OCTOBER 7, 2010
AIRED: FEBRUARY 23, 2005
Unwanted reminders of an over-praised Oscar bait-y bore aside, “...In Translation” is another rock solid episode of Lost, effortlessly combining island drama, back-story, and character relationships into a cohesive whole, each element complementing and strengthening the others. It’s a balance not every episode achieved, and even fewer achieved so well. It’s also another strong example of how there was nothing else like Lost on television, since nearly half the episode is in Korean.
It also brings back an element that’s been missing for a few episodes – people beating each other up! I wonder if there’s a site online somewhere that has all the fight stats from the show. Is there any combination of male characters (save the peaceful Hurley) who never had a physical altercation over the show’s run? I can’t recall Charlie ever fighting Ben - that might be about it. This one offers another go around between Michael and Jin, though Michael has the upper hand this time. Sawyer also takes a few shots at him. Looking back, it’s kind of funny to think how some of these folks were the best of friends just a few weeks later. Sawyer’s kicking Jin in the side and tying him up here, but in about 20 island days, he’ll be teaching him the most important things to say to a woman.
Another thing it brings back is Hurley’s Discman, which was a mini-tradition in the early episodes, where he’d be listening to a song over a montage of everyone doing their thing. It would have gotten annoying if they did it in every episode, but I like that they actually gave it a sendoff (his batteries die) instead of just phasing it out. So for those keeping track: the fucking Discman gets a proper final scene, but most of the characters do not. But it’s an oddly sort of grim moment, depicting their hopeless situation in a very unexpected yet perfect way (and there’s no “DONNK” over the final “Lost” title card, which just adds to the uneasy feeling).
We also have the rare instance of a mystery being introduced and resolved in a single episode. They could have dragged the “who burned the raft” thing for a few episodes, but we find out who it is by the end of the 42 minutes, even though Locke is the only one on the show who knows. Speaking of Locke, he gets some great moments in this one despite not having his own little subplot. In addition to his man-to-man with Walt, where he drops the first hint about his father, he also gets one of his funniest lines ever when Shannon gives him a rambling message for Boone (“Should I be writing this down?”).
Back to the Korean thing – I just want to point out a few episodes back I said something about doing a show from Jin’s “perspective”, not being able to understand them. I had completely forgotten about the scene where they did indeed give us a taste of what it was like for him (with everyone basically speaking backwards). You know, it would have been really grating for an entire episode, so my idea was stupid. This was better.
And Sun finally reveals she can speak English! Not sure why she had to hide it for so long once someone knew – she didn’t want Jin to know, but how would he? Someone going to tell him? He wouldn’t understand that either. I also don’t quite get why he’s so angry about it – if he wants to get her off the island, wouldn’t this be beneficial, since now he will have a way to communicate with Michael for the raft-building? Maybe they give a good reason in a few episodes, I can’t remember.
Speaking of their fight, according to Lostpedia, this would be the day (roughly) that Jin and Sun conceived their child, as detailed in Season 3. They chalk it up as a blooper, saying that they had no time, but after she defends him against Michael (during the early part of the day) they go off for a bit, and then apart from when she talks to Michael later, they’re unaccounted for until the raft burns in the middle of the night. – plenty of time for them to get it on. So it fits, even if it was probably just something whoever wrote that later episode didn’t really give a shit about. I know I’d want to put the moves on my wife if she just punched Harold Perrineau in my honor. HOT.
Where are we?