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Friday, February 08, 2008

TV Watch: Lost, Confirmed Dead

I am definately becoming a fan of this year. It feels tighter and more tense than the last season already and, dare I say it, finally starts to remind me of the first season. The first season was full of danger and mystery, not just weird plot twists and mysticism.

Confirmed Dead gave us four quick flashbacks which tied directly into the action as opposed to any kind of fluff. This last season won't have much time for fluff, so let's hope this is a trend. And these flashbacks were pretty juicy. Why would Dan have such a reaction to Flight 815? All the other characters had some kind of connection to the flight except Miles, so who exactly was that in all those pictures? (Like candidate is someone associated with Eko). How is it that Charlotte didn't seem too surprised to see a polar bear skeleton in Tunisia (and how the hell did it get there? Is it the "real" location of the island and the island is just ... what ... removed from time?). Did Frank get the job as a pilot just because he called about the footage?

Course, there's still this problem that the writers insist on layering new questions even when old ones are getting to the point where they feel stale. Locke badgering Ben for information about "The Monster" felt forced and false to me - as did Ben's answer. That and the whole silly wrangling over why the Freighties were really there ... it's like the Island's main power is remove a person's power of explanation. It was passable in the first season, but now is just feeling annoying.

I was glad to see Naomi and Abaddon, however, as I think we're going to get the net drawn closer on the global view of the Island as the truth about the Freighties unfolds. Also, if Miles can't give us some insight in the the Jungle Whispers, Jack's dad and maybe even the cabin, I'm not sure who can.

All in all, I'm in thumb's up mode.


jvm said...

If those really were corpses in the plane and The Dude watching TV really recognized that that wasn't the pilot, then...I'm guessing the corporation which sent Juliet to the island covered up by planting a plane on the bottom of the sea with a whole pile of corpses in it. Elaborate, and grisly.

My description to a friend of this episode was "random crap coming at you with just enough information coming together at the end to make me ready to stick with it for one more week". I'm liking it.

sterno said...

I think last season struggled because they were cutting through a lot of the mystery but in ways that were rather mundane. The others, except for maybe Ben, seem to have about as little understanding of the island as anybody else. It was kind of deflating that sense of the supernatural to a large degree. Shit just happened on the island and that's what it was.

This season, they are layering some mystery back on to the show. Why is there a Dharma brand polar bear in the middle of the desert? Not only that, but how long had it actually been there? I mean they were doing an excavation, right? So how far back does Dharma go? They've also added in an overtly super natural element by brining in somebody who can actually commune with ghosts.

Why is that team the team they selected? What's so significant about them? If the pilot on the plane wasn't the pilot, then what exactly was that wreckage? Was it faked? By whom?

It's returning to a sense that there's a larger conspiracy here that had been missing for a while. So I'm definitely much more into it this season.

Clamatius said...

I'm in the same camp.

My analysis of why it seems to be working now compared with why it wasn't: Lost is based around a question/answer engine. They answer a question but ask at least another one. That keeps you with a sense of mystery but gives you at least a little closure.

The beginning of Season 3 neglected this engine (as well as mostly ignoring a lot of characters they'd spent time making us care about) and that's why it sucked.

They're back to asking/answering questions: why are the "freighter" guys here? They're after Ben. Why are they after Ben? Etc.

jvm said...

Clamatius: I worry that that engine can't take you to the end of a series. See: The X-Files.

Clamatius said...

I agree - that would seem to be a mechanical difficulty with that kind of story device. It has to be said that this kind of problem has often been in Abram's work - setting up an interesting scenario & characters, but lacking a long term arc (e.g. Alias).

We'll see if this happens this time too. Right now the switch from flashbacks to flashforwards makes it feel like we're on the down curve of the story arc.

Apparently there are going to be 2 more seasons (including this one) at about 16 episodes each.

Josh said...

I'm guessing it will take us to the end of the series, but not with filling in all the holes. Or at least I'm hoping for a finale that won't make you wonder why you paid attention in the first place.

My guess is that they'll complete the loop for anything connected to the freighties, but we're going to get left holding the bag when it comes to things as old as season one (smoke monster, adam & eve, black rock).

Or in other words, they're using that engine and while sometimes it works, sometimes it is pretty annoying and hopefully they'll avoid the latter this time around.

Josh said...

wait ... they extended the seasons? I thought we had about 6 more that had been filmed and 8 more after that pending the outcome of the WGA strike.

Clamatius said...

My source on this was a Hollywood writer/insider type. He could be wrong, but that's what he told me last weekend.