Lost: Adrift   Rewatch 
July 19, 2023 6:13 PM - Season 2, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Lost at sea; down the hatch, again.

S2E2: Adrift (Lostpedia | transcript): air date 28th September 2005 • writers Steven Maeda & Leonard Dick • director Stephen Williams • days 44-45 on the island • Michael flashbacks

Waaaalt • the fact that you came through these doors tells me that I’m the best you can afford • Locke in the hatch • are you him? • get off my raft • I was trying to save your damn kid • I’m his father • what did one snowman say to the other snowman? • all right then, box man • a nice thing to have around • Bluebeard blew us up because he wanted your kid • what are you gonna do, splash me? • just let him go • Kate’s Apollo bar • boop! boop! 2:37 • 4-8-15-16-23-42 EXECUTE • clackity-clackity-clack 108:00 • Jack in the hatch • to be honest with you, I’m a little surprised to see him • DHARMA shark • you see that toothy son-of-a-bitch, you aim and squeeze • polar-bear gift • your daddy, he loves you very much • Jin on the beach • others, OTHERS!

Maureen Ryan, Burn it Down, excerpted in Vanity Fair: Lost Illusions: The Untold Story of the Hit Show’s Poisonous Culture (paywalled; archive)
[focuses on Lost’s toxic writers-room culture, some spoilers for future events]
When Perrineau paged through the original draft of the second episode of season two, “it was too much,” he said. At that point in the Lost saga, several castaways’ attempt to flee the island on a raft has gone awry, and Walt, Michael’s son, has been kidnapped by a shadowy group called the Others. In this version of the script, Michael is pulled onto the remains of the raft by Sawyer, and the episode’s flashbacks revolve around Sawyer. Within those pages, Michael asks about his son early on, just once.

In that version of the script, Perrineau recalled, “Michael’s asking Sawyer questions about his past, about how he feels, but he never again mentions Walt.” Perrineau’s reaction was, “I don’t think I can do that. I can’t be another person who doesn’t care about missing Black boys, even in the context of fiction, right? This is just furthering the narrative that nobody cares about Black boys, even Black fathers.”

He knew the risks of talking to his bosses about any of this. “That was the thing that was always tricky. Any time you mention race, everybody gets — their hair gets on fire, and they’re like, ‘I’m not racist!’ ” Perrineau said. “It’s like, ‘Nope. Because I say that I’m Black doesn’t mean I’m calling you a racist. I am talking to you from my perspective. I’m being really clear that I’m not trying to put my trauma on you, but I am trying to talk to you about what I feel. So can we just do that? Can we just have that conversation?’ ”

Despite the risks, he expressed his concerns about the script to Lindelof and Cuse in a phone call. Then he brought up the onscreen equity he had been led to expect when he accepted the job. “At the beginning, it was, ‘Hey Harold, we love you. We love what you’re creating in the industry. We really want you and what you do,’ ” Perrineau recalled. But as a viewer, it is easy to see Perrineau’s point of view: Michael does not get the depth, complexity, or careful storytelling that other characters receive. In that phone conversation, he told his bosses, “If you’re going to use me, let’s work. I’m here to work. I’m good at my job and I’ll do anything you want. Except be ‘the Black guy’ on your show.”

He said Cuse and Lindelof told him that the episode was not about his character. “ ‘Cool, it’s not about me. I’m not making it about me,’ ” he remembered replying. “ ‘I just can’t have this father not care about his son. Could we put in some more lines that show he cares about his son?’ They didn’t. I ad-libbed some lines. I didn’t give a shit at that point.” Weeks later, he got a revised script — the flashbacks were now about Michael’s pre-island life. Perrineau had two days to shoot those scenes, as opposed to the several days devoted to the Sawyer flashbacks. “It was 14-hour, 18-hour days. I was like, ‘If you think I’m gonna fuck this up, I’m not. I’m gonna be really good.’
Therese Odell, Houston Chronicle: Lost: You’re going to need a bigger boat.
[spoilers for future episodes]
I like the Michael/Walt story, “Special” is one of my favorite all-time episodes, and I was heartbroken along with Harold Perrineau that Michael and Walt wouldn’t be afforded a father and son reunion. But, “Adrift?” Not one of my favorite episodes. My favorite episodes are ones in which the flashback and the island events play off each other in unexpected and emotionally satisfying ways. And this episode does that. Kinda. Yes, Michael realizes in both the flashback and the island events that it’s ultimately his fault that he lost Walt: he chose to grant Susan custody and he chose to bring Walt on the raft. And there it is: Insight! But in terms of who Michael and Walt are, little is added that wasn’t already touched upon in “Special.” We know that Michael is desperate to be with his son, but we knew that in “Special,” isn’t there anything else to say?

Like “Special”, there’s a lot of transference going on in Michael’s head. In the previous episode, Michael mentally equated Locke with Susan and Brian, and assumed that Locke was trying to replace him in his son’s life. Michael transferred his anger at Susan and Brian onto Locke. In this episode, Michael is furiously transferring his anger towards Susan and Brian onto both the Others and Sawyer, who just happens to be nearby. The “breakthrough,” I suppose, is when Michael finally accepts his own culpability in the loss of his son and recognizes that Walt would never have been taken away from him had he not chosen so poorly. Both times.
Television Lady, LOST: It Wasn't Purgatory, Season 2, Episode 2, Adrift
Michael’s anger, guilt, and acceptance of responsibility for Walt’s kidnapping is intensified through the flashback scenes where Susan and her cold-hearted lawyer toy with him over his inadequacy as a father. Other than Claire, no one else on the island has experienced parenthood, thus it seems fitting that Michael feels alienated and full of rage at what happened, given his upsetting prior experiences anticipating Walt then losing him, repeatedly. When [Michael and Sawyer], not exactly bros but reconciled (for the moment), reunite with Jin and attempt to free him from his restraints, the overall feeling is one of strength and group loyalty — Michael, Sawyer, and Jin may have had their differences in the past, but against these new others, they’re a team.
Rewatch companion: THE STORM: A Lost Rewatch Podcast - S2, E2: "Adrift" with Stephen Williams
Neil Miller: “Can I defend the flashback for a second? Because there’s a part of the flashback — I think that it’s a pretty safe consensus that this is probably not one of their best flashbacks. But. The scene in which he’s saying goodbye to little Walt: Harold Perrineau just crushes it. And it’s one of those things where there are moments on Lost where you’re reminded that there are some really good actors on this show. We get this a lot with John Locke because Terry O’Quinn does it all the time. Where it’s like, oh, yeah, Terry O’Quinn’s a really good actor, by the way. Here’s a scene. But you don’t, I dont think — and I think that’s one of maybe the things that frustrated people with Michael’s character, is you had an actor like Harold Perrineau who’s obviously a very good actor, and they didn’t do enough with him to satisfy people who thought that he should be given more. Which is probably right. But I think that he does these things in little moments, like, he just straight up crushes this scene. And then when you hear the story that it was shot over a weekend, it’s like man, he really brought it for that one day. I think that his performance in the scene where he saying goodbye to little Walt is absolutely heartbreaking. You know, you just, you see it. And I think it helps that it’s the flashback for his anguish on the water. But either way, I think you just see his whole, like, him just falling apart, basically.”

Dave Gonzalez: “I am very happy we got through the entire calm section without me freaking out about how happy I was that Locke presses the button for the first time! Press the button! This is what the whole season is about! Him in that room, pressing that fucking button. It’s great. Here we go. Let’s do it.”
Joanna Robinson: “He becomes a desk jockey again. Aw, bud.”
Neil Miller: “This is, to me, similar to what I talked about earlier with Harold Perrineau and the way he’s so good in that one scene in that otherwise not-so-great flashback. The moment where Locke stops — like, pauses, and starts asking Desmond questions about what’s going to happen — is just really great. Because it’s like: Locke’s going to do it. We know Locke’s going to do it. He’s going to press that button. But I love that he’s still sort of living on the edge of, like, I’m going on faith here. He’s like, well, what happens if I don’t? What’s the island going to do to me? So, Locke and the button are obviously a big thing that we’re going to get into.”

“So, you and I — well, we're not going to see each other for a while, Walt.”

posted by We had a deal, Kyle (1 comment 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 6:14 PM on July 19, 2023

« Older All Elite Wrestling: Dynamite:...   |  Book: Tears of the Trufflepig ... Newer »

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