The 'Lost' Hour: Season 1 and 2 Review

Forget Richard Hatch. These are the real survivors: the cast of ABC's "Lost." (Ho - Reuters/ABC)
Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly
Washington Post "Lost" Bloggers
Thursday, August 6, 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, Aug. 6 discussion, watch these season one episodes: "Do No Harm", "The Greater Good" and "Born to Run."

Submit your questions, comments and theories (no matter how far-fetched) before or during the discussion.

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 For episode analysis, discussion transcripts and more, visit's Lost Central.


Jen Chaney: Hi, everyone. I'm here sans Liz this week, as she is taking a well-deserved vacation. We'll be back together next week, not to worry.

Three observations about this week's episodes -- "Do No Harm," "The Greater Good" and "Born to Run."

1. A nice bit of foreshadowing from Sawyer, when he says about the raft: "Sharks aren't getting anywhere near us."

2. Spotted: That crucial New Kids on the Block lunchbox that belonged to Kate in "Born to Run." It had been so long since I saw this episode in its entirety that -- when it popped again last season -- I had totally forgotten about it.

3. A quote of the week from Hurley: "How am I supposed to keep straight who knows what around here? Steve didn't even know about the polar bear!"

Let's chat.


Sad Newbie: I'm new to the Lost bandwagon so I have always been out of the Lost loop and I was so excited that you were going to go back and chat about seasons 1 and 2. BUT - that's not really what's happening. Everyone is jumping way ahead and talking about who all is going to die and how sad it's going to be, etc. It's really not safe for new Lost watchers to read this chat without ruining all the suspense of whether Boone, for example, is going to pull through. I understand that you all want to jump ahead and talk about the whole show, but could you maybe warn us first-timers that we should skip a comment? I really enjoy the chat but hate knowing that BLANK and BLANK are going to die soon! THANKS!

Jen Chaney: Hi, sad newbie. Thanks so much for this note.

You make a very valid point: this chat really is for newbies, as well as those of us who are all caught up. Liz and I will make a greater effort to put up spoiler warnings when we're going to jump ahead of where we are in our re-viewing.

Thanks for being patient with us. I hope this makes you less sad!


Detroit, MI: Did they ever explain how Sun became an expert in medical botany?

Jen Chaney: Good question. She does know an awful lot about the healing power of plants and I'm jogging my brain, mentally fast-forwarding through episodes, to try to remember why.

I am not sure if that is ever addressed. If someone else has an answer, please sure. (And yes, I will put a spoiler warning up if that answer is too revealing about future episodes.)


Time Traveler's Wife: Jen - I asked this the week you were away and Liz suggested I revisit when you returned. What do you think about this new movie? The book has been mentioned several times in this chat. Do you think this movie can help Losties figure out some of the time traveling questions or will it only confuse us? Thanks!!

Jen Chaney: Thanks for asking this again.

I haven't seen the movie yet (I plan to next week). I'm going in open-minded, but I fear it won't do anything close to justice to the novel, which I found really absorbing. Hopefully I am wrong.

I'm hesitant to say the movie will be helpful, since I haven't seen it yet, but I can say the book is. The character of Henry pops in and out of his future wife's life at different points chronologically. From her perspective, she ages in a completely traditional way, but she meets him at different stages in his adult life. Which sounds confusing but makes total sense within the narrative. He also encounters himself at a younger age, in a way that I found believable, in as much as the story of a guy who keeps beaming up into different era while naked can be called believable.

It won't explain much abuot the mythology in "Lost," per se, but it does provide another literary perspective on time travel that helps to make sense of the one on "Lost."


abq, nm: Hi,

Two things: a comment and a question. Comment: ABC blows large Dharma-sized chunks for removing seasons 2-4 from the Lost web site, especially for doing so w/o any forewarning. Hugely uncool.

Now the q: Do you think Season Six is going to have a strong Australia component? A couple of scenes in particular make me think this is the case:

1) When Sawyer, Hurley, and Locke (good, bad, who knows) are playing risk in Dharma-ville just before the assault, Hurley says to Sawyer "aw man, you just gave up Australia. Australia is the key to the game!" (loose quote, didn't look it up).

2) In late Season 1 (can't recall episode) Sawyer is being deported from Australia and the cop who hands him the Oceanic ticket says to him "Don't you ever try to come back to Australia."

3) All the principals had this in common: they'd gone to Oz w/specific task and failed: Jack, save dad. Locke, go on his vision quest. Hurley, find the numbers dude. Sawyer, kill Sawyer (kind of existential, that one). Kate, hide from Joe law. Sun, leave Jin. Charlie, get Driveshaft back together w/Liam. All of them failed, and it can't be a coincidence.

Anyway, hope you agree that ABC blows chunks....

abq, nm

Jen Chaney: I'm just marking this one SPOILER, since it addresses some season six speculation.

First, re: ABC. Liz contacted someone there last week and all our source said was that those episodes would return soon. No idea when that will happen or why they were taken down in the first place, unfortunately. Because I want ABC to continue to be nice to us, I will not say they blow chunks. But the fact that you feel strongly about their chunk blowage has been duly noted.

Now, onto your season six theory: I think that makes a lot of sense. At the very least, I think flight 815 will be replayed or revisited in some way. I see the show as a loop and at its close, it has to return to the beginning. (Ashes to ashes, Hurley to Hurley ... or something.)

And I do agree with your assertion that they all failed on their Aussie missions, with the exception of Hurley. He didn't get a satisfactory answer re: the numbers, maybe, but the man he was seeking had died. So it's not like he failed to track him down. He did find out more information about the origin of those numbers, which isn't the same as, say, Jack trying to save his dad and finding him dead. That qualifies as more definite failure even though, technically, it wasn't Jack's fault.


Lostpedia transcripts: I have been to lazy to go find season one of Lost, but still wanted to enjoy the rewatch chats. If you have already seen the show and you and have bit of an imagination reading the transcripts can be really enjoyable. Let's you feel apart of the rewatch without rewatching AND is a great time killer at work.

Jen Chaney: Wait, you're saying that instead of watching TV, you've opted to READ? Impressive, my friend. Impressive.

And helping you kill time at your place of employment is not only our goal, but our personal mission. So I'm glad we and the good people at Lostpedia can be of service.


Seattle, City of Death Island of Lost Hope: So, when you die, you die?

Or become a ghost -- and if a ghost, are you controlled as Locke was controlled? Or are you a free agent?

Or does that only happen sometimes?

Jen Chaney: Okay, these are very direct, simple questions. Which, because this is "Lost," are totally difficult to answer.

It seems that when some people die, they die. But not everyone does. The question is: why do some people heal (or possibly reincarnate) while others don't?

This is a question we've grappled with for a while and I still am not sure we know the answer. I do think the last season will provide it, though.

How's that for wishy washy?


Anonymous: (Possible spoilers for those who haven't seen recent seasons:) So I finally got a chance to watch those ComicCon videos and I'm very curious about the one that says Kate didn't kill her stepfather. My impression was that if the bomb went off, their lives would reverse and go on from the point of the crash, i.e. long after Kate supposedly killed him. Do you think she might really have mistakenly killed someone else instead?

Jen Chaney: The video we're talking about here is the America's Most Wanted one, that says Kate is still on the lam, tried to burn down her mom and stepdad's house but actually killed a worker at the house instead.

The implication here -- assuming we can take these videos as canon -- is that the course of everyone's lives veered in different directions before the crash. Jack thought that detonating the bomb would only alter the post-crash timeline. But instead it causes further alterationsto their lives in general.

All of them had certain destinies that were irreversible -- Hurley had to win the lottery, Kate had to be a fugitive, etc. -- but the details of their situations have changed a little. So to answer your question: yes, it's possible Kate may have mistakenly killed someone else.


Alexandria, VA: Something really struck me about how little details really make a good show. For example, in the scene where Jack tells Shannon about Boone's death, we're watching from a distance, we don't hear what's said, we don't see Shannon's face. We just see her take a little step backward, away from Jack, like she is distancing herself from what he's saying. That one little gesture manages to communicate so much grief and denial and make the scene just really authentic and believable and sad. It's those little details that just totally sucked me into this show emotionally I think.

Jen Chaney: Well said, Alexandria. Another reason that scene, and so many others on the show, work so beautifully? Michael Giacchino's score. It's just gorgeous and full, and really does a lot of the emotional heavy lifting when what's happening on the screen might otherwise seem mundane or downplayed.

I think Giacchino should be a new term, as in every time his score makes me cry, I can say, "I've been Giachinno'd."

At the very least, someone should name a coffee drink after the guy.


Hurley Fan: Follow Up on the Failing in Australia idea - I'm not so sure that holds for Boone as he found Shannon, or for Sayid as he completed his terrorist-plot-thwarting mission. It cost both of them something out of their souls though, yeah?

Jen Chaney: True. Although one could argue Sayid failed, because his friend didn't live. And the reason he then has to take flight 815 is because he wants to be sure he gets a proper burial.

In any case, you make a fair point. Even if they don't fail in terms of their missions for the trip, every single person seems to feel spiritually -- wait for it -- lost when he or she gets on the plane.


Portland, OR: About the question about dying." I think that ghosts or whatever ther are only appear for people that weren't buried, like Dr. Shepherd, Claire, and Charlie. Thus the Others insistence to the Dharma Initiative that dead bodies be buried.

Jen Chaney: SPOILER

(Probably too late, but I'm trying my best not to reveal every single dead person to the newbies.)

Question about that, though: ghosts of both Libby and Ana Lucia appear later in the show. And both of them were buried. Their ghosts don't appear on the island, and they function in a more clearly hallucinatory way, though. As opposed to Claire, whose death remains mysterious. And Christian, who seems to have resurrected.

I don't know, still some murky territory here to me.


Brooklyn, NY : Hey Gals. (I never use the word Gal.... hmmm) Hope you both are well.

You probably know this already but the video you posted along with the clucky video a couple of weeks ago was a fake. That "other" airplane crash at the end of it was from the movie "The Happening" ( HORRIBLE movie I might add)

Anyway it did give me a new theory though.

What if all of Season 1-5 WAS the loophole and it is all just a spin off reality never intended to be THE real timeline. So if whatever happens in Season 6 happens to complete the loophole or "progress" or whatever ...perhaps that would solidify everything that we've seen as the REAL timeline.

Maybe that's why they did a clucky commercial. Because what really happened is that everyone landed back in L.A. and what we've seen is just one of many alternate realities. It just so happens that this one might replace the "official" timeline.

So perhaps setting the bomb off didn't change things the way Jack intended. Maybe it basically progress the LOST/Island timeline even closer to becoming the Real timeline.

I just confused myself. Damn!

- Joel

Jen Chaney: Okay, I think you just confused me, too.

Actually, I think we're saying the same thing. That perhaps in season six, some doubt will be cast on the previous five seasons, but by the end of season six, we'll realize that was a legitimate reality? I could get with that.

And re: the airplane footage, I thought that was from "Knowing," not "The Happening"? Either way, it did seem borrowed from another source, but I believe the video as a whole is legitimately from ABC. Please, someone correct me if I am mistaken.


Vienna, VA: RE Dead/Not Dead:

If there are multiple (or at least two) timelines, as the ComicCon videos suggest, then you can be dead in one timeline but not in another.

I think that may explain the whispering: the timelines are really close and they "leak" into one another (like thin walls in a cheap hotel). I just wonder if the Others completely understand this and can maybe affect it, or if they just suspect what is going on, but can't really do anything about it.

On the Kate video: if the "incident" occurred in the late 70s, then maybe the effect radiated out from that point, causing small but important changes in their lives, later.

Jen Chaney: Yes, what you should just said about Kate is what I was trying to say earlier, using more words than necessary. Exploding the bomb caused an alternate timeline, where everyone's general destinies remain the same but how the people reach them differs.

And I like the idea of the whispers being dual timeline leaks.


Burial: RE: burial question. In the death reel at ComicCon, all the dead characters are shown, but not Claire. So I'm pretty sure that she's not actually dead (yet).

Jen Chaney: Good point! Thanks.


re: episode removal: Lost will now be available via streaming on Netflix. Not sure if that's what prompted their removal from also just underwent some revamping, so that could be culprit.

Jen Chaney: Ah, that's right about Netflix.

And true, it could simply be a technical issue. As someone who works on the Web, I know that sometimes things really are as simple as that.


SPOILERVILLE, SPOILERICA: Refresh my drink, dearest Jen, do we actually have any kind of confirmation of Claire's status as "deceased." I remember that during the chat held right after she disappeared you and Liz seemed pretty convinced she'd kicked the bucket, but didn't we all agree that we can't/don't really know that? I'm not trying to be a grump, I'm just afraid that I missed something in the past season that proved she was dead. (Kate's vision of an image of Claire barking about "don't you dare bring him back" doesn't count...Walt's not dead, but he's shown up plenty of places he actually isn't)

Jen Chaney: Oh, allow me to provide a generous pour, Spoilerville.

Liz and I were pretty convinced she kicked the bucket. But yes, we all subsequently agreed that we actually can't know that for sure.

We do know Emilie de Ravin is back on the series for at least some of the next season. Whether she actually died, or gets a new life via a revamped timeline, is hopefully something we'll find out.

Speaking of cast returns -- spoiler again! -- after we chatted last week, several Web sites, including E!, confirmed that Dominic Monaghan will appear in three episodes in the last season of "Lost." There was some debate last week about how much Charlie we'd get, so that's at least a partial answer.


Acton, MA: I have gotten up to the third episode of Season 2 at this point, and somewhere in my viewing of the last two episodes it all suddenly became clear to me.

In season 1 (and forward) John Locke is already looping through time. He has experienced all of this before (only on a slightly different track), so he knows in general what is going to happen and what has to happen for things to work out properly. This explains a lot of his behavior, including his instant transformation from box seller to Great White Hunter, how he knows that it is going to rain that day with Boone, and some odd comments he makes such as "this isn't what was supposed to happen!"

However, because the track is shifted, he keeps coming up on these things that don't happen the way that he thinks that they should (such as the hatch resisting his efforts to open it. Maybe the trebuchet worked the last time through).

The second part of my theory involves Jack. I think that Jacob and the Man in Black have a bet over whether faith can co-exist in a Man of Science. John seems incredibly invested in Jack having faith. In the third episode of Season 2, John is insistent that Jack push the button for the first time, and seems willing to let the whole thing blow up rather than have anyone other than Jack push that button.

So there you have it. John Locke is already having a do-over in Season 1. And the major "battle" going on between Jacob and the MIB is whether faith and science can coexist (with Jack as the test case). John is somehow part of this battle on the side of faith.

Jen Chaney: And ... spoilers again!

(I want to protect the newbies, but this is definitely going to be a chellenge.)

This theory makes a lot of sense to me. In other words, you're saying that Locke isn't exactly possessed by the MIB, but is already experiencing a timeline he has dealt with before? And he knows what the outcome should be, which is why his faith is tested when events don't happen exactly as expected.

In that way, maybe Locke is a test case, too. Because he start to lose faith in season two. Maybe both John and Jack are vessels for the Jacob/MIB wager.

Good food for thought. Thanks.


Claire: Claire probably wasn't shown in that reel because we don't know exactly what happened.

Jen Chaney: Right. Which implies that perhaps she is alive. They certainly want to keep us guessing, at the least.


Vienna, VA: Hmm, this has spoilers for newbies, but I'm re-watching these shows in light of what we learned in Season 5, so I don't think it can be helped.

I think many of the events we've seen are the result of a sort of chess game between Jacob and Anti- Jacob.

Was Boone's death something that Jacob planned? Or did he really want Locke to die, but Anti-Jacob caused Locke to suffer his leg weakness (by temporarily "undoing" his cure), and so Boone went instead?

In fact, Locke has managed to cheat death several times in Season 1. Perhaps each instance is a case of Anti-Jacob keeping him alive (analogous to Desmond and Charlie, later).

Jen Chaney: Yes, I think a lot of us are watching with season five in mind. So the best we can do is be as sensitive as possible to new viewers. It's hard, I know, but we have to be nice to the new kids in class!

Locke did cheat death several times. He was shot in the head at one point, wasn't he, and was totally fine? When I first watched season one, I assumed he was unbreakable in some way because of his relationship with the island. And I still think that's part of it. But I agree with you and our Mass. reader that Jacob and MIB could be pulling the strings here.

I have a hard time with the notion that Locke is already possessed, but the idea that he is, as you say, a pawn of another entity from minute one? That's easier to swallow for me. The concepts are similar because in either case, MIB may be using Locke as a vessel to do his budding. I just find the second explanation more plausible.

And on that note, I have to roll. Thanks so much again for your questions. Please join both me and Liz next week at this time for a discussion of the three-part "Exodus" season one finale. (Hint: get ready to be Giacchino'd.)

See you next week!


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