Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lost: In which I wax lyrical & philosophical, regarding what is meta and redemptive. :P

Having felt pretty let-down by the last episode of Lost, I began watching this week's installment (entitled "Whatever Happened, Happened") with slightly less than my usual enthusiasm. I watched the events of the first few moments quite dispassionately, and was even unstirred by hearing Ben moan when Jin picked him up. I mean, I had figured the kid wouldn't die...

Then, unexpectedly, the episode became amazing. I typed this paragraph as I watched (well, commercial break anyway... verizon ad was on mute): I have no idea how the rest of the show is going to go as of yet, but I can tell you now that I am 100% a fan of this episode. I'm still laughing to myself over the Oceanic Six's discussion about time travel... Lost just went so meta, and I love it. I've seen bloggers mention Back to the Future several times in the last couple weeks, trying to puzzle out the time-travel mysteries, and to hear Hurley wonder if he's about to disappear and then reference the movie himself was awesome. To seal the deal, Miles then tries to explain how all the time-travel might end up fitting together, to which Hurley responds: "That was really confusing." Somewhat petulantly, Miles (/the writers) responds, "Get used to it." Fair enough, lol!

Even more awesome though, was a few minutes later, when Miles himself (/the writers) runs out of ideas and ends with a weak, "Huh. Hadn't thought of that." HAHA! I've got to wonder whether the writers are blog-hopping after each episode, looking for holes they need to try to patch and issues they haven't yet covered... Because I'm pretty sure that whole exchange was inspired by multiple disjointed message board posts and blog questionings.

And the show only got better from there... Moments later, just as I was thinking Thank God they're finally going to tell us what happened to Aaron... Kate proceeded to turn around in the grocery store and find that he had vanished. I promptly freaked out hard-core and started at the yelling at the TV, something that went a bit like this: "HOLY @*#%, she did NOT just LOSE him. Are you freaking KIDDING me??" and continued in that vein, and at quite a high decibel, the whole of the time she darted around the store frantically asking people if they had seen him. I'll admit, I kind of liked the feeling of justified outrage, directed at Kate's apparently sub-par mothering skills, so I was mildly disappointed that it was all for nothing. I had been having a hard time dealing with her lately and couldn't decide why, so I was hoping that discovering Aaron's fate would aid a reconciliation between the two of us...

Five minutes later my feelings towards her were even more jumbled. First she comes across as hugely dysfunctional and self-absorbed while discussing her motives for adopting Aaron with Cassidy, and then she's shown in a whole different light by revealing that she chose to go back to the island primarily to look for Claire. I guess if nothing else we can claim that Lost is accurate in portraying the many layers of human complexity and motivation... after all, in a broken reality most of our decisions are at least partially self-motivated, so I should hardly be surprised that poor screwed-up Kate's is the same.

As for the love-triangle (/octagon), I'm still doing a happy dance at the way the last fifteen minutes of the show answered my Sawyer + Juliet hopes... It was probably a good thing that I'm didn't watch this episode tomorrow online at work, because I would have been bouncing up and down in my chair so hard that my head would have popped up above the edge of my cubical. I'm so proud of Sawyer, and pretty impressed that even in the midst of all those conundrums and secondary characters bouncing around, the writers managed to incorporate some actual character development there. Had a literary character remained absolutely static through five years of happenings and changes, readers would cry foul... why not in a TV show? I think that the fact that the Losties aren't playing out the same old roles and interactions yet again this season is highly laudable (Heroes, please take notes).

I'm so pleased at the way this episode addressed so many of my long-standing itching curiosities (Aaron's whereabouts, an appearance by Richard Alpert, the status of Sawyer and Juliet, the reason for Kate's sudden decision to return to the island after all, indications that Claire will indeed reappear at some point) that my few laments will be voiced very, very faintly. But I have to say that though I absolutely loved Miles' attempt to get us up to speed with the whole time-travel thing, at the same time I also felt like he was acting as a stand-in for Faraday, and that made me a little sad. I still miss Daniel...

And then my big theory.... are Rose and Bernard with the Others at this point? If they were on the island being batted about by the flashes just like Sawyer, Juliet, et al, then they also ended up in the same point in time, right? It would stand to reason then that they must have ended up with the Others... wouldn't it? I was dying to know who would be inside the cave Richard carried Ben into at the last moment -- do you think we'll see whatever happens there, or just be jumped forward through the narrative into a time when Ben is well again? Is Claire with them at any rate, since she was with Christian/Jacob at the end of the 4th season, and we assume that Jacob is connected with the Others all along?

And so, as it turns out, Sayid is indeed the reason why Ben turns into the jaded, manipulative creature we have always seen him as. Wouldn't it be clever if the writers turn the show's title into an oblique reference to "innocence lost," and the show itself as an ongoing attempt to regain that innocence? Can we credit even our more-and-more adept writers with that kind of subtlety and deftness? I still can't tell if they have an underlying subtext for all this, or if they are making up the plot as they go along, perhaps with the help of a six-year-old on crack... but I have more faith in the Lost writers lately then ever before, so I will remain hopeful.

Note: Has any other show in history prompted so much discussion of the writers' intentions? That's not rhetorical, I'm seriously curious, because if so I sure can't think of one...

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5 comments:

  1. I do believe the writers are in tune with all of the blogosphere. We have been crying foul since Kate forbid anyone to speak of Aaron. And the whole convo tonight seemed, well staged for our benefit. Hurly does keep the show down on layman's terms.
    An answer to your question, I really don't think so. I cannot remember ever questioning a writer's motives or discussing that as much as I have with this show, from the very beginning.
    I will say that Richard creeped me out a little with the whole "innocence" comment.

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  2. I had a whirlwind of emotions with this one......eep!!!

    My recap is up! Oh, and mailing out your Pay it Forward package today. :)

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  3. This episode was awesome and complicated and confusing, and I loved it! I was in a way kind of disappointed that Aaron ended up with his grandmother since Kate's not wanting to talk about it EVER AGAIN seemed a little too much for him to just be safe with a relative. Why couldn't she have told Jack she left Aaron with his grandmother? Maybe she felt guilty about leaving him? I don't know, but I think it was the right thing to leave him with his family, especially since she realized she was caring for him out of less-than-pure motives.

    Richard's comment at the end about how if Richard takes Ben, he won't remember what happened and will lose his innocence really confused me. Does that mean he won't remember being shot, or that he won't remember who shot him? If he doesn't remember being shot, there's a chance he wouldn't become the Ben we know as an adult becuase he wouldn't have a reason to be jaded. If he doesn't remember who shot him, he wouldn't know who the Losties were when they crashed on the Island, and I really think he did already know them. Grr, it's just mind-boggling!

    I loved your thoughts, by the way. :)

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  4. I love love love this show. :)

    and you're right, I keep getting Ethan and Miles' names mixed up (I'm an idiot). It's the second time I've done it.

    I am not satisfied with how they're dealing with Aaron. Isn't he supposed to be special? Kate was admonished to be careful, he was special, and SHE was supposed to raise him. There was all this freaky psycho/spiritual stuff about him... and now he seems like a side character that just goes with the plot lines of Claire and Kate. Soo... I'm unsatisfied in that respect.

    A friend just pointed out to me that as for Ben forgetting all of Losties, it actually seems like he will forget them, becuase when the plane crashes, Ben sends his people out to get FOUR of them only - Kate, Jack, Sawyer, and Hurley, right? Those four are in Dharma-ville now, so if Ben goes back to Dharma-ville with the sinister plan to infiltrate and kill them all (as we've seen happen), maybe it's then that he meets all of them?

    Someone suggested that as Ben grows up, he will end up convincing Widmore of the need to turn the donkey wheel on the island, in which case he'd probably be spit out in Tunisia. Richard IS still a major question - is he one of the island's orginal inhabitants, from the black rock? Maybe Richard is from even further in the future then our Losties?

    I do think the writers make SOME things up as they go along - particularly the character dynamics like the love quadrangle. I bet they really are reading the blogs and saying - hey, everyone likes Juliet and Sawyer, we better keep that one going! :)

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  5. Ooooh, I like your theory about Rose and Bernard. It is weird that we haven't seen them yet. I can't wait to find out what happened to everyone else.

    I don't think the writers are making it up as they go along. I just think they are teasing us by showing us that even the people who are stuck time traveling are just as confused as we are. Just when they think they understand, they suddenly can't make sense of it anymore.

    I have been re-watching Season 1 and it's amazing to see how far the characters have come, especially Sawyer!

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So what do you think? Really! Whether you relate, or have encouragement/advice, or disagree completely, I want to hear. :) Comment please... it will make my day!

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