Lost: Solitary   Rewatch 
April 12, 2023 6:59 PM - Season 1, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Sayid meets Rousseau.

S1E9: Solitary (Lostpedia | transcript): air date 17th November 2004 • writer David Fury • director Greg Yaitanes • days 12-13 on the island • Sayid flashbacks

A mysterious cable • Dr. Quinn • accidents happen when you torture people • a trap! • we’re all fried • where is Alex? • a convenient language switch • you handled yourself very well in there • ETHAN • they control it now • nobody calls me Noor • I’m going to hurt you • Hurley’s golf course • can I play? • the Black Rock • OTHERS • you think I’m insane • I think you’ve been alone for too long • a doctor playing golf, whoo boy howdy • think about making more of an effort • I don’t have your courage • you’ll find me in the next life, if not in this one • knife-throwing lessons • whispers in the jungle

Billie Doux, Doux Reviews: Lost: Solitary
This episode kept putting Sayid in the same situation, but on opposite sides and with parallels galore: Sayid showed compassion toward his prisoner, Nadia; Danielle showed compassion toward her prisoner, Sayid, and so on. In the opening scene, Sayid said that the prisoner would lose his hands or his life; on the Island, Sayid kept telling Danielle that he needed his hands to fix the music box. It reminded me of that old saw about slavery: the chains are on both the enslaved and the enslaver.
Jane Campbell, Eruditorum Press: Lost Exegesis (Solitary) — Part 1
[spoiler-free; spoilery Part 2 here]
It’s almost a dance. Sayid reads her name on a jacket — an outer covering — and she reads his on an envelope, likewise. Even the structure of the moment is mirrored: the name read aloud, the question of “How do you know my name?” and the answer to that question.
Myles McNutt, AV Club: Lost (Classic): Lost (Classic): “Solitary”/“Raised By Another”
Rousseau, once a mystery of the island, emerges here to set off a whole new string of mysteries, in the process giving the audience new questions to ask one another at the water cooler.

It’s a lot to take in, and it pushes the theories and the mysteries back into the foreground in a big way. However, it avoids feeling like an info dump because David Fury’s script and Mira Furlan’s performance combine to turn Rousseau into an unreliable historian of the island in the best way. Rousseau has been on this island for over sixteen years, and it shows in her ramshackle bunker, her unkempt appearance, and the fact she tortures Sayid for information before even asking him a cursory question about his identity. Whereas Sayid’s torture had some difficulty finding narrative motivation, Rousseau’s actions are rooted in the likelihood that being on the island would drive her insane, such that it becomes unclear how much of what she’s telling us is information we can trust.
Emily St. James, Vox: The Lost Interviews: Solitary
Damon Lindelof: “Contrary to popular belief, we as writers were really wanting to answer mysteries as we went. It was like, if we're going to ask a new question, we have to answer some old ones, or else these things are just going to pile up, and the whole endeavor is going to collapse. All we're going to have is questions. We're not going to have any answers.”
Rewatch companion: THE STORM: A Lost Rewatch Podcast - S1, E9: "Solitary" with Manu Mishra
Joanna Robinson: “What’s the most 2004 thing about this episode?”
Neil Miller: “I think I’m going to go in and say it’s the torture. And here’s my thought about why it’s the torture: because in 2004, you know, we were still in this. You have to kind of go put your mind back to where everybody was, post 9-11, which is hard because it was a long time ago. But it was in this period of time where torture was happening. And it could be pop culture-ized, like as a thing on an ABC show, or as a driving force of a Fox show. It was before we had a big conversation about torture, as a country, in America. And so it exists in this weird space where it was like, people were kind of not okay with it, but like, okay enough for it to be in Lost, and be used as a narrative device. Um, and it’s just sort of a weird thing to look back and be like, man, we were way too okay with this.”

Manu Mishra: “So I will say right now that if I was in 2004 watching this I would be probably fist pumping, it’s like ooh, they actually have a Indian actor on this! Like I didn't know Apu from the Simpsons was really that bad until the mid-oughts or whatever. I didn’t really conceptualize that. Because at that point I was still really just thrilled to see someone that looked like me on TV. But now I think the conversation has progressed a lot further than that where—I should say I’m of Indian descent, I am not of Iraqi descent. And now the concept of casting one type of brown person for a different kind of brown person: that’s definitely a bit of orientalism or otherism where it’s just like, oh, they’re interchangeable or one could be the other one. There’s so much difference in the cultures, the languages. That stuff I don’t think aged very well.

And then I think the part that really doesn’t sit well with me — or that I don’t love, rather — is that it’s still framed through that War on Terror Iraq War concept. It’s not just like he’s an Iraqi person, an Iraqi civilian. It’s still in the sense that this is framed through the military aspect as that’s our only relationship to Iraq and their people. And when you add the layer of torture that also makes it a little grosser, just because Iraqi people were more likely to be the victims of torture from the War on Terror. And all the stuff we found out about like Abu Ghraib and CIA black sites. To take like the worst aspects of the whole War on Terror culture and to put it all on the brown person seems kind of unfair in retrospect.”

“I've been going crazy trying to make everyone feel safe. I haven't been sleeping because I want everyone to feel safe. He builds a golf course and everyone feels safe.”

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. Life got in the way of the schedule for this one; next episode will post Saturday.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:59 PM on April 12, 2023

Mira Furlan was really good as Rousseau.

On rewatch, it's striking how intimate the Sayid/Rousseau scenes are; both because it's unusual for the show to play just two characters against each other for an extended period, but also because they're shot in tight close-up. It lends a really dream-like quality to their exchanges; kinda heightens that they're both a little out if it, Sayid from having been knocked out then drugged, and Rousseau from her many years of isolation.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:16 PM on April 16, 2023

« Older All Elite Wrestling: Dynamite:...   |  Mystery Science Theater 3000: ... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments