Lost in Retrospect: Abandoned

Fantastic ending aside, this was a very “meh” episode. It didn’t grab me, it didn’t rivet me, it didn’t especially entertain me, and the most interesting part of the story was very deliberately kept to a bare minimum. And ultimately, I don’t think this episode provides anything that couldn’t have been covered in a “Previously On…” clip.

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

The best parts of the episode were, of course, the stuff with the Tailies. The Island continues to be a scarier place than ever, though Ana Lucia’s little speech wasn’t nearly as big a contributor to that feeling as the writers probably intended. Instead, it continued to come from the brilliant silent reactions of the cast, combined with increasingly eery direction that saw us continually placed at the wrong angle to see anything but our characters, putting the audience in the same claustrophobic, paranoid space as the characters. And it all gets ratcheted up another notch when Cindy the Stewardess (and as far as I know, one of only three genuine Australians cast on the show) gets snatched by the Others in the middle of a scene. It’s genuinely terrifying, and I almost resent how the episode left that storyline and didn’t come back to it until the last few seconds of the episode. I say “almost”, because the sudden shift in tone back to Shannon’s more dramatic story brilliantly sets us up for the shock finale.

The Shannon and Sayid plotline was far from thrilling and only borderline entertaining. Despite how interesting the character of Shannon is (and the flashbacks did a lot to deepen her), the majority of her Island screentime was spent on this quest to go looking for Walt in the jungle, stubbornly insisting that she’s not crazy, and it just wasn’t particularly interesting. Despite the fact that Walt showing up unexpectedly and talking backwards is more than a little bit mind-blowing, it seemed obvious from the get-go that this was a supernatural apparition, and even if Shannon had no cause to expect anything like that, I did. I knew that this wasn’t the real Walt, and that a search through the jungles would wind up being pointless, and yet I had to watch this storyline unfold anyway. It was annoying. That said, I did enjoy the splashes of character stuff that were threaded through the Island storyline. Shannon’s line that Walt was out there and “all alone” was incredibly telling, especially in light of what we see in the flashbacks, and it was nice (and more than a little heartbreaking) to see her and Sayid’s final scene in the rainy jungle. And then, of course, there’s that final scene. It’s still shocking, and chilling, and leaves me in fear for Ana Lucia’s life. It continued Lost‘s trend for being absolutely brutal when it came to death, though more on character deaths in Lost when I get to “Collision”.

The flashbacks added some nice depth to Shannon. After seeing how the end, I can really understand why she’d take to conning money out of her family, and I can understand why she’d want to go galavanting off into the jungle to find a possibly-imaginary child just because he’s all alone. I’ve never thought ill of Maggie Grace’s performance, and as you’d expect in a Shannon-centric episode, she’s on fine form. And it was cool to see Boone again (although that haircut was ridiculous). And Shannon’s stepmother is another addition to the long list of parents who drive their kids batty enough to get them stuck on Evil!Fantasy Island. …you know, I’d been about to say something along the lines of ‘these flashbacks weren’t of much value’, but you know what? All these things is pretty solid and made watching the flashbacks wholly worthwhile.

This is definitely one of the weaker episodes of season 2, and were it not for the big conclusion, I’d probably declare it completely skippable. As it is, its main value lies in the deepening of Shannon, so I’d only see big fans of that character (and I was falling off that bandwagon by that point) getting a lot of enjoyment out of this episode.

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