Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Review: Lost 1.7: The Moth
Charlie deals with withdrawl symptoms and internal paranoia.
Lost - Season One, Episode Seven - The Moth
Written between 1st and 2nd May 2013

I've never really got into Oasis. As a band, I mean. Everyone else seems to love them, but they just sound too much like Richard Ashcroft for me and I'd rather have the real deal. I mention this not as a random whim of thought but because of today's episode, which follows Charlie Pace's path through heroin addiction and recovery, as he tried to survive as part of a band which is in part a parody of the Mancunian sensation. I am rather waiting for something to happen plot-wise, but like I said for White Rabbit, the atmosphere and character work in The Moth is more than worth the slow pace.
     Charlie is off the drugs, and after Locke took them off his last week, he offers Charlie a Doubting-Thomas ultimatum - if Charlie asks for his drugs back three times, then Locke will give them to him. While moving stuff around at the Caves, Charlie's withdrawl starts making him paranoid, and under the belief that the others consider him a burden. When Jack is buried in a cave-in, Charlie volunteers to go in after him, only to become trapped himself. Sayid attempts to triangulate the French woman's signal, but is knocked out by a mysterious figure. Jack and Charlie have a talk about his withdrawl and he finds a way out. After asking for his drugs for the third time, Charlie accepts his new lifestyle by throwing them into a fire.
     Flashback to Manchester, and we find Charlie's brother Liam talking him into taking Drive-Shaft on tour against his better judgement. Liam feeds off of the fame that Charlie's talent provides, overtaking him as the band's image and becoming addicted to drugs and women. When Charlie protests, he is put down by his brother and falls into addiction himself. Years later, a still-addicted Charlie visits his now sobre brother and his family in Sydney. His brother expressed regret for his past mistakes, but Charlie won't listen and goes to head back to Los Angeles on Flight 815.
You all, everybody.
     While some of the Mancunian accents may have been a little off at times (I should know, it's where I'm from), I thought that the flashbacks were some of the most captivating parts of the episode. Charlie's slow corruption, being fed off by his parasitic brother and driven into addiction, was really well done and it redeemed a character that previously could have been seen as exactly the things that he thought of himself. Unlike in some of the other episodes first trying out Lost's flashback-as-an-episodic-subplot format, the two subplots are perfectly balanced, and Charlie's fall into addiction is mirrored nicely with his rise out of it while on the Island.
     The Moth is a well-written tale that explores all of Charlie's character beats, processing him through his highs, his lows and his moments of great decision. There's an almost fable-like nature in the way that he is redeemed, and that makes for an entertaining episode. Importantly, The Moth stands out as a clear balance between the present day storyline and the flashbacks, ensuring that enough plot is happening in both to make the episode feel worthwhile. This is a trend that's gonna continue, I promise you.


NEXT WEEK: What's written in Sawyer's letter? And what does it have to do with him being a Confidence Man?

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