Regular readers already know that I have confessed more than once to watching too much TV. It is our form of entertainment after a long day on the tractor keyboard, writing witty repartee’ for your reading pleasure.
It is anomalous, given my intellectual perspicacity. (Dumb people don’t use words like that–so you know I do not lie!) But, I have it on good authority that Einstein used to read cheap romance novels in his spare time, so I figure my penchant for cheap Hollywood entertainment ( a word to be used broadly I admit), is entirely appropriate.
So, as you might expect, we spent the evening last watching four and one half hours of Lost. The first two hours being a recap of the six (my time does fly doesn’t it?) years until this seminal moment in time, called the finale.
Now I admit to a love/hate relationship when it comes to Lost. I know we skipped nearly, if not all, of one season entirely, getting so tired of “new episode” being a rehash of the last four. We figured we were being taken to the cleaners as they say. But we could not in the end avoid the allure of a promised “ending.”
Now TV started down the path (the Contrarian would say slippery slope) with the advent of Dallas, that ubiquitous day-time turned night-time soap opera. In other words, instead of each episode being a tidy little entity of it’s own, (bad guy does bad thing, good guy catches, all returns to happy town at the end) we got an ongoing story, with different threads or story lines which developed over the season and usually ended in some major killer final season’s episode cliff hanger.
But Lost claimed a new territory (though Twin Peaks via Lynch did it earlier and at least as weird), the genre known as a complete mystery to be played out over time. More like a novella, along the lines of say Masterpiece Theatre, but not using, of course, a classic book.
As to Lost, I pondered how this was done. Did the writers have an outline start to finish that they pitched and sold? Or only the beginning–plane crash, survivors, weird island? In other words, it seems that there was never a coherent plot with ending at the beginning, but rather something different. I figure that when the show caught on, they decided to do the honorable thing and actually complete the mystery and end the story at some point.
As we know, they did that last night. The cast, writers and such, as such folks are wont to do, laid it on a bit thick. To hear them tell it, it was the most adventurous, most innovative, bestest written, blah blah blah in the history of western civilization. Which it was not. But, saying that, they did manage to keep everyone (at least me) in some confusion for most of the years, and in the end, coming back for more.
When we lost our DVR last week, we lost the last two episodes prior to the finale, so the recap last night helped a good deal, and as I said, we missed near to a full season, probably the third. But still, I don’t think my confusion can necessarily be laid to that. There were more turns in that script than, well in the Indy 500, run to the end.
Frankly, I felt the ending was great. I really loved it actually, and kinda figured that’s where it was headed, sort of. But in fine style they did keep me unsure until the very end. It was all eternal life, spirit friendly. It was Bobby in the shower after being killed off a couple of seasons before and it all being a dream, but not done so stupidly. (Dallas if you forgot or never watched.)
In other words, I’m not sure the writers knew at the start that everybody died in the crash. It didn’t have that cheap tawdry thematic left turn to it. It seemed poignant and yet joyful, final rest for people who had loved and hated, fought and won, lost, suffered and turned traitor, only to do it all over again. It was fitting. The characters simply mattered most of all.
I’m very convinced that there are any number of threads that will never be “solved”, will never fit, and are simply dead ends. That is because it wasn’t, as far as I can tell as I’ve said, a fully written out story before production began. So, there will forever be unexplained things. I think the polar bear is one. I suspect it was meant to head somewhere, then somebody got a better idea and the concept, whatever it had been, was discarded.
More faithful watchers can undoubtedly explain things better. No doubt Lost will be the subject in many a film class, but more so in religion, philosophy, psychology, and perhaps even literature classes. There is much to be mined. There will be books, both the obvious “trekkie” type to those which are the result of dissertations submitted in graduate studies.
All in all, they did a good job. But they also expose a problem. Hollywood got lucky here. A hit. But what of the other novella types that are cancelled after a season or so? The Jericho’s and so I’m informed Fast Forward. Will Hollywood be ruled by the dollar or by some sense of responsibility to finish these? Will Damages end in finding the killer? What of the war of the universes on Fringe?
So, we watch, or at least I do, and keep our fingers crossed. But I can tell you this. If too many of these mystery shows are cancelled without resolution, then the public will stop watching. With that, I would like to watch the entire thing again, and with that the Contrarian starts to gag.