The most expensive pilot in television history sets the stage for one of the greatest serialized story lines in any medium. This article is written with the knowledge of the first five seasons of LOST under my belt. The mosaic has not been revealed completely, but enough has transpired to produce a sense of nostalgia in me while watching this episode. Partly because of the production value, and partly because of the timeless locale, the show doesn’t feel five years old. While some things, like hyper-color t-shirts, don’t age well, it’s a good sign that LOST will.
One challenge of an ensemble show is to find the balance between individual character development with keeping the audience interested in the fate of the whole group. With flashback being an integral part of the LOST storytelling process, the pilot episode starts in the middle, with Jack lying in the jungle, seemingly unaware of how he got there. Soon enough, he emerges from the jungle and sees the wreckage of the plane he was just riding on. We soon see a flashback with Jack on the plane, having a strong drink just before the turbulence hits. With his future alcohol struggles, it almost feels like an Easter egg to see Jack drinking just before being brought to the island.
Charlie is right in the throws of heroin addiction, and it is quickly apparent. He’s a likable character, but it would be hard to tell if it is his drugs that make him so. The actor, Dominic Monaghan, was just coming off of a journey through middle earth with the rest of the Hobbits in Return of the King, so there were a fair amount of LOTR fans who tuned in out of a quasi-loyalty to the Trilogy. Charlie sets up the end title frame perfectly when he asks the group: “Where are we?”
It’s great to see how quickly Kate and Jack connect with each other based on her finding him in need of a make-shift surgeon. You wonder if this shared moment is what set the trajectory of their relationship. What if another attractive female from the plane happened to stumble upon Jack at that time?