Lost: ...In Translation   Rewatch 
May 11, 2023 7:24 PM - Season 1, Episode 17 - Subscribe

Sun has a bad dad; Jin is accused.

S1E17: …In Translation (Lostpedia | transcript): air date 23rd February 2005 • writers Javier Grillo-Marxuach & Leonard Dick • director Tucker Gates • days 32-34 on the island • Jin flashbacks

Eye • Sun’s father • she is my dream • Michael slapped • I wish your father had lived to see this • white flower • you don’t know what he’s capable of • get some rope, spend a Saturday night alone together, see what happens • the raft burns • Mr. Paik is displeased • Hurley on TV in Jin’s flashback • do you like him? • it’s Lord of the Flies time now • I do whatever your father tells me; I do it for us • why’d you burn my raft, man? • STOP IT • I was going to leave you • Jin’s father • it’s too late • everybody gets a new life on this island; I’d like to start now • why did you burn the raft, Walt? • BOAT • Hurley music mont-t—

Myles McNutt, AV Club: Lost (Classic): “...In Translation”/“Numbers”
There is no “Previously on Lost” tag to open the episode. There is no visit to the hatch. There is no appearance by the others. There is no cliffhanger the episode picks up, and there is no cliffhanger the episode puts down. This is simply a human story, one that sees each and every character working to reclaim their agency from their circumstance and from the weight of their pasts and the emerging mythology around them. “…In Translation” frames Lost as a humanist narrative, a framing that will be tested over the course of the series — including in the very next episode — but remains first and foremost the lens through which I view the entire series, and which is at its most fully formed in this hour.
Robin Pearson, The TV Critic.org: Lost: …In Translation
The discovery that [Jin] had made the same decision as Sun, to leave Korea, is fascinating. The island is the new start which they both needed, making it very sad that he ends the episode saying it is too late for that now.

It’s becoming clear that the survivors were in some way meant to come to the island for a fresh start. The Jin and Sun story is so good because they have been given (in a strange way) exactly what they wanted; a life away from Mr Paik, but their lies have cost them their love.
Therese Odell, Houston Chronicle: You can never go home again. Seriously.
[spoilers for future episodes and events throughout]
We need to be clear here, “starting over” is different from “going back.” Sun tells Jin that she wants to “go back to the beginning,” a sentiment that Shannon expresses in “Hearts and Minds” after she and Boone sleep together. “Going back” is regressive by nature, it’s retreating instead of embracing the new state. But “starting over” indicates moving ahead, moving on to the next stage. It’s something of a fine distinction, I know, but there’s a difference. There’s a reason the expression “you can never go home again,” is such a lasting cliché: you can’t expect to be able to return to childhood and have it be the same, and the survivors can’t return home. They can only move forward. But first, we have to burn away the past, because we can’t go back. Burn, raft, burn!
Rewatch companion: THE STORM: A Lost Rewatch Podcast - S1, E17: "...In Translation" with Javier Grillo-Marxuach
Javier Grillo-Marxuach: “I had no idea what I was going to write this episode about. I mean, we broke a story and I knew the story was there, but it was just so daunting. And then the moment of epiphany that I had is that, you know, I’m Puerto Rican. English is not my first language. And I have reams of stories about how embarrassing, and how mortifying, and how just difficult it is to not be fully understood. When I came to this country, my grasp of — you know, I had learned English in school, but my grasp of English wasn’t that of somebody who used it every day to communicate. And I remember how humiliating that could be, you know, because people made fun of my accent. People made fun of my pronunciation. People made fun of the way you might malaprop words and stuff like that. And that became the hook by which I could understand Sun and Jin and their problems on this island. The idea that Sun actually spoke English and she was hiding it, and all of that. So there was a lot of that, where the ultimate emotional connection with the characters came not out of a deep-seated understanding of Korean culture, but rather out of a real sort of empathic feeling of: this is what it feels like to have people not understand you and mock you and minimize you for it. And once I hit that I knew kind of what I needed to write, and that’s kind of where both those episodes — my part of them — came out of. The emotional hook for me with Sun and Jin was very much my own immigrant experience.”

Javier Grillo-Marxuach: “Look, it’s funny: you do a show like this and, you know, the first twenty-five story ideas you come up with are all Star Trek. Everybody gets sick, everybody gets high, everybody’s inhibitions come down, everybody faces their greatest fear, everybody is duplicated into an evil twin. A parasite takes over one guy. A lot of what Lost was about was taking a lot of those tropes and kind of putting them on their head a little bit, you know? And a lot of that was the pressure that we had from the network to be a more ordinary show. And in that tension between us being crazy and them being sane, we found art.”

“They’ve attacked us, sabotaged us, abducted us, murdered us. Maybe it’s time we stop blaming us and start worrying about them. We're not the only people on this island and we all know it.”

posted by We had a deal, Kyle (3 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. Next episode will post at the weekend.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:24 PM on May 11

at the weekend

Yeah, I'm running behind on that, but still here :)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:38 PM on May 16

I am somewhat with Joanna Robinson on this: while this is a very good episode that fills in a lot of Jin's side of House of the Rising Sun, and which does make us feel sympathy for Jin -- him crying in the bathroom and him reconciling with his father (a rare Lost good dad!) gets me every time -- I do think that they had previously leant too hard into the "Jin is a controlling asshole" portrayal.

Also: Sayid was the first to break up the previous Jin/Michael fight, but here is all hands-off "this is between them"? And Jack goes along with this? Jack, the good sheriff, the constant intervener, is now just going to stand by and watch them fight? It doesn't seem in character for him.

I like the shift to Jin's point of view, in which the voices become unintelligible garble -- backwards, apparently; it does very suddenly make us realize how very isolated Jin is.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:43 PM on May 17

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