Brian's One Word Hyphenated Review: Mind-Blowing.
Wow. Someone start the slow clap. Lost just delivered big time.
I'm not even sure where to begin, so let's start with the big one...
The entire format of Lost might have just changed. You know how we all were kinda wondering how long we could keep revisiting different moments from our characters' lives in flashback form, since you would eventually run out of interesting stories to tell without them becoming absurd? Well, there's a chance that "flashbacks" on Lost will now be back to Island-time - with the present time serving as a method to show the aftermath of what happened to our Survivors after they returned to the rest of the world.
If you ask me, it's genius.
One of my big fears was that we would never get full resolution to each character's storyline - that the series would end with them getting off the Island, leaving it up to us to write the story of where they would go from there. For me, this always seemed like a cheap way out. For a show that is basically all about our characters having this opportunity on the Island to overcome their demons and make themselves better - to not see if their time there actually had any effect on them once they returned to their normal lives seemed like an incomplete story. But now it seems that not only will we have plenty of time to see what happened to each character after rescue (48 episodes worth, to be exact), but it helps to switch gears on the show.
Suddenly, instead of the backstory of the Island being the mystery - now the story of the escape off the Island becomes the mystery. I'm sure we'll still have plenty of time to learn the secrets of the Island as we go through the story, but it's like we've just read the first three chapters of a book, got a glimpse of the last chapter, and are now going to work our way through the rest of it - alternating between the last chapter and chapters four through six.
Now there's always the chance that this "flashforward" was a one-time deal, and the show will return to its normal format (much like Desmond's episode featuring his "flashes" seemed to be a one-time deal), but I think going the other route is much bolder, and would allow the writers to tell a much richer, full story. If they went this route, they could still continue to have some "true flashbacks" from time to time, especially ones that fill in the events on the Island that we didn't see the first time through (such as Ben's conversion to the Others) - but it wouldn't force us to sit through another round of "Jack led a self-destructive life" flashbacks three times a season.
Anywho, on to the other big news:
Charlie. After a roller-coaster two episodes teasing and relieving viewers about Charlie's fate, he finally met his match - Patchy and an underwater grenade (do grenades even work underwater?). Although part of me was thinking, "couldn't he just close the door from the other side, and he and Desmond can just put on the scuba gear and swim to shore?", Charlie got his big heroic death, fulfilled his mission of turning off the jamming signal ("Good Vibrations"? Hilarious and punny!), and made Desmond's flashes come true. Even in his final moments, he was able to warn Desmond about Naomi (which also got me thinking, "Can you write on a wet hand with a Sharpie and have it stay on?"). His death was tragic, but one that you could almost see coming from a mile away. Learn you lessons from horror movies kids! Always pump a few extra bullets in your enemies! Don't assume they're dead!
Deaths. Speaking of deaths, by my count we lost 13 Others (including Tom and Patchy), 1 Survivor (Charlie), and the mysterious Naomi. By most counts, that looks like a Survivor victory! Ironically, I didn't include Tom or Patchy on my "Death Watch" (a product of writing it at 11:00 at night and running through characters off the top of your head), so I wasn't even considering them options.
Naomi. So if Naomi isn't really with a rescue crew sent by Penny, the next logical option seems to be that she's with Dharma, coming back to the Island to reclaim it. Is it possible that Dharma wasn't able to send help after the Purge because Ben took control of the Looking Glass and blocked all communications with the Island? If his line about "the sub needing the beacon to find the Island" is true, it's possible - although if this is true, how did Dharma find the Island in the first place? Were they the ones responsible for setting up this "stealth feature" of the Island, and now because of it they can't return? Irony!
Van. Remember how pointless we all thought Hurley's van-centric episode was? Don't you all feel pretty foolish for criticizing it now? Who else wanted to cheer when Hurley came plowing through the Others. Hero!
Penny. So, if Penny's crew wasn't actively searching for Desmond right off the coast of the Island, how was she the first face that popped up on the Looking Glass video monitor? Does Penny just spend her day sending messages out to all frequencies looking for people to respond and mention Desmond's name? Seemed a little forced, but led to good storytelling opportunities.
Walt. Although the "guest starring" text at the beginning of the episode ruined the surprise, it was nice to see Walt acting as Locke's spiritual guide. Are we to assume this was a manifestation of Smokey, or Walt exhibiting his freakish powers a la Jacob communicating with Locke?
Kate. So, along with Jack, we learn that Kate obviously survives and gets off the Island (making both characters "Hella Safe" on the next Death Watch), and is married / dating someone (Sawyer?). There's also the question of who died - with the logical choice again being Sawyer (since no one showed up at his funeral).
Theory. The best part about the shocking ending? It means that my all-time, longest-running theory about Lost is still in play. The Others are good, the Survivors are bad, and getting off the Island is a bad thing. Jack was miserable, and wishing he could return to the Island. The funny thing is, I'm expecting some seriously bad stuff to happen between now and their rescue on the Island (with the forthcoming Others vs. Dharma War and all) - and Jack doesn't have a lot of happy moments in the past on the Island (being kidnapped, tortured, fighting for survival). Does his post-Island life really suck that much?
Arg! There's so much to say. I'm just throwing up thoughts here, so I'll stop until I can get together something more coherent.
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