Wednesday, July 15, 2009

1.06 House of the Rising Sun

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?


Jazzygirl said...

Wow, first comment! :) Well I just finished watching White Rabbit and this one so I wanted to post before moving on to the other two.
I would say that after reading Nikki's recap, I agree with it all. LOL I did notice how many times they used the words "the others". I also take the black and white stones to have new meaning. But what does that mean for Adam and Eve? I tried to look very closely at their clothing, etc. to see if they were indeed Bernard and Rose but didn't see anything descriptive. I guess we'll know if they move from their hut into the caves next year. I also noticed Locke being very strong in this episode and seeming to know things. And I also LOVED the musical montage at the end. I especially liked that they panned over Sawyer, then Sayid, then Kate on the line about how may people I've hurt, etc. We had no idea back then!!

J.W. said...

I thought the "full of C's" comment would be your pick for the highlight of the episode in your book, Nikki, but the one you picked isn't bad. I do have to say Charlie's being a bit generous with his C's comment, though. (I know, I know... it was a joke.)

This was another good episode. I think by the second season the writers began having difficulty giving us good flashback developments while simultanously moving the plot forward in the present. (Also, the show would eventually have so many subplots going on, some of them would be ignored while others were covered.) So some later episodes tend to be sluggish. But here in the early part of the first season, things are moving a nice clip.

Other thoughts:

To me, Charlie's more interesting as a drug addict than he will be in later episodes as a recovering addict. I think his character lost something with the kicking of the addiction.

To think this was back when we thought Jin was crazy and Michael was a cool dude.

I too hope we find out more on Adam and Eve and the white and black stones. I'd also like to know if the writers knew what they were doing with this or if they were just leaving a thread to develop later.

joshua said...

I love this one. I've always thought that Yunjin Kim was the best actor on the show; this is the first time she really gets a chance to show her chops, and she completely breaks my heart.

The interplay between Jack and Kate at the beginning of the episode, followed by Charlie's line about their "verbally copulating," is the first time it really feels like the group is starting to gel, like they've officially ceased to be strangers.

The only real question I came away with is this: do we know why Sun and Jin were going to L.A.? I can't remember ever finding out... Was it something Jin was doing for Mr. Paik? And if so, then why was Sun coming along?

Susan said...

I love this episode, it has some really great scenes. The beehive scene ("It wouldn't be an irrational fear if I could just pull myself together.") and Michael's tirade to an uncomprehending Jin.

I read this somewhere online, so it may not be true, but I think the writers intended for something to happen between Sun and Michael, but the chemistry between DD Kim and Yunjin Kim was so great that they changed course.

Nikki I too loved the songs at the end of these early episodes and how they almost seemed to be written for each scene. My favorite is "I Shall Not Walk Alone" at the end of Confidence Man as Sayid is walking away from the group.

Batcabbage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Batcabbage said...

I loved the 'C's' line too. When Charlie said it, I went 'Heh. Heh heh." Batkitty said 'What?' I said 'He means boobs.' She hit me. I probably deserved it.

I like the Sun/Jin flashback eps. I mean, with this one we just assume Jin's a badass gangster, but I love his character arc, and how we see what he has to go through just to marry the woman he loves in future eps. One of the things that stood out to me in this ep is how much of a dick Michael is to Walt. "Don't drink that." "Why?" "Coz you can't drink sea water, makes you thirsty." "Why?" "JUST DON'T DRINK IT!" What a dick. What, you couldn't explain to a kid about salt making you dehydrated? If that was me, I would have drunk six litres of sea water, and then died of dehydration. Ha! That'd show him! OK, not really, but Michael annoys me. Stupid Michael....

Nikki Stafford said...

Batcabbage: I've always felt extremely sorry for Michael. His flashbacks are the ones that break my heart all the time. Yes, he was a traitor, but he's also the epitome of the parent who will do anything -- and sell out anyone -- for his son. He's so inexperienced and worried and walking on eggshells at this point... I agree with you about the saltwater scene being annoying, but then I wondered, Maybe Michael doesn't actually know? He just heard somewhere that it'll make you thirsty? I dunno... frankly, I think if you get saltwater in your mouth it makes you thirsty, so why was he using it to swish in his mouth? That was the part that baffled me. But I do believe that Susan, his wife, is a horrible, horrible woman for doing to Michael what she did to him. That scene we'll see later of Michael excitedly walking through the baby furniture store and wanting the fanciest crib for Walt is so sad. And the one of him saying goodbye and giving him the teddy bear... I can barely watch that one.

But I'm getting ahead of ourselves...

Nikki Stafford said...

joshua: Yes: Jin was given 2 watches by Paik -- one of them is the one that Michael is wearing in this episode. He had to deliver them to people in Sydney and L.A. for Mr. Paik. But he'd seen his father right before, and he'd convinced him that Sun should matter more to him than anyone. So he told Sun to come along, and he was planning to escape with her when they arrived in L.A., and never return to Korea. If you'll recall, we'll later see that after they check in (the scene we see here), Jin will go to the bathroom and one of Paik's men will approach him and say that Paik knows what he's doing and that he'll find them. That's part of the reason why Jin is so agitated when he's on the plane, I think.

Batcabbage said...

Nik: Yeah, I see what you're saying. Yeah, Susan was horrible for what she did, and the husband was awful for just wanting to abandon Walt and drop him in Michael's lap, totally unprepared. I'm sure that my opinion of Michael is because of what he will do in season 3 (was it 3?), but it's stuck with me. Most of my sympathy for the characters goes to Locke, for his terrible life. Man, does that guy make bad decisions and gets stepped on. But you're right, we're getting ahead of ourselves. :)

kirathena said...

This episode was decent but not one of my favorites. Sun is not one of my favorite characters although it was interesting to see her from an early less-manipulative perspective. Overall pretty good & did introduce some good Sun stuff as well as Adam & Eve.

Still, I found it much more upsetting how Jin was treated this time around than when I first watched. I mean people will be attacking & fighting each other left & right through first season but Jin is the one who gets handcuffed to wreckage & left in the sweltering sun? I don't object to the object of handcuffing him to figure things out & keeping him from re-attacking Michael as much as it is so unequally applied all around. What would they have done if Michael hadn't freed him? Left him there indefinitely? Also, it is amazing how quickly these characters get over previous encounters with each other. In a few more episodes Michael & Jin will be playing golf together and building a raft not long afterward with apparently no hard feelings. I mean is this a survival instinct or are these people just especially good at getting over things? This happens all the time. People say they are going to kill each other one episode & a few eps later come back together without any issues. Examples can include Ana Lucia & Sayid, Michael & Jin, Sawyer & Sayid, Sawyer & Sun, Charlie & Sun. Those are just episodes of violence of betrayal I can think of from the series off the top of my head. Even post-traitor Michael is treated much better than one would expect after killing 2 people and leaving them all to who knows what fate on the dock. I mean I think a major dislike would cause them to at least avoid the other person or try to get some revenge. Oh well.

The other annoying point to me is Jack & Kate finding it necessary to rip their clothes off because that just seems so much better with bees all around them, uh-huh. There is some water over there to jump in too. Or bringing the bees into an enclosed area & then ripping clothes off doesn’t seem that smart either. I understand gratuitous was popular these first episodes but a little more believable reason would have been good. Also, it was kind of pointless. It's like the whole beehive was manufactured for that reason and it didn't even lead to anything. Usually people are forced by circumstances to get undressed for some relationship purpose that leads to something physical or emotional but they barely even looked at each other half naked. Of course, Charlie's "C" line did kind of make up for it. Ha. This pointlessness seems to be repeated to me in the next episode in Kate’s desperation to get Jack out of the cave-in that one would expect to lead to her realizing her feelings for him but she just goes back to the beach & returns to normal. I do like that Lost is predictable like that though.

kirathena said...

Sorry, last line of my previous comments...I meant I like that Lost is NOT predictable like that in terms of plot & character behavior!

Marebabe said...

I think a lot of people, if they are fans of TV and movies and look at DVD extras, etc., are aware that quite often images are reversed in the editing room if it improves the look of the scene. Most of these switches go unnoticed, unless there's something out of whack because of them. So! At 28 minutes into "House of the Rising Sun", there is a reverse image of Sun. I didn't see this for a long time, because it's a very small thing, and really insignificant, unless you're talking about Lost!

Nikki, I wrote an email to you several months ago, in which I went on for a little bit about how I think mirroring will possibly be very important to the endgame of Lost. I quoted J. Wood, and his brilliant explanation of how that first tracking shot of Jack in the Pilot follows a Mobius Loop. Anyway, I predicted that mirroring will be a major key to unlocking the endgame mysteries of Lost.

Yunjin Kim has a damaged left earlobe. It's hardly ever visible, with her hair covering it, and when it is visible, there's usually something much more compelling to look at. But I finally noticed it in the above-mentioned scene ON THE WRONG SIDE.
Now, my guess is that the film editors had a good reason for reversing the image. But what could it be? Was it for the sake of continuity? Or could this be some extremely obscure clue? This was only the 6th episode of the series. Maybe nobody had any idea yet about how closely fans would inspect every frame in Hi-Def, looking for clues. I sure wonder if this was simply a continuity error, or if it MEANS SOMETHING.

Batkitty said...

Nik how exciting BatCabbage has made me an account so I can comment too. I totally agree with you about Michael as I feel particularly sorry for him and can clearly see how uncomfortable he is with Walt what with not knowing him and all. Last night when BatCabbage was going off at the TV I said similar to what you did in your comment. I did however get annoyed when Michael claimed he did nothing to provoke Jin and yet if he had half a brain he could've perhaps recalled he had found a REALLY expensive watch and made the connection but that's just me trying for some logic. Anway it's great to be back watching the show and reading your commentary plus that of other viewers.

SonshineMusic said...

@Nikki: 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

I KNOW! Right?! My thought was, oh how romantic Jack. She's flirting and you're babbling about a dam.

And welcome Batkitty! Ha! Love your icon, too :)

All righty, let's see...

1. I was so mad to see everyone just standing there watching Jin beat and drown Michael. It seems only major players can stop anything while "red shirts" stand like stumps and watch.

2. Yes, I know Jin went through a lot to marry Sun, but from the very beginning she told him she didn't want him working for her father, that she just wanted to run away. She knew what would happen, but seems helpless to stop any of it from happening.

3. I don't know if I was in the minority, but I remember how shocked I was when Sun said her first words in English. About as shocked as I was when we first see Locke in the wheelchair.

4. Interesting how Kate says, she can't "dig in" anywhere. This is so true of her and her life. I find it interesting that it isn't until she takes responsibility for Aaron that she is able to settle in and live a regular life.

5. Something I thought about during this episode is the fact that death led so many of the characters onto the plane...

Jack: the death of his father.
Kate: on the run because she is wanted in the murder of her father
Michael/Walt: The death of Walt's mother
Hurley: Attempting to figure out why people kept dying all around him
Bernard/Rose: Bernard was attempting to keep Rose from dying
Shannon/Boone: Shannon's father died, leaving her at the mercy of her evil step-mother, which led her to try to con Boone out of the money that really was rightfully hers
Sawyer: trying to kill the original Sawyer
Jin/Sun: threatened with death if Jin doesn't follow Paik's instructions

That's all I can think of right now, but I think it's quite significant.

variabull said...

Jack's or Matthew's Appy Scar

So when "furry" Jack is putting the black and white pebbles back in the pouch who does the appendectomy scar belong to.

Nikki Stafford said...

Batkitty! It's so great to finally have you on board. Especially when we're both disagreeing with Batcabbage (Oh Batty, I kid, I kid...)

SonshineMusic: Did you also notice that when Kate asked Jack what he was thinking about, assuming he'd say something about her ass, he went on and on about the caves and then looked at her and said, "But what?" and she says, "Nope... no but." I took that to say, "No butt," as in, "I thought you might talk about my butt, but apparently you aren't that interested." ;)

variabull: I noticed that too! I completely forgot to write it down, but yes, Matthew Fox clearly has a REAL appendectomy scar on him, and you can see it when he's in the Adam and Eve cave... a hint that maybe this really is the second go-round and he's already had his appendix out and we're watching the do-over?

Nah, probably just that he has a real scar. But still fun to speculate. :) It's what we do!

The Shout said...

An interesting point I'd forgotten about Adam & Eve is that they look like they've been laid to rest in the caves. To me, this implies that they both died around the same time, and that a third party was responsible for laying them there.
Jack puts their estimated time of death firmly in the Dharma '70s, shedding absolutely no light on the Jack/Kate, Sawyer/Kate, Rose/Bernard, Miles/Hurley theories.

SonshineMusic said...

Maybe Jacob laid "Adam and Eve" to rest :P

ashlie said...

I love all the sheriff comments in these episodes - in this episode Sayid seems to take the roll of judge and jury and Michael calls him sheriff, but in the previous episode Sawyer referred to Kate as sheriff and gives her the marshall's badge. Clearly there was a lot of establishment of rolls in the early days. Of course we know that Sawyer ends up being the true sheriff on the island! I also thought it was interesting when Locke told Charlie that the island can give you what you want, but you have to give the island something, and then Charlie gives his heroin over to Locke. Very early on we see Locke representing the island, even in this exchange. It could be possible evidence of Locke being Not Locke very early on, or it could simply be to show Locke's attachment to the island.

Azá said...

Late comments - nearly back up to speed with everything! :s

I watched the scene with the stones and Adam and Eve and I noticed Jack keeps the stones...

Locke seems very strange the first few eps and its almost as if he knows something deep down! Man I wish the characters could just sit down and have a real good long chat rather than wait for episode after episode to find plot twists - damn Darlton :)

Don't you get the feeing Locke knew Charlie would already find his guitar!? He say's "you have to give the island something before it gives you something in return!

Did you catch Michael's line about time? "Time doesn't matter on the island" - cue Daniel Faraday ;)

Nikki Stafford said...

Aza: Good to have you posting! And yes, I noticed the comment about time (I had it in my write-up) and it certainly gave me the chills!

I get the feeling that Locke found the guitar early on, and that worked for him so he could say, "look up" and make it sound like it had fallen from the heavens, but he knew it was there all along. :)

Matt said...

SonshineMusic: I was very shocked when Sun said her first words in English. I remember that when season 2 finished, I bought the season 1 DVDs and watched with 2 friends who had not seen the show at all; they were both very shocked at that scene too.

I'm with everyone else on the "why doesn't anyone else try to help?" question. I think it's the writers who want to make sure it's particular characters to the rescue, but I don't like how everyone sort of just stands and watches until that happens.

Chelsea said...

I could not agree more with your observation about the music! Those ending montages with popular music are some of my favorite parts of season 1.

I can't wait to find out who Adam and Eve are.

Anonymous said...

The Shout re. Adam and Eve: "Jack puts their estimated time of death firmly in the Dharma '70s, shedding absolutely no light on the Jack/Kate, Sawyer/Kate, Rose/Bernard, Miles/Hurley theories."

We know it is a man and a woman. We know now that Rose and Bernard are living in the 1970's in a hut in the jungle. Even though we do not know the final answer to Adam and Eve, indications are better that it could be them. Jack replies to Kate's question about how long the bodies have been there with "Long. Takes 40 or 50 years for clothing to degrade (like) this." That would fit the time frame perfectly.

Still to be confirmed but moving ever closer.


The Rush Blog said...

Actually, Jin had become the Angry and Standoffish Korean Guy when 815 Oceanic crashed on the island. The flashbacks in "House of the Rising Sun" revealed that he was a nice, quiet guy who became increasingly angry and wary as his marriage to Sun folded under the pressure of working for his father-in-law. Only we see this from Sun's point of view. We see this from his point-of-view in the episode, ". . . In Translation".

The Rush Blog said...

Of course we know that Sawyer ends up being the true sheriff on the island!

By deceit.