OCTOBER 25, 2010
AIRED: SEPTEMBER 21, 2005
As I learned today on the Lostpedia, “Man of Science, Man of Faith” is actually the highest rated episode of Lost ever, attracting around 23 million people (the lowest was a S5 episode with only 8 million viewers. Of course it would be those numbers). I can’t help but wonder: if the episode was a little more satisfying, would that have remained the case? Because while it’s a perfectly good episode in the grand scheme of things, not a lot happens in this, and so some of these new viewer might have been like “this is what I’ve heard about? Screw this!” and then resumed CSI or whatever they found more compelling.
Really, all that happens in this episode is our three main characters go into a hole and meet a guy. We don’t know anything about the raft, or the Others, or why Michelle Rodriquez had been added to the main cast. Future season premieres would follow this mold, unfortunately – the finale would have three cliffhangers, but the premiere would only address one of them. It’s one of those things that made even die hard fans a bit antsy, so it’s easy to see why the numbers started dwindling from here on out.
Even the flashback is anticlimactic. Will Jack make this woman walk again? Um, yes, because already heard the bulk of this story in his last episode, which detailed their wedding. Not that it’s bad – it’s nice to have Sarah’s “I will dance at my wedding” take on a new meaning, and Julie Bown and Matthew Fox have terrific chemistry together (we also get another one of those prized civil moments between Fox and John Terry, with Christian trying to get his son to be a bit more optimistic), but for an opener, it doesn’t really charge out of the gate.
Plus, the biggest revelation (besides that Sarah's accident involved Shannon's dad, something I missed the first time around) is that the guy in the hatch is someone Jack met before, but this moment arrives so late in the episode (and Henry Ian Cusick is too good of an actor to not stick out a bit anyway) that it comes across as a bit clunky. They would have done better to make him more of a presence throughout the flashbacks, so we could just think he was a good actor in a guest turn (like Evan Handler in Hurley’s upcoming “Dave” episode). But it’s near the end of the episode and this guy suddenly takes center stage in Jack’s flashback – of COURSE he’s the guy in the hatch!
I also like the little callbacks to previous episodes (Kate counting as she went down the rope), and I LOVE that Locke sat around waiting for her, because he knew she would come. It’s in this season that we really start to get a sense for how well these people know each other; we feel that they actually have a life outside of the events of an episode. I also love Hurley’s conversation with Jack about his terrible bedside manner. Hurley would become a more fully rounded (pun not intended) character this season, and I couldn’t be happier about that.
One thing I noticed as I watch everything back to back (though yes, you may have noticed I took a day off between S1 and S2 – I’m swamped here! Have you seen my new column at Badass Digest?) – Rose was pretty much completely absent throughout the season. She was never a fulltime cast member, but they usually included her in premiere/finales. However she is nowhere to be found, and I can’t remember if she does appear again until Bernard appears in a few episodes. I’m not sure if L. Scott Caldwell ever got any acting nominations for her role here, but if not she was robbed. I always loved her wonderfully optimistic and yet to the point, no-bullshit missives toward the others. Seriously, was any moment on the show as awesome as when she told them to leave her and Bernard (and Vincent!) alone because they were sick of dealing with all their nonsense? Amazing.
My memories of season 2 are probably my weakest, because it’s been about four years since I watched it. Also, Season 2 is the only one I didn't rewatch before rewatching the season that just came to DVD (usual tradition for DVD was to watch the previous season, i.e. if Season 4 was coming out on DVD, I'd rewatch Season 3 before rewatching Season 4 to prepare for Season 5). So it’ll be fun seeing all of the adventure again with less than fresh memories. I do recall that the season had more action (and sex!) than the others, so that’s good. Also, pretty soon: Ben!
Where are we?