Friday, January 10, 2014

LOST Rewatch: Confidence Man, Solitary

Yes, I know. I caved AGAIN by letting the girls talk me into watching two episodes at once. But this is the best season of LOST, right? It's hard to not get caught up in these early, very revelatory episodes. And it is so much fun to see the girls react to each big moment of understanding. But, let's get into the episodes, shall we?

 Confidence Man: Let's learn all about Sawyer, in what is perhaps the most testosterone-y episode this show ever made. JACK! SAYID! SAWYER! All strutting around, threatening, torturing, fighting, bleeding. But it's not just about who's the coolest dude on the beach, because we need to mix in the unstable element of KATE! She's clearly the cutest girl who isn't pregnant and who speaks English, right. She is the deserving object of all of our affections. Who loves her more? Who deserves her more?


People that initially disliked the show really disliked this aspect of the plot. And watching it again, I understand (again) why. It is a significant portion of every episode so far. You could argue that some of it is character development for Sawyer--to establish how much of a pig (he wants you to think) he is. But isn't Jack more wrapped up in Daddy issues and proving himself--plus saving them all from the crash--to be diverted with Kate's mysterious temptations? (And anyway, we're only eight episodes in and Kate is already waffling back and forth: Jack/Sawyer; Beach/Caves; Helpful/Needy. But, as you know . . . buckle up. Because this particular ride's not close to being over.)

What else is going on? Charlie begins to put the charms on Claire by offering to find her a jar of peanut butter. It's their Meet Cute Moment.

Oh! And the appearance of Ethan! I'm surprised it happened so early. But there is Tom Cruise's cousin, helping Hurley sort through stuff in the caves. (More to come on him and his anagrammable name very soon.)

But don't forget Shannon. She's suffering from asthma attacks. And we KNOW that Sawyer is hoarding her inhaler medicine. That is what makes this episode about him in the first place. But he won't help? Why is he such a jerk? Why does he want everyone to hate him? 

Also, why are the writers humanizing Shannon and Boone? They were the biggest screw-ups (aside from Sawyer and the now renovated Charlie). Now Shannon is vulnerable and Boone is protective. They are working together rather than bickering at each other and making each other look stupid. Don't make Shannon and Boone sympathetic!

But in the end, sympathy is where this all ends up. Sawyer's long march to rehabilitation begins as we learn that HE was the original victim of a heartless con artist. And we learn that no one hates Sawyer as much as he hates himself for becoming the type of man that his childhood self would despise.

Sad . . . but still sexy and smarmy Sawyer.

Solitary: In the aftermath of Confidence Man, Sayid goes on his own walkabout to deal with the regrets he had during the Sawyer torturing and knife-fighting incident. And so, after the dick-swinging of Confidence Man, we have now the most estrogen-y episodes of the show. It's all about soulful, doe-eyed Sayid, struggling to find his center, encountering Rousseau the Frenchwoman . . . who's STILL ALIVE! (Even after 16 years.)

(Here was another moment that came earlier in the show than I remembered. Rousseau was out and about on Island even before we hit s1e10! It's probably because I remember Rousseau from later season's more distinctly.)

In the flashback sequences, we see that Sayid the Republican Guard Interrogator willingly did the job of getting information for the Baath Party. But he also had reluctance about it. And that reluctance skyrocketed when it became clear that he would have to interrogate his childhood friend Nadia (the girl in the picture he keeps carrying). So, he engineers a way for her to escape prison and never sees her again. So noble! So righteous! Sayid is the best man on the Island.

But actually ON the Island, he has been captured by Rousseau--who we learn arrived on the Island with a research team on a boat. And she starts dropping hints about the Island that will (sort of?) pay dividends in the future: sickness, many references to "others," evidence that there is electricity on the Island--the cable Sayid follows to her hideout runs down into the ocean, remember? Plus whispers in the jungle.

And finally . . . back at Adam and Eve's Caves, Jack is tired of dealing with Scott's (or is it Steve?) hypochondria. Which leads Hurley to observe that everyone is on edge and needs to blow off some steam. After some scrounging, Hurley creates a small golf course on the mountain meadow and everyone relaxes and tells jokes. Even Sawyer appears to share in the fun and try to win back some friends.

But Sayid is still trapped in the jungle, surrounded by whispers and growing increasingly fearful of what is happening on this Island where people "get sick" and start killing each other.

What'll happen next?!

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