Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lost Rewatch Chat "Tabula Rasa"

Since the Internet clearly needs some more people to talk about Lost, I have decided to collect some of my friends and discuss the first season of the seminal series.  Starting this week, I will be conducting chats with a couple of friends of the Czar as we work our way through the opening season.  Feel free to add your own thoughts about the episode in the comments below.

This week, we have special guest star... the TV Czarina!  Taking a break from being the best mother in the world, the Czarina is joining to talk Lost from the loveseat across the room.  Yeah, we did a G chat while in the same room.  It wasn't as weird as it sounds.

Czar:  It's our first Kate episode, and the first flashback episode that goes beyond the plane.  How do you like the flashback structure interspersed with real time?

Czarina:  I liked it. I especially liked that we jumped back and forth between Kate apparently being a bad person, yet doing redeemable things...maybe redeemable isn't the right word, but she clearly isn't "that bad."  I think it showed us that Kate was going to be more of a complex character... (but we all know she ended up sucking *spoiler!*)

    Czar:  It's one of the hallmarks of the entire series.  This is just a collection of people.  Everyone has their warts, but in this time of crisis they band together and do some truly remarkable things to survive.  It gives everyone a fresh start and an opportunity to be the people they always wanted to be.

Czarina:  Exactly. And I liked that Jack explicitly stated that point in the episode...although if I was him I would still be kind of curious and always have my eye on Kate.  It was refreshing, to me, in a show where so little is explicitly stated. :)
I know I'm getting a little out of order here, but can we talk about the ending? We had this bright, cheery moment where everyone gets to start fresh and have a new life, then ominous music as we close in on Locke...

Czar:  That was weird, but they're clearly trying to paint him as a weird dude.  We aren't certain of his intentions.  That being said, doesn't he remind you of every South Georgia senior citizen sitting on his porch on a Saturday morning.  Whittling, playing old games, and giving speeches to young whippersnappers?  It's like we're home!

Czarina:  Yes, in my notes I wrote "Locke=mysterious" (my notes aren't very in depth).  I figured that's what they were going for though. That being said, so far he seems like a nice dude (you know, except the telling little boys secrets bit).
Also, MAD PROPS to Locke for so easily making a whistle. I've made a whistle before. It's sneaky hard. Props.

Czar:  Just in case you missed it, my wife made sure to hammer home the point that we are from South Georgia.
How big of a thrill was it to watch Sawyer do Sawyer things?

Czarina:  I'll have you know that I made the whistle as a class assignment while in college... so, not in South Georgia. #artschoolnonsense
I freaking love Sawyer. I like from the moment the plane crashed he was the only one who had already left the old world behind and embraced the new, rule-free life. His "I'm in the wild" line said it all.  But it was also nice to see that he can be shaken. I guess anyone would be shaken if they tried to mercifully kill a guy and failed.

Czar:  He was great. Why hasn't Josh Holloway been in anything since Lost?  He has a pilot coming this fall, but how does no one capitalize on the Sawyer heat generated in the mid 2000s?  That just seems like a big miss.

Czarina:  He seems like a good fit for Justified.

Czar:  It's another reason why Lost is great.  Everyone has all this layering and different shades.  Even Jin doesn't seem like the full-on bastard that we saw in the first two episodes.
Back to Sawyer/Holloway for a second.  If I'm a network executive in 2010, I would have given him eleventy billion dollars to star in my show about a cop who doesn't play by the rules.  Hell, basically redo Terriers on FX with Holloway and a rock, and I'd watch the hell out of that.

Czarina:  Meeee too.  To jump back to the comment before you professed your love of Josh Holloway... You're right, everyone on the show is very complex. While we will quickly grow to love and to feel connected to these characters, it will be seasons before we feel like we really "know" them. Everyone is a bit mysterious in one way or another. With the Jin/Sun thing, it just appears at first glance to be a cultural thing and nothing more.

Czar:  Next thing I have in my notes: Can we get Jack a change of clothes?  Also, has he been up for 96 consecutive hours?

Czarina:  Apparently so...and he doesn't even look tired! That's why he's the leader. Jack is too busy doing selfless things right now to take time to change clothes and clean up. I respect that. (I bet he smells horrible.)

Czar:  But he's already doing dumb stuff.  I understand about not inciting panic, but maybe we let people know about the giant thing that kills dudes in the jungle.  Just seems like that should be worth a mention.

Czarina:  I think his main goal right now is not to cause mass hysteria. I get that. He wants to survey the whole situation and not freak anyone out more than necessary. Sayid's group made the same choice when they withheld information from the group about the distress call.

Czar:  That's a little different than not telling people about the killing machine roaming in the jungle.
Did the slow motion stuff seem weird to you?  It was something that didn't happen in later seasons, and I'm glad they got away from it, because it gave the show a weird look when they did it.

Czarina:  These people all already know that something scary is in the jungle. I think that's enough to keep them on the beach (where they presume they are safe).
    YES! The slow motion moment with Kate in the tent seemed completely unnecessary. I guess it was supposed to add some suspense to the moment. Will she or won't she kill him? It just seemed really out of place in that particular moment.
    Next thing in my notes: THE WHEELCHAIR!!!

Czar:  I need more than that...

Czarina:  We saw Locke's wheelchair in the episode. Charlie helped Claire carry her luggage using the wheelchair. He also made the comment that "whoever this belongs to is certainly having a better day than us" or something to that extent. I found that strange... wouldn't we presume the person who the wheelchair belonged to was dead?

Czar:  That's a weird comment, and I now remember the wheelchair.  I guess you could take it any number of ways, but that is definitely one connotation.
Let's jump to the end, how wonderful was that montage?  Also, how dated does it make the show that Hurley is listening to a Walkman?

Czarina:  It was beautiful and so hopeful. I loved the idea that the island is a place for second chances. But if we're being real, here were my initial thoughts during those scenes: What is Hurley doing?! His battery is going to die, then what?? Why in the world would Sayid GIVE AWAY food on an ISLAND?! So... it was beautiful once I got past all that.
    I particularly liked seeing the softer side of Jin though... you know, while Sun was asleep so she couldn't stare at him with disdain.

Czar:  I'm guessing that probably isn't the last papaya floating around the island.  It seemed like a natural fruit he was tossing to Sawyer.  A wonderful final sequence, and something that makes you realize this show can do anything.  After last week ended on such a bummer, the end of this week's relatively dark episode shows that these people may have a shot.
One last thing: Jack tells Kate that "We all died three days ago".  This is absolutely in the beginning of someone's 80000 word thesis on how everyone on the island is in purgatory.

Czarina:  Oh, absolutely. I wonder if that was intentional by the writers, just to add another wrinkle in everything? I personally just took it to mean that to the rest of the world they're dead.
    Can we address Charlie's fake, finger tats for a second? Apparently one of the first things that he did after the plane crashed was to write "FATE" on his hands, but during this episode he changed it to "LATE". What's that about?

Czar:  I've really got nothing.  Riveting conversation, I know, but I just don't have anything.

Czarina:  This show fascinates me because I look for every minute detail to "mean" something. It disappoints me when we never find out what things mean as the seasons go on. Because of the proximity to Claire, I initially assumed it was something to do with her pregnancy.

Czar:  I remember the tea leave reading days of trying to follow this show.  I feel like there are probably 1000 emails/texts somewhere in the ether between myself and Scott [my brother] about all Lost related issues.

Czarina:  To finish things off, I'll list off the final items on my notes and see if you care to comment: 1. Why is no one sun-burnt?  2. Hurley should run more, it makes me laugh. 3. Why is everyone running from the rain? Is that just a natural reaction?  4. Kate's mug shot does not "look hardcore" at all. 5. Locke makes my heart happy.

1. Remember, the island is "magic"
2. LOL, fat people running
3. Do you like to get rained on?  Also, studies have shown that you actually get wetter when you run in the rain as opposed to walk.  How about that?
4. Fact
5. Double Fact

Czarina:  Well said, Czar.


  1. I feel like Sawyer's failed mercy killing didn't get enough play here. He tried to kill a man already on death's doorstep and somehow managed to extend his suffering!

    As I was watching this episode I thought of how Sawyer is like Shane and Jack like Rick from TWD, except that Jack isn't married to the girl that causes problems between them.

    Sawyer has already given up on old society, which after only a couple of days on the island and presumably not being told that they are 1,000 miles off course seems a bit premature, but whatever. Jack still seems to care about maintaining some semblance of society, which to me makes sense, especially since as far as he knows, they're eventually going to have to start their own society on the island if they want to survive, and basing a society on "kill whoever causes problems" generally doesn't work out well for the leader. But I digress.

    Getting back to the point of Sawyer = Shane and Jack = Rick, it mostly fell apart for me after Sawyer's epic fail. First of all, Shane knows how to kill someone. Second, Sawyer's shock/remorse seemed genuine, whereas Shane never really seemed sorry for anything he did, even if it went wrong.

    As for Jack, he seems like a stronger version of Rick to me. He refused to kill the marshal until Sawyer screwed up. He obviously didn't want to do it, but he knew it had to be done. Rick showed some of the same qualities (I'm thinking of when he shot Sophia. Shane started that (necessary) mess, but couldn't finish the drill when zombie Sophia walked out of the barn. It was left to Rick to make that final kill, just like it was left to Jack to clean up Sawyer's mess.)

    I say Jack is stronger only because he hasn't really made any questionable decisions yet (that being said without knowing if not telling anyone about being so far off course will come back to bite him). In Rick's defense, though, Jack only has to focus on helping people survive the wilderness, not survive a wilderness full of zombies.

    In short, how does Sawyer not kill that guy?!?

  2. I had a really awesome answer before I screwed up and erased it.

    In any event, Sawyer obviously isn't willing to get up close and personal with someone. Even his act of actually shooting him shows he's not a stone cold punk. If he was, he would have put the muzzle on his head and fired.