February 2, 2010

Lost: Season 6 Premiere Tonight -- WALLLLLTTTTTTT! GIVE ME BACK MY SON!

WARNING: If you haven't caught up with Lost through the fifth season finale, you might want to skip this discussion. Spoilers this way be.

Unlike apparently most of the television viewing universe, I've only been a Lost fan for about a month now. Thanks to the good folks at Netflix streaming, and owing to my obvious lack of any semblance of a consistent social life (Divorced and Proud! Say it Loud! No, I'm not a loser! I call it solitude not loneliness! Freebird!), I was able to knock out all five previous seasons in about three weeks. It's easy to say after the fact, but I don't think I could have enjoyed it any other way, particularly with all the hiatuses (hiati?), months between finales and season premieres, writer's strike, etc. That makes some seasons seem a little choppy (or alternatively meandering) when viewed in big blocks. (Season 3 in particular feels rushed and truncated, even though there's a lot of meaningful action and piece-moving going on). But viewing it en masse lends one to see some of the bigger picture narrative themes running through the show. Some more obvious than other. And it will be incredibly interesting seeing how those themes carry all the way to the end, whether they get resolved, or not get resolved in satisfactory ways, and of course, the last thirty seconds or so of the final episode of the series (Will it be ambiguous and without closure ala The Sopranos fade-to-black? Will it be a "what was shall always be" Battlestar Galactica warm-and-fuzzy ending? Will Jack wake up in a bed next to a CGI-rendered Suzanne Pleshette?)

Of course, the most basic conflict running through Lost is the competing concepts of faith (represented by Locke) versus reason (represented by Jack). The elements of faith, as represented by the admonitions declaring "destiny," the healing power of the island, the mystical and mythological components of the temple and four-footed statue (including Jacob, the man in black, and perhaps immortal Richard Alpert), as well as the continuing presence of ghosts and smoke monsters, face off against the structured reality of science (more accurately, science fiction) with time travel, electromagnetic charge-releasing clock timers, medical experiments, sonic disruptors, donkey wheels causing spacial and temporal displacement, hydrogen bombs, and escaped polar bears. Put it simply, it's the Dharma Initiative (science) battling with The Others (faith) over control of the island. Where the future for the passengers of Flight 815 break down depends on whether they put their stock in either faith or science, Locke or Jack. Neither of them has been particularly successful as of late at providing either answers or security to the rest of the survivors and both have questioned whether they were on the right path in Season Five.

So with the hydrogen bomb going off and potentially setting the clock back to before Desmond decided not to press the button in the hatch, we may see what happens when the passengers land in Los Angeles as originally planned. The key is whether they remember their time on the island or not. Particularly those passengers who died the first time around. And what happens with those who already left prior to the reset? Walt? Aaron? Do they get poofed out of existence, or just go back to their assigned seat and amniotic fluid, respectively? Since the actor who played Walt has definitely reached puberty since 2004, I'm wondering how they find an out, story-wise or actor-wise. And how will it tie in with the overarching narrative of faith versus reason? Will Locke still be paralyzed (or dead if Jacob didn't "heal" him after his father tossed him out an 8th floor window)? Will Not-Locke still exist? What about Jack's father? Still dead? Will his casket go missing? Obviously there will be a schism between what can and did occur scientifically and what happens more or less magically due to the island reset. But, obviously, life cannot just go on as if nothing happened when and if they land at LAX in September, 2004. Whether Jack settles on faith, and Locke on science, or neither, could be the deciding factor in how the whole shebang shakes out.

I'm rooting for Vincent the dog to be the key, though.

(Any and all thematic and guessing questions welcome in the comments! I'd love to discuss.)

1 comment:

  1. Hey - followed your link from the TV/Film CBR board to here.

    Sadly I feel somewhat cynical about Lost these days. To me the timeline split felt more like a doubling up of plot material. Have they run out of stories to tell?