2009-05-25

Five Down

So we sat down and watched the last three hours of season 5 of LOST last night. I’m glad we finally know how Dr. Chang lost his hand; i’d been losing sleep over that.

All in all, not what i was hoping for, given that i was hoping for the show to get good again. Especially anticlimactic was Juliet buying it, which seems an obvious twist when you know that Elizabeth Mitchell is starring in the remake of V next year.

I suspect that for next season, they’re going to use the “back to reality” scenario to just cut whole episodes out of all the flashbacks they’ve had in the previous five seasons. You know, to save money.

I will admit now that despite my sinking expectations, i will be watching LOST all the way through to the end, which says something about my masochism, i guess. I gave up on Heroes without missing a beat when it got profoundly stupid, but i still have a faint, faint hope that Cuse and Lindeloff and company will get it together. However, that hope is tempered by the knowledge that the writing in the show has long since crossed over the line where the mystery is being sustained by willfully withholding story, rather than being created as part of the story. Like, by virtue of the fact that Ben and Julia are now a part of the core group, we the audience should know everything about who the Others and the Dharma Initiative and Widmore’s group were/are, but we don’t. It’s sloppy, and it’s cheating, and i can’t stop expressing how much it pisses me off.

This season also spent way too much time backtracking on some of the most essential aspects of the character story, so that Jack used to be all “Don’t believe in fate” and then is suddenly “But i do now”. And Daniel used to be all “Can’t change the past” and then is suddenly “Except now i think we can”. And Kate hates Ben but decides to save young Ben for no apparent reason. And Sayid is a ruthless assassin who somehow fails to remember that WHEN YOU TAKE SOMEONE DOWN YOU PUT A SECOND BULLET IN THEIR HEAD TO MAKE SURE THEY STAY DOWN!!!!!

Sorry.

I also particularly despise the technique of following a character you think you know, only to realize that it’s a totally different character (i.e. — Locke). That kind of thing is a staple of fantasy and speculative fiction literature (it played big, and badly, in the fourth Harry Potter book if you’re into that sort of thing), and it’s bullshit each and every time. You can’t expect an audience or a reader to make the empathic and emotional connection to a character, as we did digging into Locke when he’s talking about what it means to have died and come back to life — then say “Ha! Just kidding!” Again, it’s a cheat, and after five seasons, a show like LOST  should be beyond cheating.

I did like the late reveal of Jacob and the flashbacks connecting him to everyone else, and i like what that potentially could have set up for the future. But it’s all getting a little bit too slapdash for my taste. The writers have an awful lot of holes they need to dig their way out of in order for next season to work. Unfortunately, they all seem to be engaged in a one-way race to see who can dig deepest before it’s all over.