Close-up on Matthew Fox's eye. It opens, and his pupil does whatever the opposite of dilating is. Lating? Anyway, it gets smaller all of a sudden. Fox gasps: he has just awoken from a long, long dream in which he was solely responsible for the well-being of his four irritating siblings. (A little box pops up in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. This show is available in HDTV, ABC would like you to know.) Fox is lying flat on his back in a bamboo grove with a scratch on his cheek, his tie askew, and a healthy amount of stubble. (Oh, by the way, you're not just watching ABC -- it's ABC7, your friendly New York affiliate, says the little superimposed graphic in the corner. Just in case you were wondering.) Fox hears a noise to his left and whips his head in that direction. (Oh, this show? -- the one you're watching? -- is a series premiere on ABC. Just FYI, bud.) There's a dog with Fox in the bamboo grove -- a friendly-looking yellow lab with its tongue hanging out. The dog runs past Fox, stepping basically on his head.
Part of the problem with recapping a show as intentionally mysterious as Lost is that you find yourself looking for clues far more avidly than you would if you were just watching for fun, because if something turns out to be important in Episode 21, you want to have mentioned it in Episode 1. So you really have to hedge your bets. For the record, Matthew Fox has very similar photogenic scratches on each cheek.
Fox manages to stand up, bracing himself against a bamboo pole, and checks himself out. Bloody wounds, check. Airline bottle of vodka in pocket, check. Sudden sense of claustrophobia, check. He runs through the bamboo, passing a tennis shoe hung from a tree just so by the prop department, and coming out on a beach.
Here's where I will come right out and admit that the reason I was excited about this show when I first heard about it. I wasn't excited because it featured several actors I liked, such as Dominic Monaghan and Naveen Andrews and Harold Perrineau. I wasn't excited because of J.J. Abrams, the show's creator; I've never watched a J.J. Abrams show before and don't give two craps about J.J. Abrams. I wasn't excited specifically because of the premise, or the mystery, or the $75 million they spent just to transport the airplane chunks. No, I was excited because they're filming Lost in Hawai'i. It's not set in Hawai'i, of course; it's set in Neverland, or Atlantis, or whatever. But it's being filmed on the North Shore of O'ahu, and I am sort of obsessed with Hawai'i. My wife and I lived there for a year, and ever since, I've made it my life's mission to find a path back to living there. I mourn the loss of Hawai'i in my life and fetishize the place to such an absurd degree that even as a Mainland haole, I still insert the snooty apostrophe in its name. In fact, I even smugly proclaim that it's not an apostrophe, it's an 'ökina. I still lard my prose with Hawai'ian words all the time, even though hardly anyone knows what the hell they mean. Which is a roundabout way of explaining why when I first saw Matthew Fox run onto the beach amid horrific flaming pieces of aircraft wreckage, horribly burned passengers staggering around, and bodies strewn across the sand, and heard screams and cries and the whine of a jet engine still sucking in smoke and heat and the flames of Hell, my immediate reaction was to sigh at how pretty the beach looked and how much I wished I was there.