One evening in early spring, I came home to a kitchen smelling of divine home-made cooking of the resident chef, my husband, Andy. On this particular night, he was going to show me the first Episode of the infamous TV show, LOST , during dinner. He is already a huge fan, along with most of my friends and colleagues and strangers I have yet to meet….. Apparently, I am the last person on earth that has not seen this show. That’s ok, I am proud to be different. Or so I like to think until I decide not to be different! Anyway, on with our show we go.
This all started out innocently enough. He was starting a marathon of re-watching all Five Seasons to build anticipation for the Season Finale come January 2010, and invited me to sit in for the re-watch. Perhaps watch a couple of episodes with him. He knows me well. My record of TV watching is pitiful, and I am agonizingly selective. That seems to have mattered none because in the next two months, the unthinkable happened. I watched all 102 episodes of LOST as I cried, laughed, wept, screamed, uttered select profanities, cried and screamed some more, and at long last, caught up with the rest of all you fanatic fans!
In the last few weeks, the LOST withdrawals have calmed down but the questions and puzzles remain, and my theories of the show’s finale evolve, and the urge to contain it all inside has become unbearable. Watching and experiencing LOST in such intense over-dose was a most unexpected prolific experience. My mind is racing to find unifying theories and plausible explanations about the island’s unsolved mysteries and the fate of its survivors . I love this show – it makes you think, it makes you laugh, it makes you research and learn, and it raises your curiosity about history, physics, religion, geography, psychology, dynamics, and the insatiable beauty of its setting, Hawaii (a static set of coordinate on the globe!.
PLOT SPOILER WARNING: This, my dear LOST fan friends, is your only warning. I am going to have potential spoilers on every single Season and maybe even the most crucial episodes. You’ve been warned!
With mild interest and much skepticism, I watched the first episode showing Oceanic Flight 815crashing over the mystery island on September 22, 2004. I met the main cast for the first time, these icons of super fame and subject of obsession. From the start, the complexity of the characters ran deep. Getting to know them, one layer at a time, was at once captivating, and soon very addictive. Over the course of next dozen episodes, I tried to keep mild interest at best on the bizarre happenings on the island and instead focused intensely on the back stories. The show walks a very thin line between obvious and utterly confusing when flashbacks between past and present, and soon the future, set in. And soon the stories of complete strange intertwined in an evolving maze. What seemed coincidence at first may have been planned, and chance meetings may not have been all they seemed.
One episode a night became the norm, and conversation over dinner was soon forbidden unless related to LOST and whispered quickly and quietly. Soon I threw all good judgment aside, and we were watching 2 episodes a day. Curiosity led way to obsession when we spent a few Sundays running mini-LOST marathons while pretending exhaustion from the week and begging off a quiet day from family obligations. What am I saying, pretending exhaustion? We were drained. We were pulling in longer and longer hours of LOST every day. And finally, it became simply maddening as I put an intentional halt to all reasonable productivity for the sake of “Just one more episode” until we had watched them all. Even at this rate, the mysteries and answers were not being revealed fast enough for me and this is a testament to a brilliant show which neither tires you nor bores you when consumed in any volume, thanks to its depth of genius, complexity, intrigue and mystery.
In order to contain this post to a reasonable length, and keep from compromising all that I want to write up about this show, I have divided it into a series of posts. This is the first post in my LOST series and it speaks to my impressions of the original Flight 815 characters whom we meet on the island in Season 1. And it is the summary impression no doubt, given the exuberance of data I digested in 102 episodes about them, so more to come on the cast below, but for now, here goes.
Note: The good stuff and The baggage on each character is entirely my opinion and speaks to what I consider good and not-so-great about the survivors.
The LOST character synopsis on the initial Flight 815 Survivors:
The good stuff – His sense of loyalty to the survivors and sense of responsibility for safety and well-being of everyone. “We live together or we die alone!” His deep concern for others, the doctor, the helper, the healer, leader of the pack with reassurance and responsibility to make decisions for best interest of the group. Telling the hospital council about his father’s impaired condition at the time he operated on that poor woman. The entire scene with Sarah after the surgery and moments before he learns of her miraculous recovery. His brilliance on re-negotiating with the “Others” with Ben cut open on the operating table. And refusing to let Charlie die, even if he had to break every bone on his chest to bring him back to life.
The baggage – Obsession with his father Christian, who conveniently is a ghost roaming all over the island. His other obsession with fixing everything (isn’t one miracle enough!) Snap judgments in face of challenges, and letting rage block his clarity for thought. How he sought simplicity and pure logic in all things when clearly, they were in a special place. Locke told him at least a dozen times, you know!!
The good stuff –Her beauty. Blowing up her old house with her drunk abusive step-father in it at time of explosion. Her deep regret for accidentally killing her childhood love. Climbing out of her cage and into Sawyer’s cage and giving in to her wild desires in all the brooding uncertainty of their circumstances. And helping Claire bring Aaron into the world by telling her that the baby belongs not just to her but to all of them.
The baggage – Her marrying that poor innocent police man only to knock him out and run out on him when authorities found her. Killing her childhood love by carelessness and thoughtlessness. Deceiving Sawyer to win over Jack (she deserved Sawyer treating her harshly after their captivity!). Constantly telling Jack and Sawyer what to do, acting as the moral police when her own decisions in the past were not so brilliant. Her jealousy of seeing Jack and Juliet, and then Sawyer and Juliet together.
The good stuff –Intriguing. Fearless, except of the wheel-chair (He did go out there and face the black smoke alone while everyone was running away like mad). In deep sync with the island in ways that are at first beyond his own comprehension but not beyond his awareness. His search for answers and reason. His belief in fate and destiny. His adept use of the knife. Quick thinking (how he gave up Kate to Desmond to befriend him). When he recited the story of Leonardo da Vinci’s approach to painting a masterpiece to Walt during Knife Throwing 101. And believing in miracles.
The baggage – Obsession with his new-found father, the very annoying Anthony Cooper (enough already with the Dads screwing up your lives. He did not ask for a kidney, John! You offered him one because you were a fool once. Then you went back and deserted Helen to get his approval or love or some such rubbish for a second time, you were a fool twice and wasted a lot of LOST minutes on this sorry trail). And being responsible for Boone’s death.
The good stuff – Being Charlie. His deep love for his guitar. Jabbering on when others were in pensive mood. His darling accent of course. Volunteering to save Jack from the cave-in to prove himself to the crew. Taking care of Aaron with such protection. Sense of humor. Teaming up with Hurley on the crazy van ride down-hill. His top ten greatest hits. His ultimate sacrifice. Having fate even in a place as uncertain as the island.
The baggage – Substance abuse (Come on Charlie! You are the smart brother!). Being so nice to Claire when she was ungrateful in return (Why Charlie, why?). Teaming up with Sawyer on that awful dirty trick to kidnap Sun (Ok he wanted to make Locke look bad but uncool trick nonetheless).
Sawyer “James” Ford:
The good stuff – Devilishly handsome with a killer smile. Nonchalance. Being able to make Southern accent sound charming. Condescending yet hilarious nick-names for everyone (esp for Hurley: Pillsbury, Stay Puft, Jabba, and Avalanche to name a few). Innately funny. His conflicted love for Kate although not as much as his real love for Juliet. His scene of losing Juliet at the Swan Site construction during the Incident. Killing Locke’s father, or rather, the man who conned his father and slept with his mother. Jumping off the chopper in hopes of enabling others to reach the ship. Being a bad loser (at cards and ping pong)!
The baggage – Stealing the guns and playing sheriff in town. The way he double-crossed everyone. His rejection of the world. Insulting Hurley on a few occasions (just uncool). Oh yes and the long con with Cassidy.
The good stuff – Amazing actor. Fishing skills. His loyalty to Michael (even though I could not stand Michael). Learning English and speaking it. His growing loyalty toward the survivors. Forgiving Sun for the affair. Naming their unborn baby. And mostly, speaking angry Korean to non-Korean-people (generally followed by Hurley’s spot-on translations). Oh hell, just speaking Korean. I had no idea how much I would like it.
The baggage – Ashamed of his own father and lying about his death. Compromising his integrity for financial security by working for Sun’s father. Yelling at Sun for wearing a bikini on the beach or other revealing clothes (Big black mark, I didn’t like Jin back then). Anti-social to crew at first. Deserting Sun temporarily in Season 1 for reasons unexplained.
The good stuff – So beautiful and graceful. How she could detach from her rich posh life in Korea for the sense of strange freedom on the island, at least until the crazy stuff started happening. The garden she grew in the heavenly climate of the island. Her patience with Jin. Her exquisite clothing back in the real world. The way she said “I love you” in Korean. How she changed her plans to disappear at the airport by one smile from Jin. Saving Shannon from asthma attacks using herbs. Knowing her plants and herbs so well. Her bravery for learning English in Korea. Saying she will shoot and shooting to kill Colleen on the boat. Slapping Charlie after he confessed to the attempted kidnap trick. And the manner with which she addressed her stern, powerful father after acquiring half the company, all to seek retribution for Jin.
The baggage – Slapping Jin when he decided to go save Michael, bringing Jin to his senses because Michael is not worth saving, I understand but no need to slap Jin. Her clandestine relations with her English teacher back in Korea, despite the difficulties in her marriage. Paying off Jin’s mother on the dirty demands she made of her.
The good stuff – Her accent. Her yelling at Jack for not believing her scary “dream”. Being gorgeous and skinny while extremely pregnant. Her reflective moods. How she changed her mind about giving up the baby for adoption, when she asked the couple to sing the baby “How to catch a falling star”. Making Charlie happy, while not deserving him. Getting baptised by Echo after realizing that it meant something to Charlie.
The baggage – All the whining and screaming about people hurting “my baby” albeit in a lovely Australian accent. Screaming really loud when Aaron was kidnapped instead of being instrumental. Getting all possessive with Aaron and kicking Charlie out after their dispute. Being ungrateful towards Charlie. Not mourning enough for Charlie. Leaving Aaron in the tree middle of the night to follow Christian for who knows what reason.
The good stuff – Calm, smart, resourceful and just a fabulous character overall. His excellent judgement of character (well except for when he was wrong!) Reasoning with Danielle Rousseau, very crafty. Being able to recognize when people lie (like when Michael was being deceptive or Ben lying to him about his identity). Shooting little Ben so he doesn’t grow up to be evil Ben.
The baggage – All the torture victims from his past hunting him and all. Torturing Sawyer to get Shannon’s inhalers (Not crazy about whiny Shannon or about Sayid breaking his rule of never torturing again). Having to endure Shannon’s death. Torturing Nadia, then releasing her, then falling in love with her, finding her, marrying her and watching her get killed. Ouch.
The good stuff – Very few I’m afraid. Let me think. …. Thinking…. Hmmmmm. He befriended Jin who in turn learned to care about others besides him and Sun, and picked up some English along the way.
The baggage – Always whining. Always unhappy and a terrible father figure. Burning Walt’s Spanish polar-bear cartoon magazine. Banning him from playing with Locke. Being rude to Locke rather than grateful (he found Vincent for Walt, not you Michael!) . After Susan’s death, trying to pawn off Walt to his own mother to take care of him (way too low even for Michael). Betraying his friends and killing Ana Lucia and Libby in cold blood, all in the name of saving Waaaaaaalt (If I had to hear Michael scream that one name more time…..). A character of declining integrity and one that I hopefully will not have to tolerate again (he did blow up on the ship for good, didn’t he?)
Hugo “Hurley” Reyes:
The good stuff – Saving the very best for last. I.loved.Hurley. His overall presence and disposition. Hurley brings the best laughter and, at times, the most bitter sadness to the show. His willingness to help out all the time (unless blood is involved!) His census efforts and data gathering style. His every word, and every speech (Dude! It really rocked every time you read a word from that awesome script!). The very best back-story (maybe running a close to my beloved Desmond who is up in Post 2 of the Series, but for now, let’s say equally the best). The mystery with the numbers of course, driving both Hurley and all of us nearly insane, as they still go mainly unsolved: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23,42. Building the golf course (“Dudes. We need to have some fun. Our lives suck! Every one’s nerves are stretched to the max! We’re lost on an island, running from boars and monsters… freakin’ polar bears!” Brilliant Script!). Being hilarious and real.
The baggage – What baggage? Hurley rocks!!! Dude, no one says anything bad about Hurley!
Please note: The images in this post come from LOSTpedia.com. I claim neither copyright nor ownership to them. The photos all link back to the source website.