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.
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.