It’s Shark Week here on Lost! That’s right, the second episode of Season 2 bringing us an attack on the high seas as Michael and Sawyer struggle to cope with the events of the end of Season 1. Back in the hatch, Locke learns about snow men, Kate rediscovers junk food, and Desmond learns about the Lostaways timeline. And in the caves, Claire learns that Charlie’s found religion. Sorta.
All this and more await you, Lost fans. You lucky people.
4) In Short
"I scream, you scream, we all scream for lost dreams!"
8) On the Island
Sawyer springs up from under the water, literally as Walt is being taken by The Others. He pulls himself up onto a large piece of wreckage, and pulls Michael up just as he starts to drown. Sawyer’s idea of CPR is "beat the bejeezus out of him," but eventually resuscitates him. Michael immediately cries out for (you guessed it) WAAAAAALT.
A few hundred cries later, Sawyer suggests that Michael want to save his energy. He’s preaching to the deaf, however, as Michael insists that those cries will let Walt know he’s coming for him. Figuring it’s better to join ’em than fight ’em, Sawyer yells for Jin. Michael plays the Blame Game, shouting that if Sawyer hadn’t made him fire the flare, they’d still be alright. Well, hindsight, 20/20, etc. Michael votes Sawyer off the boat (odd), when suddenly something beneath them rocks the remainder of the raft (equally odd).
Looks like they’re gonna need a bigger boat: a shark’s nearby. Michael, still in full accusatory mode, blames Sawyer’s bleeding shoulder on the shark’s presence. He also thinks Sawyer only used the gun to save his own skin against The Others. This statement sends Sawyer into a rage. He paddles their wreckage over to a smaller bit of remaining boat, and angrily tells Michael he was trying to save Walt. Michael’s having a horrible day, both on the "getting everything wrong" front and the "keeping your child from being kidnapped by the hybrid of Island natives and creepy scientists" front.
The two now sit like 8 feet away from each other, acting like scorned lovers who still have three hours in the car until they reach the wedding they didn’t even want to go to in the first place. Sawyer takes the bullet out of his shoulder by himself, a move that will have serious repercussions as the season moves on.
Back to the hatch. Back in time, even, as we see Locke climbing down into the hatch, prior to being held at gunpoint by a certain Scotsman. He takes his shoes off once at the bottom. Hey, who says this show never answers mysteries? We’ve officially solved The Case of the Curious Shoes from Last Episode. Zoinks, Scoobs! He explores the hatch, noting the false light behind the breakfast nook (sweet detail). While tending to Kate, Desmond sneaks up behind Locke, gun in tow, and asks, "Are you him?"
Locke says "Yes," a good answer, although completely false. Desmond’s elated, though still skeptical of Kate’s presence. So he asks Locke, "What did one snowman say to the other snowman?" It’s a riddle, one meant to verify the identity of "him." Locke and Kate tell him they were in a plane crash 44 days ago, a fact that puzzles Desmond. Almost as if that date means something to him, perchance.
He guides them at gunpoint to the kitchen area. Locke notices a series of notches dug into the wall, possibly indicating the number of days Desmond’s been in the hatch. Des orders Kate to tie up Locke, but Locke flips the script, telling Des all about her fugitive past. Kate has this great "I’m so going to kick you if we make it out of here" look on her face as Locke ties her up. But Locke has another idea, slipping something into Kate’s pants. I wish to God there was a better way to describe it, but that’s what he did.
Holy deja vu, Batman. Jack once again tells Hurley he’s leaving for the caves, and right about now most Lost fans were thinking, "When did this show turn into 24?" Serious time compression. The camera pans to Claire and Charlie as he leaves. She finds one of his Virgin Mary statues (now with 100% more heroin!) in his bag. He throws Aaron into a nearby ditch to distract her. OK, not really, but he does everything but in order to get that statue back in his hands.
Back on the merry seas, Sawyer theorizes that the people on the boat came from the Island, due to the short-ranged nature of the boat they piloted. Moreover, he surmises that the "boy" Danielle mentioned was not Aaron, but Walt. Check out the big brains on Sawyer! I just might take a bite of his tasty Kahuna burger. Michael bristles at the notion that this is somehow his fault, prompting one of the great all-time Sawyer lines: "Whaddya gonna do, splash me?" Especially since that’s exactly what Michael does, sending Sawyer’s wreckage splintering away.
In the hatch closet, Kate does exactly what Locke expected: break free from her makeshift bonds. This is full-on, kick-ass Kate, and I miss her something fierce. She turns on the lights, only to realize she’s hit paydirt: she’s in the food storage room. More importantly: it’s a food storage room with a ceiling vent. In a fun moment, her escape gets waylaid momentarily by the discovery of chocolate. She takes a bite of one bar, stashes some away for later consumption, and heads into the vent.
Locke gives Desmond the rundown of how the Lostaways came on the Island. Des seems amused by the concept of a raft being able to leave the Island. He then asks Locke how many people have become sick. Locke’s confused, tells him no one, then asks if that’s why the outside of the hatch says "Quarantine." (Fun drinking game: drink every time Locke asks Des as question in this season only to have Des ignore the question. You won’t even make it until the end of the episode.) But Q&A is over with the beeping sound heard at the beginning of the season.
Des gets tense, raises his gun up once again, and directs Locke over to the computer. Locke glances up to see a timer counting down to zero. Desmond tells Locke to type in The Numbers, then hit "Execute." Locke’s hesitant to do the last step, but after doing so, notices the timer refresh back to "108:00." Right then is when Mr. Shephard makes an appearance in the hatch.
Des catches sight of Jack through Dharma-Vision, a set of mirrors and lenses seen in the amazing opening scene of the season. We see Kate working her way through the vents, confused at the sound of Mama Cass. She tries to shout to Jack through the vents, but the music is simply too loud. We then see the end of last episode from her perspective, a neat trick, especially when Des’ warning shot nearly takes off the back of her skull. She starts to move above the scene below.
Back on the ship of fools, Sawyer catches sight of the pontoon. While swimming towards it, he manages to loosen even more bamboo from their small piece of wreckage, sending him into the water. From below, we catch our first glimpse of the one, the only, Ezra K. Sharkington, fresh off his tour of The Hydra Station, coming up to have some Sawyer for supper. Ezra’s fin appears above water, and it’s exceedingly silly, I must admit, and I’m the biggest Lost homer on the planet. Michael takes out his frustration in a hail of bullets, and Ezra is no more. Sawyer then hauls Michael onto the pontoon.
Sawyer wakes up the following morning to the sound of Michael crying. He admits it was ultimately his fault, and determines to get him back. Sawyer sees the Island in the distance, and declares, "We’re home." Upon reaching shore, they encounter something unexpected: Jin: hooray! But it’s Jin tied up and running away from people he calls "Others": ruh row.
15) Off the Island
Michael’s in the office of The Absent-Minded Lawyer, who seems to have trouble keeping his facts straight about the particular case at hand: namely, the custody of Walt. He explains to Michael that Brian and Susan have asked for him to give up all parental rights so the adoption can go through. Michael wants to contest it, but the offices of Schlubby and Underpaid, LLC, suggest that such a lengthy, expensive trial is not in Michael’s best interest.
Awkwardness ensues during the meeting between respective legal parties. Susan’s lawyers poke holes in Michael’s knowledge about Walt, with Michael falling for the emotional baiting. It’s a hundred types of awkward: Michael pleading for paternal rights, Susan unable to even look him in the eye, and Susan’s lawyers reminding me why I don’t ever want to get divorced.
Susan meets with Michael without their respective lawyers. She tells him she thinks he’ll win. (Um, OK. That makes one of us.) So she appeals to him on an emotional, not legal, level, all but quoting Sting in the process. Apparently, if you love someone, set them free. Or in this case, let them go. I let my Man-At-Arms toy go as a child. And it sank right to the bottom of the river. Nice advice, Susan. Aces on that one.
Susan later brings Walt so Michael can say goodbye. Little Walt is freakin’ adorable. Turns out Michael’s brought a toy polar bear for his son on this occasion. He asks her to tell him someday who it’s from; too bad we know she never does. Michael’s goodbye speech is incredibly cliché, but Harold P. pulls it off wonderfully. I miss this version of Michael as much as I miss Kick-Ass Kate.
16) The Mythology
- If you follow the chocolate link above, you’ll find a rich backstory derived from one measly candy bar. I love the eventual interconnectedness of the market forces behind the Island. It’s an interesting parallel to say, certain corporations attaching themselves to various charitable enterprises in order to boost one’s own public image. But in this case, those corporations with ties to Hanso sought not to boost their public image so much as infiltrate a nominally benevolent organization with their own nefarious means.
- It’s hard to remember just how tense the first official entering of The Numbers was at the time. In many ways, Locke stands in as proxy for the audience in this episode, asking a lot of the questions we ourselves might ask in that situation, riddled both with excitement and confusion as we mucked about the hatch for the first time. I really hope the Valenzetti Equation becomes official canon in Season 5, as it gives a perfectly great explanation for the Numbers while allowing a certain energy to have pervaded them since the equation’s conception. If there’s anyplace in which ordinary numbers can be infused with palpable meaning, it’s the Island.
23) The Moment
Sure, Ezra didn’t have a freakin’ laser beam attached to its head, but the appearance of the Dharma logo on the back still makes waves.
42) In Retrospect
I loved, loved, loved that it’s completely obvious in this episode that the writers knew Desmond’s involvement in the plane crash. His reaction to "44 days" tells you all you need to know, but in a way so subtle that it doesn’t ring your mental gong first time around. Long-term planning makes me feel all tingly.
108) In Summary
In some ways, I admire what they did here: they took a fresh narrative approach by rehashing existing events through new narrative perspectives. However, the show did also have a treadmill-like feel, with us running in place for a lot of the hour. As far as the hatch things go, we’re literally at the same place we were at the end of last week, and the raft bits were three times as long as needed, with a really fake shark attack to boot.
That being said, such an approach works far, far better on DVD than via traditional, weekly installments. At the time, many Lost fans were a bit angry about the lack of actual narrative progression in this and future episodes, with the plot oozing forth like a garden snail unsure of its destination. Couple that with erratic airings coupled with copious reruns, and you had a recipe for audience anger. On DVD, though, such episodes irk less with the knowledge another episode is literally a button click away.
As such, this episode is a great example of how certain shows are geared towards the long term in a way that traditional viewing cannot identify at the time. I would have given this a 6 at the time, but given both the format in which I am watching it, and the knowledge I now bring to it of future events, I’d easily rank it higher.
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