Exodus Part 1 is a truly impressive opening to the final 3 hours of Lost Season 1. What first makes an impression is how the flashbacks are altered for this episode, which makes watching this and the next episode that much more enjoyable. All the characters get a flashback moment and that is a good move by the writers. If the flashback structure was getting a bit tiresome this set will feel fresh and interesting. All the flashbacks are set on the day that Oceanic 815 took off on its fatal flight. We see how many of the characters connected themselves with each other, even before the crash, like Sayid and Shannon, which was kinda of weird, looking at that now as they are almost lovers. Like "Numbers", this episode feels like an Indiana Jones movie in miniature. A mission group, consisting of Jack, Kate, Locke, Hurley, Artz and Rousseau, journey to the Dark Territory, to find dynamite from the Black Rock. The purpose of this journey is to find the only means to blow open the Hatch. The reason: the Others are coming!
After most of the episodes focusing on character relations and their personal issues and vendettas, often with frustrating results, Danielle walks into the survivor's lives and forces the issue that danger faces them on the island and that they'd all better wake up and face up to it.
It is this episode that makes you understand why the writers chose to focus on the characters alot of the time previous to this. It suddenly shocks the survivors who have been rather blaze about the whole "mystery island" concept since their arrival, and gets them all to focus on the problems of the island rather than themselves.
It is great to see Danielle back after Numbers. She is such an enigmatic character and adds to the mystery of the island. She also gives the survivors the dilemma of whether to believe her or her interpretation of events on the island.
This episode is full of little revelations but most importantly begins to connect the dots between past mysteries and current ones, offering some kind of closure on many issues. One closure relates to character when Sawyer opens up to Jack about his conversation with Jack's father, Christian, which we saw in Outlaws. Sawyer was a surprise in this episode. He may be redeeming himself. He certainly seems to be becoming more helpful and offers to help with the Raft. There could be an ulterior motive, of course, but some of Sawyer's behavior seems quite genuine. When the raft launches the sight of Sawyer and Michael shaking hands in jubilation is emotional and unexpected.
We get an answer for what the Monster could be, though we don't see it. Danielle says it is a security system protecting the island. Even though we don't know why the island needs protecting, it still makes sense.
And we discover that the Black Rock is actually a ship, washed ashore.
For all the character and plot line revelations, the real highlight of this episode are the final moments when the Raft is launched. The first couple of times I watched this I was almost crying. It is beautifully constructed to epic proportions that you refuse to believe that you're watching a 45 minute TV episode. This moment could almost be the final moment of the series, and it almost feels like the weiters were backing themselves up with a couple of episodes that felt like the end of the series, rather than the end of Season 1, just in case they couldn't do any more episodes. I think they knew that there would be more prior to making this episode but still feels that this was the anti-climax to the series.
This was an impressive first part. The second part may blow it out of the water but this episode stands on its own very well.