SEPTEMBER 29, 2010
AIRDATE: NOVEMBER 17, 2004
One of my all time favorite movies is Cast Away, which is actually what drew my attention to Lost in the first place (a “Fall TV Preview” billed it as “Cast Away meets The X-Files”), so I was sort of excited for “Solitary”, because I thought it would be the start of a multi-episode storyline of Sayid living on his own, finding food and shelter without the help of the others, stuff like that. You know, like Cast Away, but without the volleyball.
But the plot lasts roughly 19 seconds. The episode opens with him taking a break, looking at poorly composited in photos of Nadia (I assume they didn’t have her cast at the time they shot the scene?), and then he looks over and sees the cable that leads him to Rousseau. Good spot for a break I guess! Oh wait, everything happens for a reason. Either way, it would have been nice to see him on his own a bit longer – for all we know this is the first time he even stopped (though Kate says he’s been gone two days – which means that this is the first time we’ve skipped over a full day), and it would be a while before we’d learn how far the cable was from the beach (and even longer until we found out what it was for).
Rousseau is of course the first person we see on the island that wasn’t part of the crash (at least, so we think – more on that in a bit), and revealed as the speaker on the recording. Our first big mystery solved! Remember how we thought all mysteries would only take 5-6 episodes to get resolved? We were so young and trusting... Mira Furlan would continue to pop up at random throughout the show’s run, once to hilarious effect (collecting dynamite) but usually just to help along some plot thread. She was always a welcome presence, however – I would have loved an episode devoted to her throughout the years.
The B plot is a rare “light” story about Hurley building a golf course, mainly as a means of allowing everyone to have a little fun so that they didn’t go crazy from all the bad stuff (Jorge Garcia’s delivery of “How?” when Jack says that things could be worse is award-worthy). It’s a rare treat to see everyone having fun, and allows for a nice moment for Sawyer, who makes a bet (against Jack of course) using some of his much-coveted supply of sunscreen, which I always took as him more or less giving it away as a nice gesture. Of course, we never find out who won (I don’t think?). Let’s assume Jack sunk his putt and Sawyer happily gave away 2 tubes of sunscreen to Boone and Kate, while calling them random names.
We also get introduced to Ethan (William Mapother), who like all non original cast members, would be clumsily shoe-horned in as if they were someone that was there all along. It’s something the show never really got good at (Nikki and Paulo being the most clunky), so it sort of spoiled Ethan’s villainy before it even happened, but oh well. They don’t waste too much time trying to get you thinking he’s a good guy though; I think it’s revealed in the next episode. Either way: our first Other! Yay!
I didn’t really mention Sayid’s backstory – it’s a good thing they did it, because it made him a sympathetic character again after last week’s torture sequence. Who doesn’t feel bad for a guy who just wanted to help out a childhood sweetheart? It’s also a good example of how amazing the production design team was on this show – with very rare exceptions, they never left Hawaii to film anything, yet the show depicted (fairly realistically) Iraq, Australia, New York, Los Angeles, Korea... you watch shows like CSI: NY and anyone can tell you that they're actually in Los Angeles, but I was often fooled here. Nice work, folks!
Where are we?