Monday, May 24, 2010

Thoughts on Lost Finale Without Having Discussed it With Anyone

Please feel free to post on top of this post as soon as you want to. I haven't really put too much thought into this. I liked the finale. I'll say that first because immediately after thinking that I liked it, these thoughts came into my mind.

You know, I never thought to take the numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 and put them together for no reason. That string of numbers meant absolutely nothing to me until you guys spent like two seasons going on about how they were all important. If they really weren't all that important, then you shouldn't have brought it up in the first place.

Now, they did answer this question, albeit not actually on the show. Something about the numbers being the roots of the Valenzetti equation, which describes the end of humanity, and the purpose of the Dharma Initiative being to change the roots of that equation. They were unsuccessful, by the way. The whole plot line with the Dharma Initiative was essentially dealt with online and never really on the show. I have to do like extra credit work in order to understand the story you're trying to tell me.

I feel like they got in over their heads with the whole island thing. After the first episode we knew that there was an island that had a bunch of mysterious properties. After the 120-something episode run of the show we don't know all that much more about it. Something to do with electromagnetism relating to a light. I don't know how or why it's there. And not for nothing, but there wasn't a smoke monster trying to escape the island until Jacob created it. Why would it have been bad if Jacob's brother had left the island? In particular before he turned into the smoke dude. And it's all "How do you know that when you hook up that wheel and then run the water into the light that it's going to work?" and then the answer is, "Because I'm special, mother." So if Jack didn't put the cork back in, the island would have definitely been destroyed, but would that also have meant that the whole world would be destroyed? I didn't get that sense from the MIB when he talked about leaving. Although if it wouldn't have destroyed the world, then they should have just left it out.

Given that they never really told us anything about the island, what would have made for a really interesting show would have been to explore the roots of the Dharma Initiative, the Valenzetti equation, how they found the island in the first place, the efforts to change the factors, their ultimate failure, and the consequences of that failure. That story in conjunction with the Others already being there and serving some alternate and opposing function on the island were the most interesting story lines.

If my job was to protect the fate of the world and then I was hiring my replacement, I would be sure to explain the whole job to him. There's not really room for on the job training.

I figured it out, I think. Jacob had Asperger's syndrome. If that motherfucker had any social skills whatsoever, all of this would have been avoided. All he needed to do was explain himself clearly to one person at one point. Richard, maybe. Or Ben. Widmore. Jack.

So going into the light would be worse than death, and turned Jacob's brother into the smoke dude, but Jack just died. Desmond was special, fine, but Jack?

Ben, really? Out like a lamb.

So is Claire not evil? And who the fuck was that Japanese dude talking about evil people? Sayid wasn't all that evil at the end of the day, either. Again, why even bring that up? Looking back, when Ben said to Michael that the Others were the good guys, I guess he was right, but they clearly didn't know what they were doing.

I feel like the flash sideways was really successful. The dead thing was interesting. If it had been an alternate timeline after the bomb blowing up, I think that would have been interesting, too. In fact, there would probably more material to explore in that scenario, but given the show's capacity for doing too little with too big a story, I'm happy with this one. It's not like Michael was the only one who killed some people. Why doesn't he get to go to the party? It's because he's black, probably.

I feel like when they first conceived of the show they wanted the island to be purgatory and everyone would get their own personal reckoning at some point. But when all the fans guessed that the island was purgatory and they were like, "No, that's not it," then they had to come up with a new plan. But the in the end they came back to that with the flash sideways.

I don't need you to spoonfeed me, but if you're gonna open this can of worms, at least give me a lid so I can contain them once I get them back together. You raised all these questions, not me. What are you, Socrates now? At the moment, from my perspective, the island serves absolutely no function. Everything would be much simpler if it just wasn't there, Occam's razor style. I could be wrong, but I don't get the feeling that all the pieces of the puzzle are on the table. After a bit of perspective you realize that The Sopranos did give you what you were looking for, you just didn't realize it. When you take a step back from it, Pulp Fiction turns from a phrenetic mess into a fascinating tableau. I don't get that from Lost. Again, I don't have that perspective, but I don't see where the explanations are coming from. They seemed to go out of their way to not explain things.

I do think this is one of the better shows on television in the last little while, but that, I think, comes with a certain responsibility to live up to that. At the end of the day the arc of the show for me was this: Season 1, awesome; Season 2, good; Season 3 and 4, awful; Season 5, really good; Season 6, averaged to good, but with a huge standard deviation ranging from bad to amazing; Finale, about what I expected. I'll have more to say about this, most likely.


Open Bar said...

I had read about The Numbers and the Valenzetti Equation and all that a while back, so maybe that's why I didn't really feel a strong need to see the show deal with them again. But it is a bit of a sellout to just drop them completely when -- even in the finale -- they're all sitting at table 23.


4 8 15 16 23 42
4 8 15 16 23 42
4 8 15 16 23 42
4 8 15 16 23 42
4 8 15 16 23 42
4 8 15 16 23 42
4 8 15 16 23 42

4 is the anomaly. 8 is the eighth number there, 15 is fifteenth, etc. 1 or 7 would have been a more logical choice for the first number. Stupid Valenzetti.

I have more to say on the whole thing, but it'll have very little to do with what you wrote, Chuck.

I liked this part a great deal: "I don't need you to spoonfeed me, but if you're gonna open this can of worms, at least give me a lid so I can contain them once I get them back together. You raised all these questions, not me. What are you, Socrates now?"

Side Bar said...

I really liked it; I am writing something today that I will try to post by tonight.

ChuckJerry said...

I did also like it. I'm not saying I'm unhappy with the resolution, the flash sideways in particular.

But for weeks now everything from the producers has basically been them setting up not having to answer the larger questions. Their premise was, "It's ok if we don't answer these questions." And it's not ok.

David Chase didn't say, "I didn't answer these questions." Instead, he said, "It's all there. You think it's not, but it is." This is the opposite of what these guys are doing.

Saying, "It's open for debate" is also different than just throwing out a question and providing no foundation on which to base an answer.

ChuckJerry said...

Maybe stating it more clearly. This one episode I thought was really good. The same is true of most other individual episodes.

But I'm disappointed with the series as a whole because there was so much left on the table. It's somehow less than the sum of its parts.