Friday, October 18, 2013

Lost Opportunities

November 29, 2005

The following is about the TV series Lost. If you don't watch the show, much of it will be unintelligible. Furthermore, it contains spoilers if you ever intend to catch up. Read at your own risk.

Many fans of Lost complain the story moves too slowly. This is partly because each episode feature flashbacks. Since I consider this fleshing out part of the overall story, I don't mind, but it does take away considerable time that would otherwise be spent on the island.

If anything, I'd complain that they often skip over big moments too quickly. There are so many things going on, and so many unanswered questions, that the show is a bit like plate-spinning, where the writers have to keep running back to older stories to make sure we're updated. And in some cases, they miss scenes and even stories that could have been great.

For example, in the first season, Locke and Boone find a hatch and spend several episodes trying to open it. Their quest ultimately leads to tragedy. At this point, Sayid goes to Locke and demands to know what's been going on--"no more lies." Oddly, though, the next episode has Sayid and Locke leading Jack to the hatch. The potentially great scene of Sayid discovering the hatch had been passed over completely.

Last week, though, there was so much going on, the writers could hardly deal with it. They either ignored, or treated shallowly, or put on hold, about 95% of the storyline.

Two weeks ago, we had the tailies, along with original castaways Sawyer, Michael and Jin, traveling across the island to find the other survivors. Meanwhile, Shannon chased after a (phantom?) Walt, with Sayid following her. The two groups met with the surprise ending (that had been published on the internet weeks before) of Ana Lucia shooting Shannon.

So last week, there was a lot to deal with. What happened, after a brief tussle, was Sayid being tied to a tree while the near-nutty Ana Lucia tried to hold everyone together at gunpoint. Eventually all got free and went over to the original survivors' camp, while Jack came back to meet Ana Lucia.

Now there were a lot of characters meeting each other and exchanging info, but there was even still more missed. Alas, a lot of it was glossed over by the now-cliched (and never entertaining) Lost ending of music played over slow-motion reunions. And even more time was taken up with Ana Lucia's flashback, where we discovered she was equally unpleasant back in her days as an LA cop. (I have to admit I've found her character to be a disappointment. Michelle Rodriquez as the "tough gal" is a cliche. Her first appearance on the show was as a surprisingly flirtatious babe. Since then, all we've seen is the tough chick, before and after. Another deficiency--I believe hers was the first original flashback that didn't show what she was doing in Sydney flying to Los Angeles.) Luckily, the tailies also feature Mr. Eko, who's great.

So here are just a few of the big things the characters are learning in the episode, any one of which could make for a big scene, even a big episode: That the guys on the raft were lost at sea. That Walt was taken from them while Sawyer, now close to death, was shot. That they made it to land. That they met others who were survivors from the tail section. That these people had found a cement structure of some sort rigged with electricity. That "the Others" had killed or taken most of the tailies.

In the other direction, Jin, Michael and Sawyer had a lot to find out--in particular this hatch had been found and opened, and there were a lot of amazing things down there, especially the button that needs to be pushed every 108 minutes. (Incidentally, Michael and others sure had a lot of faith in Jack as a doctor--there's no way they could have known he now had the medicine needed to fix Sawyer.) Heck, they didn't even know that Arzt had blown up yet.

Then there's the Shannon story. She's dead and that's hardly registered on anyone. And while it seemed like there might be some sort of stand-off between Sayid and Ana-Lucia, it kind of fizzled out. And what about the phantom Walt? I believe Michael mentioned to Sayid Walt was taken, but Sayid didn't bring up the visions of Walt that he and Shannon had.

Then there are all the reunions, which were mostly glossed over in the ghastly slow-mo sequence--Jin and Sun, Rose and Bernard, even Michael and Vincent the dog.

The episode ended with a face-off between fellow leaders and flirters, Jack and Ana-Lucia. There are a lot of places to go from here. I hope they don't miss the best scenes.


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