Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Rewatching Lost: Time Travel

Previously on Rewatching Lost:
Rewatching Lost
The First 20 Episodes
Season 2, Episode 3
Stuff That I Don't Want to Forget to Notice
Analucia and Mr. Eko
Season 2
Season 3
I Don't Remember A Lot Of This
Season 4. Dear God, Why, Season 4?
Spit it Out, Farraday

Whoa, season 5, whoa. Hold on there a minute. Right now I'm through 11 episodes of season 5. I've slowed down my watching pace mainly because I'm just not that interested anymore. At this point, I'm kindof just watching because I've decided to do it, rather than because the show is grabbing my interest. Before taking on this endeavor my recollection was that seasons 1 and 2 were awesome, 3 and 4 sucked, 5 and 6 were good, though disappointing in a big picture way. That is not my current experience. 1 and 2 were, in fact, awesome. Season 3 was really not as bad as I thought it was. Season 3 is actually pretty good, especially the second half. Season 4, however, no thanks. Right now, though, in the midst of season 5, I gotta say, it's pretty freakin' dumb. Yeah, freakin', I said it, with no G neither.

So, they go back to the island in order to save the people they left behind because Locke and Ben insist that they are in terrible danger. Except they're not in terrible danger. They're perfectly fine, albeit in 1977. Had they never returned, then the whole thing would never have gone to shit. It's likely that the Dharma Initiative would never have been purged, and Ben would never have been evilized after Sayid shot him because Sayid would not have shot him. Charles Widmore and Ben would never have engaged in whatever their whole power struggle deal is and Widmore is probably never exiled from the island. This is a fallacy in thought, I know, but like they caused all this shit. Consistently, the people who were on the plane want one thing to happen and then their actions cause the exact opposite to happen.

So, when they go back to the island Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sayid travel back in time to 1977 for some reason that is altogether unclear. Even more, unclear, however, is why Sun does not travel back in time. This is pure contrivance by the writers to keep Sun and Jin apart for as long as possible. And, I suppose that's fine if they want to keep them apart, but then there's got to be a reason for it. If you've created a mechanism through which the 815ers travel back in time, then it has to apply to all of them. You can't create rules and then break them within your universe, it's fucking annoying to the people who are following your rules. I get it that it's ultimately more satisfying when Sun and Jin are eventually reunited (and it feels so good), but think for like 5 extra minutes about something that doesn't violate the rules that you established. Like you want me to be happy with the idea that all the people on the plane land on the island in 2007 except for the 815ers who are transported to 1977. Ok, I'm with that. It's weird, but like, time travel and shit, ok, I'm with you. Except not Sun. Why not Sun? For no reason, that's why.

They keep Ben alive. Again. After Sayid shoots Ben (like finally someone took the bull by the horns), Juliet, Kate, and Sawyer all conspire to save him. Why? "Because he's just a kid." Except you know he's Ben. Don't be daft (I'm British now). Sayid had the good sense to shoot him and Jack had the good sense to refuse to treat him (except Jack has done a fair amount of listening to Ben in order to end up back on the island and Sayid has done a lot of listening to Ben when he became a serial killer on Ben's orders) and then those clowns go and save him. And Richard is all, "If we save him, he'll never be the same. He'll always be one of us." And still Kate and Sawyer agree to do it. The whole story is a Deus ex Machina through which the 815ers act against any logical judgment in order to keep Ben alive so that he can continue to fuck up their lives.

At this point in the show, they have written themselves into a corner on more than one occasion. And it's basically become an in joke that they are at an impasse between conflicting plot points and they are just going to scoff at the one they don't want at the moment and pick the one that's more convenient for them. One (of the several) example(s) of this is the conversation between Miles and Hurley about Back to the Future. Hurley is expecting to fade away because Sayid has shot Ben and they have no way to save him. Hurley recounts the events that brought them to that point, all of which involve Ben, so that if little Ben dies, they should fade away. Miles explains their time travel rules, which is basically that you can't change the past. Whatever happened, happened, so that since they know Ben is alive in the future, he must have survived. Fine, I'm with that. Then Hurley says something like, "Ok well then when we first captured Ben and Sayid tortured him, why didn't Ben remember that this was the dude that shot him?" To which Miles pauses, as if stumped and says something like, "Ooh, good question, I don't know." Or maybe Miles says, "I hadn't thought of that." I think it's the second one, actually. But on several occasions freakin' Farraday, who seems to know exactly what is happening, chooses to answer questions with, "I don't know", instead of an explanation. I'm thinking of when he's explaining to Juliet why Charlotte is dying. He answers half of the questions cryptically and the other half with, "I don't know." And this is basically the writers choosing to say, "We don't feel like answering that question and so we're not going to."

Something that I wanted to write about in a previous post but forgot to was about how people seem to come back to life on this island for no reason whatsoever. Mikhail initially is killed by the sonic fence (which is later revealed not to have been set at a lethal setting (set fence to stun (inception)) and I guess that's ok since later Sawyer and Juliet and Farraday and Miles are stunned by the fence even though Mikhail got much more fucked up by the fence than those other guys and also they felt his pulse) and then later on Mikhail is shot through the heart (and you're to blame) in the underwater station with a harpoon but comes back to life again in order to flood the station and kill Charlie (by the way, I know this is nitpicky, but Charlie had plenty of time to exit the room and shut the door, he did not need to lock himself in to save Desmond). There was someone else who came back to life just to serve the purposes of the plot, but I can't recall who it was at this moment. Presumably Mikhail is dead now, but one never knows.

Anyway, to end on topic rather than on a tangent, season 5 is not as good as I remember. It's kindof a clusterfuck and the events that bring them back to the island are not especially satisfying. And it's annoying that Jack vacillates between trusting and not trusting Ben whenever it's convenient to the plot. Also, in the big picture analysis, they've pretty clearly established that Sayid is not a good dude and that he's a natural killer, but he gets to go to heaven while Michael has to stay on the island. Mad racist.

On the next episode of Rewatching Lost:

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