Tuesday, July 21, 2009

1:8 Confidence Man

The first Sawyer episode - and also the first episode where the flashbacks don't show how the character got to the Island. There's not a lot of Island mythology in this one, but it's a strong episode on the characterization alone.

The big twists are that Sawyer was a confidence man pre-Island, and that his name is an alias. Josh Holloway plays the self-loathing yet greedy part so perfectly I can't imagine anyone else in the role. I heard on a podcast that the writers had originally envisioned Sawyer as a slick northerner from New Jersey, which I don't think would have worked nearly as well as Holloway's southern charm. And let's face it, would anyone else be as nice to look at without a shirt on? I rest my case.

Sawyer has a way of provoking people, as he demonstrates when he gets Jack to hit him (twice), Kate to kiss him, and Sayid to actually torture him when he doesn't even have what they're looking for. Kate sees right through his actions to the heart of his motivations: on some level he wants people to hate him.

When Kate finds Sawyer swimming in the ocean we see that he is reading Watership Down, which is a great book I read as a kid (Sawyer seems to have a thing for young adult literature - we see him reading "A Wrinkle in Time," and "Are You There God, It's Me, Margeret?" which he claims he didn't like very much.) Sawyer quips "It's about bunnies" - just one of the first of many times rabbits are mentioned on LOST. Other themes in Watership Down include prescient visions, attempting to create a new society after a tragedy, and kidnapping from one tribe to increase the size of another.

A few great Sawyer quotes from this episode:

JACK: Get up.

SAWYER: Why, you want to see who's taller?


SAWYER: Baby, I am tied to a tree in a jungle of mystery. I just got tortured by a damn spinal surgeon and a gen-u-ine I-raqi. Of course, I'm serious. You're just not seeing the big picture here, Freckles. You really going to let that girl suffocate because you can't bring yourself to give me one little kiss? Hell, it's only first base. Lucky for you I ain't greedy.

The final montage is one of my favorite LOST endings. By not being able to burn his letter, Sawyer is still unable to let go of his past. And he's not alone. None of the characters have been able to completely escape their past. The record is still skipping, and it won't stop until they can let go.

On a side note, I really miss the use of popular music in the first season. This is a great song. And I just noticed the lyrics about "mother Mary" - we find out later that Sawyer's mother was named Mary. Enjoy!


Post a Comment