OCTOBER 1, 2010
AIRED: DECEMBER 8, 2004
Unsurprisingly, Jack was the first character to get a 2nd "centric" episode, even though many characters (Hurley, Michael, Jin...) still hadn't even had one. And the flashbacks in "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues" aren't as strongly tied to the island story as previous episodes had been; we learn in the very first flashback that Jack doesn't quit easily, which will factor into the final segment of the episode, but otherwise, the story about him being the worst son in the world has little ties, thematically or otherwise, to the island story, which concerns a rescue mission for Charlie and Claire.
But it's a damn powerful backstory all the same, plus gives us the first interplay between Matthew Fox and John Terry, which would be one of the highlights of the show, in my opinion. Most of their exchanges were strained, but both actors were always on their A-game for these scenes, and despite the abundance of father issues on the show, theirs is the only one that I would consider fully fleshed out. The scene where Christian manipulates Jack into signing the false report by actually complimenting him for once is heartbreaking, and it's just a taste of things to come.
We also learn, or at least get hints, about a number of other characters this week. Hurley alludes to being rich, Kate talks about her father, Locke reveals he works for a box factory, and Boone reveals both the nature of his business (wedding dresses) and his familiarity with Star Trek, which foreshadows stuff both on-show (his death) and off (JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof being part of the team that resurrected Trek's big screen franchise, 5 years later).
The hatch also makes its first appearance, which seems kind of early now that I think about it, since it would take the rest of the season (we're not even halfway through it) to open the goddamn thing. What gives, Locke? Locke also begins to display his animosity towards Jack this week, looking about 2 seconds away from kicking his ass throughout most of their scenes together. But he's typical Locke with Boone, showing off his uncanny "Island" skills (predicting the rain) and making odd, dry jokes. And his response to the "red shirt" phenomenon is classic in every way shape and form.
Oh and Charlie dies for a little bit, only for Jack to pull an Abyss and beat the piss out of him until he resuscitates. It's a great sequence - Kate's reaction is still pretty gut-wrenching, even when I know he'll be OK for another 60 or so episodes. Plus, Lost was the rare show where I never really believed anyone was safe (besides Jack and Kate), so scenes like this worked perfectly the first time around. As anyone who reads Horror Movie A Day knows, I am very critical of movies that constantly put people in danger when we know they can't die, so those rare occasions that it works (i.e. I'm not sure if they will make it) are truly appreciated.
No unanswered questions this week, unless you count Walt's suspicious "luck" at backgammon as another sign of his "special"-ness, which of course we never got an answer for. However, according to the Lost wikipedia, the show takes place on their 16th day on the island, which means if I had stuck to my initial plan (to watch each episode on the date it took place), I wouldn't be watching this one until October 8th. Maybe I should take that approach after all - October's already in full swing, and finding time for this plus a daily horror movie is just going to get harder.
Where are we?