"House of the Rising Sun" is the first bad Lost episode, and it may stand out as one of the very worst. Coming after the legendary pilot and three superb episodes, it's actually kind of shocking.
The writing is atrocious, from dialogue to character motivations to pacing... just everything. It was written by Javier Grillo-Marxuach, who has written for Helix and The 100, so that makes sense. But he also wrote "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues," which I remember liking, so we'll see if that holds up.
Everything surrounding Kate and Jack's "flirtation" is inorganic and super cringey. Kate asking Jack about his tattoos. Charlie (wholly out of character) using a bee pun to tell Kate he thought she had C-cup breasts, and Jack smirking. Obviously the bee hive scene was written just to get to that supremely dumb moment, and to get Jack and Kate to take their shirts off. Elsewhere, Kate asks Jack if he's checking her out; it's oppressively awkward, then made worse as they try to weave in Jack's argument about moving to the caves. Nothing feels natural. Truly embarrassing.
I haven't even touched on Sun's flashbacks, which are cliche-ridden and similarly devoid of any naturalism. ("I don't want to elope with you!") It always struck me as odd that Sun has almost no reaction to receiving the puppy. Jin's behavior on-island is perhaps most problematic of all. Michael is wearing this watch that he found and obviously has no idea about its familial significance. Jin reacts like a psychotic version of an Asian stereotype. He has been severely dishonored or something, so he snaps and legit tries to kill Michael, halfway drowning him, then calling him a thief. (A thief because he found a watch in the wreckage? Okay then.)
Matthew Fox comes out of this relatively unscathed. He somehow actually sells this garbage line: "Kate, how did you get to be this way? Just what is it that you did?"
Sun's flashback at the airport at the end works quite well, so I'm going to assume that's Lindelof. Same with Adam & Eve. You can sort of feel his hand coming into the episode when we touch on key pieces of the mythology.
But then we get a montage with distractingly on-the-nose Willie Nelson lyrics, ending the episode with a flourish of cringe. Things can only improve from here.