Friday, May 30, 2008

And So: The Lost Season Finale

If you need me to issue you a SPOILER warning after that post title, I just can't help you.

I suppose I should start with the obvious: Jeremy Bentham? JEREMY BENTHAM?! I guess I should have seen it coming, and it did turn out to be an alias, but on a show that already has (or had) a Hume, a Rousseau, and a John Locke, "Jeremy Bentham" shouldn't surprise me. I'll now start taking bets as to how many episodes until we encounter a denizen of the island named Descartes.

So, yeah. I understand that this particular season finale didn't deliver a whole lot in the way of surprises; that the structure of this season, with the flash-forwards and such, somewhat turned the finale into a series of chess pieces being moved into place. But for me, half of the charm of this episode was in the ancillary action that took place while these pieces are moved into place:

-- We knew the O6 get off the island, but it was cool to see that Desmond made it off with them, and reunited with Penny, no less.

-- We knew that the island would move and/or disappear, inasmuch as Locke told us outright two weeks ago. But how cool was it to see Ben don his parka and essentially, as Best Week Ever so brilliantly put it, warped the island to World 6 in "Super Mario 3"?

Some of these faits accompli didn't come across so creatively. Jin's long-foretold (and even longer anticipated/feared -- I'd been dreading this shit since the Season 1 finale) demise just kind of happened. Oh, he went down when the freighter exploded, just as it kinda seemed he would at the end of the last episode. Even less inspiring was Sawyer's swan dive out of the helicopter. Once they all boarded the chopper, you knew Sawyer was the odd man out, not being O6 and all. I actually thought of just shoving Sawyer out the side and you'd have your survivors, but then figured the writers would want something more creative than that. ...Uh, guess not. Yeah, yeah, whisper. Blah, blah sacrifice. It boiled down to an "out you go!" moment, and I'm not even encouraged by the idea that it might be an homage to Waylon Smithers.

But I was largely satisfied by the directions of the plot. Funny that this show that was so often harshly criticized for misdirection and not delivering on its promises is now getting slammed (albeit far more mildly) for doing pretty much what they said they'd do. I'm intrigued by this idea of a succession of Island caretakers (Ben to Locke, with a whole host of possibilities for former caretakers before Ben: Abbadon, Alpert, Widmore, Christian Shepard). And I am very much in favor of a Season 5 following the O6's return to the island -- with loyalties and feelings changed -- and (perhaps) flashbacks to what went down in the intervening three years on the island. ...If indeed three years have even passed in Island Time.

As always, however, the plot considerations are fine (and what keep me so riveted), but a major draw continues to be the character moments. Miles's "What do I mean?" to Charlotte. Juliet guzzling Dharma-brand rum. Hurley's chess game with Imaginary Mister Eko. Everything about Ben and Locke together. I am so very sad that it seems that we won't be getting much more of the Locke and Ben Show, as that's been the best thing on the show for the entire season. Ben's "...So?" reaction after hacking the hell out of Keamy's neck was the perfect character beat, even if Locke (and Keamy) really should have seen it coming.

Yunjin Kim, I must say, had a superb episode as well. I love how absolutely wrecked she was at the sight of the freighter exploding, and the way she carried that kind of angry catatonia throughout the episode. She has also now become one of the more intriguing characters for S5, and that seemingly existential statement from before about how she blames one other person besides her father for Jin's death suddenly becomes quite crucial. Jack seems to think it's him, as he tells Ben as much. But Sun's scene with Widmore suggests it's probably Ben -- if Locke-as-Bentham spoke to her like he spoke to everyone else when he returned, he likely told her of Ben's callous murder of Keamy even though he knew it meant destroying the freighter. Though, who knows, maybe it's Widmore whom she blames and she's keeping her enemies closer. Either way, she becomes something of a free agent now, and the prospect of her returning to the island with Jack, Kate, and company is awfully intriguing.

A few randoms:

-- It really did sound like Claire (in Kate's dream) spoke with an American accent. Subconscious ethnocentrism on Kate's part, or does it Mean Something?

-- Beyond the eye-rolling at the "Jeremy Bentham" alias, I thought it was extremely disingenuous that all the survivors were referring to him by his fake name, especially people like Walt and Kate who weren't particularly paranoid about Widmore spies. Speaking of Walt...holy shit. Looks like somebody's been spending his time since he got back from the island with Roger Clemens.

-- I suppose it was a nice scene on the ship between Sun and Michael, but that relationship was eight hundred billion years and three full seasons ago. Doesn't it seem like the stuff that happened in Season 1 was from an entirely different show altogether? The game has changed so significantly since then, calling back to things that haven't been mentioned since then seems entirely out of place.

-- Why didn't Kate just give Baby Aaron over to Desmond and Penny to raise? Honestly, I don't much care to nitpick this show, but this one's been bugging me. Rather than have to make up the incredulous and fairly ridiculous story that Kate gave birth on the island after being demonstrably unpregnant when she boarded the flight, why not just give the kid to the lovey-dovey couple with the millions of dollars (Penny's loaded, right)? I can't imagine Kate was able to work up that much of a motherly bond with ol' Turniphead in the, what, twelve hours he was in her care. And half that time, Sun had the kid anyway.

-- I am increasingly of the belief that Christian Shepard is the key to this whole damn mystery. The idea that Locke will now be returning to the Island in a coffin much like Christian did intrigues me, and it makes me wonder what, if any, history Christian had with the Island. I mean, if he's the avatar of this Jacob character, why him? He's appeared to people who never knew him in his life (Locke, Michael), so it's not just specific to Jack. He's important in his own right.

So what's the deal?



That Bootleg Guy said...

Dynamite wrap-up, Joe. Just a couple of thangs:

1.) One angle that I didn't consider, but that you touched on, is just what "Jeremy" said to Sun when he visited her. Perhaps, he strongly implied that Jin is actually alive on the island or that he can be brought back, if only she returns, etc. Really, other than screwing over her dad, Sun really has no other motivation right now and that sounds like the dickish kind of thing that "New Ben" would say. (He seemed to have a different "hook" for each of the O6 from what little we learned last night.)

2.) Not sure if you have the first couple of seasons on DVD, but give 'em a look: Claire's accent seemed to come and go a LOT back then. And, I'm the type of mouth-breather that never notices stuff like that. At the time, I thought it was too blatant to NOT mean something. Now...not so much.

Tom said...

Re: Aaron. Two possibilities:

1) At the moment, Penny's dad is still the bad guy on the show. She might be forced to explain where she got the baby.

2) I think it might be one of those things where Kate doesn't even know why she's doing, she just feels like she's supposed to.

Joe Reid said...

I agree that's the most plausible explanation, but I figure that, for one thing, it's not like Widmore doesn't know where these people came from, really. Sun all but confirmed that when she confronted him. And with everything Desmond has learned -- or been told -- on the island, there's no reason they wouldn't steer (or sail) well clear of Dad.

But, yes, I agree with your second statement.

JA said...

Yeah, the weird thing about Claire's noncommittal accent is the fact that Emily de Ravin is actually Australian, so she has no cause to slip into an American accent. IT'S CRAZY!

Sun is my hero.

Dear Famous A$$hole said...

I was listening to the official Lost Podcast today from last week (yep, that much of a geek)and Darlton said something interesting: someone had sent in a question regarding the fact that Michael can't die. They also mentioned that it appeared there was something similar going on with Jack (i.e. when he was up on the bridge about to jump, fate intervened) and wondered if there was something bigger going on. JJ admitted that, yes, indeed there is. He said something along the lines of this: the island does not allow people to die, until its "done" with them or until they've done what they've come to do. He also said that this is what's going on btwn Ben and Widmore; i.e. they both know that there is no way to physically kill one another, so that's not even in the equation of how they currently deal with each other. Verrry interesting. This also leaves me with an eensy bit of hope that maybe Jin isn't really dead?

Joe Reid said...

Even weirder, I watched Emelie de Ravin on Roswell back in the day -- her American accent was FOR SHIT! The lady's a riddle wrapped in a conundrum.

Tom said...

it's not like Widmore doesn't know where these people came from,

One difference, I guess, is that as part of the O6 he's famous. It'd be much harder to take him away from Kate in the US after his mug's been on every television in the country vs. if he'd been squirreled away and given to his daughter.