Previously, On the LOST reWatch. Episodes 1-4 (Pilot Part 1, 2, Tabula Rasa, and Walkabout), and episodes 5-8 (White Rabbit, House of The Rising Sun, The Moth, Confidence Man), have been recapped and rehashed through our LOST season 5 indoctrinated eyeballs, now it is time for another group of episodes: Solitary , Raised by Another, All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues, and Whatever the Case May Be. Let’s do this thing. Here is Solitaire.
Solitary is an example of a really well rounded episode of LOST, perhaps of a caliber rarely seen on LOST, and therefore television in general. On one hand, it offers background information that both informs a characters past actions – Sayid’s – and at the same time establishes a key motivator that will resonate through the rest of the series. All of LOST’s characters are intense to the extreme, and the story of Sayid’s need for forgiveness, truth, and ultimate redemption is told effectively against a backdrop of heavy mythological advancement.
From the character arc perspective, Solitary revealed how Sayid was called upon to torture his childhood sweetheart, a task that tugged at his warm interior through a cold layer of loyalty. We know now what that poor chicken learned this season, Sayid is a weapon in two senses: one, he is dangerously skilled at the craft of hurting people, and ‘blessed’ with an innate ability to shield himself from any remorse or pity for his ‘victim.’ Also, he is fueled by a sense of purpose. He’s not the pull-the-wings-off-flies type of torturer, he is the ‘greater good’ style torturer. Second, he is a weapon in the sense that he is wielded. Throughout Sayid’s flashback, we see Sayid being pretty effectively controlled by his masters in the Iraqi military, while Nadia seems to be calling out to the human being within.
Ultimately, what saved her also saves him. Finding himself on the torturee side of things, at the hands of the infamous French Lady, Sayid appeals to whatever signs of her humanity he can find that she still has a connection with.
Of mythological importance: we meet our first eyewitness to “The Others” in Danielle, who lays further seeds of future events by telling us about Alex, and her crews encounters with the island’s defense systems. Sayid’s brief stay in Danielle’s ground house also nets a cache of island maps and various documents that will become increasingly important as the series progresses.
One of the new mysteries introduced in Solitary also turned out to be one of the longest running and most frustrating: the cable. Sayid finds a cable leading into the ocean. The cable appears again in the episode “Numbers,” but merely as a landmark. It isn’t until much later that we learn the cable connects to the Looking Glass Station.
Watching the episode again was a hoot, particularly for how wide reaching some of the events and themes became. Every episode of LOST is integral to the whole, naturally, but Solitary is one of the few that could be counted as essential to both future plot advancement and character arc.
Solitary was written by David Fury, and directed by Greg Yaitanes.
Here are some thoughts I had about the episode as I watched. Feel free to discuss/respond below:
- Is it just me, or is Ethan just too conspicuous. I can’t recall thinking it at the time, but watching it now he just seems too hidden in plain site.
- Rousseau gradually becomes a caricature of herself later in the series. She is dangerous, mysterious, and seems imbued with secret island knowledge here. As time goes on, she turns out to be more of a gazetteer than a grimoire.. I don’t disagree with anything they have done with her character, but she became more of an element than a human being as time went on. Cue the crazy French lady, exit stage right.
- The b story with Hurley’s golf course is a brilliant piece of humanization. The tighter constraints of season 4 and 5 are almost completely devoid of this imperative amongst the characters to normalize amongst their situation. They have completely given in to the weird. Is the story better for it?
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