Posted by: cousinbrandon | June 2, 2010

LOST – Season 1, Episode 1: “Pilot (Part 1)”

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Well, now I’ve gone and done it. I mean, here I was, free at last, free at last. And what do I do? I re-open the Pandora’s Box that is Season 1 of LOST. I’d been threatening/promising to do so for quite some time, and now that the show has come to an end, I figured there was no turning back. As some of you know, my LOST blogs began as mere emails. That is, I started emailing a small group of friends and family after each show aired, posing questions, speculating on answers and commenting on Easter Eggs. As the response and feedback grew, so did the length of my emails. I was living in Philadelphia back when LOST premiered, and what began as the typical “water cooler” talk transformed, for me, into something obsessive. I was Googling anything and everything LOST-related. I was searching out forums for clues and theories. I was exchanging emails with random co-workers who were as ravenous as I was about the show. And after three seasons of talk and piecemeal emails, I started to delve further, transforming my “emails” into what became columns. Eventually my cousin Dave picked up my columns and added them to his blog on his old ESPN site, as did my buddy Ryan on his blog, Amish in the ‘Burgh. He even gave me my own nifty section.

It wasn’t until August of 2009 that I started my own blog (the one you’re currently reading). At that point, I went back and added as many of my old posts as I could find, but they only went back as far as Season 4. And because of that, and with LOST now complete, I’m re-watching the first three season. Why? I don’t know, really. I guess I just want to see if what happened at the beginning really informed what happened at the end. I’m looking for clues, I guess. Tip-offs and such. I don’t know that these will really reflect the entries you’ve grown accustomed to, in terms of length and description. Rather, I’m more interested in those telling moments that mattered (or eventually didn’t matter but should have). And by all means, I’m depending on the rest of you to help me out. I can’t do this alone, people. With that, let’s get into the very first hour of LOST, which is Part 1 of “Pilot,” beginning with…

1. The Eye. 

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The very first image is an eye, an opening eye belonging to our protagonist, Jack Shephard. Of course this proves awfully symbolic and foreshadows what’s to come, as we will end the entire series on Jack, in the very same spot, with an image of his eye, closing. (More importantly, I think this completely speaks to my take regarding the finale and the scene in the church, in that we realize LOST is being told from Jack’s perspective, even when it isn’t. Is it their story? Yes. But the fact that it’s framed by Jack’s opening and closing eyeball tells us that it’s their story told from his perspective, and that matters.) In this moment, everything is strangely quiet. We see Vincent emerge from the jungle (as we will see him lie down with Jack in the final scene of the series), as well as the infamous bottle of vodka he pulls from his coat pocket. He rises and runs through the bamboo (and we get a glimpse of the tennis sneaker in the tree, which we will also see in the finale, thus indicating he’s returned to the same spot). At last, he reaches the beach and is greeted by the sound of a still whirring engine, twisted metal and screams. In the next few moments, we see Jack pull Charlie out of the way of the engine blade, pull a man out from under a piece of the plane (with the subtle assistance of Locke), and resuscitate Rose via CPR after lifeguard Boone merely blows air into her stomach. (Oh, we also see the man who we will later identify as Gary Troop, author of Bad Twin, sucked into the engine.) After doing his typical Jack “taking care of business” routine, he sneaks off into the jungle with a sewing kit he finds among the wreckage. In a remote spot, he removes his shirt to reveal a huge gash on his back. Fortunately, Kate Austen emerges, still grasping at her wrists (where the cuffs were). Jack convinces her to sew him up, and to use the bottle of vodka to sterilize her hands as well as the wound on his back. She is terrified, but he relates his famous “Count to five” tale of letting the fear in, explaining how he cut the dural sac while performing spinal surgery on a 16-year-old girl (thus also referencing one of our mysterious numbers – 16 – for the first time). He counted to five, let the fear in, and was fine. Later that day, we cut to…

2. We Are Not Alone.

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Night. The bonfires are burning on the beach. Aussie Charlie Pace, sitting by the fire with Sayid Jarrah, is writing the word “FATE” across the tape on his fingers. Boone Carlisle offers Shannon Carlisle food, and she responds by being a total bitch. “You think I’m gonna’ start eating chocolate now!” (Yeah. Good luck with that, Sayid.) Hugo “Hurley” Reyes is delivering airplane meals to the survivors, and drops off two to the very pregnant Claire Littleton. (Here is the foreshadowing of Hurley “taking care of people.”) Jack is tending to the unconscious man with the shrapnel sticking out of his side (who we will learn is the special agent taking Kate into custody). Jack tells Kate he blacked out on the plane; Kate says she saw the whole thing, including the tail ripping off though she couldn’t bring herself to really watch it happen. Jack tells her he wants to find the cockpit, as there should be a transceiver they can use to send out a message for help. “I saw some smoke,” Kate says, indicating the smoke from the cockpit, yet foreshadowing what comes next. A loud, metallic sound. Huge trees rustling. What sounds like a conch shell being blown into. The familiar clickety-clack. Yeah, that’s the one. This is our very first appearance of the Smoke Monster, only we don’t know it. They see all of this, though they (nor we) actually see Smokey himself. (What’s more, I still say Smokey was much scarier in the early goings of the show, as the noises alone were terrifying.) We then flash back to…

3. “I’m on a plane. I’m on a plane. Take a good, hard look ‘cause I’m flying on a plane.” Jack stares out the window of the airplane when flight attendant Cindy asks about his drink. She sneaks him two – two – more bottles of vodka. Jack pockets one bottle and pours the other one into his cup and directly down his gullet. (I point out the two bottles as I know this became a point of discrepancy in the season 6 premiere “LA X,” as Cindy brings him only one bottle of vodka.) Rose is seated across the aisle from Jack, with John Locke seated directly behind her. Jack stands to use the restroom but is brushed past by Charlie, who is in a bit of a hurry himself. Jack sits back down and a bit of turbulence ensues. Rose is panicked and speaks of her husband, that he always calms her nerves about flying. Jack promises that they’ll be fine, that it will all pass in a moment, and – BOOM! – the plane shakes violently. Both people and luggage are tossed. Oxygen masks drop and things appear to be going quickly out of hand. And then we return to…

4. The Other Pilot.

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Daytime. People in the background are discussing the noise they heard in the jungle, the things they saw and didn’t see. Jack is planning to go for the cockpit and Kate insists on joining him, only Jack tells her she’ll need different shoes. With that, Kate removes the boots from a dead body as John Locke watches her do so. He “smiles” at Kate from a distance, revealing an orange rind in his mouth. Rather than smile back, though, Kate stares at him blankly, likely disturbed by the fact that this person could be making some type of joke when she’s removing the shoes from a body. Before leaving, Jack tells Boone to keep an eye on the injured passengers. Boone (ironically) asks about the “guy with the leg.” Jack tells him he removed it. Again, we know what will happen to Boone and his leg, so this struck me as rather funny. Charlie volunteers to join Kate and Jack. On their hike for the cockpit, Kate asks Charlie if they ever met before. (It’s interesting to consider all of the questions about people meeting before and déjà vu, considering all of the themes of time travel and their being connected, not to mention the series finale.) Charlie reveals himself as the bassist in Drive Shaft, most known for their “hit” single, “You All Everybody” (which will also be thematically important to LOST). We see Vincent watching them from behind a bush when a massive rain storm begins. Charlie asks if it’s normal: “Day turning into night? End of the world stuff?” During the storm, we see the passengers taking cover, only Locke is sitting on the beach, face to the sky, arms raised, basking in it. At that moment, the Smoke Monster passes through the camp yet again. Jack, Kate and Charlie reach the cockpit. Inside, they find the pilot still strapped into his chair, still alive. Jack tells him it’s been 16 hours (our first second reference to one of the famed numbers) since the crash. The pilot says the radio went out 6 hours into the flight, and that they turned around to land in Fiji. What’s more, they’re a thousand miles off course, so any rescue team would be looking for them in the wrong place. He finds the transceiver only it isn’t working. Charlie, meanwhile, emerges from the bathroom, only we don’t know what he was doing in there. Just then, the sound of Smokey. The pilot sticks his head out from the cockpit and Smokey grabs him, his blood splattering against the windshield. Jack grabs the transceiver and he, Kate and Charlie take off running into the jungle. Charlie gets stuck and Jack goes back for him, while Kate keeps running and eventually hides beneath a tree. She is terrified and repeats Jack’s “count to five” technique. Charlie catches up to Kate and wants to get the hell out of there, but she insists on going back for him. Huh! Already we’re seeing Kate needing to go back. The rain stops. She and Charlie find the pilot’s wings in a puddle of water, and reflected in the puddle is the pilot’s horribly ravaged body, stuck atop a tree. Jack emerges, and the three of them stare at the pilot, wondering just what in the hell could have done that.

So, that’s it. The first hour LOST, the first half of “Pilot.” We’ve already been introduced to the fact that the show will utilize flashbacks and that there’s some type of “monster” on the island, thus telling us we’re not dealing with a “normal” show here. We’ve been introduced to our protagonist and “leading lady,” so to speak. And, well, we know that people die. See you soon for the second half of “Pilot.” Until then, have at it, you vultures!

BD

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Responses

  1. Good “1st” recap CB. A couple of things I also noticed;

    I think the first reference to the numbers was the 16 yr old girl with the bad dural sac. Also, in that same scene, we see that the island is already begining to change/fix the Losties. Kate says that if she were in Jack’s position, she would be, “running for the door.” To which Jack responds, “No, I don’t think that’s true. You’re not running now.” We all know, now, that running is what kate does/did.

    “In their hike for the cockpit, Kate asks Charlie if they ever met before. (It’s interesting to consider all of the questions about people meeting before and déjà vu, considering all of the themes of time travel and their being connected, not to mention the series finale.)”

    A couple more comments that may pique your interest:
    – Rose commenting that, despite being from the Boogie Down, the Smoke Monster sounding familiar.
    – Kate using past tense when speaking to Chaz (My friend Beth loved you, DS was good.)
    – After Charlie was “saved” by Jack, him saying, “But it was right there. We were dead! I was.”

    Another thing that I’ve been thinking about, that your comments made me question even more is, what if this all happened in Jack’s mind? I know, Chrsitian said that everything that happened on the island is real, but again, I’ll reference Locke’s smoke lodge and him saying everything is as real as you make it. It was nice, from a symmetry point of view, to have Jack die on the same spot, with a similar wound, but it does make one wonder. A lot can happen in 20 minutes. Plus there was that footage of the wreckage after Jack closed his eye.

    And, was the story, from the begining, supposed to be from Jack’s perspective? I thought I read somewhere that Matt Fox wasn’t supposed to be on the show for too long.

    • 1. You know what, MM? You’re absolutely right. I even referred to her in my post, and yet failed to recognize it. Making the correction momentarily.

      2. Yeah, I love that she says, “Beth loved you,” but it’s even better that Charlie corrects her, pointing out they’re still together. And, yeah, it’s hard to get past all the references to death and their being dead, even though they don’t mean it literally.

      3. While I appreciate your comment, not a chance. Look, the writers have essentially said that they weren’t out to trick us in this manner. What’s more, they’ve officially said that the footage during the end credits of the finale was simply there as a bridge between Jack’s closing eye and the nightly news. They thought it would soften the transition.

      4. Initially there was talk of killing Jack in the first episode, but they obviously didn’t go that way. I’m sure they re-wrote it before they started filming. The thought was that the audience would be shocked to see one of its “stars” killed; the argument, though, was that audience would feel like they couldn’t trust anyone or anything and would lose interest. Also, they wanted Michael Keaton to play Jack when they were going to kill him off.

    • It kind of seems the reference to the 16-year-old and 16 hours is just coincidence. If they were really supposed to be “the numbers” then why didn’t Jack only let the fear take him for 4 seconds (instead of 5)? Why didn’t the plane’s radio go out 8 hours into the flight (instead of 6)?

  2. Ok, so my all day meeting finally concluded so now I have time to relax for a bit. So here goes:

    1. I’m a little shocked you broke up the pilot episode. Yeah, i know they’re technically 2 episodes but I figured you would watch the whole thing and so I did as prep as well. Oh well, 1 step ahead of the game for next time.

    2. WWWWAAAALLLLLTTTTT. Ah, the thrills of hearing Michael scream that out yet again. I laughed when I heard him screaming that in the background in the opening scene as Jack goes to the beach to see what’s happening.

    3. Funny how now while watching, you notice stuff like Locke helping out Jack at the start. That’s definitely something I didn’t notice because well, we were still learning who all of the characters were.

    4. Also had to laugh at poor Boone trying to help and telling jack to use the pen trick and Jack just getting rid of him by saying go find me a pen only later to have Boone give him like 5 choices claiming he didn’t know which one was the best to do that with.

    5. I’m guessing originally the writer’s didn’t know what they wanted to do with Smokey other than just to have a “monster” on the island. Otherwise, I don’t see the point of Smokey killing the airplane pilot so quickly. Smokey seems calculated at the end about who he was killing and why and right off the bat, he just randomly kills the pilot.

    6. As far as the death thing, I have to go by that everything that happened on the island was real and not just a figment of Jack’s imagination being dying in the finale.

    • 1. Well, considering I started to watch it at around 5:30 this morning, went to work, and still managed to write about it, I’ll cut myself some slack, thank you very much. Don’t worry; I’ll get to part 2 soon enough.

      2. And to think, that “WALLLLLLT!” was a mild one…

      3. Exactly. I mean, you would have had no reason to realize it, unless you instantly recognized Terry O’Quinn despite him being more of a background character in the scene. Something else I think I noticed/remembered? I don’t really care for Boone or Shannon. Also, their incestuous storyline was fucking weird.

      5. Totally. It’s pretty clear they weren’t sure how to use Smokey at that point. One thing I do want to know, whether it’s on the complete DVDs or what, is how much they knew and how much they didn’t. I fully believe they always knew how the show would end; it’s the getting there I wonder about. So, I think it will be interesting to learn what they actually knew.

      6. Agreed. All real on the island. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again.

      • 1. Well, that makes sense. I was guessing you watched it last night so only watching the 1st half this morning is reasonable, :).

        5. I considered watching the DVDs and turning on director’s commentary where it was available, but I didn’t. Maybe I will later if they have it for the pilot. I thought that they said early on that they knew how they wanted to end the show. I think they thought that everyone was going to die or something to that extent. The details I highly doubt they knew such as Jacob vs. MiB. Although, maybe with the 2nd half of the pilot they did know something but I’ll wait until that recap blog post to discuss it.

        As for Boone and Shannon, Shannon we can do without as she pretty much added nothing from what I can remember. Boone was decent as he was like a cross between Jack (always wanting to help others) and Locke (wanting to do more stuff on the island). He might have been more helpful/useful had he survived.

        • I guess my point about Boone and Shannon is this: when Shannon resurfaced in the finale, I didn’t give a damn. She was miscast as far as I’m concerned, as it should have been Nadia who was the “love” of Sayid’s life. And Boone? Whenever he would pop up after being killed off, I always had an “Eh!” feeling. I never cared for him as a character, frankly. He was kind of like the little yip dog in the old Tom and Jerry cartoons, who would hang around Spike and beg for attention.

  3. Something else, in case you never saw it. Right before she became famous on Lost.

    • That is really sad. Especially because, when I called, I was POSITIVE it was Evangeline Lily who answered. Still, whoever answered was swell.

  4. Shannon was Sayid’s soul mate. What’s wrong with that? It would have been disingenuous for Nadia to have been with Sayid at the end. Part of “letting go” involved Sayid accepting that he IS NOT a bad guy or a torturer. Nadia would have been a constant reminder of his past, and his past problems.

    She had stockholm’s syndrome, and he actually didn’t spend a whole lot of time with her anyway. More time with Nadia than with Shannon, yes, but his love for Shannon was more genuine. His love for Nadia was a weird combination of guilt and penance. If he had been with her, no matter how much he pretended, he wouldn’t be able to let go of his past. Remember when he was kidnapped by the guy who pretended to want to hire him as a chef? He tried his damnedest to convince himself and them he wasn’t responsible for torturing that woman. It was a futile attempt.

    • Um, you’re kidding, yes? Sayid and Nadia had known one another well before their meet-up in the torture scene. What’s more, I forget what it said, but there was a note written to Sayid on the back of her picture, something about her being with him forever. He had to bury his wife — HIS WIFE, MIND YOU, NOT THE GIRL HE WAS FUCKING ON THE ISLAND — after she was killed in a hit-and-run. And, what’s more, you can call what he had with Nadia a result of Stockholm Syndrome, but that also supposes that they had no pre-existing relationship, which is false. What’s more, what would you call what happened on the island with him and Shannon? That was by no means natural. These two people falling in love based on their circumstances on the island seems less “real” than what Sayid and Nadia had.

  5. Yeah, they were married, but it still wasn’t a whole lot of time. Remember, they were only back for 3 years. And their pre-existing relationship was nothing more than her pushing him in the schoolyard. He wasn’t thinking about her until AFTER he became her interrogator. Had they never met again, he wouldn’t have ever thought about her again.

    I say Shannon-Sayid was more natural because it developed organically. Not out of guilt or self loathing. What’s ore, I say it’s more significant that he DIDN’T kill for Shannon, rather than the fact that he did kill for Nadia. In everybody’s heart there’s light and dark. Nadia made him shift more towards the dark. In the end, he literally stepped into the light.

    And what about all that other stuff I said about Nadia preventing him from letting go? Is that nonsense too? Perfect example is when Keamy told him to let it go, but because Nadia was involved, he replied, “I can’t.”

    P.S. I’m pretty sure the not said something about finding each other in the next life, if not this one. Well, they did. But it didn’t say they’d be together forever.

    • I got to side with Brandon on this one. True, there was some stockholm syndrome going on but you can’t call Shannon and Sayid a natural relationship either. They met under very extreme circumstances and basically that forced their love.

      Here’s a thought though, in season 6, FLocke asks Sayid what he wants the most and I don’t think Sayid says the name. Is it possible he wants Shannon over Nadia? I don’t think so but food for thought.

  6. Doc, you can’t force love. No way did the island “force” them to love each other. Remember, the whole free wil thing? Also, it’s not like they were the only two on the island. They didn’t have to pair up.

    • No, you can’t “force” love but if you put 2 people of opposite gender in an extreme circumstance where they’re basically either working very closely together on a day to day basis or need each other to survive, it’s not surprising if they happen to think that they are in love with each other. That’s more of my point. If you place Sayid and Shannon off the island and have them live in the same city and go to some of the sane places (so that they can bump into each other), I’m guessing that the percentages of them becoming a couple are low. Hell, put them both on some online dating site and I still bet they don’t end up together.

      Now sure, Sayid could have taken a liking to Nikki and Shannon could have gone after some random guy, but considering they were both part of the Losties main group, it’s not surprising to have them pair off.

      • Just wanted to add to this, speaking more to MM’s point, but what’s this “free will” you’re talking about, at least in this case? Again, you can say that he “chose” Shannon over Nadia, but he didn’t “choose” to come to the island; he was brought there. I still contend their love was a result of their circumstances.

  7. All interactions in anyone’s lives is a result of circumstance. Again, he wouldn’t have been with Nadia if not for his promotion in the Republican Guard.

    In the flash sideways, he told her, when she asked why he didn’t want to be with her, that he spent ths last 12 years trying to get away from all the horrible things he had done. She’s nothing but a constant reminder. In fact, I’d go as far as saying he kept her picture to remind him of his guilt. Not because he loved her so dearly.

    Remember, in Exodous he was going to leave forever because of what he did to Sawyer, who was a total douche. That’s how high the level of his guilt was.

    And you also saw in his flash sideways, when Nadia was involved, he couldn’t change. Besides the ironic line he told the cabbie (Keep the change,) whenever Nadia was a factor, he reverted to being a killer. Ben used her death to make him an assassin, he killed Keamy, he killed Omar in the original timeline, etc. He tried so hard to commit to a change, even upon Nadia’s request, but couldn’t.

    • I have to admit, MM, that you’re making a pretty compelling argument. Maybe my issue, then, is not so much that he’s NOT with Nadia but that he IS with Shannon? If you truly think that he and Shannon formed some type of real love on the island, why no mention of her for the last, oh, four seasons or so?

  8. Yeah, actually, I agree with that. The connection between Sayid and Shannon didn’t seem like the love Charlie was describing to Desmond. But, I guess they had their hands tied and Shannon was the quick fix.

    • Right, which makes the whole inclusion of Shannon over Nadia a bit of a cop-out, no?

  9. Well, here’s the question that needs asking (but can’t be answered), what happened with Sayid once he got off the island and reconnected with Nadia? How long were they together before she got killed? If it was to say, for a year, then I’m gonna guess they were living a happy live and Sayid was a good person and didn’t have a need to kill. If that question could be answered, then I think we could finally decide on if Nadia was his true love or just someone who was bringing him down so to speak.

  10. […] here to read Part 1 of […]


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