Saturday, May 2, 2020

LOST: It Wasn't Purgatory, episode 23, Exodus part 1

On-Island Events: Walt sees Rousseau lurking around the camp at the beach and alerts the rest of the survivors. Rousseau shares her history with the group; she had been seven months pregnant when her team came to the island. She delivered a baby girl that was taken a week later by others, whose presence was preceded by a pillar of black smoke. Rousseau insists the others are returning to take everyone, and the choices are to run, hide, or die.

Michael leads the group in preparing the raft for launch but Walt notices black smoke off in the distance.

Jack, Locke, and Hurley consider hiding everyone in the hatch and make plans to get dynamite in the jungle to blast it open. In the jungle, Sawyer discloses his experience with Christian Shephard to an emotional Jack and the two part ways. Charlie arranges a bottle for the survivors to write messages to give to the raft crew for when they get rescued as Jack, Kate, Locke, Hurley, and Rousseau head into the jungle for dynamite. Locke notices scratches on Rousseau's arm, which she claims to be from a bush. Rousseau leads the group through the dark territory toward their destination, the black rock, where she explains the rest of her crew was infected. Arzt decides to abandon the mission but is chased back by the island's monster. As it growls, clicks, and knocks over trees, Rousseau, Jack and Kate hide while Locke encourages Hurley to be calm and wait it out. Rousseau suggests the monster is a security system, meant to protect the island; the Black Rock is revealed to be an ancient slave

As the raft crew makes ready to depart, Walt gives Vincent to Shannon and Sun presents Jin with a book of useful English phrases for the journey. The raft proves to be seaworthy; the survivors cheer and wave goodbye to Michael, Walt, Sawyer, and Jin. The last image to be seen is the pillar of black smoke rising up from the jungle.

Flashbacks detail the survivors' last moments just before boarding Oceanic 815: Michael struggles in parenting Walt in a hotel room; Jack meets a woman named Ana Lucia in a bar. Sawyer is revealed to be an experienced criminal James Ford by Australian police and is banned from ever returning to the country. Kate, in the marshal's custody, attacks him after he taunts her attachment to Tom's toy airplane. In the airport, Sayid leaves his luggage with Shannon, who bickers with Boone and later reports Sayid to a security officer for the sake of being difficult. Sun accidentally spills coffee on Jin while an American couple look on and make rude comments.

Greater Meaning: By providing six different flashback experiences, the episode is broader than any of the previous. Focusing on multiple survivors gives a sense of big events culminating, a large conclusion in the works that will affect each survivor as well as the entire group, but the mystery of two separate narratives is also important. The raft has set sail, exposing its crew to new experiences and new dangers (in such a tiny, confined space, how will the three men who have had multiple conflicts in the past get on with each other? and what about sharks, or storms at sea?), but if Rousseau is to be believed, others are coming to the beach. The title of the episode, Exodus, is significant, but Jack or Locke seem more of a Moses character than Michael or Sawyer, might the title be referring to an into-the-jungle exodus rather than one into the sea on a raft? Are there two exoduses at play here?

Michael and Walt have come a long way since their difficulties in the flashback, so has Shannon. Sawyer, Kate, Jack, Sun, and Jin seem to be wrestling with many of the same issues they'd had before the crash, namely ghosts from their past relationships or crimes, or in Sun and Jin's case, with each other. What does this say about the needs of each of these major players in the narrative? How will the events of either getting rescued or evading attacks from others affect who these survivors are and how they interact with each other? Sawyer and Kate were both previously criminals, and so was Jin. Jack's medical skills have proven useful on the island but is he good at leading? Sun seemed to be marginalized in early episodes but has begun to emerge as more than just a controlling criminal's wife and an interesting character on her own. What part does adaptation play in these characters' successes on the island, and who's had the most trouble with it? Major changes have happened, but not necessarily to everyone in the same measure.

Further Questions:

1. Will the raft succeed in finding rescue?
2. Can Rousseau be trusted?
3. How did The Black Rock wind up in the middle of the jungle?
4. Will they succeed in blasting open the hatch?
5. Are others really coming?
6. Will Jin ever get rid of the handcuff on his wrist?
7. What happened to Ana Lucia?
8. Are there more survivors we haven't met yet?