Wednesday, May 25, 2005

LOST: I Had a Bad Feeling About This ...

I thought this might happen ...

Tonight's season finale of LOST is going to accomplish just what the producers wanted - everyone is going to be talking about it. But it's not going to be "oh my God, can you believe that?" or "oh damn I can't believe that happened." Nope, what's going to be on everyone's mind is a simple phrase, now commonly abbreviated as: WTF?


As has been par for the course, tonight's finale had two hours that, plot-wise, were mostly uneventful. Again, it was all build-up, but the build up was done so, so well ... creating intensity, anticipation, and drama at it's best. The characters stole the spotlight as usual. There were a few great moments. The hapless science teacher Artz getting BLOWN TO BITS by the dynamite he was holding was a hilariously dark moment. Sayid healing Charlie by igniting gun powder on his wound was kinda cool. The tension between Michael and Sawyer on the raft was great. The flashbacks, as usual, were insightful, well-written, and intriguing. But this was the FINALE. And at the least, there should have been some kind of revelation that did something, anything, to move the plot forward. Now there were three main plot threads here, but only one had any kind of interesting conflict, while the other two were totally redundant and seemingly pointless. Okay, Walt getting kidnapped from the raft was kind of cool, and the fate of Sawyer and Michael and Jin, left flailing in the water after the raft got blown up, is one of the most interesting setups for next season. So even though the boat of weirdo redneck dudes that caused all the trouble provides about 50 questions and no answers, this would have been fine if the other plots delivered at all. They didn't. The Danielle plot was a waste. Claire's baby gets kidnapped AGAIN and for what? Just more ambiguity and stretching of the action. Then, the big reveal. After about an hour and a half of Jack, Kate, Locke and Hurley journeying with the dynamite to open the hatch, they finally blow it open with about one minute left in the show. And inside is ... wait for it ... A FREAKIN' LADDER. Wow, what a shocking surprise! It's like opening the mystery door to find ... a hallway! NOBODY CARES IF THERE'S A LADDER. We waited all year and spent 26 hours waiting for THIS? Look, I appreciate a good mystery as much as anyone, but this is now, officially, ridiculous. Veronica Mars had an awesome finale that answered all questions and raised new ones simultaneously, in ONE HOUR. Hell, 24 has mastered the art of amazing cliffhangers, but that show has also delivered one hell of an ending for its finales. And for all that people complain about how The X-Files wrapped up, that show almost always DELIVERED on its season finales - it never let it's viewers down once for a good SIX YEARS before things started to get muddled. This is season ONE of LOST and there has not even been a hint of payoff. Individual episodes of the show have been AMAZING. Some of the best TV I've ever seen. But the overarching plot has done the following: set up a brilliant mystery that is completely open-ended, with about eight or nine different threads tying back to the central question of "what is going on with the island?", and then, in the end, has progressed those threads in a fashion that can only be described as WEAK. The following mysteries have been hovering about all season: How was Locke's paralysis cured after the crash? Why did Jack see his dead father on the island? What is the signifigance of Hurley's "cursed" numbers? What is the nature of Walt's apparent psychic powers and did they or the numbers affect the plane crash or tie into the larger mystery of the island? What is the "monster" on the island? Is it real or some kind of illusion? Where is the island? Why did the plane crash? Who are "the others" that Danielle speaks of? What happened to her child, Alex? What is the signifigance of Claire's baby? Who is Ethan Rom and why did he try to kidnap her baby? What is the Black Rock, a seemingly ancient ship, doing on the island? What is in the hatch? Man, these are only SOME of the questions that the writers have posed to us, and yet none of them are even close to being answered, which is just LAME. This show has at times been such a breath of fresh air. So original, such well-developed characters. Great production. Wonderful acting. And one of the most intriguing premises ever on TV. But come on, give us a reason to keep watching. And no, the mystery of whether Charlie will get back on heroin is NOT enough. Overall, a disapointing season finale that failed to advance the mystery to one of the year's most perplexing mysteries, on what was, in any case, one of this year's best shows. If the ending had delivered, this could easily have been an "A" episode, but what we got forces me to lower things substantially. My grade: B -

Well, what else:


More fun at Universal. Got a caricature done of me, pretty funny lookin'. Also got some cool photos with the cowboys and cowgirls at the Wild West backlot set. Later went to NBC for a free screening of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I really enjoyed this movie and thought it had tons of funny moments and an overload of cool ideas. I've never read the books but always kind of meant to and I could pretty much tell that their humor and imaginative ideas would be right up my alley. The cast did a great job, the movie had an almost old-school British feel with great character designs and really fun narration from the Hitchhiker's Guidebook. Nice to see Martin Freeman from The Office in the leading role. Sure, it felt like a lot was crammed in, which sometimes gave the movie a jumpy, disjointed feel, but overall it was a really fun, funny, and entertaining ride. My grade for HITCHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY: B+


Day 5 at Universal, then returning to NBC to work The Tonight Show, and then my parents are in town for a week of family fun ... yeah, I had better rest up. Well, as Hitchhiker's has taught me: DON'T PANIC (and ... always keep a towel handy).