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Key Points from "Outlaws"

Season 1, Episode 16
Episode Air Date: 02/16/05

Point 1
Sawyer Another week, another backstory. But this time the tables have turned because the backstory offers far more titillation than the island events. And so we begin with the good stuff ...

This episode returns to the fertile territory of Sawyer's tragic existence. When we last examined Sawyer's history, Kate discovered that Sawyer adopted the name of the con man who ripped his family to shreds. In turn, Sawyer followed a similar love-and-leave-'em trajectory with his own criminal enterprises (ah, the irony). In this episode, we see how Sawyer's life fell apart.

The flashbacks go way back to Sawyer's childhood. The young Sawyer -- an innocent blond-haired boy -- is startled late at night by loud banging on the front door of his home. Sawyer's mother rushes into his room and tells him to hide beneath the bed as an irate man (it's his father) bangs and yells outside. Sawyer's mother closes the bedroom door. The father enters the home. Arguing and yelling reach a fever pitch, and then a gunshot rings out and we hear a body slump to the ground. Footsteps approach Sawyer's door. The father sits on the edge of Sawyer's bed, cocks his gun and shoots himself. Young, impressionable Sawyer just witnessed a horrific family event and it's clear he's going to be a very screwed up guy for a very long time.

Zipping forward 20-plus years, another set of flashbacks reveals the next stage of Sawyer's downfall. A criminal accomplice named Hibbs (Robert Patrick, nice to see he's getting work) drops in on Sawyer and says he's found the con man who wooed Sawyer's mother decades before. Sawyer has always blamed the con man for his family's destruction -- no con man = no murder-suicide. Vengeance creeps across Sawyer's face as Hibbs tells him that his nemesis -- the man he's hunted for years -- is in Australia.

Sawyer arrives in Australia hellbent on closing a painful chapter in his life, but his plan goes awry when he visits his arch enemy. The man has no memory of Sawyer (understandable since he was a little boy at the time) and Sawyer lacks the intestinal fortitude to shoot the guy. Despondent and overwhelmed, Sawyer retreats to a local bar.

And this is where things get interesting. Sawyer sits at the bar, downing shot after shot of hard liquor. It's the middle of the day and the bar is empty save for one customer sitting at the far end of the stools. This customer is also imbibing with reckless abandon, but he sees a fellow lost soul in Sawyer so he strikes up a conversation. The man is oddly erudite for a drunk -- and his voice is familiar. A little too familiar. Wait a minute ... the man is JACK'S FATHER!

It quickly becomes apparent that this jaw-dropper was in the works for a long time because the random threads of Jack's backstory are now nicely tied to Sawyer's history. For example, when Jack finds his dead father in Australia, he's told the body was discovered without any identification on it. He's also informed that his father may have drunk himself to death. Previously, these clues didn't add up to much (Daddy was a drunk who forgot his wallet -- so what?), but in Sawyer's backstory Jack's father clearly notes that he doesn't have his wallet and he appears to be well on his way to drinking himself into oblivion. It's nice to see the writers are planning this stuff out.

The conversation between Sawyer and Jack's father goes on for a while. At its core, this is a talk between a man spiraling out of control (Sawyer) and a man who has already hit bottom (Jack's dad). With that in mind, here are the key tidbits from their discussion:

  • Jack's father says he's proud of Jack for betraying him. He acknowledges that Jack is much different than he is -- he's a good man who follows his heart.

  • Daddy also knows that a simple phone call to Jack can right the wrongs of the past. But Daddy won't do this. He says he's too weak to make it happen.

  • Jack's father uses an odd phrase: "That's why the Red Sox will never win the Series." *** It's a phrase that sticks with Sawyer (perhaps because it's a damn dirty lie).

  • Daddy asks Sawyer if the "business" he has in Australia will ease his suffering. Sawyer says it will. Daddy fires back: "Then what are you doing here?" The question snaps Sawyer from his self loathing.
The conversation ends and Sawyer, freshly motivated by Jack's father, revisits his con man nemesis. This time, he loads his weapon, strides toward his unsuspecting prey, spits the name "Sawyer" and then buries a bullet in the man's chest.

Game over, right? Heh heh. Nope. There's a hitch. The man he just shot -- the man who has haunted him for years -- isn't Sawyer. He's a regular guy who fell behind on payments to Sawyer's criminal accomplice, Hibbs (Robert Patrick). Hibbs set the whole thing up. He used Sawyer's past to settle a score and now Sawyer has innocent blood on his hands. Whoops.


*** As a die hard Red Sox fan, I offer this simple retort: Suck it you dead bastard. We got ours now!

Point 2
Sawyer

Kate

Locke

Jack
This week's major island plot focused on three main characters: Sawyer, Kate and a boar.

Yup, a boar.

It all starts when Sawyer awakes in the dead of night to find a suspicious boar giving him the hairy eyeball. Literally. The boar is staring at him. Sawyer finds this disconcerting so he grabs a blunt instrument and takes a mighty swipe at the beast. He misses. He always misses (just ask that U.S. Marshall). The boar runs off, taking Sawyer's tarp with him. Sawyer gives chase, but the boar is a wiley sort and he escapes into the underbrush. Sawyer sucks wind amidst the nighttime foliage ... and that's when he starts to hear the whispers of the jungle.

It's been a while since we encountered this jungle whisper stuff, so here's a little refresher: Way back in "Solitary," Sayid had his own whisper adventure shortly after escaping from the clutches of the wicked and crazy (and wicked crazy) Danielle Rousseau. Upon returning to camp, Sayid mentioned this whispering in passing, but he soon chalked it up to dehydration and a very stressful encounter with a completely wacked out French lady.

But now it appears that Sayid may have been on to something. Sawyer approaches Sayid and asks him what the whispers said. Sayid is suspicious -- this is, after all, the same guy he tortured a few episodes ago -- and he's non-committal with his answer. Sawyer, ever the communicator, huffs in disgust and drops the whisper inquiry. And somehow we all know that the Jungle Whisper motif will inevitably reappear before the season is out.

Following his unproductive conversation with Sayid, Sawyer decides that the boar who infiltrated his tent has launched a full-blown harrassment campaign against him. Let that sink in for a moment. Sawyer believes a boar is stalking him. It hurts me to write that.

Sawyer goes on the offensive. Armed with a backpack full of liquor and a pistol full of bullets (he never returned the gun he acquired at the end of last episode), Sawyer launches a balls-out boar hunt.

But there's a problem. Sawyer can't track a boar to save his life. We know this because Kate tracks Sawyer and tells him that he's been tracking humans, rock slides and himself for more than an hour. Kate offers her tracking services -- in return she asks for "carte blanche" at Sawyer's General Store. Anytime she wants anything, be it soap or acting ability, Sawyer needs to cough it up with no questions asked. Sawyer agrees.

And so Sawyer and Kate head off in search of a boar. And they don't find a boar. What they find instead is an opportunity to stage a deeply intuitive and revelatory nighttime conversation next to a roaring fire.

The fire scene is ridiculous. Sawyer produces a wee liquor bottle (one of those bottles you get on an airplane) and starts taking sips. Kate expresses interest. Sawyer says the only way he'll hand over the goods is if she'll engage in a game of "I Never."

Sawyer wants to a play a drinking game. In the jungle. At night. And Kate goes for it.

For those of you who had productive college experiences, "I Never" is a simple game where a group of people say things like "I never kissed my dog on the mouth" or "I never cook in the nude." If the other players never did these things, then they do nothing. If they have engaged in these activities, they take a drink.

I'm going to avoid a blow-by-blow recollection of the Kate-Sawyer contest. Instead, here are the key character revelations:

  • Kate has been in love. Sawyer has not.

  • Kate was briefly married. Sawyer has never been married.

  • Kate didn't go to college. Neither did Sawyer.

  • And now the big one: Both Kate and Sawyer have killed a man.
Important Drinking Game Note: Speaking from personal experience, I can assure everyone that most games of "I Never" do not end with admissions of murder. Just so we're clear.

With this homicidal sour note lingering in the air, the torturous "I Never" scene ends and we're finally able to get on with the plot. Actual events transpire the next morning when Sawyer and Kate wake (separately) to find that a boar has snuck into camp and methodically ransacked Sawyer's supplies. Kate's stuff wasn't touched.

At that very moment, nearby rustling catches Sawyer's attention. He pulls out his gun and takes aim ... and out walks Locke with a big piece of fruit shoved in his mouth. Sawyer lowers his gun and Locke cheerfully tromps out of the brush. Noticing the disheveled camp, Locke asks what happened. Sawyer describes the stalking boar. Locke responds by telling a story about his dead sister.

That's right. Locke launches into the tale of his sibling Jeannie, who died as a child when she fell off the monkey bars. His foster mother was so despondent she refused to eat or sleep, believing it was her fault Jeannie fell. Six months later, a golden retriever walks directly into Locke's home and sits in front of the mother. Mother and dog stare at each other intently. Suddenly, the mother bursts into tears. The dog remained with them for the next five years, all the while sleeping on Jeannie's old bed. When the mother died, the dog left. In the end, Locke says his mother believed the dog was Jeannie, who had returned to "let her off the hook" for the accident.

When he finishes telling this story, Locke looks directly at Sawyer. His gaze clearly says: "Dude, the boar is a metaphor for your past. Figure it out, dumbass."

And so the scene ends and Sawyer and Kate set out to once again track the stalking boar (itself an act of folly since a stalking boar will find them if given enough time). Eventually they encounter the wild pig, and wouldn't you know it, Sawyer is overcome by an epiphany just as he aims his weapon at the beast's head. The boar is no longer a mere animal and Sawyer is no longer on a simple hunting expedition. The boar represents Sawyer's painful history and killing it will not ease his pain. Sawyer lowers the gun and walks off. We, meanwhile, are left to wonder why the writers ever thought this boar thing was a good idea.

This episode's Sawyer saga ends with a Sawyer-Jack pissing contest. Sawyer returns to camp and returns his gun to Jack (remember, Jack is the Keeper of the Suitcase/Armory). Sawyer says he's returning the gun because of Kate, which piques Jack's curiosity because he's obsessed with anything related to his pouty love interest. Jack wants to know what Kate "gave" him in return for the gun. Sawyer offers a snarky answer -- she gave him "nothing she wasn't willing to part with". Jack responds: "That's why the Sox will never win the Series."

BLAM! The weird phrase slams into Sawyer. After asking Jack a few probing questions about his weird-ass phrase, Sawyer realizes that the man in the Australian bar was Jack's father. But does he tell Jack this? Hell no! Sawyer just found himself a big bag of emotional currency and he plans on spending it wisely.

Point 3
Charlie

Claire
Charlie is proving to be the most resilient castaway. Consider the evidence: He bounced back from detox in record time; he spent a couple of episodes moping about his near-death experience, but recovered with the help of a little prayer; and now, in the course of one episode, he stages his greatest recovery. Charlie opens the episode racked with depression over killing Evil Ethan. Depression gives way to anger. Anger is abated by a brief conversation with Sayid (Sayid councils him on the pitfalls of self-ostracism). And then, in the closing moments, Charlie finds the strength to spend quality time with Claire. At this rate Charlie will soon be able to overcome any form of emotional or physical trauma within 30 seconds.
Point 4
Island stuff A few island observations:
  • Vincent the dog has been reunited with Walt.

  • Michael is continuing to build his escape raft. The vessel may soon eclipse the QE2's square footage.

  • Sayid is still playing with Danielle Rousseau's maps. If he spent more time on cartography and less time on Shannon (sorry, with Shannon) he might gather some useful information. Just a suggestion.
That's it for now. Be sure to drop by our "Lost" Forum for stimulating conversation and conjecture.
Next Episode:
"...In Translation" -- Michael's raft is mysteriously sabotaged and he points the finger at Jin. This does wonders for their already shaky relationship. Meanwhile, Sun makes a stunning revelation that shocks the castaways (gee, I wonder what that could be?). Airs: Wednesday, Feb. 23, 8 p.m., ABC.


Review by Mac Slocum. All photos and episode descriptions © ABC Inc.



Posted by Mac Slocum on February 17, 2005 10:24 AM |




Wow, that aired over a year ago!!

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#9. Posted by: meg at April 3, 2008 1:10 PM

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