Has the pain of the end of Lost faded yet? (Click here for my thoughts on the finale.) Wanna rub some salt in the wound? Then be sure to check out this video compilation of all the questions Lost left unanswered.
Movie adaptations of Philip K. Dick stories have a pretty terrible track record. But I’m pretty excited about this one. Click here for a trailer for The Adjustment Bureau, starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt (who really should have been the Black Widow in Iron Man 2).
Has Rob Reiner finally made another good movie? Check out this trailer:
I’m intrigued by that sweet trailer. Rob Reiner had one of the great winning streaks of all time when he directed This is Spinal Tap, The Sure Thing, Stand By Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Misery, and A Few Good Men. But with the exception of The American President, it’s been a long, loooong dry spell since then. Here’s hoping that Flipped represents the master’s return to form!
Whee, still more great trailers to see! Here’s the second peek at Scott Pilgrim vs The World (about which I must admit I know very little, but these trailers have hooked me), as well as our first glimpse at Part One of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
CHUD is running a fantastic list of the Worst CGI in History that is sad, funny, and well-worth your time.
See you all back here tomorrow!… [continued]
So that’s it. We’re done. ”The End,” the epic-length two-and-a-half-hour finale of Lost that aired last night, was a magnificent episode. It was pretty much everything that I could ask a series finale to be: both a thrilling, emotional episode on its own as well as a wonderful capstone to the series as a whole.
Too bad it comes at the end of one of the most disastrously terrible seasons of a previously-great show that I can remember.
Spoilers obviously lie ahead for the finale of Lost, gang, so be warned!
The Lost finale reminded me of everything about the show that I used to love. From start to finish, “The End” exuded a narrative confidence that has been sorely missed. A two-and-a-half-hour finale could very easily have been a bloated, indulgent exercise, but I found the episode to be exquisitely paced. Yes, they took their time with the story, but I felt this was worth it in order to give all of the wonderful reunions in the sideways world their due. The writers cashed in every single chip they had in terms of the audience’s investment in these characters, but I thought those moments paid off phenomenally well. It was delightful to see so many of the familiar faces return, and each reunion felt like a powerful emotional payoff to six seasons of storytelling. (But where were Michael and Walt??? More on this later.) And those slow, emotional beats were well-balanced by some terrific, tense sequences on the island. (I thought the take-off sequence aboard Ajira 316 was particularly compelling.)
Yes, the exact nature of the sideways world was left vague, but that is the kind of narrative vagueness that I have no problem with. I don’t exactly understand whether that universe was intended to be a glimpse at what awaits us all after death, or whether it was (as Christian Shephard seemed to hint) something magical that was somehow created by the collective unconscious of all the castways. Either way, I don’t really understand why the characters didn’t immediately remember who they were — why they each had to somehow be “woken up.” But, you know, I don’t really care. J.R.R. Tolkien didn’t precisely explain the nature of the Gray Havens in The Lord of the Rings, and it wasn’t necessary for him to do so. What was important here at the end of Lost was the idea that, somehow, all of our characters got a taste of the happiness they’d all been chasing — and that we, the audience who had invested in those characters, also got to taste that happy ending. That the ending was tinged with the bittersweet — since the show made … [continued]
I entered season six of Lost with enormous enthusiasm. After re-watching the first five seasons on the show, I had gained a newfound respect for the wonderful, overall tapestry of the show, and I was beyond excited to see those myriad story-threads get pulled together over the course of the final season.
That didn’t quite work out the way I had hoped.
A few days late, last night I finally had a chance to watch the series’ antepenultimate episode “Across the Sea.”
I don’t, frankly, really even know where to begin.
But looking back, I’ll remember this as the moment when I gave up my last embers of hope that the show would reach anything resembling a satisfying conclusion.
Instead of dissecting the flaws of the episode, let me direct you to this interview with the two show-runners, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, conducted by the great Alan Sepinwall (who has just started a new blog over at Hitfix.com).
I have been reading and listening to interviews with Mr. Lindelof and Mr. Cuse for years now, and they’ve always struck me as funny, intelligent men who really knew what they were doing in charting this weird, complex show. But now their comments just make me sad.
There are two exchanges that are really worth noting. Here’s the first:
As we’ve gone into this final season and you’ve introduced new characters like Dogen and Lennon and the other Temple people, and new mysteries, there have been some people who’ve said, “Okay, they don’t have to answer all the old mysteries if they don’t want to, but it’s not fair for them to keep introducing lots of new ones at this late date.” How do you respond to that?
DL: Are there any readers who actually like the show?
Many readers like the show. I like the show. But these questions are out there.
CC: We feel that we as storytellers, basically can only approach the storytelling the way that we do, which is it felt like there was no way that we could just be answering existing questions without the show feeling didactic. There would have been no larger narrative motor. For the show to devolve into running through a checklist of answers, we would have been, honestly, crucified for that version of the show. It’s ironic that the episode that’s generating so much controversy is one in which we answered questions, but it’s not surprising to us. Between what the audience thinks they want and what they will find entertaining – we have tried ot make the show in a way that people would find it entertaining, moving engaging. To do that required having new … [continued]
I received a lot of response to my post last week in which I discussed my disappointment so far with Lost‘s sixth and final season. Some people vehemently disagreed with my assessment, while others were pleased that I had come around to their way of thinking.
Here’s my more specific episode-by-episode run-down of the season so far:
6.1/2 — “LA X” – A strong start to the final season! All the stuff on the plane was a lot of fun. Here in this initial installment there was nothing but promise to the alternate-universe story, and I was intrigued to see where that half of the story is going. (Sadly, after ten episodes, it seems to be going nowhere…) Glad to see that Boone is still a numbskull in any universe, and I was pleased to see Jack again desperate for a pen to help with a medical procedure. The dude should just start carrying a couple in his pocket at all times.
I was also pleased to see several mysteries get addressed right up front, such as the Locke/smokey revelation (which I called before the show aired, thank you very much, no applause, just throw money). I was also intrigued by the Other Others inside the Temple, particularly the Dennis-Hopper-in-Apocalypse Now translater dude. Is the asian Other Other related in some way to the enigmatic Alvar Hanso? I would love to learn that Hanso had once spent time on the island, the way Charles Widmore did. (Sadly, we have so far gotten little-to-none of the backstory of this Temple-dwelling group of Others. One more unanswered mystery to add to my list…)
Why did all the time-jumping castaways on the island stay in the positions/locations they were in at the end of last season when Jack dropped the bomb, except for Kate who was suddenly up in a tree?
6.3 — “What Kate Does” — After a strong start with the premiere, season 6 took a big nose-dive in this, one of the worst episodes of the entire series. Aside from the title, which was a clever play on the title of the season 2 episode “What Kate Did,” there was nothing of interest happening here. The Claire/Kate stuff, which was supposed to be the dramatic centerpiece of the episode, was absolutely ridiculous. I guess we’re supposed to understand that there’s some sort of connection between the two women, even in this alternate timeline, and that’s why Claire trusted Kate. But it didn’t really work for me. Plus, why weren’t there a thousand police cars following Kate out of the airport?? Why didn’t Claire call the police after getting out of the cab, rather than just waiting … [continued]
I’ve been a fan of Lost since the beginning, and I have always been confident that the writers had a plan for the show, and that much of what seemed bizarre or unexplained at the time in the early seasons would ultimately be explained. Even in the somewhat uncertain 2nd & 3rd seasons, I remained a “man of faith” (to borrow a common phrase from the show). With the absolutely spectacular 4th & 5th seasons, I felt that my faith had been rewarded, and I entered the sixth (and final) season of the show with enormous enthusiasm.
Well, my friends, my faith is now wavering, and wavering big-time.
It seems to me that, so far, season six has been by far the most mediocre season of the show so far. The problems are myriad. The alternate-universe storyline, which seemed so intriguing in the season premiere, has started to feel more and more like a time-waster to me. This is exacerbated by my frustration that the storyline on the island has been moving so slowly. Of my enormous list of the show’s unanswered questions, what have we learned so far this season? We now know the nature of the undead Locke/smoke monster/MIB, and we know Richard Alpert’s story. Is there anything else that has been definitively answered for us?
This is extraordinarily disappointing, and it has caused me to begin to resent the time spent, each week, on the alternate-universe stories. It seems to me that that is valuable episode-time that could be better spent paying off some of the many story-lines that the show has built up over its first five years.
As episode after episode ticks by, my hope that my many questions will be answered begins to fade, and this is really starting to honk me off. And as the burden of these unanswered questions grows from week to week, the same thing is happening to me that happened as I watched the final run of Battlestar Galactica episodes — my growing frustration is impacting my enjoyment of episodes that, in previous years, I would have quite enjoyed — such as last week’s Richard Alpert installment. Yes, it was phenomenal to see Richard finally get the spotlight! But did that episode really tell us anything that attentive viewers hadn’t already guessed? Had that episode aired during the 4th season I would have called it brilliant. At this point in the final season, though, I’m just left scratching my head about issues like Jacob’s motivations. (Why does his long-held commitment to non-involvement suddenly switch to his being willing to guide, through Richard, all the people he brings to the island?) And if the wine-in-a-bottle metaphor is all the … [continued]
Here we go — my final post giving you my thoughts on my Great Lost Rewatch Project! Yesterday I began my analysis of season 5. Let’s continue, shall we?
“What lies in the shadow of the statue?”
5.2 “Jughead” — We open with Penny giving birth to her son with Desmond, who we learn at the end of the episode is named Charlie. Nice. Three years later, we follow Desmond’s efforts to find Daniel Faraday’s mother, Eloise, and we learn more about Daniel’s time-travel experiments that eventually got him thrown out of Oxford and that apparently left his former girlfriend in a vegetative state. Back on the island, we see that our castaways have time-traveled back to the 1950’s. There we meet a young Eloise Hawking and Charles Widmore, and discover that the U.S. Army had been using the island as a site for the testing of nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, Locke meets Richard Alpert, and since this Alpert of the ’50s doesn’t know him yet, Locke tells Richard the exact date and place of his birth which will happen in 2 years. Locke suggests that Richard come see him – thus explaining Richard’s interest in Locke throughout his youth that we learned of last season in “Cabin Fever.” This is a dazzlingly dense episode, filled to the brim with dramatic revelations and fascinating connections.
5.6 “316″ — This episode declares its awesomeness right from the opening seconds — a phenomenal re-creation of the opening scene in the pilot. Jack again wakes up alone in the jungle – but this time it’s after the crash of Ajira flight 316. He’s back. In flashback, we see how this all went down. The episode is filled with amazing moments, from Hurley’s attempt to buy up all the empty seats on the plane to Lapidus’ perfectly-delivered comment of resignation (see the title of yesterday’s post) when he sees the Oceanic 6 on board. You gotta feel for the guy!!
5.8 “LaFleur” – After Locke disappears down the well, Sawyer & co. see the enormous statue (of which we saw a four-toed fragment back in season 2’s finale and hadn’t been seen nor mentioned since). Guess they’re pretty far in the past. Then they flash again, more violently this time – and seem to settle in one time period. It seems Locke has succeeded in his efforts to stop the time-jumping. For the rest of the episode, we cut back and forth between the next few days in 1974 and 3 years later, in 1977, at which point Sawyer and co. are completely ensconsced in the Dharma Initiative. It’s a lot of fun to see how Sawyer, Juliet, and … [continued]
It’s time to begin wrapping up my post-game assessment of my Great Lost Rewatch Project by beginning my thoughts on season 5! Click here for my thoughts on season 1, season 2, season 3, and season 4. As always, folks, MAJOR SPOILERS lie ahead, so beware.
“OK, so what? We’re gonna go back and kill Hitler?” ”Don’t be absurd. There are rules. Rules that can’t be broken.”
Coming after the magnificent season 4, my favorite season of the show since the first year, I wasn’t sure if season 5 would be able to maintain that high level of quality and narrative momentum. But I shouldn’t have doubted. Season 5 is another home-run, one that deepens our understanding of the show’s characters and of the larger backstory of the island.
Here in season 5, Lost fully embraces the sci-fi aspects that have often been a peripheral element of the show, as the writers dove into a complex time-travel storyline to begin the season. Lost has played tentatively with time-travel before, most notably in the two Desmond episodes “Flashes Before Your Eyes” (click here for my detailed thoughts on that critical episode) and “The Constant.” Those episodes had allowed us to begin to get some sense of the “rules” of time-travel in the Lost universe. This isn’t Back to the Future type time-travel, where one could alter the past and thus change the future. Here in the world of Lost, it seems that “whatever happened, happened” — that making major changes to the timeline are impossible. (Season 6 will tell us definitively, one hopes, whether that is indeed the case.)
After Ben moved the island in the season 4 finale, something goes wrong and our castaways find themselves unstuck in time, jumping around into the past and the future. Over the course of these jumps, much of the secret history of the island and its inhabitants is peeled back for us to examine. We travel back to the ’50s, meeting a young Eloise Hawking and Charles Widmore (I LOVE the revelation that he was once an Other!) and learning of the US Army’s use of the island as a test site for nuclear weapons. We learn the reason for Richard Alpert’s interest in a young John Locke (see in last season’s “Cabin Fever”). We see what befell Rousseau and her team. We see how Ben came to raise Alex. And we learn a LOT more about the Dharma Initiative.
The time-jumping storyline is great fun, but things get even more fascinating once Locke turns the frozen donkey wheel himself. The castaways (Sawyer, Juliet, Miles, and Daniel) wind up back in 1977, and become members of … [continued]
I have an extensive series of posts, that will be running over the course of the next month, in which I write about my revisitation of Arthur C. Clarke’s four-novel Odyssey series which began in 1968 with 2001: A Space Odyssey — as well as the two film adaptations (of 2001 and 2010). On Wednesday of this past week, literally moments after I had typed the final words of my review of Mr. Clark’s fourth and final Odyssey novel, 3001: The Final Odyssey, I read the sad news that Mr. Clarke had passed away at the age of 90. What sad news. This detailed obituary from the New York Times is worth a look. Mr. Clarke was a giant in the world of science fiction, and he will be sorely missed by all of his fans world-wide, including this one.
Some big trailers have hit the web recently. Check out this terrific new trailer for Iron Man 2, as well as this intriguing glimpse at the I-can’t-believe-this-actually-got-made sequel to Tron. How great is Bruce Boxleitner in that trailer? How about that glimpse of (newly-minted Oscar winner) Jeff Bridges? Both films look fantastic, and I fervently hope they both can deliver.
Speaking of Jeff Bridges, I wanted to direct your attention to this great recent piece from aintitcoolnews.com, in which Jeff Dowd, the inspiration for “the Dude” in The Big Lebowski, waxes poetic about Mr. Bridges.
And speaking of films I hope will deliver, here’s a sneak peek at Robert Rodriguez and Nimrod Antal’s upcoming movie Predators. Is it possible that we might finally be getting a truly kick-ass Predator film that can hold its own with the Arnold Schwarzenegger original? I am beginning to hope… (At the very least, they have settled on a phenomenal title, one that echoes James Cameron’s Aliens, the sequel to Ridley Scott’s film Alien.)
“She’s not my daughter. I stole her as a baby from an insane woman. She’s a pawn, nothing more. She means nothing to me.”
“Is he talking about what I think he’s talking about?” ”If you mean time-traveling bunnies, then yes.”
4.2 “Confirmed Dead” – A great episode that begins to introduce us to the “Freighter-Folk” and raises a whole heck of a lot of new mysteries. We see Daniel Faraday watching the discovery of the Oceanic 815 wreckage and crying. We see Charlotte investigating an archaeological dig in Tunisia, where the skeleton of a polar bear (with a Dharma collar!) has mysteriously been found in the middle of the desert. We learn of Mile’s ability to communicate with the dead. We see Laipdus, who was also watching footage of the Oceanic 815 recovery, at which point he becomes convinced that the bodies are not actually those of the survivors, and we learn that he was supposed to have been the pilot of 815 that day. We see Naomi being recruited by the mysterious Abbadon.
4.5 “The Constant” – A phenomenal episode, without question one of the very best of the series. Leaving the island, Lapidus is forced by a storm to shift slightly off the precise bearing that Daniel gave him. As a result, Desmond’s mind is somehow thrown back in time and exchanged with that of his younger self, still serving as a soldier in the Scotts Royal Regiment. Over the course of this mind-bending hour, we are given an enormous amount of information about Daniel Faraday’s time-traveling experiments (information that will prove critical to our understanding of season 5). We also see, in an intriguing scene, Charles Widmore at an auction, bidding on the first mate’s log from the Black Rock (the ship we know is beached on the island), which we learn had formerly been in the possession of Tovar Hanso (an apparent ancestor of the founder of the Dharma Initiative). Suddenly we are forced to reconsider Mr. Widmore — he’s not just Desmond’s troublesome potential father-in-law, he’s a man with some sort of connection to the island. But, of course, none of this fascinating back-story would matter at all if not for the episode’s emotional center: the star-crossed love story of Desmond and Penny. Their tearful reunion, when Desmond calls her from the freighter’s radio room after having obtained her phone number in the past, is wonderfully powerful stuff, and a highlight of the season (and the series).
4.9 – The Shape of Things to Come – In one of my … [continued]
“Rescuing you and your people… I can’t really say it’s our primary objective.”
There were times, watching seasons 2 and 3 of Lost when they originally aired, when I must admit that my faith in the show wavered. There were so many mysteries raised but not answered, and after the terrific first season there seemed to be many times when the show was spinning in circles, narratively. But season 4 firmly established Lost, in my mind, as one of the greatest TV series of our time, as opposed to a show that started off brilliantly but then slowly settled into mediocrity (cough 24 cough).
The writers brilliantly reinvigorated the show by abandoning their signature story-telling device, the use of flashbacks. Instead they began presenting us with tantalizing flash-FORWARDS that hinted at what would befall to our castaways in the time between the on-island events of 2004 and what we glimpsed of 2007, when we met the desperate, suicidal off-island Jack in the season 3 finale. That finale set up all sorts of questions: How did the castaways get off the island? Why did only SOME of the castaways leave? What happened to everyone else — were they dead, or did they decide to stay for some reason? What happened to Jack (and the other Oceanic Six) in their three years off the island? What drove Jack to become the destroyed, shell of a man that we saw in the season 3 finale? Whose body was in that coffin??
One of the great strengths of season 4 is that way that, in decidedy un-Lost fashion, every one of those above questions were answered by the end of the season. Season 4 feels like the most complete of all the seasons of Lost, with a distinct beginning, middle, and end, and in which all of the major questions raised at the beginning of the season (well, really by the finale of season 3) were answered by the end of the season. That all this was accomplished despite the fact that the season was truncated due to the lengthy writers strike is quite astounding. (Season 4 was scheduled to be 16 episodes long — much shorter than the 24 episodes-per-season that seasons 1-3 were — but it was shortened to only 13 episodes because of the strike.) In many ways, I suspect the shortened length of the season turned into one of its greatest strengths. There’s no flab in season 4 — with only 13 … [continued]
“This is future crap, isn’t it?”
3.7 “Not in Portland” – Juliet gets a terrifically juicy flashback as we see her performing secret (and somehow unethical?) research on her sister, who Juliet is able to help get pregnant despite her being stricken with cancer. Richard Alpert makes his first appearance as a well-dressed representative of Mittelos Bioscience who tries, repeatedly, to recruit Juliet to come work for him in Portland. We see a few glimpses of Ethan, who has apparently been hanging around Juliet’s place of work, and who is perhaps the one who brought her to Richard’s attention. We see Juliet frustratedly confess to Richard that she can’t work for him because her ex-husband (and boss) would never allow her to take her research elsewhere, and she hysterically wishes that he’d get hit by a bus. Which he does. At which point Alpert tries again to convince Juliet to come work for him, admitting that they don’t really have offices in Portland…
3.8 “Flashes Before Your Eyes” — Click here for my detailed thoughts on this bombshell episode!
3.10 “Tricia Tanaka is Dead” – Oh my goodness do I have great and powerful love for this episode. Hurley finds an overturned, rusted old Dharma van. Convinced that the gang needs a win, he sets out to repair it, with some help from Charlie, Jin, and Sawyer. And repair it they do. In flashback, we meet Hurley’s dad, played by Cheech Martin. He apparently left Hurley’s mom when the kid was about 10, but she doesn’t seem all that sore about it, as she welcomes him back into her life after Hurley wins the lottery. I guess he’s a jerk for ditching them all those years ago, but he seems like a good-hearted fellow who is genuinely concerned with the depressive spiral that Hurley has fallen into because of the curse he feels is upon him. We see good evidence for that curse early in the episode, when an unfortunate reporter, the titular Tricia Tanaka, perishes when an asteroid (or meteor?) smashes into the Mr. Cluck’s that Hurley purchased. D’oh! There are so many great moments in this episode. All the silliness with the head of Roger, Workman (who, in a terrific turn, we later learn is none other than Ben’s dad, Roger Linus). Jin and Sawyer drunk on decades-old Dharma beer, and Sawyer teaching him the English phrases he’ll need to keep a woman happy. Hurley looking death in the face. Fantastic.
3.14 “Expose” – Oh … [continued]
“The man from Tallahassee? What is that, some kind of code?” ”No, John, unfortunately we don’t have a code for ‘there’s a man in my closet with a gun to my daughter’s head’. Although we obviously should.”
Whereas season 2 broadened the canvass of Lost to include the characters of the Tailies and their stories, season 3 expands the focus even further to begin shedding light on the heretofore enigmatic figures of the Others.
In many ways, season 3 represents a mid-series turning point for Lost. Towards the end of the original airing of this season, it was announced that the show’s producers had come to an agreement with the network on an end-date for the show. I don’t think I’m exaggerating to say that this announcement (quite unprecedented for a successful network TV series), literally saved the series. There were points in season 2 that felt like treading water, and I got that same sensation more than once in the early going of season 3. But the announcement that the series had a definite end date restored narrative thrust and energy to the show, and allowed the writers to begin parcelling out answers to long-held questions and moving forward on the storylines and plot-twists that they had intended for the end-game of the show.
“Pushing that button is the only truly great thing that you will ever do.”
Season 3 began with a “pod” of six episodes. When watching these episodes originally I found them to be excruciating, as all sorts of weird things seemed to be happening with no explanation whatsoever. At this point in the run of the show I was long-since ready for some answers, and I had hoped that this batch of episodes — in which Jack, Kate and Sawyer found themselves held captive by the Others and so we were at last taken inside the Others’ community — would give us some insight into just what the heck had been going on for the first two years of the show, but that was not to be. To say that this was frustrating would be putting it mildly. In addition, over the course of these 6 episodes we continued to have to suffer through watching our beloved characters treated incredibly cruelly (something that I mentioned that I found bothersome during season 2 as well), abused mentally and physically by the Others. This is tough to watch, and as I commented in my write-up of season 2, the Others’ continued … [continued]
“Boy when you say beginning, you mean beginning.”
2.3 “Orientation” — What a wonderfully bizarre and perplexing episode. While the opening courts my annoyance by showing us (for the THIRD time!) the held-at-gunpoint scene between Jack, Locke, and Desmond, we finally get some tantalizing new pieces of the story of the hatch and the larger back-story of the show. We get to watch our first Dharma video (the Swan Station Orientation video) which is a tour-de-force of hints and questions. We learn that the Swan is only one of several Dharma stations on the island. We learn that the Dharma Iniviative was funded by Danish Indistrialist Alvar Hanso. We see the model of the swan station that we’ll see Radzinsky building in season 5. We hear about “an incident” that lead to the button-pushing being necessary. Awesome.
2.7 “The Other 48 Days” — A genius episode, in which we follow the Tailies from the crash of the plane right up through Ana Lucia’s shooting of Shannon. We get lots of information on what happened to this group of survivors (who had it a lot tougher than our castaways), who they are and what makes them tick, and also some intriguing hints about the mysteries of the island and the Others. (I love that they find an old-style army knife on the body of one of the two Others killed by Mr. Eko. A souvenir of the army team supervising Jughead, I presume?) I also love that we learn that Bernard was on the other side of Boone’s radio call from the Nigerian plane. Didn’t see that one coming!
2.10 “The 23rd Psalm” – I love this episode. It blows my mind. Eko gets a flashback and we discover how he used to be a violent mercenary, and it was his brother who was a priest. Eko gets his brother killed and, when he’s then mistaken for a priest, steps into that role. We learn that the plane carrying drugs in Virgin Mary statues that crashed on the island was actually sent by Eko (though his intention wasn’t for the plan to crash on any mysterious island, of course!!), and his brother’s dead body is aboard. Crazy. In this episode we also get our first full glimpse of the monster, and see it’s black-smoke-like nature. Eko stares it down, and as he does the camera passes tantalizingly THROUGH the monster, thus giving a work-out to the pause button on DVDs world-wide.
“This is not your island. This is OUR island.”
There’s a whole heck of a lot to enjoy in season 2 of Lost. I had a great time revisiting this season during my rewatch project, but I strongly remember how tough this season was to watch, at times, when I first saw it week-to-week on TV. There are a number of reasons for this, I think.
Season 2 of Lost goes to some dark places. Many of the characters find themselves regressing and forced to continue struggling with the demons that we might have thought they’d conquered in season 1. This is realistic storytelling, in which one’s issues can’t necessarily be put to bed so easily, but it also lent season 2 a feeling that we were treading water, narratively.
The same held true for the flashbacks. This innovative storytelling device (that is so easy, looking back now, to take for granted), is a big part of what gave season 1 its narrative power. But in many of the season 2 flashbacks, I didn’t feel that we learned much new about our castaways. (For example, what did we learn in “Adrift” about Michael and his wife that we hadn’t already learned in “Special” from season 1? What did we learn in “Everybody Hates Hugo” about Hurley that we hadn’t already learned in “Numbers” from season 1?)
Also, in this season the writers expanded on the fractured story-telling style they had played with at times during season 1, in which often they would only give us one piece of what was happening, making us wait to get the rest of the pieces until later episodes. This is in evidence right from the start of the season, in which, for instance, in each of the first 3 episodes we get a different character’s perspective on what happened down in the hatch after Locke and the gang went down. Re-watching the show now on DVD, this splitting up of the narrative makes a certain amount of sense, as it enables each episode to have a focus, as opposed to feeling the need to jam updates on every single character into every single episode. However, I clearly remember watching these episodes when they aired weekly on TV, and this storytelling style was TORTUROUS. I was desperate throughout the season premiere, “Man of Science, Man of Faith,” to learn what happened to the folks on the raft, and I was desperate throughout the second episode, “Adrift” (and, frankly, throughout the entire rest of the season) to learn more about just … [continued]
Yesterday I gave my over-all impressions on Season 1 of Lost. Today I’m going to get a bit more specific about some of my favorite and least favorite episodes and moments of the season!
“There’s a fine line between faith and denial. And it’s much better on my side.”
1.3 ”Walkabout” — Our first spotlight on John Locke. The ending, in which we learn the truth about his “condition,” still packs an emotional wallop even knowing what’s coming (and totally blew me away the first time I saw it).
1.14 ”Special” – Michael and Walt get their flashback and it is HEARTBREAKING. It’s one of the strongest, most poignant flashbacks the show ever did, in my mind. Poor Michael gets screwed over by the cold, cold Susan (Walt’s mom) who leaves him, taking Walt and moving out of the country and eventually shacking up with her boss. Contrary to what we had assumed so far, we learn that Michael desperately wanted to be a part of Walt’s life but that Susan shut him out, going to the point of not even giving young Walt all the letters that Michael wrote him over the years. Then there’s the scene in which Charlie wrestles with himself over whether or not to read Claire’s diary — this is comic gold, and a terrific example of what a brilliant performer Dominic Monaghan is.
1.18 — “Numbers” – At last, a Hurley flashback!! And it rocks. If the purpose of the flashbacks is for us to learn things about the castaways that we wouldn’t otherwise expect, and to set the stories on the island in a dramatically different light, then this episode succeeds in spades. The whole scene in the insane asylum (when Hurley goes to visit the fellow, Lenny, who gave him the numbers) plays a whole lot differently now that we know that Hurley was an inmate there. (That also explains Hurley’s angry reaction here when Charlie tells him that he’s acting like a lunatic.) It’s great to see Hurley succeed in finding Rousseau (and getting her to give them a battery to use for a radio in Michael’s raft) despite everyone’s disbelief that he could do so. Hurley can charm anyone!!
1.23 “Exodus” Part I – A terrific, terrific episode. Through a series of flashbacks we get intriguing glimpses of each of the castaways (including Boone, back for this episode!) in the hours before Oceanic flight 815 launched. We also meet Ana Lucia (who will be such a key character in season 2) for the first time! (It was very clever of the writers to introduce her here, at the end of season 1.) There are a ton of … [continued]
As I’ve mentioned in my recent posts about Lost (my discussion of the implications of Desmond’s time-traveling in the season 3′s “Flashes Before Your Eyes” and my voluminous list of the burning unanswered questions still hanging at the end of season 5), my wife & I have been engaged for several months now in a massive (and massively entertaining) project of re-watching the entire series in preparation for the beginning of the show’s final year. (I am pleased to say that we just made it in under the wire, finishing the season 5 finale mere hours before the airing of the season 6 premiere!!) Over the coming weeks I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the series, in a season-by-season run-down.
As with all of my Lost posts, these articles will be replete with spoilers — there’s just no way to discuss the series without mentioning some of its plot twists — so anyone who hasn’t seen the show should read on at their own peril.
OK, here we go!
“Guys… Where are we?”
It’s extraordinarily impressive to me just how well the show’s pilot and early episodes fit with the show today. Those early installments all “feel” like true Lost episodes, unlike many shows whose first season episodes bear little resemblance to what their shows ultimately became. The biggest difference, of course, is the amount of time spent with characters who are no longer around: Michael, Walt, Charlie, Boone, Shannon, Claire (though hopefully she’ll be back in season 6!). Also surprising is just how little screen time John Locke has in the pilot – though his “do you want to know a secret” line to Walt remains a powerful and mysterious introduction to that compelling fellow. I am also impressed how nothing that we’ve learned about any of the characters in the subsequent seasons makes anything in the pilot not work (because the writers hadn’t figured out “x” aspect of any character’s back-story yet). Rather, the iconic character traits of many of the castaways are established right from the beginning — Jack’s desire to always fix things, Kate’s instinct to run away, Locke’s mantra of “don’t tell me what I can’t do,” etc.
It is interesting, though to see how far John Locke has strayed from the person he was when he first crashed on the island. I really like the Locke that we see in the first half of season 1 — I miss him! This Locke has great moral certainty, he’s very helpful (keeping his cool when Charlie stumbles onto the hornets’ nest; trapping, killing, and cooking boar for everyone to eat) and I find myself agreeing with him a LOT in these early episodes. (The … [continued]
Lots of great Lost analysis out there. Click here for EW‘s Jeff Jensen’s in-depth write-up of the season 6 premiere. I’m a big fan of “Doc” Jensen’s weekly Lost write-ups — they’re always insightful and ridiculously detailed. Click here for Mr. Jensen’s interview with Lost masterminds Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindeloff, and click here for collider.com‘s interview with Mr. Lindeloff. Both contain some tasty morsels of hints about what awaits us in season 6. (And here’s a great interview with Mr. Jensen himself in which he discusses Lost‘s final season.) On a less serious note, check out this very funny (and also super-detailed) review of the season 6 premiere from bestweekever.tv. (The graphic of Jacob’s note to the Temple-Others is phenomenal.) Lastly, this review of the premiere from chud.com is worth your time. This dude has a Lost re-watch blog that I often checked out while conducting my own Lost re-watch project. I hope you all enjoyed my extraordinarily lengthy list of the burning questions left hanging after Lost‘s first five seasons. Can’t wait for tonight’s episode!
Click here for a terrific interview with comedian Patton Oswalt. Click here for the Onion A.V. Club‘s interview with Aziz Ansari. Both are great conversations with two very smart and funny individuals.
Speaking of interviews, for anyone out there who loved A Serious Man as much as I did (read my review here), you MUST read this phenomenal interview with Fred Melamed. Mr. Melamed is the actor who portrayed Sy Ableman, one of the my favorite new characters that I saw created on screen in 2009. The interview is a hoot, particularly when Mr. Melamed declares his effort to “bring the pompous, Jewish, overweight, rabbinic figure back to the center of American sexuality.”
Bill Waterson, the amazingly talented creator of Calvin & Hobbes, is well-known for having pretty much disappeared from planet Earth following the end of his beloved comic strip. He hasn’t granted interviews, he hasn’t appeared at conventions or other gatherings of comic strip artists, and he hasn’t allowed any licensing of his characters. So die-hard Calvin & Hobbes fans like myself took notice when he agreed to an e-mail conversation with a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Click here for the question-and-answer exchange!
This is very disturbing. Back to the Future Part III is officially ruined for me forever.
That’s all for today!… [continued]
Yesterday I began listing a variety of burning questions that I’d really like to see answered in Lost‘s sixth and final season (which begins tonight!). Here are several more:
What is Walt’s special destiny and what are his special abilities? In “All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues,” Walt tells Hurley: “My Dad said I was the luckiest person he ever knew.” In “Special,” we see Walt apparently summoning or creating an obscure bird just by thinking about it, and then his stepfather Brian insists that Michael raise Walt after his mother’s death because “he’s different.” (Brian almost seems frightened of Walt.) We also see Walt demonstrating incredible skills with a knife, and then telling Locke “I actually saw it, like in my mind or something” (as if he were a Jedi Knight) to explain how he threw the blade so accurately. In season 2′s “The Hunting Party,” Tom Friendly calls Walt “a very special boy.” In season 5′s “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham,” Walt tells Locke that he’s not surprised to see him because he dreamed that Locke would come visit him. So what is it about Walt that makes him special? Does he really have supernatural abilities? Why did the Others kidnap Walt (in the season 1 finale, “Exodus”)? How did Walt communicate with Michael through the computer in the hatch (in “What Kate Did”)? (Or was that Walt at all? In season 3′s “Expose,” Paulo overhears Ben talking to Juliet about how he plans on using Michael to bring Jack to them. Since we know that the computers in the Dharma stations are connected to one another, does this imply that it was Ben on the computer, pretending to be Walt??) What of the other times that characters on the show have seen visions of Walt, such as Shannon before her death (in season 2′s “Abandoned”), and Locke after being shot by Ben (in season 4′s finale, “Through the Looking Glass”)? Was Walt responsible for those visions, or were they sent by the island (or Jacob, or the M.I.B., or the smoke monster, etc…)?
What is Aaron’s special destiny? What is the danger surrounding Aaron that the psychic warned Claire about in “Raised by Another”? What dangerous event would happen if Aaron were raised by someone other than Claire? Is this why Jack is later warned (by Hurley, speaking on behalf of the ghost of Charlie in season 4′s “Something Nice Back Home”) that he is not supposed to raise Aaron? How does this connect to Kate’s raising Aaron for the three years that she spent off the island in season 4? Why isn’t that a problem? Why does Claire warn Kate (in Kate’s … [continued]
Since early October, my wife and I have been engaged in our Great Lost Re-Watch Project! We started with the pilot episode, and have been slowly re-watching the entire run of Lost, all five seasons. With the exception of the first handful of episodes, I had only seen most episodes of the show one time. For a show as complex and inter-connected as Lost, that seemed crazy! To prepare ourselves for the sixth and final season of the show, Steph and I thought it would be a fun idea to revisit the show from the very beginning.
Boy, has it been a blast!! We have thoroughly enjoyed our trip back through Lost. I’ll have lots more to say about the first five seasons of Lost in the coming weeks, but for now (in anticipation of tomorrow’s season 6 premiere) I thought I’d list the burning mysteries of Lost that are really weighing on me. Lost is a show whose cup runneth over with mysteries. In re-watching the show, it became clear that practically every episode of the series raised fascinating questions, an enormous number of which remain unanswered. I certainly recognize that there is no way that the final season is going to answer each and every hanging question, nor would I expect it to. However, there are a large number of burning questions that I feel really demand answers. Here are the ones that come to mind:
(Obviously, SPOILERS ARE AHEAD for the first five seasons of the show!!)
What is the smoke monster? Described as the island’s security system, the creature referred to as Cerberus (on the map of the island found in the hatch, as seen in “Lockdown”) has been one of the most confounding mysteries of the show since the pilot episode. We have seen the creature kill brutally (the fate which befell the pilot of Oceanic 815 in the pilot episode, the mercenaries in “The Shape of Things to Come,” as well as Mr. Eko in “The Cost of Living”), but we’ve also seen the monster confront certain characters and then let them live (Locke in “Walkabout,” Ben Linus in “Dead is Dead,” and Mr. Eko — at least at first — in “The 23rd Psalm”). What is this creature? Who created it? Is it alive? What is it protecting, exactly? Is part of its role to somehow judge the people on the island? If so, by what criteria does it evaluate people? (I remain confused as to why Eko was able to stare down the monster in “The 23rd Psalm” only to later be brutally murdered by the creature in “The Cost of Living.”)
“The Cost of Living” also contains … [continued]
A few months ago my wife and I began our Great Lost Re-Watch Project! In preparation for the upcoming sixth and final season of Lost, we’ve been re-watching every episode of the show, starting with the pilot episode and working our way forward through the seasons. I’ll have a lot more to say about our Lost Re-Watch Project in the coming weeks, but for now I just had to share the major epiphany I had in re-watching the season 3 episode “Flashes Before Your Eyes.” I had remembered this installment as being a terrific episode, but in re-watching it now it seems to me like this episode spells out some of the MAJOR SECRETS of Lost!
Spoilers abound, so if you’re not a fan of the show I’d advise you to turn back now.
In this episode, Charlie & Hurley confront Desmond on his apparent ability to see the future, which he used to prevent a lightning bolt from striking Claire’s tent and then again later to save her from drowning. After being pushed angrily by Charlie in those introductory scenes, we follow Desmond’s experiences after turning the failsafe key in the hatch (in the season 2 finale “Live Together, Die Alone”). Somehow, after turning that key, Desmond wakes up in the past, in his apartment with Penny (which she has apparently just moved into with him). Desmond has flashes of memories of his future years spent pushing the button in the hatch, which are prompted by moments such as the beeping of his microwave sounding eerily like the beeping in the hatch… and his alarm clock reading 1:08 (the number of minutes one has to push the button)… and of course the moment when he sees Charlie playing music on the street. But mostly (at least at first), Desmond seems to be re-living his past experiences with little knowledge of what is to come. We see him happy with Penny, and then we see him asking Charles Widmore for Penny’s hand in marriage. (The old man cruelly rejects him.)
Things really get mind-bending when Desmond goes to buy an engagement ring for Penny. There he meets a mysterious woman (who we’ll learn in later episodes is named Eloise Hawking), who seems to know all about him and insists that he’s not supposed to give Penny that ring. She states that he must follow through on the chain of events that will lead him to the hatch and the button, saying that “pushing that button is the only truly great thing that you will ever do.” When Desmond insists that he can change things, she tells him that, try as he might, “the universe has a way … [continued]
It’s become a bit of a tradition that, each summer at Camp Ramah in New England, we kick off our Staff Week at the beginning of each summer with a silly video that introduces our first program (which usually involves some sort of elaborate competition between the counselors of each division). We’ve taken to doing parodies of movies or TV shows. This year was our most elaborate video yet — a parody of Lost that was created by Ethan Linden, Davey Rosen and myself.
There are a few Ramah “in-jokes” to be found within (such as a reference to Yehuda Gubani and camp’s new eruv), but I still think y’all might get a kick out of this:
I’m particularly proud that we were able to get Lost’s signature eyeball shot in there!!
At the end of our Staff Week program, we showed this 45-second epilogue. This is for the true Lost fans out there!
Heh heh heh. Pretty proud of that joke. Have a great weekend, everyone!… [continued]
So, wow! After the recent Comic-Con the web has been flooded with all sorts of teases about upcoming movies, TV shows, and other geeky goodness. Here’s some of the best stuff that I’ve found:
After so many years of speculation and false starts, the sequel to Tron is finally, actually happening!! Check out the STUNNING trailer here. It’s going to be in IMAX 3-D?? I’m THERE.
I cannot believe they’re actually making a Jonah Hex movie. (And with Josh Brolin, no less!) Check out the poster.
The ending of Lost revealed? Um, not quite. Check out this video from the Lost panel! Quite a lot of additional footage from that panel can be found here. For some reason, Michael Emmerson’s fake audition for the role of Hurley isn’t included, but you can find that here. Funny stuff.
Here’s a pretty bad-ass trailer for Season 2 of The Clone Wars. I actually found the first season to be fairly watchable, and this glimpse at the next season looks pretty promising.
You know what it takes to sell real estate? The same thing it takes to re-make one of the most brilliant TV shows of all time. Well, AMC’s version of The Prisoner, starring Ian McKellan and Jim Caviezel, is nearly upon us. Check out this lengthy trailer. I must say, that looks pretty damn intriguing!
Amongst all of this glorious fun is the extraordinarily troubling continuing story about the newly-resurrected Futurama‘s uncertain future. This report from the Futurama panel at the con is grim indeed. Can’t everybody just make nice already?!!
That’s all for now — have a great weekend everybody!!… [continued]
With Battlestar Galactica, Scrubs, 24, and now Lost all returning to life within the past two weeks, I feel like this year’s TV season has finally gotten underway!
Wednesday night saw the airing of the first two new episodes of Lost in quite some time: ”Because You Left” and “The Lie.” Typical of a Lost season-opener, it began with a totally unexpected and bizarre scene: Dr. Marvin Candle (or Edgar Halliwax, or Pierre Chang — this man has gone by a different name every time we’ve seen him!) recording another Dharma instructional video and being interrupted by the discovery of the power source (and giant wooden wheel) at the heart of the Island. What a great way to dive right back into the weirdness that is Lost!
I’ve been wondering for a while whether the Dharma videos that have been popping up every now and then are real insights into what the Dharma Initiative was up to, or if somehow they’re just a put-on, to distract from whatever was REALLY going on. At first, when we see Candle/Chang being recorded in this year’s opening, it looks very much like he’s sitting on a set, leading one to suspect that my initial idea is correct. But then he seems genuinely concerned about the potential danger of the energy source discovered, so that would seem to indicate that the Dharma folks really WERE investigating all the weirdness of the island (including time-traveling bunnies). SO I remain uncertain on this issue. But intrigued!
There were a lot of balls in the air, story-wise, in these two episodes. I was fascinated, and also a little nervous, by the distinct sci-fi elements of the story: that is, time-travel. Time-travel is a tricky, tricky thing. It has become a most over-used story device in sci-fi/fantasy TV shows and movies, and it is very tricky to tell a time-travel story properly. The jury is still out as to how this time-travel story will shake out on Lost. While one might not have predicted all the craziness on display in this season premiere, attentive viewers knew that this sort of time-travel story was on the horizon. We’d already been introduced to Desmond’s mis-adventures through time, and the mysterious importance of finding one’s “constant” to keep from becoming unglued in time… and we’d also seen Faraday discover some sort of time-differential between the Island and its surroundings. So clearly some time is not always quite linear on Lost.
I am excited to see these background story-elements get pushed front-and-center. (As we enter the penultimate season, we need to have some of these long-running mysteries addressed and solved.) But so far, as usual with Lost, I have far … [continued]
There’s been a lot of cool stuff that has made its way onto the internet following the big San Diego Comic Con this past weekend. My favorite so far? Well, any fan of Lost who knows who Marvin Candle is should surely check this out immediately!
“Perhaps you’ll be able to find a way to save us. To change the past.”… [continued]
Well, its been a somewhat bizarre strike-interrupted TV season. The most exciting new program I watched this year was The Wire which, as I’ve mentioned in this blog before, is what got me through the months-long writers strike. But there was still a lot of fun TV-watching to be had, and these past few weeks of season finales was no different.
30 Rock — In a show that has had no shortage of terrific scene-stealing guest-stars, Matthew Broderick’s appearance as “Cooter” (so nicknamed by President Bush) was one for the books. Jenna’s concept of “backdoor bragging” as well as the explanation as to the cause of Liz’s pregnancy scare were also highlights. A hilarious end to a terrific season.
The Office — Speaking of guest-stars, The Wire‘s Amy Ryan was absolutely terrific as Toby’s replacement, and the genius notion of her thinking Kevin has “special needs” had me howling with laughter. I was a bit put off by the somewhat glum Jim-Pam story, which seemed like a bit of a transparent way to extend their courtship…but that was somewhat redeemed by Andy Bernard (Ed Helms)’s antics as well as Angela’s perfectly-played response to his proposal. “I SAID OK!”
Scrubs — This imaginary fairy tale was pretty terrible, sadly. I can’t totally blame the show’s creators, as NBC made the poor decision to run the episode out of sequence (the show was meant to have taken place earlier in the season), resulting in such oddities as Bob Kelso still working at Sacred Heart despite his having left earlier in the season. Guess NBC assumed that we stupid TV viewiers wouldn’t notice. Still, I can’t imagine this episode would have seemed much funnier even in its proper spot in the season.
Lost – While not quite on par with last season’s phenomenal flash-forwarding season-ender (“we have to go BACK!”), this was a very solid ending to what has been, in my opinion, the best season of Lost since the first. We got some definitive answers to some burning questions (Why is the island so hard to keep track of? Who was in the coffin we saw in last season’s finale?), while also lots of new questions were posed — specifically, about what has transpired in the 3 years since the Oceanic Six were rescued…and about if/how they’ll be able to get back to the island as Ben wants them to. It was a particular kick seeing Walt again — I only wish his scene with Hurley had been longer. Hopefully we’ll see him again next season. I was pretty convinced it was going to be Ben in that coffin…but I was intrigued by the person it was. Can’t wait for next … [continued]