Tuesday, March 28, 2017

LOST S1 E6: House Of The Rising Sun

"Is there a reason you didn't consult us when you decided to form your own civilization?"

The only reason a series like LOST has aged, like any show, is simply due to time and the endlessly moving bar for what is considered acceptable television by cultural standards. And, of course, those limitations become less and less. The rules for television may allow for greater violence, language and/or more risqué sexual situations, but, all in all, LOST has lost none of its thrilling pacing or dramatic narrative power to time.

LOST, Season One, Episode 6, House Of The Rising Sun offers yet another sterling example of the series incredibly dense storytelling and vast character development. No wonder LOST was such a game changer. It's a series that is the whole package in delivering story, character and dramatic thrills at every turn with each new entry. As noted earlier in my coverage, LOST Season One may arguably be about as perfect as a series gets in its first season.

The title of the episode, like Episode 4, Walkabout, is cleverly chosen working on a number of levels but mostly speaks to the focus on the Sun character and a rising liberation within her from Jin since the plane crash. Apart from her rising independence Sun also hailed from a powerful family house.

Previously in our coverage of White Rabbit here, literary allusions were discussed regarding Watership Down and Alice's Adventures In Wonderland.

Additionally LOST clearly echoes aspects of William Golding's Lord Of The Flies (1954).

Instead of a group of stranded British boys on an island we have a melting pot of adults. But like the aforementioned book, efforts to organize and govern can end in disaster, distrust, rivalries and even death. LOST captures the essence of that fine line between order and chaos captured in Golding's classic on human behavior.

With House Of The Rising Sun we see the groups forming the seeds of governance in two camps. One camp remains on the beachhead awaiting rescue. The second encampment ventures into the jungle to a set of caves for water and to essentially begin the very rudimentary establishment of domesticated order, the seeds of civilization as it were. The former group is spearheaded by Jack Shephard while the latter by Sayid, as noted in Sayid's remarks to Jack in the quote above.

The question remains will all of this devolve at some point? Will civility dissolve as it did for the youngsters from Lord Of The Flies. Will these survivors revert to baser instincts over above some semblance of a social contract a la Thomas Hobbes? Or even worse turn into animals? Interestingly, the title of the episode is taken from a song by the group The Animals (1964).

Thomas Hobbes believed men required order or chaos would ensue as men were inherently evil and without structure would become essentially savages. But how will a civilized breakdown impact each other?

Locke is already becoming a hunter and living off the land believing in the power of the individual. The loss of structure and order continues to have an effect on all of the survivors.

Highlights: Though the episode is focused on the Sun (with Jin) flashback, House Of The Rising Sun offers a number of interesting moments between Michael and Walt that work very well in building upon their dynamic in the run up to Episode 14, Special.

The affecting relationship between Sun and Jin is exceptionally written and the later ...In Translation (Episode 17) will serve as an excellent complement and capitalize on this episode. It will offer greater insight into Sun's love for Jin and finally Jin's love for Sun.

Though if I had to pick a single highlight here, the exchange between Locke and Charlie is just weird and quirky enough to merit that honor. Locke, allegedly a fan of Charlie's band Driveshaft, may carry this one.

This entry includes the big reveal to Michael that Sun actually understands and speaks English.

Not surprisingly, this writer comes to the realization that six episodes into the series and LOST is fairly light on science fiction thus far with only a few monster sound effects in the early going, a ghostly apparition of Jack's father and a few other minor suggestions to keep the attention of sci-fi fans. Of course the supernatural impact on the crash itself and the overarching mystery of this island place is a huge part of the allure and will keep you promptly glued to your chair. Those seeking hard science fiction may need to look elsewhere but when LOST crosses over into science fiction or horror to accent the drama the results are positively compelling.

LOST always focused on its characters and their journeys, but the strong writing, sci-fi teases combined with tropical location shooting and a perfect cast ensemble explains all of LOST's wondrous crossover potential in viewership. LOST drew a lot of fannies to TV screens and the culmination of these variables easily demonstrates why audiences were so culturally varied and vast.

Flashback: Sun.

Writer: Javier Grillo Marxuach.
Director: Michael Zinberg.


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