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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lost mid-season eval and the 42 Unanswered Burning Lost Questions


First, I want to mention that Lost has done a nice job reconciling its biggest problem and what could have been its biggest mistake. And no, that's not Nikki and Paulo and stop whining that episode gave the Lost universe Billy Dee Williams. The mistake was not introducing your two most important characters until the final season.

Now, I'm of the opinion that the Lost writers didn't have Jacob and the MIB in mind when they started. I'm pretty sure the pitch was 1)the Island and what it is and 2) the survivors and their obstacles/problems. The MIB and Jacob are embodiments of the main philosophical ideas on the show, and seeing that Jacob wasn't mentioned until Season 3 probably means that's about when they decided to include him. But introducing a character who supposedly orchestrated everything this late could have been disastrous. And I'm talking not so much about Jacob, but the MIB who essentially has been spinning his plan since season 3 when he showed up in that Cabin (meaning that most of seasons 4 and 5 were essentially setting up Ben to stab Jacob via Locke; that's one long con in TV time). It hasn't been a disaster, in large part because of Terry O'Quinn as the MIB, grounding the new character in someone we know and care about already, albeit also quite not himself.

The weakness thus far has been the corralling of all the characters. Sun has turned into Season 2 Michael (Waaalt!- I mean Jiiiiiin!!!!), Frank and Miles seem to be there just to throw out a one liner so we know they didn't get forgotten, and crazy Claire is awesome but satanic Sayid is a bit too over the top for my taste. I've also realized that for some time now, as the focus shifts back to them, our two main characters, Jack and Kate, have become quite secondary. Especially Jack. The most interesting characters on the show are Locke, Sawyer, and Ben, in that order and even though the first is technically dead. And everyone's favorite character is Hurley. I'm not sure what happened, maybe it was Foxy phoning in his performance last season (then again they didn't give him anything to do until the finale), or Kate just getting annoying...anyone else think she's going to be the first of the main 6 to go?

I don't mind the flash-sideways, in fact I like them a lot, though sometimes they're a bit too Wizard of Oz-ish (Charlotte, Dogen, you were there, and Frogurt, and...). But more than not they are quite nice ways to end things: seriously the airport scene with Locke and Jack may have been the best scene in the series thus far, that scene with Boone and Locke was really moving, and Ben refilling his father's Oxygen tank...brilliant!

What did I think of last night's episode, which may be the most anticipated episode aside from the finale? It was good, not great. It seemed to be a bit redundant, I think we could have filled in a lot of the stuff on the Black Rock without seeing it. Or maybe it was just that this was essentially the first Lost episode without any flashes that interrupted the main story. That said, I liked the explanation of the Island. It was vague, simple, yet specific enough to work. I also enjoy the way they're making the MIB and Jacob ambiguous. While the MIB is appearing more evil with each appearance, this episode made Jacob look pretty awful too. And Nestor was able to show off his acting chops. Alpert's been a favorite of mine since we first met him "Not in Portland" and while he became a bit one sided last season, since Jacob's died he's been nothing short of explosive (pun intended).

Now, onto the 42Q's:
Dark UFO lists 598 total mysteries with 293 answered, 89 of which are considered major. They haven't updated that count since late February, so I think it's more like 620 mysteries and 315 of them have been answered. Considering Lost has about 8 1/2 hours left, I guess we know that most of them won't be answered, seeing that if they answered 300 of them they'd have to answer one every 1.7 seconds (for them to answer my 42 they would have to answer roughly one every 12 minutes).

One mystery that some people want resolved, that I think shouldn't be was the fate of Rose, Bernard, and Vincent. I don't mind if I don't see them again; leaving them content at a beach front cabin together is better than bringing them back into this mess on the Island right now, in my opinion, and the perfect ending they always wanted but couldn't have off the Island.

That said, here are the 42 Burning Questions I want answered (sadly, I already know for sure they won't answer a couple of these, but they're on here anyway, but then again I left off ones I know they have to answer, like "what's in the box!"):

  1. Who are Jacob and the MIB?
  2. Where did they (above) come from?
  3. Why can't women on the Island have babies, and who was Karl's mother?
  4. What really happened when Desmond turned the fail-safe key?
  5. How did he, Charlie, Eko, and John survive the blast?
  6. Where is Christian Shepard's body in both timelines?
  7. What are "the rules?"
  8. Who are the Others?
  9. How did the others get established and by whom?
  10. What are the two time-lines?
  11. How did the Numbers end up on the blast door and on the broadcast?
  12. Why was Claire the only person who was supposed to raise Aaron?
  13. Why is Tunisia the exit point of the Island?
  14. Why did Sun not time-travel with the others?
  15. How did those on the plane travel in time?
  16. Why did they need to re-create the original flight as much as possible?
  17. Why did Juliet time-travel with the 815ers, while the others didn't?
  18. How can some others, like Harper, disappear and reappear?
  19. Who did the time traveling 815ers shoot in the canoe? (cf. The Little Prince)
  20. What are the Whispers?
  21. What was the deal with Mikhail?
  22. Why does Brother Campbell have a picture with Eloise Hawking?
  23. How did the Food drops work?
  24. What happened to Annie?
  25. Why does Hugo go by Hurley?
  26. Who are "Adam and Eve?"
  27. Did Desmond lie to Charlie about seeing Claire leave the Island?
  28. Why did Locke lose his ability to walk by the drug plane?
  29. Who was Abaddon, and how'd he know to get Locke to Australia?
  30. Who was Libby's husband?
  31. Why do so many of the characters have psychic-like powers (Walt, Hurley, Miles)?
  32. Who can the MIB kill and not kill?
  33. What makes one no longer a candidate?
  34. Why does Jacob need a replacement?
  35. How did Radzinsky survive the Incident and the purge?
  36. How did Inman get to the Island and end up in the Swan?
  37. Why does ash repel the smoke monster?
  38. Why did Faraday need a nurse and lose his short term memory?
  39. Why does he have a different last name than his parents and no English accent?
  40. What was the Frozen Donkey Wheel and who put it there?
  41. Why did Ben get a tumor?
  42. How do some characters seem to be able to get on/off the Island even when the sub was down?

1 comment:

Parker said...

This is a good assessment of the season so far. But, I think I'm not as bothered by the corralled characters as you are. The show has done it so frequently in the past that its hard to expect much different.

I read somewhere that Team Darlton didn't really nail down the show's central mythology until after season one was over, so I'm pretty sure MIB and Jacob were created at that point. They probably held off revealing them because during season 2, they didn't know just how long the show was going to last. When the ratings began to slip in Season 3, that's probably when they decided to pull the Jacob gun, and reveal his name in Room 23. I can't blame them for their hesitancy to reveal them earlier.

As for your list, I did hear from Jorge Garcia that the writers actually feel they'll be answering more questions than they thought they would, so... I feel like most of my must answer questions deal with the central mythology (MIB/Jacob relationship, why the island, why those six candidate....) so I don't think I"ll be disappointed. I'd love for more understanding, but the rest is all just filler; fun sci-fi stuff that was introduced to emphasize the island's bizarre properties.

As for last night's episode, I loved it. One of the top five for the series, in my opinion. Mythology-wise, it confirmed a lot of my suspicions, and emotionally, it hit a home run, thanks to Mr. Carbonell's acting. Overall, it was a rousing 50 minutes (there was a good 7 minutes extra, which was odd). I just hope it's not downhill from here. A Sun-centric episode next? At least they could have done a Hurley one to ease us back into the Flash Sideways; I guarantee his is more interesting.

Side note: I think the Black Rock stuff was meant to explain the reasoning behind why Richard thought the island was hell. Bound in chains? Unable to escape? A black smoke coming around, killing folks and making general mischief? Sounds like hell to me. I'm fascinated by the idea that all this time, Richard has believed everyone's been in hell. I hope that wasn't just an elaborate attempt to scare its audience for an episode, making us think we had it right all along...