Sunday, April 23, 2017

LOST S1 E11: All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues

"Red shirt. You ever watch Star Trek?
The crew guys that would go down to the planet with the main guys... they always wore red shirts and they always got killed."

LOST, Season One, Episode 11, All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues, picks up from the events of Raised By Another. It kicks right into gear with wild Other Man villain Ethan Rom and the shit hitting the proverbial fan. "He's not on the passenger manifest."

The entry features a full on search for Claire and Charlie and the villain that is Ethan. Based on Rousseau's missing child Alex, noted in Episode 9, Solitary, children are in serious jeopardy on the island by the Others.

All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues would mark the first episode to return to a character for a second full flashback. The focus here is Jack Shephard and his dysfunctional relationship with his father Christian. To date each episode has explored a single full flashback on a single character with the exception of the two-part Pilot entry. Other characters would still be highlighted for the first time going forward, but this is the second entry to focus entirely on Jack.

The creative team behind LOST capture a visually intense episode with some of the sequences filmed in the rain. It is a visually thrilling and enticing episode once again utilizing the natural confines of the island and the surrounding elements for thoroughly satisfying television.

Highlights: Though small the Sawyer and Sayid exchange in the "rape" caves is terrific.

The delicate dynamic between Jack and his father Christian is at its strained and tense best in the entry. It underscores that indeed Jack has some significant Daddy issues in play.

As a controlling cowboy Jack was always wound up a little too tight for my taste. Jack is the epitome of the oft used catchphrase control freak. Much of his problem lies in the fact he essentially lives in the shadow of his father.

The spirit or ghost of his father haunts him and literally haunts him here on the island. When it plays with his head, and he loses control, Jack lashes out at those around him. This creates the impression that Jack, to put it succinctly is a bit of a dick. Think "You dick" a la Jeff Spicoli's declaration in Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982). But Jack has significant Daddy issues to be sure.

The brief encounter between Jack and a strangely powerful Ethan in the rain is filled with emotional and visual power. This is a favorite visual highlight. And of course Jack saving Charlie Pace and refusing to let him die resonates in juxtaposition with his inability to save a woman during surgery during his flashback.

Finally the unique metallic discovery by Locke and Boone once again holds a lot of promise for things to come, especially in Season Two. The baptism of Locke by the island's rains is also visually beautiful. And the moment Boone and Locke discuss a red shirt in Star Trek is also a nice geek touch and homage to science fiction fans. Locke refers to the death of red shirts under that particular captain as the sign of a "piss poor captain."

The entry is pure island candy with the jungle and location shooting as this gorgeous backdrop for most of the entry sans flashback. All of it is captured by yet another director with visual flair here in Stephen Williams. Though some aspects of the episode lean toward the clichéd, that fight sequence is a feral, chilling thriller you won't forget.

Flashback: Jack.

Writer: Javier Grillo Marxuach (Dark Skies, Helix and LOST's House Of The Rising Sun). Director: Stephen Williams (Odyssey 5, Person Of Interest, Ascension, The Americans, Westworld).

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