I have so many thoughts in my head and I don’t want to sound pedantic but the episode did nothing for me in terms of wrapping anything up on the island. It was like watching the opening five minutes of Evil Dead II, which asked me to completely forget about what happened in the first movie since they rewrote it all in that span of time. Again, do not jump on the pitchfork and torch bandwagon yet. Let me reiterate, I LOVED WHAT I SAW, but I just don’t get why I saw it.
You know I am going to bore you to death with my ramblings. I attempted to swallow the pregnant Metis, also known as my ability to go to Erie to tell a story, but couldn’t. If I don't, the Athena-like rant shall spring forth from my head. So, I will break it all up into a couple of posts because, quite frankly, I’ve been mailing it in lately with reposting CarTalk puzzlers and I really don’t have the time to get all pop culture geeky on you with new stuff. So, let’s start off with this past Saturday’s repeat of the pilot episode, OK?
SHOW OF SCIENCE, SHOW OF FAITHWhen LOST was first announced on the fall schedule I thought it was going to be utter crap. Why? Because I didn’t think a show about people shipwrecked on a island was going to be able to hold my attention. I made an attempt to watch Alias and after I missed two episodes I was completely… LOST. My wife was also not interested in watching the show, which kind of made it easier for me to just let it slip into the pile of missed shows. Still, I was willing to give the show a chance with the pilot. Why? Because I hate to miss things.
That opening scene was quite simply one of the best things I had ever seen. And remember, this was a season that boasted Rescue Me, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, albeit in March, CSI: NY, Deadwood, Veronica Mars, Boston Legal, and House. Unfortunately it also had Joey and The Apprentice. So for me to put LOST’s premiere ahead of these other really decent shows gives me a newfound appreciation for appointment television. Until now, I had only done that with Buffy, Angel, West Wing, and The Oscars.
Here was a show that defied convention. It was a piece about characters and people and it just so happened that they were stuck on a tropical island. Had that been it, it may have lasted two seasons and I probably would have been happy with it. Then that pesky noise in the jungle came about and things took a turn. Still, even with that noise, that mechanical roar accompanied by the swaying and cracking of trees, the show stayed rooted in the focus of the people who survived. We had little snippets of back story concerning each castaway. There was a doctor, a con man, a rocker, a fugitive, a sad sack, a couple isolated by social mores and language, a father and son, a broken man, the pretty young over privileged rich girl and her infatuated step brother, and a torturer. Talk about The Real World. This was almost a slap in the face of reality shows that pit opposing personalities and backgrounds against each other to see if they can coexist in a confined space. Then Greg Grunberg got sucked out of the cockpit. After a bit, we saw how the passengers were flawed. We saw the post 9/11 fears play out as Sawyer attacks Sayid. We saw Jin tell Sun to stay covered and keep a low profile. We saw one of the most terrifyingly real depictions of a plane crash I’ve seen since Alive. We saw a spoiled brat refuse to help out and face the facts that no one is coming. We saw the first steps of a group of strangers working together towards becoming a community by looking for help. Then Sawyer shot a polar bear. “Guys, where are we?”
THE REST OF SEASON ONEThose two hours held the world on edge for something different. It strayed into the bleeding edge of drama and hovered around science fiction but it stayed firmly rooted in its storytelling about people and their problems. How they were lost in life and how their time on the island might help them. From then on it became a finely tuned instrument that delved into the nature of what happened, happened. But I am referring to what happened off the island. Here it didn’t matter. Daddy issues, mental issues, abandonment issues, and Spanish Graphic Novel issues aside, everyone on the island was given a blank slate with the chance to redeem themselves. It only took four seasons to change all that.
It started with that damn hatch. That pill bottle lid that just stuck out like a piece of the alien ship in Tommyknockers. Once the characters began digging in the dirt looking for answers the show became more about science than faith. With the end of the first season we had found that somehow people and things on the island were connected off the island. Soon, the show became more about spotting the connections, the numbers, the crossed paths, and less about people’s atonement and relationships. Sure that was still there, but the questions and mysteries took over. Some of the highlights of that first season include some of the best music I’ve heard in a series. I can’t help but love Michael Giacchino as a composer. For me, he ranks up there with Christophe Beck and Snuffy Walden. I still get weepy when I think of that church scene from the finale with the “LOST theme” playing over it just like I used to when Beck’s theme for Season 2 of Buffy played as Angel got skewered into oblivion.
In fact there were so many great scenes from Season One that were punctuated with that damn heartstring tugging tune. Boone’s death while Aaron is born was one. The launching of the raft was another. I was immediately struck with the imagery of Tom Hanks leaving his island captivity on a raft outfitted with a port a john. The same kind of weepy music accompanied Hanks as he looked back on four years of his life as a different man, island man. As the rafties made their way out to sea to look for rescue I felt that same twinge of longing for a place that had become home for several months, even though it had been like two weeks for them.
But nothing could have prepared an audience, so willing to accept the small quirks of the island like evil others and a faceless monster, for what was about to happen. The other pillar of black smoke came and they hid, the raft encountered salvation only to find it was taking something away, and a cork was pulled out of the bottle that unleashed the island’s mysteries upon the castaways when that damn hatch lid blew. Season One was full of everything that made LOST so engaging and intriguing. It beguiled us and bugged as for the next five seasons until it had to come to an end.
Next up, Did Season 6 answer all those pesky questions?