Monday, January 02, 2006

Lost 1.17 & 1.18


Here's a breakdown of this Jin-centric episode of Lost goes to commercial break (reviews of previous episodes are here)

It looks like Jin set fire to the raft. (CB1)
Sawyer captures Jin. (CB2)
Sun speaks English (Jin feels betrayed) (CB3)
Jin leaves Sun. (CB4)

This episode is really about giving us the key to Jin's character and why he comes across as so unpleasant. He's torn apart by what he's done for Sun's father and by keeping the knowledge of what her father is from Sun.

Two favourite moments from this episode: when Jin is captured, the scene plays from his POV and all the English that the castaways are yelling at each other comes across as gibberish. Maybe about a minute later, Locke gives a fantastic speech about how they're not alone on the island and how The Others are probably the arsonists. It's a nice bit of mis-direction on the part of the writers ... & if we assume that Locke ALREADY KNOWS who really burnt the raft, then it's an elegant way for him to heal the community, save an innocent man and prevent attention falling on the real arsonist (who he wants to protect).

Plus it allows the viewers to vicariously vent a bit of their frustration about why the castaways aren't doing more exploring ... a moment that'll be echoed by Hurley in the next ep.

Jin and Sun are becoming the great romance of the series. And there's still the question of what's up with these watches he was supposed to be delivering


I really disliked this ep on first viewing - and really liked it on the second. That comes from a complete misreading of what the writers were trying to do with Hurley's flashback. I thought they were going for comedy, slapstick comedy ... but there's something much more serious at work. By the end, when he learned that the numbers were cursed, I was moved by his relief.

Here's how the act breaks break down:
Hurley's new house is on fire, meaning there's a strong case for the money or (as he finds out immediately after we come back from commercials) the numbers being cursed. (CB1)
Lenny, an insane ex-Navy operator, repeats Hurley's numbers over and over. (CB2)
Jack and Sayid blow up Rousseau's base. (CB3)
Hurley delivers the battery, like a hero. (CB4)
And we end with Hurley's numbers on the side of the hatch.

Those act breaks seem a bit messy, like they don't follow a clear emotional path for Hurley - but it's probably just the fact that the danger Jack and Sayid are in has nothing to do with Hurley's quest for meaning.

Aside: I'll have to look back and check whether Hurley's numbers have appeared before. There also seemed to be an in-joke in the script that Hurley owns shares in the box company Locke worked for.

Hurley's luck seems like a device the writers are using to ask questions about fate, but also about the broader meaning of why these particular castaways have been stranded on the island. Is it random or is there meaning behind it? Could it have been anyone who crashed with Hurley or ONLY these specific characters?

How far does Hurley's bad luck extend? Is he responsible for the plane crash? Solely responsible? Is he responsible for Charlie's addiction? Is he an albatross to the rest of the group, even now?

Aside: Ethan's 'team' is still a mystery. Are they part of, or separate from, The Others? What did they want with Shannon?

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