Lost Recaps S1E16: Outlaws

by thethreepennyguignol

I was resigned, I really was.

To hating this episode, that is. I watched it the same day as the Movie That Shall Not Be Fucking Named, so I was already in a Fowl (heh) mood. And, oh, look, it’s an episode all about Sawyer and Kate, the Statler and Waldorf of my enjoyment of this show. Of course it’s about their two edges of the love triangle! Why would it not be? Why would Lady Fate not kick me when I’m down already?

But, somehow, I actually kind of…liked this episode? Alright, I’m not going to get ahead of myself – Josh Holloway is at the centre of this episode, as is yet another backstory about women being treated like shit, since Lost has been so enamoured with them lately. Even at it’s best, Lost is still Lost, you know? It’s still a show from the early noughties with all of the vaguely racist and misogynistic baggage that comes with that title.

But Outlaws is probably one of my favourite episodes of this season so far, something I never thought I could say about a Sawyer-centric story. I think what really helps here is that we get better actors than Josh Holloway basically delivering metaphor-laden monologues at him for fun and profit; he does very little of his own volition here, and trust me, that’s the best version of this character to date.

Sawyer becomes convinced that a boar (played by me, draped in a carpet) is out to get him, and he and Kate take off into the woods to be masjestically un-useful together as we get a little more of Sawyer’s conman backstory unfolded. Now, I must be honest and say that Kate and Sawyer together are about the most punishing low that this show can go – I actually quite like Evangelline Lilly as an actress, but her complete dearth of chemistry with Holloway in what’s meant to be the show’s sizzling-hot sexual centrepoint is almost funny when it’s left to carry an episode like this. They play glorified truth or dare over who’s got an edgier backstory while sipping on tiny bottles of aeroplane vodka, and I’ve read sexier One Direction fanfiction, honestly.

But anyway. Specifically, the good stuff comes in the form of a flashback with John Terry (every time I see that name come up on screen, I think I’m going to see the old Chelsea captain at twenty-one pretending to be Jack’s grizzled surgeon father, and every time I’m dissapointed that it’s not), Jack’s dad, who Sawyer encounters in Australia. It’s a really interesting conceit for the centrepiece of this episode (from Cabin in the Woods director Drew Goddard, a goddamn goddard godsend at this point in the show’s run), two men running into each other at the crossroads of each of their respective life journeys, each trying to build up to a desicion that they’re not sure they can make. Holloway has the good sense to sit there and just listen and drink moodily, and it’s a great, deft little character moment for both him and Terry. 

Speaking of Terrys, Monsier O’Quinn also wanders into Sawyer and Kate’s camp, in what’s almost a painful scene to watch – not because he’s bad, but because he’s so fucking good. Up until this point, the episode has been almost entirely Kate and Sawyer, acting so hard it hurts, and then Locke strolls out of the forest munching on a pear (which I can only assume Boone has Call-Me-By-Your-Name’d into) to remind us what actual talent looks like. Everything about his performance is so considered, from the way he hands Kate a coffee to the way that he smiles, but it all feels so effortless. Against the backdrop of these two hacks, it’s even more of an outstanding reminder of just how good Terry O’Quinn really is. Especially when the most emotion Josh Holloway can express is by moving his jaw around aggressively without saying anything. God, I hate this performance.

There’s not much forward momentum here, either in Sawyer’s hunt for me in a felt-and-papier-mache boar costume adapted from that time I had to play a goat in the school nativity, or in terms of the plot. But it’s a solid showcase for a few great actors, even if they’re not the ones we’re meant to be paying attention to. If this gives me a little respite before the next onslaught of Sawyer, I’ll take it as the get-out-of-angst-free card that it is.

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 IGN)