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Hearts and Minds

January 25, 2010

This is a solid character-driven episode, with a few mystical elements thrown in. It’s a Boone/Shannon centric episode, and their flashback impacts enormously on the end of the episode. Boone feeling relief at “being rid” of Shannon charts the rest of his on-island life (which does not go on for much longer). There are some well-written, well-acted moments between Hurley and Jin as well. The beauty of episodes such as this one is that the smaller character moments, to me, anyway, are infinitely more interesting than the Kate/Jack/Sawyer triangle. Those sometimes drive the narrative forward (or, as in the last episode, are really just sort of embarrasing), but it takes some of the weight off the leads and the writers to have reliable secondary and tertiary characters who can make small scenes that really mean nothing in the grand scheme of things so enjoyable. After all, LOST, when boiled down to its essence, is a show about characters.

And again, this was a much-needed character-driven one. After the fiasco of the previous episode and the steady march to the finale, this one held a lot of weight without really furthering the main plot.

Island mythology: 4.5 out of 10. Nothing major happens here, but the monster is reintroduced, and the powers of the island on one’s mind and thoughts (with a bit of help from a hallucinogenic) are explored more fully here. It’s also the first reference to the magnetic force on the island when Sayid and Jack discuss the compass. Overall, though, this is merely a continuation of the hatch plotline.

Philosophical concepts/themes: 1.5 out of 10. Faith is referenced a few times, but this is not a major episode for any underlying themes.

Character development: 7.25 out of 10. Boone’s relationship to Shannon and eventual rejection of her at the end of the episode in order to follow Locke is explored. With this, Boone fully becomes Locke’s “man of faith” disciple. He does not yet know what exactly he and Locke are doing, but he puts his faith in Locke that he is doing something important. Locke’s character is explored a bit more as well, at least in relation to others on the island. Both Boone and Charlie trust Locke implicitly, and Locke’s comment to Sayid in regards to the compass (how he no longer needs it) signifies that he has found the direction in his life that he has always needed.

Importance of episode to series: 4.25 out of 10. This was a very solid character episode, but nothing here has any major impact on the overarching storyline. Boone makes his decision to follow Locke, which does have ramifications later in this season, and some small character moments are explored (Kate learns Sun speaks English, Michael is shown with the box of letters which foreshadows his centric episode), but overall, nothing important would be lost (pardon the pun) without this episode.

Personal enjoyment of episode: 7.25 out of 10. The character details and storylines in this were done well, and even though nothing important really happened, it was again an enjoyable midway point of the first season. One of my favorite moments is in the final flashback where Boone sits on the bed after he and Shannon had their (semi-)incestuous tryst. She seems to be able to let go of what had just happened between them easily and Boone cannot, which makes his expression of relief at being able to let go of her carry that much more weight. In fact, Boone’s death and Shannon’s guilt at having spent the night with Sayid on the same night is much more impactful due to this episode.

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