Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lost Horizon


We’re, what, five episodes into the final season of Lost and I just feel a big shrug over the whole thing. Instead of answers we’ve gotten a lot of “wheel spinning” and more questions.

This last episode Hurley, on dead Jacob’s instruction, leads Jack to a lighthouse that they’ve never seen before. A freaking ancient stone lighthouse (that looked pretty brand new, btw). Jack asks why they’ve never seen this structure before and Hurley responds, “Maybe because we weren’t looking for it.” That pissed me off. On one hand I LIKE the idea of this lighthouse and its time mirror of whatever it’s called, and the fact it has those lovely cursed numbers etched into it (and a nod to Alice's Looking Glass as well). But for Jack to FINALLY ask a simple straight forward question and to receive such a bullshit answer is—Well it’s not the final straw, but my love for this show was severely diminished by that pat New Age-y remark.

I’ve read that the showrunners, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, have said that the characters are the most important element of this show, and with regard to answers to the hundreds of burning questions that only those that really tie in to the main cast will be answered. (The remaining unanswered questions will likely be left for fan-fic.) But so far it seems they’re caught up in their story of Jacob and MIB/Flocke/Smlocke/Ziggy that the main characters are taking a back seat. And how many character stories is that? There’s Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Locke, Sayid, Jin, Sun, Hurley and Ben. That’s nine characters. Plus Desmond, Widmore, and now Claire. Twelve characters. But there’s also Richard, his eyelashes, Ilana, and Lapidus. And don’t forget that the producers want to make this final season a love fest so everyone who starred in season one returns so look forward to Michael and even freaking Shannon (and probably Boone once more). And Walt if they can get a hacksaw and hire Nancy Cartwright to duplicate that original Walt voice. Hell, Rose and Bernard need to show up one more time, and that means Vincent’s gotta show too! See what I mean, they have a lot of characters to take care of before that final fade to black.

My biggest fear is that the two timelines – the island post-bomb and the alternate world – will finally come together late in this season and then there will be a mad rush to wrap everything up in just a handful of episodes. The showrunners are taking a huge gamble with these two simultaneous storylines. It seems after the long-used flashbacks and then the flash-forwards that they were simply looking for another gimmick to use to shake things up and the “flash-sideways” was what they came up with. And it seems that they’re going to devote much of this season’s precious few episodes to have the flash-sideways stories play out. So far I’m not jazzed by it in the least. (I just hope I don’t have to read at some point after the show ends that Lindelof and Cuse say, “Well, we thought the “flash-sideways” would be a good idea as far as storytelling, but it just didn’t work out the way we hoped it would. If we could go back and do it again, we’d drop the flash-sideways.”)

I’m sick and tired of characters talking around issues simply for the sake of a reveal. Lindelof said in one interview that rather than doing a simple straightforward piece of storytelling with John Locke regarding his father that they took a much more convoluted route because it was more “mysterious” that way; they chose supposed mystery over simple clarity, similar to Jack asking Dogan what’s wrong with Sayid and having Dogan do a stupid song and dance and tell him “there is a darkness that is clouding his whatever” instead of just answering the damn question. I have a feeling that is what is going on with these first several episodes of this season.

The first season of Lost had some of the best storytelling television has to offer. It seemed that every episode focused not only on one or two characters but gave most everyone else something to do as well. Now a character is lucky if they get something every fourth or fifth episode. Jin, Sun and Sayid have been poorly represented. Instead we get Kate doing more Kate goes on the lam stuff. This final season, as were seasons four and five, is shorter than the average tv show’s season. But instead of crisp focused storytelling it sure feels like they’re dragging this stuff out.

After all this time, I simply want to get to the end of this marathon. To have it finally be over. Does that make me a bad Lost fan?

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