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…In Translation

January 26, 2010

Last episode for the night. It’s another Jin/Sun centric episode, but this time from Jin’s perspective. The last Sun/Jin one made me a bit teary, and this one did the same. As much as I like Desmond’s character when he’s introduced later, I think his relationship with Penelope is not as impactful for myself personally as Jin and Sun’s. Even though their dialogue is almost exclusively in Korean with subtitles, it just seems more emotional for me. This is a testament, of course, to both actors.

Island mythology: 0 out of 10. There’s just nothing here.

Philosophical concepts/ongoing themes: 1.5 out of 10. Jin’s backstory is actually a subversion of the typical daddy issues that most of the characters seem to have. He abandoned his father out of shame of his background. Might this not be a small poke at American culture/society in that we get so hung up in carrying our baggage around (Jack’s initial reluctance to bring his father home from Australia, Christian claiming he’s too weak to call Jack, etc) that we have a hard time just making a simple connection with family? Jin returns to his father, who accepts him back because he is family. He does not hold any resentment. Instead, he tells Jin that it is a good world. Americans are pretty screwed up by comparison to this.

Character development: 7.75 out of 10. Finally, we get to see Jin’s side of their relationship. In the previous flashback, Sun was a sympathetic character, as we were only shown the moody, violent side of Jin. In this episode, we gain a better understanding of Jin and why he continually shuts Sun out. It’s to protect her from the knowledge of the type of man her father is. And in the end, he feels betrayed by Sun’s speaking English, and makes the decision to help his former “enemy,” Michael, with the raft. Though this is not positive growth necessarily, it is a major change in his character.

Importance of episode to series: 6.25 out of 10. This episode is not vitally important, but it does place people where they need to be as the season begins to wind down. All four passengers who will embark on the raft trip are delineated here, and Locke and Walt have, if memory serves, their final game of backgammon while discussing Walt’s burning of the raft. And Locke gives the flip side of Jack’s speech, which sets up the major crisis leading up to the season finale. There is not a lot of major impact on the overarching plot here, but the setup for the final quarter of the season happens here very smoothly, unlike a similar episode in Season 5, which very, very clunkily puts the characters in their places for that season finale.

Personal enjoyment of episode: 8.25 out of 10. Both Jin and Sun episodes this season made me somewhat teary, and that is deserving of a score that reflects this capability to draw out emotions. I also enjoyed the end of the “discman montages” when Hurley’s discman loses battery power. Thankfully, if memory serves, there are no more montages that use non-score music (episode-ending montages, I mean. Not ones like Desmond and Juliet’s season openers). Also, although getting Michael and Jin to butt heads again felt very slightly forced and “screenwritten,” it did its job well enough to tie effortlessly into the flashback. Not one of the most significant episodes of the season, but as a setup episode, it does what it sets out to do very, very well.

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