Lost Recaps S1E11: All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues

by thethreepennyguignol

I took one look at the title of this episode, and only one thing came to mind. Because if you bring up cowboys and daddy issues in the same sentence, I am simply obliged to share with you this iconic Magnetic Fields faux-country gay banger, Papa Was A Rodeo. Here, listen to it now – if you sync it with reading this recap just right, it’s like Wizard of Oz and Pink Floyd, except actually interesting.

And speaking of actually interesting: this episode! Yes, finally, Lost is really getting into its groove. We’re out of the hump of fundamentally misunderstanding Asia and making me listen to Dominic Monaghan yelp about being a rock god, and finally, we’re getting to the good stuff.

First, though, a disclaimer: I was wrong about Jack. I’ve had that secret suspicion since his first episode, White Rabbit, but this week’s story (as well as the Jack-centric flashbacks) just secured that for me. This is a banger of an episode for Matthew Fox, and honestly, just a really impressive step forward for the character in general. Following Jack as he frantically tracks Charlie and Claire after their apparent kidnap the week before, this is Jack out-of-control, filled with a venomous self-blame, and Matthew Fox imbues it with a panicked desperation that feels palpable.

Which leads us in to perhaps the best scene of the show so far; Kate and Jack finally locate Charlie, after he has been hung and left for dead by Ethan. They manage to cut him down, but Jack’s attempts to resuscitate him prove less than effective. Honestly, this is the first time I’ve actually been riveted by something that this show has done – Matthew Fox is almost frightening as he tries to physically beat life back into Charlie, while Evangeline Lilly’s exhausted hysterics as she attempts to stop him, this is genuinely compelling emotional storytelling. I would have liked it even more if the show had had the nerve to actually let Charlie die, but I get it, there’s more to come for him. Either way, this was just a brilliant piece of acting, direction, and a climactic piece of storytelling, and I loved it.

Elsewhere, we’re finally getting some good one-on-one character interactions to fill out some of the secondary characters. Walt and Hurley gamble together, and, Jorge Garcia being the outrageously lovely charm-pot that he is, it just feels normal for Walt to reveal a little more about his past with a whole other father. Locke and Boone head off into the jungle to track Charlie and Claire, and even Ian Somerhalder (who is starting to grow on me, I have to admit) can’t undercut the charismatic screen presence that Terry O’Quinn brings to this role (and, oh my gosh, that wee twinkle in his eye when he’s waving his knife around? stab me daddy). Sawyer and Sayid share a scene – okay, the show is still trying to kid me into believing that stabbing Josh Holloway is the sign of some sort of mental instability, but Sawyer’s a hell of a lot more bearable when he’s not sharing the screen with a pair of even tit-adjacent objects.

This is a fucking lean episode for Lost, and I’m so here for it. I’ve invested ten episodes so far, and it finally feels like the show is settling into a groove – the characters are taking shape, the actors are finding some nuance. Okay, so the shaky-cam direction is still pissing me off – what, does it has to happen if someone is just thinking really hard? If someone takes a particularly aggressive shit? – but the story and the characters finally feel like they’re moving forward. And God, I’m so ready for the show to get there already.

If you liked this recap, and want to see more stuff like it, please feel free to jump into some of my other recapping projects – the Fifty Shades of Grey book series, the first Harry Potter book, Doctor WhoGame of Thrones, and American Horror Story, to name a few. I also write about movies with my brilliant co-editor over at No But Listen. If you’d like to support my work, please consider supporting me on Patreon, or buying my books!

(header image via The Artifice)