Lost Exegesis (Pilot Part 2)
One would think, given they pretty much share the same title, that Pilot Part 1 and Pilot Part 2 would be rather similar, that the two parts would fit together as a functional whole. It’s true that both episodes were shot as part of the same production block. However, the two parts aired a week apart. Which was probably wise, for Pilot Part 2 is a very different beast compared to Pilot Part 1.
And one might wonder if the two parts had a different director, but they did not; JJ Abrams helmed both parts. Yet they have a very different feel from each other. Pilot Part 2 is rather visually distinct from its predecessor, as all of it is terribly bright; there’s an awful lot of sunlight. The first episode, on the other hand, had moments of “day becoming night,” scenes dominated by cloud cover and shadow, and even one shot at night. Pilot Part 2, on the other hand, is terribly bright; there’s an awful lot of sunlight. But then, Part 1 covers Day One on the Island, Night One, and the beginning of Day Two. All of Part 2 happens during Day Two.
While much of that could be attributed to the vagaries of the weather, we cannot say the same about the episodes’ structures. The structure of Part 1, as we noted in the previous essay, was split in two. The first half ran for twenty straight minutes, without commercial interruption. It had several very long scenes – Jack running out of the jungle and playing the hero while the remnants of the plane exploded. Then a long montage of the wreckage, and people milling about, accompanied by a morose musical score. A few short scenes serve to very briefly introduce a few of the other characters, but there’s some long conversations between Kate and Jack (as she stitches up his wound, and as they talk about the plane crash by a campfire) before the Monster brought that half to a climax. After Jack’s Flashback, the rest of the episode is almost entirely concerned with a trek to the cockpit to retrieve the airplane’s transceiver, and another attack by the monster. The whole episode is largely focused on Jack, secondarily on Kate and Charlie, and is very much in the mold of an action-adventure.
Pilot Part 2, on the other hand, consists of 27 vignettes that eventually feature all of the ensemble cast. The episode runs only 40 minutes. The final scene is five minutes long, and each of the two flashback scenes run about three minutes. As such, most scenes barely last a minute. This gives the episode a very different pace.
And yet it’s not nearly as propulsive as Pilot Part 1, for most of the vignettes are very languorous on their own. Sure, there are a few action sequences – both Flashbacks are on the crashing plane, and there’s the charge of the polar bear – but these are not the focus of the episode.…