Lost in Retrospect: House of the Rising Sun

A step back from the mythology, but a fantastic showcase of two of the show’s most talented yet underrated actors.

For a refresh on the episode, I suggest you visit Lostpedia’s excellent Wiki page.

I’ve been holding off in heaping mountains of praise on Yunjin Kim and Daniel Dae Kim because I knew this episode was coming, where they’d be front and centre. Well, here it is. And you know what? Kim and Kim are both absolutely phenomenal actors. I was floored when I learned that Daniel Dae Kim doesn’t speak Korean, considering that it isn’t ’till season 2 that he gets any dialogue in English. These two characters are as grounded and well-developed as anyone else in the cast, which is a bloody miracle and a testament to their skills when you considering all their scenes consist of them essentially babbling to the other characters or just talking with one another. Sun’s final flashback to the airport, with Jin and the flower, her tears, her decision… one of the most heartbreaking, telling things, all without  dialogue, just straight-up brilliant acting. Bravo, I say. Bravo.

This was the episode that had me convinced Michael and Sun would eventually get together after everyone realised what a jerk Jin was. Boy, that didn’t turn out how I expected.

Adam and Eve… I remember fixating on this detail a lot the first time I watched through the show, especially after the time-travelling began, because it wasn’t long after this episode aired that Damon declared how important Adam and Eve would be. Not necessarily to the myth-arc, but as a touchstone for how much of the show’s epic, sprawling, complex story had been plotted out from the get-go. Rewatching this episode, I realise that the entire idea–two dead bodies with two stones–is just so vague that you could fit almost anything in there, though I’ll give serious props to anyone who saw this ep the first time and declared “it’s evil!Deadwood guy and evil!CJ”. But Locke’s declaration of them being Adam and Eve definitely fits with the show’s tone in the first few seasons, that recurring theme of things being infinitely deeper and more complex than the Losties even considered. Which isn’t a failure of imagination at this point in the show–five episodes in, the show is basically still “Castaway: the ensemble series!” with a few touches of weirdness thrown in. I love how the show was constantly able to pull back from the world of Lost and make realise how much bigger it is than we ever guessed, but I’ll touch on that more in season 2 reviews.

We get more of Locke as the spiritual guru in this episode. The first half of season 1 was really the character’s best time, when he got to be an unofficial leader, standing next to Jack rather than opposite him. He got to dispense advice and wisdom, and wound up with people like Charlie and later Boone hanging on his every word. What went wrong? …oh, yeah, right. The Hatch.

And of course, this is the episode where we get the major split of this season. It’s not an out-and-out conflict as later seasons will be, but still a huge event in the show, especially in the wake of Jack’s “live together, die alone” speech in the previous episode. …and I really don’t have anything else to say about it.

A very strong episode, showcasing some of the show’s more awesome-yet-underrated actors. Not much in the mythology stakes, but I loved seeing Sun and Jin get a bit more development, and the split in the Losties would define the show for years to come.

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