Wednesday, July 18, 2012

LOST: It Wasn't Purgatory, Pilot Episode, part one

That was one hell of a nightmare . . . Oh, Christ.
Do you roll your eyes when people start talking about LOST? Were you baffled by the ending enough for it to make you angry? Do you feel like you would have liked the show better if there had been more answers or more explanations along the way? LOST: It Wasn't Purgatory is here for you! Whether you're a newcomer to the series, a fan, or a skeptic, there are millions of discussions and ideas to be shared in reexamining the show, one episode at a time. Weekly, each episode will be tackled by recapping events, analyzing greater meaning (regarding science, religion, or links to other media) and organizing further questions, all of it, other than the title of the column, of course, virtually spoiler-free. Are you ready to go back to the island?

Pilot Episode
Events: A man wakes up in a forest of bamboo trees; He's injured, He has vodka in his pocket, and he's alone. After emerging from the jungle to find the aftermath of a plane crash scattered across a beach, he rushes about, saving people. This is Jack; he's a doctor. Later he meets a woman (Kate) whom he enlists to help him with his wound just under his back left ribs and they seem to connect. Most of the other survivors huddle together on the beach, awaiting a rescue plane while Jack suggests they find the cockpit in order to acquire the plane's transceiver. "I saw some smoke," Kate says, "in the valley." Immediately after this, there comes an enormous roar from the jungle and the booming sound of impact against trees, which are overturning. 

Greater Meaning: The pilot episode of any television program serves to expose a situation and its characters that in most cases, are firmly in place before we the viewer decide to sit down and watch. What's unique about this particular pilot is that the characters of LOST are unacquainted and in a completely unfamiliar setting after just having survived a plane crash. We come to this story the moment it begins. They are learning about each other at the same time we are learning about them, likewise with the place they've landed, the island. Every surprise to us is also a surprise to them, and in watching, we're implicated, almost as if we too are stranded. 

Play doctor? Sure, what the hell?
The next day Jack, Kate, and Charlie, the bass player in the English rock band Drive Shaft, head into the jungle in search of the cockpit, which they find. The ominous noises return, this time attached to an unseen entity that snatches the pilot just after he informs Jack and Kate, "they're looking for us . . . in the wrong place."

Clearly the characters of Jack and Kate are important, as evident from their early introductions and time on screen, and are even shown as equals (Kate takes on role of Doctor as she sews Jack's wound, Jack shares the personal story of a catastrophic surgery with her, Kate later counts to five as Jack said he had done in fear, etc.) But the pilot episode also gives ample (if not equal) attention to the geographical entity of the island itself. The island as a character makes sense given its complexities (sections: forest, beach, valley), its ability to sustain life (offer the survivors food or shelter), and its inherent danger in sharing its grounds with whatever creature is roaring, de-foresting, and bloodying pilots. The passengers of Oceanic Airlines may have survived the crash but clearly they still aren't entirely safe . . . 
Godfather reference?
Further Questions:
1. Will they be rescued?
2. Will the pregnant woman's baby be all right?
3. *What* is the creature in the jungle?
4. *Why* did the plane crash?
5. Where's Vincent? (the dog)
Next week: Pilot, part two.


Donald said...

This was a great pilot. But I'll never watch it again.