Lost in Retrospect: Adrift

This episode is a nice, interesting piece of the Lost puzzle that comes together in the end, but putting myself in the shoes of someone who’s only watching this episode for the first time (which isn’t that hard, I remember being that person), I can see how this might be one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

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

The raft. A veritable sea of melodrama, enough to fill at least 15 of the 45 minute running time. The only point of the entire storyline is that Sawyer and Michael a) survive, b) make it back to the Island, and c) make it back to a completely different part of the Island. And when I really think about it, all three of those things could be done in about two scenes, maybe three at the most. It didn’t need to be one of the major subplots of the episode. For the second episode in a row, Team Darlton just stall us. Now, that aside, I think that both Harold Perrineau and Josh Holloway acted their socks off. The characters went from anger to frustration to (and boy, this is gonna be taken out of context) impotence, and the actors really sold it. There was something both extreme and mundane about the situation that Sawyer and Mike found themselves in, and I can’t imagine it was easy for those actors to act the scenes and act it well. (did that even make sense?) And the episode’s cliffhanger was absolutely brilliant — really made the eyes go wide and got us in the right frame of mind for the rest of the Tailies’ storyline.

The meatiest bit of the episode was, again, the stuff in the Hatch. Part of me rebelled violently against Darlton’s idea of simply showing the exact same stretch of time as “Man of Science, Man of Faith” from Locke’s perspective, since I think the majority of the Hatch stuff from this and the previous episode would’ve been much better served by putting it all in the one episode with the important Raft stuff at the end. But at the same time, it was great to get another initial exploration of the Hatch, and fascinating to see more of Locke’s stubborn belief in his own specialness — never more on display than when he tells Desmond that he is “the guy”, having no idea what this means. The proper introduction of Desmond was great too; I thought it was comparable to Rousseau’s intro in “Solitary”, a great snapshot into the mindset of someone who has been alone too long and started going crazy. The twitches, all the marks on the wall, his jittery speech patterns, they’re all subtle and fantastic and help make this potentially one-note character into the fan favourite he’d become. There were so many “oh crap!” moments too, from the Numbers going into the computer to the first appearance of the DHARMA logo, which has this gravitas to it, even before we learn anything about DHARMA (the fact that they built a hatch on a magic island is impressive enough already).

As usual, the flashbacks are an interesting little aside, a nice counterpoint to the actions of that character on the Island. I also felt like these particular flashbacks backed up the point I made in my post on “Special”, namely that Michael’s flawed and yet wonderfully extreme attitude to parenting comes from these experiences where he didn’t fight hard enough to keep Walt and subsequently lost him for years and years at a time. They were well acted and well written, but I thought their main value was in the Raft scene that immediately followed the final flashback, where Michael broke down and said it was his fault that Walt was gone. It really set the tone for Michael’s actions in the coming season.

“Adrift”. It’s all there in the title, isn’t it? This episode felt like it was floating, a bit disconnected. A third of a story stretched out to cover an episode, since I figure that a single episode’s worth of story was stretched into this opening trilogy. Really, doesn’t it feel like these first three should, at the very least, have all be broadcast the same night? But it’s still an episode of Lost, and 99% of the time an episode of Lost is still fantastic entertainment. Great acting, great writing on a dialogue/action level and a nice dose of WTF in the Hatch help make up for a story that was way, way too thin. If you’re in a hurry, skip to the next one.

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