Friday, May 30, 2008

LOST Season Four: The Finale (spoilers)

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Someone said Season Four takes place over 9 DAYS. It's been a busy nine days (though Jack Bauer might disagree).

This season of LOST was all about how the flash-forward at the end of season three could build tension: season four is designed to fill in the blank space between the Jack's long hoped for rescue and a suicidal Jack who cries "we have to go back!" The first half of season four slowly revealed the Oceanic 6 -- every person on the island not in that group was in danger, and some, like Jin, we suspected were in specific trouble. Once the six were revealed the question became "Why these six only" -- something the finale played with by breaking them up so we could wonder how they would end up together (Kate and Sayid with the hostiles, Hurley with Locke and Ben, Sun and the baby on the boat with the bomb, Jack with Sawyer). A lot of the final three hours was people rushing around the island while we waited to see how the six would end up together.

The brilliant thing about the ending of season three was that it was so stunning and satisfying while at the same time keeping all the mysteries in place -- the big reveal was FORMAL instead of something of CONTENT: we feel like we get something big, while the creators still hold all the cards. At the end of season four, we get something very similar, in the reveal that John Locke is the dead man in the coffin seen at the end of season three. Now we have a similar "blank space" between two scenes to fill in during season 5: How did Locke go from taking over as the leader of the hostiles to being dead, with an alias, off-island, at a funeral attended by no one but Jack? Jack telling us he learned from Jacob that "horrible things happened" after the six left fills the same purpose as the six saying everyone else on the plane died. Presumably season five will juxtapose what happened on the island that put Locke in the coffin with the Six figuring out how to return -- with the help of Ben and probably Desmond and Penny and Walt (who was brought in as a red herring for the identity of "Jeremy Bentham").

Then you have to think season six will cover what they have to do after their return to the island, and then begin to answer the big questions about the nature of the island: the time disjunct, the monster, Jacob, that statue, Dharma and so on.

I had hoped for at least one part -- any part -- of that mythology to be revealed at the end of this season, if only to tide me over. I thought surely that the teaser clip of the copied bunny would play out in a more interesting way than the "don't put metal in the microwave" thing that allowed Ben to get to the ice cave. But the episode still had tremendous LOST moments: Ben had some really hilarious facial expressions in the Orchid when he explains that no, the Dharma chamber is obviously not the "magic box" mentioned in season 3, and yes, he is going against the video and putting metal in there; especially good is when he keeps John busy by giving him a video to watch -- that is what you do with little children when you want them quiet. And you have to love the Penny Desmond reunion, which took me by surprise -- although they had to get together sooner than season 6 so he could protect her from Ben's eventual attack. The "rule" that the person who moves the island can't comeback struck me as a little arbitrary, and the push wheel a little simple, but hey, no more arbitrary than anything else in the show, and I do not know what I would have replaced it with. I did enjoy the tie in to Ben's teleporting to Tunisia or wherever. And Sun rising to power and confronting fellow corporate bigwig Widmore was good -- she is clearly going to become the powerhouse for the return to the island next year, which is great character development.

The other thing that was a small let-down here was this was the first time I felt the effects of the strike, which LOST basically recovered well from. Charlotte was surely going to get an episode that would have expanded on the idea that she was born on the island and has been searching for it ever since; maybe we would have gotten a Miles episode as well -- he is a great actor and was underused. Also: I guess LOST really did end up hiring Fischer Stevens and Zoe Bell to do basically nothing. Their parts may have also been cut do to the strike. We know some of this will be folded into season five, but still -- that is not till January.

Overall, I still love LOST. And now, we wait.

Also: did you catch the add for something like (but not) -- that was obviously the start for the LOST summer viral marketing game thing (octagon= Dharma), which I am going to avoid. If you play, please let us know what it is on the blog.


Adam Popovich said...

I think the thing I enjoyed most about the finale is how it drove home just how different the characters have all become post island. They're all essentially genre movie characters, Sayid The Lone Hitman, Ben The International Man of Mystery, Hurley the Ghost Whisperer, etc.

And how cool was the island moving?

Ping33 said...

I think season 5 will have the current time-line be 3 years later with flashbacks back to the intervening 3 years.

James said...

ping: I think it'll be the other way around. I'd be very surprised (but pleased!) if they made the current time-line off-island.

Geoff: How do you know it was Jacob that came to Jack as Bentham? Did he say it was after Locke's death? I missed that.

I loved the quick-cut mayhem of the Sayid vs. Captain Jockstein fight.