Sunday, July 08, 2007

Lost Rewind - "House of the Rising Sun"

Episode Review: Another week, another episode dealing with a fundamental “need” for our Survivors. We’ve seen them deal with the life and death that came with the crash, the need for food, the need for water, and this week – the need for law and order on the Island. For me, this was the first episode of Lost that was just “okay”. There is nothing really wrong with the episode, but nothing outstanding either.

The Sun / Jin flashback is serviceable, adding a twist to the typical “husband dominating wife” storyline (although it’s somewhat ironic that after this episode, we view Sun as the victim and Jin as the ruthless one in the relationship – whereas we’ll come to learn the exact opposite is true down the road). It’s the on-Island stuff that doesn’t really sit well with me. I understand that there’s a deeper symbolism with the watch representing Sun’s father (and his control over Jin), but Jin going absolutely crazy on Michael for wearing it still doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

Speaking of not making sense – how are our Survivors getting water these days? I can see the Swan Hatch providing water during Season Two… but how about during Season Three? The Survivors are all still living on the Beach, not in the Caves, the Swan Hatch is Imploded… hmmmm…


Deeper Meaning Explanation: The writers always seem to come up with their most punny episode titles when it comes to Sun and Jin. This one is straightforward enough, referring to Sun “rising up” against Jin and plotting to leave him (even though she chickens out at the end). “Rising Sun” also provides a little double-meaning since it’s both refers to our character Sun, and the region of the world she comes from. Lastly, we have the song “House of the Rising Sun”, whose lyrics refer to a person tied to a negative influence that they are unable to leave… just like Sun being tied to Jin.


Original Thoughts: Finally! Past Brian decided to try and save time at work by writing up his thoughts about the episode rather than individually having to talk to each co-worker about it. Here’s what I had about “House of the Rising Sun” back in the day. The simplicity and shortness of the thoughts seem quant nowadays – but really, Lost wasn’t that complicated of a show during these initial episodes. It was about getting to know the characters, and the characters surviving. The heady stuff didn’t really start until the arrival of CFL and the Hatch. But enough justification about the crappiness – here they are (original in Italics, comments on my comments after):

Did you notice last week when Jack and Kate were in the cave and Jack picked up the one white stone and the one black stone? This was almost the exact same thing we saw in the pilot where Locke picked up two backgammon pieces and gave his "there is a good side and an evil side" to everything speech to the little kid. Is one of the groups going to become good and one evil?

Ah, one of my favorite early predictions – that our Survivors would split into two groups (one led by Jack, one by Locke) with one being “good”, and one being “evil”. I also enjoy that I didn’t know all the character’s names at this point. So very professional.

Remember the comic book from the pilot with the picture of the polar bear in it? I read an article in TV Guide saying that the creators of the show picked that comic specifically. In researching on the internet, I found that the comic deals with an alien life form that the good guys are fighting who turns out in the end to be a good guy. Symbolism? They think the island and the beast, etc. are evil - but they are really good?!?

Wow – it’s somewhat surprising to me that I was already pitching my all-time favorite theories this early on – that the audience thinks the Survivors are the good guys, but in reality they’re the bad guys – we just happen to get to know them better, and instinctively start siding with them. Even with what we know now about the Others, based on Jack’s absolute misery in the flash-forward, maybe this theory isn’t so far off…

Why didn’t Jack admit to Kate last week that he was checking her out? We all were checking her out, it’s cool to admit it! And how genius are the show writers to craft a scene where both Jack and Kate are ripping off their clothes as fast as possible? Hello ratings! God bless angry swarms of bees!

…and my love for Kate being scantily clad was there from the start as well. I love their excuse of “there were bees in our clothing, so we had to take them off”… right…

So the Korean girl speaks the English - now she can be in cahoots with everyone else on the island, while keeping up a secret identity with her husband so he doesn’t beat her!

Oh, if only I knew. Past Brian – don’t be fooled by jezebel Sun! She’s the cold-hearted bitch! Jin is a saint! If only I could warn him…


What a cruel twist of fate that Jack and Kate are in different groups on the island! Get those kids together so they can make out!

TV Love Triangle rule #1 – keep the lovebirds apart. It was evident from the start.


What happened to the Beast, who has been oddly absent since the Locke episode? Did Locke somehow tame it / kill it / overcome it?

Still a good thought – both Locke and “the Beast” seemed changed by their encounter. I’d still like a full disclosure of what happened during that scene.


Is anyone going to mention the Polar Bear or the French girl ever again?

Patience, Past Brian, patience. Little did I know that CFL would become a full-fledged character on the show, or that we’d see polar bears at least two more times on the show.


New Thoughts

Skeletons. A largely forgotten part of this episode, until the following article ran in Entertainment Weekly last year (from Lostpedia):

In an EW.com article, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse answered the fan question, "What is the meaning or significance of the two skeletons that Jack and Kate found in the cave of season 1?"

CUSE: The answer to that question goes to the nature of the timeline of the island. We don't want to say too much about it, but there are a couple Easter eggs embedded in "Not in Portland", one of which is an anagram that actually sheds some light on the skeletons and hints at a larger mythological mystery that will start to unfold later in the season.

LINDELOF: There were certain things we knew from the very beginning. Independent of ever knowing when the end was going to be, we knew what it was going to be, and we wanted to start setting it up as early as season 1, or else people would think that we were making it up as we were going along. So the skeletons are the living -- or, I guess, slowly decomposing -- proof of that. When all is said and done, people are going to point to the skeletons and say, "That is proof that from the very beginning, they always knew that they were going to do this."

One, the anagram, could be Mittelos -- "Lost Time" or "Time Slot" -- and there could also be something embedded within the Room 23 video.

The other may be the reversed audio from the Room 23 footage. When played backwards the words "Only fools are enslaved by time and space." is repeated extremely clearly. It is possible to make the names "Adam and Eve" from the letters of this phrase.

To me, this is pointing towards Adam and Eve being victims of what I affectionately call “Funky Time”… but I’ve pretty much ditched that theory after the season finale, since it revealed our characters seemingly returned to the world a few years after they left it, funky time-free. Since Jack ends the episode with the black and white stone, you could theorize that somehow Jack goes back in time (with Kate) and becomes those statues – like the Island is in some sort of infinite time loop… but it just seems like a huge stretch to introduce such a complicated concept this late in the game. The story of Lost is beyond strong without needing such trickery, in my mind.

Jack claims that the two have been dead for at least 40 or 50 years, which makes them pre-Dharma. They could be Island Originals, but why would they be buried in the Caves, as opposed to set out to see on a burning raft, a la Colleen? You would think their traditions surrounding death would be consistent.

So it remains a mystery. Watching this episode three years later, we’re really no closer to understanding the mystery of Adam and Eve – and that’s part of what makes Lost such a great show. Someday, we’re going to be able to go back and watch these episodes from an entirely different perspective. However, if Jack and Kate do end up being Adam and Eve, how ironic is Kate’s statement in this episode of “I don’t want to end up like Eve”? Or Michael’s statement of “time doesn’t matter on a damn island”? There are definitely clues there, that might be blatantly obvious – but I still refuse to buy into them…

Locke. Locke continues his “Salvation Tour”, this week focusing on Charlie (for those keeping track at home, it's now been Michael, Jack, Charlie). Should we really believe that Locke is savvy enough to realize that Charlie is a former junkie trying to kick his habit? Or is this information the Island has provided him? Likewise, did pre-Island Locke strike anyone as the type of person who would listen to and know “Driveshaft”? More pre-Island knowledge, or just another side of Locke (the pop-rock loving boxman) that we haven’t seen yet?

He says “The Island will give you what you’re looking for… but you might have to give the Island something in return”, an early hint that Locke is on Team Island – something that I think is going to become more and more important as the show progresses.

41 comments:

dave said...

So Brian, do you think that maybe Jack and Kate are those decomposing skelletons they are examining on that episode?? If so would that mean that the whole crash + hatch season + crazy others and CLF already happened ( maybe many times by now ) and it just continues looping? How would that be possible though?... assuming we can in fact explain everything in this show through science and rationale.

thanks for the posts!

yabloggerbr said...

Hi Brian,

Its very cool to re-read your old thoughts and analyse them!

Keep up the good work!

Thanks!

Pat Gaughan said...

I really need to get these DVDs...

Holly said...

When I first saw this episode and the next several, I really thought they were going to have to institute some kind of law enforcement on the Island to deal with situations like this. Wouldn't that have been interesting to watch? Who would have been in charge? Jack, Sayid...? Would it have been a board or panel of some sort, where more than one person weighed in on those decisions? Interestingly, my friend who's watching for the first time, said that exact same thing: "They need a jail on this Island!" Michael seems to echo this thought when he calls Sayid the "Sherriff" and claims that he already gave his statement.

Holly said...

More thoughts: (I posted these on the fuselage)

When Jack tells Sayid about the caves, he responds by questioning why Jack didn't consult them when he planned to start his own "civilization." These questions are still being asked at the end of S3. Jack seems to have a penchant for making decisions unilaterally.

Locke never forced Charlie to give him his stash. It was his own choice. Does this play into the Philosopher John Locke's idea of the "social contract," where authority is only granted through "consent of the governed"? I wonder what our Locke would have done if Charlie had refused to give him his stash? Turned him over to the Sherriff?

amber said...

It is weird watching this episode, knowing all we know now about Sun & Jin.

Jennifer said...

Just got the first two Season One DVDs from Netflix, so I can finally jam through these early episodes again and get caught up with you all. I'll hope to jump in with comments once I do...

matt said...

At this point, the most intriguing element in this episode is the discovery of Adam and Eve. Even if it gets answered right in the S4 premiere, I think it will be longest gap of time between the show giving a mystery and solution.

Anonymous said...

Bryan,

About them getting the water in season three; I think it was addressed in that episode where Hurley conned Sawyer into thinking he was going to be voted out of the tribe. Hurley pointed out that there were people who collected and brought back water every morning, and wouldn't Sawyer miss that. Don't have the episode on hand though, sorry.

Anonymous said...

keep these going! i love reading every week!

Anonymous said...

Brian -

Thanks for continuing to post. I'm blitzing through season 1 (just finished ...In Translation) and am enjoying the catch-up with you and all.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the retrospective on Adam & Eve... I always thought they were major puzzle pieces (and still do). Amazing how we still don't know where/how those pieces fit in the scheme of things 3 years later!

Anonymous said...

have you guys seen the trailer for the new jj abrams movie yet? its flippin awesome...

http://www.apple.com/trailers/paramount/11808/

Brian said...

Yeah, there's a pretty good chance on a 1-18-08 post in the future, especially if the marketing for the movie continues to be as cool and unique as it already has been. I strongly encourage you to view the trailer linked above.

If they actually release a movie WITHOUT a title, it will be one of the ballsiest things I've ever seen in modern cinema.

Joey D. said...

I agree, Brian, with your thoughts on Jin. I always thought that Jin's brutal attack on Michael was a bit of an overeaction. I guess they kinda had to make it that way though. If Jin would have just walked up to Michael and started yelling at him in Korean, Sayid wouldn't have had to cuff Jin to the wreckage. If Jin wasn't cuffed to the wreckage, Sun would not have been forced to reveal to Michael (and the audience) that she could speak English. I suppose that the writers could have come up with another, less violent way to tell the audience that Sun was bilingual......but it did also serve the purpose of showing that Jin was capable of extreme violence.

Joey D. said...

That trailer really doesn't tell you much about the movie. Don't get me wrong, it does look like the movie is going kick ass. What kind of movie is it though? Was that some sort of alien force that tore the head off the statue of liberty? Does anyone know anything else about the flick?

Heather's Brain said...

JJ ABRAMS MOVIE info...not much but thought you would want to read it...

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1060277/faq

Anonymous said...

Brian u must read stephen king "the dark tower" series the simalaritys are amazing. if there not tied together, pigs can fly.

have a good one
Morgan - brisbane Australia

Steve said...

Great job! Keep it up!
You're original thought were great.
What's amazing is...as they said, how early they set thing up for much later in the show. It shows that while they may not of known how they were getting there, they've known where they were going all along... the destination is there, it's how you get there that's all the fun.

Anonymous said...

does the jack/kate skeletor thing remind you of desmond's trippy flashbacks?

yeah..im totally off.

Sawyer's Optician said...

Joey D. -- regarding Jin's attack on Michael,-- we also got a chance to see how awsome Sayed is! His a full body tackle on Jin rocked! I'm normally not a big fan of violence, but it sure looked like Jin deserved it.

Joey D. said...

Sawyer's Optician,

I thought the same thing when I rewatched this episode. Sayid would have made an outstanding strong safety. We've seen him make that form tackle a couple of times now. He made a pretty sweet tackle on Karl in Greatest Hits. LoL.

Anonymous said...

HURLEY: Might wanna ask yourself, about all the good stuff that comes from being a part of this, society. I mean you can't even feed yourself. You use our latrine, drink the water that Steve brings every morning to the trough...

SAWYER: Er..

HURLEY: What?

SAWYER: You know how for three days, ten hours and fifteen minutes I ain't allowed to use nicknames?

HURLEY: Yeah?

SAWYER: Well, you, Sir Hugo, are rotund, annoying, and you're ruining my damned view. How's that for amends?

HURLEY: You're making a big mistake dude.

Rebecca said...

I always figured that Jin, angered by the heat, lack of water and having food and no rescue in sight went off the deep end when he saw Michael with his watch. He basically took out all his frustrations on him. He's capable of violence, but I think once he accepted what happened to him he became more laid back (like the Jin we see now).

Stef said...

Ah, the first episode-ending musical montage of pensive faces! That's a trick I could do without, even if it means some good Sawyer face time.

I also loved seeing some of those initial character interplays that are still coming about now - Sawyer and Sayid teaming up, Sayid questioning Jack's authority.

And wow, they are really heavy on the Jack-Kate flirting, which did work to make their "separation" even more poignant. I remember when I first watched this, I thought Sayid would be more of the love triangle complication. Heck, even Sawyer says that to Kate! But little did we know...

I don't completely agree with your Sun-Jin analysis, though. I don't think we can say that Sun's evil and Jin's an angel. The really poignant revelation that I got out of their season 3 episodes is that they *both* contributed to the downward spiral of their marriage. They both started out pure, innocent, and in love. But then each of them in their way tried to do things to provide for or protect the other, things that were beyond their means. So they both ended up indebted to her father, the truly evil one, and thus they both became more secretive and defensive, and then more cold towards each other. Jin became more violent, Sun became more manipulative. On the island, though, these things all seem to be falling away and they are rediscovering who they really are with each other. It broke my heart to learn that Sun was the one who made the Faustian bargain with her father in order to protect Jin's honor. So sad.

hobbes said...

"1-18-08" JJ Abrams. I suspect it's another Godzilla remake.

Joey D. said...

Stef,
"I also loved seeing some of those initial character interplays that are still coming about now - Sawyer and Sayid teaming up, Sayid questioning Jack's authority."


Excellent point.

DCrowley said...

Slowly catching up here - I got a late start on the Rewind.

In addition to Brian's point about Locke indicating that he's on Team Island, I thought it was interesting that when Charlie had to give something to the Island, he had to do it through Locke.

Locke as the Island's representative to the Losties. To everyone, possibly - what are the odds that Smokey and Jacob are related?

Seems less likely in light of the statement that Jacob will be a full-out character on the show, but I'm kind of intrigued.

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