SEPTEMBER 30, 2010
AIRDATE: DECEMBER 1, 2004
We return from our first Lost hiatus! There was a week off in between “Solitary” and “Raised By Another”, and such gaps would become common over this and the next two seasons, resulting in unbroken (and shorter) seasons that started in January, where there would be no breaks except for extreme cases (like the President talking or something). It’s sort of fitting that the episode would focus on Claire, who would be the first main cast member to take hiatuses from the show, not appearing for several episodes at a time.
Of course, Claire was always one of the least interesting “pre-Island” characters, as there wasn’t much intrigue or mystery with her past, except for the identity of her father, which wasn’t a mystery really, but rather something they decided to reveal to us in a later season. In fact, the one legit mystery about her was why her “psychic” told her to get on this specific plane, when we later find out he’s a fraud – and that is something they never bother to explain. Good work, guys. I actually distinctly recall this being the first time I ever fell asleep watching the show, as a result of "resting my eyes" during her rather generic flashbacks revolving around her boyfriend and adoption drama.
But this episode is the rare time that the A and B stories connect in a meaningful way (it’s also the first time a character has a “current time” voice-over for one of their flashbacks, I think). While Claire is being attacked and being hit on by Charlie, Hurley is trying to build up a roster of who’s who, putting names to faces and such. The subplot is mostly played for laughs, due to Jorge Garcia’s oft-improvised responses and lack of tact (calling Ethan by his wrong name, for example). It also has a wonderful little moment where he walks over to Sawyer and manages to get what he wants with no resistance on Sawyer’s part. In fact, Sawyer actually seems impressed and sort of charmed by the exchange, and it’s the beginning of their fan-pleasing bromance (all time favorite Sawyer moment – “If you hurt one hair on his curly head...”).
But then Hurley realizes that Ethan Rom (as everyone knows, this is an anagram for "Other Man". But it’s also one for "Hate Norm", which I think should be explored as well) wasn’t on the plane, just as Ethan turns full villain in front of Charlie and Claire. It also coincides with the return of Sayid, who is babbling about the French woman and the other stuff he learned. It’s the most tense the show has been in several weeks, frankly.
We also get a funny little bit about “Scott and Steve”, a running joke in the form of two sock characters that would ultimately die (one early on, the other I assume during the season 5 massacre). I could never tell them apart, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the producers switched their identities around just for fun. But at least they had names; we never found out much about the 25 or so other folks.
Another thing I liked about this episode was that it kicked Charlie’s affection for Claire into full gear. In early promos for the show (perhaps due to his LOTR fame), Charlie/Dom Monaghan was featured prominently, as if he was just as big a character as Jack (he’s up there in the Season 1 image I used to make the banner! And don’t think I haven’t noticed the visual “irony” of me being between the real-life couple), but he hasn’t been given much to do (even in his own episode) that didn’t involve his drug addiction. It’s nice to see a different, and quite sweet, side to the character, and Monaghan seems much more comfortable playing the lovestruck guy than a junkie. His fondness for Claire (which was sadly never equally returned, in my opinion) would culminate in one of the show’s all time best episodes (“Greatest Hits”), and watching this one again makes me sort of dread having to re-watch the episodes where she was afraid of him due to his drug habit. I wanted these two to be happy forever, dammit!
Good episode (on the island anyway). Worth the original wait.
Where are we?