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.