Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Early Reaction to Lost 614: Fine Wine?

The return of Lost tonight, following a self imposed six year mid-mid season hiatus (or so I have heard tell online), was...

Yeah, I'm not really sure what that was.

I think I'm going to have to let this one marinate, lest I give it the same short shrift that causes me so much aggravation when others do it.  It makes no sense to me to give anything an instant negative review, but giving an instant negative reaction to a single episode of a television show I actually love and follow regularly seems especially pointless and self important. 

But after the break, I'll probably go ahead do something at least partially pointless.  Click 'read more' to find out what that is.

The key word here: instant.  Often a negative immediate reaction to Lost says more about the Lost fan than it does about the show.  To date, I have not ended up truly disliking even a single episode of the entire series run (although there are obviously episodes that rate higher and lower, as there would have to be), but there have been episodes about which I would not have had many positive things to say immediately following their first airing.  There have been episodes I underestimated at first blush (sometimes drastically so), and there have been some episodes I did not actually like at all at first (only to do an about face on them later), but there hasn't been a single episode that I could now tell you I actually think is outright bad.  And some of the few I originally thought were mediocre eventually became some of my all time favorite episodes after watching them a second or third (or fourth) time years after they originally aired. 

I really don't think that it going to be true with tonight's episode, The Candidate, which may end being the only (or the first?) episode I never end up liking at all, but I going to give it the benefit of the doubt by forgoing a true instant review tonight.  A lot happened in this one     more plot unfolded than did in all of season two     and that isn't something I'm used to as a Lost viewer.  They killed four of my favorite characters, and so maybe I am just in shock.  Perhaps I just need to watch it again, and maybe mull it over when I can't sleep at 2 a.m.

After that, if I feel the same way... well, perhaps then I'll air a gripe or two.

But not now.  I didn't start this blog to air gripes about free fiction.  If I have gripes about free fiction, then I don't watch it.  That's all the protest I need to make about any television show.  If I love some particular show so much that I consider it a piece of art, then I can be moved to put electron to paper, but only then.  Something has to move me to that degree if I am going to devote the kind of serious time and thought it takes to write even one of my semi-serious, semi-sane diatribes.  When it comes to entertainment, it is just too much effort to write about something I don't actually love, let alone something I do not even like.  There is far too much crap out there masking as entertainment for me to go around pointing at it all (or even a fraction of it).  I'd never get time to work, sleep, eat, fight with Mrs. Schmoker, makeup with Mrs. Schmoker, or do much of anything if I felt compelled to point out that show X is a big steaming pile of crap.  There are far too many show X's out there to open that door.  Pointing out all the crap is a full time job.

Unless it's something real.

You give me politicians, axe murders, television executives, war criminals, more politicians, and I can write sheets and sheets of negativity for you.  Go look at my Jeffrey F. Zucker rant and you'll see all the negativity in the world.  But Jeffrey F. Zucker is a real person, and he messed with my leisure time, which is a capital offense.  Real people who fuck with me, or who fuck with people who don't deserve it, them I can get down and dirty on.  I'll write 6000 words on an axe murdering television executive who goes into politics, and I'll feel I left words on the table.

Damon and Carlton, on the other hand, are two guys who have given me six years of joy.  If I feel let down by an episode here or there, then yadda-yadda-yadda.  No big deal, even in the final season. And even with four hours to go.  And especially when I consider that it is entirely possible I will eventually come to believe the only thing wrong with tonight's episode was me.

So, I am going to let this one marinate.  I just wanted these words out in the ether, so I could one day look at them and learn something about myself, and now I have accomplished that goal.  And I sure let you know that my instant reaction to this episode of Lost was a whole lot of 'Meh', so I have at least technically fulfilled the titular reason for writing this piece. But if I am going to actually spend time and energy giving this show an honest, semi-rational, poorly punctuated negative review, then that is going to have to wait until I've had more time to digest it.   I'll do it if I have to (as no one made me start reviewing every single episode of this final season, and it would be bogus of me to shirk it off just because I surprisingly did not like one), but I'll take my time before doing so.  I'll make certain first that I wasn't just cranky tonight between 9 and 10, as has happened before.

But I'd love to hear what anyone else thinks.   This is such an unusual feeling for me to have after an episode of Lost that I could definitely be convinced by others to look at things a different way.  In fact, I want to be convinced.  I want someone to explain to me how this wasn't just a rush job through a part of the story that should have felt epic and been heartrending.  Because my heart didn't rend, and it sure as hell should have.  They killed a bunch of people, and all I could think was, "Well, that was sort of quick and emotionless."  Maybe what comes next will set up why that was so, but right now I feel like they just needed to start killing people, and these guys were first to go.  It wasn't the killing that bothered me, as I always expected many, if not most, of the main characters to bite it before the end.  It was the impersonal nature of it all, and it was the rushed feeling of the whole episode coming on top of another episode that felt rushed.

It wasn't the what, and it wasn't the who.  It was the how.   

So, set me straight (or air your own gripes) in the comment section below, and I'll be back tomorrow to talk about it all with a little bit more than just an "instant" anything.

(PS - Here is my one crazy idea from this episode: Rose and Bernard know, and they probably have known all along, being as they are each others' constants.  But whether it is the Sideways world or the Island world, Rose and Bernard are retired.  Bernard seemed hinky to me in his scene with Jack, as if Bernard knew exactly what Jack wanted (as if he remembered everything, in fact), and I took Bernard in that scene as being willing to give a little aide and comfort, but resolved that he and Rose were not getting truly involved in the kids' shenanigans again.  With that idea in mind, the Rose and Jack scene in the season premiere looks to me as if it were being played the same way.  I would not be surprised if that is it for Rose and Bernard in our story, and I would be very fine with that.  I love Rose and Bernard, and I think Darlton found a very elegant and perfectly logical way to write those two characters out of the main story over the past two years.  Enjoy your retirement, Rose and Bernard, no matter in which world you end up having it.)


  1. Thank you for writing what I feel and have a hard time expressing, Schmoker. I love this show, but I did not like this episode. It wasn't that they killed Sun and Jin. It was something I cannot put my finger on.

  2. It was just too rushed.
    Sayid went BOOM! My poor poor Sayid!
    Lapidus died, unless he had some Gillyweed in his pocket. NO! Not Lapidus!
    Sun and Jin drowned together. Sun and Jin DIED!!!
    BadLocke said "I am going to finish what I started"
    and it was over.
    I am a girl, I should have been bawling! But I wasn't, is my girl gene flawed? Or were they too rushed to give us the emotional lead in to this multi-oh no they didn't!-tragedy?
    I need to watch it again Schmoker, date night? ;)