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-dum-du-ba-dum but a little faster and with great emotion. What do you think, do I stand a chance ?

Liz Kelly: I was thinking something along the lines of:

Sawyer, Sawyer you're driving me crazy...

(Okay, so that's a vapid "Daisy of Love" reference for all of you smart enough to avoid VH1 reality shows.)

Jen Chaney: "Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-dum-du-ba-dum" -- that's a Driveshaft song, isn't it?

Personally, all I can think of right now is that Coldplay song "Lost." Which is sort of sad.

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Princeton, N.J.: Re: "Raised By Another." Much is made about the prophecy that Claire must not allow her baby to be raised by another; however, if you leap ahead to Season 2, Mr. Eko tracks the psychic down (for unrelated reasons) and the psychic basically tells Eko that he tells people what they want to hear and that he has no great insight into the human condition. In other words, this idea that Aaron must be raised by Claire (and parenthetically, one of Kate and Jack's purported reasons for going all Jughead back in 1977) may be a blind alley.

Liz Kelly: I don't buy that, though -- would the psychic go as far as giving Claire $6,000 of his own money and buying her a plane ticket just to tell her what she wants to hear?

Though I haven't gotten to the season 2 eps yet, so I reserve the right to flip-flop.

Jen Chaney: As I just said in a previous answer -- Liz, I pubbed that one before you probably even saw it -- I agree.

All evidence in that Eko episode pointed to the fact that a miracle really may have taken place. The psychic admitting his fraudulence may have been an attempt to make Eko go away and leave the family alone. Or, possibly, the psychic really thought he was a fraud, but then felt genuine vibrations about Claire. Which would make him doubly freaked out. Or option three, as mentioned before: Widmore (or someone) paid him to put Claire on the plane.

In any case, I thought he put her on the plane on purpose because he -- or someone -- knew what would happen.

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Thomas/Ben: Hey did anyone notice that Thomas looks an awful lot like Ben? Is this intentional? Thomas's paintings were also hanging in Widmore's office at one point. What is the Thomas/Widmore/maybe Ben connection? PS-- Thanks for the great discussions!

Liz Kelly: I guess one could argue that maybe Widmore (or someone) paid off Thomas to clear out and dump Claire. Which would make some sense considering how understanding and caring and just genuinely nice he seemed when he first found out about the pregnancy. He seemed really conflicted in that last scene when he walks out.

Jen Chaney: I didn't notice a resemblance to Ben, but the painting thing is definitely interesting. Thanks for noting that.

And that further supports the notion that Widmore may have paid him and the psychic to "guide" Claire in a direction that would force her to get on that plane. Hopefully, we'll get a definitive answer to this in the final season.

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Michael's ex: One thing that strikes me about the early episodes is how awful Michael's ex wife is! She could have been disbarred for saying some of the things to him about custody and his rights. Do you think her supervillain-like character plays into the great Lost tapestry? It seems like a lot of the good people on the show have been screwed some pretty bad people (Locke's dad, Sun's father, etc.)

Jen Chaney: Well, hold on a minute. Yes, I agree that Michael's ex was pretty cold. And it's heartbreaking that she takes Walt so far away.

But I also thought she was a bit more complicated than just being a super-villain. She has some sympathy for Michael, but I think she believes he can't be a proper father at that point in his life. And Michael pretty much agrees with her, albeit sadly and begrudgingly.

Granted, I am not justifying her behavior, I am just saying she seems to have a little more dimension that a straight-up bad guy/girl.

Liz Kelly: Agreed -- sometimes perfectly nice people can do some really ugly things. (There's that duality again.) But I haven't gotten to the Michael back story episode yet, so again I'm reserving judgment.

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Sawyerville, JoshHollowayLand: Two questions re: Confidence Man: 1. What if Sawyer went back in time and met himself in Seasons 1 and 2? Would he explode from encountering his own hotness?

and

2. Luke Perry in 90210 vs. Josh Holloway in LOST: Who is hotter?

Guys can vote, too.

Jen Chaney: To answer your first question: No, he would not explode. But we viewers might.

And re: No. 2: There is no contest. It's Sawyer hands down. I mean, Dylan said things like "Me thinks thou art stylin'." Sawyer would NEVER say that, unless he was joking.

Liz Kelly: In a rare show of unanimity, I agree with Jen on both counts.

Sawyer's hotness burns Dylan to a crisp.

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Sawyer and Jack: I found this the other day and I really thought the audition by Josh Holloway was excellent, while Matthew Fox was unintentionally hilariously FUNNY. Like, was he for real? He would have been a horrible Sawyer!

Liz Kelly: Wow -- I can't believe I'd never seen these. All I can say is thank you, casting director, for not casting Matthew Fox as Sawyer. Yeesh -- he makes the character so unlikeable.

Oh, and the ridiculous Gerard Butler in a wig as Dracula audition is worth a watch, too.

Jen Chaney: These are from the DVDs, aren't they? A bunch more audition video (Jorge Garcia, Evangeline Lilly) is on the season one set, if memory serves.

Matthew Fox: great for Jack, not so much for Sawyer.

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Aaron update: "Raised by Another" foreshadows the importance of Aaron but this is kinda dropped in the last few seasons. (spoiler for season 4/5) If it is so important that Claire raise Aaron then why isn't he brought back to the island? Do you think they'll get back to it next season?

Liz Kelly: Well, it's important -- but something happens to make it impossible for Claire to raise Aaron, or so we assume. Emilie de Raven is rumored to be making an appearance in season 6, but even if she weren't, I have a feeling Aaron is going to be an integral part of wrapping up this story.

Jen Chaney: Right. All we know is that Kate left him in a hotel room for Claire's mom to attend to. I suspect we'll learn more.

And I don't entirely agree that the Aaron story was dropped. I think the fact that Kate became his mother was a major reveal in season four -- one of the best reveals in "Lost" history, perhaps? -- and a pretty crucial narrative issue in both seasons. I mean, Kate's decision re: Aaron was what allowed her to come back to the island and, I would argue, motivated her to save Lil Ben. So that makes Aaron pretty crucial, even if the child didn't have that much screen time.

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Fairfax, Va: Here's the thing about "Raised by Another" I've always wondered about -- did the psychic know the plane was going to crash? Did he try to get Claire on the plane thinking it would crash, she would be killed, and Aaron would never be born?

Jen Chaney: I'm leaning more toward, he knew she needed to be on that plane for some reason. I don't think he thought Aaron would never be born, just that it was Claire's destiny to be on the flight, again, either because someone impressed that importance upon him or he sensed it.

Liz Kelly: But I suppose the question is did he know because he was a psychic or because someone else -- Widmore? -- paid him to con Claire onto that plane.

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Beltsville, Md.: I think that the psychic was a fraud (or thought he was a fraud), and so he was shocked when he got a real reading off of Claire. Up until that point, I don't think he believed that there were real psychics, much less that he was one himself.

Jen Chaney: That's a totally fair reading of it, Beltsville. As I said, a few possibilities there, but that could very well be it.

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Reality and storyline: Do you ever consider what's going on in the real world when interpretting Lost? I know they wanted Eko to stay around longer but the actor wouldn't stay. Maybe there was more to his story but we'll never know.

Liz Kelly: I think LindeCuse have pretty much admitted that they had more they wanted to do with Eko, but things just didn't work out that way.

But re: real world, definitely. I think the Sayid as a former Republican Guard torturer was pretty bold considering the on-going "conflict" in Iraq at the time and the revelations about American-inflicted torture at Abu Ghraib. And in "Raised by Another" Boone makes a quip about Hurley coming up with his own Patriot Act.

Jen Chaney: Exactly. I've said this before, but will say it again: "Lost" is an incredibly post-9/11 show, for the very specific reasons Liz mentions, but others, too. The international members of the cast, and the idea that they must try to get along with each other? Obviously a crucial political/social issue in the post-9/11 world.

And I also think the show taps into a feeling that many had, particularly in the months and years that immediately followed 9/11: a real yearning to connect and find a purpose in the wake of a terrible tragedy.

This has been Jen Chaney, totally bringing down the room. Thanks, and please tip your waiters.

Liz Kelly: Actualloy Jen, I don't think that's a bring-down. I think it's hopeful. You're right. The country needed something in the wake of 9/11 and "Lost" helped many people to get their minds off of it and try to make some sense of the world.

Of course, some people also made "American Idol" their drug of choice.

Jen Chaney: Yes. That's the "I'd like to teach the world to sing and buy them all a Coke" approach. Which, in its way, can be a totally valid balm, too.

(Notice how I managed to get a product placement into that sentence? That's soooo "Idol.")

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Sawyer all the way!: As Jen and Liz said, no contest between Sawyer and Dylan - I liked Brandon better anyway. Dyland was a whiney punk!

Jen Chaney: Now, let's not get crazy. I didn't say I didn't *like* Dylan. I'm just saying that he's no Sawyer.

Dylan was all angst propped up by hair mousse, whereas Sawyer is dealing with genuine pain, masked by sarcasm and a uniquely greasy hunkiness. It's a recipe for sexy!

Liz Kelly: Ya know, I'm just realizing this now, but...

I loved "90210." Watched it religiously. But none of the guys on the show were really "all that," when you think about it. Dylan and Brandon. Meh. Steve Sanders? No way. David Silver? Puh-leeze.

Jen Chaney: We were young then, Liz. And it was a different time, an era when having Color Me Badd guest star on your show somehow did not add up to career suicide.

Liz Kelly: Just because you had to invoke Color Me Badd, I have to leave everyone with this today:

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Locke: He's so obtuse, it's like he's purposely trying to pit them against each other. Heck, he tried to blame the transmitter issues on Sawyer. (btw - do you think he loves the band Rush?)

Jen Chaney: All males over a certain age like the band Rush. It's programmed into their DNA.

I wonder about the purposely thing. In "Raised by Another," when Sayid returns from his stay at Chateau Rousseau, he says "We're not alone on this island." At which point, Locke emerges from the shadows looking a little concerned. Coincidence? Hmmm...

Liz Kelly: That totally struck me in a different way:

Sayid says "We're not alone on this island" and we cut to a menacing Ethan meeting Claire and Aaron in the jungle.

Though Locke was definitely hovering.

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Arlington, VA: I'm not much of a Kate fan, but I actually kinda liked her in Season 1. She had humor and chutzpah and a can-do attitude. When she wasn't running away. I loved it when she and Sawyer were fighting over the case. Nowadays she isn't nearly so interesting.

Liz Kelly: I totally agree -- I am really surprised by how much I'm liking Kate in this first season. She cared about other people, she had a sense of humor, she didn't spend most of her time pouting. Sigh.

Interestingly, it's kind of neat how true the rest of the actors stayed to their original characterizations. Season 1 Hurley is virtually interchangeable with Season 5 Hurley.

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Liz Kelly: Okay, that's it for this week. For next week's chat, we'll be watching:

"All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues," "Whatever the Case May Be," and "Hearts and Minds."

Til then...

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