Sunday, November 27, 2005

Lost in space

(Listening to: Hot Fuss, The Killers)

(If you don't watch Lost, the following will probably be boring and/or incomprehensible to you. So be it.)

So, is anything gonna, like, ya know, happen this season on Lost? I realize that some progress as been made this year as far as the overall plots go, but jeez -- the show has been moving at a pace that makes M. Night Shyamalan look like Michael Bay.

Far too many episodes have been devoted to circular plots that advance nothing at all -- Sun loses her ring, then finds it. Michael runs into the jungle to find Walt, but then gives up and comes back. And Hurley gets so worked up over guarding the food stash in the hatch that he wires up the friggin' dynamite and gets set to blow it all up...but then is talked out of it.

And when the stories haven't been chasing their own tails, they've been focused on the caustic tail section survivors, led by everyone's new least favorite character, Ana Lucia. "Collision," last week's episode, did some good as far as making her a little more human, but it almost feels like the damage is done. Contrast this with the treatment of Sawyer in the first season -- he was King Douchebag until his flashbacks revealed an awesome layer of depth that rounded out his character and, somehow, made him one of the most sympathetic people on the island. Ana Lucia's flashbacks, on the other hand, didn't seem to provide that same resonance. Maybe it's me. Maybe it's not.

See, the problem is, the writers decided to devote at least half of every episode this season to the tail section. Which would have been fine, except the tail section people aren't that interesting. We've got a sweet spot for Bernard, because we knew his wife was waiting for him on the other side (and that moment, when we realized who he was, was indeed glorious and one of the best of the season thus far), and Mr. Eko -- portrayed by the fantastic Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, a.k.a. Adebesi -- is certainly intriguing, but then there's Ana Lucia. And the rest, who apparently have (or had) names, but they made little to no impresion on me. Sawyer, Jin, and Michael were there, too, of course, but pretty much every scene with the tail section coterie broke down like this:

1. Ana Lucia says something rude/demands something incovenient.
2. Someone -- usually Michael -- announces they will do something else.
3. Ana Lucia says that such action will cause the Others to swarm down and eat them all like Lucky Charms.
4. They do it anyway.
5. Everyone survives.
6. Repeat after next commerical break.

And naturally, the most interesting of the bunch, Sawyer, has spent the entire season suffering from the effects of an infected gunshot wound, handicapping their story that much more.

The revelation that Ana Lucia is a cop with a tragic past certainly goes a part of the distance explaining why she's such a Queen Bitch, but what it doesn't do is explain why I should give a shit. See the problem?

Hey, remember Claire? And her baby? And Charlie? And Locke? And Jack? I do. Those characters are interesting. The writers don't, it seems. And they practically forgot about Shannon, too, until it was time to kill her. All of the stuff with the tail section people -- and I mean all of it -- could have been collapsed into about half the time, which would have increased the suspense (since we wouldn't have been sitting through every sweaty, whiny second of their trek) and would have allowed for more time exploring the characters and mysteries we already knew: the hatch, the numbers, Black Rock, Dharma Inc., the monster (hey, remember the monster? the writers don't).

My problem isn't that they brought in new characters, or that a bunch of time was devoted to integrating them into the cast. My problem is that it was done badly. The promos and synopsis of this week's episode, "What Kate Did," certainly look to be a gigantic step in the right direction -- we'll see.

Oh, and what the hell happened to Desmond? Shacked up with Danielle? Assimilated by the Others? Eaten by a polar bear? Picked up by a rescue plane and forgot about everyone else? Your guess is as good as the writers'.

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