The Unofficial Guide
By Nikki Stafford
ECW PRESS Copyright © 2006 Nikki Stafford
All rights reserved.
SEASON ONE — September 2004–May 2005
Recurring characters in season 1: L. Scott Caldwell (Rose), Fredric Lane (Marshal), John Terry (Christian Shephard), William Mapother (Ethan Rom), Mira Furlan (Danielle Rousseau)
1.1: Pilot, Part 1
Original air date: September 22, 2004
Teleplay by: J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof
Story by: Jeffrey Lieber, J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof
Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Guest cast: Greg Grunberg (Pilot), Kimberley Joseph (Flight Attendant #1), Jon Dixon (Flight Attendant #2), Michelle Arthur (Flight Attendant #3), Dale Radomski (Tourniquet Man), Geoff Heise (Man), Barbara Vidinha (Woman)
A plane crashes on a deserted island, and 48 people survive.
The scene opens on a man's eye, in which you can see the reflection of bamboo. He's lying in a jungle, wearing a business suit, and looks around in shock and terror. A golden Lab comes trotting toward him, and then bolts past him. As the realization of what has happened washes over the man, he jumps up and begins running toward a beach. The camera stays on him, not showing us what he sees, until he runs past a piece of jet engine whirring in the sand. As the camera turns to show us what this man can see, we witness the horrors of a plane crash on a deserted island, complete with fire, smoke, deafening noise, screams, and shocked survivors wandering aimlessly on the shoreline. It's a glorious moment of television.
From the show's opening seconds, the writers play up the show's title: all of the characters seem hopelessly lost. Jack, the doctor who was in the jungle, is the first character we see; he's followed by Charlie, wandering near the jet engine, looking completely befuddled; Jin, yelling Sun's name; Michael, calling out for Walt; Shannon, in a panic, screaming for Boone. In a matter of minutes, Jack manages to pull a man out from under the wreckage (with Locke), calm a pregnant Claire (with Hurley), and resuscitate a woman who appeared to be dead (with Boone). Only when he's taken care of everyone else in immediate danger does he wander away like an injured animal to finally deal with his own wound (with Kate). Jack is a surgeon, and he's been trained to care for other people first; and that pattern will continue throughout the series, where he lets the group dictate his actions rather than making his own decisions. This opening sequence, which makes even the tensest episode of M*A*S*H look like a walk in the park, gives us glimpses of most of the major characters. Sawyer and Sayid are not part of the big opening moment, but the show soon cuts to them, and our first impressions of them are actually pretty accurate — Sayid is a take-charge guy who knows how to get things done, and Sawyer turns himself into a nonchalant bystander, seeming like he'll help no one but himself.
"Pilot, Part 1," like the series in general, is about fear. There are few things more frightening than being utterly lost in a foreign place among strangers, unsure if you'll be able to survive. But J.J. Abrams & Co. aren't satisfied with just a tiny thing like a plane crash on a deserted island; they throw in wild animals, mysterious voices ... and a tree-crushin', banshee-howlin', people-evisceratin' monster to boot. And that's just in the first episode. The pilot of the plane tells everyone that they're so off course that any search-and-rescue team is looking for them in the wrong place, eliminating all hope of someone coming to their aid quickly, and it's that moment when the fear sets in for all of them. As Jack tells Kate when he first meets her, the trick is to conquer that fear and not let it overtake you. This comment will become integral to the overall plot of the show, especially in season 2.
Jack is immediately set up as the alpha male. Matthew Fox plays this character as a somber, damaged person who doesn't want to be the leader, but once the burden is bestowed upon him he becomes The Boss. The series' first shot is of him, his is the first flashback we see (when we see what happens on the plane for the first time), and he gets more lines than anyone else on the show. Later, Locke and Sayid will also step in as leaders of the group, but for now, it's all Jack. We see him as a man with incredible self-control (his story of his first surgery where he only "allowed" himself to be scared for five seconds establishes his Type A personality), but he'll soon discover that controlling everyone around him might not be as easy.
The rest of the characters remain vague. Kate looks like she could be a girly-girl, but within seconds of being introduced to the audience, we realize she just wants to be one of the guys, and will try desperately to prove that she can succeed as one. Charlie is a friendly but self-deprecating British former rock star; Locke is a mysterious man who might be a little bit insane; Boone is a guy who's willing to help out everyone, but he's a little dense; Shannon is a snotty princess whose most useful contribution to the group is lending her sun-block; Jin keeps his wife Sun on a short leash, and doesn't want anything to do with the others; Hurley is a puppy dog whose presence makes others feel safe. Of course, first impressions are deceiving, and by the very next episode, almost all of these assumptions we've made about the characters will turn out to be completely wrong. Vincent, the golden Lab, is the second "character" we see after Jack, and as long as he is with Walt, Walt is safe; but whenever Vincent leaves him, Walt is in danger. Dogs have always been a symbol of protection and loyalty, and it is believed they have a sixth sense, and can detect danger before it occurs (dogs have been known to become anxious about their owners moments before their owners suffer a heart attack). Dogs are guides, and Native American beliefs state that when a dog appears, you should follow it and he'll lead you to safety. Vincent appears to Jack but Jack doesn't follow. Vincent will continue to pop up at integral moments, but we'll later discover he isn't the only character who can detect something before it happens (Link).
As with every episode of the series, viewers will walk away with more questions than answers. "Pilot, Part 1" is more of an establishing episode than one that will generate questions, but they're still there. The biggest question being, of course, what the heck is that monster? Throughout this season and the next, we'll be privy to various theories from castaways and other people, but for now, it's a menacing, terrifying beast. Yet, for all its fear-inducing rage, it's nothing compared to what else awaits these people.
Highlight: Hurley: "You think we should do something about the [sees Walt] uh ... B-O-D-Y-S?"
Did You Notice?:
In the very first scene, Jack pulls back his jacket and realizes he's wounded, but we don't see the gash.
The "O" in the Oceanic logo looks like a giant eye.
When Kate emerges from the jungle, she is rubbing her wrist.
When Kate helps out Jack and he tells her the story of his first surgery, she says the first thing she would have done is run, and he says, "You're not running now." This tiny, subtle dialogue doesn't mean much to us now, but it'll become integral to Kate's character. Also, watch the way Kate looks at the plane that Jack constructs out of a leaf. It'll become important in "Whatever the Case May Be."
Take a close look at the black smoke swirling around the plane; at first it appears to just be black smoke from the fire within the fuselage, but on closer inspection it's very wispy and seems to shoot up into the air with some purpose (see "Exodus, Part 2").
When Charlie trips in the jungle you can hear the clinking and whirr like a chain gearing up. In "Exodus, Part 2," we'll finally see what the chain sound does, but in this case Jack prevents it from happening.
Several people have cuts on the right sides of their faces or eyes.
Interesting Facts: Greg Grunberg, who plays the pilot, has known J.J. Abrams since they were in kindergarten, and has had roles in almost all of Abrams' projects, including prominent ones in Alias and Felicity. He only makes a brief appearance in Lost because Abrams was developing another series for him at the time — The Catch — but that show's pilot was never picked up. Also, Locke looks at Kate and smiles with an orange peel over his teeth, and then he looks down and eats it. This moment echoes a scene in The Godfather, where Don Corleone (Marlon Brando) is playing with his grandson in the tomato garden, puts an orange peel over his teeth and growls like a monster, which makes his grandson cry. He laughs, and takes it out of his mouth, and his grandson runs through the garden laughing while Corleone collapses and dies of a heart attack.
Nitpicks: After the explosion caused by the falling wing, why didn't everything in the interior of the fuselage catch on fire? It remains relatively intact, as we see when the survivors enter it later. Also, we see a lot of seriously hurt people on the beach, yet the only person Jack continues to take care of is the marshal. You'd think the guy with the leg caught under the piece of the plane would have required some sort of long-term care beyond Jack simply removing the tourniquet, as he says he did in the next episode.
4 8 15 16 23 42: Claire is 8 months pregnant; Jack tells Kate about the time he was doing a spinal surgery on a 16-year-old girl; Jack figures the plane was at 4 0,000 feet when it began dropping; when they find the pilot in the plane Jack tells him they've been on the island for 16 hours; there are 48 survivors (4 & 8); the pilot has 4 stripes on his shoulder (8 if you count both shoulders).
It's Just a Flesh Wound: Several survivors are sporting wounds from the crash in this episode. Jack: two gashes on his lower right cheek, two on his upper left cheek, scrapes on his knuckles, and a huge slice across his ribs under his left arm; Locke: one large slice on the right side of his face, over and under his eye; Claire: a large scrape on her chin and scrapes on both knees; Hurley: a cut over his left eye; Boone: a scrape on his lower left cheek (although that could have been incurred before the crash); Kate: cuts on her knuckles and marks on her wrists; Sawyer: scrapes on his knuckles; Jin: a large cut along his right cheekbone; Sun: cut above her left eyebrow; Marshal: has a piece of shrapnel embedded in his stomach and a severe head wound; Rose: a bruise on the left side of her forehead.
Lost in Translation: When Jin and Sun are huddling under the piece of the plane in the rain and another man tries to join them, Jin holds up his hand and says, "No, no, no, there's no room for you. Go somewhere else."
There's a guy running by the jet engine when Locke yells to him to get away from the jet engine. The guy stops, looks toward Locke, and gets sucked in. One can't help but wonder, if Locke had kept his mouth shut, would that guy have just continued running and have been okay?
What was Jack doing out in the jungle when most of the other people landed on the beach? We see in the flashback that when the turbulence got bad on the plane, Jack fastened his seatbelt, so how did it become unfastened, somehow flinging him from the plane? Rose was sitting right next to him, and she ended up on the beach. And if he was flung from the plane at an enormous speed, why didn't the impact crush him? As we see when he first becomes conscious and pulls out his tiny liquor bottle, the impact didn't even break it. Did he land on the beach and get dragged into the jungle by something/someone else? Did he land on the beach and wander deliriously into the jungle and pass out there? Or, is there a more sinister explanation?
How did so many people walk away from this crash with barely a scratch? Sayid will later say that the plane did a cartwheel through the jungle, yet it didn't appear to cut a swath in the trees, and there are few broken bones or serious injuries among the people who actually survive the crash.
If you listen carefully to the discussion some of the castaways have on the beach the morning after the monster's first appearance, Charlie thinks it's monkeys, and Rose curiously mentions that she thinks she recognizes the sound the monster makes from somewhere. Where, the Brooklyn Zoo? Construction?
Ashes to Ashes: Hundreds perish in the crash and subsequent explosion on the beach. The plane was carrying 300 to 350 people to begin with (according to one of the official Web sites for the show). We see several of them in the fuselage, hanging from the seats, dead.
Music/Bands: The majestic score for Lost is composed by Michael Giacchino.
1.2: Pilot, Part 2
Original air date: September 29, 2004
Teleplay by: J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof
Story by: Jeffrey Lieber, J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof
Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Guest cast: Greg Grunberg (Pilot), Kimberley Joseph (Flight Attendant #1), Jon Dixon (Flight Attendant #2), Michelle Arthur (Flight Attendant #3)
Flashbacks: Charlie, Kate
Using the transceiver, a group of castaways tries to send out a signal for help, but what they discover will change everything; meanwhile, Jack tries to save the life of a U.S. Marshal who has been seriously injured in the crash.
Where the first half of Lost's two-hour pilot focused on the crash, this one zooms in on the characters themselves. Through flashbacks that show two new perspectives of the crash, we discover what Kate and Charlie were both up to when the plane began its downward spiral. Charlie's secret isn't very surprising, but Kate's is a revelation. Her escalating lies throughout the season will constantly get other people in trouble, just as they did before she became stranded on this island.
Locke finally speaks in this episode, and he will become the show's central figure when it comes to unlocking the mysteries of the island (pun intended). The first person he talks to is Walt, and fittingly, he tells him about backgammon. Locke likes to play games, literally and figuratively, and his super-creepy, "You wanna know a secret?" proposition to Walt definitely causes discomfort in the viewer, especially because Walt is a young boy. But watch how Locke treats Walt: he never acts like Walt is too young to understand something, and talks to him like he would anyone else on the island. It's fitting that he's playing backgammon, not only because of the light and dark reference, which is a recurring theme of the show, but because it's an ancient game of trying to escape a small area, which parallels the plight of the survivors. Each player has 15 checkers, which they use to pass through 24 points to eventually remove all of their checkers from the board. The first person to take away all their pieces wins. Just as the "tabula" (board) in backgammon must be cleared of all checker pieces, many survivors are looking to the island as a fresh start (and are looking to escape it).
What is most interesting about this episode is that, as hope begins to fade that an immediate rescue is on the way, people begin to revert to stereotypes that existed back in their home countries. All of these characters, as Locke will later say, have a clean slate on the island, a chance to start over, but they will be unable to leave behind who they were. Sawyer makes racist comments about Sayid, and Sayid calls Sawyer a redneck. As the group of castaways goes on a trek to find a radio signal, they alternately help each other and fight with each other. Kate and Charlie are harboring secrets, and as we saw in the previous episode, Jack was drinking pretty heavily for some reason. We've spent two hours scratching the surface of who these people are, and now it's finally time to flash back to who they were.
Highlight: The plane breaking in half in Kate's flashback. The special effects are breathtaking, and make you feel like you're right there, on the plane.
Did You Notice?:
Right before the plane went down, Charlie, Kate, and Jack all imbibed something.
The marshal uses nicknames for everyone, just like Sawyer does.
Claire's necklace is the Chinese symbol "ai," which means love. As a soon-to-be mother, she may be the only person on the island who represents unconditional love. (Continues...)
Excerpted from Finding Lost by Nikki Stafford. Copyright © 2006 Nikki Stafford. Excerpted by permission of ECW PRESS.
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