Follow along! The “House of the Rising Sun” episode guide in Finding Lost is on pp. 40-43.
The two characters who didn’t seem to have been completely worked out by the writers in the beginning were Jin and Sun. Going back to see them in these early episodes, the seeds of who Sun is now were there, but Jin is entirely different. Witness his ordering Sun to button up her top button, or viciously beating up Michael for a watch, or refusing to talk to anyone, or help, or be a part of the group, etc. etc. Now compare that to Jin of season 5, passively standing back, rarely doing much of anything, quietly watching things happen around him. His wife might be on the island, and that sparks a tiny bit of a jump in the guy, when he races off into the jungle, but instead, when he finds Sayid, he drifts back into Mr. Quiet Guy again. I believe it’s the 17th episode in season 1, “...In Translation” (and if I just got that right my husband will think I’m a bigger geek than he already thinks I am), which is similar to “Walkabout,” where we got a revelation of a character that made us instantly like Jin, and that’s why it’s one of my faves of the season. But for now, he’ll be the Angry Korean guy. One could argue that he "developed," but I don't believe a person's personality could utterly change like that. Certainly not in that short a time. He's already Sweet Happy Jin by season 2. I remember in the first season of Lost, many Asian groups were unhappy about the portrayal of Sun and Jin in the first season. Luckily they turned them into two of the most popular characters of the show (unfortunately they barely had anything to do in season 5, but here’s hoping we see more of them in season 6... especially that reunion!)
Fun things I noticed:
• Charlie has changed FATE to LATE on his fingers. At the time we didn’t know what it means, but in this episode he flashes it to Claire. There’s a belief that Claire may be dead, and Charlie definitely is, and “late” is used to refer to people who are dead. Could this have been foreshadowing?
• Right from the beginning, there was a fear of the “other” and Jin and Sun definitely represent that to everyone else. There is a lot of critical theory out there on the Self and the Other in literature (and I actually wrote up a chapter on it for my season 2 book, but it felt so dry I cut it out of the book) and it’s already there in these first few episodes. The Other is that which is foreign, and different. Sun and Jin don’t speak the language of the others. In “Tabula Rasa” we saw Sawyer and Sayid trying to kill each other on the beach. It barely registered with anyone else. But here they lock the “Chinese” guy up to the plane, handcuffing him and refusing to try to talk to him. They yell, they motion, and only Jack is the one who walks up to him with water and tells him to take little sips. The rest of them just want the “other” to be out of their midst. Notice how many times the word “other” is used in season 1, and not to refer to “The Others.”
• I really miss that mournful Sun musical motif they used to use, with the violin. They didn’t use it anymore for her in season 5. It seems to disappear when she becomes badass Sun.
• “It was full of bees.” “I thought C’s, actually.” That NEVER fails to make me laugh!
• I always forget that Locke was kept out of the loop on the whole Rousseau thing, which is weird to me when I think of it now. Watch how Charlie sees Adam and Eve and blurts out that they might have been the people there before them, and Jack’s all, “SSSSSHHHHHHH... LOCKE IS RIGHT THERE!!!” with his eyes. Locke steps up like he knows something’s up, but plays along. Good one, guys. Keep Shannon and Boone in the know, but make sure Locke’s in the dark.
• I REALLY miss those musical montages at the end. The “Wash Away” one at the end of “Tabula Rasa” was great, but Willie Nelson’s “Are You Sure” at the end of this one was just brilliant. One of my favourite uses of music in the entire series. Interestingly, it’s a Willie Nelson song that opens season 5 when Chang puts the record on.
Things that have new meaning:
• Jack tells Locke he found the cave “by luck.” Yet we all know Jack doesn’t believe in luck. Or destiny.
• I’ve always loved that scene with the black and white stones in Adam’s pouch, but now they take on new meaning, possibly representing Jacob and the Man in Black.
• Knowing that Jack will later attempt to detonate a nuclear bomb in order to win back Kate, it’s weird watching these earlier scenes where she’s mercilessly flirting with him, hoping he’s looking at her butt, and when she asks him coyly what he’s thinking about, he’s like, “I was thinking about the caves and survival and the people and the beach...” You can just hear the horn playing, ‘Wah, wah, waaaaaah.’ And you just want to smack him in the head for not seeing what’s right in front of him.
• A few of you have suggested that maybe there’s something off with Locke right from the beginning, that maybe he’s known what is happening all along. He certainly does seem very self-assured in this scene, right after he’s seen “into the eye of the island.” (After he sees the dark side of Smokey in the finale, he’ll be less confident in season 2.) He tells Charlie that he WILL see his guitar again... not might, but will. Then again, he’s probably already seen it on the cliff side.
• Michael to Jin: “Time doesn’t matter on a damn island!” GAAAAHHH!!!! Talk about getting THAT wrong.
• This episode features the first major split of the group. Interesting to note that the sides are Kate/Sawyer/Sayid on the beach, Jack/Locke/Hurley in the caves (Jack and Locke on the same team?!). In season 4 when they split into groups, it’s Jack/Kate/Sayid and Locke/Sawyer/Hurley. The only consistency here is Kate with Sayid and Hurley with Locke. Everyone else switches.
Questions that still need to be answered:
• Who are Adam and Eve?