Thursday, September 22, 2005

LOST hatches Storyline for Second Season

Well after exactly a hundred and nineteen days, one hour and thirty seven minutes, I picked up LOST after one anxious summer.

The Opening. Wow. I thought it was brillant. Following this man in his morning routine. They kept the man’s face hidden, his physique was similar to Sawyer’s but not explicitly so. As he cleaned, showered, exercised, it was unclear who and what you were watching. These were the things that crossed my mind. A much younger Locke (think circa late 70’s), Sawyer? A new character/survivor who was about to be introduced on the island? When the alarm in his home began to go off, and we saw him jump into action, I wasn’t sure what was happening. Then when the camera pulled back to reveal that he was in some sort of a bunker ---only to continue zooming up the very top of the opening of the Hatch, I was beside myself. I bolted upright from my couch in disbelief.

Holy ****.

As the camera surfaced to the top of the Hatch were Jack, Locke, Kate and Hurley were, I was pleased to see the show was picking up precisely where it left off, over there months ago. They didn’t cheat or cut to the next morning. It was as if we hadn’t missed a single beat. I thought they were pretty successful in recreating the sense of urgency that permeated the season finale. The characters had to find a place to hide, they had to get away from The Others. I liked that they reiterated the conflict between Jack and Locke. As the title of the episode indicated, Man of Science, Man of Faith, it is clear that this is going to be the big theme of the season. This theme of facts verses faith is not that original in and of itself (Hey, it was the theme of X Files), but the context and setting is very much unique, and allows this conflict to play out in a fashion that will be fascinating to watch.

I thought Jack’s flashback scenes were interesting as well. We had already learned last season, that Jack married Sarah, and that she had had a terrible car accident. We knew through pieces of their dialogue with one another that he had performed a miraculous surgery on her that allowed her to walk again. I liked the fact that they jumped around in the timeline, and even found a place to put in a small moment with Jack and his father. I imagine the writers chose to include the origin of Jack and Sarah’s relationship because they were also trying to up the ante for when we find out why Jack ends up getting a divorce. Besides further establishing Jack’s relationship with his wife to be, it seems the true key scene here was the conversation Jack had in the deserted stadium with the Scottish stranger, Desmond. (On a brief aside, I really like that they chose to set the scene there, for the first few seconds of that zoomed out shot with all the seats, I couldn’t even quite figure out what I was looking at. It was a nice visual element that fit in perfectly with the body of the episode and the show on a whole, which is to say….Just what the hell am I looking at?!) I thought the scene with Jack and Desmond played well, and the dialogue was able to convey the emotion of the moment without feeling forced or faux. I found myself thinking, is this guy(Desmond) an angel? It seems that only fate could have brought him to tell Jack that at that moment that he can save Sarah if he simply allows himself to be a “Man of Faith”. It seems unlikely that there would be no connection between Jack meeting Desmond and then finding out that (contrary to his appraisal of her surgery), Sarah was not paralyzed as he had feared.

Of course, I wasn’t expecting the damn guy to turn up later in the Hatch like he did. My curiosity has been peeked as to how will it all be justified. The equipment that Desmond had down there looked fifteen, twenty years old. But it was only a few years prior that Jack had had that encounter with him. The possibilities and explanations seem endless. Was Jack lured to the island by Desmond? Had Desmond been keeping watch over Jack this entire time? Is Desmond running the island with the technology that he has set up down there? How long has he been there and who is he? Was he quarantined down there (as the lid of the Hatch said on the inside) because he has some sort of disease? Is that why he was shooting himself up with some sort of drugs in the beginning? Or maybe he was exposed to something dangerous or unidentified? I find myself repeating over and over again the few phrases he shared with Jack when he met him. He said “I’m training.” “For a race around the world.”

I could honestly keep specualting on the page for hours, but I won’t. The bottom line is, I enjoyed the season premiere immensely. I continued to be drawn in by the personal moments between the characters, and it kept me completely on the edge of my seat during the moments of suspense and surprise.

Weaknesses? I thought the stuff with the other survivors felt a little strained. Charlie yelling about there being no others, and Jack coming back to give the crowd a pep talk was clearly just filler to keep the episode rolling. Because of the way that the show has been structured up until this point, the writers must create a delicate balance between reminding the audience, that yes, there are about twenty five other survivors other than the people who we’ve been introduced to as named characters. They have to leave that blank slate of unknown survivors, so that they have some flexibility with the cast, but the then risk creating that feeling like we’re watching a bunch of extras stand around. I’ve always thought they’ve been able to pull it off well, but for some reason last night it just felt a little awkward to me. Probably because I was so wrapped up in getting back to the action with Kate, Locke and the Hatch. (I nearly bit my nails clear off as Lock was belaying her down through the opening.) I’ve talked to a couple people who didn’t like Shannon seeing a vision of Walt in the woods, but I actually found it creepy. Especially since he seemed to be whispering but you couldn’t hear a thing he was saying. But honestly overall, I feel confident is saying that this show is really the best thing on network TV. Maybe even on TV right now, period.

Yes folks. Here we are. Another season of LOST, and boy am I ready….


Anonymous Anonymous said...

loved the opening, but too many flashbacks for me...I don't mind the odd one, but they overdid it

7:17 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

It used to bother me at first, but you know, that's thier style. I've seen better flashbacks than that one, but I'm used to it by now.

10:21 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

I agree with moviequill - it's become a little tedious waiting for the "flashback." I find myself hoping that they'll just get it out of the way as quickly as possible.

Obviously, the opener was stunning. I also enjoyed how quickly everyone seemed to get over the death of that guy who blew himself up last season. They mentioned it. No one blinked. Life moved on.

As for Desmond, you knew that he would be back the second he said "See you in another lifetime." His presence before Jack's miraculous surgery would indicate that he has some sort of "angel" presence.

But what I think we're all dying to know is - DID HE WIN THE RACE? And if so, by how long? And what kind of sneakers did he use? These are the questions the LOST writers will need to address in coming episodes.

12:07 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

I actually don't think they're going to get rid of the flashbacks --everything I have heard (from my pathetically small amount of insider knowledge) has indicated that flashbacks are here to stay, and in fact are crucial to the unraveling of the plot, as each islander is on the island for a very specific reason in their past, about which we will find more out about through the flashbacks themselves. There are still big questions to be answered about some of these characters. Why did Jack get a divorce? How did Locke get paralyzed? Why did Hurley end up in a psych ward? etc.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just got the first series in england. were up to ep 11

5:20 AM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

Excellent. I wish I could be watching the whole first season for the first time all over again.

7:53 AM  

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