Friday, January 28, 2011

"Lost" Fifteen Favorites: "Exodus"

“There’s something that you need to know. If we survive this- if we survive tonight- we’re gonna have a Locke problem.”

I’m getting a little tired of the “HIMYM”/ “No Ordinary Family”/ “Big Bang Theory” rut the blog has been in lately, so “Lost” Fifteen Favorites is coming back from a much longer hiatus than originally planned. But see, I am following up on my promises, even if this is about a year later than I was supposed to reach this point in the series! Number Four on my list is “Exodus,” the Season 1 finale. The episode revolved around the Others’ creepy obsession with children, which was never fully explained, thanks to the Others (sadly) becoming rather irrelevant after about season 4. “Exodus” contained so many wonderful moments that I think this post is mostly going to be rehashing my favorites. It is, in my opinion, the best episode of season 1 because there’s a lot of payoff, both emotional and plot-wise. Another thing I liked about the episode was that the flashbacks are spread out among almost all the major characters, and they cover the time almost immediately leading up to everybody getting on the plane. Some of the flashbacks reveal more than others, of course, but I like that the wealth gets spread around a bit. I especially liked Jack’s flashback, we first meet Ana Lucia. An introduction, I must say, that is a whole lot more promising than the character actually turned out to be.

In “Exodus,” the Losties deal with what seems like a big threat at the time, although compared to what they face later, it’s really small potatoes. Rousseau, who always brings the kooky, shows up at the beach camp. At this point in the series Sayid is the only one who has met her before, so everybody is quite jumpy and nervous. You’d think Sayid would be too, considering she tortured him the last time they saw each other, but he’s pretty chill. Rousseau tells the Losties the story of how she came to the Island and how the baby she gave birth to on the Island was stolen from her. She says that the day her daughter was stolen, she saw a pillar of black smoke. Earlier today, she saw the smoke again, which is why she traveled to warn the Losties. Many of the (important) Losties have been working on Michael’s raft idea, and as they push the raft on to the rails that will eventually guide it towards the ocean, they see the black smoke and realize Rousseau wasn’t playing. Rousseau tells the Losties they can “run, hide, or die,” and Jack chooses hide. When questioned about where he can possibly hide 40 people, he shows some of the Losties his big idea. They’re going to open the Hatch once and for all and hide everyone inside. Much of the first part of this two-part episode is split between the Losties who are working on the raft and the Losties who are going to the Black Rock to get dynamite to blow the door off the Hatch.

There are three scenes that I especially love in part one. The first happens before Jack’s team heads to the Black Rock to get dynamite. Jack finds Sawyer in the jungle chopping wood. Sawyer is trying to atone for accidentally breaking part of the raft earlier in the episode. They have a rather surface goodbye conversation, but as Jack starts to leave, Sawyer calls him back. Sawyer then proceeds to tell Jack about the time he met Jack’s father, Christian, in Australia, and how Christian was actually proud of Jack but didn’t have the guts to actually tell Jack. Jack tears up at this revelation, and I think it’s one of Matthew Fox’s best performances of the series. And it takes a lot for me to say this, because if you’ve read any of my other “Lost” coverage on this blog, you know that I am not at all a Jack fan. I like this scene for the great performances and for how it really brings Jack and Sawyer closer together. They never really become close friends or anything, but after this scene, there’s a sort of begrudging respect under the surface of their relationship.

Another scene that I loved was where Walt gave Vincent to Shannon before leaving on the raft. This was one of the few times in her short run on the series that I ever actually sort of liked Shannon. You can tell that she’s genuinely happy that Walt would entrust her of all people with his beloved pet. She also appreciates the thought Walt put behind his choice for caretaker. It’s just heartbreaking when Walt tells Shannon about how when his mom died, the people around him just wanted to pretend like nothing had happened, so when he needed to talk about what he was going through, he talked to Vincent. For a kid, Walt was extremely insightful. He tells Shannon that if she needs to talk about Boone, Vincent can be a good listener for her too. Of course all that good will towards Shannon is pretty much used up in the next scene, where we see in a flashback that before Oceanic 815, she reported Sayid to airport police for leaving his bag unattended and committing the “crime” of looking Middle Eastern.

The crowning jewel of the episode, and perhaps the entire first season, comes near the end of the first part. That would be the big send-off of the raft, of course. This scene made me cry the first time I saw it, and it has succeeded in making me cry again several more times since, even though I fully well know that none of the characters are really leaving the Island…yet. It’s an absolutely beautiful scene, with a soaring, emotional score by Michael Giacchino. Seriously, when Vincent swims out into the ocean after Walt and Walt yells at him to turn back, if you don’t get at least a little teary, you have no heart. A boy and his dog were just separated, people! I’ve always had a soft spot for animals in general, especially dogs. In fact, I generally refuse to watch animal movies because they make me so upset.

Anyway, as we enter part two of the episode, Aaron is kidnapped by Rousseau (and later rescued by Charlie) because Rousseau thinks she can trade him for her daughter, Walt is taken by the Others because of their general obsession with kids, I think, and Jack and Locke blow the Hatch and look down the ladder shaft, quite perplexed. It’s moments like that which make me understand why some people gave up on “Lost” in its early seasons. If I hadn’t been able to pop in some Season 2 DVDs right away, I probably would have been very frustrated that we didn’t find out what was in the Hatch before a long summer hiatus. I do love the visual of the camera looking up the ladder shaft as Jack and Locke look down, though. It’s a very cool visual. I like to see a little creativity with the visuals in my television. Artistry like that isn’t just for movies! There’s also some foolishness where Kate inexplicably insists on carrying the very volatile old dynamite, and the raft runs into a log and Sawyer has to swim after the broken-off rudder (although I suppose I shouldn’t complain about shirtless Sawyer), but I’m not going to waste space on all that here.

One of the standout scenes of part two is when Arzt is pompously giving some of the other Losties a lesson in how to handle dynamite and gets himself blown up. I did love the irony of the supposed expert being the one to become “pink mist.” It seemed fitting in a way. Especially considering Arzt was so obnoxious about the whole thing. Although I guess the obnoxiousness was justified, considering how dangerous dynamite really is. This scene was also notable as an early example of a sudden death, something that would become a trademark of the show. The only comparable example I can think of that happened before this one was when the Pilot got killed by the smokemonster. The deaths that happened in between were more dragged out. Arzt’s death was a way to inject a shock into a kind of bloated middle of the episode and remind us just what the stakes are for our characters.

We also got the first of the rather interminable Jack and Locke “Science v. Faith” conversations that would become such a staple of Season 2. Locke makes the mistake of almost trying to get himself caught by the smokemonster. The smokemonster does actually get him, and it drags him to its hole. Jack and Kate just barely rescue him. Jack, understandably, is kind of freaked out by Locke’s apparent death wish, and he demands to know what Locke was thinking. Locke starts going on about how everything that happens on the Island is destiny, and “Boone was a sacrifice the Island demanded.” Jack claims he doesn’t believe in destiny, naturally. He’s the “Man of Science,” after all. The only thing that makes all those long winded debates tolerable on re-watch is knowing how the tables get turned later in the series.

The final really iconic scene of “Exodus” takes place near the end of part two. The raft crew are really excited because the radar Sayid rigged up shows something moving nearby. After a lot of pestering by the rest of the crew, Michael sends up their one flare. The dot on the radar starts moving back towards the raft, and the crew are jubilant. Poor saps think they’re actually going to be rescued. We see the light of a small boat approach the raft. There are some brief pleasantries where the boat crew ask the raft crew what they’re doing so far out from land, and the raft crew tell them about the plane crash. All niceties are over when the captain of the boat, who we would later know as Tom aka “Mr. Friendly,” tells the raft crew that his crew is going to “have to take the boy.”

No comments:

Post a Comment