Rediscovering LOST: Season 1

Spoiler-free for your enjoyment!

LOST plane wreckage
I probably wouldn't try to leave the island if my kids were there too.

(But I might have goofed without realizing it, so be warned).

As I’ve mentioned before, I got the entire run of LOST on Blu-Ray as a birthday gift and we committed to re-watching the entire series since we now had it at our fingertips. It may have taken longer than intended, but life gets in the way and I’ve been to Vegas for work for an interminable amount of time (more on that shortly), synchronizing TV viewing schedules with Agent Bun when we’ve both got ridiculous work schedules (note slowed blog production) and having (the two most adorable) children tends to lengthen your timelines.

Anyway.

We recently managed to complete the first season, and I just wanted to share some of the biggest observations as someone revisiting the “text” for the first time.

Characters Stayed Changed

The woeful truth about a lot of television shows is that they offer the illusion of change and growth for their characters via “very special episodes” or “casting a no-talent hack like Ashton Kutcher” but the changes rarely stick. Even my beloved Star Trek shows moved characters incrementally, often times having them suffer inexplicable story-arc regressions when it served the plot.

Having watched LOST through all six seasons and then returning to the first, I noted how the characters really did change, most often in a permanent way. Charlie in Season 2 is decidedly different from Charlie in Season 1.

Locke goes through the most gut-wrenching character arc of all of them. Going back to this first season revealed how on first viewing I had it backward. He doesn’t move forward from season 1 so much as continually regress while thinking he’s becoming more like the person he wants to be. It’s really amazing to watch his starting point through a new perspective and realize that.

Smokey Was…Different

The nature of Smokey (LOSTies know who I mean) was obviously still indeterminate until the tail end of the first season. Before the big reveal when our main band of heroes is deep in the island jungle, Smokey really wasn’t Smokey. If anything, it played as if Smokey were a partner to something else. But then, that’s not that big a deal. It was Smokey and Smokey can look and act however Smokey needs to.

So Much Story!

There were plot points that I thought definitely didn’t happen until the second season, only to find out that they happened a scant 3/4 through the first! It was kind of jarring to relive exactly how much story they crammed into the first year. The deaths, the reveals and the plot twists that once again made me sit up and pay attention.

Also, while I may have noticed it through the entire duration of the show, there really was a whole lot of Catholic imagery and themes from the get-go. Interesting, and probably rooted in some writer’s upbringing or some such, but really I thought that it didn’t start in earnest until Season 2 with Mr. Eko. But no, it was all over the place.

And truth be told, I have yet to encounter another show so willing to kill off characters with speaking roles in the first season. Most shows protect their characters to the point wherein you know there’s zero risk of harm befalling them. But LOST broke that rule, and as a result, every time someone was in peril you believed they were in peril.

The Music

The music was such an integral part of the show, it’s like trying to imagine Star Wars without John Williams’ fanfare. Interestingly, though, if you know the music as well as any LOSTie does, you discover on re-watching that some of the themes were still rough around the edges.

What I mean is, some of the heavier musical cues on which they relied later are still present but a little thinner in terms of instrumentation and even at times slower/faster than they turned out as the show went on.

It’s fun to a part-time audiophile like me to be able to spot that in the context of a show I’m watching. Also, I blame my good friend and fellow LOSTie Jenni for getting me the Season 3 soundtrack years ago, because I’ve listened to it obsessively for years now, which undoubtedly helps my cause.

Themes

LOST plane wreckage scene
I'm not giving you more images than this. Go watch.

Anyone who watches LOST knows it’s very theme-heavy. There are questions of faith and science and the roles they play to form a complete picture of the world. There are questions of love, trust and honor, and whether you can keep all three in balance regardless of whatever else may happen.

But one that I caught this time around, and which really resonates in the first season finale is, How do you treat someone you’ve never met?

If you were on a plane and you saw someone, would you smile? Would you make an effort to understand what type of day they might be having, regardless of your own? Are you able to see past your own concerns to think that possibly, a little kindness would be a great comfort?

And in that moment, are you who you should be? The only one of the lot that was on Flight 815 was Rose. And thank goodness for re-watching this show, giving me the chance to rediscover her character anew. Hat tip to L. Scott Caldwell for giving one of the most sublime supporting performances in television history.

Conclusion

As soon as the last shot of the first season concluded, I excitedly mentioned to Agent Bun that I can’t wait to start Season 2. Desmond! Penny! The Hatch!

…and…Benjamin Linus. There’s Ben yet to be. Greatest. TV. Villain. Ever.

So if you haven’t, go watch season 1 already! Just try the first disc; I guarantee you’ll be hooked.

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8 thoughts on “Rediscovering LOST: Season 1

  1. Not related to Lost, but I started reading American Gods, and I am totally imagining the character Mr. Wednesday as Michael Emerson. If you haven’t read it, you should do so. You’ll definitely like it. Keep wikipedia handy to look up some of the characters as you go.

  2. Great comments, John. “So Much Story” particularly resonates with me. I felt the exact same way when I re-watched the first season. “Wow! that was only four episodes in?” and many other seasons, as well.

    And, I must point out – not only did I introduce you to the Season 3 soundtrack (which I had completely forgotten about, as a matter of fact), but I introduced you to the whole show! I picked you out as someone who would enjoy the complexity as much as I was. Little did I realize you would dig in far deeper than I had.

    I re-watched each season on DVD right before the new season was about to air. However, I have not been able to bring myself to watch Season 6. Maybe if I never watch it the magic will never end?… Can’t quite figure that one out.

    Cheers!

    1. You did get me started with the show, and look what you’ve done! You brought me to the island, so to speak. 🙂

      You also gave me The Third Policeman, which greatly expanded my understanding of the show! That book made an impact.

      I have to get you to watch the Epilogue from the complete set!!! In 15 minutes they offer more explanation of things, especially the Dharma project!

        1. It’s pretty awesome. I was stunned to find out when it was written, honestly, as it’s pretty advanced science/fiction concepts even by today’s standards. Way ahead of its time.

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