Talking about Lost

I can’t remember who said it, but someone recently commented to me that they were looking forward to my comments on Lost. Truth to tell, I haven’t written anything about the series’ third season is that we’ve been behind. Last night, though, we watched the last three episodes and are finally current.

J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof, and company keep telling us they know where they’re going and have it all mapped out from beginning to end. They even told ABC they know when to end the series, probably after five seasons.

Quite a bit of the series holds together and feels as if it is following that roadmap. Yet, so much of it also feels written on the fly and one can argue that as long as the ending satisfies the beginning’s expectations, the road in between can be fluid.

The spotlight on the Others’ during the mini- season in the fall was badly organized so as to inspire viewer disappointment. I suspect they recognized that and adjusted things accordingly. Similarly, the producers admitted in the latest Entertainment Weekly that they changed their plans for Nikki and Paulo once audiences bitched loudly about how they were needlessly shoehorned into the story. Having said that, I thought it shows how strongly the series is plotted that their final episode wonderfully used continuity implants to enhance familiar moments. The bit between Ben and Juliette at the Pearl was a nice insight to Ben’s M.O., especially since he did just that to her to keep her on the island.

I find Juliette fascinating since it’s hard to say which side she’s truly on. We’ve seen how desperately she wants off the island and yet she’s now working with Ben to subvert the 815ers for unknown reasons. Jack sees something in her eyes convincing him she’s one of them – is she that good an actress?

If I were Ben, I would be doing what I could to contain the castaways. After all, they’ve already destroyed two of the Dharma stations, cost them the sub and a boat (the one with Michael and Walt) and could easily wreck everything else. I’d be corralling them and bringing them into the process rather than set up the continuing confrontation.

The last few episodes have resolved a few things for us such as the great story behind Locke’s paralysis and how the Others know so much about those aboard the flight. And as some answers arrive, new mysteries turn up such as what gave Ben cancer and kills pregnant women in addition to the black smoke creature which we now know has nothing to do with Dharma.

Lost, to me, works best when we get characters matched up for great scenes and moments. The parallels to Kate’s disastrous acts with her mother and Jack were nicely done but to me one of the season’s highlights remain the verbal chess match between Locke and Ben as both played mind games with the other. Beyond what Dharma has in mind for the island and its residents, it’s interesting how many of the survivors’ lives have intertwined before they boarded Oceanic 815. In fact, I commented prior to the most recent Kate flashback that there really hadn’t been a lot of that subtle crossing of paths in this season’s flashbacks so the connections there was a treat. Locke says the island has its own reasons for things to happen and I tend to agree there is much more than meets the eye.

The show continues to entertain and captivate, delight and surprise. It’s no longer “Oh my god did you see that?” television but they have yet to break faith with the viewership and for that I’m grateful. From all hints, it sounds like the last few episodes this season will maintain that level. Opinion?

4 comments

  • Tom Galloway

    I can’t find it with a quick Google search, but I’m sure someone(s) by now must have put together a canonical list of Lost danglers (ala the old X-Danglers list from Usenet I was a one-time maintainer of, listing all the danglers in Claremont’s X-Men. I think at one point it hit 200 unresolved ones). There’re any number that just seem to have be dropped completely…remember the polar bear? Michael’s clearly implied psychic powers? etc.

    And if Jack trusts Juliet so much, y’think he’d be saying to her “Y’know, giving us at least some idea about who the Others are would be a really good thing” rather than letting her stay quiet.

    Finally, any bets on whether they bother to give a reason why the castaways don’t move into that nice suburban community with utilities that the Others abandonned, or just never bring up the possibility and keep living on the beach and fetching water from the caves?

  • I tried keeping up with LOST this season but just couldn’t do it. Work. School. I’m a busy Snay. So I’ll do what I did for the last two seasons – wait until it’s released on DVD, and then spend two days in front of the television rotting my brain and completely forgetting what happened in the previous seasons.

    (Seriously, is there a better invention than TV Shows on DVD?!?!?!?!?!)

  • I loved Lost during its first season, began to get frustrated during its second, and then could barely tolerate it in the first half of the third. The Others bored me to tears, and every moment when we were supposed to find them cool or threatening just struck me as lame. Most of the likable characters had been made unlikable, except for Hurley, who wasn’t getting much screen time anymore. I never got the sense that the producers had anything resembling a long-term direction.

    That said, I’m glad that you’re still getting enjoyment from the show. With enough positive word of mouth, I might come back some day.

    -Andy Holman