"The Others are coming."
"This is a woman that blew up her own shelter. Now she's talking about seeing black smoke and hearing whispers. I mean she's not playing with a full deck."
"That doesn't mean that what she's saying isn't true."
Run. Hide. Die. Those are the three options in coping with the Others as we begin our final look at Season One of LOST.
Black smoke rising. "It means their coming."
Dynamite at the Black Rock.
The dark territory.
All kinds of cultivated, dark mysteries as well as epic revelations continue to permeate LOST.
What's not to love when you see a writing team-up of Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers) and Carlton Cuse (Colony, The Strain) at the helm of an epic three-part conclusion to an already epic and classic first season beginning with LOST, Season One, Episode 23, Exodus (Part 1).
Those paying attention to the creative substance behind the scenes know that quality is in store for them and it arrives here with the first of the three-part Exodus.
Frenchwoman Danielle Rousseau walks into the beach encampment and warns the survivors of Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 that the Others are coming. No, not the British, the Others! They took her baby and now they are coming for you. Now what isn't truly titillating about an opener like that one?
Nikki Stafford expressed it perfectly about that opening scene and establishing shot in Finding LOST: The Unofficial Guide (p.145). "Seeing someone emerge from the jungle with a rifle who looks like her brain might not be firing on all cylinders is a little unnerving." This really describes the thrills that accompany that shot that sets up the rest of Exodus.
Highlights: It's hard to select just a single moment in this particular episode. The opening scene featuring Rousseau is clearly outstanding. The raft prep builds a certain excitement as the survivors are prepared to split apart. Still, the intimate moment of the already antagonistic relationship between Jack and Sawyer is the true gem for me as a fan of character drama. This is the essence of great cinema for me.
You'll recall Sawyer withheld information regarding Jack's father in Episode 16, Outlaws, but here Sawyer reaches down deep and despite the button pushing between Jack and Sawyer finds it in his heart to relieve Jack of a tremendous weight and suffering specific to his estranged father/son relationship. Sawyer offers Jack every apologetic detail relayed by his father Christian at a bar that one fateful night all at once lifting a burden of pain off of Jack's shoulders. Sawyer proving their is redemption and their is humanity behind those guarded defenses and those walls. As Sawyer prepares to be one of the men departing on the raft, he offers Jack this kindness as a goodbye. And Jack, ever the dick, cannot even find a way to thank Sawyer for those healing words. Ironic for a doctor. But the beat goes on. As much as the scene is revelatory to Jack it is a character revelation filled with real emotional power for Sawyer. Sawyer's arc continues to grow and propel the character forward.
Fans of LOST like to ask a lot of questions that are not particularly compelling to this writer, even getting a little carried away (see those Nikki Stafford books), but one obvious one that did capture my attention was how exactly that boat made its way inland to Black Rock. How precisely did it get there?
The return of the wonderfully frightening monster sound was of course sci-fi ear candy for this writer. As Rousseau, Jack, Kate, Locke, Hurley and Arzt make their way to the Black Rock and the boat to retrieve dynamite for the hatch. The creature returns for a LOST tease in some terrifically filmed and cinematic rain footage. Love that rain footage! Rousseau submits the smoke creature "is a security system." Do tell! Fantastic! For what? The island of course! This geek loved that concept.
Memory is a funny thing. Things are never exactly as they really were. Giving LOST Season One another look it surprised me how little we saw (or heard) of the monster on the island in this first season. My memory seemed to think it was often, but it certainly was a mystery utilized sparingly. This writer has reached the end of the season and the most the monster was truly offered was essentially in the Pilot.
Rousseau too is not written into the first season as prolifically as I had recollected. Mira Furlan essentially returns for her third time here in Exodus (Part 1). She is easily one of the great recurring characters in science fiction television as Danielle.
One thing memory does serve correctly and, of course, more generally, is just how strong a closer Exodus is for LOST as penned by Lindelof and Cuse.
This is thrilling stuff topped off by the spirited departure of Michael, Walt, Sawyer and Jin on the raft and at once tempered by the final shot of the impending arrival of the Others as symbolized by a plume of ominous black smoke set against trademark Michael Giacchino scoring. It really doesn't get better than this people. Exodus delivers cinematic television excellence.
Flashbacks: Michael, Walt, Jack (with Ana Lucia in her first appearance before becoming a Season Two regular), Sawyer, Kate, Shannon, Sayid, Boone, Sun and Jin.
Writer: Damon Lindelof/ Carlton Cuse.
Director: Jack Bender.