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LOST Mise en scène: 5.15 “Follow The Leader”

By nato64,

  Filed under: Lost, Lost Recaps
  Comments: 13

Here’s the next installment of my weekly analysis of Lost from a filmmaking perspective. For those of not familiar with this segment on the film visual, editorial, and directorial aspects of Lost, check out my first article going over what I cover and talk about.

As we all prepare for the finale, let’s look at the visual and editorial clues in “Follow The Leader”. It was an excellently directed episode in terms of preparing us for the finale. All pre-finale Lost episodes have tons of moving shots when going into a new scene. A lot of Dolly-Ins that really feel like the story is moving somewhere and heading in a specific direction.

However, I’d like to start of by apologizing that I did not end up writing an article for “The Variable” nor did I finish the rest of “Some Like it Hoth”. Much like Juliet reminiscing about the ‘real world’, the real world caught up with me and I got swamped with films that required my attention. After the finale, I plan to go back to the beginning and analyze the Pilot. I want to work out a schedule where I make it through the entire series leading up to the premiere of Season 6. Since there’s roughly 102 episodes prior to Season 6, I hope to do two episodes per week.

Now, on to “Follow The Leader”.


The first scene is the normal Lost handheld style for Island happenings.


A high-angle POV from our character’s perspective.


High-angle on Widmore showing that he has power. A lens flare is peaking through (usually a cinematographer’s worst nightmare but sometimes used for empahsis).

The shot where Widmore enters is a moving shot, in tone with all Pre-Season Finale episode styles. Moving shots indicate change, indicate that there’s something going on.

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  • RandomZombie

    Awesome as usual.

    On the fourth page you say that Sawer is looking at Kate – but he’s actually looking at Juliet.
    Bad, bad, bad… Sawer does NOT need to be looking at Kate anymore, ever!

    • Seabiscuit

      No, he’s looking at Kate on the monitors in that shot.

      • RandomZombie


        My Kate-hate and Juliet-crush made me hasty.

        • Michel

          Indeed. This is partiality at its best 🙂 At least, it seems you’re genuine about the irrational hate, and not just posing or being exaggerating for dramatic effect. You really hate her, for whatever reason you have thought of.

  • dappawit

    As always, this was a great post. They let me see the show in a whole new light. I’ve learned a bunch from each one. I also love the idea of reviewing previous season’s episodes in the same way, and I can’t wait to read what you have to say. My only thought is that going through every episode may be overkill. You obviously put a lot of work into these articles, and doing each and every episode in this way sounds like a ton of work. (Although, of course, only you know what’s really involved and what you can reasonably do within your free time.) My suggestion would be to focus on a couple dozen episodes that you see as having significant content from a film-making perspective. I’m sure you can think of some that would be better to discuss than others. I know nothing about film-making, but whatever episodes you decide to write about, The Pilot still sure sounds like a natural place to start.

    The only reason I suggest this, is I look forward to anything you may have to say on this subject. I would love to read a couple dozen articles about the episodes that are the most interesting examples of film-making. On the other hand, I think it would be a shame if instead you only got through season one and didn’t have time to talk about the great episodes from seasons 2 through 5. It would also be a shame if you rushed through all 100 episodes with articles that were not up to your excellent standards.

    Of course, that being said, only you can determine what’s realistic for yourself. This has only been a suggestion, and I could be wrong. 🙂

  • neoloki

    Your articles on framing and symbolism are very interesting. Have always enjoyed the way Lost takes pride in its environment. My favorite shot of the episode was also Alpert with the bottled ship. Kept it as my screen saver all week. Found your comment on water to be fascinating. I would be interested to learn more about the symbolism of Lost and how they use it in cinematography. Thank you for the time you will be spending this summer analyzing Lost. It would be great if you could summarize the episode and what the overall impact of the direction was. Thanks again.

    • Gripp

      That shot more or less confirmed for me that Richard came to the island on the Black Rock.

  • Michel

    As always, fantastic article. A few additional thought of my own

    – The E.C.U. (in my natal language, Spanish, we call it “Detail Shot”) is very common in Lost for starting important scenes or scenes that are in the beginning of the episode. Usually, the shot it starts with an important object, and then the camera opens up to reveal the location where that object is, or the character that is using it or relating to it.
    There are countless examples: every opening shot of every Season, for example. The green characters on screen of the Swan computer; Juliet’s music cd; the pile of guavas in Hurley’s car chase, Jack’s glass of whisky; the TV showing the news of the finding of the fake plane, etc.
    The eye shots are only an extension of this technique that also create a leit motif. It’s commonly used on tv, but Lost tries to give it an extra-layer of meaning whenever it can. This is probably inspired by comic-book writer Alan Moore’s work. He almost always uses this technique, using an special object in special framing to open his scenes or make the transitions from one scene to another. It is heavily employed in Watchmen, arguably his best work, and one of Lost’s most influential sources. So, whenever I see an opening shot like this one of the ECU on the model ship, I think: “they’re pulling another Alan Moore; I love this show.”

    – I’m also very impressed with that shot of Richard with the ship model and the sea in the background. The great thing about that shot is that it feels quite ancient because it is completely horizontal, something very rare in TV. Complete horizontality and staying on eye level is not common, not even in sitcoms. This shot in particular is reminiscent of silent-era cinema, or 18th/19th century paintings. And that gives it its ancient look, strengthening Richard’s characterization as timeless and very old. And look at the framing of the background: The sea in occupies almost the same space has the sky and the sand in the beach; all have a third of the screen. Very rare indeed.

    – Yes, I also liked Jacob a little less in this episode. But, apart from the character movement direction, it was also because Richard is becoming my favorite character, and I don’t like anyone who gets unnecessarily rude with him 😉

    – The brainwashing video said “God Loves You As He Loved Jacob”. For all we know, Jacob could be a hating SOB.

    – The crew was extremely lucky to have that incredible wind on the site that day. Not strong enough to ruin the shooting, but strong enough to be noticed. Unbelievably lucky.

    – The close-up on the ring, followed by a close-up on Sun is also another example of “an Alan Moore shot” 😉

    – And finally, I have to agree with dappawit: it’s vry unlikely that you will be able to make two articles per week after the season is over, so I recommend you look for which episodes are most compelling to you. Maybe a dozen 😉 Keep it up! I’m eager to read the next one.

  • Hi nato, thanks for your thorough analysis again.
    It’s funny that you mentioned the lens flares, I guess we will see more of them in the future,
    after the way J.J. used the anamorphic flavor in Star Trek…

  • jayh

    Great article – But how about that terrible CGI on the submarine? That was enough to make me uncomfortable!

  • rosered2318

    i agree with the above comments about picking episodes that really struck you for analysis. you can tell that a lot of work goes into these and, as a reader, the experience is far more enhanced on the ones you are passionate about. besides, the ones toward which you are passionate are the ones where we have the most to learn =). but it looks like this is a lot of time and effort, so thanks bunches for creating these essays. go on your own timetable – they are worth waiting for. facinating, facinating stuff. in fact, if you want to announce which one you will be doing ahead of time, i (along with probably some others) will go watch it ahead of time, then rewatch after you have posted your analysis. thanks so much – these are really, really engaging.

  • KAK

    I’m going to go against the grain and say that I think you can totally analyze the whole run of shows–perhaps not with the same intensity, but in order to see trends and foreshadowing, I think you have to watch all with a critical eye. That said, I see how some readers want you to pick specific episodes so they can go back and watch them (and not everyone is going to get through all of the seasons during the hiatus). But I say, go for it. If only for your own edification 🙂 Great job on this analysis.

  • Nice post. Thanks for sharing. Keep it up!