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Outlaws

January 26, 2010

When the episode began on this rewatch, and upon seeing the Sawyer vs boar plotline, I immediately thought, “God, another torturous filler episode.” Then another awkward Kate and Sawyer flirtation scene began at their camp in the jungle, and I was convinced that this was going to be two less than mediocre episodes in a row. But then a funny thing happened. The flirtation turned into a fairly moving, very well-shot, well-acted scene with no score music to tell me how I should feel. And yet again in this marathon, I’ve gained a whole new appreciation for Josh Holloway’s acting and Sawyer as a character.

Turns out the jokey boar plotline is a metaphor for Sawyer’s need for revenge. The trappings are jokey, but along with the resonant flashback, this is actually a very well-written episode. And credit is due to Josh Holloway for pulling it off.

Island mythology: 6 out of 10. There are more whispers in this episode than in any before, and direct dialogue mention is made of them. Also, one could argue that the boar that torments Sawyer has some connection to the island and its powers. It seems to be singling him out, especially when it leaves Kate’s backpack untouched midway through the episode. It’s possible that the island needed Sawyer to move on from his revenge baggage in order to do what it needs him to, and thus placed the boar as an obstacle for him to surmount. Or not. Just speculation.

Philosophical concepts/ongoing themes: 6.5 out of 10. This is the first episode where two characters are shown having a direct connection to another character off island unbeknownst to both of them. Yes, there are scenes where on-island characters appear together but do not know each other yet (Jack at the airport counter while Jin is behind him, Boone in the Australian police station while Sawyer is hauled away), but this is the first where a character (in this case, Christian Shephard) is integral to one’s life and another’s life-changing decision. Also, as an added bonus, the throughline (the Red Sox comment) is quoted in reference to fate.

Character development: 8.25 out of 10. Again, take away the jokey trappings of the boar plotline, and it can be seen that Sawyer shows a lot of growth in this episode. And the backstory is not used as a last-minute reveal as some have been so far, nor is it tangentially related to the ongoing plot. It has a direct bearing on the entirety of Sawyer’s on-island storyline.

Importance of episode on series: 7 out of 10. Even though on the surface this seems like a lesser episode, the appearance of Christian is monumental in both establishing the ongoing theme of connections between characters that each is unaware of and also in pressing Sawyer towards killing the wrong man, leading him to the island soon thereafter. And this is the first episode where Sawyer tells another character his real name.

Personal enjoyment of episode: 8 out of 10. This episode was the biggest surprise so far in the marathon. I never realized before how good it actually is. The best part about it is that the full payoff for Christian’s scene does not occur until two seasons (or is it three?) down the line. Wonderful.

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