Lost S1E18: ….In Translation

by thethreepennyguignol

Excuse me, Sir, spare some plot for a struggling recapper? Just a little, anything helps; I have gone so long without plot, I have almost forgotten the taste of it. Is it I, stranded on the island, torn away from the decencies of reality such as a coherent, forward-motion plot? Perhaps it was me on the island all along.

Or perhaps we’re nearly twenty episodes in and Lost continues to deftly avoid actually moving the plot forward in any meaningful way. I can’t believe that I would ever sit here complaining about too much time spent on character development – I am a tart, after all, for all things character-driven, and that’s one of the reasons that I came to this show in the first place. Big cast, small location, lots of time to get to know them. Sounds perfect, right?

Well, maybe that would be the case if the characterisation they were doing was actually any fucking good. This week, we’re back with Sun and Jin, you know, that Japanese couple, as the show tries to navigate the dynamic of their relationship from Jin’s perspective this time around. Though what they’re trying to say is…

Honestly, I’m not even completely sure what they’re trying to say. This episode revolves around the breakdown of their relationship back in South Korea, as Jin’s actual work for her father is revealed, and it turns out he didn’t kill a man, honey, he actually just…uh, beat him violently in front of his wife and child. And then he went to speak to his dad (who he pretended was dead for Shame Reasons) and decided that he didn’t want to beat people for a living, actually! If only Sun had known that before she made the decision to leave him, or else she might have missed out on him violently manhandling her and humiliating her in front of a crowd of people because he decided she wasn’t wearing enough clothes for his liking. Oh, wait.

I like Daniel Dae Kim a lot, I really do, but I’m not sure what I’m meant to make of Jin at all. Because, to me, he seems like a fucking asshole, possessive, domineering, and willing to physically manhandle his wife over issues which are not actually issues. There’s a throughline in this episode about someone setting Michael’s homemade raft on fire, and when the show dramatically reveals that Jin didn’t do it, I’m not sure if I’m meant to like him more? I mean, not committing arson is a low bar, guys. Treating your wife not like a sack of shit is also a low one, but Jin goes limbo-ing under it nonetheless. I just don’t like him, and, when he leaves after Sun pleads with him to stay, I feel more like celebrating than anything. Yes, girl! Go live your lesbian cottagecore life with Kate!

There’s also a distinctly strange plot featuring Sayid, Shannon, and Twink, Stranding Boone, which I have little idea what to do with. After Sayid tells Boone that he wants to stick it in his sister (or something like that, I was eating a baked potato at the time), Boone tells him that Shannon will use him for what she can get and then drop him when she’s done. Which Sayid immediately takes on board, telling Shannon that they can’t be together. And when Shannon goes to confront Boone, she runs into daddy dom Locke first, who gives her a big ol’ monologue about how she needs to Let Go and Forget Her Old Life and Not Confront Boone about the Vile Things He Has Been Saying Behind her Back to Someone She Has Feelings For.

And the episode nods sagely along and lets it go, as though Shannon was being unreasonable to not want people spreading nasty shit about her behind her back, especially when the people it was spread to seemed to believe it wholesale. It’s just dumb and patronizing, even if Terry O’Quinn is the one saying it and I’m inclined to believe him.

But, more than anything, this is just another episode of straight-up stasis for the show as a whole. Nothing is happening here. I was promised that Lost had story – too much story, if anything, but story nonetheless. Where the fuck is it? We’re seventeen episodes in, and I’ve seen a polar bear and heard about a hatch and that’s about it. I am bored! I want more! I want anything! And I want the camera to stay. fucking. still instead of shaking all over the place every time someone does a particularly effusive burp, while we’re making demands!

Ugh. I’m ready for something to happen again. And, as we draw into the final third of this first season, I’m hoping that it just might.

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 Heimlich Maneuvers)