Lost: The Moth   Rewatch 
April 2, 2023 10:00 AM - Season 1, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Charlie makes a choice.

S1E7: The Moth (Lostpedia | transcript): air date 3rd November 2004 • writers Jennifer Johnson, Paul Dini • director Jack Bender • day 8 on the island • Charlie flashbacks

Sweaty Charlie • heard the doctor was vacating the premises • confessional flashback • relax, choir boy • you make excellent bait • I’ll let you ask three times • bottle rockets? • fireworks smugglers OH COME ON • I don’t feel sorry for you, I pity you • pretty strong stuff for a headache • sometimes I just get lost in it • I’m a bloody rock god • CAVE IN • no-one’s that lucky • you all everybody • chill, baby brother • the struggle is nature’s way of strengthening it • let me do this • if you’re not in this band, what the bloody hell use are you? • Liam got clean • how long has it been, Charlie? • you’re not useless • there’s a bloody moth in here • dude, you rock • Sayid gets whacked • I’ve made my choice

Robin Pierson, The TV Critic.org: Lost Episode 7 - The Moth
In previous flashbacks we have seen glimpses of the characters’ lives which paint a picture about how they came to be on the plane. The flashbacks filled in details which helped explain why they were behaving the way they were on the island. Charlie’s flashback however, tells a more complete story.

It’s all about choice. His priest starts things off describing life as “a series of choices.” Locke then becomes his priest on the island saying he won’t throw away the drugs because “you wouldn’t have a choice.” He goes further and says that making choices is what makes you human, as opposed to a mere animal. When Charlie becomes a heroin addict he refuses to accept that it was his choice. As he meets the now sober Liam in Australia he screams at him “You did this to me.” Only when he chooses to risk his life and help Jack and then chooses to burn the drugs can he finally be redeemed.
Myles McNutt, AV Club: Lost (Classic): “The Moth”/“Confidence Man”
Without going too far into spoilers, the mysteries of the island will later spawn major storylines and dictate the terms by which the series’ characters take action and hold agency. In “The Moth,” however, the island isn’t the central focus of any of its storylines. The episode is built around the story of Charlie confronting his addiction and negotiating his place within the emerging community of castaways, rescuing Jack from a cave-in he created and rescuing himself from a remnant of a past he’d rather forget. “The Moth” is premised on the importance of Charlie making the choice to throw away the drugs himself, rather than having them destroyed for him, and his ability to take agency for his own struggles is crucial to his development as a character. This is a human story, first and foremost, and it marks a key transition for a character that — not unlike Kate — had to put the past to rest before moving on in the present.

And yet, it’s hard not to feel like the island somehow generated all of this as some kind of trial.
Chris Carabott, IGN: Lost Flashback: "The Moth" Review
I must not be the only one who can’t help but laugh a little every time “Darth Charlie” makes an appearance. He puts up his little “hoodie” and Dominic Monaghan turns up the creep factor.
Wikipedia, quoting from the DVD commentary which I have been unable to find; it's one of the few Lostpedia doesn't have transcribed:
Monaghan says that he feels Charlie’s black hoodie is a sort of “security blanket” that he hides underneath and uses it when he feels “lost.”
Rewatch companion: THE STORM: A Lost Rewatch Podcast - S1, E7: "The Moth" with Jenny Owen Youngs
Neil Miller: “I think this is the first, like, B- episode in the run. And I think the reason is: the Charlie story is well acted for what we get of it, but doesn’t, I don't think, move anything beyond what I would expect from a rockstar drug addiction storyline. To, like, the point where he walks into Liam's room and they’re about to have a fight where he says that he's going to leave, just like Liam promised that he would. And I already know how that entire scene is going to play out.”

Joanna Robinson: “I like some parts of it. But I think especially the part where Charlie turns to drugs for the first time, was pretty poorly done. Not because of Dominic Monaghan’s fault, but it just is like, you’re nothing, you’re worthless. Like, shouldn’t you have tried it as fun first? You know what I mean? Not like, oh, I know what I’ll try in my moment of crisis.”
Dave Gonzalez: “Right. Because it comes off as like, oh, I’m so sad about my brother. I’m just going to start doing drugs too.”
Joanna Robinson: “Yeah, that didn’t work for me very well.”

Joanna Robinson: “What do you think of the, uh, dare I say, labored metaphor of the moth in this episode?”
Jenny Owen Youngs: “Oh my God, I’m so glad that you said that. Because I did a second watch just before this conversation and was really taken aback by how they’re just sledge-hammering that home. Like, wow, the way that they reach up through the dirt when they finally find their way out of the cave; and then watching the moth fly away after Charlie decides to burn his heroin. And like, um… it’s right. All of that is good. But I feel like they could have used a smaller hammer.”

“Having choices, making decisions based on more than instinct, is the only thing that separates you from him.”


posted by We had a deal, Kyle (2 comments total)
Currently streaming in the US on Hulu (subscription) and Freevee (free with ads); in the UK on Disney+; and available for purchase just about everywhere. I’m going back to two episodes/week, so the next episode will post Wednesday.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:08 AM on April 2, 2023

This is again a "Locke as island shaman" episode, although it also has a touch of dark/self-interested Locke in his using Charlie as bait for his boar trap.

I feel this episode gets maybe unfairly retrospectively tainted by the show subsequently not really knowing what to do to develop Charlie's character further, besides going back to the addiction well again; at least until we get to the back half of S3.

File also under "could have used a smaller sledgehammer": calling his brother Liam just in case we hadn't realized that Driveshaft is an Oasis analog; the sheer number of times Charlie tells people about Driveshaft in the first part of the episode. Although that's kinda the other half of the choice, right? that in addition to choosing to get clean, he also has to choose to let his faded rock-god identity go -- or really, accept that it had already gone -- and instead discover that he can be useful in his own right on the island.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:03 PM on April 4, 2023 [1 favorite]

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