Monday, June 22, 2009

The Rewatch Begins! 1:1 and 1:2, The Pilot

Just a quick disclaimer - these entries will contain spoilers if you haven't watched seasons 1 through 5 yet. I'm going to be commenting on each episode as a rewatch, comparing it to the rest of the series. If you haven't watched the whole series up to this point yet, beware!

There are so many firsts in this two-part pilot episode.

-The first time Jack takes charge in his bossy but heroic way.
-The first time Kate tags along ("I'm coming with you, Jack!")
-The first "appearance" of the smoke monster.
-The first grizzly death (poor dude who gets sucked into a turbine and makes it explode.)
-The first mention of one of The Numbers (Claire says she's 8 months pregnant.)
-The first time we hear the classic eerie LOST music that goes doo-doo-doo-doo-doo.
-The first flashback (Jack on the plane.)
-The first gratuitous half-naked shot of Evangeline Lilly bathing in the ocean.
-The first time we all realized that Josh Holloway is a beautiful, beautiful man.
-The first time Sawyer makes a Han Solo reference (calls Kate "sweetheart.")
-The first time Sawyer uses a nickname (calls Hurley "Lardo.")
-The first smoke monster death (the pilot.)

I've been watching LOST from almost the very beginning (I missed the premier, but they replayed it on ABC a couple of weeks later.) What I remember from my first viewing of "The Pilot" are my general impressions; the introduction of interesting and likeable characters, good acting (I still can't believe this was Evangeline Lilly's first major role), cinematic camera work, and an overall feeling of intrigue and suspense. Even with everything I know now, the same feelings are still there when I rewatch. It's so well done.

One thing I definitely missed the first time around was all the references to The Numbers (4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42.) It shows that the writers had planned that particular theme from the start. Here are all the Numbers mentions I picked up on this time:
-Claire says she's 8 months pregnant.
-Jack saves the lives of 4 passengers (Charlie, Claire, Hurley and Rose.)
-In Jack's story about counting to five he says the girl he was operating on was 16 years old.
-In Jack's flashback on the plane he's sitting in row 23.
-Jack tells the pilot that there are at least 48 survivors of the plane crash, and that it's been 16 hours since they crashed.
-Jack hits the cockpit door 8 times before it opens.
-Jack says the plane was flying at 40,000 feet before it crashed.
-Charlie writes FATE on bandages on 4 of his fingers.
-Sayid says the French woman's transmission has been broadcasting for over 16 years.

The producers have said there's something significant in the first scene of the pilot which viewers probably missed the first time, and which has a lot to do with the endgame of the show. A lot of fans have speculated about what it could be. Is it the reflection in Jack's eye when he first wakes up? (See the photo above - there is something there that kind of looks like the smoke monster, but I think it's probably just the camera on a crane above him.) Is it that strange black object on the ground next to Jack as he's lying on his back?

Some have speculated that it looks like Ben's baton which he uses as a weapon when he time travels in "The Shape of Things to Come."

There are definitely similarities between this scene and the one where Ben wakes up in the Sahara, although Ben looks a lot creepier than Jack. Could Jack have time traveled to his spot in the jungle rather than falling from a crashing plane?

A detail I think must be significant is the white tennis shoe hanging from the tree.

The main character associated with white shoes is Christian Shephard. Jack confesses that when he was preparing his father for burial, he didn't think he was worth buying new shoes for, so he put his old white sneakers on the body. Whenever Christian has appeared to Jack, he is always wearing the white shoes. The fact that we saw the white shoe hanging in the tree (clearly not on Christian's foot) could be a tie-in to what we just learned at the end of season 5 - that the person who appeared to be Locke wasn't Locke, and Locke's body was somewhere else. Maybe the writers are telling us the same thing about Christian - that the apparitions Jack sees are a manifestation of someone or something else, and not a resurrected Christian.

French speakers will notice that the translation Shannon gives for Rousseau's transmission isn't quite right. Here's a more accurate one:

Il est dehors - il est dehors et Brennan a pris les clés
It's outside - it's outside and Brennan took the keys
Veuillez nous aider... ils sont morts...ils sont tous morts
Please help us...they're dead...they're all dead
Si qui que ce soit puisse entendre ceci, je vais essayer d'aller jusqu'au Rocher Noir. Veuillez nous aider.
If anyone can hear this, I'm going to try to go to the Black Rock. Please help us.
Il les a tués. Il les a tués tous.
It killed them. It killed them all.

Shannon's translation says, "I'm alone now. I'm on the Island alone. Please, someone come. The others, they're … they're dead. It killed them. It killed them all." So she got the general idea, but left out a few details, like trying to go to the Black Rock and the part about Brennan having the keys. And apparently the monster was outside while Rousseau was recording the transmission (or she believed it was.) What Rousseau says here isn't consistent with what we see happen to her in "This Place is Death" and "Solitary" (season 5) - she kills Brennan and the rest of the team before making the transmission. My guess is these are details changed by the writers later.

The most memorable scenes for me are the portrayals of the plane crash. The carnage on the beach, Jack's memory of the plane starting to fall, and most of all Kate's memory of the plane ripping in half and hurtling towards the ground are seared into my memory. Totally. Awesome.

Some favorite lines:

Kate: I saw smoke in the jungle. (Just before the smoke monster shows up for the first time.)

Sawyer: Guess what - I just shot a bear!

And the best one, which I think is intended to set up the main theme of the entire series.

Walt: What is it, like checkers?
Locke: Not really, it's a better game than checkers...Backgammon is the oldest game in the world. Archaeologists found sets when they excavated the ruins of ancient Mesopotamia. 5,000 years old. That's older than Jesus Christ.
Walt: Did they have dice and stuff?
Locke: [Nods.] But theirs weren't made of plastic, their dice were made of bones.
Walt: Cool.
Locke: Two players, two sides. One is light, one is dark. you want to know a secret?

We find out a few episodes later that the secret is that Locke was in a wheelchair before the plane crash, and now he can walk. With this conversation, Locke is tying his healing to the general mythology of the Island - a battle between two sides, one light and one dark.


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