Monday, July 20, 2009

1:6 House of the Rising Sun

Did anyone else totally guess that Sun spoke English? If you did, don't tell me, because I remember feeling really smart for figuring that out.

This episode has a feeling of disconnect to me. When watched in quick succession with the rest of the episodes, it seems almost like an afterthought. Maybe it's because the stories of Jin and Sun are necessarily separate from the other characters' stories because of the language barrier (which we learn isn't quite as much of an impediment as we had thought, but more on that later.) Part of the disconnect is reported in the production notes (as listed on Lostpedia, fountain of all LOST wisdom) - this is the first episode not to feature every regular character. Claire doesn't appear at all, and Boone and Shannon are there but don't have any lines. It's also the first episode to use the "whoosh" sound at the beginning and ending of every flashback, which became the standard practice in the series.

I didn't catch this until doing some research, but the title of the episode is a reference to an American folk song. The song has two versions, one from a woman's perspective and one from a man's, and talks about being stuck in "the House of the Rising Sun" - which has been interpreted by different singers and historians as being a brothel, a prison, and slave quarters. The following lines seem appropriate for Sun and Jin's story:

Well, I got one foot on the platform
The other foot on the train
I'm goin' back to New Orleans
To wear that ball and chain

The climax of Sun's flashback story is her split-second decision at the airport. She ultimately decides to stay with Jin - to keep wearing the ball and chain.

Something I had forgotten since seeing this episode for the first time was what a jerk Jin was. Without seeing the rest of the series it's almost incomprehensible that Sun could decide to stay with him. Now that we know more about their story (especially the fact that Sun was having an affair) Jin is a much more sympathetic character.

The tension between Sun and Michael is very interesting and some fans speculated that there was something going on between them. Those rumors were confirmed when ABC released the Missing Pieces mobisode "Buried Secrets":

The part of this episode that stuck with me the most was the discovery of "Adam and Eve" in the caves. Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindeloff said in an official podcast that this is an important clue that will prove that the writers had the ending of the show planned out from the start. I'm sure it has something to do with the two stones the bodies had on them - one white and one black.


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