If I had to rank my favorite couples on the show, I’d have to put Sun and Jin high up on that list. I’d probably rank two people Lost newbies wouldn’t know at the top, with Sun/Jin a close second. So it’s been interesting at going back to the very first episode that focused on their relationship to see just how it all started. Let’s see what Lost did with this couple at the beginning, shall we?
House of the Rising Sun
4) In Short
"This was so not in my job description."
8) On the Island
Sun is on the beach, smelling a flower, as her husband Jin fishes nearby. Sun watches Kate and Jack get their flirt on, with Kate remarking that Jack’s tattoos don’t jive with his profession. Charlie, standing in for the audience, all but hurls at their flirting. Right there with ya, buddy.
While those three travel with Locke into the jungle to search for the caves that Jack recently found, Jin suddenly and violently attacks Michael, nearly beating him to death on the shore until Sawyer comes to the rescue along with Sayid, who calls for the marshal’s handcuffs to subdue Jin. Sayid tries to get to the bottom of Jin’s attack. Michael attributes it to racism; ironic, given the actor’s explanation of his character’s role in Season 4.
Outside the cave, Charlie steps on a beehive while trying to ingest some heroin. Charlie is terrified that he’ll end up like Eddie Izzard: covered in bees! While Jack attempts to cover up the hive, Charlie breaks the hive in half, releasing bees into the air and liberating Jack and Kate from their clothes. Not Locke, though. Convenient. While nearly naked for the 300th time in six episodes, Kate stumbles upon a pair of skeletons.
Jack determines, via clothes degradation, that these bodies have been there at least forty or fifty years, a fact that may or may not be a ginormous clue that eventually answers some or most of the show’s biggest mysteries. Maybe. On the male’s body, Jack finds a pouch with two stones: one black, one white. Jack hides the stones as Charlie and Locke catch up. Locke dubs these two "Adam and Eve," although I suspect long-time viewers already know their real names.
Locke volunteers to stay in the cave and sort through the wreckage with Charlie. Before heading back to camp, Jack remarks that it would be far wiser to bring the people to the caves than to continually haul water back to the beach on a daily basis. Kate gives a look that says, "I’m pretty sure I heard you just suggest a plan that involves me staying in one spot. Homey don’t play that."
Back on the beach, it’s a very special edition of "Racism and You," starring Walt, Michael, and an unfortunate stereotype involving African-Americans and Koreans. We also learn that Michael and Walt’s relationship on the island is informed by the fact that, for reasons yet unexplained, these two have barely had any interaction previous to crash landing on the Island. C+C Music Factory would file this under, "things that make you go hmmmm."
In a scene ridiculous on at least fifteen levels, Jack and Kate stop in the jungle, at which point Kate becomes convinced Jack’s looking at her Apple Bottom jeans and/or boots with the fur. When she tries to confirm this fact, Smoove Mooves Shephard replies that he was in fact still in "bring everyone to the caves" mode. I have a feeling if Jack had just taken one for the team here, we wouldn’t still be enduring a certain love triangle that just…won’t…end.
In the Caves of Confession, Locke reveals he knows that Charlie was in Driveshaft. He’s keeping a close eye on Charlie, sensing his drug problem. He also hints that Charlie will one day find his guitar again. The following morning, Locke directly confronts Charlie about his drug problem, and offers a bargain: the remaining drugs for his guitar. A skeptical Charlie agrees, hands over the drugs, and is delighted when Locke points out the very guitar in question just happens to be above them in the trees.
Sayid doesn’t agree with Jack’s plan to move everyone into the caves, saying it’s tantamount to admitting defeat. Incredibly enough, Jack’s completely right and Sayid’s wrong, given what we now know. (I know, Jack right! This is used to happen! Quite a bit! I swearz!) The "Live Together, Die Alone" mantra gets challenged as Jack and Sayid both try to convince people to go along with their respective plan.
Sun confronts Michael chopping wood in the jungle, and lo, she speaks English! A fact that is incredibly clear upon second viewing, and yet completely transparent when I first watched. Well played, Lost. She explains that Jin attacked Michael over the watch on Michael’s wrist, a watch given to Jin by Sun’s father before leaving Korea. Michael then goes to Jin, armed with an axe, and gets everything off his chest that’s been building up to an unknowing audience. He throws the watch into the sand, chops Jin free, and storms off past a semi-horrified, semi-ashamed Sun.
Musical Montage, courtesy of Hurley’s CD player. God, I so don’t miss these. Beautifully shot, with appropriate song choices, but…I dunno, just doesn’t feel like the Lost we know now, right? The Cave Dwellers and the Beach Combers form the first dual sets of society that we have on the show, a theme that will certainly echo and repeat throughout the show’s run.
15) Off the Island
Sun’s at a party, sipping champagne, while eyeing a hot waiter who lo and behold is Jin. The two sneak off for a kiss, indicating this is a Korean-based, reverse-gendered offspring of Pretty in Pink and The Godfather. Jin gives her a white flower as a sign of affection, and a handy visual metaphor for later redemption.
Some time later, Sun is overjoyed to learn that Jin has obtained her father’s permission to marry her. This excitement quickly turns to fear when she learns the condition under which Papa Pak agreed: that Jin work under him. Luckily, Jin has the antidote to her fear: major bling, in the form of an engagement ring he bought as part of his first paycheck.
Shooting forth a bit more, Sun and Jin are living the high life in a posh pad. But remember what the great philosopher Aristotle once said: mo’ money, mo’ problems. The work Jin does for Sun’s father has clearly put a strain on their marriage. That strain only grows when one night, Jin comes home with blood-stained hands. Jin doesn’t quite react the way this kid does when confronted, but its fairly close. At this point, we’re pretty sure that Sun’s father doesn’t own a chain of Taco Bells, unless those tacos come with a severe beatdown.
Sun is talking to a decorator in their apartment at some point after that night, a decorator that moonlights as a human smuggler, apparently. She’s arranged for someone to pick up Sun at the airport and take her to America, having made many precautions lest her husband or father come looking for her. But in the airport, she can’t bring herself to leave him, because…well, damn, you’ve seen his pecs. I don’t go that way and I wouldn’t leave ’em. Jin looks at her, shows her a similar flower as he did when he worked as a waiter, and she joins him in line.
16) The Mythology
- The first (and to date, only) appearance of Adam and Eve. Darlton have mentioned in interviews that they knew time travel had to be in Lost from the moment they introduced these skeletons. Be on the look out for a black stone and a white stone over the next two seasons.
- Jack’s tattoos get their first official shout-out. For better or worse, these come back again, with 100% more Bai Ling, in the future.
23) The Moment
I know a lot of people will go with the revelation that Sun speaks English, but Charlie’s guitar is that perfect balance of realism/fantasy that is a hallmark of Lost. You can look at this scene as Locke simply moving Charlie into the perfect position, or you can look at it as the Island literally giving a gift to a man willing to give something up in return. Beautiful moment, and the first human moment for Charlie on the show.
42) In Retrospect
- The Sun/Michael tension? Yea, I’m a bit sad they dropped this. Not that I root against Jin/Sun as a couple, but there was clearly work being done here to lay the groundwork for something later, and it was dropped. And not like it was hot. It was more "place down casually as if lukewarm."
- I consider tonight’s flashback actually only one-half of a larger flashback that concludes in "…In Translation" later this year. Seeing that later episode not only made me appreciate this one all the more, but Lost as a whole.
- "Look up." John’s line to Charlie sounds a lot like what was written on Eko’s Jesus Stick of Righteous Justice, no?
- "Time doesn’t matter on a damn island." My favorite line of the episode, spoken by Michael to Jin near the end. Oh, it matters, Michael. It matters more than any of us could have imagined.
108) In Summary
Good gravy, a LOT happened in this episode. The caves! Adam/Eve! The camp split in two! Jack doesn’t hit dat! And oh yea, there was some Sun/Jin stuff as well. At times, the sheer amount of story being put forth threatens to shackle the couple’s story, much in the way that Jin was literally shackled throughout the majority of this hour. Also: as much as it’s shocking to see how Jin was portrayed early on, it also serves to make his redemption that much more fulfilling later on. Another solid effort from a show that seemed to gain confidence with each episode.
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