Lost in Retrospect: Exodus, part 1

(for future reference: I’m gonna be posting about multi-part episodes based on the way in which they aired. The two-part Pilot aired over two weeks, so I did two different posts. The three-part Exodus aired over two weeks, so I’ll do two different posts.)

It’s a season finale. You know it’s gonna be awesome. Why? Well, read on…

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

The thing about this episode that impresses me most is just how fast-paced it is. There’s never a dull moment, no matter what’s going on, no matter which subplot is being juggled, no matter which character is the focus. Team Darlton are absolutely brilliant writers.

From the get-go, the stakes are high and the tension is thick enough to take a bite out of. After everything Rousseau has said and done in the characters’ previous encounters with her, just seeing her waltz into the Losties’ camp lets you know that shit is going down. It only sucked me in more from there, as more people find out about the Hatch, the A-Team sets out on another mission, and the black smoke appears on the horizon. Even knowing everything I do about the Others (or perhaps it’s because I know what I do), Rousseau’s declaration that they’re coming for the Losties is enough to make my blood chill. We also get some pretty solid movement on the Hatch story as they A-Team decides they’re going to blow it open with dynamite.  The Monster makes its first appearance since… bloody hell, when did the Monster last show up? “Walkabout”? It didn’t do much, but it did give us that hilarious moment of everyone hearing something weird in the jungle which turns out to be… Arzt, running like hell from the Monster. Good stuff. Finally, the reveal of the Black Rock. It’s more than a bit of a mind-frak, seeing this old wooden ship sitting in the middle of a tropical island. It might seem like I’m just rehashing the episode, which I suppose I am, but this episode was primarily set-up, the ‘one’ in “Exodus”‘ one-two punch. And even though they might seem like old hat now, all this stuff — the Black Rock, Rousseau, the Others — they were the most novel, the most interesting, the most mind-bogglingly awesome ideas. And they still are! Even now, it’s brilliant to see the modest beginnings of such awesome things.

The launching of the raft was the main thrust of this episode, I thought, and while it was simplistic in its plot action, it’s brilliant in the emotion conveyed. We got the indescribably brilliant moments of Sun and Jin’s reconciliation, which cemented their place as one of the show’s greatest and most popular couples. Similarly (though not romantic), Sawyer tells Jack about his meeting with Christian in Sydney, and both these actors just knock it out of the park. Between these two and the actual launching, capped off by Vincent’s attempt to swim out to Walt, I was on the verge of very manly tears of heartwarming masculinity (honest!) for pretty much the entire episode. There were also some very serious touches too, great allusions to what would come. Both Jack giving Sawyer a gun and Sayid’s vaguely Q-like explanation of all the gadgets pressed home just how important the raft is to everyone, and helps the audience get invested as well.

The flashbacks felt like a very functional thing, giving us important(ish) information in a way that was extremely direct. But despite this, I felt like they had an important purpose, and it wasn’t showed better than the cut between Michael dragging Walt into their hotel room and Walt sleeping next to his father. Sawyer the angry con, Sun and Jin the loveless married couple, the father and son who’ve just met, we really get to see how far all these characters have come since the crash of Oceanic 815. The introduction of Ana Lucia felt very forced, but I put that down to the writing of this particular scene rather than the character herself, who I never disliked as much as others. I would, however, like to give special mention to Sawyer, who apparently headbutted a member of the Australian Parliament, which is something I’d love to do myself.

A ripper of an episode: the plot-based stuff was pretty much all set-up, but it delivered so many funny, heartwarming and generally moments that not only did I not mind, I really loved it. This is Lost doing what Lost does better than (almost) every show on television, and the only reason I didn’t go straight on to parts 2 and 3 of the story was because I had to write this post. Nine and a half thumbs way up out of ten.

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