Blogging Lost: The Season Premiere.

My history with the show Lost is complicated and long, but I still couldn’t resist watching the final season’s premiere on a website that streams live TV. Not only did I watch the entire two-hour premiere, but I’d been tuned in for the hour-long recap that aired before, leaving me harumphing for most of last night while I drank wine and pretended not to be riveted.

It’s a good thing I watched the recap because I did not remember, at all, where the show had left off. But most of the review was confined to the first couple of seasons of the show, when the characters were left clueless about the island’s mysteries while they dealt with the problems they brought with them. It made me nostalgic for the past. The first couple of seasons were the only ones in which it was more intriguing than silly, even though it had its trite network conventions and made some missteps in the way it portrayed it’s wonderfully international and diverse cast.

My reaction to Season 3 was mixed, but since then I’ve found Lost unbearable, and only watch out of a sense of obligation and routine. At the end of the day, I’d really like to know what all that was about, even though the show’s seemed to have forgotten and dropped more interesting story-lines than the ones it’s introduced. While I hadn’t forgotten the blinding flash last season that left us not-wondering whether they’d all been blown up in an atom bomb (not wondering because how on earth would they have a final season without its characters, but also annoyed that we weren’t wondering because they blew up a freaking atom bomb and the only reason they’re not all dead is because they’re on Lost) I had forgotten meeting Jacob and his eons-old struggles with his arch-nemesis and “friend,” a rivalry that’s way too spot on. (Jacob is dressed in all white, you see, and the other dude is dressed in black. Ok, we get it.) I had also forgotten that the black-clothed dude had inhabited the body of John Locke to leave poor Terry O’Quinn urging Ben to kill Jacob, launching a weird struggling with some new plane crash survivors that somehow landed in the present with Sun, Ben and Locke’s body, not in 1977 with the other returnees.

The revelations for the premiere? The dude dressed in black was the smoke monster, and now the not-John Locke character is the smoke monster. “I’m sorry you had to see me like that,” he tells Ben. Who cares? CGI and too many close-ups of what it actually does has robbed the smoke monster of all its glory. One of the best scenes of Lost was the end of the first episode, when the plane crash survivors were relieved to be alive, on a beach awaiting rescue, and hear and feel the island throb with what sounded like the footsteps of a giant menace. That it was a column of smoke was disappointment enough. That it’s the realization of evil on the island, counteracting the island’s healing powers, is stupid.

During Juliette’s unnecessarily drawn out death (we already knew she was a goner, why did we have to see Sawyer holding her and sobbing?) she wants to tell him what only Miles and his listening-to-the-dead abilities can tell him after she’s buried: It worked. We know that it means the atom bomb worked. The dichotomy driving the show now, one that’s not at all as mysterious as it’s meant to be, is that the atom bomb created a set of parallel worlds: one in which the atom bomb ploy to change the past (it’s too complicated to explain) did work and the flight landed safely in L.A. in 2004, and one in which the island jumped through time so that the characters didn’t get blown up and are instead as stuck as they ever were on an island with mean weird people who hate them.

Because it’s Lost, and because there are all these tricky things that happen when you try to change your destiny (which we know from the show!) the world in which everything at first seems a-okay isn’t really so, and the one in which ther’re stuck on the island is going to play some kind of a role in helping our characters get their lives back. And that’s probably why I’ll keep watching. I still want to know what happens to the people I met in the first episode, and see what happens if they had carried their problems all the way home on the plane, rather than facing them on the island.

But this post is partly an excuse to let you tell us what you think. So have at it.

  • julian

    Hurley (as always) really made the episode for me:

    *looking across lake at giant temple* “…I guess we’ve found the temple.”

  • I was going to comment but it’s clear you hate Lost the way I hate Heroes so there’s no point

    • Convince me I shouldn’t hate it!!! After I posted this I read Slate’s reactions, and one of them said the parallel worlds was a good metaphor for the anomie Lost viewers feel: Have these past five years been worth it, or was it all a bust? I thought that was a good point.

      • I read the same Slate post. Lost isn’t for everyone (and no I don’t think that makes me better). But once you get wrapped up in questions and answers, it’s hard to enjoy it.

  • tamarialmond

    the island underwater pan was an insult to cgi.
    and what the eff was up with the scene where miles is “hearing” juliette. i don’t remember previous “listening-to-the-dead” scenes being that ridiculous. it was embarrassing. i rolled my eyes more than once last night. DUMB. but will i keep watching? prob.

  • distance88

    And Sawyer’s response to Juliet’s dying kiss request — “You got it, blondie.” Barf!

    For me tho, Terry O’Quinn is reason enough to keep watching.

    • John Locke was always my favorite character. Walkabout is my favorite episode of all time. I’m not sure how I feel yet about Terry O’Quinn being the bad guy.

      • I’ll take Terry O’Quinn any way I can get him. He has more character in his crow’s feet than any of the other male actors on this show have in their whole bodies. That’s real.

  • slb

    I’ve learned to stop having expectations of Lost and to watch sort of impassively. If something awesome happens (like Sayid shooting little Ben last year), that’s great. But when I’m subjected to Ilana and the freaking shadow of the statue or a battle of good and evil btwn Jacob (and how much of a letdown was *he* when we found out he was just some random blonde immortal except, oops, not quite immortal after all… in *one* episode??) and ol’ boy who shapeshifts, I just accept it as par for the course.

    I can’t get angry at this tripe anymore. Even last night, when they added a whole new set of extras and principals with this whole “Temple” thing (and I hate how everything that’s been shrouded in so much mystery up to this point is so open to the Losties now; there used to be a time when they would’ve had to leave Sayid outside the whole in the ground and wait for him to be sucked inside or something. Now they’re privy to the whole healing exercise? Lame.), I just shrugged and let it be.

    I don’t know how this 2004 thing will play out, but I’m not really invested in these ppl’s non-island life, so I hope they conflate these alternate worlds in the first third of the season.

    Also, it must be said: I always hated Juliet.

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  • Wow. I loved Juliet.

    At one point I thought she was the best female character on TV. Why the hate?

    The only time I ever found Sawyer (who seems like he was assembled by middle aged housewives out of random romance novel covers) remotely bearable is when he and Juliet got together. His whole 35-year old “bad-boy” shit was just embarrassing otherwise.

    I missed a bunch of episodes in the beginning so I also appreciated the recap… but I was horrified by Sayid’s backstory: he fell in love with a woman he tortured? I’d thought he was an interesting, morally complex Arab character (played by an East Indian, sigh) but I’d somehow missed this essential element of his character. Now he fucking grosses me out.