Wednesday, August 5, 2009

1.17 ...In Translation

Follow along! The episode guide for “...In Translation” is in Finding Lost, pp. 107-111.

It’s so hard to believe there was ever a time when we hated Jin. But 17 episodes into season 1, the writers finally showed his side of the story, and fans were pretty much head-over-heels. We see the truth about his father, who he was before he became a hardass, and WHY he became a hardass.

Fun things I noticed:
• There are no numbers on Paik’s watch. Watches on Lost are very important, as is time (obvs) and the fact that he doesn’t have numbers could suggest he’s separate from time.
• Did you notice Jack wearing that damn key around his neck still? It makes me angry every time I see it. Thank goodness we lost that.
• Jack’s actually right about Jin. This is a rare moment where he’s up against everyone and is actually completely right. I bet no one apologized to him, either.
• Someone asked me in one of the other posts what the Chinese characters on Boone’s shirt stand for: they’re for the number 84.
• Locke saying to Shannon, “Should I be writing this down?” was hilarious to me. The thought of serious John Locke having to deal with a whiny little romantic kerfuffle and actually give his sage advice on it was hysterical.
• Here’s something that I’ve always wondered, and my husband and I were discussing it while watching this ep: think back to “Solitary,” where Sayid is interrogating the prisoner in Arabic. The camera moves around past his back and when it comes out on the other side, he’s speaking English. In actuality, he’s speaking Arabic, but the camera movement indicates to us that we’re listening to it in English so poor Naveen Andrews doesn’t have to learn the language phonetically and they don’t have to keep providing subtitles (it’s like when you see a movie where Hitler is speaking English with a German accent... though that’s never made sense to me; why not just have him speaking in an English accent, since he would have been speaking German, not English with a German accent...) ANYWAY... the use of English in this scene makes it more powerful for us, because we can understand what he’s saying and can feel it more than if we were simply reading subtitles. In the scene where Sun finally calls out to Jin that she was going to leave him, he passes close by the camera right before she shouts it, and I’ve often wondered if she really did say it in English, or are we to assume she’s speaking Korean, but the words are more powerful for English viewers to listen to if she actually delivers them in English. It’s probably something we’ll never know, and everyone will have his/her own theories on it. I thought of the tent scene at the end of “Ji Yeon,” and wondered if she revealed to him there that she was going to leave him, but she tells him about the affair, not the leaving him part. What do YOU think? I think if she’s speaking English, it’s an amazing moment because she still can’t bring herself to tell him the truth, but does it in a roundabout way. But if she’s speaking Korean, then she really is on her way to becoming a new woman, as we see at the end of the episode, and knowing he still returns to her despite it would be really touching.
• I still find it strange that Hurley has a CD player and not an MP3 player... this was only 2004, not 1994, and the guy was a multimillionaire. If anyone could afford an early device, it’s him. (If you haven’t listened to Damien Rice’s album, “O,” which the song Hurley’s playing is from, please do... it’s transcendent.) While I always thought that was one of the best endings of ANY Lost episode (and I enjoyed how it anticipated that next week’s ep would be Hurley’s) it makes me sad knowing we won’t have those musical montages anymore.

Things that have new meaning:
• Sun smacking Michael is an early indication of the badass she’ll end up being (think of her approaching Widmore, or whacking Ben with the oar... she always had it in her).
• Jin playing golf made me think of the mobisode where he has the complete breakdown. It's set right around the time of this episode, and it still makes me laugh, even if at the end you feel badly for Jin (if you haven’t seen it, here it is):

• Sawyer kicking Jin and then holding up a knife to him seems SO weird now. I couldn’t help but think of him hugging him and laughing in “This Place Is Death” after they were finally reunited.
• John Locke: “Everyone gets a new life on this island.” Me: “WHOA.” Talk about a prescient line coming from the one guy who literally HAS gotten a new life on the island... even if it’s as someone else.
• I love watching that “we’re not the only people on this island and we all know it!” speech again (especially since the “previously on Lost” bits will play it ad nauseum for about 2 more years). It’s interesting to see John Locke turning everyone against his own people right from the beginning.
• Knowing what we know about Jin’s dad (that Jin’s prostitute mother abandoned him in a fishing village and Jin’s father raised him... it’s still not 100% clear whether Jin’s father is his biological dad, but that doesn’t matter because he loves him more than most of the fathers love their sons on this show), the scene where he goes to see him is even sadder.
• I love how quiet Locke gets when he tells Walt that no, his father wasn’t cool. He sees a kindred spirit in Walt – both were raised by people who didn’t want them; both of them are “special” in a certain way; neither one of them wants to leave the island and had done violent things to sabotage efforts to leave.


Rebecca T. said...

First post! yeah!

I'll be back at the commercial, but I wanted to get in first (yes, I'm immature that way)

Now to SYTYCD finale!

Kate said...

I LOVE Jin. I just have to get that out now. I started liking him pretty early on but by this episode there was really no turning back. Jin has been one of my favorite characters ever since.


**I just realized for the first time that the episode is supposed to be a play on "Lost in Translation" but it's "Lost: ...In Translation". I felt really stupid because I'd been pondering what a weird title "...In Translation" was ever since I first saw it and only just now figured it out. I was like "what's with the ellipsis? Dude--Lost...In Translation. Bugger."

**Nikki--you said Boone's shirt means 84....what the heck is that supposed to mean? Is it just a play on the Numbers or do you think it means something else?

**I think that Sun was actually speaking English, the look on Jin's face seemed blank and angry--like he was insulted that she was again humiliate him by speaking in words he can't understand.

** I was thinking the exact same thing as you Nikki about Sawyer kidnapping Jin! In fact, I just rewatched that episode in season five a few days ago!

**That ending was hilarious! Oh I love Hurley!

Casey S. Pitman said...

I'm finally caught up with the rest of the group.

I like how Sun has mastered the “slap-n-stare” maneuver in this episode. This is where Sun suddenly slaps someone in the face and then stares him down dramatically. She gets both Michael and Jin in this episode, and I’m pretty sure Jin gets a couple more slap-n-stares on down the road. I know she also gets both Sawyer and Juliet with the slap-n-stare, and I think she may have gotten Ben once but I’m not certain.

JW said...

Loved the episode.

Just to throw in my two cents about Sun's English, my interpretation (at least for now) is that she can no longer keep silent about her plan to leave him... she's upset and bursting to say something about it; but at the same time she can't bring herself to say it in Korean so he'll understand her and be hurt all the more.

Joan Crawford said...

What is up with the whole Walt thing? Is he relevant? I find it hard to believe, especially after John went back and then didn't bother to recruit him. I love Jin but I love that Sun is secretly even more badass than he is. Sun is stone cold when she needs to be and I love her for it.

Joan Crawford said...

@Casey: Haha! The Slap-N-Stare! She is the queen of that, isn't she? I too think she was speaking in English.

Jazzygirl said...

I think she IS speaking in English because she's not brave enough to say it in Korean. My interpretation of that scene is that she's SO frustrated that she lashes out at him...but doesn't want to go to the point of no return so she says it in English. However, her eyes well up as she's saying it. Then she reverts to Korean. That's when Jin's eyes well up too. But no matter what language you speak, you can feel the emotion of a speech like that. So I think he felt her emotions rather than understood her words.
And hats off to Daniel Dae Kim for really looking like he doesn't understand English.
Yes, I also thought about that scene between Sawyer and Jin. I thought, "how weird that they'll be best buds soon enough". You could actually say that about most of the characters who are fighting right now.

humanebean said...

Powerful, powerful stuff. I found myself wondering, as we watched the scene of Jin returning to their apt. covered in blood - is this the first time we see the same scene replayed a second time from someone else's perspective? If so, it's certainly not the last.

Nik, I think that Sun speaks Korean to Jin when she confesses that she was going to leave him. You are dead on that Jin passing in front of the camera acts as the wipe to transition us to a non-subtitled version of their conversation, ala Sayid in his flashback. I find this more resonant and meaningful - Jin stands looking impassive while our heart breaks for him as he hears Sun say that she was going to leave him.

All the while HE knows that he planned to keep them both in America to try and save their marriage ... although he certainly will be given pause to reconsider this plan when he has his encounter with Mr. Paik's hireling in the men's room at the Sydney airport. This is LOST at its best, boys and girls ... playing with our heads and our perspective on the characters and rewarding us with insight and emotion.

Anonymous said...

I was charmed this time with how much Michael has grown as a father. He is much more supportive of Walt and speaks to him without being so curt. It also struck me that Michael burned Walt’s comic book, and in return Walt burns Michael’s raft. Then they both appear to have the animosity out of their systems. To bad they must part so soon.

Jin tried to be two people, one the loving husband, the other a good employee and failed to do either one well. It was heart breaking when Jin is called away from the special dinner when we know his actions will tear their marriage to pieces.

I remember a scene where Sawyer comments: “Saw that coming.”, but I can not remember exactly when. It really is like a book end to Hurley saying “Didn’t see that coming.”, when Sun reveals she speaks English.


JennM said...

Nikki, I love your comment about Hurley's Discman. I wonder if he brought an Mp3 player with him for his second trip to the island, or if decided against it since he he'd have a hard time charging it.
Maybe that's one reason (among many, including all proxy theories) that he brought a guitar with him. Perhaps he thought he'd make his own music. :P
I bet Hurley's iPod would have a few songs by Geronimo Jackson, and the entire DriveShaft catalog!

Jazzygirl said...

Oh I forgot to say this before: I was always under the impression that Hurley found the discman? Did we see him with it on the plane?
Celandine, I think you're thinking of when Bernard and Rose get reunited and Sawyer makes a similar comment about him being white and not black. (One of my fav moments. LOL!)

Rebecca T. said...

Okay, so didn't make it back till after the show...

My feeling is that Sun was speaking English. Mainly, because she switches back at the one point. IMO it is much more powerful if she is speaking English.

I want to know if it was Paik or Jin that put off the honeymoon. Whichever one did it is a jerk and a meanie (to be mild) to Sun. Hate it!

You know, as I watched the raft burn down, all I could think of was that Spongebob video that someone did with Sawyer and Jack and the line "F is for Fire that burns down the whole town!"

When Boone gives Sayid the whole speech about Shannon I noticed 2 things...1: he can't follow his own advice and 2: Sayid was kind of a wimp to just take Boone's word and dump Shannon like that.

Locke helps almost every main character one on one. Boone, Charlie, Shannon, Claire, Jack... I think there's more. But I don't think he ever helps Kate or Sawyer. I don't think it has any significance, I just think it's interesting.

Here Sawyer is the sheriff! He goes after the fugitive and brings him in for justice. I found it interesting that he didn't just attack Jin, but brought him back for "trial".

I really liked the way they turn the sound away and show you the situation from Jin's perspective.

I LOVE! Jin's father.

And did you notice that Hurley's really racking up his debt to Walt? It's now $83,000! :)

I think Hurley has the CD player because that's the kind of person he is. He seems like the kind of person who would hang onto a CD player rather than getting an MP3 player or something. Maybe it was a gift or just was comfortable to him.

That being said, I remember the first time I saw this episode I actually checked to see if I had bumped something. I thought I had turned the music off.

Ali Bags said...

@Nikki LOL! Great minds think alike, I thought the exact same thing about the key round Jack's neck. It is screaming "I AM IN CHARGE!" (It's interesting how that cord round his neck is really tight, to symbolise his controlling nature no doubt - I wish someone would yank on it really hard.)

'O' is one of my all time favourite albums too.

Susan said...

It's pretty appalling that most of the people let Michael beat up a guy who couldn't defend himself (verbally). They broke up the Sayid-Sawyer fight, and Jin beating up Michael, but they didn't stop this one. No proof of wrongdoing, no attempt to get the truth.

At first when I watched the mobisode, I thought it was funny, but by the end I felt so bad for Jin and his frustration at not being able to communicate.

The end of the episode gives us the beginning of the Michael-Jin friendship that few of us probably saw coming.

John blames the Others for the raft burning even though he knows Walt did it. Reminds me of how he practically accused Sawyer of conking Sayid on the head when John did it himself.

I always thought the dress Sun wears in the flashback was a wedding dress, until I saw The Incident. I guess she changed into another dress for the reception?

The Question Mark said...

After re-watching this episode, I can honestly say it ranks up there now among some of the all-time best for me, right up there with Walkabout. If you disagree, just watch it again:
all the characters' different issues, and how they're resolved; the poignant and powerful scenes between Jin & Sun, bookended by Sun's bikini scenes (she was trapped in the first scene, then free by the last one); the flashbacks, each one giving deeper insight into what drives Jin to be the way he is; and, of course, the final musical montage, complete with Hurley's classic "Son of a bitch" moment.
Bloody FANTASTIC episode.

Rebecca T. said...

@Susan: I always thought the dress Sun wears in the flashback was a wedding dress, until I saw The Incident. I guess she changed into another dress for the reception?

That's my guess - and I noticed especially because I love her dress in "The Incident" and absolutely DETEST the one here.

@Nikki & Ali Bags: the key round Jack's neck. It is screaming "I AM IN CHARGE!"

This is jumping ahead a little bit, but in "Do No Harm" when Jack is bending over Boone the key is dangling right there in major prominence - There's this crazy juxtaposition of being the one in charge of the guns and his frantic desire to save everybody's life.

Anonymous said...

Love Jin's dad; he's so sweet, so humble and so forgiving. It explains a lot about Jin to know he was raised by this man.

I agree, Nikki, with what you said in your book: it's all the more heart-rending to know what Jin is actually saying while Michael is beating the crap out of him. And I'm really, REALLY ticked at Walt in this episode for allowing it to happen and not speaking up.

Here again we see Locke acting completely out of character from the person he was "back home." His encounter with Smokey changed him somehow; he knows things he shouldn't know (how did he know Walt burned the raft?) and knows exactly what to do to help people (getting Charlie off drugs, getting Shannon together with Sayid, freeing Boone of Shannon's grip, etc etc). That wimpy box-company grunt who let his dad take advantage of him over and over again is definitely not this person. I still wonder if Locke became faux-Locke as early as Season 1.

Susan said...

LOL at SonshineMusic, I prefer her dress in this episode to the one in The Incident...I thought this one was a Korean version of a wedding dress.

After seeing the ceremony in The Incident, I understand now that when Jin comes to see her and says "my wife" they are probably already married.

Azá said...

I love it when Jin goes mental speaking in Korean - makes me laugh!

What I like about this season is the cast and how we still have a few stories running at the same time.

It's unlike season 5 where we pretty much only get one plot per ep or one plot with a teaser of another story at the end.

Rebecca T. said...

@studiorose: I'm really, REALLY ticked at Walt in this episode for allowing it to happen and not speaking up.

I was too, but then I really started thinking about it.

I had a random thought. We know that Walt is special. He can visualize things and cause them to happen (throwing the knife, fixing the die, etc.). I wonder if he actually meant to burn the raft or if he just got so upset about leaving and angry with his dad that he caused the raft to burn without actually having to bring a torch to it.

It would explain why he's so kind of shaken by the whole thing, why he feels such regret right away and why he wouldn't speak up. He's scared by what he's done and doesn't know how he could ever explain that he made the raft spontaneously combust.

There's no real evidence to back this up and it doesn't really matter in the big scheme, but I just started wondering.

It also might explain why Locke knew he had done it and approaches him the way he does. It would be one more way that he sees Walt as special.

Susan said...

Aza I agree with your season 5 comment, when the season ended, I kept thinking, well we didnt' see much of so and so this season (Des and Dan for example), and I realized that most episodes concentrated on one plot and mostly one person, unlike the first 2 seasons.

Nikki Stafford said...

Katey: I don't know if you have them or not, and this isn't just me flogging my product, but you should check out my Finding Lost books. Many of your observations are the very things I pointed out back then... I think we're definitely kindred spirits in the way we watch this show! :)

Interesting takes on the English vs. Korean, everyone!

Something else I wanted to mention that many of you might not remember if you weren't watching Lost when it was on, was that there was a rampant theory among the fans that Jin actually did speak English and was putting everyone on. The scene in this episode where we hear what everyone else's words sound like to Jin (which was BRILLIANT, by the way) was the first time it had been confirmed to us that he didn't speak English at all.

humanebean: I agree: this episode is one of my faves of season 1. As I said in my book, we discover in this ep that Jin was also planning to leave, but the difference was, his plan included Sun.

Nikki Stafford said...

Susan & Sonshine: Actually, the dress she's getting into in this episode is her after-dress -- you can see the wedding dress hanging on a mannequin right next to her. I used to think it was her wedding dress until I noticed that sitting in the corner (that and Jin saying "Can I talk to my wife?" like they're already married.)

However, as I will point out in my S5 book when it's out (I'm giving away all my secrets here!!) it's still an oops. The dress on the mannequin has straps -- the one in "The Incident" is strapless. And when Sun's in the greeting line she's not wearing the high-collared number she's putting on in this episode. So that's a major continuity error.

Nikki Stafford said...

studiorose: I know... when you know what Jin is really saying (and that unlike what it appears, he's not actually taunting Michael) it's very sad. I have the full translation in my book.

Sonshine: I've wondered the same thing, whether Walt causes the fire by accident. It's the thing his father needs the most on this island (besides people and food and animals). The thing Walt needed most was that comic book, and Michael set IT on fire.

Gillian Whitfield said...

I love it when Hurley's walkman breaks at the end. I'm currently on "Everybody Hates Hugo", due to my crazy busy two weeks to come. First I'm going to the cottage for a week, (from the 8-15) then I'm coming home for all of one night, then I'm going to Ottawa for about a week. I'll try to find a Walkman and all of the CDs that Hurley has.

When I watched this way back in July at my cousin's house (it was my uncle's first time, my aunt and cousin have successfully gotten him onto Lost), my uncle said that "maybe Walt willed the raft to spontaneously catch fire".

Susan said...

Nikki good catch on the wedding dress, I will look for it next time.

When I started watching Lost, I thought Jin spoke English because I couldn't see two Korean-only speaking characters lasting that long. I never figured on Sun being the one that spoke English.

I still think Walt did it on purpose because he tells John he didn't want to leave the island.

Kate said...

Nikki: I know, trust me I'm going to get my hands on those books soon--my birthday's coming up in a couple of months (18!) and I'm going to be trying to shovel in as much Lost related gifting as I can =P. Every time I go to Borders I spend at least an hour reading bits and pieces of your books! They're great!

I'm lovin' the Walt/fiery-doom-vision theory! That's a great thought and I definitely think that, at the time of the first season when Walt was still a main character, that the theory could have been true! At this point though I feel like Walt's plot is going to be mostly just pity-answers from the writers, so, it's hard to tell what they're going to say and not say. :/

V said...

Nikki, Thanks for putting in the "Missing Piece" clip. It's been awhile since I've seen it. And it was great to see it now, in the proper timeline of the show. I'd love it if you could put all of them in as we go along.

Anonymous said...

On the MP3 player question -

I never assumed the CD player was Hurley's. I assumed he found it in the wreckage, which just means someone on the plan had a CD player, not just him.

Benny said...

It's interesting how both Locke and Walt like it on the island, but it's ultimately Locke's actions which will lead Walt to want to leave

Anyone remember that Hurley had his CD player in the hotel with his speaker plugged into the wall and overcharged the local supply, causing him to almost miss his flight?

(sorry if it's been explained on a future post)

crazyinlost said...

I just started watching lost about a year ago, when it came on SyFy (was SciFi at the time) channel for the first time. This episode was not the first I saw, but was the first that really stood out to me and made me go, "This show is unbelievably awsome!"

@Nikki- "Jin throw a tantrum on the golf course" is my all-time favorite Missing Pieces ep. Love when at the end Jin says, "I'm so alone".

The montage at the end of this ep. is in my top 5 fav's. I love how they show Charlie bring Claire her tea, and she is leaning back with her big ol' pregnant belly sticking out, then you see Hurley leaning back in the SAME WAY, with his big ol' NOT pregnant belly sticking out!! I just love Hurley!
I hope they do some montages in season six, just for old times sake.

Juanita's Journal said...

Sawyer kicking Jin and then holding up a knife to him seems SO weird now.

It also reminded me that more than any other character, Sawyer had a penchant for using violence in order to indulge his vindictive behavior. This is a habit that remained with him until the last season.

Juanita's Journal said...

Here again we see Locke acting completely out of character from the person he was "back home." His encounter with Smokey changed him somehow; he knows things he shouldn't know (how did he know Walt burned the raft?) and knows exactly what to do to help people (getting Charlie off drugs, getting Shannon together with Sayid, freeing Boone of Shannon's grip, etc etc).

Locke didn't really help Charlie get over a drug habit. He tried to manipulate Charlie into doing so, via force of will. His efforts backfired in S2, when Charlie made the final effort to deal with his addiction . . . on his own terms. Terms that Locke could not deal with.

RosieP said...
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RosieP said...
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RosieP said...

Did you notice Jack wearing that damn key around his neck still? It makes me angry every time I see it. Thank goodness we lost that.

Why is that a problem for you? Is it a symbol of Jack's controlling nature? What about Locke's penchant for manipulating others?

I love how quiet Locke gets when he tells Walt that no, his father wasn’t cool. He sees a kindred spirit in Walt – both were raised by people who didn’t want them.

Walt's situation was not that similar to Locke's. The only person who really did not want Walt was his stepfather, Brian. His mother and father practically fought over him. And Michael's reluctance to raise Walt following Susan's death was mainly do to his insecurities as a parent with no experience.