Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Review: Lost 1.17: In Translation

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Jin reconciles with Michael after feeling betrayed by Sun.
Lost - Season One, Episode Seventeen - ...In Translation
Written 29/5/13

The first phase of the season showed us Sun's side of the argument. Now, at last, we get to see Jin's perspective, and boy does it pay off. In Translation (a pun on Lost In Translation) sees a number of plotlines sew themselves up in an explosive way, as Sun's secret lingustic skills are discovered and someone burns Michael's raft. Two characters who made their mark through sheer isolation have been shoved into the limelight and have become a driving factor in the season's plot.
     In the past, we see the flashback events in House of the Rising Sun from Jin's perspective. Sun's mafioso father Mr. Paik is willing to let Jin marry his daughter, in exchange for working in his company. One day, he is promoted to do a different kind of work - he is sent to "send a message" to an uncooperative minister. Jin, bless him, doesn't understand, and the minister is so grateful that he gives Jin a dog. Angry, Mr. Paik sends Jin to beat the guy up, and it is this incident that leads to him coming home bloody shirted. Jin goes and sees his estranged father, and they bond, as it is revealed that all the while Sun was planning to leave him, he was planning to forget about her father and start a new life with her in Los Angeles.
     On the island, Jin and Michael get into an argument when Jin gets pissy over Sun daring to wear a bikini. Later that night the first raft is burnt by an unknown source; it's assumed to be Jin. When he is hauled in front of the people the next morning, Sun exposes her lie and defends him. When they begin to question her testimony given her month of deception, Locke stands up and blames the sabotage on The Others. Sayid and Shannon become an item despite Boone's prattling. Locke confronts Walt, who admits in confidence that it was he who burnt the raft, as he didn't want to leave. Jin and Sun stop talking to one another, and Jin makes peace with Michael by helping him start work on the second raft.
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Jin's Dad doesn't mind him being ashamed of him.
     The flashbacks were both kinda cute and tragic at the same time, as we were shown a very different side of Jin's personality - the one that would become the default instead of "arsey, controlling husband". There is a hint of the naivité, a natural innocence whose corruption has led to this shift in personality. He's a dick on the island not just because he's scarred from Mr. Paik's work, not just because he feels isolated due to the language barrier, but also because his plan to bring back both the love of his wife and his own self-respect went down with 815. Good one, Jacob.
     I'm glad that they played up the tragedy in Jin and Sun's relationship rather more than they played up the Raft Mystery, which sorted itself out in a way which felt natural and unburdoning. This was not an episode to bludgeon us with questions - it was one for answering them, for answering those surrounding the two people outcast from the outcasts. The revelation to the group of Sun's English is a great moment and the way the relationships surrounding that moment are handled marks In Translation out as one of the season greats.

Thanks

NEXT WEEK: 481516234248151623424815162342.... the Numbers are cursed man, I tell ya...

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