Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Review: Lost 1.9: Solitary

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Sayid meets Danielle Rousseau
Lost - Season One, Episode Nine - Solitary
Written 16/5/13

Yea boi, we gettin' somewhere now! Solitary, despite its exterior appearances as taking a divergence from the main plot, provides some of the most interesting none-character exposition for a while, revealing swiftly the origin of the French transmission and introducing a character who, up until her untimely death in Season Four, is unendingly badass - Danielle Rousseau. Adding to that is the look back at Sayid's past, where we see his character before his unfortunate collapse into mediocrity in the show's second half.
     Sayid, off in exile after torturing Sawyer, discovers a wire on the beach that leads him straight into a set of traps laid by Island inhabitant Danielle Rousseau. After torturing him and discovering the truth, she reveals that her party landed 16 years ago, and that there were "Others" on the Island (it's so weird hearing Sayid not know what she means by that after starting with Season Four) who spread a sickness to her team. She ended up having to kill her partner Robert, and her child Alex is missing. Initially Rousseau is reluctant to let him go, him being the first contact she's had in 16 years, but she eventually lets him go when he discusses his love Nadia. Over at the main camp, and Hurley sets up a Golf course. Yeah. In the past, Sayid is a member of the Republican Guard, and is willing to savagely torture anyone he is told to. One day he is told to torture Nadia, his childhood sweetheart, and he begins to question his loyalties. He eventually lets Nadia escape, shooting himself to prevent the Guard from becoming suspicious.
     Mira Furlan's Rousseau is a welcome guest star; despite the series' multitude of characters, it's nice to see a new face on the Island after eight weeks - and a well developed one at that. What may initially seem like a single plot diversion actually stands to widen the series' scope considerably. Are there other people on the Island? What happened to Alex? Who is the source of the Whispers in the Jungle? That all came along with what was on its own quite a well-written set of interactions between Danielle and Sayid, both outcasts with blood on their hands.
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Sayid interrogates his childhood sweetheart in the Gulf War.
     The golfing subplot is rather weird - so weird, in fact, that it caused two episodes to be swapped around. In the scripting stage, this episode was supposed to be after next week's, "Raised By Another", in which Claire is kidnapped by The Others. It came out of nowhere, and while it was fun to see the main survivors do something other than squabble, it came as something of an uncomfortable contrast with the deep broodiness that was going on in Danielle's shack.
     Solitary is a great episode that pushes the show into a great new direction, the major plot developments of the season finally getting going. In these early seasons, Sayid is one of the best characters, and alongside Locke and Sawyer his flashbacks provide some of the juiciest material to satiate the show's appetite for drama. The episode's themes of isolation made it a great deal more focused and intimate with its centric character than episodes in the past, and that was a nice change.

Thanks.

NEXT WEEK: Things get trippy and we ask who the fuck Ethan is - it's Raised By Another.

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