Oct 21, 2010

[TV] Lost: Season 6

Lost: Season 6I know, I know - this show ended a few months ago and the "hype" period is already over. But hey, I never really claimed to write these just to ride the wave of blogoshere popularity - I blog when I ready for it! And darn, it did take me a few months to really let my feelings about this final season fully form in my head and perhaps other bits of me. At the very least, I did post an initial reaction to the series finale.

When it comes to the final season of any show, it's hard to evaluate it on the merits of the season alone. This problem is even harder when you talk about epic shows who manage to get past the five-year mark (and then some). After all, the final season is supposed to be the culmination of all the seasons that had come before. This is the climax - the height of all storytelling and the realization of years of writing, re-writing and manipulating various characters, events and plot lines. All these have to come together to work somehow.

We all knew this was coming once the folks behind Lost announced that the should would definitely end. It was a bold move to give the show and end date when any studio executive holds fast to the silly belief that there's never too much of a good (and profitable) thing. But still they kept to their word and worked their way to this final ending in all its glory.

Carlton Cuse at the Comic-con LOST Panel.Image via WikipediaLost: Season Six, or perhaps more popularly marketed as The Final Season, was the end of a long journey for many Losties (including "newer" ones such as myself). After six long years being stuck on the island (past, present or future), the creative team of J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse finally brought this plane down to land...and what an ending it was.

The first few seasons were rather distinct in their use of flashbacks to reveal more about the history of the various characters. Admittedly it was a lengthy process but for those who had invested the time and effort, the pay off was certainly rewarding and we all picked our favorites. It was like Survivor on a greater scale where the drama is better thought out since fiction beats reality most of the time. In later seasons we had to deal with flash-forwards and thus the story now took place in two separate time frames (and then even more later on) as we got a glimpse of the future without any idea of how the characters had gotten there.

This season was unique for its use of what fans could only describe as flash-sideways - views of an alternative universe where the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 never got into the near-fatal accident that stranded them on the island in the first place. Admittedly, I personally wasn't sure whether this world was to be believed or not (Lost likes curve balls after all) but once we all got settled, the implications were pretty major.

But beyond the seemingly idyllic world of the flash-sideways universe (yes, I know there were some violent spots there too, but humor the turn of phrase), the real world continued on and it was pretty intense. The season opener alone was epic given the ultimate death of Juliet (2009 Emmy Winner and 2010 Nominee Elizabeth Mitchell) and the realization that Jacob (Mark Pellegrino) was dead and yet still present on the island in a manner only Hurley (Jorge Garcia) could perceive. And Sayid (Naveen Andrews) dies and yet...doesn't, but in the same way Jacob is still around. That first episode really kicked things off in a big way and really set the potential tone for the season.

Was the entire season solid gold? Probably not. In time it was hard to figure out the relevant purpose of the flash-sideways universe and eventually a lot of my personal speculations were proven wrong. Amazing characters like Juliet were gone and Ben (2008 Emmy Winner and 2010 Nominee Michael Emerson) was, well, no longer the the kind of Ben whom we had all learned to love and hate at the same time over the course of the past few years. Jack (2010 Emmy Nominee Michael Fox) was just as annoying as ever in both universes and so was Kate (Evangeline Lilly). Plot lines wandered around a bit in the middle and as the end approached, I'm sure a lot of fans (like my partner and I) soon realized that a lot of our treasured questions (what the heck was Walt? What was there an Egyptian statue on the island? Why is Vincent seemingly omnipotent and omnipresent?) were going to go unanswered.

But the show did manage to pay off with one of the bigger mysteries of the island - the brothers. Yes, we finally got to learn more about Jacob and The Man In Black (Titus Welliver) and why they're in a constant struggle. Plus we got a special episode devoted to everyone's favorite mascaraed immortal Richard (Nestor Carbonell) and his unique story. Oh yes, I am the kind of person who loved both Ab Aeterno and Across The Sea, as seemingly hard as that is to believe. Sure, they didn't necessarily contribute all that much to the overall story, but it did give us a much deeper understanding of these characters. Given the prospects of no more Lost stories, this kind of late-game character development was simply storytelling gold.

As for the ending, well, my other reaction post is a better discussion of that. But on the whole (and with a few month's worth of reflection), I still stand by original statement to say that I liked it. It worked for me and it did explain a lot about the overall story and some of the surrounding mythos. Plus the fact that the ending was decent, even though it didn't necessarily meet everyone's expectations. Then again, there is no such ending - nothing could ever please everyone and so you just have to deal with the ending that you got.

As a season, it still worked. The flash-sideways concept was still pretty good and the main storyline was full of last-minute mysterious (WTF was the Lighthouse all about?) that were added in as final puzzles to leave with the fans. Plus we had fun cameos like Boone (Ian Somerhalder) and Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) just for the heck of it.

Lost: Season 6 may not have been the best season of the show, but it was definitely a fulfilling experience and a great way to wrap up a series as massively dynamic and complex as this one. It gets 4 turn around reveals (the plane is wired with explosives! no, the pilot always comes back! VINCENT!) out of a possible 5.

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