Lost: Man of Science, Man of Faith   Rewatch 
July 11, 2023 7:33 PM - Season 2, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Down the hatch.

S2E1: Man of Science, Man of Faith (Lostpedia | transcript): air date 21st September 2005 • writer Damon Lindelof • director Jack Bender • day 44 on the island • Jack flashbacks

Boop • eye • EXECUTE • literal needle-drop • Schwinn exercise bike • maraschino cherry smoothie • CR 4-81516-23 42 inoculation • BOOM record-scratch • weapons vault • mirror scope • OH SHIT HE’S IN THE HATCH • 8 we’re dead 15 doomed and dead • burning death hole • why don’t you want to go down there, Jack? • terrible flashback wig • I want to dance at my wedding • Shannon lost the damn dog • tall wet Walt • you were in a psych ward? • try handing out some hope once in a while • me, I’m tired of waiting • Kevin is the worst • what do I say if I need to stop? • stop • tour de stade • ah, but a girl patient • see you in another life • Jack exploring the hatch • how come I can wiggle my toes? • Jack vs. Locke vs. …Desmond standoff • YOU!

Javier Grillo-Marxuach, The Lost Will and Testament
The strange case of the hatch may be the best example during the prehistory and first season of Lost of how the exchange of ideas between Damon, JJ, the writing staff, and the rest of our production and broadcast partners truly functioned. Because JJ’s calling card back then was the whole concept of the “mystery box” he wanted the hatch in the pilot, even though no one knew what would be in it.

JJ was more than happy to punt the decision as to what would actually be inside the hatch to the writers' room because of his deeply felt conviction that the mystery was as good a journey as the reveal and would be so tantalizing it would keep the audience clamoring — even if the subject to be eventually revealed was not forethought. It was at that point that I first heard Damon articulate — wisely, and for reasons of self-preservation and sanity — the one hard and fast rule that he lived by for the entire first season. He would not put anything on screen that he didn’t feel confident he could explain beforehand.

So the reason the hatch doesn’t come up until the end of the tenth episode of the series — even though JJ was stumping for it since before the pilot was written — was because Damon didn’t fully believe in any of the ideas presented to him for what was there. As a writers' room, and a think tank before that, we kept pitching possibilities, but nothing we threw out ever overrode Damon's concern that if we shat the bed on that reveal, the audience would depart in droves.
Myles McNutt, AV Club: Lost (Classic): “Man Of Science, Man Of Faith”/“Adrift”
One of the most delightful mindfucks — there’s no better word for it — in television history, the “Make Your Own Kind of Music” sequence is a beautiful piece of work by Jack Bender, who finds just the right level of abstraction to make it work. We’ve been conditioned to expect flashbacks, but this is someone we haven’t seen before, and the images we’re seeing don’t add up: an old computer and new appliances? A casual exercise routine and a militarized inoculation? Nothing adds up, and so when the needle flies off the record and debris starts to fall from the ceiling, the equation becomes even more complicated. It’s a scene that turns us all into Locke, scouring for clues and answers, trying to piece together how this person and these items found their way into that hatch. It’s shot as a provocation, a carefully curated set of images mapped out by Lindelof — in his last solo writing credit — to drive us crazy and create a reason for us to want the characters to have to dive down into the hatch.
Andrew Grevas, TV Obsessive: Lost: “Man of Science, Man of Faith”
[spoilers for future S2 events]
Blowing open the hatch door was a metaphor for the show blowing the door off any pre-conceived notions of what this show was to be. For some, it just wasn’t what they wanted. For others like myself, Lost entering the hatch was a rabbit hole that had my mind racing with possibilities. This story, this world became so much larger all by virtue of the show going underground.

“Man of Science, Man of Faith” was a catalyst of many changes. By entering the hatch, this Island show went from the beautiful ocean, blue skies and warm trees serving as its backdrop to a dark, cold, underground world for a large majority of its scenes in Season 2. The changes weren’t just visual — the significantly less inviting atmosphere of the hatch brought about changes in the characters, forcing them to look long and hard at who they were and what they believed in. That all started here and was truly a bold move for the show and its creative choices.
Jeff Jensen, Entertainment Weekly: The “Lost” season premiere: Entering the Hatch
One of the things I loved about the bold, baffling, and brilliant season premiere was its sense of self-confidence. In fact, was that a little attitude I detected in the subtext? Not for nothing, I think, did Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof choose a blinking computer cursor and the song ”Make Your Own Kind of Music” to open the show. Methinks the tune has multiple meanings, and perhaps one of them is aimed squarely at those who spent the summer clacking on their keyboards about last season’s allegedly dissatisfying season finale and demanding hard and fast answers to the mysteries of the Hatch, the Monster, the Others, et. al. The rejoinder from Lost: We make the music, you listen; please, dance with us — but we’ll do the leading, thank you very much.

In a nutshell, Lost‘s season premiere was a parade of teasing tidbits and selective storytelling choices that no doubt could be deemed manipulative and mean by a cynic. My faith in the show, however, wasn’t thrown into crisis but renewed and affirmed. I am convinced that nothing in Lost is arbitrary, everything will be revealed in time, and when it is, it’s gonna knock us on our ass.
Rewatch companion: THE STORM: A Lost Rewatch Podcast - S2, E1: "Man of Science, Man of Faith" with Henry Ian Cusick
Neil Miller: “With this, with rewatching Exodus, I will say that I appreciate how the energy that Exodus brought in, especially in parts two and three, really sort of carries over here. Like you really feel the urgency of the whole situation. I like that they keep the conversation going between Jack and Locke, and I like that they’re moving through the episode as they're having it. I think what I really like about it is that I’m just enjoying watching them spar. Because to me, it feels more like I should just live in this moment with these two actors, doing these very cool things. And so I’m not even really thinking about who I believe is right or wrong. It’s just that the show seems more interested in defining them as man of science, man of faith and really digging in and exploring that. I think that’s one of the things I really like about season two. Season two gets a little more philosophical. Season two gets more, as we’ve said, very confident. And I think once they figured out what was in the hatch, that seemed like a fairly big turning point for them. And then once they got to Exodus and got through that first season, they started to feel more confident as a mystery show. So it’s cool: the mysteries kind of explode in this episode. And there’s details— it's fun because you can tell that the inside of the hatch was so important because of how much detail is in there. Like, how many questions are now created by the time we spent in the hatch, which is not that long in this episode? And I love that. And I love that they just come out swinging in season two.”

Joanna Robinson: “One thing that I love — and we can’t really talk about it very much because we know too much — but I do love that they're like, okay, they’re going to blow up the hatch. All right. There’s going to be a dude inside. All right. It’s going to be really like, oh, mystery upon mystery. We’re doing so great. I want to know who in the room was like, what if we put the word QUARANTINE on the inside of the hatch door? Just to really fuck with them.”
Neil Miller: “Quarantine; the mural. Jack sees the shoes, I guess, is a weird mystery.”
Dave Gonzalez: “The magnet wall with the concrete.”
Neil Miller: “Yeah. I mean, I just love that. It occurred to me, having just listened to the interview with Damon Lindelof last week: it’s almost like they walked into the toy store of sci-fi. And the network was like, fine, send the security guard home. And Lindelof is like, all right, cool. Grab everything now. Put it all in the hatch. Let’s put a million mysteries in this hatch because we’re free. You know, like, they know it’s a sci-fi show now. Let’s put weird mysteries in there. Let's do it. So that's what I love about this episode.”
Dave Gonzalez: “And this episode also has some hints to the structuring that I was alluding to: the first time we go down the hatch, we go down with Jack. We go down with the man of science. So that what we see is a little bit more objective, and a little bit more what the fuck. Because, you know, you have somebody who’s taking our place, as our audience observer, as we’re first going down the hatch. But if you happen to notice the subtitles, if you watch television with the subtitles on — which maybe isn’t the best thing to do the first time you watch something, but definitely on rewatches is fun — there’s hidden dialogue in the end scene under the music that hints that there’s more going on down in the hatch. And those are all things that are purposeful mysteries within mysteries that will be answered within an episode or two with more mysteries. And it’s absolutely some of my favorite Lost stuff.”

“Life's not so bad, right? I mean, sure the Others are coming to, like, eat us all; and every once in a while someone blows up all over you; but you do get to sleep in every morning.”

posted by We had a deal, Kyle (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
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 7:34 PM on July 11, 2023

This may be the best cold open in the history of TV, particularly when the camera pans away from Desmond to voice across mirrors to go up the hatch to reveal Locke and Jack peering down with a torch. What a masterful wait to finally answer a mystery and still raise the stakes. Now we know what’s down there; what are we gonna do about it?
posted by Servo5678 at 8:27 PM on July 11, 2023 [4 favorites]

("bounce" not "voice"; autocorrect is so stupid sometimes)
posted by Servo5678 at 4:47 AM on July 12, 2023

I was pirating this from the UK and genuinely thought I'd downloaded the wrong show for the first two minutes. Agreed on the best cold open of all time.
posted by adrianhon at 7:27 AM on July 12, 2023

I started a LOST rewatch (along with the Storm Podcast crew) a little bit before the start of the pandemic. As fate would have it, this was the episode I watched literally the week before everything shut down and I started a long 14-month stretch of living in my own hatch-elor pad, punching numbers into my company's VPN login every morning with the vague notion that I was somehow saving the world.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:02 PM on July 12, 2023 [5 favorites]

Yeah, best cold open. Partly because it's so well-executed: the deliberately disorienting layout, the deliberately-anachronistic mixture of vintage and new -- where and when are we?

But also it's so well deployed: both as a raising-more-questions-than-it-answers to S1's cliffhanger, but also as a subversion of format: we've been conditioned by S1 to interpret "not on the beach/in the jungle" sequences as flashbacks, and this seems like it could be a flashback until it suddenly shockingly isn't.

Easy to overlook on rewatch when you know it's Desmond, but: the cold open deliberately never shows us his face and deliberately never has him speak. On rewatch the "YOU" reveal at the end plays as Jack being surprised, but on first-watch we were there with him.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 3:14 PM on July 12, 2023 [1 favorite]


Which I'm with the Storm crew on: this season gleefully leans into the every-mystery-spawns-more-mysteries thing and it's so much fun.

So unsustainable though; the debt of accumulated unanswered mysteries caused them huge problems in both mid-series (in which without an end-date in sight they had to do a lot of nothing-consequential-happens platespinning) and at the end (in which whatever they did couldn't possibly tie up all the dangling threads to everyone's satisfaction).
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 3:26 PM on July 12, 2023

As I've said before around here, Season 1 of Lost is one of the best pieces of television ever made, but that must formally include the first 10 minutes of Season 2.
posted by chortly at 9:47 PM on July 19, 2023

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