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LOST ReWatch – Solitary

By docarzt,

  Filed under: Lost, reWatching Lost
  Comments: 17

cablePreviously, 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.

Talking Points

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?

Visit the Lostpedia Rewatch page for all of the most up-to-date Rewatch information, as well as their blog.

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  • Jack’s Sidekick

    A good episode. It was good to go back and hear Rousseau tell what happened to her team after seeing it in season 5.

  • Ament

    Definately a good episode, now knowing future events and how Jin was part of her past makes it more interesting. Lets face it she didn’t go into the temple because Jin stopped her becasue of her pregnancy. So if she’s torturing Sayid then we know she didn’t go into the temple and didn’t get infected, because of Jin. Also, even though Jin never showed her the Radio tower, he at least confirmed it was on the island so Danielle found it because of him. So IMO this episode is leaning towards proving WHH.

  • We witness here how Rosseau coined the term ‘Others’. The Others don’t call themselves Others, but I guess we will learn in Six what they call themselves. So it was funny when Juliet referred to ‘Others 101’ later on.

  • felix

    Things like the golf course are elemtens which make me prefer S1-S3 over S4 and S5. I mean, okay, S4/5 offer great movement in terms of the story and a lot is happening but I always enjoyed all those side stories and charachter interactions like the ongoing Locke/Jack conflict when it came to making decisions, oder the obvious Jack/Sawyer/Kate thing, especially in S3 when they were captured, I just found it realy moving to watch Jack give up on her but still trying to save her and so on. S4 had glimpses of it, but in S5 it was gone – for me anyway. I REALLY hope for S6 to go back to the roots a bit and show more of the character stuff – but something tells me it won’t happen. It will rather be a bang-bang-bang of events happening to drive the overall story.
    Pity, cos those little connections and stories are what made me become a LOST fan in the first place, certainly not the story as it unfolded over the last seasons or the action.

    • Brett

      Amen Felix! I agree with you wholeheartedly.

      I think this corresponds to the fewer amount of episodes per season since Season 2. There were 22 episodes in Season 1 & 2, now there are what, 15-17. They simply have less time so the character development is cut in order to tell the story.

      I know Darlton have said the cost and scope of the show make it difficult to do 22 episodes, but I think it is hard to measure up to Season 1 & 2 with the fewer episodes in Season 3 – 6.

    • neoloki

      The other thing that could be said about the pacing in the show is that it very much resembles the arc of a novel. Yeah all those “character” moments (Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham, la Fluer, Some like it Hoth: all good character driven episodes from season 5) were great in the early season but like a novel the pace picks up because at some point you need to resolve the narrative. Every great novel you read has similar narrative pacing in the development of the story: Getting to know the characters, Characters in conflict and finally resolution of the conflict. When you reach the point of the story that is dealing with the resolution of the conflict the pace is always going to quicken. Just look at the novel that has so heavily influenced Lost, The Stand. King spends A LOT of time developing the characters but by the last 200 to 300 pages the book totally changes it momentum and reaaly picks up.

      In other words we are done with character development in Lost and if we miss it we always have the first 3 seasons to watch. Now is the time for resolution.

  • grasspike

    I love lost as much as everyone on this site, but the much shorter seasons we have now are a major let down, and I am feeling even more of that as I do the rewatch. Watching Hurley make the golf course really made me think about all the cool stuff we could have seen and side stories that could have been told about the D.I. and life on the island in the 1970s if the writers had 5 more episodes to work with. Seasons 1-3 were like reading a nice novel where the author took the time to really develop the story and give a richness to the world they were writing about. Seasons 4-5 seem to be more like a movie made from such a novel where they take that richness and have to toss it all out in order to fit it into a 2 hour movie.

    • Uncle Beaver

      I agree. With a few more episodes, they could have given us GREAT background and characterizations of not only the Dharma times and people, but more motivation and meaning to the decisions our main characters have made in season 5. I really wish we got more details on daily Dharma life in season 5. That said, it’s still the best TV show EVER!

    • neoloki

      This is a no win situation for the writers. Because you are going to have just as many people say the opposite, or do we really need to know about Jacks Tattos? or Shannons problems with money? Considering the amount of info they needed to cover in season 5 and will cover in season 6 they are on the right track and we can do without another Golf course. 17 episodes is plenty.

      • grasspike

        In TV the way you win is by ratings not internet fan postings. The ratings were never higher than they were in seasons 1&2. I know someone will want to jump in and say “the ratings don’t matter with Lost” but tell me if you were ABC or a writer would you rather have 10 million or 20 million people watching your show.

        I would also say that by having an end game and time in mind they do not have the listless wanderings that they had when we had the episode about Jacks tattos.

        The writers and producers always talk about how this is a character driven show, yet all of the characters from the DI, ones we have been teased about since seasons 1&2 were just quickly glossed over. Somethings they could have spent more time exploring in season 5

        1.)Dr Chang and his realtionship with both baby and grown up Miles and his wife.
        2.)Horace and his backstory
        3.)Daniel off island
        4.)More of Juliet’s story as an other and more about the others in the 1950s-2000s like why they speak Latin.
        5.)More of the story of Ben and Alex when Alex was a young girl from the time she was a baby and Ben took her to the time she was a teenager we don’t know anything.
        6.)More of the French Team and why things went down like they did.
        7.)More of the story of Charlotte as a child on island.

        In addition to the above we have the very rushed general story that could have stood to slow down just a bit.

        Having a handful of episodes to tell the above would have made the season much richer and even a episode of Lost about Jack’s tatoos is better than no episode.

        • neoloki aka Ben’sbleedingkidney

          Lost is a worldwide brand. It has grown much bigger than the Nielson’s and it is not that the rating’s don’t matter, it’s the fact that they no longer give an accurate view of how many people are watching a given show.

    • docarzt

      I realize I kind of started this, but the reality is I think that the ‘time’ for that sort of story telling has come and gone. I miss the sort of side stories that took place in the first couple of seasons, but the fact is we can’t go back to that with where the story is now.

  • Benmanben

    Doc, I don’t know whether this is the only episode of the bunch you were planning to go over, but I’m rather surprised if it is. I found Raised By Another to be much more interesting, particularly looking back, as we can see clues to time travel/knowledge of the future. It also seemed clear to me that Thomas was doing as he was told. It is very interesting to take a look at.


    • DocArzt

      Nope, those others will be gone over today

  • Dan

    I kind of agree that storylines like “Hurley’s golf course” can’t really happen anymore.

    But one big letdown of an otherwise great 5th season was the fact that the Dharma storyline didn’t tell us that much about the Dharma Initiative. I suppose there’s still a chance for that if we get to somehow see Daniel’s side of things in Michigan next year, but that seems unlikely.

    I agree that we didn’t need the equivalent of a “Jack’s tattoo” story, with Hurley cooking in the Dharma kitchen and flashing back to the time he tried out a culinary school with comic results. But that lame kind of story came from the writers being unable to move forward. That wouldn’t have to happen with new areas of history to explore. Due to the writer’s strike, we’d already lost more stories about the freighter folk. I just wish they could have taken a little more time with the DI. I think the audience would’ve even gladly sat through a Horace-centric episode (both he and his wife are great actors), especially if it meant delving more into DI history (possibly even post-incident, with hints about the events in the season finale?).

    For instance, another Juliet episode would have been wonderful, learning more about what she knew in the future as an “other” and seeing that reflected some way in her current 1970s experience.

    I know. It sounds like I’m whining a lot. I really do love the show, and I just want them to slow down a little more, pace the sprinting.

  • Annie

    One of the things that stand out to me in this episode, is when Sayid tells Rousseau that Nadia is dead and they killed her because of me (Sayid). It makes me think that this is a time travel….it looks like his is going in and out of Consciousness…but may it is in and out of a conscious time travel like Desmond in the constant.

  • Mike

    I’m ejoying these episode recaps. Can someone tell me how to access the others besides Solitary?