Summary: Flashbacks show one of Jack's patients dying in surgery. Christian had been operating on her before but he was under the influence so Jack took over. Christian convinces Jack to claim the death was inevitable, but upon learning that the patient was pregnant, Jack tells the truth and Christian loses his job. In the present, Jack, Kate, Locke and Boone go looking for Claire. Ethan leaves two trails so the group splits up. Jack and Kate go the correct direction. Ethan attacks Jack and threatens to kill one of them if Jack keeps following. Jack presses on and they come across Charlie who has been hanged from a tree. Jack is able to resuscitate him but he doesn't remember anything. Locke and Boone keep searching and they find a mysterious structure in the dirt.
The Good: This episode had the most exciting, suspenseful plot since the pilot episodes. Following Claire and Charlie's kidnapping, there was a huge sense of urgency throughout the episode, and the momentum of chasing after Ethan made the episode work at a faster than usual pace with much more tension than what we usually get. As a result, this episode was very easy to watch and it would certainly be a highlight episode for the more casual viewers.
That's not to say that the character stuff was reduced in favour of the plot, like in "Raised By Another". In fact, it's almost the opposite as this episode ended up having some of the strongest character development of the series this far. Jack's story is amazing to behold, and it's surprising how many new aspects of his character were explored in this episode. "White Rabbit" showed us Jack's most likeable traits: he's a leader, he's strong-willed, and he's heroic. In contrast, this episode shows us the more negative aspects of Jack's character. Throughout the episode he's angry, stubborn, obsessive, overly emotional, and very aggressive. But somehow the writing is so good that Jack never feels inconsistent with what we have seen of him so far, and it comes off that the writers are showing us the deeper aspects of his character. Like everybody else, even Jack has his flaws, and this makes him a much stronger character than he had appeared to be so far.
The flashback story was terrific. One of the biggest mysteries from "White Rabbit" was what had happened between Jack and Christian. We are given the answer here in what ended up being a terrific examination of Jack's character. We get to learn more about why Jack was so anxious to see Christian buried. Not only was it because of their issues, but it was also because Jack himself feels responsible for the events that led to his father's death. Christian tried to get Jack to lie for him, going as far as to manipulate Jack in what was a pretty fantastic scene. But unfortunately Jack's heroic instincts haven't changed since his childhood, and we get to see Jack cave at the idea of lying, showing such integrity and dedication to the work he does by telling the truth. But Jack preserving his morals came at the expense of his relationship with his father, which was already somewhat strained.
The flashback story ties into Jack's struggles on the island as well. We see Jack vehemently dashing through the woods, taking no breaks and refusing to care for himself until Claire and Charlie are found. Just like with Christian, Jack is feeling guilty about his actions which led to Claire storming off alone, and he won't stop until he has done the right thing and saved both Claire and Charlie. Jack's arc on the island is a combination of his willpower to do the right thing and the guilt he feels when his actions have unintended consequences, the two main aspects of his character that were explored in the flashbacks.
Outside of Jack, there is a lot to love about the island story. There are several great moments throughout the episode that service other characters and also provide great drama. I appreciated the scenes with Michael as he gets dismissed by Locke in a lovely bit of continuity (back in "Walkabout", Locke saw for himself that Michael can be a liability). It sets up a nice bit of conflict between them while also making Michael seem more likeable as he decides to head into the jungle anyways. The fight sequence between Ethan and Jack is another highlight. The fight was short but sweet, and it was carried by the menacing threat that Ethan poised. William Mapother was very intimidating in this short scene, and his imposing presence gave me chills. Lastly, I thought the climactic scene where Jack and Kate stumbled upon Charlie was mostly fantastic. The moment was stunning, and it seemed like "Lost" may have actually killed off a key character already which would have been a devastating twist. Though that wasn't the case in the end, the scene still carried a lot of weight and it was really powerful seeing Kate crying while Jack desperately tried to bring Charlie back to life, unable to accept that he had caused Charlie's death.
I liked the scene between Sayid and Sawyer. Their interactions were well written and well acted, giving us an electric scene with a lot of substance. We get to learn what Sayid has seen as a backdrop to the character drama of Sawyer confronting the man who tortured and nearly killed him. It's interesting to see Sawyer forgive Sayid, showing that he does have a human side and that he is well aware that he did deserve everything that he got.
The Bad: Charlie coming back to life was a bit of a cheesy moment, but the scene was so well executed that it didn't bother me much. What did bother me was that Charlie conveniently didn't remember anything and only gave us vague details about what happened. The writers weren't ready for Charlie to give away much information, but they also weren't ready to kill him off. So instead of committing to one of these things, they took the cheap way out, which didn't feel satisfying at all.
I'm disappointed that we didn't get to see more reactions to what happened to Claire. The idea that there are other people on the island and that their community had been infiltrated should be horrifying to everyone. Nobody should be able to trust each other, and there should be fear all around the camp. Yet the episode doesn't explore this at all which feels like a missed opportunity. Panic radiating through the camp would have made the episode even more gripping.
Jack was too confrontational with Kate in this episode. I get that the writers were trying to show Jack's aggression, but the moment where he demands that Kate tells him something real didn't land with me. It was similar to the scene in "The Moth" when Kate raged at Sawyer. The moment wasn't earned and it only happened because the writers needed for it to happen.
Did we really need such cheesy punch sound effects during the Ethan/Jack fight? The poor sound design stood out there.
The Unknown: Why is Hurley known to be a warrior back home?
Why was Jack the only one to hear Claire's screams? I wonder if this will be significant later or if it was just Jack's anxiety-filled brain imagining screams that weren't actually there.
Charlie seems to suggest that more than one person attacked him and Claire. Did Ethan bring friends? Where are these other people anyways? Could it be that they are much closer to the group of survivors than we expect?
Best Moment: Plenty of moments stood out so it's tough to choose. I'll have to go with Jack going with his guts and telling the truth about what happened during the surgery. I'll put that scene slightly above Jack trying to revive Charlie and Christian manipulating Jack. All are fantastic scenes.
Character of the Episode: Jack.
Conclusion: This was a spectacular episode that had rich character development and tons of action and tension. Though I had issues with the episode, there is just so much to love about this that I can't justify a score lower than an 80. Jack's story is simply remarkable and this episode has my favourite flashback and main island storyline so far.
Summary: In flashbacks, Claire' boyfriend Tommy convinces her to keep her baby so they can raise it together. Tommy leaves her soon after. Claire goes to see a psychic, Richard Malkin, who is horrified by what he sees, telling her that her baby must be raised by her. Richard gets her to take Oceanic flight 815. In the present, Claire is having bad dreams. One night, she claims she is attacked by somebody but no culprit is found. Jack chalks it off as it happening in Claire's head. Claire is angered by this and leaves the camp. Charlie follows her. Meanwhile Hurley makes a census of everyone on the island. He gets the flight manifest froM Sawyer and is horrified when he finds out that Ethan wasn't on the plane. Ethan confronts Charlie and Claire alone in the jungle. Meanwhile, Sayid returns, claiming they are not alone.
The Good: Once again, "Lost" changes gears and has a very different episode from everythign before it. After so many deep character episodes, the focus completely changed in this episode, bringing out the show's more mysterious, plot-related elements instead of character. There is an emphasis on the more supernatural elements of the show in this episode, making this episode feel more important, and also very exciting for the future of the show.
That's not to say that Claire's story is bad. It's not. We do learn about Claire's backstory, why she is pregnant, and why she may be hesitant to trust Charlie. Her backstory isn't as complex as other characters', but it is interesting enough. Plus, her island storyline is really interesting. With her being pregnant, we can never be sure if we can trust her experiences as they may be fake. I like that the show openly explores this with Jack giving Claire a sedative, providing us some natural character conflict.
Then we get to the superb end of the episode. Claire and Charlie are vulnerable at the end of the episode, and it feels like the surprising climax would be Claire giving birth. But the show throws out a number of surprises for us. For one, Sayid makes a sudden return with some cryptic remarks (see: The Unknown). But then the big surprise comes as Hurley reveals that Ethan wasn't on the plane. The final shot of Ethan staring down at Charlie and Claire with that creepy look is downright chilling, and it leaves us on an extremely suspenseful cliffhanger which makes me really enthused to watch another episode.
I thought that Hurley's side story was really good. His scenes were quite funny, as usual. I particularly liked his scene with Locke, and the joke of Hurley trying to get away from Locke after being creeped out is hilarious. Furthermore, the importance of this side story is completely unexpected. After Hurley made a golf course in a harmless B-plot in the last episode, we assume that this story is more harmless fluff to develop characters a little more. But the Hurley story actually ends up being important, and it impressively set up the ending reveal in a very big way.
Lastly, I thought the scenes of the psychic in Claire's flashbacks were outstanding. Richard Malkin actually outperformed Claire in this episode, and he was portrayed brilliantly. The fear and confusion across his face when he is doing the psychic reading is pretty horrifying, really playing up the mystery. Even more terrifying is his urgent reaction to Claire, demanding that she must raise the baby herself (see: The Unknown). The psychic stole the show this episode, and I'm dying to learn more about what he saw and if he will play a bigger role later in the show.
The Bad: As much as I like the change of pace, the episode is missing something by not having the great character exploration that I've gotten used to. With a more emotional story for Claire, this could have been amazing. But with a simpler storyline, the episode doesn't hit as hard emotionally as previous episodes of the show.
The Unknown: What was Claire's dream about? Is there any significance there?
Is the psychic real? Did he actually know about Flight 815? What did he see regarding Claire's kid?
Who is Ethan? How was he already on the island? How did he infiltrate the survivors group? Did he attack Claire at night? Why? Is he interested in her baby? Why? What is he going to do at the end of the episode? Is he going to fight Charlie and Claire? Kidnap them? What is his plan? What are his motives?
What happened to Sayid in the jungle? He seemed pretty shaken up. Was he attacked by other people? Is that why he claimed they weren't alone? Or did he possibly get infected by the sickness Rousseau was talking about in the last episode?
Best Moment: The ending of the episode chilled me to the bone. A frightening reveal that changes the story and ends the episode with a perfect cliffhanger.
Character of the Episode: Richard Malkin. Claire was somewhat underwhelming in this episode so he ended up stealing the show.
Conclusion: This was another great episode, changing up the formula to focus more on the plot. However, the lack of character stuff does make this episode a step lower than the other episodes of the show.
Summary: Monica ends up sleeping with Chandler. Ross has a threesome with Carol and Susan but it doesn't go well. Rachel struggles to bring herself to have an affair with Joey since she is still married to Barry. The friends can't bring themselves to tell Phoebe that she is fired.
The Good: This was more really fun stuff. There's a nice message here about the bonds between the friends still bringing them to the same place anyways despite everyone's lives being so different. A lot of the conclusions were excellent. Ross and Rachel being drawn together again was lovely. Phoebe becoming a nicer person who plays guitar poorly is a nice way to end her story. Monica and Chandler were great again as they got closer in this episode. All of the story conclusions were great and satisfying. The episode had really funny moments too. The character interactions were wonderful and carried the episode, with several standout lines. Lastly, I loved seeing Joey's fancy apartment return in this episode, which was a nice detail.
The Bad: This was a rare case where the part 2 isn't as good as the part 1. Seeing the stories conclude was more predictable, meaning that this episode didn't fascinate me as much as the previous one. Also, I thought Chandler having only had sex once before Monica was inconsistent. Chandler was frequently with women throughout the early seasons, so I'm not sure why he hardly had sex in this alternate reality.
Best Moment: Joey and Ross talking about the threesome was hilarious.
Character of the Episode: Ross.
Conclusion: Like part 1, this was another extremely fun episode. While not quite as good as part 1, this was still really enjoyable.
Summary: The group of friends ponder the idea of what their lives would have been like if Ross never got divorced, Rachel stayed married to Barry, Monica was still fat, Chandler quit his job, Joey was still on Days of Our Lives and Phoebe was a stock broker.
The Good: Leave it to a formula break episode to come in and rescue the season. This was excellent stuff that capitalized on how much we care about these characters to provide a wonderful alternate reality comedy episode. There were so many easter eggs and callbacks throughout the episode, leading to several funny moments and memorable lines. Also, there's just something really fun about seeing slightly different renditions of these characters interact with each other. I thought that this episode nicely prevented itself from falling into the pitfalls of this season. With a different take on the main cast, the writers were forced to treat the characters like real humans, and that avoided the crutch of making an episode too cartoony. The writers were focused on the impact of making these characters slightly different from who they should be. Chandler and Joey's roles are swapped so they act slightly differently, Monica is less confident, etc. The other pitfall this episode avoided was having a very poor story. This episode was based on a genius concept that had much more creativity put into it than 90% of the episodes this season. Ironically, I thought some of the alternate reality characters are more in-tune to who these people are than the current renditions of the characters. Monica in particular stands out, and it's so refreshing to see a version of Monica that isn't unnecessarily loud and obnoxious, feeling more like the Monica from the first few seasons before her character was overblown.
The Bad: Phoebe's character didn't fully land for me. The jokes surrounding her weren't very clever, and her character was hurt by the consistent butchery of Phoebe in the past few seasons. SInce Phoebe's kindness has been severely downplayed in recent seasons, her character doesn't feel very different from what we are used to. The point of sweet Phoebe becoming a total hardass didn't land at all.
Best Moment: There were tons of great moments. My favourite was Monica and Rachel's conversation in Central Perk. There were great moments like Rachel trying to convince herself to cheat on Barry (throwing in a nice reference to "we were on a break" as well), and also Monica still being a virgin.
Character of the Episode: Monica.
Conclusion: This was an awesome episode that felt like a breath of fresh air in what has been a pretty disappointing season so far. I'm nervous that this high quality is only going to last for the alternate reality storyline, but hopefully I'm wrong.
Summary: Flashbacks show Sayid's time torturing people in the Republican Guard. He is eventually forced to torture his lover Nadia. She doesn't give any information and Sayid is told to kill her. Unable to do it, Sayid frees Nadia and shoots himself to make it seem like she escaped. In the present, Sayid finds a cable on the island and follows it. He is caught in a trap, captured and tortured to reveal the location of somebody named Alex. Sayid speaks with his torturer and deduces that she is the French woman, Rousseau. Rousseau tells Sayid her story but she comes off as mentally unstable. She warns Sayid of others on the island. Sayid convinces Rousseau to let him go so he can go back to the camp. In the jungle, Sayid hears strange whispers. Meanwhile, Hurley creates a golf course to help ease stress back at the camp. While Michael plays golf, Walt goes to Locke to learn how to hunt.
The Good: Even though "Lost" has a working formula that has produced outstanding episodes, it still isn't afraid to shake things up. This episode is the most plot-heavy episode since the two-part pilot, and it manages to exquisitely mix the plot elements and the character elements together to create an episode that has parts of the excitement from the pilot and parts of beautiful storytelling from all of the episodes since.
The episode started off on the right note. We get more hints at Sayid's backstory as he looks at the pictures of Nadia which builds up our excitement for learning more about Sayid. Continuing on, the episode then introduced a mysterious cable that leads into the jungle, forcing Sayid into many different traps. The opening sequence is tense, exciting and mysterious, and it is a perfect way to get us invested in the episode. Then we get an awesome sequence of Sayid being brutally tortured, which is a perfect irony. Sayid went off on his own to atone for torturing Sawyer, and he ended up atoning for his sins in a more fitting way than he would have expected.
This leads into the introduction of Rousseau, the French woman who has become quite unhinged after 16 long years alone on this island. Her mannerisms are so unpredictable, almost childlike in certain elements. It's really sad to see how her time on the island has changed her, to the point that she has forgotten how to be social. It's especially powerful to see her attempt to cling on to Sayid, her only source of human interaction in over a decade. Furthermore, we got a lovely speech from Rousseau as she reveals how she got to the island, and covers a lot of the different things that happened to her team, which only furthers the mystery of the island (see: The Unknown).
While the episode tells Rousseau's story, it's also telling Sayid's story simultaneously. The episode impressively blended the flashbacks with the island storyline. As Nadia breaks through Sayid's hard exterior in the flashbacks, Sayid breaks through Rousseau's wall in the present. It's a story of a cold-hearted, almost evil character getting brought back to sanity by the person they were torturing. A lovely parallel story that works really well.
Sayid's actual story here is good too. I was pleased to get a look at his life in the Republican Guard, covering his duty as a soldier mixed in with his childhood relationship with Nadia. I really enjoyed the little things that were shown about his character. Scenes like Sayid refusing to desert his post to protect his family, and him praying to Allah while hanging in Rousseau's trap were excellent, and they did a great job of making Said feel like a real, relatable character. The fate of his relationship with Nadia is sad when it is revealed that Sayid has been holding onto a small hope of her life for years and years now, knowing in his heart that she is likely dead.
The Hurley side plot is a lot of fun. Hurley hasn't been given much screen time to develop so far, so it's good to put the focus on him for this episode. Hurley comes off as a very wholesome person as he puts in the effort to get the other survivors to have fun, in contrast to Jack's desperate attempts at mere survival. The story doesn't advance the plot any, but it is enjoyable to watch and it continues this show's consistent characterization in an enjoyable way.
There were some other small moments I really liked. I appreciated Michael's suggestion of making a shower at the caves, which is a sensible thing to work on. I also love the idea that rumours of the polar bear spread throughout the community, but may not have reached everyone. The show hasn't fully explored the idea of being in a community of less than 50 people, but this is a good start. I also really like that Michael got distracted by the golf which gave Walt the prime opportunity to go learn from Locke. Lastly, I was glad to see one of the non-main characters get some spotlight as the man with the hives got a few scenes to get introduced as well as Ethan in another extra scene. This episode seems to hint that the community of survivors will be getting more exploration in future episodes.
The Bad: It was a bit odd to have the flashbacks be told in English instead of Arabic, unlike "House of the Rising Sun" a little while back. Then again, there may be some limitations in play that forced the change to English in the flashbacks so it isn't a huge problem.
The Unknown: Why is there a cable on the island? Does it lead anywhere?
What happened to Alex? Is he dead?
Rousseau claims that there are others on the island. Are there? Where are they? Why are they there? Apparently they were carriers of the sickness. How? What is this sickness anyways? What symptoms come from the sickness? Is there even a sickness or did Rousseau just go crazy and kill her team? Lastly, what are those whispers? It seems that there is some truth to what Rousseau is saying due to Sayid hearing the whispers in the jungle.
What is the black rock that Rousseau mentioned? Why did her team go there?
What happened to Nadia after her escape? Is she really dead?
Rousseau says there is no such thing as monsters. What does that mean? Has she seen the monster?
Why haven't any of the survivors gotten sick? Why hasn't Rousseau gotten sick? Is the sickness gone?
Best Moment: Rousseau telling her story was extremely gripping. It was fascinating to learn all of this information, and the scene gets even more interesting when we realize that Rousseau may not be the most reliable source for this information. Sayid eventually realizes this too, leading to a wonderful line as Sayid tells Rousseau that he thinks she has been alone for far too long.
Character of the Episode: Sayid.
Conclusion: This was yet another brilliant episode that combined story and plot in a fantastic way. This show continues to impress me.
Summary: In flashbacks, Sawyer pulls a con on a girl named Jessica. He convinces her that he got in contact with somebody that is going to triple his money, but he needs help from an outside party to get enough money to make the deal. Jessica offers her husband's money and Sawyer nearly takes the deal. But when he sees that they have a kid, he backs off. In the present, Shannon is suffering from asthma as her inhalers are missing. Boone suspects Sawyer has the inhalers but Sawyer refuses to give them. Kate goes to talk with Sawyer about this to which Sawyer gives her a letter saying that Sawyer's con killed a child's parents. Jack and Sayid end up getting frustrated with Sawyer and eventually take him away for torture. Sayid is revealed to be experienced at torturing and Sawyer eventually spills the beans: he doesn't have the inhalers. Sayid doesn't believe him and nearly kills Sawyer. Horrified by his actions, Sayid leaves the camp to scout the island. Kate visits Sawyer and reads his letter again, deducing that he wrote the letter.
The Good: This was another fantastic episode that told a brilliant story. After last episode was lacking in drama, this episode came up with a much better plot. Shannon's asthma is a good focal point for the story as it does give the episode a sense of urgency and it helps build to the many frustrations which boil over through the course of the episode. The key characters that come into conflict in this episode are Sawyer, Jack and Sayid. Sawyer is just an overall prick as he has been throughout the series, so it's no surprise that he is the catalyst in this episode. Jack and Sayid on the other hand are both experiencing intense frustrations against Sawyer. Jack is noticing that he is running low on medical supplies, and Sawyer hoarding a lot of supplies puts Jack and Sawyer at odds. Sayid's feud with Sawyer is already more personal, and it certainly isn't helped by Locke getting Sayid to suspect that Sawyer was the one who attacked him. With all of these characters at each other's throats and with the urgency of Shannon's deteriorating condition, it isn't a surprise that Sayid and Jack turn to something barbaric and desperate to solve their problems.
The torture scene is extremely intense and is one of the better drama scenes that the show has produced. I had genuinely no idea where the story would go once Sayid started torturing Sawyer and I was left on the edge of my seat. The end of the sequence is handled well too. Sawyer is as much of a jerk as ever when he demands that Kate kiss him anyways, and the subsequent reveal that he doesn't have the inhalers is a surprise, but one that fits with Sawyer's character.
Speaking of Sawyer's character, he is given a ridiculous amount of depth here. The show pulls the same trick they used back in "Walkabout" where a twist at the end of the episode completely changes our perception of a character. The original story we believe is that Sawyer is a con man that feels guilty about what he did to the kid that sent him the letter. So to cope he is just a complete asshole to everyone. The story is easy enough to understand and enjoy throughout the episode, plus we get a wonderful scene where Sawyer forces Kate to read the letter, showing an intensity that we have never seen from him before. Because of this story, it seems obvious that the flashbacks are showing us Sawyer doing the con that leads to the deaths of Jessica and David.
But because this is "Lost", Sawyer's character has so much more to it. The end of the episode gives us some surprising twists starting with Sawyer's unexpected decision to abandon the con he was doing. It's confusing and it raises many questions about why Sawyer's flashbacks don't seem to correspond with the story. Then Kate gives us the huge reveal that Sawyer was actually the one who wrote the letter. The twist is outstanding and it does a brilliant job of making us sympathize with Sawyer. A con man with regrets is still somebody who is easy to hate, but the man with a revenge quest who tragically became the man he wants to kill is so much deeper. My feelings towards Sawyer are very complex now, and I'm feeling a mixture of hate, pity, understanding and sympathy. Just like with Locke, the episode expertly changed my thoughts on Sawyer.
I also really loved the look we got into Sayid's character. Learning about his background as a torturer is very significant, and it appears that Sayid has a darker past than it initially seemed. I really like his decision to distance himself from the camp after he nearly killed Sawyer. Sayid seems genuinely ashamed of what he did and now it's time for him to atone in his own way. Furthermore, Sayid leaving on his own gives us a good excuse to explore more of this mysterious island with a new plot thread.
The Charlie/Claire side story is harmless fun and I liked it. It develops their relationship well, and it also allowed for Hurley to continue to be hilarious. The Charlie/Hurley scene is one of the show's funnier moments so far.
The Bad: Apparently Charlie went through withdrawal off screen because he is fine now. That's pretty sloppy storytelling, and I think a side story of Charlie dealing with withdrawal would have been a much better addition to this episode.
Locke suggesting that Sawyer could delay the fuse with a cigarette is absurd. With Sawyer needing to react to Shannon's bottle rocket, to delay a fuse with such timing is near impossible. Sayid should have been smart enough to realize this.
The Unknown: It seems that Locke wasn't the one who attacked Sayid. So who was it?
Best Moment: Kate realizing the truth about Sawyer's letter was a shocking twist and it really put Sawyer's character into the spotlight. I love the idea that Sawyer isn't actually his name, and that he donned the name when he realized that he had become the man he wanted to kill. The depth to this is so spectacular. Kate deduces that Sawyer's toxic behaviour is because he wants to be hated, and the episode seems to imply that Sawyer behaves this way intentionally. Sawyer seems to believe that he has to be a terrible person, because if he can forgive himself, then that would mean that he can also forgive Mr. Sawyer. And that is something that Sawyer is nowhere near ready to deal with.
Character of the Episode: Sawyer.
Conclusion: With a structure similar to "Walkabout", this ended up being another outstanding episode. The story is so well done, and the depth given to Sawyer is simply remarkable. This show continues to deliver.
Summary: Flashbacks reveal Charlie as a formerly religious man who is uncomfortable about the temptations that being a rockstar brings. Charlie almost quite the band but his brother Liam gets him to continue. Charlie is uncomfortable by Liam's actions but he eventually gives in and becomes a druggie. A while later, Charlie visits Liam in Australia to get him back into the band but Liam is clean and has moved on. In the present, Charlie is struggling with withdrawal and goes to Locke to get his drugs back. Locke tells Charlie he will give him the drugs if Charlie asks him 3 times. Charlie gets angry with Jack and causes a cave-in, trapping Jack. The survivors try to get him out and Charlie eventually volunteers to go in and get Jack once a hole is made. Charlie is able to get in and get Jack out safely. Charlie goes back to Locke and burns his remaining heroin. Meanwhile, Sayid sets up 3 devices to locate the origin of the transmission but he is knocked out by somebody before he can find it.
The Good: This episode feels very different from everything that came before. This episode was incredibly focused on Charlie's story, and it told a much more complete story than all of the other character-centric episodes as Charlie goes through what is pretty much a full character arc in this one episode. This nicely gives the episode a sense of completeness and satisfaction on a higher level than the previous episodes.
This episode is also heavily focused on the theme of choice. The theme is explored with every chance that the episode gets, and we end up getting a very strong story for Charlie that centers around the decisions he has made and the decision he is ultimately going to make at the end of the episode. I thought the first flashback was perfect, as the priest introduced the concept of choice in Charlie's life. Charlie wants to be a good person but he gives in to temptations and doesn't seem to fully accept that there is a choice to be made. He lets himself become a druggie, and later in the flashback he blames Liam for his addiction. He hasn't accepted that drugs were his choice, not something that he was destined to do. This pays off wonderfully at the end of the episode as Charlie is finally able to understand that he does have a choice, and he chooses to go to Locke and destroy all of his remaining drugs. It's a lovely moment where Charlie finally comes full circle, and it's hard not to feel happy for him overcoming his addiction.
There were more moments centering on choice that were really strong. Locke was fantastic here as he played a sort of wise master over Charlie, attempting to get him to break his drug habit. The titular moth speech that Locke tells Charlie is a spectacular moment that is so rich in theme, symbolism and character (see: Best Moment). The flashbacks are also really good as they examine why Charlie ended up making the choices he did. He felt abused by his brother and useless to his band, so to cope with these feelings, he turned to drugs. This is mirrored effectively in the island storyline as Charlie spends much of the episode feeling useless, which is conveyed through good acting from Dominic Monaghan and some stellar directing. Evidently these feelings of uselessness lead to Charlie wanting to get his drugs back from Locke, but when Charlie chooses to do something good and save Jack, he is finally able to overcome his self-destructive feelings of uselessness.
The plot of the episode is fine as well. Charlie causing the cave-in made sense, and his growing frustrations as he dealt with withdrawal made sense. I liked the Sayid/Kate/Sawyer plot line too. It was a nice background plot that went to a very interesting ending as Sayid got mysteriously attacked (see: The Unknown).
The Bad: The storytelling here is great, but the drama is lacking. The cave-in story doesn't add much tension because it seems obvious that both Charlie and Jack aren't going to die in a cave-in of all things. It's not a particularly tense storyline. Furthermore, I thought that having Charlie get dramatically chased by a boar early in the episode was very awkward and it seems like it was only added in an attempt to get more drama into the episode.
The episode's focus on Charlie did help give the episode a greater sense of completeness, but it did lead to some cons as well. This dedicated focus meant that this episode didn't feature much story for the side characters. There wasn't really anything interesting happening with the side characters throughout the episode, taking away one of the things I most enjoyed about the past 6 episodes.
There are a few other small issues I had with the episode. The episode is a little heavy-handed with its storytelling, and while I still enjoy it, there is a lack of subtlety with some of the story beats, for example the moth leading Charlie out of the cave. I thought that there were some other clumsily written moments. The biggest offender for me was Kate's oddly hostile reaction to Sawyer when he showed up, which is especially strange since Kate has never seemed to particularly despise Sawyer. It was a case where the plot demanded that Kate got mad at him, so she did. Lastly, I found the whole story of Kate running back to save Jack to be pretty generic and uninteresting.
The Unknown: Is there actually a greater explanation for why everyone survived the plane crash?
Michael says he has a background in construction. Is there any significance to this?
Who attacked Sayid? The only person I can think of that would make any sense is Locke, but I'm still not sure why he would do that.
Best Moment: Locke's moth speech is a great moment. Charlie comes to Locke at his lowest and begs for his drugs. Locke recognizes Charlie's suffering and connects it to his own suffering when he was in the wheelchair. So he lets Charlie know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, using a moth as a terrific analogy. The dialogue is really well written and the scene has a lot of significance to the story overall. Fascinating stuff.
Character of the Episode: Charlie, though Locke was a close second. I get the sense that the centric character will usually be the character of the episode.
Conclusion: This was a great episode that told a terrific, well-rounded story. It was more flawed than previous episodes of the show, but I thought the strong storytelling still earns in a score over 70.
Summary: The friends are upset because Chandler doesn't cry. Rachel gets Ross to stop dating Jill, but Jill learns this and tries to get back at Rachel. Joey discovers that Phoebe is apparently a porn star and decides to investigate.
The Good: This was a welcome return to form to an extent. The previous few episodes have been filled with thoughtless plot lines and jokes that just don't make me laugh very much. Some of the issues were rectified in this episode. The overarching story from the previous episode was fun to watch. Rachel trying to get Ross to stop dating Jill was amusing, and the conclusion to the story is really strong, also furthering the Ross/Rachel story. The Phoebe story is also very good. It's inventive and also leads to some really funny moments (see: Best Moment). Joey and Phoebe in particular are treated really well as characters, and they are funny throughout. Chandler's story isn't the best, but it does get some good laughs.
The Bad: The joke of Chandler crying at the end is stupid. What's worse is that the story could have easily been less infuriating if Chandler had been mockingly crying at the end instead. Furthermore, Monica is awful to Chandler as the writers continue to sabotage her character by playing up her loud and obnoxious side.
Best Moment: Joey and Ross return with movies of Phoebe doing porn and everything that comes afterwards is hilarious, from everyone deciding to watch the movies, to the names of the movies, to Phoebe walking in at the end.
Character of the Episode: Ross.
Conclusion: While not a special episode, this was very good comedy for the most part and I enjoyed it.
Summary: Flashbacks show that Jin and Sun used to have a loving relationship. When they married, Jin had to work for Sun's father and he turned into a colder, more ruthless man as a result. Sun wanted to leave him but at the airport before their flight, she changed her mind. On the island, Jin attacks Michael and he is handcuffed to a part of the plane until his motives are discovered. Sun goes to Michael and talks to him, revealing she can speak English. She explains that it was his watch. Michael gives his watch to Jin and releases him. Jack takes a group to the caves and decides that he wants to move a portion of the camp to the caves, which he successfully does. Locke gets Charlie to give up his drugs.
The Good: Jin and Sun's story is horribly tragic. The flashbacks make is clear that the two of them used to have a very loving relationship. Jin was not the man that we met on the island, rather he was a kind-hearted and loving man who was able to charm Sun easily. But sadly Jin had to sacrifice himself to Sun's father in order to ensure their marriage, and it ultimately led to him losing himself as a person. The kind-hearted Jin became a ruthless and cold man which very quickly alienated Sun. The tragic part of all of this is that Jin justifies his actions because he is doing them for Sun who is growing further apart from him every day. In the end Sun gets so frightened by Jin that she attempts to escape him by faking her kidnapping. The scene where she makes her decision is fantastic (see: Best Moment), and it's really sad to see her stick with Jin after being reminded of why she loved him in the first place. And that ended up being an unfortunate mistake, one that we can really sympathize with.
The two island stories are very good. The Jin/Sun story is strong and it has a nice amount of mystery as we watch the episode to learn why Jin attacked Michael. It's a good hook and I thought the resolution was really good. Jin attacked Michael over something really stupid, fitting to his aggressive nature and loyalty to Sun's father. We also get a great twist when Sun reveals she can speak English. The twist isn't the most surprising (Sun and Jin needed to be able to communicate to the others somehow), but I still didn't see it coming.
The caves story is really strong too. It makes sense that Jack would want to move into the caves for survival's sake, though I totally understand that people would be upset at the idea of abandoning all hopes of rescue. The separation of the survivors was a good story and the montage at the end of the episode was a nice way to show everyone separated by their ideals. Plus it was a visually nice way to show the group's separation, which is especially good for a show which has been pretty flat with its cinematography so far (outside of some great transitions between flashbacks).
As usual, the two main plots lead to some awesome character work being done. Locke gets Charlie to drop drugs in a wonderful side-plot, continuing his shtick as a sage-like character. Michael gets his best episode yet as he gets to rage at Jin while also being a better parent to Walt than what we have seen from him beforehand. Jack and Kate continued to flirt in some really good scenes with nice dialogue and some comedy coming from Charlie and Hurley.
The Bad: I thought that Jack asking Kate what she did at the end of the episode was pretty awkward, and it wasn't built up to well enough. They were getting along really well for most of the episode, and Kate choosing to stay on the beach is a very understandable move, especially seeing how many people stayed with her. Yet Jack seems to believe that this decision is so strange and has something to do with Kate's background. The writing doesn't get this idea across very well, so Jack's lines don't seem to make much sense.
Hooray for more gratuitous shots of Kate in a bra. Though they weren't as bad as the shots in "Pilot Part 2" since this time it led to a funny joke from Charlie.
The Unknown: Who were those skeletons that were laid to rest in the caves? What is with the stones they had with them?
How is Charlie going to deal with his withdrawal? With there still being some heroin left in Locke's possession, will Charlie be able to resist taking it back?
Why does Sun speak English? When did she learn? She has also kept it secret from Jin for some reason. Why? Could it be that she planned to go to America after faking her kidnapping so she learned English to prepare?
Best Moment: Sun sees the black car waiting to take her away, but in the moment she struggles to commit to leaving Jin. Right when it seems like she is about to swallow her feelings for him and leave, she takes one final look back only for Jin to hold up the flower, reminding her of the man he used to be. It's such a heartbreaking scene and it's impossible not to sympathize with Sun as she eventually finds that she is unable to leave Jin.
Character of the Episode: Several characters were great here, but Sun seals her spot here with the airport scene.
Conclusion: Another episode, another brilliant story. The show remains so consistent and the character-centric flashback formula is doing wonders for developing the show's characters and keeping the show compelling. Even when focusing on the mostly underdeveloped and separate Korean couple, "Lost" remains compelling.
Summary: Flashbacks go to Jack as a kid when he gets beat up trying to save a friend. His father Christian berates him for this. Later in life, Jack is told that Christian fled to Australia. Jack goes to find him and sees that he drank himself to death. Christian's body is taken on Flight 815. On the island, Jack attempts to save a drowning woman but can only bring back Boone who tried to save her too. Jack follows the man in the suit who is actually his father. He is encountered by Locke who encourages Jack to keep going. Jack finds a reliable source of water and more wreckage from the flight. He finds Christian's coffin but the body is missing. The water is running out in the survivors camp so Boone takes it to manage it without telling anyone. The camp nearly breaks into chaos but Jack returns and settles things down, accepting leadership of the camp.
The Good: Jack is the complete star of this episode. Matthew Fox brings the character to life by terrifically portraying the many emotions that Jack goes through in this episode. Jack goes through a very intense period of his life in this episode, across both the flashbacks and the island story, and the character work done here goes a long way to develop his character and position him naturally as the leader and main protagonist.
I really enjoyed the flashbacks. Jack and Christian evidently had a strained relationship which stemmed from Jack's childhood. Christian has hammered it into Jack that he isn't good enough, and while it seems that Christian attempted to use this to humble Jack and make him understand that he can't do everything, it seems that Jack took it as Christian never believing in him. It's a sad misunderstanding and it makes it much more likely that Jack was always seeking his father's approval, making it all the more tragic that Christian dies before Jack can get what he wanted.
This nicely ties into the island story as Jack is haunted by the memory of Christian (literally). Jack's storyline is that he must take up the leadership role int he survivor's camp despite initially having no interest in doing so. The island story is all about Jack getting over the baggage of his father's death and ridding himself of the constant feeling that he doesn't have "what it takes". Unfortunately Jack is unable to fully exorcise his demons as he doesn't get the closure he seeks from Christian's coffin as the body is missing. In a great scene, Jack pours out all of his frustration that had been building throughout the episode for so long. And despite not getting the resolution he wanted, he was still able to patch himself up again and go back to the other survivors, now willing to be the leader that they need. Jack has proven that he does have what it takes.
I thought that the more plot-related stuff was interesting too. Jack following Christian was very interesting to follow, especially his run-in with Locke, the only other person to have witnessed the magic of the island. Locke has a faith in the island that nobody else has after it restored his legs, so he encourages Jack to trust in the visions he is having, expecting that Jack will eventually find what he is looking for. And surprisingly enough he does find what he needed; he found the water, but most importantly, he found his resolve.
The story of the water disappearing was really well done. Without a leader, the camp naturally fell into total chaos in just a few hours. Boone, Kate and Sayid all try to do the right thing in this episode but they don't end up accomplishing anything, and everything blows up by the end of the episode until Jack calms everyone down with a wonderful speech. There were many nice moments scattered throughout. Boone taking the water makes perfect sense as he thoughtlessly tries to do good after he realizes that his attempt to save Joanna at the beginning of the episode actually led to her death. I also liked Sayid and Kate hunting down the water, and their scenes with Sawyer were a highlight. Sayid gets to be smart as he waits for Sawyer to lead them to his stash, Kate gets to be ruthless as she attacks Sawyer and Sawyer gets to flirt some more with Kate, who he has clearly taken a liking to.
The character work remains really damn good. Michael and Walt get a good scene early in the episode as Michael gets frustrated with Walt asking him why he can't drink the ocean's water. The scene pulls double duty too as it also explains to the viewers that the survivors can't drink the ocean water. Claire also gets a really good story as she is able to express to Charlie how everyone treats her differently with much more vitriol because she is pregnant, which would make perfect sense in a community of survivors waiting to be rescued. Charlie also gets to show his good side as he comforts Claire. I'm very pleased that Charlie has been developed beyond being a drug addict, since his addiction doesn't necessarily mean that he is a bad person and a big problem all the time.
The Bad: Teasing us with Jack almost falling off a cliff was pretty stupid. It was obvious that he wasn't going to fall.
This episode is excellent, but it doesn't score nearly as high as "Walkabout" did. Why? It's actually through no fault of the episode itself. This episode did a lot of things right, but it didn't wow me and exceed my expectations as regularly as "Walkabout" did. There doesn't necessarily need to be things I don't like about an episode that make it weaker than another episode.
The Unknown: How is Christian appearing on the island? Did he somehow get revived? Why isn't his body in the coffin?
Why weren't Jack and Christian talking to each other before Christian went to Sydney? What happened between them? Was it a big spat or is this normal interaction in what looks to be a very strained relationship?
Why did Christian appear to Jack? Did he actually want Jack to become a leader and that is why he took him on a little journey? Was it because there was water in that direction? What are his motives? Why hasn't he appeared since leading Jack to the water?
Locke says he had seen into the eye of the island. Is he referring to the monster? What did he see that was so beautiful? Or could he just be metaphorically referring to when he got his legs back?
Best Moment: Jack and Locke's conversation was so well written. Locke is the only character who has a legitimate reason to discuss the magical elements of the island that have been demonstrated to us. It's nice to see the writers take full advantage of Locke, using him to fill our minds with more wonder about the island. Furthermore, Locke's dialogue is so well delivered by Terry O'Quinn who feels almost sage-like as he advises Jack.
Character of the Episode: Jack.
Conclusion: Another brilliant episode that told a phenomenal character story. This show is off to a stellar start.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.