Thursday, June 19, 2008

"So we can go . . . off the island?

And so we can! I know I'm way far behind in publishing this inevitable post, but it seriously has taken me a long time to, well, find some time to watch the 2 hour epic that was the Lost season four finale. Most bloggers, according to Doc Jensen of Entertainment Weekly's weekly Lost preview and postreview column, did not write about the season four finale until a week afterward, just to let it all sink in.

I myself went through that same phase because the season four finale FUCKED ME UP. I was a mess. I couldn't think straight. I didn't know what to think. This partly could have been due to the great tradition my friends and I play during every season finale of Lost known as OMINOUS. Every time an ominous moment occurs, you take a shot of beer. It's pretty simple. And trust me, the season finale was enough to get you pretty drunk. Of course, since it is Lost, multiple viewings are essential to understanding what happened. When you've already seen it once and know what is going to happen at the end, the second viewing allows you to better understand exactly what is going on.


This finale finally showed the moment we watchers had been waiting for four seasons: the moment they leave the island. Up until the season three finale, it was not even fathomable that they could or would get off the island. Of course, that epic finale (in my opinion, the best one so far) showed us that in fact Jack and Kate do get off the island, but things have drastically changed. Jack becomes a guilt-ridden, suicidal OC addict while Kate wants nothing to do with him. How did we get from point A on the island to this point B? Through the use of flashforwards, we see what becomes of our Oceanic Six.

Kate has a dream where she sees Claire looming over Aaron. Claire furtively tells Kate not to bring him back to the island. Was this really a dream, though, or was it ghost Claire warning her? Sayid kills a man posted outside Hurley's mental institution and then convinces Hurley to leave with him because "it is no longer safe." Hurley notes that he speaks to dead people. Sun confronts Charles Widmore about his relations with her father (I knew Sun's dad was in on it!) And our cursed hero Jack gets bitched out by Kate for even speaking to Jeremy Bentham, the man in the coffin. In the finale's last scene, Jack breaks into the funeral parlor and opens the coffin. Ben this sneaks up from behind him and talks about getting ALL of the Oceanic Six back to the island because after they left "some very bad things happened." Jeremy Bentham is then revealed to be John Locke!

And this is where I got fucked up. The last scene of Locke in the coffin spoke volumes. Last time we saw Locke, he had become the leader of the Others while Ben pushed a large frozen wheel in order to "move" the island. I think two things have become self-evident:

1. Ben moved the island in time as the Orchid was a time-travel station and was located near a large discharge of negatively charged ions, or something like that.

2. After Ben moves the island, he time travels to the future, where his flashforward from this past season begins.

I later found this YouTube video (see below) that really contradicts a lot of things. Apparently, the writers were scared of a possible spoiler leak about the season finale, so they shot two other alternate endings. Their main choice was to have Locke in the coffin, but in case word got out, they could have gone with either Desmond or Sawyer. The thing is, all three of these alternate endings could have taken the show in different directions. One could ask, "Wait, last time we saw Desmond, he was reunited with Penny, so how did he die and why was he telling everyone to go back?" One could ask, "How did Sawyer get off the island, and why was he telling everyone to go back?" But what really makes it epic is "Why Locke?" However, these three endings lead me to believe that while the ending is clear to the writers, they can go anyway about it to get to that point, whether it was through Desmond, Sawyer, or Locke.

Locke, I believe, is one of the most important pieces of the show in understanding the Island. He has the strongest connection with it, and his narrative revolves around uncovering its secrets. As we saw in his last flashback, Locke has been groomed since birth to become a leader on the Island. This episode raised so many questions that I can't even get into it right now.

That's the thing about Lost. You can't explain one thing without having to explain a million other things.

After my first viewing, I kept wondering why Jack made the decision to follow Locke's advice and lie to the rest of the world. The second viewing put it into perspective. His controlling "I have to fix it, I made a promise" attitude overwhelms him with unimaginable guilt. Ben had told him that he should be off the island in an hour. He collected the remainder of the castaways and flew to the freighter. But they weren't counting on all the C4 explosives to be on the ship and trigger right around the time they landed. Jack made the decision to get on that chopper. His quick thinking skipped one thing, though: the people not on the chopper. He couldn't save them all, only some, but it was better than everyone dying. Jin was running toward the chopper, and many castaways including Rose and Bernard were still on the freighter. Then BOOM, it explodes in a blaze of glory. Michael sees Christian Shephard, who says "You can go now," before he dies in the fiery explosion. Michael is for sure dead (Harold Perrineau has commented on the demise of Michael in interviews), but I'm gonna bank that Jin, Rose, and Bernard aren't dead. And if they are, well, just because you die on the island doesn't mean you're off the show. Ghosts became a huge theme this season. And Faraday was still on that little boat with some of the castaways, what happened to them? Sawyer, Juliette, Miles, and Charlotte are still on the island as well. Then, the island disappeared, and the chopper was stranded. From there, you know that it crashes, Penny rescues them, and so begins the off-island flashforwards.

Lost yet?

It's fucking confusing. I'm recapping just to get my thoughts straight.

I guess what I take the most from this episode is that not only does it conclude another chapter of this story but also sets up the eventual conclusion of the show: season five will be the Oceanic Six trying to get back to the island while season six will show them back on it, and its end. But many questions were answered. We now know why Jack was so fucked up. He had to make the split second decision to lose everyone or save a few. In a sense, he left the remaining castaways to die in order to save himself. His look of pain and guilt on the chopper as he surveyed the wreckage said it all. Maybe lying to the world about everything was his way to escape the plaguing scorn that would have come from this outset. Think back to Michael's slaying of Anna Lucia and Libby: Ben said Michael would never say a word because how it would look if people knew what he did to get off the island? What would people think of Jack the hero as Jack the killer? And now, he's so weak that he's listening to Benjamin Linus.

With this confusing ending (why the hell is Locke going by the name Jeremy Bentham?), Season Five can begin with a brand new clean slate. I have no idea where the fuck the show is going. I do have one prediction, as minor as it is: Charlotte is Annie. You remember Annie, Ben's childhood friend who gave him that doll? Where did she go? Was she involved in the purge? My guess is that Ben somehow manipulated the situation where she a) left the island at an early age because he knew what was going to happen in the future or b) he somehow wiped her memory, but she has strong feelings that the island is where she was born. As for some things I've heard about season five, we can definitely expect a Miles and Faraday flashbacks. They were supposed to happen this season but the writer's strike fucked up the schedule.

Once again, Lost has blown my mind. I've been watching this show since September 2001 and it has instantly become the best TV show I have ever seen. It encompasses nearly every universal theme out there (good vs evil, divinity vs humanity, the duality of man, religion vs science, etc.) The pop culture references make it evoke so many different time periods. The characters are universal in their own right. I feel like every kind of person is almost portrayed on this show. In a sense, Lost is about life. This season showed the return to form since the glory days of Season One. After the season four finale ended, I realized something. There are only two seasons left. After two seasons, it's over, that's it. I suddenly got depressed because I knew in two years I would be depressed. I have never invested so much time and emotion into a television show before. When that last episode airs, I don't know how I'm going to feel. So I try not to think about it. But I know it'll be something I remember for the rest of my young life.

Until that day comes, though, I can't wait to see what comes next.

It's Lost, bitches.

Season Four Awards:

Best Episode: "The Constant"
Best Quote: "Destiny is a fickle bitch."--Benjamin Linus
Best WTF Moment (two way tie): Locke in the coffin and Sayid working for Ben
Best Lesbian Fight Scene: Juliette vs. Charlotte
Best Flashback: Locke and Matthew Abbadon in the hospital
Worst Episode: Juliette's flashback
Best Supernatural Element: Ben calls upon the Smoke Monster
Best Badass Scene: Sayid vs. Keamy

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