Friday, January 17, 2014

LOST Rewatch: Outlaws
The long-awaited Hurley FLASHBACK kicks off the episode and my kids yelled a cheer into the living room, performing fist pumps and dancing. They were so happy to learn about their favorite dude who is so chill and is only looking out for everyone . . .

[trombones slide and cymbal crash!]

Just KIDDING! This episode is not about Hurley at all! It's more about Sawyer--the guy that seems like the worst person on the Island except for those few moments when he is not. And this episode begins with Sawyer sleeping in his spacious lean-to on the beach. He awakens to a snuffling and shuffling sound.  Is it Hurley searching for illicit peanut packets? Is it Kate trying to get a gun (or something else)? Is it Jack?

Nope. It's an adult boar. You know, the boar that Boone and Locke had assured everyone had already migrated away from the Lostaways. But here it is, snuffling and rooting through Sawyer's stash. Our man from Tennessee yells, grabs an aluminum pole or something (does he celebrate Festivus?) and shoos the animal away. But during the chase, the boar wrecks Sawyer's tent, takes away his tarp, and makes Sawyer look very, very foolish.

But Sawyer isn't going to let a wild pig humiliate him! He sets off the next morning to exact some revenge. Because taking revenge is what Sawyer does, remember? He's been carrying around the revenge letter of his eight-year-old self for over twenty years. And we get to see that eight-year-old kid in the  . . .


It begins with that young kid being hidden underneath his bed while the mom rushes out to deal with yelling and shouting and door-pounding. Then there is a gunshot. Then, from the kid's under-the-bed perspective we see boots walk into the room, sit on the bed. There is another gunshot and the feet slip.

Thus the young pre-Sawyer sees the end of his parents and his life thrown apart by the con man named Sawyer who ensnared the boy's mother, stole their money, then gave the father the reason to commit the fateful murder/suicide. Tragic. Truly.

Later in Flashback time, grown-up Sawyer, our con man with a (presumably) heart of . . . let's say aluminum at this stage in the series . . . he runs into his old buddy Hibbs. Hibbs hands him information about the whereabouts of the original Sawyer con man (Australia) and suggests that our blonde friend take the revenge he's been planning for so many years.

While in Sydney, Sawyer confronts Sawyer, who is selling Sweet Shrimp out of a food truck alongside some dock. The real Sawyer looks pretty down-on-his-luck and enjoys chatting up a fellow American. Our Man Sawyer struggles to pull out the gun and fulfill his childhood vow. He realizes that he is not a killer and disappears into the rain. (So much rain in these early season 1 episodes.)

Back on the Island, in real time, Sawyer reluctantly takes Kate's tracking aid to find the boar in the jungle. She thinks he is ridiculous to place all of his life's blames on a pig, but it seems like she's got nothing better to do this week. And besides, they get to have a nice campfire in the woods and drink small bottles of airline alcohol. Sawyer introduces Kate to the dorm-room game "I Never" and they tease out facts about each other: Sawyer once wore pink, Kate never went to college, Sawyer has never been in love. Eventually, it is revealed that they have both been responsible for killing someone. The fun game ends in somber reflection by the campfire. They are the Outlaws.

Slipping back to the Flashback, we see a depressed Sawyer drinking in an Australia dive bar. And he chats with another fellow American that we know is Christian Shephard--Jack's disgraced surgeon father. Christian talks about regrets, taking stock of life, his love and admiration for his son . . . and his inability to express that to him. Christian asks Sawyer why he is in Australia and if he is avoiding some task that would make his life better and his burdens lighter. In the end, without knowing it, Christian encourages Sawyer to seek out the Sweet Shrimp man and try again (to kill him).

And Sawyer does so, this time pulling his gun (again in the rain) and pulling the trigger. The Sweet Shrimp man begins to die as Sawyer pulls out the letter and begins to read. As Sweet Shrimp begins to die he realizes the story of a child de-familied by a con man and connects Sawyer to Hibbs. It is revealed that Sweet Shrimp is NOT Sawyer, but someone that owed money to Hibbs. Hibbs got Sawyer to do his dirty work for him . . . playing the player.

And back on the Island again, Sawyer eventually faces down the boar that has tormented him for days. With gun in hand, he could pull the trigger and end this . . . just as he did with Sweet Shrimp and just as he did with the U.S. Marshall. But deep in his soul--as he bonds with the eyes of the jungle boar--Sawyer must accept that he is not a killer as he wanted to be when he was eight-years-old and hiding traumatized under his bed.

Who will Sawyer learn to become?

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