Looking Back on Lost… part 1

So, Lost is ending on Sunday, May 23rd.  I’ve been following the show from the beginning, though I seem to have not said a whole lot about it.  I’ve mentioned comments from cast members and stuff.  But not a lot of Lost Talk has gone on here.

But this week?  That all changes.  It will be a spoiler laden week as I work through the seasons and characters.  The funny thing is, when I saw the initial promotion for the series, my reaction was that of the ABC execs before J.J. Abrams was brought on board.  Castaway the Television Series?  Yawn.  My pal Rob asked if I had watched the show.  I said no.  He kept pushing me to try it.  But I had no interest in some show about people stuck on an island.

Finally, I caved when Rob pointed out that they were airing the pilot and the first five episodes in encores.  Holy smokes was I gob smacked.  The confused open (deep on Jack’s eye) went from serene and quiet to an insane plane crash set piece.

Spoilers are about to follow:
And what a crazy sequence it is, people are screaming, yelling, dying, helping, running… it is epic.  We are introduced to characters in a frantic pace.  It’s hard to tell who are central characters, because, there are so many of them.

This is probably the best season for Jack, the surgeon.  As we discover through the season, he struggled to come to terms with his father, also a surgeon.  But Jack takes the mantle of responsibility and does so with great confidence.  We met so many characters, the seemingly affable Hurley, the rock star Charlie, the embittered victim Michael and his calm son Walt, the creepy Ethan, the adventure babe Kate, the serene Rose, pregnant Claire, the selfish Shannon, the needy Boone, the seeming uptight and bossy Jin, the apparently gentle and submissive Sun, the mysterious John Locke, the snarky Sawyer and the bold yet quiet Sayid.

But the truth is, who these people seemed to be turned out to be so complex.  And that was what drew me in.  It seemed like Jin was your stereotypical oppressive husband, and his wife Sun your submissive Asian stereotype.  But that quickly changed.  Through flashbacks we learn Sun speaks english, having learned it because she was going to leave her unhappy marriage to Jin.  And yet, it was not always an unhappy marriage.  Jin started out as a kind-hearted man who suffered much shame in his heritage.  To prove himself to Sun’s father father he took a job under him.  Jin soon found Sun’s father was a thug who hid behind traditions.  And Jin soon found working for Sun’s father to be a soul corrupting influence.  What he had done for his wife was now driving them apart.  And now on the island, Sun had an upper hand-she could communicate the other crash victims, Jin needed to rely on her.  This led to Jin starting to see what he had become and making a conscious decision to change.

Knowing that Daniel Dae Kim, an actor I appreciated back in his days on Angel, had never acted in Korean and yet was able to be so convincing showed me the dedication the cast had to their roles.  Jin and Sun were wonderfully challenging characters.

Sawyer had a mystery regarding a letter, which eventually was revealed to be a letter he wrote as a child-when a con man tricked his parents.  His father lost it and murdered Sawyer’s mom and then committed suicide-while young Sawyer sat under the bed.

Sayid was an Iraqi interrogator who was trying to find redemption and the woman he loved.  Sayid quickly became a favorite character for me because he was such a richly dramatic character.  Much as Jin and Sun won me over for their growing complexities, so did Sayid.

On the other end, I loved the simpleness of Hurley.  He was the funny fat guy with heart.  But Jorge Garcia totally sold the character for me.  Charlie was fun, even though he was one of the biggest stereotypes on the show-the drug addicted rock star.  He was a likable character with obvious motivations.  And the way he kept trying to get people to ask who he was so he could tell them who he was was almost endearing.

Claire was not terribly interesting, though her back-story got pretty intriguing.  She was told by a psychic (a fraudulent one) that she should not give up her baby for adoption, but then he told her she should and sent her on the flight that ultimately crashed.

On the island, we saw many mysteries, there seemed to be a monster wandering the island, and you needed to run to avoid it.  Only one person met and survive the monster face to face-John Locke.  John quickly took to the island, because before arriving on the island he was in a wheel chair, and now he could walk.  John had a pretty pathetic back history… his teen mother had mental issues, leaving John to be raised in foster homes.  John grew up, unable to connect with people, a relationship (perceived on his end) with a phone sex operator all he had.  When his mother came back into his life, it was a scam by John’s father to get a kidney.  John initially thought he was getting a second chance with his father, his father played the role so well.  Embittered by the realization that his father used him, John became obsessed.  He met a woman, Helen, but that relationship fell apart because John could not let go of his anger.

But on the island, John became enamored with the mysticism he perceived.  He saw the island as an entity, giving him purpose and a destiny.  Finding a mysterious hatch in the ground, John and Boone work to access it.  This culminated in the death of Boone.

Really, the first season was the perfect blend of mystery, versus reveals.  It was able to stoke the desire to learn more and the characters were mostly compelling.  I agree with the assessment of entertainment weekly for the worst episode being Born to Run.  Surrounding the mystery of Kate’s metal suitcase and what is in it (it becomes an obsession for Jack and Sawyer) the reveal was not very compelling.  It was not Gwyneth Paltrow’s head.  And yeah, the best episode was Walkabout, because it was four episodes in and you discover-holy crap-John Locke was in a wheel chair?!

We discovered that the crash survivors were not alone, and the people they were dealing with were lethal.  Sawyer, Jin, Michael and Walt try and escape the island, only to meet up with the scruffy looking others in a terrific cliff hanger.

It’s probably the closest to perfect a first season of a show could get.  Tomorrow, season two.

2 thoughts on “Looking Back on Lost… part 1

  1. Well, how long does a spoiler warning apply? “Soylent green is….PEOPLE!” At least so far, no spoiler worth noting. Does one NOT talk about Season six (or five or four) because people HAVEN’T seen it on DVD? It’s so much trickier now…

  2. True. And honestly, if I would have planned this better, I wouldn’t be writing everything on the fly. I’d have more of a focus. But no, I decide to look back at the show a week before the finale. 🙂

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