Monday, July 06, 2015

LOST AGAIN (S1E1) Series Re-Watch - Season 1, Episode 1, "Pilot, Pt. 1"

LOST was a revolutionary television show that aired on ABC from 2004-2010. Utilizing unique storytelling techniques, an extensive mythology and capitilizing on the burgeoning social media scene to boost popularity, the LOST experience can now be viewed as a whole. I will be attempting to re-watch the entire series episode by episode, and will comment on each episode in terms of the complete story - foreshadowing, recurring motifs and character growth. I hope you enjoy the commentary and watch along with me.

DAY 1-2

(00:00) Jack opens his eyes for the first time  - we see the very first instance of a very common recurring motif. Also Vincent's first appearance, a common supernatural--ish element.

Strange unidentified shoe hanging from tree. First odd out of place element. I believe it turns out to belong to Christian Shepherd. 

Jack breaking through trees to get to beach and seeing entire devastation of plane crash one of series' finest visual elements, only a minute or so into the entire series. Really sets the tone of the show,  Demonstrated right off that this was no ordinary TV show. Very cinematic.

Jack as leader, Jack As doctor, Jack as savior established very early in series. Jack has the plan, Jack will carry it out and ask others to help him.

Charlie Pace wandering near engines is the first of the rest of the major characters seen. He will eventually drown in the underwater hatch. Next Jin is trying to get help for Sun. Michael yelling for Walt (of course). Shannon is wandering in a daze screaming her head off. Various secondary characters running around yelling to each other.

First time we see Locke he is, of course, ambulatory but at the time that means nothing to us. More importantly he and Jack are actually working together to save a passenger.

Next we have our first glimpse of Claire, very pregnant, calling for help.

Constant up-and-down whining of the engine is a huge tension builder. You kind of don't know what it is exactly or what it represents but it's a huge,menacing mechanical noise.  Huge, menacing mechanical noises will become a recurring motif.

Boone giving CPR to Rose.  Or trying to. 

First on screen death as a passenger is sucked into engine and engine explodes. Again extremely cinematic production values.

Hurley wanders aimlessly help Jack take care of Claire. Jack finally gives his name, becoming the first character to be named out loud.

Boone is an idiot. A bit of a buffoon. I think Boone got really short-changed on the show.

Charlie almost killed by falling debris. Almost as if he was charmed. So far Jack has been responsible for saving at least four lives, maybe more.

First Hurley, "Dude!."  First of many.

I realize that, except for Sawyer, Kate, Hurley, Claire and Rose, not a single person in this set of scenes survives the whole series. 

(7:37) When credits finally start, the action slows down into a more dreamlike state. Jack wanders in slow motion through the burning wreckage  We also begin to see passengers still in fuselage who never made it out. Calm moments can be more tragic than tense ones.

Only when immediate danger over does Jack start thinking of his own injuries. At this point we still have not seen Sawyer, Kate, Sayid, Walt, or Sun.

First shot of Jack's tattoos, and his injuries. His scene with Kate is his first real scene with anyone in the show and establishes the beginning of his series-long relationship with Kate from the very beginning. Kate wanders out of the jungle which sets up questions about her whereabouts later on. Note she is rubbing her wrists - she was in handcuffs until recently. Spare bottle of alcohol from plane comes in handy, we'll see why Jack has it also later on.

Sawyer a bad boy from the start. Stubble, cigarette, bad disposition. Pilot haircut an anomaly but we'll forgive that.  This is his only scene in the whole first episode.

Claire with her seemingly-18-month-old-yet-still-unborn baby stands staring into the surf at sunset. Hurley tries to be useful. Locke is no doubt wondering why he has his legs back. First appearance of Sayid helping with fire and striking up friendship with Charlie. Rose longs for Bernard.

Jack tells Kate the surgery story that will help later in the episode and seasons down the road. Not only to help Kate conquer fear, but to get them out of a jam. The incident affected Jack very deeply, but we don't know at this point his father's involvement.

Charlie writes "FATE" on his fingers. We know so far only that he is British.

Shannon is painting her toenails, talks to Boone. We don't know yet their relationship but it is antagonistic. 

Hurley and Claire friendship established early. Also Hurley's general good nature and helpfulness. And generosity, as we don't know anything yet about his lottery winnings or belief that he's unlucky.

Young Walt sleeps under Michaels supervision. Walt is so small compared to where he ends up! Michael suggested as doting father.

Jin's domineering attitude over Sun is a character trait that just sort of goes away as the series progresses. But it's laid on thick early on. I'll be interested to pinpoint where and why his attitude shifts. 

We know the seriously injured man in the suit that Jack is tending to is the FBI agent that was with Kate. But it isn't hinted at yet that Kate was with him, only that she was sitting next to him.

First indication the tail section and nose section broke off and landed somewhere else on the island.  We will find the nose section before the end of the episode, but the Tailies are still a season away.

Crashing and roaring of smoke monster in jungle first sign that something supernatural is on the island. I know I thought for a long time it was going to be some kind of mechanical creature, but of course i was proven wrong.  Falling trees is red herring, we never really see a need for the smoke monster to shake or topple trees, being insubstantial. Fear of loud noise is what draws the main cast together for the first time looking in to the jungle, united in their sense of danger.

(21:16) First flashback of the series - Jack on the plane. Jack flirts with Cindy gets the extra alcohol. It's pretty obvious it's a flashback.  Flight attendants rushing by synchs with Charlie's time on the plane. We find out Rose's husband has gotten out of his seat. When playing really starts shaking for real even though we know what his happened on the ground in the hatch, it's interesting to watch passengers reactions who have no idea what's coming. This flashback sequence is seen numerous times from other peoples perspectives throughout the series, especially the first two seasons.  You can also pinpoint this moment as establishing a  storytelling technique that will dominate televised media for the next 10+ years.

Locke's "mouth orange" trick to Kate early indicator he is a strange person. Although he doesn't end up as strange as he is portrayed early in the show. He comes off as almost a wise mystic in the first couple of episodes but that's not really true. Of course he is supremely blissful about his newly healed legs.

Return of monster sounds in jungle, along with Jack, Kate, and Charlie on a rescue mission set up Jurassic Park like adventure.

(30:13) Still living Seth the pilot is necessary to provide some exposition that other characters would have no way of knowing.  It's still a mystery how the plane could have been blown 1000 miles off course. Even with all the explanations of what happened on the island in the hatch, this still makes no real sense. 1000 miles is still a long, long distance.

Charlie disappears to look for his heroin, although we don't know that yet of course. First of many incidents when someone's actions make no sense at the time, but are explained later.

Poor pilot. Even though we find out later a lot about the smoke monster's motivations and evil nature - although that's debatable - I still don't quite understand its need to kill. Hopefully that will be made more clear in the rewatch. The pilots abduction through the windshield continues to suggest Jurassic Park like monster, as well as the run through the rain soaked jungle.

Jack can't help but be a hero coming back to rescue Charlie.

Kate seems to be a bit of a screamer early on. She is shown to be very tough in subsequent episodes but seems to be pretty needy in the pilot. First visit to our favorite Banyan tree locale. Kate seems to spend a lot of time there in the future. Here Jack's lessons in fear management come in handy to Kate. 

(39:04) Kate says, "We have to go back for him." Foreshadowing of Jack's famous line to Kate three seasons later.

I'll never understand how a Hawaiian jungle can look just like a hike in the Smokies. It's real, they're actually they're in Hawaii. But it's still a little jarring when you're used to Gilligans Island.

Quick focus on the water reflection of the pilots body in the trees above is a great reveal. Pilots dead and bloody body is still really graphic for television. Even in 2004. Even in 2015.

We know that Desmond is below ground in the hatch. Ben, Juliet and The Others in their full post-Dharma village just watched the plane crash and sent Ethan to infiltrate the survivors. Danielle Rousseau watches for strangers and two workers live below the water in the Looking Glass station.   It's odd to think all these other people are all on the island and we have no clue the survivors are not alone.

Next: "Pilot, Pt. 2"


  1. Did you mention that Abrams used Greg Grunberg in the pilot as a pilot?

    For a while Abrams included Grunberg in some way in many of his projects and it was a bit of a running joke.

  2. I think I remember that now that you mention it.