Nerdy TV: Lost is truly, truly Lost

Lost Season 3 Seems…Lost

Let me preface this with some fundamentally important information.

1. I am just at the end of Lost Season 3. I have now seen seasons 1 and 2 twice in their entirety but am not yet caught up to season 5.

2. I love great character development. Lost gives me this by the acre.

3. I love great plot development, which even the best characters need in order for me to care about their plight. Lost is devoid of plot.

With all that said, I’m going to start blogging about each episode as I catch up from here. Recognize, therefore, that I’m a little behind and will catch up shortly. When I began watching Lost, I was quite entranced. The show was rich with character development (and it still is) and in the first season there was a fair amount of plot development as well. Most of the time, it even related to the character development in some way, which was pretty cool. I’m not at all sure there was any kind of epic point to it, but nevertheless it was quite enjoyable.

Season 2 came along and that was also very good. Not quite up to Lost’sĀ first season, as I thought it was a little too…convenient that the cast suddenly took it upon themselves to press a button and save the world, but hey, there was food and music in the newly discovered hatch, so whatever. Sometimes I’d do wacky shit to get my hands on a bag of chips, too. I enjoyed, in both season 1 and 2, that the writers did a good job of getting us attached to a character (even ones as shallow as Boone and his fuck-buddy sister, Shannon) and then killing off said character. The only time I saw this fail was with Anna-Lucia, who was a horrible character whose death couldn’t come fast enough for me. When she died, I cheered. Come to think of it, if they get around to killing the Juliet character, I’ll cheer then too.

But then LostĀ Season 3 came along and brought with it questions but very few answers. Is there a time traveler on the island? Who the fuck knows. As far as we’ve been shown the dude might just be an unhappy Medium. At the end of Season 2 we were teased that his former girlfriend somehow knew something about the island, about the fact that Desmond was on it, and aside from the arrival of a chick in a chopper late in the season we haven’t heard another peep about it. The first 6 episodes of the season were painfully slow and boring, with virtually no plot development whatsoever. The next several episodes became pretty good–and then the bottom fell out as the previous “go to” good guy, Jack, became an untrustworthy prick, Locke’s quest for truth got him shot by a man it’s been clear was a liar and a sociopath for, oh, the entire fucking season–and that’s just about when the ghost showed up. Either that or Sociopath Ben is secretly a ventriloquist to boot.

It’s bizarre enough that we’ve watched the cast get chased around the island by what sounds like a robotic dinosaur yet mysteriously looks like a whisp of smoke (and how does smoke make any of those robot sounds or stomp the ground or dig holes, by the way?). It’s also pretty damn odd that we keep seeing polar bears on a tropical island somewhere in the pacific, that now we’re told that flight 815’s complete wreckage was found with all passengers dead several miles underwater and oh–we’ve heard no mention whatsoever of the “very special boy” Walt since Season 2’s finale. Apparently this kid was uber-important to the mysterious “Others”, and yet now he’s nowhere to be found nor heard of (yes, I know he left the island in a boat with his jackass of a father) and mysterious crap keeps happening. Seriously, I haven’t seen a plot become this convoluted and pointless since the X-Files crapped in its own corn flakes not too long before Mulder left the show.

It’s fairly evident what’s happening on this island in Lost Season 3. For whatever reason, and contrary to all laws of reality, people with intense desires or thoughts for certain things can make them come true on the island. It’s why Walt was able to make Polar bears appear. It’s why Shannon saw flashes of Walt when he had gone missing and she was feeling all guilty and shitty for doing a sloppy job taking care of the dog he’d left her. It’s why Locke is able to walk again. And it’s why Ben, who clearly has some mommy and daddy issues and blames his own birth for the death of his mother, is subconciously making it impossible for women on the island to have babies without dying. Where the ghost fits in is anyone’s freaking guess.

For a time after getting past those first 6 episodes of the third season (you know, the pointless ones where almost no plot development occurred) I was beginning to think that the writers had gotten something figured out. Now I’m starting to think they’ve just hit the paote pipe a little too much. Beyond the increasingly ridiculous amounts of coincidence (now Claire is suddenly Jack’s half sister? WTF?) Let’s just get down to reality here, people: wishing and dreaming for things to happen doesn’t make them happen. Actively pursuing a goal and accomplishing the steps needed to get there is what makes things happen. That process is also known as “working your ass off”. Believing otherwise is living in a fantasy world, and if you’re going to buy into that kind of crap you might as well sign yourself up for the nearest cult waiting for the next Jesus-Comet to fly by, and kill yourself so you can hitch a ride to Heaven.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate fantasty and science fiction a great deal. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel were both a pair of sci-fantasy shows that I think remain among the very best television ever produced, but both were always clear that theirs were worlds of fantasy. I’ll also add that both had vastly superior plot development to accompany their rich character development (and I’ll be fair here: Lost’s characters have much more backstory development, with the possible exception of the title character in Angel; unfortunately there is precious little plot advancement to go along with it).

I intend to give Lost a fair shake. I’ll keep watching and catch up, and will follow it to the end. I can only hope that the series gets better, because right now all I feel is a bit disgusted by the stupidity of it. Oh, sure, there’s a fair amount of philosophy underpinning the show, but very little of it is well acted upon by the writers, and primarily that’s because there appears to be no real focus or direction. More than anything else it seems like we have a long series of stumbles from one weird event to another, with a desperate grab for something just a little bit weirder every few episodes. Where this is going and why remains a complete mystery, and I’m not convinced that even the writers know. Like so many other shows that dabble in the fantastical, it appears that Lost has become, as its title announces clearly…lost.

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