Thursday, May 25, 2006

"Lost" finale: where's George Jetson when you need him?

And the Cone of Silence has been lifted on "Lost." Unfortunately, I have to spend the next 30 minutes to an hour on a conference call where Kevin Reilly explains why he ripped apart virtually the entire schedule he announced last week, all to move "Studio 60" away from "Grey's Anatomy," and after that, I'll have to write my column for Friday.

But I wanted to open the floor for comments, starting with my own brief take. My Zen-like state of not needing anything on this explained to me has never been more useful than with this finale, which was complete gibberish and a hell of a lot of fun. In terms of crafting a coherent narrative, Lindelof and Cuse are miles out of their depth. In terms of creating riveting individual moments (Locke snatching Eko's Jesus stick, Desmond with the key) or haunting images (the statue of Homer Simpson's foot, the pile of discarded pneumatic tubes), they are amazing.

I'll try to update with more detailed thoughts later this afternoon, but let the comments and hypothesizing commence!

23 comments:

jim treacher said...

Poor Clancy Brown!

So I'm guessing Desmond is going to b a regular next season? I hope so, that guy's good.

As for your take on it, that's pretty much exactly what I'd say if I had any sort of critical chops. Moment to moment the show is great, but it just doesn't hold up when you think about it. But you don't really care because it was so much fun.

Hey, what was with Jack's weird little smile/grimace to Kate right before the Others put the bags over their heads?

Toby said...

My only fear for next season based on this finale is that the rest of the "Lostaways" might get short-shrift story-wise if the writers focus more on Kate, Jack, and Sawyer among the Others.

At the same time, we do have some great story possibilities lined up: Locke's faith renewed, the 4-toed statue, Sun's pregnancy, Charlie's hearing loss, etc. And Sayid and Jin still have the boat to make another escape attempt....

We shall see what we shall see, I guess.

Hype said...

Alan - it's true how fun it is to just sit back and absorb the show on its own. I mean, it's hard to figure out what from what mythologies they throw at you but as long as it's not boring. It feels like the glory days of Alias and "Rambaldi" before JJ jumped ship and the writers didn't have a proper direction and ran out of steam.

I'm glad Lost has dedicated producers that won't leave the show like JJ does. It keeps their vision steady and that's really all I, as a couch potato, can ask for: consistency.

Heh jim treacher, I read what you wrote on the other post, and it's true about TWoP..but I mean, is it so hard to say "Oh shit, that was amazing" once in a while? I know opinions are different, but I see way more "I'm done with Lost" than "This was so cool"..just bugs..VM's boards is more loyal.

LV said...

I am guessing I am in the minority. Honestly, I wasn't that impressed with the finale. I kept hearing what a great episode it was and how it would just leave everyone speechless. Well, I thought it was extremely predictable.

The electromagnetic field caused the plane to crash - yeah, well, everyone already knew that. So the only thing we learned is that Desmond was semi-responsible. Eh, who cares.

Ok, so we knew Michael had to bring those specific four people to the Others in exchange for Walt. Umm, ok, did that - no surprises there. It wasn't a big shocker that they had the bags put over their heads at gunpoint because that has happened several times this season. Snooze.

The writers haven't spent anytime investing us with Desmond's story and then they cram all of his flashbacks into the finale. Seems a bit forced to me.

Sorry for the rambling... I just find the whole "we like to dangle questions without answers" routine is getting stale.

The only cool part about tonight was the big hatch explosion/electromagnetic release - not sure what that means for Locke or Echo but I guess we'll find out in the fall. I doubt they would kill off Locke because he seems to be among the cornerstone characters but who knows...

Am I alone or was anyone else underwhelmed by the end of season 2?

jim treacher said...

"The electromagnetic field caused the plane to crash - yeah, well, everyone already knew that."

I didn't. And we don't really know that for sure. That's what Desmond thinks, and it's the closest thing to an explanation yet, but it's only season 2.

Hey, another nitpicky thing: If Desmond was so overjoyed to hear somebody banging on the hatch lid, why didn't he let Locke in?

Alan Sepinwall said...

"If Desmond was so overjoyed to hear somebody banging on the hatch lid, why didn't he let Locke in?"

Because the ladder had been trashed and he had no way of telling Locke to go around to the front door.

Some other thoughts:

-My guess is that Desmond is dead (which will prove a horrible disappointment to his ex) but Locke and Mr. Eko are not --mainly because, if they are, I'm going to get my own Jesus stick and use it to beat Damon silly. I'm very tall, he's very short. I can take him.

-Either Jack and Kate have a plan within the plan, or they both realized that the other shares their love of bondage.

-A quick search of Google for mythical characters with four toes mainly turned up pages about dragons, so I'm stumped, other than repeating the obligatory Homer Simpson joke.

-Hype, I hate to break it to you, but I don't think you're ever going to get satisfactory answers. My sense has always been that Damon and Carlton are making it up as they go along, tossing in "clues" like Clancy Brown working in the hatch and all the Hanso Foundation websites (HansoCareers.com is fun) so that people like yourself will spend hours upon hours analyzing this stuff and finding meaning that isn't really there. If there was a coherent plan, someone would've been able to figure it out by now.

Devin McCullen said...

Given that the promos and interviews from the producers said "You will find out why the plane crashed", I'm willing to accept that explanation. Of course, they could decide to mess with it again in the future, but I'll go with it.

I don't know if Desmond could get up to that hatch, and he also didn't know if Locke was a Hostile or not. Of course, he could have gone out the front door, too.

I'd assume Desmond's a regular, but as somebody pointed out on Ausiello's chat at the Washington Post, it does sort of seem like his story arc is finished, even if Peg is coming to find him.

Oh, and speaking of the chat, I was the guy who suggested that they're doing an Evil Twin story with Libby. It makes more sense than anything else I can think of.

Lastly, if they're playing fair, I think this pretty much eliminates the Purgatory hypothesis, because it showed people existing off the island. (The "It's all a dream" cop-out is as valid as it ever was, I guess.)

Todd VanDerWerff said...

Someone probably HAS figured it out already and been derided by everyone on their message board as "stupid." I'm one of those people who thinks this all has a concrete answer (the best one I've heard is that the island is in extra-dimensional space on our own planet, placed there to prepare for a coming apocalypse of some sort -- this is both "scientific" and neatly accounts for any fantastical elements the writers want to include), but that that answer will disappoint everyone because it's MORE FUN for us to come up with our own, more detailed answers. It's television as Rorschach test. Think of how The X-Files, contrary to popular belief, actually made sense if you thought about it. But no one wanted to put together all of the pieces (hell, I didn't want to. . .I had to get the answer off of some obsessive fan's web site), and the finale did a piss-poor job of putting them together.

I'm guessing when this show was dreamed up, the creators put in place a broad outline for, say, five years of the show. I'm guessing they know roughly WHAT the island is, who the Others are, etc. But they may not know the answers to all of the LITTLE things, and that's what's going to end up bugging people inevitably.

I'm just enjoying the ride.

Anonymous said...

Wondering if the electromagnetic-thing-a-ma-giggy put out a field that allowed for Locke and Rose to be healed? If it is disabled is it back to the wheelchair for Locke and time to dig a grave for Rose?

Am I the only one who thinks that Peg's father is the funding behind the Hanso/ Dharma project? Wasn't Whidmore industries part of the original orientation film strip? Seems to me that she is doing research on her Father's secret work. Only thing that does not jive would be Desmond not realizing it.

I'm in for next year. Too bad we had to wait until the very end of the season for it to get better.

jim treacher said...

"Because the ladder had been trashed and he had no way of telling Locke to go around to the front door."

Okay, that makes sense. But wouldn't he have at least yelled up? Given him directions to the other door or something? I mean, it made him happy enough to put off eating a bullet... he could have at least bought the guy a drink.

"Think of how The X-Files, contrary to popular belief, actually made sense if you thought about it."

You'll have to help us out there.

I'm liking the "Libby has an evil twin" theory. Either that or she decided to save some of her dead husband's money by going to Supercuts.

Todd VanDerWerff said...

Here's that X-Files link.

It's a long, long read.

I never had this much time to invest in something like this, so I can see why this guy may be the only guy on Earth who figured it all out.

I can't say for certain that it's exactly correct but it matches up with my memories of the show (which came on when I was in high school, so I was pretty diehard for seasons 2-6 or so).

http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/Studio/9013/myth.html

BF said...

Of course, he could have gone out the front door, too.

Well, not really. He'd already seen what happened when you left the button unattended for 108 minutes.


Here's my question. I'm guessing that the electro-magnetic thingamajig was what was screwing up everyone's compass and why Desmond's boat and last year's raft couldn't achieve escape velocity from the island.

Now "Henry Gale" tells Michael to go to Compass Heading 325 in order to leave the island. But did he tell them that thinking that the magnet would bring him back to the island? And if Desmond did destroy it, does that mean that Mike & Walt are going to be LOST at sea?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Count me among the ones who thought "X-Files" was utter gibberish by the end. The story Frank Spotnitz liked to tell me was that they really, honestly, did have a five-year plan, and that if the show had lasted only five years, they would have answered every question satisfactorily. But once the show became a big hit -- and especially once they started working on the movie -- the plan went all to hell. First they wanted to save some big revelations for the movie, so the TV show started spinning its wheels. Then they realized that if they revealed everything in the movie, nobody would come back to the TV show, so they made the movie more cryptic. Then they realized they were going to go at least another three years and they had to keep padding and elongating and altering things, and then Duchovny quit and they had to work his absence into the "mythology," so that by the time all was said and done, even the writers didn't know how to explain it all.

The vibe I get off of Lindelof and Cuse is different. They talk a good game but I think it's three-card monte -- and one day we're going to find out there isn't a red queen anywhere on the table.

Anonymous said...

On Libby evil twin. I'm thinking there is only one Libby. Maybe she had some kind of nervous breakdown when her husband died and that's what put her in the hospital with Hurley. That would be one way to explain it at least. Another of course would be that she is part of this whole conspiracy/Dharma universe and is so racked with guilt over her participation that she goes nuts and ends up in the hospital with Hurley. She did say that her husband "got sick". Yet another ambiguous reference to "the sickness" that is mentioned quite often on the island.

Todd VanDerWerff said...

The brilliance of all of this is that we're doing all of their work for them.

If they truly don't have a plan, they can just go online, pick out the one thing that fits most plot points and make that the reveal in the finale.

And no one will ever know the difference, assuming they switch up enough things to make it credibly not pseudo-plagiarism.

dez said...

So they're on Cartoon Island with the 'toon-version remains of Ozymandias's statue. "Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"

Did that bird really say Hurley's name?

"If Desmond was so overjoyed to hear somebody banging on the hatch lid, why didn't he let Locke in?"

Would you let The Stepfather into your house? :-D I think his girl's name was Pen, as in Penelope, not Peg.

I think Walt & Michael will be back not because of the electromagnetic whatchamabob, but because Walt wants to pick up Vincent. And perhaps because he'll guilt Michael into going back and helping Jack, et al. Also, was that Matthew Fox playing one of Pen's men at the end? It sure looked like him.

So what's next for The Lost Experience? Is it all going to be online now?

Louis said...

Interesting Lost article by Heather Havrilesky in Salon.

Vanya said...

I'm surprised people think Walt is coming back. How can he? He's already aged noticeably for a kid who's supposedly spent only 65 days on the island. It's no accident he's been offscreen so much this year, and next year it would be that much worse. If they do bring Walt back it would have to be with some sort of time-travel story. I really have to think the writers never thought that far ahead - why give so much prominence to a child actor when you can't use him for more than a year without completely spoiling any semblance of verisimilitude?

Anonymous said...

Alan Sepinwall said:

"On Libby evil twin. I'm thinking there is only one Libby. Maybe she had some kind of nervous breakdown when her husband died and that's what put her in the hospital with Hurley."

Didn't she say her husband's name was David? And wasn't Dave the name of Hurley's imaginary friend?

Alex R. said...

Does anyone else predict the last "Lost" episode ever will have Hurley on a boat like Jim Carrey in "The Truman Show" with Ed Harris as 'Alvin Hanso' trying to wash him overboard...only to have Hurley's boat hit a 'stage wall' that shows the Island to be a giant stage/biosphere fake?

Also, I love that Sayid pointed out that 'The Others' at some point worshipped, Homer J. Simpson.

dez said...

Given all the weird stuff on Craphole Island and how it's "cured" Locke's paralysis and Rose's cancer, why wouldn't there be an equally valid (or silly) reason for Walt to be taller and older-looking? They could also just comment on Walt's growth spurt as being...a growth spurt, albeit a rather accelerated one ;-)

Augie De Blieck Jr. said...

Check out the LOST podcast for more info. They could be completely bee-essing us, but Carlton and Damon claim that nothing gets introduced in the series unless they have a payoff for it.

They also say that we saw the Big Monster in season two already, but didn't recognize it.

Jennifer said...

Great article, Alan. Although one nit-picky point is this statement: "If Desmond is kaput, that's now three characters (Boone and Ana-Lucia were the others) who died at the end of their first flashback episode."

Actually, Ana Lucia had two flashbacks, and it was at the end of the second that she died. Her first flashback episode was #32, Collision (a.k.a. Old Habits), which aired this past November.