We have to go back… to the very beginning. They say hindsight’s a wonderful thing and in the middle of Lockdown, we’ve got plenty of time for reflection. So, just as a whole new audience prepares to get Lost on Disney Plus’ Star, let’s look back and wonder what if we’d known then what we know now.
Episode 1: Pilot (Part 1)
A plane crash leaves a group of survivors stranded on an island in the South Pacific, but it soon becomes clear that the survivors have as much to hide as The Island itself. Three survivors head into the jungle to find the cockpit and hopefully, a transceiver. But something is waiting for them.
What’s alarming about Pilot (Part 1) is how truly deplorable the characters are to begin with. You forget that Jin was overbearing and controlling of his wife Sun, and that Charlie was not only a skag head, but also willing to flaunt his fame to get close to Kate. There’s very little sympathy to be felt for Michael as Walt’s disinterested and formerly-absent father and Shannon is nothing short of vain and vacuous. Locke, on the other hand does very little: he stares at the sea and he does his ominous orange slice smile… and that’s all.
Firsts: We hear (and almost see) plenty of the Smoke Monster. An alarming amount in fact. Old Smokey’s all over the Pilot episode! We endure the first of many “WAAAAAAALT”s from Michael and glimpse our first white tennis trainer, that later becomes synonymous with Jack’s father, Christian.
Flashforward: We get our first hints of Jack’s alcoholism as he rinses the air steward (Cindy) for extra vodka miniatures (although it is understandable).
Lost Totes Quote: “So I just made a choice. I’d let the fear in, let it take over, let it do its thing, but only for five seconds, that’s all I was going to give it.” Jack to Kate.
Episode 2: Pilot (Part 2)
Sayid, Kate, Shannon, Boone, Charlie and Sawyer trek to the top of a mountain to try and boost the transceiver signal and send a Mayday. However, they discover a signal is already broadcasting and has been for 16 years.
We later find out that this signal is from Danielle Rousseau; a shipwreck survivor from an earlier scientific expedition. Later, right in the middle of the jungle, Sawyer (doing his best Han Solo impression throughout) shoots down an attacking polar bear, which we later learn was there as part of The Dharma Initiative’s experiments. Curiously, we also see Walt come across a polar bear in a comic book, which points towards his abilities with animals/telepathy.
Firsts: Sawyer’s nicknames get their first airing as he dubs Hurley ”Lardo”. He gets more imaginative with them later on.
Flashforward: We suspect there’s more to Sawyer as we see him emotionally reading a crumpled letter, that we later learn he wrote to the man who caused his parents’ death. That man was Anthony Cooper, otherwise known as John Locke’s dad. Boo this man!
Lost Totes Quote: “Two players. Two sides. One is light. One is dark.” Locke to Walt, whilst explaining backgammon.
Episode 3: Tabula Rasa
Back at the beach, it’s discovered that a survivor with a fatal shrapnel wound is actually a US Marshall and Jack and Hurley find out that Kate’s a dangerous fugitive, formerly in his custody.
The group that trekked up the mountain decide not to share the details of Rousseau’s transmission, in the first of many miscommunications which stop them from demystifying the Island much, much sooner. However, Kate buckles and tells Jack, but Jack alone. Michael awkwardly bumps into a naked Sun in another encounter which suggests a romance might be on the cards, but it frustratingly never amounts to anything.
Firsts: Sawyer christens Kate “Freckles” for the first time and it soon sticks. Hurley closes out the episode by playing Joe Purdy’s ‘Wash Away (Reprise)’ from a discman as we see a montage of each character and the various states they’re in. It’s a nice touch that closes other episodes but is, unfortunately, short-lived.
Flashforward: We see Locke’s survival skills come into play when he crafts a whistle so he can find Waaaaalt’s dog on behalf of Michael.
Lost Totes Quote: “3 days ago, we all died. We should be able to start over.” Jack to Kate.
Episode 4: Walkabout
Locke emerges from the group as a master hunter, before going on a boar hunt with Michael and soon-to-be tracker extraordinaire, Kate. But the Smoke Monster has other ideas. Meanwhile, we learn that until the plane crash, Locke was confined to a wheelchair.
Whilst on the boar hunt, Michael ends up getting gored and Locke momentarily struggles to get his legs moving again; an early reminder that his recovery could well be temporary. Locke is also confronted by the Smoke Monster, who later appears to draw on the memories and worthiness of each character before deciding whether or not to kill them.
Firsts: Jack has his first vision of a suited, grey-haired gent at the edge of the jungle which we soon learn is his father, Christian. Further down the line, we learn that he is actually the Smoke Monster using the dead body of Christian as a vessel, as he eventually does with poor old John Locke.
Flashforward: After surviving his face-to-face encounter with the Smoke Monster, Locke’s affinity with The Island only grows as he claims that he belongs there, even though it eventually consumes him.
Lost Totes Quote: “Don’t tell me what I can’t do.” Locke to, well, everyone.
Episode 5: White Rabbit
Jack denounces his position as the defacto leader of the survivors, instead heading off into the jungle on the trail of what appears to be his father.
Like father, like son, we learn that Christian died of heart failure due to chronic alcoholism. When a survivor is seen drowning on the horizon, Charlie’s the first to admit that he can’t swim although later, he’s selected as the strongest swimmer and chosen to dive to the underwater Dharma station. Is this a huge, hatch-shaped plot hole? Or is Charlie lying because he’s still in his selfish skag-head mode?
Firsts: “If we don’t live together, we’re gonna die alone.” The line almost brings a lump to your throat the first time you hear it… but Jack really dines out on it throughout the series.
Flashforward: Locke saves Jack from falling over the cliff edge and together they lie exhausted, pre-empting their climactic showdown at the end of Season 6. In his flashback, Jack’s father, Christian, has spent his last days in Australia to try and see his secret daughter Claire. Yes, THAT Claire.
Lost Totes Quote: “But what if everything that happened here, happened for a reason?” Locke to Jack.
Episode 6: House of the Rising Sun
The group splinters as Jack decides that the caves offer the best chance of survival, whilst Kate, Sayid et al disagree and opt to stay at the beach. In flashbacks, we see how working for Sun’s shady-AF father ends up pushing Jin further away from his wife.
We find out that Sun has actually been able to speak English all along; a reveal which was a big, big deal at the time. It also felt brave to have an episode of a mainstream show that was 45% subtitled as we spend a good portion of our time in South Korea. To close the show, we get another song from Hurley’s discman. This time, it’s Are You Sure by Willie Nelson and it does the job of emphasising just how fractured the group is becoming.
Firsts: We get our first, solid proof that The Island had previous inhabitants. The decayed corpses that Jack and co. find in the caves are christened ‘Adam and Eve’ by the survivors, but in reality, they’re the remains of the mysterious “Mother” and her assumed son, The Man in Black aka The Smoke Monster.
Flashforward: We hear Kate quiz Jack on his out-of-character tattoo which we later learn means; “He walks amongst us, but he is not one of us.”
Lost Totes Quote: “What I know is that this island just might give you what you’re looking for, but you have to give the island something.” Locke to Charlie, who needs his guitar to help him get off the smack.
Episode 7: The Moth
Charlie’s struggling to kick his heroin habit but is helped through by some tough love from Locke and finally finding his place in the group by saving Jack from a cave in (that Charlie caused). Elsewhere an elaborate plan is hatched to boost the transceiver signal.
The flashbacks feature Charlie and his brother Liam’s band Oasi… sorry, Driveshaft and we learn that his addiction stems from feeling left out of the band. Aw. There’s more antagonism/flirting between stepsiblings Boone and Shannon too and part of you thinks “just get a room” and then you remember that they did. Ew.
Firsts: We get our first glimpse of how far certain survivors are willing to go to avoid being rescued from The Island. Just as Sayid’s about to successfully triangulate the signal… he gets bopped from behind and knocked out by an unknown assailant who remains a mystery for some time (clue: his name rhymes with ‘Black Rock’).
Lost Totes Quote: “The tail section broke off while we were still in the air. Our section cartwheeled through the jungle and yet we escaped with nothing but a few scrapes. How do you explain that?… We shouldn’t have survived.” Sayid to Kate.
Flashforward: The quote above points to the later reveal of ‘The Candidates’: a list of flawed survivors who were hand-picked by Jacob to one day replace him in protecting The Island.
Episode 8: Confidence Man
The survivors grow tired of Sawyer hoarding supplies, so when Shannon is in need of medication, Sayid reveals his past as an interrogator/torturer. Off The Island, we see Sawyer’s days running long cons on wealthy married couples until his conscience comes into play.
In terms of character development for Sawyer … this episode is huge and he’s such an out-and-out baddie to begin with that you really don’t really see it coming. The on-Island reveal that Sawyer’s letter was written by him as a boy, rather than the man who conned his parents is brilliantly set against Sawyer off-Island refusing to con a similar family because of the parallels. Lost at its best.
Firsts: We see Sun’s herbology come into play when she crafts nature’s Becotide and Ventolin to combat Shannon’s asthma. There’s also the beginnings of Charlie and Claire’s “will they/they won’t” relationship.
Lost Totes Quote: Jack (aggressively); “Stand up!”
Sawyer (smugly); “Why, you wanna see who’s taller?”
Flashforward: Sawyer’s cons come back into play further down the line when he tries to swindle, but eventually teams up with, his beau Cassidy who births his daughter Clementine.
Episode 9: Solitary
Sayid’s mapping of The Island leads to his imprisonment at the hands of Rousseau, who interrogates the former interrogator. Meanwhile, Hurley decides that the survivors could use some downtime so he builds a golf course. Yep.
There’s some much-needed light relief in and around the golf course, including one GIF-worthy moment of Charlie and Hurley taunting Jack and Michael on the links. Darker though, is Rousseau questioning Sayid about Alex, who we later learn is her daughter, kidnapped from her years earlier by Ben Linus, the leader of The Others.
Firsts: Ethan Rom, our introduction to The Others makes his first appearance, hiding in plain sight amongst the survivors. When escaping from Rousseau, Sayid also experiences the whispers in the jungle which is calling card of The Others.
Lost Totes Quote: “I’ve never seen them… only heard them.” Rousseau, telling Sayid about The Others.
Flashforward: Sayid finds an electrical cable on the beach and follows it into the jungle. Little does he know that the other way would have lead him to the underwater Dharma station, The Looking Glass, where Charlie eventually meets his maker.
Episode 10: Raised by Another
Claire starts to experience nightmares, convinced that someone’s trying to hurt her unborn baby. Becoming more aware that they’re surrounded by strangers, Hurley sets out to find the flight manifest to see who’s who. Off-Island, Claire gets an unnerving message from a fortune teller.
The episode opens with a scene that never gets the recognition it deserves; Claire meets Locke in a dream as he sits behind a table of tarot cards, before revealing a black and white stone in each eye. The battle for Locke starts early on. Back in Australia, Claire visits a fortune teller, who at first refuses to read Clare through fear, but later tells her that her baby must not be raised by another. He changes his mind again later on and says she should. Worst. Psychic. Ever.
Firsts: We learn that Ethan (and therefore The Others) may not be a force for good, as he confronts Charlie and Clare in the jungle and stares with intent, just as Hurley learns that he wasn’t on the plane. Altogether… “Ooooooh!!”
Lost Totes Quote: “He knew. He knew about the plane, what was going to happen. Oh my god, he knew.” Claire, talking about fortune teller Richard Malkin.
Flashforward: Malkin coerces Claire into catching Oceanic flight 815, under the pretence of giving her baby away, but we later learn that Jacob’s paying Malkin to get Claire to where she needs to be.
Episode 11: All the Best Cowboys have Daddy Issues
Charlie and Claire have been kidnapped by Ethan, which leads Kate and Jack on a mission into the jungle to rescue the pair, whilst Boone and Locke make a startling discovery. Off-Island, we see the cause of the fracture in the relationship between Jack and his father, Christian.
Ethan easily drags Claire and Charlie for miles and Jack’s punches don’t seem to affect him – this caused a lot of online chat about Ethan having super strength. It is a bit of a head-scratcher but could be that he’s simply more adept at surviving and keeping his strength up in the jungle, while the survivors are weak and struggling. Dunno. More interestingly, we see Walt’s “luck” as he rolls the exact numbers he needs in a game of Backgammon.
Firsts: The Hatch. What more can you say?!
Lost Totes Quote:
Walt, after winning at Backgammon: “You owe me 20 thousand dollars!”
Hurley, the former lottery winner: “You’ll get it.”
Flashforward: So much of the lore in Lost stems from The Hatch, but let’s just start with Desmond: The Hatch’s inhabitant, tricked into an experiment where he must periodically enter numbers into a computer to avert a catastrophic electromagnetic pulse. Until he doesn’t.
Episode 12: Whatever the Case May Be
Sawyer and Kate discover a locked flight case in a lagoon and set about trying to find out what’s inside. Although it quickly becomes clear that one knows more about it than the other. Off-island, we see Kate’s criminal past as she instigates a bank heist with ulterior motives.
I remembered nothing about this episode. Of course, the flight case contents belong to Kate and the off-island heist runs in parallel with the safety deposit box and case pretty much in tandem to reveal the same toy aeroplane. Shannon and Sayid also start to get close… but Boone’s not a happy camper.
Firsts: The safety deposit box that Kate’ss after is numbered 815. Y’know, like Oceanic Flight 815? It may not be the first significant number appearance, but it’s the first one that makes you sit up and notice the “coincidence”.
Lost Totes Quote: Rose, on her belief that her husband is alive; “It’s a fine line between denial and faith. It’s much better on my side.”
Flashforward: We later learn that the owner of the toy plane was Tom Brennan, Kate’s childhood sweetheart, who died in a shootout as she continued to run from the po-pos.
Episode 13: Hearts and Minds
To help pull his focus back onto breaking into The Hatch by ending his obsession with Shannon, Locke drugs Boone with a hallucinogen and ties him up in the jungle. Off-Island, Boone tries to help Shannon escape her abusive boyfriend, but things quickly get complicated (i.e. they bone).
As far as The Hatch goes, Boone and Locke have made very little progress. I’d say that one’s been digging a hole while the other just stands around and watches while sucking his teeth but that feels derivative. Elsewhere, Hurley gets stung by a jellyfish and asks Jin to pee on it. Jin refuses ‘cos he’s never seen Friends.
Firsts: When Boone goes to report Shannon’s domestic abuse to the cops, we see Sawyer in the station, getting mouthy with his arresting officers. We know Sawyer is a wrong ‘un but this just adds to the intrigue around their interconnectivity and it’s the first time it’s seen outside of the airport queue.
Lost Totes Quote: Charlie; “… if there was one person on this island that I would put my absolute faith in to save us all, it would be John Locke.”
Flashforward: Sayid stumbles across a magnetic anomaly while orienteering. This points towards the enormous amounts of electromagnetism present on The Island (necessitating the button in The Hatch) and also explains why The Island is so difficult to locate. In short, the plot thickens.
Episode 14: Special
Walt runs away from the camp and into danger when Michael bans him from spending time with the mysterious John Locke. Off-Island, we learn that Michael wasn’t actually an absent father by choice.
The polar bears make another appearance in Waaaaaaaaaaaalt’s comic… and before long they’re back in the jungle and attacking Walt. Thank goodness for banyan trees deterring rabid polar bears and smoke monsters alike. Just as Charlie’s making some progress nosing through Claire’s diary, she escapes her captors and finds her way back to camp.
Firsts: Walt’s anger at having his birds of Australia homework ignored by new dad Brian is punctuated by a bird violently crashing into the window. Polar bears? Birds? Coincidence? Hmm…
Lost Totes Quote: “As long as we’re here, I think Walt should be allowed to realise his potential.” Locke, to Michael.
Flashforward: Claire’s diary reveals that before being kidnapped, she dreamt of escaping from “The Black Rock”. We later learn that this is a landlocked former slave ship which was summoned by Jacob and bought Richard Alpert (the future “advisor” to Jacob) to The Island.
Episode 15: Homecoming
Claire has escaped her captors and made her way home to the survivors… but has lost all memory of the trauma along the way but Ethan’s happy to help her remember. Off-Island, Charlie’s struggling with the break-up of his band and his addiction, so turns to more nefarious means of making money.
Charlie goes on the charm offensive by romancing and then robbing rich and eligible ladies, which leads to a job as a photocopier salesman. Even more unexpectedly though, there’s a cracking reference to The Office, as Charlie’s faux-beau Lucy, claims that her father is the manager of a paper company up in Slough. However, she doesn’t mention if he’s also a chilled-out entertainer.
Firsts: There are no real revelations in this ep, but there is another instance where the mystery is dragged out when it could have been unravelled much earlier with a little haste. Here, Charlie shoots and kills Ethan, just as the survivors have him where they want him.
Lost Totes Quote: “You call yourselves ladies? Jane Austen would be ashamed!” Charlie (English) to a group of ladies (also English) in your average typical English conversation.
Flashforward: Once again, Ethan choke-holds Charlie and holds him up like he’s Darth Vader looking for a rebel transmission. The displays of Ethan’s strength are a somewhat frustrating thread that is never addressed but, hey… this is Lost.
Episode 16: Outlaws
On-Island, Sawyer’s convinced that he’s being bullied by a boar and sets out for vengeance. Flashbacks show us a vulnerable Sawyer in Australia on the hunt for the real “Mr Sawyer”, the con man who caused the death of his parents.
Sawyer receives info on his target’s whereabouts from a former partner, who is none other than the T-1000 (Robert Patrick). Unsurprisingly, he’s untrustworthy, which Sawyer finds out after he’s put a bullet in the wrong man. While he’s drowning his sorrows, who should pull up a pew next to him but Christian Shephard: a son looking for the killer of his father and a father looking to connect with his daughter. Synergy!
Firsts: Shedding the tough exterior further still, we discover Sawyer’s real name is James, which is later used with affection by Kate and Juliet and when being talked down to by Locke and Ben Linus.
Lost Totes Quote: “Know why they call Australia “Down Under?” ‘Cos it’s as close to hell as you can get without getting burned.” Christian to Sawyer.
Flashforward: James eventually kills the real Sawyer, AKA Anthony Cooper, AKA Locke’s dad on The Island in Season 3.
Episode 17: … in Translation
Off-Island, we experience the events that lead to Sun feeling scared of her husband and desperate for a way out, but this time from Jin’s POV. On-Island, the raft is set on fire by an anonymous arsonist and all signs point to Jin.
Lost… in Translation. Geddit? Sadly, there’s no Ring-a-Ding-Ding about this episode. Sun and Jin episodes were always accompanied with a sigh in our house and this rewatch is no different. Although it’s worth saying that I did full-on ugly crying when they met their maker later on. Sun’s dad, Mr Paik, is one of the true Lost villains and one of the few characters without a single redeeming feature. Through his responsibility to his father-in-law, Jin’s finally revealed as someone trapped in a bad sitch and acting purely out of love for Sun. Awww.
Firsts: We learn that Jin, much like everyone else on The Island, has substantial daddy issues. Jin’s so embarrassed of his class and family profession, that he’d rather tell folk that his father is dead.
Lost Totes Quote: “We’re not the only people on this island and we all know it!” Locke, to everyone else, when discussing the raft burning (even though he knows it was Walt).
Flashforward: Jin gets accosted and beaten by Sawyer, long before they become Han and Chewie-level best friends in later seasons. We also get a glimpse of Hurley, the newly made millionaire, on Sun’s TV as he becomes embroiled in The Numbers.
Episode 18: Numbers of the Lost: Season 1 rewatch is coming soon.