Monday, November 9, 2009

Jacob's Foot: Solitary

News is trickling out about the premiere of the sixth season episode. Nothing confirmed yet but I will be writing about the news as soon as it concerned. According to John Lachonis of TVOvermind, January 27 has been the rumored premiere date but we shall see. Hopefully it's January 20. The sooner, the better. There's also rumblings about a two-week break in February due to the Olympics but Lachonis notes that LOST beat the Olympics back in 2006 (represent LOST). Anywho, that's the latest news in the 'when will the show return?' department. Part 5 of Mysteries of the Universe goes up next week. The final part will only be available on DVD. I surely will have that covered as well.

Now, here's why you should re-watch "Solitary"!

THE 'LOST' EPISODE OF THE DAY

FileSolitary The episode: Solitary

Original Airdate: November 17, 2004

Written By: David Fury

Directed By: Greg Yaitanes

Content: Trekking around the Island, Sayid finds himself the prisoner of a mysterious woman who apparently lives on the Island. Elsewhere, Hurley builds a golf course to try to help the survivors unwind after their traumatic ordeal. Flashbacks in this episode focus around Sayid's choice between his career and his childhood love, Nadia.

Why It's Worth Re-Watching: This episode is as poetic as a television episode will get. The writing's beautiful and the direction is beautiful. This is probably my favorite episode of the series thus far. This is the episode that hooked me to the show. I thought the show was very good but this episode just blew my mind and made me realize how unique a series LOST would be. I had been reeling from the cancelletion of ANGEL. This episode and Raised By Another raised the bar so much for LOST that I knew I had found my new favorite show (and now it's my favorite show of all-time).

Why do I love this episode so much? For many reasons. I'll start with the introduction of the idea of The Others. This is the episode where we meet Danielle Rousseau. I remember the previews for this episode, the mysterious woman, Sayid strapped to a table, the swinging light above him. A very effective preview. When Rousseau continuously asks about Alex in different languages and refers to Sayid as one of them, I was very intrigued. And then the idea of the Others got bigger. When she explains how she hears them whisper, I got chills. I was on my feet, yelling at the TV, extremely excited by this possibility of The Others. She constantly references "they" and how "they" control the radio tower and communication. Rousseau is by all means an insane woman in this episode. She's uttering nonsense throughout and enough information that a re-watch was essential to capturing everything. A few re-watches even. Sayid learns about her team, how her team were sick, and were the carriers. How she had to shoot Robert and that even Sayid made the same mistake as Robert did when pulling the trigger and getting nothing. We also hear the name the Black Rock in this episode.

Another reason why I love this episode is the interaction between Sayid and Rousseau. Sayid earns Rousseau's trust by simply connecting with her, relating to her, and being honest with her. He tells her that he found the cable after hearing the transmission earlier and went looking for her for answers. He tells her that he left camp because of something he did (torturing Sawyer). My favorite scene between them is when Sayid fixes the music box for her. The look of joy on Rousseau's face when she hears the music for the first time in years is touching because of what it means to her. Robert gave it to her and she says it was such a comfort to her in the first few years alone on The Island. Mira Furlan played it perfectly. I like how she doesn't want to let him go because she's been alone for sixteen years. He pleads with her to come with him and that she doesn't have to be alone. But she doesn't want to. And when a polar bear comes near Danielle's place, Sayid mistakes it for the Monster to which Rousseau responds "there's no such thing as monsters."

The flashback is terrific in this episode. Sayid is an experienced torturer in this flashback but he's blindsided when an old childhood friend and love of his is brought in because she's a person of interest in a bombing and an associate of Kurdish and Shiite insurgents. It is Nadia, of course. The dialogue between them is so poetic especially in their first scene together. Here it is IN FULL from the transcript on lostpedia.com:

SAYID: Noor Abed-Jazeem, I'm going to ask you some questions. If you refuse to cooperate I'm going to hurt you. You understand?

NADIA: Nobody calls me Noor, Sayid. You of all people should know that.

[Sayid is startled.]

NADIA: What? You don't remember me? Am I so different from the little girl in the school yard who used to push you in the mud?

SAYID: Nadia?

NADIA: And your mother would tell my mother, "why must you pick on little Sayid." And I'd answer, because he ignores me.

SAYID: You had enough attention with your family's wealth and your charm.

NADIA: Such things matter little to children. But then you always were older than your years, weren't you, Sayid?

SAYID: Not old enough to understand that being pushed in the mud was a sign of affection. Now you're a traitor to your country. Tell me what you know about the bombing in Najaf. Tell me, or I swear I will hurt you.

NADIA: Oh, I know Sayid. This is not my first interrogation by the Republican Guard. This is where they burned me with acid -- they pierced my hands with a drill. Would you like to see the soles of my feet? Where they flayed the skin off? These are the handiworks of your friends. The people you swear allegiance to.

SAYID: If you were innocent, I am sorry. But this bombing is a different matter, Nadia.

NADIA: Go on, Sayid, do your work. I'm not going to tell you anything.

SAYID: Then I'm going to hurt you.

And now I will embed a part of this episode because it's fantastic. Naveen Andrews and Andrea Gabriel just knock it out of the park. Gabriel's delivery is incredibly moving throughout the episode, her intonations and inflections. It's beautiful. I'll now let the scene represent itself:



The flashback gets better. Sayid frees her by shooting his commanding officer as Nadia walks to her death. This is where she writes "You'll find me in the next life, if not this one." Andrea Gabriel just about breaks my heart when she asks Sayid if he's going to hurt her when Sayid walks in to bring her to her death. And when she pleads for him to come with her.

It is this history with Nadia that softens Rousseau to Sayid. Earlier in this episode, Sayid tells Rousseau that Nadia's dead because of him but that is because Sayid feels he did not do all he could to help her. This is the moment when Rousseau begins to soften.

And then the final exchange between Sayid and Rousseau ends with Rousseau telling Sayid that Alex was her child which is an extremely poignant end to the Sayid/Rousseau story in this episode. Once again, Mira Furlan's delivery is terrifically moving and effective.

Last but not least (for Sayid's story), he hears the whispers in the jungle as he wanders back to camp. I still get goosebumps and chills when I watch this. Words cannot convey how much this scene means to me. I'm a dork.

The excellence of this episode is not just limited to Sayid in this episode. One of my favorite Island stories of the series is the golf story that occurs in this episode. Hurley is determined to make people forget that their lives suck and so he builds a golf course. Jack utters the line of the episode when he says he's spent weeks trying to make people feel safe and Hurley does it by building a golf course. I get a big kick out of Hurley and Charlie dancing on the course. I love when Charlie quietly says how much making the next hole means to him because he's never made par on a course before.

The golf course also allows Sawyer to try to make himself more likable. Kate suggests that he put more effort into that. And he does by betting against Jack.

This episode does not have a weak spot or flaw in it. It is strong throughout. This is the episode you show your friends when showing them why LOST is among the best series ever. "Solitary" is the ninth episode of the series and of season one. There's nothing like the first ten episodes of this series.

David Fury wrote an absolute gem of an episode. He wrote three of season one's best episodes. He wrote for Buffy and ANGEL once upon a time. He is one of the best television scribes out there and one of my favorite screenwriters. This episode is just so fantastic. I can't convey how much I love this episode. I'm trying but I just can't.

Greg Yaitanes directed the episode and did a superb job. Michael Bonvillain and Larry Fong teamed up to DP this shoot. They made some excellent choices in this episode. Great hand-held camera work. Excellent lighting. The whole nine yards.

Watch this episode. Now.

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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.