One of the consequences of working at home is that it can turn your standard garden-variety internet addiction into a full-blown compulsion. I’ve had more days than I’d like to admit where I’ve reached the end of the internet — that point when you’ve read every news feed, followed every bookmark, looked at every page of every message board, and are still looking for something, anything to click on, just to avoid having to get back to work.
So it’s my own fault that I dug through a spoiler-fied blog post about “Lost” that led to a comment that led to a link to another spoiler-fied blog post, and then clicked on a big button that said “don’t click on this unless you want the season finale ruined” and then read the result. And so it’s my own fault that when I watched the actual show, I was underwhelmed. I kept noticing how pretty much every single scene in the episode relied on your not knowing what was going to happen.
It was all pretty well constructed and tied into what’s been going on the past few episodes; I can’t imagine how they could’ve done much better. They did follow the “Alias” model for season finales: give screen time to as many characters as you can possibly fit, thin out the cast as much as possible, and chop off as many loose ends as you can get away with. Include explosions where necessary. Then, end on a (seemingly) series-altering cliffhanger.
Everything seemed kind of methodical instead of really exciting, and of course it’s impossible for me to tell whether that’s because I’d already ruined it for myself or if they really were just spending a couple of hours putting out plot fires.
I do reassert my claim that Damon Lindeloff needs to tone down his comments to the press promising great things to come; there’s just no way to live up to the hype. The big twist here didn’t leave me as gobsmacked as I’d been promised. It didn’t when I read the spoiler, and it didn’t when I watched it play out. I mean, it’s fine and all, but I think it would’ve been a lot more impressive had we not heard for the past few months how it was going to be the most mind-blowing thing ever shown on television, remember to wear your Depends and sign a waver absolving the network of liability, no one will be allowed to turn to ABC during the shocking final minutes.
On the upside, it looks like they will be able to fill out three more half-seasons of material. But at the same time, it bugs me that I’m relieved instead of disappointed that they’re only going to be half-seasons. And I can’t shake the feeling that they’ve somehow spoiled the essence of the show, what made it compelling in the first place. (Sorry about that, but it was either “spoiled” or “lost,” and both are equally corny). The only thing they’ve introduced that’s really interested me, is Jacob in the cabin. I’m hoping he’ll stick around to pick up the slack.
And everything after this point goes into more detail, so don’t read unless you’ve reached the end of the internet.
Considering how often while watching this series I’ve fervently wanted Charlie to die, seeing it actually happen was kind of a let-down. They definitely get major points for having him give one last crucial piece of information. And, I suppose, for setting up the obvious for hours and then finally giving the pay-off in a totally unexpected way. (Drowning death via underwater suicide grenade = triple word score). But ultimately, it was the second unnecessary season-ending suicide of the week — the one from “Heroes” being the first — and felt way too set-up. Ultimately, it was just another under-used character getting a sudden redemption and then getting offed — I didn’t much care one way or the other.
The most compelling question they introduced, as far as I’m concerned, is who’s in the coffin. According to this frame-grab of the obituary from TVSquad.com, the dead person’s name was “J___ __antham.” All the J characters that have been introduced so far, we’ve already learned their last names. So it’s either Jacob (the coolest option), a character that we haven’t yet met, somebody using an alias (which would suck), or a prop oversight (unlikely, considering how they know how “Lost” fans obsess over still frames).
As for the whole flash-forward business, that could go in one of three ways:
- They resume next season from where they left off on the island, and all the characters have flash-forwards instead of the usual flashbacks.
- They resume next season from Los Angeles, with the events on the island happening in flashback.
- They keep going with the same format they always have, addressing the flashforward stuff only sporadically, like they do with “That’s So Desmond.”
As much as I’ve been going on about how the show could use a fundamental change to shake things up, I’d vote for option 3. They’ve set a precedent for not sticking too close to their cliffhangers — the big twist from last season’s finale, after all, was seeing the arctic researcher guys contacting Penny, and they didn’t do anything about that until the last couple of episodes this season.
The worst option would be to jump forward to
New Caprica Los Angeles, and show the events on the island in flashback. The island setting is crucial to the show, and spending too much time away from it just makes everything feel weird. (As evidenced by the over-long stay in the suburban-looking Dharma village and the second island).
So I predict they’ll do option 1, and just swap all the flashbacks with stories about what happens to the characters after they get off the island, with the actual getting off the island happening in real time. It’s got potential, I guess, but there’s only so much they can do with that before it sounds gimmicky — keeping items hidden from the camera, keeping people in shadow, having people use lots of vague pronouns instead of names. That stretched out over 13 episodes (or even worse, 39) would get old fast.
Whatever the case, it’ll be January before they pick everything up again. Although I’m sure that in the interim there’ll be plenty of podcasts and internet games promising indescribable awesomeness in upcoming episodes. I suppose they did exactly what they needed with the finale, if my reaction is like other viewers’. I’m intrigued enough that I’m definitely going to watch when it starts up again, but I’m also nonplussed enough that I won’t mind the long wait at all.