Aha! Back once again after a week-long hiatus. This week we’ll hit the two-part finale of season one, and what a finale it is. Lost often saves some of its most exciting stuff for the finales. They tend to be fact-paced affairs filled with twists and revelations. The first part of “Exodus” is no exception, but it’s also one of the strongest episodes of what is a very strong season.
Unlike in previous episodes, we get the flashbacks of several different characters, as they mill around Sydney’s airport before Oceanic 815 takes off. It’s the first time that Lost breaks out of the one-character-per-flashback, and I think it works really well. Back on the Island, the raft is nearing launch, and Jack and others (not Others) go to find some dynamite, to hopefully blow the hatch open, in an attempt to hide from the Others. I’m a big fan of the plotting here in general. Sometimes, Lost finales can get really crowded in their attempt to provide wall-to-wall action and endless surprises. Since most of Season 1 has been concerned with character stuff, and since most of the plot elements were in the works for a long time, nothing feels crammed or sped up. Everything unwinds at a very natural, but brisk, pace.
The combination of the open flashbacks and the unhurried pace is a somewhat elegiac quality. It feels like the end, not only of the season, but of this specific brand of Lost. Soon there will be the Hatch, and the Dharma Initiative, and the Others. For right now, we get to spend a few more quiet moments before the show dives headlong into mythology. In that sense, it reminds me most of all of the finale. Without getting ahead of myself, it feels like we’re saying goodbye. I really like that the show colors the margins with little tones of menace, particularly the column of smoke on the horizon.
I find myself just a little sad to approach this transition. It’s true that there is a lot of padding in season one (along with two and three), but I’ve appreciated the way that the characters take front and center. At this point, the show can get away with long scenes of people hugging, because it’s taken the time to get us acclimated to the relationships it’s formed. We never really get the same sense with many of the later characters, since in many cases, they are gone before they have as much impact as all that. And as a final treat, the characters do a lot of different little acts, none of them out-of-character, but many of them unexpected. I like the way the Sawyer wants to work on the raft, and makes a new mast. Walt gives Vincent to Shannon, because he perceives her loss. And in my favorite scene, Sawyer provides Jack with just a little bit of solace concerning Jack’s father.
It’s tough to judge two-parters, since they are so intwined with each other. But I really found myself enjoying part one here. It’s well-acted, well-written, and well-directed. But what keeps me coming back are the moments that only come from a show that has done the work up until this point. Case-in-point: the launch of the raft at the end. It’s impossible to see it and not feel lifted up, even though I know what is coming.
- The first appearance of Ana Lucia is in the flashback. She flirts with Jack at the bar. I can’t help but think that they would have fought a lot.
- Michael’s exchange with Jin: “THIS goes THERE. THAT goes THERE.” Shades of Han and Chewie!
- Sawyer got into a bar fight with a high-ranking official in the Australian government. Puts me in mind of the Simpson’s episode, “Bart Vs. Australia,” when the Prime Minister is found sunbathing naked in an inner tube.
- Several times in this episode, I expected to see many scenes that are actually in Part 2. Yet another reason why these episodes can be tough to review.
- Coming on Friday: The exciting conclusion of “Exodus,” and Season one!