Lost is overrated

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I’ve never been a huge fan of Lost, but it still intrigues me enough to make me follow it. I think the first season was a grandiose exercise of futility. They used an excuse of a plot to pack together a bunch of TV-writing conventions used exclusively for the “Cool Factor”. It packed horror, thriller, mystery. It was a patchwork of copied ideas from all kinds of sources. After all they were enabled to do everything that looked cool without needing any excuse for consistence. Everything could happen since people were having visions, so they just showed up on screen what looked viscerally cool without ANY pretense of motivation. It was a WFT?! from beginning to end, and people loved it because the screenplay was good (disaster! people die! survival! monsters! ghosts! super human beings! blood! drama! things hidden in the forest!). All artificial trickery, but done well enough that it worked as long you weren’t asking too many questions.

This joke of a show then morphed into something much better with the second series. They went in a direction I didn’t expect. They started to hint at a much bigger picture, showing that all that preceded wasn’t simply casual and unmotivated like a trainwreck of genres. The mythology of Lost started for real and not just as a clump of Cool Ideas artificially stuck together. It started to make sense, it started to hint that there was something consistent that linked all the parts. It showed that everything to that point was just a veil, and that there was so much more behind. For the public the show became also harder to follow because the number of questions rose exponentially to an unmanageable level. Too many questions, not enough answers, and a show increasingly hard to follow due to the many elements and recursive intricacies.

I don’t remember exactly where season 3 ends and season 4 starts, but lately the show became a sci-fi hack with some absurd notion of time-travel that allowed them to mess again with a bunch of things that didn’t make sense. It also completely shifted the focus to new elements (Ben vs Widmore) while dropping most of the mysteries (mythology) that built the first two series.

Season 5 works. It is relatively likable, but dreadful if you consider what it actually IS. We are at episode 7, the next 3 will be mostly retrospectives, yet we don’t know the MOTIVATIONS behind anything. If there’s one thing that annoys me it’s when a bunch of characters do things WITHOUT KNOWING WHY. For seven episodes we’re being said that they “have to go back to the island”, that Locke needs to die. Yet we have no idea of the actual reasons. On Q23 they call this “mystical flim-flam”, or another way to show symbolic stuff (sacrifice! betrayal!) without any connection or consistence. Hey, you have to go back to the island. Why?

– We’re supposed to go back–
– …because it’s our destiny.

You have to help me!
You’re supposed to help me!

your path leads back to the island.

And deep down in your heart, you know
we never should’ve left the island.

This just form the very last episode. Another show wouldn’t get any free passes with these ludicrous dialogues. Remember the first time they made a flash-forward where Jack meets Kate and tells her “we have to go back”? Why? Because they “feel they should”. We are still at that point. People doing things because they “feel” they should, or because they are “supposed” to. Or because they saw ghosts who told them so.

Now I know that one theme of the show is about “faith”, and faith is, well, about acting stupidly (read as: without motivations), but this has been dragged for seven episodes that are completely centered and moved by that idea: they had to go back, for whatever unexplained reason or mystical flim-flam.

I’m pretty sure we’ll get an answer to this, how convincing we’ll see, but even considering that this is still a season built around a trick. It works because they reset the whole thing. Instead of resuming all the threads they left behind, they started brand-new ideas and mysteries (like the letter from Locke to Jack, Aaron, Ben getting beat , the time jumps on the island…), all self-contained and relatively easy to manage. Easier to follow for spectators who haven’t memorized the whole lostpedia. But at the end it is an excuse to pad the plot while they set-up the dominoes for the last season. All build-up and no substance. It works like the first series: only acceptable if you don’t ask questions. If you don’t pretend that it’s all built to obtain an effect, and not to be consistent and logic.

One mention about Legend of the Seeker, since I’ve watched the first four episodes and read the whole book it’s taken from: it’s quite awful. It betrays the book in every way possible down to the basic concepts. The acting is pretty awful and the dialogues worse. The plot is childish, predictable and yet filled with holes. Exemplary is the scene with Richard and Kalan hiding behind a rock. An army passes behind. “Look, the army just went offscreen. We can stand up.” The only good aspects are the beautiful scenery, the good photography and Khalan and Zedd characters that feel close to the book. The rest is an awful adaptation and terrible TV writing.

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