Monday, May 24, 2010

LOST Finale: Sad Trombone

Alternate Title: No, no, no, no, NO.

A few months ago I used my podium here to hate on some non-Lifetime programming. I'd like to do that again. Don't know if you heard, but one of the most influential television shows of the past decade or so closed up shop yesterday. And since Lost is one of the few shows I've watched from the very beginning to its stupid conclusion, I need to get a few things off of my chest.

The obligatory disclaimer: Lost was one of my favorite shows ever. My weekday social calendar revolved around Lost for years. I am a hater by nature* and I love to complain, so please don't allow my incredibly negative reaction to yesterday's finale scare you off from watching the show if you haven't seen it yet.

(*As mentioned in my last review, I am currently watching Angel and Buffy for the first time. It's awesome. Highly recommended to all. But when I talk about it with people who are already huge fans (one of whom named their son after a Buffy character), I have nothing but weird complaints about very minor plot points. I am not pleasant to deal with. So I guess this entire post should be taken with a pillar of salt.)

Obligatory disclaimer #2: If you haven't seen the finale yet or are watching the show and haven't gotten to Season 6 yet, just please stop reading. And since I am only speaking to the people who watched last night's show, I won't get into too much expository detail. You all know what happened.

And Season 6, what a disaster. What a stupid, pointless disaster. The show spun its wheels for months with a bunch of crap like the Temple and the Lighthouse that didn't do anything for me and then tried rushing a resolution in the final four episodes. Let's take a step back and look at how the show has evolved itself into failure.

The first two seasons you have a bunch of survivors on a mysterious island with a monster and some hostile natives. Neat! But then! The end of Season 2, the show kind of evolves into a Dickensian romance between Desmond and Penny. By Season 3 we discover the Hostiles may be looking out for the Island's best interest, but they are willing to resort to great evil to protect it. (I wonder if Richard and Ben saw them genociding The Dharma Initiative when they realized they were in purgatory.) Also, pregnant ladies always die. Which leads for the mad scramble off of the island. Then they need to go back! Also, Penny and Desmond are quickly resolved and the show becomes a battle between two sets of Hostiles: Ben and Widmore. Which is kind of tangentially connected to Desmond and Penny, so, fine. But by the time we get to Jacob vs. The Man in Black/Smoke Monster, no. Too much. The master plot had changed too often and the show's creators saying that only the characters mattered was code for "we cared more about cliffhangers than story so here we are with a bunch of loose ends that can never be answered."

And by the last episode of the last season, we got some of the worst television writing in the medium's history. Basic 101 stuff. What was Smokey's motivation? He wanted off the island, then he wanted to destroy the island. Ok. Why? Why did he need Desmond? Why did Jacob want Desmond on the island? Desmond turned out to be pretty useless, no? What did Ben want? Why did his motivation change every episode? Same goes for Widmore. That whole war he had against Smokey was for what? He wanted to take over the island in order to protect it? Or did he just want to get back at Ben?

These aren't ambiguities meant to add shades of gray to each character. It's just piss poor writing. The entire finale, I was still wondering what it was that each character wanted. And other than Jack and his other candidates needing to save the island, I never got it. I swear to God I am a smart person and I couldn't figure out what was happening. I watch the show religiously, read a bunch of Lost crap on the Internet, and I had no idea why things were happening. That can only be interpreted as a total failure.

And the sideways universe being purgatory....JESUS CHRIST. I admit, that on an episodic scale, neat. It was awesome to see characters reconnect and to have a big ol' reunion at the end of the show. I got all weepy when Sun and Jin saw their pasts (although they as a couple clearly did not give a shit about their daughter). I got all weepy when Sawyer reconnected with Juliette. It made the episode very watchable.

But spending an entire season with it? UGH. Not worth it! Weeks and weeks of stupid can not be made up with some weepies.

And the open plot holes....Those open plot holes. The fertility stuff? The very situation that drove the plot when the show was at the height of its powers? Nope. The show cared so little about the fertility stuff that - as previously mentioned - the miracle baby became an afterthought never to be seen again. And what about Jacob's cabin? What the hell was that all about.

And has there ever been a more frustrating moment on television than when Ben and Hurley were talking about the Island's rules and Ben casually mentioned that those weren't real rules, they were just Jacob's whims? First, how do you know that, Ben? Jacob's been there for centuries. Second, Jacob is the one who made it impossible to find the island, impossible to boat off the island, and allowed the island to shift in time? AND WHAT THE FUCK IS THE DEAL WITH THE ISLAND SHIFTING IN TIME!?!?

The laziness here is really troubling. And it's apparent throughout the entire episode. Why does Desmond think pulling The Cork of the Island will be good? He just does. And why does pulling The Cork make Alpert and the Man in Black mortal, who knows, but it sure is convenient for Jack and Kate. And if plugging the Island back up is all you need to save it, I wouldn't exactly call Jack a hero. I would just call Desmond useless.

This show had so much wasted potential. This awesome science-fiction, mystery, romance thingy became a show about spirituality and religion which freed the writers from having to make a lick of goddamned sense. And even worse, the show ended in an Unitarian Church. Unitarians are stupid. That stained-glass window at the end that had every religious symbol? Stupid as balls. Why not just have Jack ascend to heaven in a Prius with a "coexist" bumper sticker?

And what happened to Cindy the stewardess and the kids!? GOD DAMN THERE ARE SO MANY HANGING THREADS HERE!

I swear I am fine with some hanging threads. I really, truly am. But a lot of these things were driving entire seasons. Seasons I loved and cared about and couldn't wait to find out what was going on. I honestly feel like I was tricked into watching the last season. There was never any attempt to deal with what had come before it. Boo to that.

I truly hope that I'm not one of those people who was going to be unsatisfied no matter what. Despite my hater status, I'd like to think that I was open to loving this episode. I truly believe that I was. I didn't care that Sayid ended up being literally soulmates with a character based on Paris Hilton instead of the woman he literally shot himself for and then later married. Shit like that is fine. It's a finale, weird things like that need to happen for closure. But the show just did not care about what I cared about. And what they cared about was boring and insignificant.

And yes I will be buying Season 6 on Blu-Ray. Why do you ask?