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Author's Note: Having grown tired of what's currently available on TV I've decided to rewatch some of my all time favorite shows. I'm limiting myself to one episode per week in order to experience the storytelling as it was originally intended, which hopefully will preserve the thrill of having to wait a week to see what happens next. This article covers the LOST episode “Exodus, Part 3", which originally aired on May 25th, 2005. While the original “Exodus, Part 2” aired as a two-hour event, these reviews will treat them as two separate episodes since that’s how they’re presented on Blu Ray.
Previously on LOST: The raft has been launched and Michael, Sawyer, Jin, and Walt are drifting in the ocean hoping to find rescue. Sayid and Charlie pursue Rousseau, who has kidnapped Claire’s baby. Jack, Locke, Kate, and Hurley make their way to the hatch, carrying backpacks full of unstable dynamite.
“Exodus, Part 3” brings the first season of LOST to a close, and what a fun journey it has been to reunite with these amazing characters. As the episode begins we find three clearly-defined subplots that are all equally important to the overall narrative, as the jungle group works at opening the hatch, Charlie and Sayid are chasing down the baby-thief Danielle Rousseau, and the raft crew looks for rescue. All three chunks of the story offer a unique experience to the viewer, a testament to how well the show has handled its characters over the course of this season.
The smoke monster makes another appearance this week, this time pestering the jungle crew comprised of Jack, Locke, Kate, and Hurley. The action-heavy sequence is both entertaining and effective at revealing more about the character of John Locke, who instead of running away from “The Monster” willing gives himself up to it. Locke believes he is the island’s priest, that there are elements to this magical piece of land that only he can interpret. This arrogance nearly gets him killed here, as the black smoke drags him through the jungle with Jack in pursuit. While Locke teeters on the edge of a deep hole he begs Jack to let him go, which the camp’s doctor knows will lead to certain death. Jack orders Kate to hand him a stick of dynamite, but when she goes to retrieve her pack he stops her and reveals that he secretly loaded the explosives in his own bag. Kate’s disgusted look of betrayal is unmissable, but Jack’s overly-protective behavior is something she should be used to by now.
Dropping a stick of dynamite down the hole does the trick, as The Monster looses its grip on Locke and the team is able to continue on. This sets up an important exchange between Jack and Locke as the writers turn the screws of conflict a little more, with Locke verbalizing what the audience already knows: while Jack is a man of science Locke is a man of faith, and considering how prominent of a role the two play in this story a showdown is inevitable. But for now they must work together towards a common goal, even if their motivations for opening the hatch couldn’t be more different. While Jack envisions that the hatch offers safety Locke believes there is salvation to be found within, and we can see that these contrasting expectations will serve as a foundation for conflict between the two A-list characters.
Meanwhile, Sayid and Charlie are gaining on Rousseau, but get sidetracked when Charlie falls victim to one of the mad woman’s booby traps. He’s left with a head injury that forces Sayid to perform some impromptu surgery in order to seal the wound, and the pair continues on. They eventually catch up to Rousseau at the beach side pyre that has been emitting the ominous black smoke, where she reveals that she only stole the baby because she thought if she brought the child to the Others that they would return the baby they stole from her sixteen years ago. She claims that she overheard them talking about their desire to steal “the boy”, and despite her despicable actions she hands baby Aaron over to Charlie without argument.
As we rejoin the raft crew we find them bickering over the craft’s radar, where the usually-rebellious Sawyer has suddenly become a stickler for the rules, demanding they follow Sayid’s instructions which were to turn the device on every single hour. Michael is skeptical but changes his tune when they pick up a signal, and while he’s hesitant to waste their only flare the pressure from Sawyer eventually gets to him and he fires it into the black sky. It isn’t long before another boat pulls up and it looks like salvation has indeed been found, but when the bearded captain of the rival craft informs Michael that they “have to take the boy” the situation turns confrontational. Sawyer attempts to get a shot off but the Others anticipate that move, and its Sawyer that ends up taking a bullet and dropping into the ocean. Jin dives after him as Michael does what he can to protect his son, but he’s overmatched and is forced to watch them drag Walt onto their boat. Clearly Rousseau misinterpreted what the Others were talking about, that they never had any interest in Claire’s baby and that it was Walt they were after all along. Things get even more dire when the kidnappers toss a bomb onto the raft, and after escaping to the water Michael is forced to watch yet another of his homemade boats be destroyed.
Back at the camp, Charlie returns Aaron to Claire, and while the reunion is a happy one the camera makes sure to show us that the rockstar stole one of the heroin-filled statues from the Beechcraft. It would appear that Charlie’s recovery is in jeopardy, and that his addiction issues will carry over to season two. It hasn't been the most-interesting story thread, but it's nice to see a character's redemption arc not be as clean as we initially thought it was.
The episode closes at the hatch, where Jack and Locke work together to get the dynamite set. With everything in order everyone gets to safety, but just as Locke is getting ready to light the fuse Hurley notices a familiar set of numbers stamped on the hatch’s exterior. Still convinced that the number sequence is cursed he freaks out, demanding that they abandon their plan of blowing the door open. Drunk on obsession, Locke won’t hear it though, and as Hurley, Jack, and Kate dive for safety he ignites the fuse. A few seconds later Locke finally gets his wish, and in a now-iconic shot the camera drops down into the ground with Locke and Jack watching, their perplexed faces lit only by the flicker of torchlight.
What a perfect way to end LOST’s first season. The summer of 2005 was full of speculation and endless theories, as everyone wondered what exactly would be at the bottom of that long shaft. It really was a magical time to be a LOST fan, it was the heyday of message boards and podcasts were just starting to become mainstream. My love of LOST is in large part fueled by the fun I had swapping ideas with other fans about what would happen to these great characters, anything felt possible as no theory seemed too ridiculous. As we transition into season two we’ll get some answers to the mysteries that have been introduced in the show’s first chapter, while also getting fresh questions that will power the story into the future.