Okay. The three-part “Exodus” is in the books. Season one is done. I am the sweats. Let’s talk LOST.
— “Exodus” is massive. I mean that in every sense of the word. It’s a massive undertaking from a writing perspective: three episodes spanning one single chaotic day. It’s a massive undertaking from a production standpoint: the raft scenes, the Black Rock, the biggest Monster sequence since the pilot, the detonating of the Hatch. It’s a massive undertaking on an emotional level: our heroes go through such joy and catharsis, pain and suffering, and beyond.
— It. Is. Massive.
— And that’s not even to speak of my massive experience watching the episode this time around. The rules of Watching With Wigler state that I can only watch any given episode if I’m exercising. I chose to watch all three parts of “Exodus” in a single work-out session. That amounted to two hours on the treadmill, 40 minutes of which was spent on maximum incline. It’s the hardest I’ve pushed my body in years. It was awful. It was awesome.
— I haven’t used this blog project to pat myself on the back to much because you people (whoever you are) are here to read about LOST, not to read about my struggles in getting my chubby ass back in shape ahead of my wedding this summer. (That sounds superficial; the wedding is the end of the first leg of the marathon, but the goal is to get myself into a regiment that will keep me physically and mentally healthy for the rest of my life.) But I’m going to take a second to give myself some kudos. I have skipped only two days since I started WWW. Every episode I’ve watched, I’ve watched on the treadmill, two episodes in one session, 80 minutes, every single time. Two weeks have passed. One season is done. I’m noticing significant weight loss already, thanks to the work-outs, and also thanks to diet stuff that’s too depressing to get into. (I miss pizzas.) I’m feeling exhausted, but I’m feeling motivated, and I’m feeling great. I don’t say it often, maybe not often enough, but I’m proud of myself.
— YAY ME.
— Alright. “Exodus” is way too big to spend yammering about myself for half of the blog. But it’s also so big that I don’t know how the hell to go about diving into it. I spent a decent amount of time while watching the episode wondering how to break it all apart on the blog. Like I said: it’s massive.
— So, what I decided is this: I am going to name my top ten moments from “Exodus.” That’s a hard enough task, because “Exodus” is easily one of the greatest episodes of LOST. I say that a lot (see also: my feelings on hyperbole) but in this case, I mean it. “Exodus” is easily a top ten episode of the series, and quite frankly, it might just be the best.
— Let’s get into it then. The top ten moments from “Exodus,” in descending order.
10. “The Others are coming.”
— Here’s how “Exodus” begins. Rousseau enters the Oceanic 815 camp for the very first time, armed to the teeth, stalking slowly, noticed by no one but Walt. He alerts the other survivors to her presence, and a crowd starts to gather. Michael tries to talk her down. “Hey, hey, hey, stop, slow down. Stay right there.” Sawyer stares her down. “Gotta be the French chick.” Baby Aaron (still unnamed at this point) is howling. Danielle and Claire share a knowing look. Sayid approaches. “Danielle?” he whispers. “What are you doing here?” She turns to look at him. “The Others are coming.”
— Smash to credits.
— The very next scene, Danielle explains who she is and what’s happened to her on the island, as a way of letting the survivors know what’s coming next.
— DANIELLE: “Our ship went aground on this island 16 years ago. There were six of us: my team. At the time, I was already seven months pregnant. I delivered the infant myself. The baby and I were together for only one week when I saw black smoke … a pillar of black smoke, five kilometers inland. That night, they came. They came, and they took her. Alex. They took my baby. And now … they’re coming again. They’re coming for all of you.”
— JACK: “Who’s coming?”
— DANIELLE: “The Others. [Pauses, looks at the group.] You have only three choices. Run. Hide … or die.”
— Well, that certainly sets the stakes pretty damn high, don’t it?
9. “This is not going to be pleasant.”
— Fast-forward to “Exodus, Part 3.” Danielle’s true colors are revealed: she kidnaps baby Aaron (now with a name) and runs off into the jungle, God knows why. Sayid and Charlie tear off after her, taking lead on the episode’s C-plot. On their way through the jungle, they come upon the Beechcraft, and Charlie discovers the heroin. Further along, Charlie, eager to get Aaron back no matter the cost, stumbles into one of Rousseau’s tracks and gashes his forehead open. The wound is too deep for him to continue on untreated. Charlie begs for Sayid to do something.
— SAYID: “I’m not a doctor!”
— CHARLIE: “You’re a soldier! What do people do when you get wounded?”
— You really want to find out? Well, alright. Sayid opens up a bullet, removes the gunpowder, pours it on Charlie’s wound, and lights a match.
— SAYID: “This is not going to be pleasant.”
— And it’s not. Charlie’s howls echo throughout the jungle as the scene fades away. It’s an awesome moment that showcases Sayid’s unmatched MacGuyver skills and Charlie’s moth-like ability to push through pain and get to what’s important.
8. “We’re here. The Black Rock.”
— Flash-back to “Exodus, Part 1.” We’d heard about it all season. Its name is always mentioned, but what it means, and what it is, has remained a mystery … until now. Near the end of the first part of “Exodus,” we finally see it: The Black Rock. The first time I saw it, my head went spinning, brimming with all of the same questions swimming in the minds of Jack and friends. “How’d it get there?” “Must’ve been a tsunami!” There were no obvious answers.
— The Black Rock is one of those LOST mysteries that actually has a terrific pay-off. Its full reveal leads to one of the highest-rated episodes of the series. But even at this nascent stage, where we really don’t know shit about the thing aside from the fact that it’s a big old ship, it has dynamite, and it really shouldn’t be in the middle of the jungle, it’s a great reveal: the Black Rock, something we surely thought would be a cave or a legit rock or something, but nope, it’s a ship. It’s a question answered with another question. Loved that then, love it now.
7. “Let me go!”
— The first time John encountered the Monster in “Walkabout,” he walked away a changed man. He looked into “the eye of the island” and what he saw was “beautiful.”
— His second run-in with the Monster, in “Exodus, Part 3,” is not beautiful.
— There is horror on John Locke’s face as the Monster, now revealed for the first time in its smokey glory, descends upon him. This is not the same benevolent creature he met so many weeks ago; at least, its purposes have changed. And that’s not lost on Locke, who picks himself up and runs through the jungle, as far and as fast from the thing as possible.
— Locke isn’t fast enough. The Monster latches onto him and drags him along the jungle floor, bringing him down toward the darkness. He’s about to fall into the pit when Jack slides in to save the day, grabbing John by the arms, propping his legs against the pit, playing tug of war with the Monster. Kate joins. Jack tells her he needs the dynamite. She starts taking her backpack off. “No, it’s in my pack,” he tells her, revealing that he double-crossed her; but there’s no time for hurt feelings, and Kate runs off to get the pack.
— LOCKE: “Let me go! Just let me go, I’ll be alright.”
— JACK: “NO!”
— LOCKE: “Let me go! I’ll be alright!”
— Jack doesn’t let him let go. Just as John saved Jack from falling off the cliff back in “The White Rabbit,” Jack saves John here. John has all the faith in the world that if he’s meant to go with the Monster, well then, that’s just destiny. But knowing what we know about what happens to Locke, what the Monster really is and what its purposes are, it is more than likely that Jack really saved Locke’s ass here. That’s some nice replay value.
— Plus, it’s our first sighting of the Monster. Our first sighting of what Rousseau calls “a security system.” Like the Black Rock, this right here is a question answered with another question. We know what the Monster looks like now. It’s not a T-Rex. It’s not a dragon. It’s a flippin’ cloud of smoke. How dangerous can that really be?
— VERY FLIPPIN’ DANGEROUS.
6. “I’m going to save you.”
— Flash-back to “Exodus, Part 1.” The raft is about to launch. Sun has tried to stop Jin from leaving. She tried to poison him. It failed. She failed. Now she’s trying something else: accepting fate. She approaches Jin, knowing that his decision’s already made. She gives him a notepad.
— SUN: “This is for you.”
— JIN: “Star… star board.”
— SUN: “Starboard. It’s a list of simple English words spelled out phonetically. I thought this would help you … so I made it for you.”
— Jin starts to crumble. It’s the most emotion we’ve seen from the man all season long, on the island at least.
— JIN: “I’m sorry.”
— Sun starts to crumble.
— SUN: “I am too. You don’t have to go.”
— JIN: “No. You don’t understand, Sun. I’m in this place because I’m being punished. I made you suffer. You don’t deserve any of this.”
— SUN: “Jin …”
— Jin starts to pull himself together.
— JIN: “I have to go … because I’m going to save you. Stay with Jack. He’ll keep you safe.”
— Sun’s tears well up.
— SUN: “Who will keep you safe?”
— They hug. They cry. They tell each other they love each other. They tell each other how sorry they are. And then they kiss, passionately.
— AND IF THIS DOES NOT MAKE YOU CRY YOU ARE A ROBOT.
— Fast-forward to “Exodus, Part 2.” Leslie Arzt knows how to handle dynamite, but he does not know how to handle ghost ships. He wants nothing to do with the Black Rock. Neither does Hurley. So the two of them hang out outside the ship and have themselves a chat. Arzt is telling Hurley all about his third wife. Hurley isn’t paying attention, and Arzt knows it.
— ARZT: “What… am I boring you?”
— HURLEY: “Huh?”
— ARZT: “You know what? I’m, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I’m not cool enough to be part of your merry little band of adventurers. I know a clique when I see it. I teach high school, pal-y. You know, you people think you’re the only ones on this island doing anything of value. Well, I’ve got news for you. There were 40 other survivors of this plane crash, and we’re all people, too!”
— HURLEY: “Dude, this is all in your head.”
— ARZT: “Oh, really? Then explain to me why Kate gets the best pieces of wreckage to build her shelter? And the Korean guy — does he catch fish for everybody on the island? No, he does not! And some of us have actually lost weight while we were here. Now, would you mind telling me where you’re hiding the carbs? Because I can’t figure …”
— And then he sees it: Jack, John and Kate leaving the Black Rock with a big crate of dynamite. And it launches us into the funniest scene of the episode, and one of the greatest gags of the series: Arzt explaining the nature of dynamite.
— ARZT: “Do any of you have any idea what happens to dynamite in 90+ degree heat? It sweats nitroglycerine. [Jack starts moving forward.] Whoa, hey, what are you doing? Did I ask you to come closer? [He picks up a stick of dynamite.] Dynamite is nitroglycerin stabilized by clay. Nitroglycerin is the most dangerous and unstable explosive known to man. Hey, Kate, give me your shirt. NOW, princess, give me your shirt! I need to wrap the dynamite! Just throw it to me, right here. Be careful. Come on, hurry up! [He gets the shirt and starts putting it in the mud, and starts wrapping the dynamite.] Okay, good. Now back up. Back up back up, just back up, get out of my way. Any of you hear about the guy who invited nitroglycerin? Probably not … because he blew his freakin’ face off. His lab assistant came into the room, saw that his mentor detonated, and he said, ‘Huh. I guess this stuff does work.’”
— Arzt successfully wraps the dynamite. He holds it in his hand and breathes a sigh of relief. He looks to the group.
— ARZT: “Alright. We’re not going to take any more of this stuff than we need, because nitroglycerin is extremely temperamental. So we …”
— And then Arzt blows up.
— And when Arzt blows up, that leads us to great Hurleyisms such as “DUDE” and “You got some Arnzt on you.”
— And it’s so, so good. Kudos to Daniel Roebuck for being such a good sport about the whole thing. He sells poor Leslie so well. I would’ve loved to see more of the character (and thankfully we do get some more of him in flashbacks and sideways and whatnot), but at the same time, his exit is about as perfect an exit as anyone gets on LOST. Just so great.
4. “You’re a Man of Science … I’m a Man of Faith”
— Fast-forward to “Exodus, Part 3.” Jack, John, Hurley and Kate get closer to the Hatch. Jack does not understand why John wanted to be taken by the Monster. And it leads to one of the show’s most important conversations.
— JACK: “I need for you to explain to me what the hell’s going on inside your head, John. I need to know why you believe that thing wasn’t going to …”
— LOCKE: “I believe I was being tested.”
— JACK: “Tested?”
— LOCKE: “Yeah. Tested. I think that’s why you and I don’t see eye to eye sometimes, Jack. Because you’re a man of science.”
— JACK: “Yeah. And what does that make you?”
— LOCKE: “Me? Well, I’m a man of faith. Do you really think all of this is an accident? That we, a group of strangers, survived, many of us just with superficial injuries? Do you really think we crashed on this place by coincidence? Especially this place? We were brought here for a purpose. For a reason. All of us. Each one of us was brought here for a reason.”
— JACK: “Brought here? And who brought us here, John?”
— LOCKE: “The Island. The Island brought us here. This is no ordinary place. You’ve seen that. I know you have. The Island chose you too, Jack. It’s destiny.”
— JACK: “Did you talk with Boone about destiny, John?”
— LOCKE: “…Boone was a sacrifice that the Island demanded. What happened to him at that plane was part of a chain of events that led us here. That led us down a path. That led you and me to this day, to right now.”
— JACK: “And where does that path end, John?”
— LOCKE: “The path ends at the Hatch. The Hatch, Jack. All of it happened so we could open the Hatch.”
— JACK: “No … no, we’re opening the Hatch so that we can survive.”
— LOCKE: “Survival is all relative, Jack.”
— JACK: “I don’t believe in destiny.”
— LOCKE: “Yes you do. You just don’t know it yet.”
— What’s great about this scene is how right Locke is, and how wrong he is. He’s very right about Jack: he’s a man of science, and one day, he’ll have to take a leap of faith. He’s right that Jack will one day believe in destiny. But he’s wrong, dead wrong, about the Hatch. That everything is leading there. That the answers to all of his questions and problems and insecurities will be answered by whatever is inside of the hatch — “hope,” he believes, is down there. And yeah, it is. But that’s not all that’s down there. There’s also frustration down there. There’s pain. And there are errors just waiting to be made.
— Take a good, long look at the John Locke of this scene. The confident mystery man who knows everything about everything. The hunter who was born to come to this island. The man of faith who wholly embraces his destiny.
— We won’t see that same man again for a very long time.
3. “The thing is…”
— Fast-forward to the end of “Exodus, Part 3.” Everything about this scene is incredible. The blip on the radar. The blip fading away. The panic as Michael tries to determine whether he should listen to his own instincts or listen to Sawyer’s advice and fire off the signal flare. The “Please God” he mutters as he blasts the flare off into the night sky. The deafening silence as the blip leaves the screen. The swirling of adrenaline as the blip returns and comes closer and closer. The sheer joy when the lights go on and it’s another boat and everyone’s rescued.
— The absolute horror as the reality of the situation settles in.
— MISTER FRIENDLY: “The thing is … we’re going to have to take the boy.”
— MICHAEL: “What? What did you say?”
— MISTER FRIENDLY: “The boy. We’re going to have to take him.”
— MICHAEL: “Hey … what the hell’s going on here? Who are you people?”
— MISTER FRIENDLY: “Just give us the boy.”
— The others on the boat straighten up. Sawyer’s brow furrows, his gun tucked into the back of his pants. Jin, without knowing a lick of English, beginning to understand the tension. Walt … poor Walt. Michael, defiant.
— MICHAEL: “I’m not giving you anybody.”
— MISTER FRIENDLY: “Well, alright then!”
— The light’s off. Sawyer’s gun’s up. He’s shot. He’s in the ocean. Jin calls out for him, dives in after him. The Others board the raft. Michael swings at one. Michael gets pushed off the raft. Walt is taken. A bomb is thrown on the raft. The raft explodes. Michael treads water, watching in terror as his son is taken away, calling out for his dad. There’s nothing he can do except scream.
— And then we get the first of what’s about to become one of the show’s most oft-repeated, iconic lines.
— MICHAEL: “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALT!”
— The pacing of this scene is out of this world. The range of emotions. It’s so intense. Everything about it is so wrong and so right. And look, if you watch this scene knowing what Michael’s going to do a few episodes down the line … you really can’t understand that this is a man having a psychotic break? Cut the man some slack, people.
2. “Good luck, Jack.”
— Flash-back to “Exodus, Part 1.” The raft needs a new mast. Sawyer is out in the jungle cutting bamboo to make it happen. Jack comes out and meets him. He gives him one of the guns. “Just in case.” Sawyer says this is probably goodbye. Jack agrees. “Good luck, Sawyer,” he tells the man he had tortured just a few weeks earlier, a man who has been his chief rival on the island for a full month now. A man who has shown him little to no kindness in all of that time. A man he really can’t stand.
— And now, that same man pays Jack the greatest kindness of them all.
— SAWYER: “Jack. About a week before we all got on the plane … I got to talking to this man in a bar in Sydney. He was American, too. A doctor. I’ve been on some benders in my time, but this guy, he was going for an all time record. Turns out this guy has a son. His son’s a doctor, too. They had some kind of big time falling out. The guy knew it was his fault, even though his son was back in the States thinking the same damn thing. [Pauses] See, kids are like dogs: you knock ‘em around enough, they’ll start thinking they did something to deserve it. Anyway, there’s a pay phone in this bar. And this guy — Christian — tells me he wishes he had the stones to pick up the phone and call his kid. To tell him he’s sorry. That he’s a better doctor than he’ll ever be. [Jack looks away at that part; that’s just too much to bear.] He’s proud. And he loves him. I had to take off, but, something tells me he never got around to making that call. Small world, huh?”
— JACK: “Yeah.”
— SAWYER: “… good luck, Jack.”
— All the best cowboys have daddy issues indeed. What more needs to be said? Josh Holloway and Matthew Fox at the very top of their games.
— It’s one of the greatest scenes in all of LOST.
1. The Raft Launch
— This is the greatest scene in all of LOST.
— I know I’m Captain Hyperbole. And maybe I’ll think differently when I get deeper into the rewatch. But I can tell you this much: anytime anyone asks me what my favorite moment on all of LOST is, the launch of the raft is always my answer.
— It has everything you need: sweeping, building Giacchino score. Our favorite characters saying goodbye to one another. Hope high in everyone’s hearts. The raft successfully setting out to sea. Charlie and Sayid jumping for joy and woo-hooing at the sight of the raft actually working. Vincent wading out into the water to follow Walt, because he can’t stand to be away. Walt willing the dog to go back. Jin and Sun looking across the water at each other with so much uncertainty, and so much love for one another. The camera panning out to show the size and scale of the ocean and the island as the raft cruises forward. It’s the most hopeful, uplifting moment of the series to date.
— And it all falls apart as the episode cuts to the billowing black smoke in the distance. Winter is coming, as they say on another show.
— The raft launch is everything I love about LOST.
— That’s going to do it for the “Exodus” recap. Quick shout-outs to the episode’s flashbacks, going back to Sydney Airport to show the final hours and minutes before the lives of Oceanic 815’s passengers changed forever; to Hurley’s hilarious numbers-filled misadventure as he tries to make his flight; to Rousseau lying through her teeth about how she’s “never seen anything like” the Hatch; to Walt giving Vincent to Shannon and yielding one of Maggie Grace’s most likable moments on the show; to Sawyer singing “Redemption Song” and getting called out by Michael because “who doesn’t like Bob Marley?”; the dark territory, “where Montand lost his arm”; Jack warning Kate that they’re about to have “a Locke problem”; Hurley trying to stomp out the fuse because “the numbers are bad”; the episode-ending view down into the Hatch; and so much more.
— “Exodus,” you guys. “Exodus.”
— One season down. Five more to go. I’m beginning season two tomorrow, but I won’t blog about it until Wednesday. I want to give myself a bit of a buffer between the work-outs and the blogs, because writing these blogs takes a lot of time and energy; as much as I love doing WWW, I don’t want to risk burn-out, so this is the best solution I can think of.
— Instead, tomorrow, I’ll be giving you a brief season one retrospective: what I’ve learned in my latest revisit to the very first season of one of the very best stories ever told.
NEXT: Season One In Review
PREVIOUSLY: “The Greater Good” and “Born to Run”