I’ve finally figured it out.
For weeks now, I’ve been voicing moderate levels of dissatisfaction re: the final season of the most daring and innovative show in network television history. Basically, I’ve had a really difficult time getting into the “alternate reality” or “alternative timeline” or whatever it is we’re supposed to be calling it. I’ve also been saying that this stage in the narrative process — 13 hours or so from the end — is not the time to introduce new characters (Dogen, Lennon, etc.) or give us “different” versions of the characters we’ve come to love (like Kate and Locke, whom we’ve seen featured in the new “flash sideways” episodes). And yes, I’ve even defaulted to the stereotypical mantra of many a forlorn LOST fan: it’s time for answers, Darlton! I have voiced these opinions — and more — right here on this blog.
But I’ve finally figured it out. It’s not the flash sideways per se that have been bothering me — it IS at least passably entertaining to get a glimpse of the “what if Oceanic 815 never crashed” reality. It’s not the introduction of the new characters that’s really bothered me that much either — there are relatively few of them this go around and they DO serve the narrative by giving us access to some of the Island mysticism that has always been an elemental feature of “the Others”. It’s not even the lack of answers that has bothered me, despite last week’s rant to the contrary.
What has bothered me so far is that the story-telling hasn’t been as satisfying as I’d hoped it would be. I realize this is completely subjective. And I realize we’re only a quarter of the way through the season. So I am totally giving Team Darlton the benefit of the doubt. They’ve always pulled it together in the past and they deserve some modicum of trust at this point. BUT, my frustration is that the flash sideways just hasn’t produced a satisfying result for me yet. And yes, I know they said we’d have to be patient with these sideways deals, so like I said, I’m prepared to judge the season as a whole, not as individual episodes. But after five seasons of “traditional” story-telling, it’s been hard to be satisfied with episodes that are 50% off-Island, alt-reality.
Anyway, I promise to stop bellyaching about this from here on out. I just felt the need to clarify and properly articulate the reason for my frustration thus far.
In other news, tonight’s episode is Jack-centric, which means it should be chock full of mythology. Can’t wait to see it. While we’re waiting, here are a few bullets to whet your appetite for tonight:
- If you’re not reading Doc Jensen, you should. He helps make a lot of sense out of the myriad plot points and cultural references in a show like LOST. Sometimes his stuff is purposefully over the top (see his article here claiming that 80s iconic group Huey Lewis and the News holds the key to understanding the Island’s mythology). But you should at least read his thoughts here re: Sawyer’s hero arc; I sure hope he’s right about our favorite rogue pulling a long can on Smokey.
- Here’s another interesting read on whether Smokey and Jacob are actually two halves of the same individual. (I know; out there, right?) But the article also comments on the possibility of the random boy from last week being the Man in Black’s son. Check it out.
- Speaking of that kid, remember his comment re: “the rules”? He tells Smokey, “You know the rules. You can’t kill him.” LOST has long teased us about these “rules”. Ben and Widmore seem to subscribe to a gentlemanly respect for said rules, at least until Widmore murders Ben’s daughter, Alex. Smokey is fundamentally incapable of killing Jacob, at least on his own, thus the incarnation of Locke and the manipulation of Ben. And now this comment. As the producers teased in the podcast, whatever war is coming between Smokey and Jacob (or his followers), expect these rules to provide the foundation.
- I hadn’t thought about until I watched the “Totally Lost” video over at EW, but it’s possible that we misread the names of at least some of the “candidates” scrawled on the cave last week. For instance, we all assumed “#23, Shepherd” was a reference to Jack. But what if it’s not? (Remember back in Season 3 when Danny quips something about Jack not even being on “Jacob’s list”?) What if the Shepherd listed here is actually Christian? Or “#42, Kwon”. What if it’s neither Sun nor Jin, but Ji Yeon? Could be. Something to think about.