Lost in Retrospect: Born to Run

This episode has much the same purpose as the previous one — pushing headlong towards the season 1 finale — but despite the less-than-compelling Kate flashbacks, I found this episode worked better as a dramatic piece, and the ramp-up towards “Exodus” was being felt in the character dynamics rather than the speed of plot and exposition.

For a refresh on this episode, I suggest you check out Lostpedia’s excellent Wiki page.

I don’t understand why Arzt gets crap from Lost fans. He’s a bit blustery, sure, but this one character does a better job of getting me excited for the finale than pretty much anything the previous episode did. The raft construction has been going on for a large chunk of season 1, we knew it was going to get launched at some point, it seems logical it’ll be during the finale — those are all the things I was thinking when I first watched this episode, and in hindsight I see the narrative logic that Team Darlton (who were firmly in control of the Good Ship Lost at this point) were employing with regard to the season’s story arc. But then we get this episode, and Arzt uses some (what turns out to be really crappy) science to explain that the raft need to get launched right now. And I believed him. I felt the urgency, and all of a sudden, I felt the intensity that’s supposed to come in the story right before the end of a season. So you know what? Kudos to Arzt.

The Hatch makes is dramatic reappearance in this episode (at least, in my humble opinion), and so does the great Jack/Locke dynamic helped make the first few seasons as awesome as they were. Yeah, I know, we had a potential punch-up in “The Greater Good”, but Ben Linus would later prove time and time again that a great dynamic comes from dialogue, not fisticuffs. Even when the pair agree on something — the decision to open the Hatch — they wind up at each other’s throat in an extremely civil way. The single word “discretion” brings to the fore all the lies and secret-keeping that’s been going on since the beginning of the season. Their back and forths are just fantastic to watch, and further illustrate how these two men both see themselves as the alpha male of the Island: “With all due respect, Jack, I don’t report to you.” The absence of this dynamic in later seasons is one of the few things about then that I didn’t like.

I think that the revelation of Kate’s past to the rest of the Losties was handled well, about as well as it’s possible to do. I love that it was approached through a completely different storyline: who’s going on the raft? Kate wants to go on the raft, Sawyer wants to go on the raft, and it all goes wrong. It’s almost an afterthought in what’s a pretty interesting mystery, in which a great number of characters are potential suspects. And I didn’t see the ending coming, even though it’s blindingly obvious in hindsight; it’s fantastic setup for the next episode’s tearjerker scene with Sun and Jin. The flashbacks weren’t as compelling, but I did quite like how the writers played with the non-linear nature of the show to set up tension in what would’ve mostly been a fairly bland series of flashbacks. As soon as we see the toy plane come out of the lunchbox, you know things are going to end badly. I also enjoyed that brief but powerful scene between Kate and her mother. Beth Broderick really did look absolutely terrified, and in keeping with the best traditions of Lost, it raises a question: what has Kate done that’s so heinous, her mother would be scared shitless at the mere sight of her.

I just have to briefly point out a couple of my favourite lighter moments: Hurley (of course!) letting slip that Kate is a fugitive, and Charlie’s second track from the new album, called “Monster ate the Pilot”. Part of me really wants to see DriveShaft’s rock opera adaptation of the events of the show.

I’ve gotten more and more positive on the episode as I’ve been writing this post. The plot moves at a good pace: not forced, but not dead slow either. The plots and subplots all tied together well, and the character interactions were top notch. It’s more worthy of a rewatch than one would initially think, and really gets one in the mood for the season finale.

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