Friday, August 21, 2009

Jacob's Foot: Confidence Man


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The episode
: Confidence Man
Original Airdate: November 10, 2004
Written By: Damon Lindelof
Directed By: Tucker Gates

Content (from original ABC press release/ Shannon begins to suffer badly from her asthma and requires her inhaler. When the survivors ask Sawyer for it, he refuses, leading Jack and Sayid to contemplate using any means necessary to get it. Flashbacks in this episode focus on a smooth-talking Sawyer conning his lover Jessica and her family.

Why It's Worth Re-Watching: Up until this point in season one, the audience had nothing but ill feelings for Sawyer. The only glimpse of decency of him was in the Pilot when he is seen reading the letter. Kate realizes that Sawyer wants people to hate him. This episode is one of the finest in the show. There's three separate Island stories in this episode. The biggest one is, of course, whether or not Sawyer has the inhalers. The second is Shannon's asthma and the danger that she'll have an attack without the inhalers to aid her. The third, and most underrated, is Charlie's efforts to convince Claire to move into the caves. There is a minor fourth story in which Sayid talks about being hit on the head in the jungle while trying to get a signal with the tranceivers. Locke (the culprit) throws Sawyer under the bus which leads to...well, I'll get to it. Sawyer also has one hell of a flashback in which he nearly does the same thing to a family that was done to him. This is one of the many first season episodes that I'll point to when discussing why LOST is the greatest television drama ever created. Strong flashback, strong Island stories, beautiful cinematography, strong acting, excellent pacing, excellent writing, great directing.

To be honest, I'm in awe of season one, especially the first eleven episodes. I think it's about as close to perfection as a season of television gets. I digress though.

Back to the episode, Sawyer beats up Boone for going through his stash. Jack and Sawyer nearly come to blows before Kate separates them. Jack states that 'we're not savages yet' when asked why he didn't kill Sawyer. Kate tells Jack that she thinks she'll be able to talk to Sawyer because Sawyer thinks the two of them have a connection. She does talk to him in which she finds out it'll take a kiss from her to get the inhalers. She also reads the letter after she questions how bad of a guy Sawyer really is. This question of character leads to the flashback in which we see the events described in the letter. Meanwhile, Jack and Sayid get increasingly angry. Sayid offers to use what he learned in the Republican Guard on Sayid. Jack is at first reluctant but then gives in. Sayid tortures the heck of Sawyer. Sawyer doesn't talk. Kate reluctantly agrees to kiss Sawyer. They do. And then Sawyer admits that he doesn't have the inhalers. Sayid comes back, goes crazy, tackles Sawyer, and stabs him in the arm and hits a major artery. Later, when Sawyer comes to after being saved by Jack, Kate is sitting with him and tells him that she knows he wrote the letter and that it happened to him. The end of his flashback is poignant as well. Sawyer doesn't go through with the deal after seeing the child. Anywho, Sawyer tells Kate that he became the man he was hunting, he became Sawyer at the age of 19 and then gets angry and asks Kate not to feel sorry for him.

I know I pretty much summarized the A plot but it's worth it. It's that good. The end of this episode is one of my favorite scenes in the series. It's the final scene of the episode before the montage begins. The music swells, the ocean is hitting the shoreline, and Sayid is packing some things. Kate wonders what Sayid's doing. Sayid tells her that he can't stay at camp, that what he did today, what he almost did he swore to never do again. Kate reminds him that they still don't know "what's out there." Sayid then tells her: "I have worse things to fear than what's in the jungle." A line that speaks volumes about the show's true purpose. I'll quit rambling about the final scene and instead show it:

As for the rest of the episode, Sun saves the day for Shannon with eucalyptus (that Michael brings to her as he is the only one on the Island who knows she speaks English at this point). I always enjoyed the scene when Sun is aiding Shannon with the eucalyptus, and Jack is surprised at himself for not remembering eucalyptus. And Charlie is able to convince Claire after bonding with her about what they miss from home. She says peanut butter and that leads to a delightful scene.

This is also the last episode with a montage as Hurley's CD player batteries die.

The great Damon Lindelof wrote this episode alone. He nailed this episode. There's not a weak spot writing-wise in it. Tucker Gates, a former director for Buffy (Fear Itself) and ANGEL (Hero) directed the episode. Larry Fong did a marvelous job as the DP.  And, as always, Michael Giacchino wrote a beautiful score for this episode.

This is one of my favorite episodes of LOST. You've gotta re-watch this one. Link for the episode is at the very top. To end this, here is the LOST: On Location for Confidence Man:

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About The Foot

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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.