Wednesday, May 26, 2010

TBG TV: Lost -- "The End"

It was one thing to be completely outclassed by the legions of more talented writers who had write-ups of the Lost finale completed almost as soon as the episode's end-credits were rolling last Sunday night. It was another to watch two bloggers who -- at different times -- have been my colleagues, co-pilots and inspiration completely knock it out of the park. If you haven't read the long-form Lost thoughts of Tom Daniels over at One New York Life and Joe Reid at Low Resolution, you're missing out.

Way to make my "Three Things..." format look like a sack of crap, by comparison. Jerks.

Three Things I Dug:

The Last 15 Minutes: By now, you've heard everyone else's criticism of the series-concluding church scene. It was either "too ambiguous", "not ambiguous enough" or -- my favorite "too sappy". There's a kernel of accuracy in all three points, I guess, but since the whole sequence was essentially an epilogue to the much, MUCH larger story, I felt free to appreciate it on its own (and without the context of the season-long flash-sideways machinations that ostensibly brought the viewers to this point). My real-time reaction, scene-by-scene: Locke forgives Ben (me: clenching jaw, won't allow myself to cry). Ben declines an invitation to join the rest of the cool island kids inside (me: shaking head, won't allow myself to cry). Ben and Hurley exchange contrived "you da man" platitudes (me: "meh"). Deceased Jack hugs his deceased father (me: not quite the emotional monsoon brought on by the Six Feet Under finale, but still a two-fisted shot to my tear ducts).

Dark Locke: Terry O'Quinn's performance this season was simply superb. He could've been played -- and written -- as a two-dimensional homicidal maniac and I doubt viewers would've blinked an eye. Instead, O'Quinn played the character with a burning fuse AND a nuanced, off-kilter code of honor. His threat to kill Rose and Bernard ("I'll make it hurt.") was blissfully cool and unemotional. I loved the look of silent paranoia in his eyes when Ben's walkie-talkie crackled with muffled static. And, the brilliant sadism in stabbing Jack just off the side of the abdomen -- ensuring a slow, painful bleeding out (as TV and movies have taught me over the years) -- was a pitch-perfect d*ck move in line with the character. I'm not gonna lie: I was rooting for him.

They Live: It was nice to see a handful of secondary characters make it off the island alive. Going into the finale, my fear was that the show would take one of two possible directions: (1) kill off everyone or (2) kill off everyone except Jack, Kate, Sawyer and Hurley. I suppose I could nitpick at the season-long underutilization of Miles or Lapidus' continued survival for convenience or Richard's motivation from self-loathing, but all three served a purpose in the endgame. And, in the "damning with faint praise" pantheon of television plot points, there's a window seat waiting for all three.

Three Things I Didn't Dig:

The Dialogue: Admittedly, I've beaten the dialogue point to death over the years. That said, I simply can't ignore groaners like Kate's "I saved one bullet for YOU!" declaration to Dark Locke after she popped one in his heart. And, while I've appreciated this show's wink-wink self-awareness at times, I thought Dark Locke's "You're the obvious choice!" quip in regards to Jack accepting the role of "new Jacob" was a little too cute for its own good.

The Running at Each Other Thing: Loved the Jack v. Dark Locke fight sequence. Hated seeing the two of them running right at each other just before the fight sequence started. It was a cheesy visual and eerily reminiscent of a
popular ad campaign from 15 years ago. That Lost cut to a commercial right before the irresistible force collided with the immovable object only added to the cornball quotient.

A Few Plot Holes for the Road: I'm not a doctor, but I'd think the contents of a tranquilizer dart mixed with whatever number Sideways Charlie was likely to blow into a Sideways Breathalyzer at any given time should've killed him. And, how did the castaways get that big-ass tree off of Ben? And, how was Ben upright and walking -- his sternum seemingly intact -- after that big-ass tree fell on him?

The Verdict: On the one hand, I could quibble with the shove-it-down-my-throat establishment of the mythological components this season (or the series-long elements of unsolved mysteries) that was rendered moot with the overt "it was the CHARACTERS that mattered" theme from the series finale. Instead, I'll offer that Lost was a fun -- sometimes flawed -- ride that ended in a satisfying place for me. Can't ask for more than that.


Joe said...

Did you catch any of the Lost-themed Target commercials, Cam? I liked the one where they showed the smoke monster, and then the smoke detector. The keyboard one was pretty clever too.

I didn't mind the jumping at each other thing, I thought it looked pretty badass, until they cut to commercial. Had they kept the fight going it wouldn't have been as jarring.

So Jack's wounds in the Sideways-verse were a result of Locke's knife. I thought they might be from his appendix being taken out on the island and being banged up when Widmore shelled the island a few weeks ago.

Loved how they flipped Juliet's "It worked" on it's side. Actually I loved all the moments where the characters had sudden realizations of the island time.

I'm happy with the finale. No, we didn't get EVERY question answered. Darlton said they weren't going to be answering everything, nor would I want them to. I prefer to be able to interpret things for myself, rather than them try to shoe-horn 6 years of answers into the finale.

Tom said...

tranquilizer dart mixed with whatever number Sideways Charlie was likely to blow into a Sideways Breathalyzer at any given time should've killed him

I don't know if you can apply logic to purgatory :)

Dudeman said...

I agree about the running to commercial part. Also about the dialogue. But we are dealing with JJ Abrams here. The characters were so interesting and fun I let it go a while ago. I echo your verdict though, I spent the finale in Brooklyn with 4 or 500 or people, enjoying the experience and watching this amazing tribute band Previously On Lost, they write music recapping the episodes.

Joe Reid said...

Sorry if this sounds testier than I mean it to, but: we're not dealing with JJ Abrams here. And haven't been for many, many seasons.

SHough610 said...

I wonder if we would have had more mythology if JJ Abrams had stuck around? I enjoyed the last three seasons of the show but wonder what could have been if he'd been there to balance out Darlton. Anyone know why he left?

I enjoyed the finale, I'm with Joe about things being answered.

Joe said...

I assumed JJ Abrams was occupied with pre-production on the next Star Trek movie, working with the Fringe guys, or setting up his new show "Undercovers."

I am still amazed that a show wrapped up in such mythology was allowed on a major network. Case in point, look at what ABC did to the final seasons of Alias... scaled back the Rambaldi stuff and had more "wrapped up in an hour" plotlines. The fact that the same network who made those decisions greenlit this show for as long as they did is pretty impressive.

I'm just glad the producers received an "end date" from ABC so they could wrap the show up, rather than just keep creating mystery after unsolved mystery like the X Files did.