A Case of the…. Lost

In my latest entry on Heroes, I stated that Lost needs to take a look at their NBC counterpart in order to better understand the balance of making significant revelations while still managing to keep the overall mystique of the show. It’s not easy to answer questions, while bringing up new ones, all while satisfying the viewers, and Heroes managed to do that. Lost has struggled.

In retrospect, though, I think I’m making an unfair comparison, and so is everybody else who compares the two shows. After all, these two series are at drastically different stages, as Heroes is concluding its first season, while Lost is closing out its third. During Lost‘s first season, so little was known that the slightest revelation was considered huge, much like Heroes right now. When we found out in season one that Sawyer had met Jack’s father just before he died, it was a big moment. Now, not so much. I’m not saying that there isn’t room for improvement, as I still believe that Lost needs to find a better balance of filling in the gaps of certain mysteries, but fans also need to recognize that the show simply can’t survive if, every episode, it’s resolving a mystery.

Before I get to this past week’s episode (with some quick thoughts on last week’s episode as well), I have been thinking for a while, and I am beginning to think that the writers either need to completely rethink the flashback storytelling formula, or they need to abandon it (to an extent, anyway). My line of thinking is that, at this point, we do know an awful lot about the characters’ back story, so many of the flashbacks are becoming redundant. It’s like, we get it, people keep betraying Locke, and Jack has trust issues, and Kate can’t find true happiness because of what she did, and so on. Yes, the flashbacks often do compliment the story, but overall it seems like we already knew that aspect of the character’s personality.

Along with that, and this is especially true regarding The Others story arc, to me, it seems like what’s happening on the island is a lot more interesting than what’s happening in the flashback. In that regard, the flashback is almost detrimental to the storytelling.

It just seems like, initially, the flashbacks were used as a way of telling the viewer why the person was on the flight, and what happened in their lives to make them the person they are today. For the most part, we know all of that now. I’m not quite sure what the solution is, because the flashback formula is such an intricate and identifiable part of the show, but I do think it needs to be rethought.

Anyway, I enjoyed last week’s episode, particularly Jack’s decision to not reveal that Juliet had asked him to kill Ben (if you recall from my previous column, I was surprised that he had done that). My friend thought it was lame, but I also liked Jack’s closing line, about his tattoos saying and meaning two different things.

I also liked getting a closer look at the community of The Others. It was also good to see Tom take a more firm, leadership role (for reasons I have already stated). I don’t think a lot of people recognize how much we’ve found out about The Others (compared to how little we once knew), while also forcing us to speculate about their society.

Finally, I think that ABC REALLY needs to cool down on their “you’ll never believe what you’re going to find out” promotions. Quite simply, they’re setting themselves up for disappointment and backlash. According to the previews, we were supposed to find out what happened to the people kidnapped, and the ENTIRE scene was pretty much what we saw in the preview. If you’re not going to tell us, fine. But don’t make us think you’re going to.

This week’s episode was what many will consider “filler,” however I found it an enjoyable, light-hearted break. Like I said in the intro, the show simply can’t thrive if, every single episode, they’re making some monumental revelation (and trust me, a lot of fans expect that .either there was no revelation, or it was too insignificant).

The back story didn’t tell us much of anything we didn’t already know, however I did like how Hurley essentially let go of the curse and decided to have hope. Him bribing the fortune teller, who initially resisted but ultimately gave him, was also a really humorous moment. Another great laugh out loud moment? “Shut up Red .Neck ..Man” (short pause) “Touche.”

The stuff with the VW van was, again, just fun. If nothing else, it provides us with a new setting, of sorts. Plus, the addition of beer always makes things more interesting.

Next week looks interesting, but, again, they’re setting themselves up with this “monumental” claim. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Finally, can I just say that I’d like to meet the person in charge of marketing in the Dharma Initiative? That guy definitely deserves a raise. I mean, really, talk about brand awareness!

Sir Linksalot: Lost