Thursday, February 4, 2010

What I’m Watching: Lost (Season Premiere)

Lost: Season 6, Episodes 1 & 2 “LA X, Parts 1 and 2” (B-)

Believe me, I can’t quite describe my excitement about this premiere, but it didn’t quite live up to the hype. I think it can be broken down to two major problems: the need to introduce an infinite number of random new characters and the existence of two parallel universes at the same time. Regarding the new characters, having another bespectacled, hairy deputy and a mysterious Asian who refuses to speak English but clearly understands it doesn’t add anything to the show. The dynamic introduced in the season five finale between Jacob and Man No. 2 was fascinating, but it’s undone here with unnecessary complications like all these devoted followers of Jacob who feel they should shoot first, ask questions later. The revelation that Man No. 2 is actually the smoke monster is pretty crazy, in addition to the fact that he knows and has quite a score to settle with Richard. I’d love to see more of Man No. 2 in his original form, but I guess Titus Welliver has his hands full for the moment with his recurring role on “The Good Wife” for the moment, though hopefully he’ll be back soon. Now, on to the fragmented realities. This show did a great job last year of managing all of its time travel and making sense of the space-time continuum. I’ve gotten numerous questions from many fellow watchers after this two-hour premiere, and I’ve done my best to explain that what’s going on does make sense. They succeeded in changing the future, but that doesn’t mean they go anywhere. They don’t just go poof and disappear because history was changed, thus their continued presence in their version of 2007, and we can attribute that final bit of time travel back to the present to the force of the explosion. It’s interesting to see the alternate history where the island was underwater and the plane landed safely in Los Angeles play out, but I think it’s a mistake to continue focusing on the characters as they are on the island. It wouldn’t make sense for things to ultimately converge, so I can’t imagine where it’s going. In any case, as usual this episode raises far more questions than it answers. I’m still looking forward to future episodes, of course, but I wish I would have been a bit more satisfied about two hours of this show.

5 comments:

G1000 said...

I watched season 1 of this show, loved it, but then stopped watching (not sure why). From everything I've heard, it's gotten extremely complicated. The final season has a lot it needs to accomplish. For your sake, hopefully it rises to the challenge like "Galactica's" final batch of episodes did (though I know you didn't care for the finale).

Abe Fried-Tanzer said...

Hey, I did love the first two parts of the BSG finale, just not the final hour necessarily.

I've very much enjoyed Lost, but it's still trying to raise more questions than it's answering, which will likely be problematic and frustrating.

G1000 said...

That wouldn't bother me necessarily, since very few broadcast TV shows ask any questions at all. From what I can tell, if the series finale of "Lost" answers most of its questions in a satisfactory way, it may well be the best series finale of all time (again, I'm not a fan).

Richter Scale said...

I actually like that it's still asking questions, because it gives us a lot to look forward to. And, the fact that we know that this is the final season gives me some confidence that they're not just asking questions for question's sake (like they were doing in Seasons 2 and 3) but they know ehre they are taking this. I'm intrigued by the alternate reality, I want to see how it plays out and how those characters interact there, and the island is really intriguing. I'm also fascinated by "John Locke" and I want to see what the Smoke Monster's backstory is with Richard (who apparently arrived as a slave) and I have a theory that Sayid is actually Jacob, just like Locke is now the Smoke Monster (they had to completely kill Sayid in order for Jacob to inhabit that body). Or, maybe like the Smoke Monster, Jacob can now take the shape of anyone who is dead (they just have to be dead, like Christian, Yemi and Alex before).

Again, I'm intrigued. I knew The Incident was going to be a tough act to follow (I only got caught up with Lost on Friday), but I like that this episode set a boat load of questions to carry us all the way through May, and I actually want some questions unanswered and leave some mystery (so people will still be talking about the show for years to come).

Anonymous said...

Overall, I agree with your critique of the premiere, but i think you are being overly generous with a grade of B-. I would say at best these first two episodes deserve a C.
Let me explain: First, the episodes spent more time setting up future developments than responding to any of the outstanding questions from last season. Second, in classic Lost fashion the show has gotten more and more outlandish as it progresses. First we are introduced to a smoke monster, now apparently that monster is a self-conscious being who can take the form of humans. We are introduced to a somewhat native community - the "others" - now we are introduced, as you pointed out, to another community who seems to have been living on the island for as long as the "others" and who don't seem to understand the island any more than Jack or Kate. Jacob is killed but apparently is alive enough to talk to Hurley but not alive enough for others to see him. Strange...
To say the least, I am disappointed by what seems to me to be a feeble attempt at building suspense. The writers have simply decided that when in doubt just introduce more outlandish characters and events and pile on the questions and confusions.
Admittedly, I finished the premiere full of wonder and interest. But that was simply an artificially induced suspense created NOT by complex character development but by simply adding more random plot twists in an effort to interest the viewer.
what happened to the first few seasons when the characters developed as people, struggled with their own battles, and our questions stemmed from our human interest.