Teleplay by J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof
Story by Jeffrey Lieber, J.J. Abrams, and Damon Lindelof
Directed by J.J. Abrams
Which one is it? The one with the polar bear.
Current Dude Count 5
The Numbers: The French transmission has been transmitting for 16 years.
Sawyer’s Nicknames: Lardo, Doc, Sweetheart, Sweetcheeks, Chief
1. Charlie remembers going into a heroine withdrawal while on the plane. The stewardess suspects him of something due to his odd behavior. He rushes to the bathroom for a quick fix, and drops the bag in the toilet, prepared to give up the drugs. Before he can commit, the turbulence hits.
2. Kate sits next to the man with the shrapnel on the plane. It is revealed that he was a U.S. Marshall and Kate was his prisoner. Kate was about to make a request before the turbulence hit. The Marshall is hit by a suitcase, knocking him out. Kate puts the oxygen mask on the Marshall, effectively prolonging his life.
From the flashbacks, we know that Kate was a fugitive and Charlie is a junkie.
I seem to be incapable of hearing someone ask a pregnant woman “Do you know what it is?” without yelling “IT’S A BABY!” That is one thing I’ve learned from this episode.
I am struck by how different the show feels. By the time the series concluded, Lost had become a mythologically complex science fiction show. We had mysticism, we had smoke monsters, we had electromagnetic disturbances that could cause time travel. There is nothing that hints at what is to come. In this second hour of Lost, we have the lingering mystery of the monster in the jungle, a mystery that is less compelling with the introduction of the polar bear, and the radio broadcast that is emanating from The Island.
I think, in some way, the polar bear is a good red herring. With the mysterious noises and death from above that part one introduced, speculation ranged from an island inhabited by dinosaurs to government experiments gone horribly wrong. Later, Hurley even posits that the monster is a pissed off giraffe. While we know that the polar bear couldn’t have been responsible for the tree-destroying, pilot-killing creature from the previous episode, it does bring the promise of an unusual, yet plausible, resolution to the mystery. This show appears to be rooted in plausibility with no indication at this point of just how weird things are about to become. Even the radio transmission, while tantalizing due to the implication of a source of the French broadcast, could be quite mundane compared to mystical, god-like brothers engaged in a feud that puts the Hatfields and McCoys to shame. The only indication we have at this point of something bigger lurking behind the scenes is a brief interaction between Locke and Walt.
Walt, in one of his many attempts to avoid his father, comes across John Locke setting up a
backgammon board. Walt is naturally curious, as many children are when the possibility of play is presented. Locke gives a bit of history of the game, telling how backgammon was nearly 5000 years old. He then gives a distillation of both the objective of the game and the ultimate plot of the show. “Two players. Two sides. One is light. One is dark.” When I first saw this episode, I knew this scene had meaning. The way it was scripted and shot had too much weight. However, I was expecting a more mundane, Lord of the Flies style descent into chaos. This show was extremely character driven at this point, and I thought we would see people going on journeys that would eventually drive them to one side or another, to Jack or to Locke. You see, I had always expected John Locke to become the representation of all evil on the show (and I was partially correct). Way back when I first heard of the show, I saw an interview with Damon Lindelof on the Ain’t it Cool News site and he mentioned that John Locke was the Randall Flagg of Lost. For those unfamiliar with the reference, Randall Flagg is a recurring character in Stephen King novels, often playing the trickster character. He has appeared in The Stand, The Eyes of the Dragon, The Dark Tower series, and in many novels using pseudonyms. He isn’t quite the devil, but he is very reminiscent of the devil. He is an agent of evil, not necessarily evil itself. So, when I read this interview, my mind exploded with possibilities. When I finally saw the show, I expected John Locke to be evil and I filled every look and every line with an ominous intent. Imagine my surprise when he turned out to be so sympathetic. John Locke is not Randall Flagg. But that does not mean there isn’t a representation of evil on the show. As we will see much later, The Man in Black (also a pseudonym of Randall Flagg) will take on the appearance of John Locke, and TMiB is much more evil than John could ever be.
The chemistry between Kate and Sawyer starts here. When Kate takes the gun away from
Sawyer, she pretends to not know how to eject the clip and the round in the chamber. Sayid walks her through the process but, as Sawyer sees, her hand is much too steady and her eyes are too resolute. He can read her like a book and knows that in an instant that she was the fugitive on the plane. He doesn’t give away her secret, however. I think he is much too amused. Besides, it never hurts to have compromising information on someone.
What do we know about the French transmission? Rousseau set it up sixteen years ago to keep other people from being lured to The Island by the previous transmission, the mysterious numbers. I can’t quite remember why the numbers were being broadcast. Was it some poor soul from The Hatch? Why is the transmission there to begin with? We know The Others were on The Island and they were using the old Dharma facilities. Why
didn’t they disable the transmissions? Or did the signal just not get out? Mikhail monitored all transmissions to and from The Island at The Flame Station, so did not matter? Maybe the radio of the Oceanic Survivors was the only radio that could pick up the signal and nothing off-Island could receive it. This is certainly possible. Imagine The Island is a bubble. All communication in the bubble could only be received by equipment in the bubble, but special equipment would be necessary to penetrate the bubble and broadcast outside. Given the unique properties of The Island, this is possible. It’s hard to speculate at this point, however, since it has been so long since I’ve seen the show. Hopefully I’ll have more to go on as I progress.
At this point, what did you think the show was going to be about?