Pedantic Semantics

Not at all pretentious

Meet the characters: The Oceanic Six (teen)

Posted by Paul on July 10, 2010

SPOILER WARNING: DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE ENTIRE SERIES AND HAVE EVEN THE SLIGHTEST INTENTION OF DOING SO.

I’ve decided I’m going to begin the rewatch on Sunday. So, before that, let’s look at where the characters are at the start of the show, the people we came to know, when flight 815 crashed, and we met them for the first time…

Jack Shephard: A spinal surgeon living in L.A., Jack has a “fixer” personality. By fixer, I mean he needs to fix things (imagine that). Fixing for Jack is centrally a neurosis. Although at first it launches him into an unwanted leader role, it slowly becomes his drug. It could have something to do with his alcoholic father telling him he “doesn’t have what it takes”.

Thoughts: Jack has caught a lot of flack over the course of the series. I think people felt they were having a main character being forced down their throats. Okay, I can see that. I think what really irked people was that this so-called main character was often unlikable. Me, I say that only added to his complexity.

Kate Austen: Kate’s main motivation is running. She tried to run from her abusive father, but when it turned out she had to kill him to be free, she did so. Now she’s running from that. That flaw, the very source of her selfishness, constantly battles with her innate compassion.

Thoughts: Kate is another widely unliked character. With Jack, it was because people didn’t like the way he was defined. With Kate, it seems that people didn’t feel she was defined enough. Whatever, she had plenty development. She cared for Jack because she felt trust for him, and trust was something she felt for no one. She cared for Sawyer because he let Kate be Kate when Jack got too Jack. In the end, trusting someone was more important for her than being trusted.

James “Sawyer” Ford: Sawyer is my favorite character, so don’t ever expect me to be unbiased. That said, when our story begins, he is an asshole. His mother slept with another man, who conned her out of hundreds of thousands. Sawyer’s father found out, killed his wife and himself, and James eventually became the man he was hunting.

Thoughts: I’ll get to the moment where Sawyer became my fave when I start the rewatch, but suffice it to say, his tightrope between good and evil was golden.

John Locke: Bald guy. Oh, yeah, his father managed to steal his kidney, instigate John’s girlfriend’s leaving him, and throw him out a window, which left him in a wheelchair. Locke’s dad also is the man who conned Sawyer’s parents. So yeah, Locke comes to the Island with some baggage besides the knives he checked.

Thoughts: John Locke is arguably the most tragic character in television history. Almost every one of his flashbacks brings the pain, and most involve his father screwing him over. Every bad thing that happens to him, from his kidney being stolen to his death and reincarnation as smokey stems from his need to believe he was “special” (or, as officer Eddie said, he is “amenable to coercion). The sideways world was necessary if only for Ben to confirm that Locke was more important than he ever thought.

Hugo “Hurley” Reyes: Good ‘ol funtime Hurley. His demon is his weight, but unlike most television/movie characters of his type, it doesn’t define him. He is foremost loyal and compassionate, and his baggage is the numbers he used to play the lottery, which he believes cursed everyone around him. The numbers… what are they?

Thoughts: I think Hurley was Lost’s moral compass, in much the same way that Helo was for Battlestar Galactica. He genuinely cared about everyone, which is obviously why Jack chose him in the end. His only real flaw was not believing in himself.

Claire Littleton: The only Australian on the flight from Australia to survive. Maybe because she’s pregnant with the child that is central to the machinations of the two major players on the Island. She is caring to a fault, but the missed time with her father may tilt her actions towards benefiting the wrong side.

Thoughts: Claire was more integral to the overarching plot than most people are willing to give her credit for. As Locke told her in her dream, she gave up Aaron, everyone payed the price.

Jin Soo Kwon: Jin is a Korean employed by Paik industries as a “messenger”, which means he commits violence on people that don’t follow his boss’s wishes. This is not the life he envisioned for himself, but he endures it so he can be with his wife.

Thoughts: Jin is originally presented as a pretty one-dimensional character. It is part of the genius of this show that we slowly learn he is so much more than is first represented. He is probably the most admirable character in the series, mainly because of his total commitment to Sun, even unto the bitter end.

Sun Hwa Kwon: She was planning to leave her increasingly violent husband once they got to Australia. In the end, she couldn’t do it. Sun’s exterior is a shrinking violet, but inside she has a will of steel.

Thoughts: I thought this couple’s switcheroo was one of the greater twists on the show. We thought Jin was a hardened gangster who dominated his frightened wife, but we eventually learned that he was forced into his life of violence by the woman he loved, who eventually cheated on him. The best thing here is that the show doesn’t let Jin off the hook, either. That Sun turns out to be one of the strongest characters on the show is pretty cool, too.

Sayid Jarrah: …is an Iraqi torturer, although he came by that knowledge at American hands. He continues to live with the screams of those he’s interrogated, and the face of the woman he betrayed his country for, Nadia, the woman he loves even though she is the woman that makes him hate himself.

Thoughts: Sayid is the essence of a good person who doesn’t know he’s good. It’s not until the final episode that Hurley tells him what we’ve all known for years: that he lets other people tell him what he is. In that way, Sayid is not unlike Locke, even if they do end up at odds many, many times.

Michael Dawson: Seperated from his child when the boy was not yet two, he has now been thrust into the role of father with the death of his ex-girlfriend and abdication of her husband. He is hot tempered, yet once he establishes loyalty to someone, it is unwavering.

Thoughts: Many people use Michael as Exhibit A that the writers were uninterested in keeping their diverse cast diverse. Me, I see him as the number one example that the writers were willing to let the characters guide their stories, and not keep them on because they filled some quota.

Walt Loyd: There’s not much to say about Walt. He’s Michael’s son, he has his father’s tendency to go off half-cocked. He’s angry about the death of his mother. Frankly, he got more development than most child characters on TV, but not as much as the other people on Lost.

Thoughts: Many people have postulated that his role in the story was assumed by Desmond. I’ll get into the evidence later, but suffice it to say, it makes sense.

Charlie Pace: Drugged out has-been rocker who secretly wants to be better than he is. Has a thing for pregnant Australian girls.

Thoughts: Charlie’s arc meant more to me than I realized at first. It wasn’t until he died that I knew how much I cared about the little bugger. People hate on his Season Two turn, but his redemption wouldn’t have been quite the same without it. That’s right, I just defended Fire + Water.

Boone Carlyle: Works for his mother’s bridal company. In love with his step-sister, and has Jack’s savior complex, but not the competence.

Thoughts: I think Boone didn’t really take off as a character until he became Locke’s protege. Then he died. Oh well.

Shannon Rutherford: Boone’s step-sister. Spoiled not because she was raised that way, but because it was her means of survival.

Thoughts: I remember thinking, when I first started watching this show, how interested I was in seeing Shannon develop. She didn’t last as long as I’d hoped, but what I got was near satisfactory. Also, I’m one of those that actually bought in to the Shannon/Sayid romance so, y’know, I might be insane. Or, I might actually get it. Who knows?

Rose Nadler: Witty, wise, wonderful. Rose was one of the centering characters on the show.

Thoughts: Rose and Bernard are those characters that aren’t really in the main cast, but you can’t really write them off as incidental, either. I mean, they were in the church. I know I would not have had the same experience without good old Rose popping up occasionally to tell everyone how stupid they were being.

Vincent: Man’s best friend, the only character besides Jack to be there in the beginning and the end.

Thoughts: Really, what else is there to say?

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One Response to “Meet the characters: The Oceanic Six (teen)”

  1. “Kate’s main motivation is running. She tried to run from her abusive father, but when it turned out she had to kill him to be free, she did so.

    Are you serious? Kate had decided to kill Wayne Jensen, because she discovered that he was her real father and she couldn’t deal with it. She killed him, due to her own insecurities. She wasn’t trying to run from him. And she wasn’t trying to protect her mother. If you don’t believe me, re-watch Season 2’s “What Kate Did”. Where on earth did you get this shit about her trying to run from Wayne?

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