Season 1 Episode 17

...In Translation

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Feb 23, 2005 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
1,359 votes

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Episode Summary

An arsonist torches Michael's raft, and when Michael sees that Jin has burnt hands, the conflict between them escalates. Meanwhile, Boone begins to interfere in the growing relationship between Shannon and Sayid. Flashbacks in this episode are of Jin's point-of-view of the same events focused on in "House of the Rising Sun".moreless

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  • Awesome.

    Michael continues work on his raft, which only has one available spot left as Sawyer has bought a seat on the raft in exchange for building materials. The raft is set on fire and everyone blames Jin. Michael beats up Jin the next morning. Sun then tells him to stop because Jin did not burn the raft. Everyone is surprised that she speaks English, including Jin. Locke says that it was probably the Others. Michael concedes the raft is gone and decides to make a new one. Sun goes to see Jin, who tells her that it is too late to start over. Jin goes back to the beach and helps Michael rebuild the raft, on which he has gained a spot. Walt confesses to Locke that he burned the raft because he likes the island. In flashbacks, it is revealed that the reason Jin once showed up covered in blood was because he beat a man to save him, as Sun's father had requested his death. Jin plans to go to America with Sun to start a new life. I love this episode, it's so amazing! Everything about this episode is awesome, I loved Jin's back story too!moreless
  • Two major reveelations don't get lost in this episode

    Since the beginning of the series, Jin has seemed to be the cold husband of a sweet women, ordering her around, keeping her closed off, not communicating with anyone but his wife, and keeping to himself for the most part. The writers have deliberately left most of what Jin said un-subtitled to recreate the confusion and Isolation this non-English speaking man has on the island. Only Sun's moments with him are subtitled because she understands him. The one time that we saw him in Sun's flashback, he seemed brutal, foreign, and unsympathetic. The writers have essentially shut Jin off completely from the rest of the world, control when we learn to like this guy.


    '…In Translation' (a double pun to those Sofia Coppola fans in the audience), is that episode. Jin's brutality did not occur of his own free will. His agreement to marry Sun was predicated that he would work for her father--- that much we know from 'House of the Rising Sun'. What we didn't see was the cost that this played on Jin. Her father was involved in something illegal, and Jin was dispatch as the equivalent of an enforcer. When he did not carry through with his order, he was sent to assist in a murder. In order to stop it, he beat a man bloody. This lead to the same flashback we saw of Jin coming home washing blood off his hands in Sun's flashback. Now, however, we see the aftermath in which Jin is horrified at what he has become. Now we understand that he didn't feel he was worthy of her, that because of who his father was (a simple fisherman, which explains why he's so skilled at it on the island) he was ashamed. He was a tender and gentle man who changed himself to get the girl, but that change helped drive her away. (This will turn out to have a more significant meaning when we see more of Sun and Jin's flashbacks in future seasons). But the biggest shock of all comes in the final flashback, where we learn that, like his wife, Jin was planning to get away from her father. The difference, his escape Included Sun.

    This all plays out on a much larger scale on the main story of the episode. Michael's efforts at building a raft have been paying off. He has already got much of the body of the boat built. Then early on, someone sets it on fire. Because of the animosity that has been smoldering between Michael and Jin since the fight in 'House of the Rising Sun', Michael assumes--- and everyone is willing to follow his lead--- that Jin set it. Sun seems willing to believe it, too, when she sees her husband with burned hands at the waterfall. The scene is starting to become very savage, when in order to save her husband, Sun finally reveals to everybody she can speak English. With the exception of Michael and Kate, this is a huge blow, especially to Jin. To him this is the worst sort of betrayal, and he reacts by becoming even colder and more hostile to her--- for the remainder of the season, anyway. Paradoxically, this actions manages to liberate both Jin and Sun. The first thing Jin does is help Michael chop wood, and say his first word in English--- 'boat'. Similarly, Sun may have lost her husband--- for the time being, anyway, but she is now free from his restrictions. The episode begins with Jin covering her up when she walks the beach in a pretty stunning bikini, but now she walks the surf, standing with a certain level of defiance.

    There are a couple of other shocks in the episode as well. Locke has remained rather aloof from the others for several episodes, but now he steps out of the shadows to finally say what everyone else has been afraid to admit--- that there are other people on this island and they will stop at nothing to keep them right where they are. This is a telling moment for all the castaway, but the irony is Locke was putting up a front. He then confronts the real arsonist--- Walt. Walt has been tired of moving around all his life, and doesn't want to leave a place where his great abilities seem to be realized. A place which he considers home. He feels comfortable telling Locke this, because he sees it the same way. For several people on this island--- Charlie and Kate are the most obvious ones, this is a sanctuary. Perhaps Jin feels that this was the only way that he could escape Sun's father.

    What doesn't work quite as well is the blossoming romance between Shannon and Sayid. The disparity in their ages aside, it is hard to see what a mature, solid, and is yearning after someone he loves would fall for the first cute girl who bats her eyes at him. Sayid may feel as lonely as most of the other (if not more so), but nothing in Shannon's character so far has demonstrated that she has anything to make her seem worthy of him. This is even more obvious, when Shannon hears that Boone has spoken nastily about her (though given what we know about her, we can't say that he was dishonest) and goes running over to Locke to complain like a spoiled brat. The fact that Locke tells her what she wants to hear (and he probably said it to keep her away from what he and Boone have been to than to be helpful, even if what he said was true) doesn't change that fact. Shannon and Sayid will continue this courtship, but even before it ends, we don't think this relationship has much of a future.

    We don't see much of the others in the episode, although we do see one of them in an unusual place. When Jin threatens the secretary the first time, the TV is on. Watch the episode carefully, and you see that Hurley is on the screen. This may seem like a deliberate mistake, until the next episode where we finally see what Hurley has been up to pre-island.

    Several critics have said that Jin and Sun's story never seemed to exist as part of the makeup of 'Lost'. I have never been one of them. Aside from the fact it ends with another musical interlude (probably the last one, given that Hurley's portable CD player finally breaks down) '…In Translation' is one of the strongest episodes so far. Daniel Dae Kim and Yunjun Kim both give marvelous performances, especially Dae Kim, who for the first time demonstrates the range that he has been capable of. Both Jin and Sun suffer tremendous losses during the course of the episode, but they have gained their freedom. Slowly they will spend the next two seasons rebuilding the love and trust they found they had--- they get the clean start both said they wanted. Time will tell us whether they find happiness, but they owe a great deal to the island-at least for now.moreless
  • A Jin-centric episode.

    Let just start out this review by saying that this is that before seeing this episode of Lost, I wasn't a very big fan of the characters Jin and Sun, and I didn't think that they were very interesting characters, but seeing this episode changed all that. They really are interesting characters after all. I also didn't really like the character Sayid very much at all, but seeing this episode started to make me like him a little bit more than I did before. As a whole, I thought that this episode was very exciting. All in all, I thought that this was a very well written, well acted and well made episode of Lost by everyone involved, and I can't wait to continue watching my copy of the Lost season one DVD set.moreless
  • Another good episode of Lost...

    When the raft the survivors have been building mysteriously burns down, Michael is convinced that Jin is responsible for the sabotage, which only serves to escalate their rivalry. Meanwhile, Sun stuns her fellow survivors with a surprising revelation, and Boone gives Sayid a warning about his step-sister Shannon. Lastly, more details of Jin and Sun's troubled marriage are revealed through flashbacks. I really like this episode, Jin finally learns Sun knows English this was a great conclusion to this storyline, and it opened up a lot more possiblities for the characters. I enjoyed the John Locke speech one of the best of the series "Where not the only ones on this island and we all know it" classic. There is also a beautiful montage at the end which fits the scene perfectly.moreless
  • Damien, Disclosure and Divorce

    When Jin learns that Sun can speak English, he decides not to speak to her anymore, neither in English nor Korean. It is so sad, that Hurley's CD-player croaks out. Damn. It was playing "Delicate" by Damien Rice. -

    For me, this is the best episode of the season along with the season finale "Exodus". Although nothing special happens with the mysteries, there is terrific character development, the flashbacks are touching and perfectly constructed, while Sun's confession and subsequent redemption and Jin's reaction to it are probably the best emotional scenes Lost has ever delivered. Also, for some reason, I love the ending montage when Hurley's CD-player croaks out. It is a weird little moment, but I loved it.

    Moreover, for me, this episode represents what the first season of Lost is: superb character development, twists and turns mostly involving the characters, great emotional moments -and to spice things up, a small but sufficient dose of intrigue and mystery about the Island. Perfect.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (11)

    • Parent issues ("Lost"'s recurring theme):

      -Jin is forced to work for Mr. Paik, Sun's father, and is forced to hurt other people.
      -Jin is estranged from his father, just because he's a fisherman.

    • When Shannon goes to speak to Locke in the jungle, the blood on Locke's left cheek switches places when he says "Should I be writing this down?" compared to where it is during the rest of the scene.

    • When Jin goes to the house of Byung Han for the first time, his daughter is watching TV. If you look closely, Hurley is being interviewed.

    • Numbers: 8

      After Jin goes to Byung Han's house, an associate in the back seat tells him to drive 8 kilometers away.

    • Numbers: 4

      The raft will only hold 4 people.

    • Island events in this episode take place on October 23rd, October 24th and October 25th 2004.

    • The Korean text during the Hurley part can be translated as him being a prize-winner in some kind of contest.

    • At one point we hear what English sounds like to Jin; everything sound backwards and far away, but a few words and phrases are clearly understood. Perhaps Jin actually knows a bit of English (maybe not a functional level, yet).

    • When Jin was packing up to leave and Sun was pleading with him to stay and start over, she stopped speaking Korean and said a few lines in English before going back to Korean. Jin reacted as if he understood what she said in English. Perhaps not a goof, but a sign that Jin might actually know some English.

    • During his flashback(s), while he is washing his hands, Jin's shirt magically cleans itself. At the beginning of the scene it's quite bloody, but by the end of the scene it's much less bloody - most notably the right sleeve. (The scene is exactly as it appeared in 'House of the Rising Sun' [episode 01.06].)

    • When Locke and Shannon are talking in the forest, Locke wipes blood on his cheek horizontally. In a later shot it appears vertically, then reverts back again.

  • QUOTES (15)

    • Kate: How much longer are you gonna let him treat you this way?
      Sun: Please...
      Kate: Sun.
      Sun: He's my husband.
      Kate: Yeah. A husband you're afraid to tell you speak English. I'm trying to understand, Sun.
      Sun: He wasn't always like this. He used to tell me how beautiful I looked to him. He was so tender. And then he was different.
      Kate: What changed him?

    • Boone: (to Sayid) Let me tell you about my sister. She likes older men, guys who can take care of her. My guess is in this place you fit the bill. She'll make you feel like the greatest guy ever while you get her food or whatever it is that she needs. And when she gets whatever it is that she wants, she'll move on. When she does, don't take it personally, man.

    • Sawyer: (To Jin) You're pretty scared, huh? Scared, you understand scared, don't you? Huh? If you ain't, you're going to be, Bruce. Folks down on the beach might have been doctors and accountants a month ago, but it's Lord of the Flies time, now.

    • Sayid: It's very possible your sister and I are going to become more than just friends.
      Boone: What is this? Some Middle Eastern thing? You want my blessing or something?

    • Sayid: Do you have a past in the Navy you neglected to tell me about?
      Shannon: Why?
      Sayid: How does a woman like you learn to tie a perfect bolen knot?
      Shannon: By dating guys with sailboats?
      Sayid: Since you bring it up. I've been worried since I first met you that you might end up being a spinster.
      Shannon: Spending my Saturday nights alone at home, tying knots?
      Sayid: Perhaps with an overweight aunt? It's a very sad image.
      Shannon: Maybe we should get some rope, spend a Saturday night alone together, and see what happens.

    • Sun: When I slapped you I was protecting you.
      Michael: Oh, yeah? From what?
      Sun: From Jin. You don't know what he's capable of.
      Michael: It's not my problem. It's yours.

    • Michael: (about the raft) Hey man, it's not the Queen Mary. I've only got room for 4 people. There's one open spot.
      Jack: Who took the other one?
      Sawyer: What's the matter, Doc? Feelin' left out?
      Jack: You're taking Sawyer with you?
      Sawyer: Yep, bought myself a ticket on this little tub. Let me tell you, the fare was steep. (He tosses Michael a coil of cable). I could've used that cable to hold up the whole east wing of my new beach house.
      Jack: You sold him a spot?
      Michael: I needed the halyards for the mast.
      Sawyer: Good thing I'm a saver, not a spender, huh, Doc?

    • Mr. Paik (in Korean): Why would I give my daughter to a man who sells his own dreams so easily?
      Jin: Because -- she is my dream. Sir.

    • Locke: Why would any one of us block an attempt to get home? We're so intent on pointing the finger at one another that we're ignoring the simple undeniable truth that the problem isn't here it's there! They've attacked us, sabotaged us, abducted us, murdered us! Maybe it's time we stop blaming us and start worrying about them. We're not the only people on this island and we all know it!

    • Sun: I was going to leave you. I was going to get away. But you made me change my mind. You made me think that you still loved me! (In Korean) I want to go back to the begining. Can't we...just start all over?
      Jin: (In Korean) It's too late.
      (Sun starts crying)

    • Locke: Sure, you can yell at Boone 'til you're blue in the face, but all you're doing is giving him what he wants.
      Shannon: Yeah, what's that?
      Locke: Your attention. Everyone gets a new life on this island, Shannon. Maybe it's time you start yours.

    • Sun: My husband is many things. But he is not a liar.
      Sawyer: You gonna lecture us about lying, Betty? From the look on his face (pointing to Jin) even your old man here didn't know you speak English!

    • Sayid: What was that for? (talking about the kiss)
      Shannon: Everyone gets a new life on this island. I'd like to start now.

    • (Sees Locke using a knife to cut a rat open)
      Shannon: Oh, gross!
      Locke: "Gross" to you, "dinner" to me.
      Shannon: Boone; where is he?
      Locke: Don't know...
      Shannon: What do you mean you don't know? You two are like jungle pals.

    • Charlie (reacting to the knowledge that Sun speaks English): You speak English?
      Hurley: Didn't see that one coming.

  • NOTES (5)


    • After Sun tells everyone that Jin is not a liar, Sawyer says "You going to lecture us about lying... "Betty"?". It's a reference to Betty White, a regular participant on the television game show Liar's Club.

    • Jin: (to his father) Her father wants me to deliver watches to his associates in Sydney and Los Angeles.
      In China, giving a watch is a gift that symbolises the end of a person's long lasting job. So giving watches is a gentle way of saying his job is to fire people. Also, note that Jin probably did a job in Sydney when he was there with his wife, and was going to fire yet more people in Los Angeles.

    • Episode title: Lost...In Translation

      The title appears as Lost...In Translation. This could refer to a recent 2003 film "Lost in Translation" starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johannson.

    • Sawyer: You're pretty scared? You understand scared, don't ya? If you ain't, you're gonna be, Bruce.

      Most likely a reference to Bruce Lee, famed martial artist and kung-fu movie star. Of course, Bruce Lee was Chinese and not Korean, but it's given that Sawyer either doesn't know or doesn't care.

    • Sawyer: ...it's Lord of the Flies time now.
      Lord of the Flies is a novel about a group of British schoolboys who crash-land on a deserted island and gradually descend into hedonism and barbarism.