The Moth (S1, ep. 7)
What a moving episode.
Charlie's flashbacks tend to really hit home for me. I've never been in a rock band, or developed a heroin habit with an older brother, and yet I find Charlie's past sometimes difficult to watch. I'll say up-front that I'm already dreading the episode where Charlie becomes a copier salesman and steals his girl's stuff. That episode makes me feel dirty somehow, and I think most of the credit for that, and for the genuine power of The Moth, should go to Dominic Monaghan.
- Charlie’s confession? Hilarious.
Great, subtext-laden, Confessional Priest Line: “We all have our temptations, but giving into them – that’s our choice. Life is a series of choices, isn’t it?”
That line ties oh-so-neatly into the various conceptions of free will and determinism that the show has so aggressively toyed with in a literal fashion this year. These concerns have been present from the word go.
- The two looming themes of this episode, metaphorically-speaking, are choice and communication.
- Oh, how I loathe Charlie’s brother in this episode. He’s named Liam, which solidifies the Oasis homage (something the show will comment upon directly when it has Charlie play Wonderwall in a Desmond flashback), and he’s an ass.
Granted, as nicely illustrated by the episode, Charlie’s choices were/are his own, and he cannot and should not blame his brother for his addiction, or for the obviously-gaping hole of insecurity he carries around inside of him. But all of this does not change the fact that I’d knock Liam’s smug teeth out and send those preppy, former-user-now-professor glasses of his flying.
We as an audience know that Charlie should have taken his brother’s offer – that, despite past wounds there are always opportunities for forgiveness – but we understand (horribly) why he doesn’t. Because Charlie’s right: Liam’s never looked out for him.
- I’m pretty sure that The Moth is the first episode to bring up the fact that really, none of the 815ers should have survived. Sayid and Kate have this conversation as they go to triangulate a radio signal.
- Hey! Neither Boone nor Shanon screws anything up this episode!
- This is how you know you’re watching a well-constructed drama: you know that their attempts to contact the outside world will fail, and you know that the cave-in which buries good ol’ Jack this episode won’t kill him. And yet, the episode remains compelling. Good job, Lost.
- I remember really, really hating where Michael’s character ended up, but I’m liking him right now. There’s a wonderful moment in this episode where Michael takes charge of the dig to rescue Jack, and the look of dawning pride on Walt’s face is heart-warming.
- Sawyer’s arc is playing MUCH differently this time around. His interactions with Kate here are just plain sad. Holloway’s a better actor than people have given him credit for.
- The moth metaphor that names the episode, and which Locke offers to Charlie as justification for the detox method Locke is using, is really lovely. And now that we’ve met Jacob, and heard him and the MiB discussing that unidentified ship (Black Rock!) on the horizon, it also encapsulates what seems to be Jacob’s philosophy:
Locke: “Struggle is nature’s way of strengthening it.”
- Monaghan sells the hell out of the ending of the episode, asking Locke for the drugs a third time (and the genuine look of disgust/disappointment on Locke’s face is utterly perfect), but then burning them in the fire and making the choice to be free. I don’t believe Locke when he says that he always knew Charlie could do it, but I do believe in the awed look on Monaghan’s face just before the title card slams home at the episode’s end. There’s transcendence in that look – a kind of hard-earned elevation - and it makes the knowledge of what’s to come particularly bittersweet.