Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lost Musings

We're now officially two weeks removed from the "Lost" season finale, "Chuck" has new super-powers, Jack Bauer is probably going to live, and as the NBA Playoffs spin towards the Finals, I am slowly beginning to realize that we're only a couple of weeks off of that horrible stretch of television wasteland known as summer. Never been a baseball guy, and I hate reality television, so I might have to start going outside soon.

But before I give up this season's TV ghost, I have a few observations to pass on about the aforementioned "Lost" finale. After re-watching the finale online and musing over a special "Lost"-themed podcast from's The Sports Guy, I think I can speak with a little perspective on the conclusion to Season Five.

Jacob Revealed

Can't say I was too surprised to see that Jacob turned out to be a real guy, or at least a real humanoid-looking thing with a semi-immortal corporeal form that is nevertheless susceptible to stab wounds and homey campfires. After all, someone said "help me" to Locke when he and Ben dropped by the cabin to say Hi a couple of seasons back. What did surprise me was that Jacob also turned out to be Casey Affleck's older brother the bartender from "Drowning Mona." I haven't been so excited about a casting decision since the Harry Potter folks pegged the Midnight Oil lead singer to play Voldemort.

Smoke and Mirrors

Unless I missed some important detail, or unless the producers are deliberately guiding me down a manipulative trail of heartbreak and falsehoods (very possible), Jacob's bearded nemesis is the Smoke Monster. There are a bunch of little reasons I don't feel like listing here (I really do have a life, people), but the one conclusive bit of proof for me has to be the pictogram in the Smoke Monster's house under the temple, which shows Ole' Smokey squaring off with the Horse-Headed Egyptian Statue-Thing, which turned out to be Jacob's house.

Locked and Unloaded

So John Locke really was dead. That reveal was seriously one of my top-five "Lost" moments. Great stuff. On the downside, Locke just became "Lost"'s ultimate tragic hero, and never really did realize the destiny we all hoped he would. (Well, "we" meaning cool people, not all you haters out there.)

The Incident

Most people I've talked to or listened to seem to be really confused about what is going to happen as a result of Juliet setting off the nuke at the end of the finale. But it seems pretty obvious to me. The whole show has become centered around the whole funkadelic relationship between electromagnetism, time travel, and...well, yeah, that's really about it now. So unless I'm smoking some serious doobage here, the bomb is just going to send Disco's Lost Generation forward in time to meet up with the rest of the survivors. I don't know how it's supposed to do it, but it just seems like the ideal enigmatic plot device to get the whole band back together, and I really can't see a satisfying end to the show that won't do that somehow.

Immortal Eyeliner

Just gotta say, Richard Alpert rocks. Though he seems a little more in the dark than I always thought he was. I always thought he had a more omniscient role on the Island, always being around and all. Kind of thought he was in some different species like Jacob or something. Now it turns out he's more like one of the Three Nephites. But that's cool too.

Go Linus

Also gotta say, the Benjamin Linus character just keeps getting better. I honestly though that the way things were working out, Ben was going to be out of storyline rope, but now his role has just taken a huge leap in importance. At the same time, I'm still kind of confused as to how Ben rose to power in the first place. In some ways, it seems like much of it was a result of the interference of black-shirted/bearded/smoke monster/bad guy, but if Jacob was still giving Alpert directions when Ben was running the show, I wonder why he didn't just blow the whistle right then and say, "Ben's a weasle; go get that Locke fellow...I like the cut of his jib."

The South Pacific Triangle

On the other hand, as The Sports Guy noted, the Jack-Kate-Sawyer love triangle has lost a lot of momentum, at least in terms of being the central conflict of the series. The story is still evolving, and I still think that those three are among the few characters that are basically immune to pre-series-finale deaths, but there have been stretches lately where no one really cared what was going on with Jack and his daddy issues, or Kate and hers. In fact, Sawyer was really the only one of the three to have any kind of cool evolution this past season, and it was a great one. Sports Guy has a tough time accepting the conversion of Sawyer from con-man to loving Dharma-daddy-o, but I don't. To me, Sawyer has always been "Lost"'s own Han Solo: aloof, non-committal, selfish, manipulative, and at times given to do bad things. But all of that anti-social behavior doesn't come from his true nature, it comes because he's fighting it. Deep down, Sawyer is a good guy, and always has been.

Adam and Eve

Someone told me a while back that they thought Rose and Bernard were going to turn out to be the skeletons in the caves that Jack finds back in Season One. I still think this is a good idea. For one thing, the skeletons had the two stones that were black and white. For another, it stays consistent with the idea that the Island's middle-aged lovebirds really aren't all that interested in whatever else is going on around them. So maybe the Nuke Effect won't reach Rose and Bernard, and they'll get to stay in the 70's with all that precious polyester.

Where's Hanzo?

Can't say it's the most important unsolved mystery on the show, or that it's really important at all, but I'm wondering if Alvar Hanzo is ever going to show up in more than a few grainy university office shots in those Dharma instructional films. It's been cool to see Miles' dad play a real-life role-and to find out that he's a big Willie Nelson fan-but I can't help but think that Hanzo has some deeper connection to the whole story.

Death on a Stick

About ten minutes before the finale started, my buddy Jared took a poll to see who was going to bite the big one, since rumors had been flying that at least one or two major characters were going to meet with oblivion. My picks were Miles, Sayid, and Juliet, the rationale being that "Lost" has proven to be willing to kill off characters if they are

A) Peripheral and sympathetic (IE, Charlie, but not Jack, Kate, Sawyer or Locke),

B) Done with their story arcs (see Eko, Michael, Boone and Shannon)

C) Not connected to a hugely sympathetic love story (therefore, Charlie is game, but Jin-Sun and Desmond-Penny and Hugo-VW Bus only get threats)

or D) they are involved in some sort of offscreen drama (see Libby and Anna-Lucia's DUI...though the timing suggests they may have picked up the DUI in the midst of a post-death celebration party).

As it turns out, I was right...kind of. Sayid was bleeding to death while Juliet was busy setting off the bomb at the bottom of the bottomless pit she'd just fallen into and Miles was saving his previously estranged father which represented the close of his daddy issues which would make him expendable as the only person on the entire show that didn't have them anymore.

Yeah, so there you go. Until February 2010, kids.