Welcome to the first Chud-sponsored edition of Lost: The Rewatch. In anticipation of Lost’s final season and in honor of an already-crippling obsession I’ve been re-watching the series from the beginning – re-capping each episode as I go on Chud’s venerable Message Boards. Nick has graciously allowed me to start posting these musings here on the Main Page, and I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity. I became a fan of the show in part because of this site, where I managed to win a DVD of the show’s first season by answering the question “Which fictional film world would you live in if you could, and why?”*
These re-caps are meant to act as a supplement to your own re-watch of the show, and I hope you’ll find them entertaining and occasionally insightful.
What you’ll find: Discursive musings on the themes of the show, rambling digressions regarding the theological, mythological, philosophical, political, social and ethical tropes being explored within the show, character and story analysis, bad jokes, occasional insight, a smattering of pretentiousness, and a hefty helping of purpled prose. You’ll see that, rather than repeat the word “Season” over and over, I’ve abbreviated it to “S” and the number. Season One is S1. Season Five is S5.
What you won’t find: A thorough retelling of each episode’s plot. This is fairly pointless, as plot synopses are readily available all over the internet. Also, you will not find mention of, or reference to, any of the information given through the various online games that Lost has run between seasons. No Valenzetti Equation, no Thomas Mittelwerk – the mantra here is ‘Onscreen only.’ I’m interested in viewing the show on re-watch as a self-contained entity.
You can catch up on what you’ve missed by visiting Back To The Island at www.LostTheRewatch.blogspot.com, where I’m in the process of posting all of the re-caps written so far on one easy-to-navigate blog. All of them, including the re-cap below, should be posted there by this evening.
You can also visit the Lost: Rewatch thread here at Chud, where a phenomenal group of people dissects and expands upon these rambling thoughts in a fun and enlightening way every day. I encourage you to log on to the Boards here and make your opinions known. Lost is, among other things, a show about community. I can think of no better way to celebrate this show than by celebrating it with Others. Join us for the ride!
The Other 48 Days (S2, ep. 7)
Goodwin: “What is that?”
Ana Lucia: “It’s a list.”
A perfect episode to inaugurate this column with, The Other 48 Days gives us a break from the shenanigans of Jack and Co. at the Hatch, focusing instead on the newly-introduced Tail Section survivors – including Ana Lucia, Libby, Mr. Eko, Bernard, and Cindy. The episode is the first to wholly break with the alternating Present Day/Flashback structure that the show has established. Rather, the entire episode (with the exception of its final seconds) is a flashback of sorts – a doubling back on the main narrative to fill in the blanks of the Tailers’ stories from the moment of the crash to the ‘present.’ It’s mostly gripping, although the fact that we never spend more than a few minutes on any given day short-shrifts some of the potential emotion and drama.
• The boy that Mr. Eko rescues from the water is clutching what appears to be the same Teddy Bear last seen dangling from the waist of one of the Others, implying that the boy has joined the Others. We’ll discover in S3 that he has.
• The entire opening sequence mirrors the chaotic beginning of the S1 pilot. Just as Jack does, Ana Lucia performs CPR to save a life. Both succeed.
• Cindy the flight attendant – who we last saw vanishing mysteriously in the jungle – is reintroduced here as Eko asks her to look after the boy with the toy bear and his newly-not-dead sister. If memory serves, she’s shown still caring for them in the Others’ camp in the next season.
• Enter Goodwin. Note that he’s introduced helping to save Bernard’s life.
Goodwin is played by Brett Cullen, a journeyman actor with a sizable list of television and film credits to his name. Apparently he owns a production company with Meat Loaf and sang on Bat Out Of Hell II. Opinions on Mr. Loaf’s music aside, this makes Brett Cullen much cooler than any of us.
• Bernard is shown trapped in a tree, mirroring the image of the dead pilot from the Season One opener.
• Goodwin knows how to start fires by spinning a stick. Like all the Others we’ve seen, he seems supremely at ease with roughing it. The Others are always shown living a largely nomadic, monkish existence on the Island, with the notable exception of the time spent in the Dharma barracks under Ben’s leadership, and it’s implied heavily throughout the show that this naturalistic lifestyle is what Jacob/the Island demands of the Others. We’ll explore this more as we continue the re-watch.
• On the first night, three Tailies are snatched away, and Eko murders two Others with a rock. In penance for this he decides not to talk for forty days – and to start carving a Really Big Stick.
• We know from the S3 premiere that Ben asks for lists ‘in three days,’ so the castaways being taken here (Eko’s attempting Priest-napping included) are presumably not on any list. So why are they taken? Goodwin theorizes that it might be because they were the strongest, and since he’s the one in charge of creating the eventual list there’s some reason to believe him despite the fact that he’s pretending to be a fellow castaway.
• Cindy states that flight 815 was flying for 2 hours in the wrong direction. Ana Lucia similarly claims that they were in the air for 2 hours. The Pilot appears to disagree with them:
The Pilot: “Six hours in, our radio went out. No one could see us. We turned back to land in Fiji.”
• The chicken that Goodwin and the Tailies catch is the first non-Hurley Bird I’ve seen on the Island.
The Pilot: “Six hours in, our radio went out. No one could see us. We turned back to land in Fiji.
• The chicken that Goodwin and the Tailies catch is the first non-Hurley Bird I’ve seen on the Island.
• Two weeks after their first raid, the Others strike the encampment again. This time they take 9 others. Ana Lucia fights with one – a female – and accidentally kills her. On the body she finds a US Army issued pocket knife that Ana Lucia believes is around 20 years old (placing it’s origins in the late 70s or early 80s), but it more immediately calls to mind the US military team that will land on the Island in the 1950’s and will be discussed in S5’s “Jughead.”
In addition to the knife, Ana Lucia finds a list, with nine castaway names – names with physical descriptions. This is presumably the same list that Ben demands of Goodwin, as noted above. But to my recollection, Ben will later claim that Jacob makes the lists on this Island. Does this mean that Goodwin offered up a preliminary list, which was then examined and approved (or otherwise) by Jacob? Does it mean that Ben was lying about Jacob’s involvement with the lists?
Libby: “You really think it’s possible that one of us is…one of them?”
• The show does a nice job of setting Nathan up as the fake Other. Between his long trips to use the bathroom, his conspicuous silence when repeatedly questioned about the children, and his claim to come from Canada (which Ethan claims in S1), all signs point to Nathan. Even his name is phonetically similar. Good job, Lost.
– And while we’re on the tangential topic of Canada, am I wrong in thinking that a good number of Others claim to come from there? Lost spent a good amount of it’s first season referencing and/or subtly commenting on the Iraq War, and I’m wondering if this isn’t another instance of this. During the thick middle of the Bush administration you often heard about Americans traveling abroad and attempting to defuse perceived possible tension by claiming to be from Canada, or by sewing the Canadian flag on their backpacks/luggage. Claiming you were from Canada was seen as a way to diffuse hostile reactions from others – is Lost commenting, indirectly, on this?
Goodwin: “Do you have any kids, Ana?”
In the pantheon of Very Bad Questions to ask a pissed-off Ana Lucia, Mr. Goodwin, this one ranks near the very top.
• In a genuinely shocking, exhilaratingly twisty moment (both literally and figuratively) Goodwin helps Nathan escape from Ana Lucia’s pit, only to ruthlessly and efficiently snap his neck in a moment that appears to echo S5 – where a young Charles Widmore brutally cracks the neck of a fellow Other to protect the Island. S2 and S5 mirror each other in a number of ways, and I’ll try to point these instances out as they pop up.
• The Other 48 Days provides us with our first hints of insight into the Others, momentary, misleading and fragmentary as they are. Goodwin gives the appearance of a capable, empathetic, warm human being in one moment, and a survivalist Island-Rambo in the next. This kind of yin and yang, so emblematic of the show itself and present in every aspect of it, is fascinating to me.
• We’re shown the Tailers discovering The Arrow Station, which seems conspicuously less well-hidden than it was last time. Goodwin speculates that it may be a storage facility, but he’s wrong. It’s possible that he isn’t in the Others’ ‘Circle of Trust’ regarding the location and identification of the Dharma Stations around the Island (we never learn how long he’s been an Other), just as it’s possible that he’s misdirecting/lying. We’ll discover in “Because You Left” that The Arrow’s primary purpose was the gathering of intelligence and the development of defensive strategies against the Others.
• A box is found inside The Arrow containing (1) a glass eye (spooky!), (2) a Bible, and (3) a radio. The radio looks 70’s-ish to my ignorant eyes, and it makes sense at this point to assume that the items in question were left there Post-Purge. Will we learn who they belonged to? Does it really matter?
• We discover that it was Bernard who answered Boone’s Beechcraft distress call from Season 1 (“We’re the survivors of 815!”). We’ll learn later that those who thought the original radio broadcast said “There were no survivors of 815” weren’t incorrect – the world believes them all to be dead, thanks to Widmore.
• Note that “Quarantine” is stamped on the inside of the Arrow door, just as it is on the Hatch of the Swan.
Ana Lucia: Don’t you ever wonder? Why they attack us?
Goodwin: “Maybe they’re not attacking us.”
• The Others have been presented over the early course of the show as, and to a large degree have functioned as, the villains of Lost. They’re silent, they’re kidnappers (and adult-nappers), they kill castaways (see: Ethan dispatching Scott/Steve in order to get Charlie to bring Claire to him) and they took Mike’s boy! Right. Out. Of his hands!
But the Others, like any effective antagonists, don’t view themselves as villainous. We’ll learn that they serve a ‘higher power,’ that these lists are not simply a product of Goodwin’s personal values system, but rather, that they reflect specific choices made by the Island’s resident maybe-Deity, Jacob. As such, and as presented in the context of the show, these lists are essentially Commandments, brought down from Sinai (or in Lost’s case, from the Statue’s Foot) to be fulfilled by the acolytes of a mysterious power. It’s all very religious and cult-y. I’m really looking forward to talking more about the Others as the season moves along.
Goodwin: “Nathan was not a good person. That’s why he wasn’t on the list.”
This is the first appearance of the word ‘good’ as applied to, or otherwise used by, the Others. The Others only took ‘good’ people. Ben will later protest that he cannot be held prisoner because he is not a ‘bad person’ and that the Others are ‘the good guys.” Ethan will claim (via flashback) that “We are good people…Good family.
Goodwin’s name itself contains the word as if to drive home the importance of it, but it’s far from clear at this point that Goodwin is morally ‘good,’ given his penchant for nonchalant neck crackings.
According to some random surname-meaning site:
“The derivation is from the personal name “Godwine”, composed of the elements “god”, meaning either “god” or “good”, with the second element of “wine”, meaning friend or protector or “sweyn”, meaning “follower of”.”
As many have already noted, “Good” is a deceptively slippery word. According to Dictionary.com, there are over 50 definitions of the word, all of which can be seen HERE.
By “good,” the Others may mean morally excellent or virtuous, satisfactory in quality, right or proper, well-behaved, kind and beneficent, honorable, educated and refined, or genuine and not counterfeit, among many other possibilities. We’re on the cusp of Lost’s final season and it’s far from clear which definition, if any, applies.
• The Others have not taken a life on this part of the Island. Unlike Ethan, who seems like even more of a dangerous psychopath now in comparison, Goodwin and the other Others (ugh) kidnap people, but they do not (visibly) harm anyone except for Nathan, who is identified as ‘not a good person.’ In contrast, the Tail Enders kill four of the Others during the 48 days.
• If Jacob does have a hand in the finalized version of the list that’s used to abduct nine of the Tail-Enders, what is his purpose in doing so? Are these chosen folk a part of Jacob’s overall plan? When he gasps that ‘they are coming’ in the S5 finale is he even referring to Jack and Company? Or is he instead referring to the army of Monk-like, ass-kicking, Ninja/Guerilla Jungle Warriors who’ve been trained to end lives like you or I end phone calls – all in his name? God, I hope it’s the latter.
• Folks didn’t warm to Ana Lucia but I think she’s a solid character. I believe that some of the animosity toward her stems from the fact that she’s a woman who refuses to be likable. She’s a kind of amalgamation of both Jack and Sawyer – with Jack’s drive and sense of responsibility and Sawyer’s surly standoffishness. Michelle Rodriguez doesn’t have a very broad emotional palette when it comes to conveying these characteristics, but she finds ways to show us Ana’s vulnerability. Her scene with Eko (“It took you 40 days to cry”) is moving.
• The episode’s ending, which re-introduces Jin, Michael and Sawyer, re-capping their time with the Tail Enders in brief flashes, and leading up to the death of Shannon (and Sayid’s anguished, burning eyes – once again, Naveen Andrews brings the goods) functions to reinforce what has become a dominant part of the show: the notion that what we do not know about another person’s experience can shape, for good and for ill, how we perceive and define that person. We’ve seen that on this re-watch. Revisiting the characters we’ve come to know so well over five seasons has provided us with much deeper understanding of who they are as people and why they’ve done the things they’ve done. The same effect is achieved here in miniature; re-watching the same events from the past few episodes, we’re newly wise to the circumstances that made the Tail Enders into such a haunted, guarded group, and that Lost is actively commenting on judgment, on the incomplete, fractured way in which we continuously judge those around us without truly knowing or understanding them.
*(The answer, of course, was the San Dimas California of the future, home of truly excellent waterslides and the guitar stylings of Sir James Martin of Faith No More (Station!))