Follow along! The episode guide to Solitary is in Finding Lost, pp. 57-62.
This is one of the episodes I was most looking forward to rewatching, since we actually saw Rousseau’s backstory in (sorta) real time in season 5. For the most part, the writers remained consistent with what Rousseau tells Sayid. The differences I noticed: she says they built the underground shelter in their first few days on the island, but when Rousseau kills Robert – who is the last of them save her – they’re still living on the beach. In her story to Sayid, she makes it sound like they lived on the island for two months before anything bad happened, and that they’d been attacked on their way back from the Black Rock, when in fact it happened on their first day on the island. She says she’s never seen any of the Others, but we know from “Dead Is Dead” that she saw Ben come and take Alex. Also, I’d mentioned back in my original episode guide for “The Little Prince” that I loved that she’s wearing the sweater we later see on the island, but now I see the sweater in “Solitary” is a dark brown colour, and the one she’s wearing when she comes to the island is a light grey. They could argue that over time it turned brown, but I don’t think it would take on quite that chocolate colour, no matter how old it is.
Fun stuff I noticed:
• Jack says that Sayid is a trained soldier, and it cuts to Sayid getting tripped up in the net. I remember at the time wondering if Sayid had been lying and actually had no idea what he was doing.
• Jack to Hurley: “Things could be worse.” Hurley: “How?” Me: “Um… let me tell you a little something about what’s about to happen to all of you…”
• The Island Open is even more meaningful now that we know they’re about to go through SO much worse… it was nice seeing all of them just enjoy themselves for a moment.
Things that have new meaning:
• Locke’s the guy who brings Ethan into the fold of the group. This could back up the theory that Locke may have been a baddie from the beginning, but it also makes me remember the flashback in “Further Instructions,” when he led the cop right into the marijuana grow-op commune.
• When Rousseau strokes Sayid’s cheek and says, “I’m so sorry,” we think of how kind and motherly she is when she’s so young in “This Place Is Death.”
• Sayid says to Rousseau, “The more I hold on, the more I pull away from those around me.” That could be said for just about every character by the end of season 5. Jack’s obsessions drove Kate away; Sawyer refuses to let go of the ideal of Kate; Kate is holding on to Aaron; Sun is holding on to her grief over Jin, etc.
• In the whisper transcript for this episode (see Finding Lost, page 61), you can hear a beep, like an old computer, which makes me wonder if the sound is coming from one of the old IBMs on the island.
• Since we didn’t see Rousseau with any of the stuff she had in the underground shelter (like the batteries), we can probably assume she either found it washed up on shore, or, more likely (since I doubt those batteries would have been aboard a boat) she’s found a few of the Dharma vans and took them out.
Questions that still need to be answered:
• What are the whispers?
• Why is Rousseau’s English even better now, after not speaking to anyone for 16 years, than it was when she first came to the island? (Yes, I’m being a smartass…)