Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Television Tuesdays: Loving the Last of LOST

As LOST winds it twisted way to its end, some of the best work yet on that show is unfolding on the television screen. I've been thinking about when it debut, the huge billboards on RT 95 in Pennsylvania as I drove my mom to the Philadelphia airport every six weeks for her flight to Massachusetts via Rhode Island or New Hampshire. My life has changed dramatically since then. Now LOST is catching up.

And with the 2 ½ hour finale looming ever closer, I keep thinking one thing: They better not kill Sawyer.

OK – that's not the only thing I'm thinking. There haven't been too many shows that I've followed from start to finish unbroken. Friends and Buffy come immediately to mind, but not much else. Trouble is, few shows can maintain a high level of quality indefinitely (I'm looking at you, Grey's Anatomy!). Eventually I'll get tired or bored or frustrated and just drop away. Even Friends and Buffy had their weak times and, with Buffy in particularly, as we got closer to the end, I grew more and more dissatisfied (Friends rocked all the way to the end. God, I miss that show). Hey, I like to see people achieve happiness in the long run. Joss Whedon seems bound and determined not to let his characters get happy for long and usually starts racking up the body count when they do. Realistic? Maybe. Entertaining? Not really.

Through highs (oh, way too many to list, but Desmond and Penny's reunion tops it) and the lows (Nikki and Paulo, Bai Ling) I've stuck by LOST. And it's rewarded my loyalty with a kick ass final season. Some hiccups, yes, but the story is now running full tilt to the end and, seriously, I can hardly catch my breath as I watch it.

Even if I have absolutely no idea what's going on.

All right, that's not entirely true. I have a pretty good idea of what's going on for the most part, but there's no way I remember all the subtle layering that the showrunners have put in place over the last six seasons. I think it's a pretty safe call that nearly everyone is going to die. I have no idea how the sideways flashes are going to intersect with the island action. But now that Desmond is in metaphysical play, getting everyone together in the sideways world and, hopefully, coming out of the well in the island world pretty soon, I expect all that will interweave very soon. It has to, there's only 2 or 3 nonfinale episodes left.

I'm expecting to cheer when they eventually kill Kate – though with my luck, she'll be the lone survivor. Still that gunshot could get infected in the island air. Hope springs. She's long outlived her use for me, wavering between the Jack and Sawyer so much I wanted to smack her upside the head by season three (though I did think the polar bear cage nookie was pretty hot). I do wonder if she and one of the guys will be the skeletal couple discovered in season one but then yesterday, I thought maybe it'll be Claire and Alt-Locke. Hmmm. That's definitely one long term question I'm looking forward to finally getting the answer to. And I'd like Hurley to come to a happy end, though I doubt there's going to be such a thing for anyone. Maybe he's destined to be the voice of all those island whisperers, the souls of those who died on the island.

The deaths last week were heartrending. Showrunners Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof have said in interviews since that they wanted to make it abundantly clear that Alt-Locke is a bad dude. I never thought anything else. The guy murders people left and right. Pretty good indicator of bad in my book.

Sayid's explosive end happened so quickly and so much trauma occurred right afterwards, what with the flooding and the drowning, that there was barely any time to process it. Then Jin and Sun died and while poignant and painful and beautiful, I kept yelling at the scream "what about your daughter, you gits?" So much for the parental bond, huh. Also, this was a Whedonesque crappy thing to do. They're finally reunited – remember Jin and Sun haven't seen one another since the freighter blew up at the end of season four – and happy again and the very next episode The Powers That Be (to complete the Whedon analogy) go and kill them both off. Cuse and Lindelof said they did it so we the audience know that no one is safe. Dude, have you watched the last six seasons? No one is ever safe.

Not even Sawyer. Poo.

Tonight we get the full skinny on Alt-Locke, also known as Smokey or Esau or The Man in Black (no, he's not Johnny Cash. At least, not yet). Allison Janney of West Wing hits the beach tonight. I love this endless wealth of quality actors peppering the entire series. She's one of the best yet.

There's no way to be happy with whatever ending Cuse and Lindelof have cooked up. I know some things will tick me off, others will totally wow me, and still others will baffle me for endless wasted hours to come. I'm OK with all of that. LOST has been an awesome ride and I've loved every climb and dip of it.

I wanna see how it ends.

Edited 5/12 to Add: OK - If you watched last night's episode, you know I was way off with speculating the identities of the two skeletons in the cave and I want to say that I'm perfectly happy to be so. That was an awesome reveal, really, even if some other elements were a tad clunky with the info dump download.

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