Monday, March 20, 2006

Thoughts on Lost, Season 2

After watching much Lost in the weekend, here's what I can conclude:

- The Others are the new Hatch.
- The writers are really taking some risks with the status quo and audience sympathy.
- The big thing that the show will probably be trying to do in the next season is start reconciling the mystical elements of the Island with the rational explanations that are developing.

Filed in:


chuck said...

What episode are you up to? I made my way to the end of ep15 and have some more exposing things to say (but don't want to spoil anything for you).
Though from what I've gleamed you are right on the button about audience sympathy and status quo. I'm fast seeing the episodes as a series of "Lets vilify XXXXX this week".
I will say that I think that they have a huge problem with guns at the moment. It has completely and I fell unnecessarily warped Jack's behaviour (as well as other survivors). Some of the weakest scenes this series have involved an emotional Jack pointing a gun. They should all go missing soon...
One of the things that is of interest to me is the fact that the opening of the hatch has delivered so many things that they could investigate, yet they all seem to be sitting tight, and not doing anything substantial with it. They seem content to just hit the button. If you are right about the mystical elements being overrun by rational explanation then I want someone like Locke to go through a similar transformation and realise that the only way he can contribute to forging his own path is by not pressing the button c.f. Mike.
Ah I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm not enjoying this series as much. They are doing interesting things, but I've got this feeling that they aren't doing it well. They are being carried by the Lost fix, that need to work out what the hell is going on, rather than actually caring for a) who figures it out and b) how they then show it to us. And that is a shame.
I'm also watching season 1 of 24 for the first time (up to ep12) and can't help feeling that it is a much, much better tv program despite the plot line involving a similar level of 'fantasy' as Lost. There is something uncompromising about the use of time and episode structure in 24 that totally fits the bill, whereas Lost meanders through its episodes with (generally bad) flashbacks giving the slight episodic feel they deem necessary to fit the medium.
Anyway, enough rambling.

hix said...

People I don't think they've vilified:
Ana Lucia, Michael.

People I don't think they've motivated anywhere well enough:

People they are vilifying for good character reasons:

I miss anyone?

Guns are a frickin' necessary yet annoying logic hole. Can't say I've noticed or been annoyed by the Jack thing you point out, but the ramifications of the recent massive power play involving them hasn't been handled well so far.

re: lack of investigation
As ever, I cite, "You uncurious motherfuckers".

24 is one of my favourite shows.
But soooo patchy.
It's only a problem in a couple of eps of S1, but it affects most of S2 and the first half of S3. However, the second have of S3 and all of S4 are excellent.

Seraph said...

I like "Lost".

It's good.

So is cake.


chuck said...

OK guns are supplying too many out of character moments in Lost. Jack is stand out OOC man at mo. At end of ep1 he basically looks as though he was going to shoot hatch man because he was emotional about the connection between hatch man, him and his miracle wife. It didn't make sense to me - at all. And now whenever confronted by a problem, Jack is reaching for the guns. Why?

Yes, the guns create good scenes. eg when Jack leads a charge with guns and is 'outsmarted' (I think Jack was right, they were bested by one gun and theatrical trickery). The reason these scenes are good is that by taking up arms, the survivors are playing dumb, and that gives the writers heaps of scope to add to the drama and conflict among the main characters. i.e. dumb move Jack: lose those guns, be outsmarted/bested, fail, and become a) angry with self and b) angry with Kate for it all going wrong. Nice. But will/has Jack learnt from this - Hell no!

Charlie is being treated weakly. He shouldn't be a patsy. I'm all for him starting to use again. I think I would they way he is being written.

I'm waiting for the Locke as bad man episode. We have had hints - lashing out against Charlie (another OOC moment from my perspective) and the whole hatch button responsibility thing which is just going to go noticably wrong sometime soon. But I keep wishing and waiting for a deliberate act of malicious Locke badness. Hence me wanting him to decide 'No, I'm not going to push the button this time',

Saywer is evil, but unbalanced now because he still seems to need to do good. I don't now how he pulled of the Long Con and plans to keep it up while still maintianing the same level of social interaction we have come to know and love from him.
It is going to be funny when the stash goes missing though - you hear that Lost writers, MAKE THE STASH GO MISSING!

Agree - Mike is not vilified, but I reckon that he and Ana Lucia should be deemed villians becuse they have both had TERRIBLE flashbacks this series.

Sayid is a villian but a well motivated villian. Jack is a villian to his own character, and I hate him for it. Kate is a villian cause she is so pretty that she can blow people up and twist little bad-ass Sawyer and pathetic Jack round her pretty little finger without us caring one pretty little bit.

Characters I Hate:
Jack, Kate, Charlie.

Characters I Like:
Sawyer, Eko, Locke, Sayid.

I have rambled long enough - sorry to bore you.

hix said...

The stash MUST go missing.
(more, later)
BTW, Harkonnen is CG, right?

hix said...

Locke must go bad because the writers have established his anger management problem.

Sawyer. Well, he's obviously being used as a symbol about people being unable to change their true natures, being unable to have a fresh start by being on the island. However, he's a con man. Pulling cons only works in built up civilisations where you can leave after ripping someone off. It doesn't work when you con someone and then have to look them in the face every single day ... so I think Sawyer may have power but he's gunna get bit.

I thought the Ana Lucia flashback was excellent. While all the characters on Lost are damaged, it's great to see one that's totally frakked. Ana Lucia has a long way to go and a lot of issues to resolve before she stops being an interesting source of conflict on the island.

By contrast, see Jin and Sun. My favourite couple, but most of their conflict has been resolved. What's next to keep them interesting and relevant to the story?

I hated Jack the moment he pushed the button and bought into Locke's belief system. It totally invalidated his character for me (although, on a rewatch, I can see how the writers tried to motivate it).

Having Mike look around the hatch and notice the blast doors was great. I thought, "Finally they're going to investigate this stuff." They didn't. Lost aint about solutions; it's about raising questions.

Why do you think Sayid is a villain?

chuck said...

**** spoiler alert - you have been warned! ****

CG = Harkonnen = Correct.

OK, 'tis good we agree that stash and Locke will go bad.

I just don't trust that a beautifully voiced UK Indian is playing the part of a US 'trained' Iraqi torturer. Something about the casting just doesn't fit and makes me think - you are a very bad man Sayid! So I guess it is my personal prejudice that is making me fit his character to the villain hypothesis. I like his character a lot though, he is well motivated, has a very interesting path to the island that is yet to be fully revealed and above all he is very useful - to the writers, survivors and audience. He is someone we don't have to like, but probably all do, that can and will have a long and useful contribution to the series. He, at least, will not be accidentally shot!

Mike is another useful character, he is smart, inquisitive and has a strong motivating factor that can be pulled whenever required. Like Sayid he too is safe for the moment, despite having seriously jeopardised that by taking up arms and running off. I HATED his flashback this season though. It was weak, poor law, dumb emotional strings, bad acting, stilted story.

And I stand by my hatred (too strong a word to use here but, well, there I said it) for Ana Lucia's flashback. It was too quick, I didn't believe the crazy cop-on-patrol scene and I wanted the conclusion to be far nastier - more vengeance, more premeditation. To fix it, I think that eps 7&8 should have been stuck together into a double-episode, the focus on Ana but interweaving it with the history of the other survivors so that the drama shown post the shooting played out from Ana's farkked perspective. If they had budgeted more than one episode to get through Ana's story and the 40+ days on the island I reckon that her 'damage' would have been conveyed better than her tying Sayid up and then deciding not to shoot him...

Kate, is neither particularly inquisitive or useful. She is the female version of Hurley. I'd be really interested to see a screen time comparison between Hurley/Kate. By my reasoning they should be even, but I suspect pretty Kate has graced the screen more than Hurley. Which probably goes to show how important the writers consider the competition between the wanna be alpha males is. Hurley is not vied for by those boys (well maybe Sawyer likes him, all those pet names and everything!).

Yeah and guess that I better mention the lack of investigation. Locke's character should be 100% preoccupied with working out what the button does. I think a good motivating force to fuel his going bad would be his exhaustive investigation of the hatch leading to NO reason apart from the evident history for continuing to push the button. The hatch has always been Lockes project - he would not stop and vegetate now. I think the writers are being lazy here because they see that responding to investigation as answering questions rather than supplying reasons for the survivors to ask more. They also have the power to shut down or otherwise punish any form of investigation in the hatch. Why would you let a device like that go un-looked into for this long?

ramble ends (sorry I seem to be taking up a huge amount of your comment resource at the mo!)

chuck said...

oh oh oh!

*** more spoilers ***

ep 17 is called "Lockdown". can't wait.

I meant to say that if Locke was as obsevant as he is made out to be, then surely he would question why the heiroglyphs flicked over when he failed to get the number in on time. I mean what is that all about? and when is Sayid gonna come forward and say "Well, before I used to torture people for a living I just happened to be an egyptologist!".

waiting for ep16 to arrive as i type this. the internet is the best place to be!