How I LOST Faith (part 1 of 2).
May 27, 2010
If you are not a fan of LOST or have not yet caught up with the series, I sincerely apologize. But I need to get this off my chest to move on. I was in a serious relationship with LOST until Sunday night, when he broke it off like an asshole, leaving me hanging alone and depressed. This is a one-time blog. I won’t be writing about LOST again after this.
Six years and it all comes to a close. I started watching LOST in the Fall of my senior year when I was still hung up on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (that obsession has yet to pass). I fell in love with the show and everything about it. But the series finale hit just a few days ago, and I’ve been left bitter and unsatisfied. Yes, the ending was emotionally satisfying, but nothing about the ending really mattered in the grand scheme of the show. If there even WAS a grand scheme. The characters had happy endings but nothing was solved! A show about mysteries and they can’t even explain the basics. There are people who are now boasting that “if you were a REAL LOST fan you’d know it’s not about the answers.” I call bullshit on that. Like I said I’ve been obsessed with LOST since the beginning, and of course I cared about the characters, but I wanted the story to get wrapped up too. There were so many glaring mistakes by the end of it all that the season finale episode (2.5 hours of drivel) I felt duped. It’s as though I’ve been in love with LOST for six years, only to realize none of it matters and it was cheating on me all along.
Phew. I’ll start from the beginning.
Oceanic flight 815. Full of flawed passengers with faulty pasts. People with daddy issues, mommy issues, trust issues, etc. At the rate they were going, none of them were going to have much of a happy ending. The flight from Sydney to Los Angeles was going to be a transition into a new life. Little did they know that that new life would include coconuts, hatches, polar bears and a smoke monster. Season 1 was full of mystery and promise. Yes we got to know the characters, but the Island storylines were ALWAYS more interesting than the flashbacks. That was universally acknowledged. At some points you wished they would have ignored the flashbacks altogether because the tension was so high in the Island world. The main question raised in this season was quoted by Charlie Pace in episode 2. He asked, “Where are we?” and we all wanted to know too! Whoa! Polar Bears! Skeletons! 4 8 15 16 23 42! Other people! The French transmission! The Hatch! They were all mysteries the series promised to solve, and they hooked us enough to receive the audience’s patience. We thought, “Clearly they know what they’re doing. I bet they have a master plan for all of this! Can’t wait to see how it unfolds.”
Season 2 arrived with a bang. Hatch goes boom. We find Desmond, the drunken Scotsman, whose purpose was to push a button, and whose dream it was to leave the Island. Jack Shephard and John Locke became two halves of Desmond. John wanted to push the button. Jack wanted to leave. Then we learned about the other survivors of 815, and their less-than-successful battle with the infamous Others. We learned that this Island belonged to the Others, and that they wanted the Oceanic folks to leave. Then we found out about the DHARMA Initiative. Who the heck were those people? This threw a wrench into the hole scheme of things. Then Henry Gale/Benjamin Linus showed up and began manipulating us all. We had multiple casualties, the Hatch exploded/imploded and suddenly our heroes were captured. But off in some Icelandic listening post, someone calls up some chick and says they found the Island. WHOA! Now we’re hooked. They’re gonna get rescued!
Oh, but psych. Jack, Kate Austen and James “Sawyer” Ford are still captured in the Others’ camp, which apparently belonged to the DHARMA Initiative folks. But in season 3 we get to learn about the Others, who they are and what they want. We learn that Ben wiped out DHARMA in what was called The Purge, making him the last remaining person who was associated with the organization that we knew of. There is an interesting bit about a runway in this season, which Kate and Sawyer must work on as they are being held captive. But the big kicker is that they finally shut off the French transmission, and, with Charlie’s help and sacrifice, are able to send their own rescue transmission which is heard! They’re gonna get rescued. But then we’re thrown for a loop when we realize that a certain flashback we’ve witnessed was a flashforward, and Jack yells, “We have to go back!”
Intermission: This is the moment, LOST, where you really grab us. You’ve led us to a point of no return…or a point of necessary return! We’ve watched these characters deal with moments completely out of their comfort zone, and now Jack (once a Man of Science) is now a Man of Faith, with a new belief in destiny and fate. Nuts! Season three had the best season finale this show has ever experienced.
But season three was the last of the best. Unfortunately for us, season four was rushed because of the Writers Strike and the episode count was almost split in half. Flashbacks became flashforwards and we learned about the Oceanic 6, the only six characters who were rescued from the Island. We were shown the process of the “rescue,” a freighter full of army men and scientists hired by the über villain, Charles Widmore. It turns out the freighter wasn’t there to rescue the survivors of Oceanic 815…they were there to capture Ben Linus, leader of the Others, dead or alive. The scientists were there to observe and study the properties of the island, a very, very cool subplot that was never finished. The scientist characters, Miles Straum, Daniel Faraday, and Charlotte Lewis, were asking questions that we were asking! Then we learn a little bit about DHARMA’s studies with time travel and the whole show gets even better for a split second. Then…the Island is moved in both space and time. Why? Who knows. I guess we’ll find out next season!
Aaaand, lies! Season five illustrated the time warps but didn’t feel the need to make us understand what was happening to our characters. We never truly find out why anything happened. I have to say, despite my love for this season, this is where my faith began to dwindle. We see the Oceanic 6 return to the Island, but then they get caught in the time warp too and three of them get transported to 1977, DHARMA times. We finally learn some basic stuff about the DHARMA Initiative, except the basic question of “Why were they there?” It bothers the crap out of me that the writers/producers could tell such a good story and then ignore basic storytelling rules and leave so many loose ends. Anyways. The Island stops skipping through time and they’re stuck in ’77. Some of them at least. Daniel Faraday goes to some DHARMA Michigan branch in a submarine and returns only to say that they have to detonate a nuclear bomb in order to return to the current year. Everything will go back to normal. Does this make sense? No. But we go along for the ride, because we KNOW it will make sense.
Psych. The bomb explodes and nothing happens except the death of Juliet Burke, who didn’t even die from the bomb anyway. We are shown something new in season six; not a flashback or a flashforward but a flash-sideways. A whole new narrative. (Polar bears have still not been explained at this point…) In this sideways world, we see the survivors of Oceanic 815 and what would happen if the plane never crashed. Cool! Kind of. Turns out their lives are all boring and happy. Ugh. Anyway, back on the Island, they are indeed back in 2007, but now they have more problems. Notably the smoke monster who has taken the form of the dead John Locke. We learn that this smoke monster thing was the brother of Jacob, the guardian of the Island. This is where, in my opinion, the show nose dives. Mythology has been a huge device for LOST, but they’re moving towards the ridiculous. They introduce us to these locations we’ve never seen before. A lighthouse. The Temple. A cave of light. Jacob’s cave. And then slap us with this semi-interesting story about how the light must be protected, and how the smoke monster can’t leave the Island or else everything we know will be obliterated. And in the end? The sideways world was Purgatory. Jack/Hugo Reyes/Ben all become “protectors” at some point and Vincent the dog is alive. Oh, and then they all die at the end. Seriously.
Sigh. I’ve just realized I’m going to have to split this blog into two parts. Here I’ve explained the summary of the show. In the next blog I’ll describe what the show failed to tell us. We’re now supposed to be under the impression that this was a “character-driven” show and that the mysteries don’t matter. But come ON. This was as much of a character-driven show as Mikhail was the last remaining member of the DHARMA Initiative.
To be continued.