May 24, 2007

Get Your TV On

Filed under: Lost — jrice @ 6:53 am

’cause last night’s Lost was great. Plot line twists and narrative structure shifts have made this one of the best episodes to date. Most of all, the mystery the series depends on shifts even more by taking the main focus (will they get off the island) and answering “yes.” Yet there are three seasons remaining. Guess what? That wasn’t the real mystery here. The mystery of will they get off the island or who are the Dharma Initiative has been mostly answered. There are other mysteries (why have their lives changed/who is in the coffin, etc.) that are maybe more important. From the pages of Lostpedia,

This episode marks the beginning of the “flash-forward” mechanism and the decline of the flashbacks used in past seasons. Rather than primarily theorizing/speculating on what events will happen next, from now on fans will be given each character’s separate “endings” and will get to theorize/speculate on what happened that lead them to where they are now–whether it be life AFTER/OFF the island (e.g. Jack, Kate), life STILL on the island (e.g. Locke perhaps?), or how they ended up dead (e.g. the unknown body in the coffin).

That is one possibility. The time travel/time shift angle is most intriguing in Lost. Part of that angle is narrative structure (how to tell a story in a number of ways); the other part might comprise a sort of Phillip K. Dick/Marvel comics play on “What if…” What if coming back changed time (i.e., Jack’s dad is still alive; Kate is now not a fugitive)? What if coming back changes one’ s own narrative in unwanted ways (Jack wanting to go back…)? While “fate” pivots on a cliche trope for narrative (“it was our fate”), the show seems to play with it in both predictable ways (you can’t change destiny) and other ways (destiny may mean different things within different levels of time).
I’ll wait to hear what some fellow Lost watchers (Derek, Collin, Donna) have to say as well.


  1. Part of the narrative for the upcoming seasons could be projected flash forwards, particularly those of Desmond, who can see the future. He could warn the Losties to do something differently to avoid their fates…but remember that Desmond was told that the universe has a way of course-correcting, so I’m not sure that would work. At any rate, interesting that Jack, of all people, has realized his connection to the island, presumably. Besides Rose, Locke, and Danielle (Rousseau), do we know of any other characters who for sure don’t want to leave the island? Ben?

    Comment by Clancy — May 24, 2007 @ 8:08 am

  2. A milder or less climactic cap to season three than either of the previous two. They’ll be rescued, but will the rescuers be outraged at Naomi’s death? Maybe. We saw Jack’s vengeance for Ben and Tom, and there were indications of putting to rest the crime against Walt from season one (both in Walt’s cameo and Sawyer’s statement after offing Tom).

    I like the flashforward effect–Oceanic gives them all Gold Passes, Jack uses this gift for repeated trips–serial, drunken flight-loops with a death wish, nostalgia for the island, a desire for return. But how much of this, as you ask, is only a possible future (future1, future2, etc., a “what if”) rather than a predetermined fate? No telling. And how did future Kate avoid arrest for her sordid criminal past? No telling. But there have been characters who seem to have insights into fate or a hand in tampering with “the plan.” Desmond with his prophetic vision was able to delay Charlie’s death (whether there was any appreciable alteration in the fabric of destiny is hard to say) and Locke also seems to have a felt sense of how events are supposed to play out, as it again the case when he tells Jack that “it’s not supposed to happen this way; you’re not supposed to do this” when he calls up the rescue boat on the satellite phone.

    Comment by Derek — May 24, 2007 @ 9:35 am

  3. i like the idea of other possible futures. jack has become his father (endorsing the “you are not supposed to do this” theme). kate is now expected at home by some man who is waiting for her (vs. her lawless ferocity), and she chooses this passive fate over her obvious passion for tragic Jack. they have lost their heroic characteristics in the future projected in last night’s episode (?). and all of this works as narrative just as it has before (time shifts — Naomi’s report of the fate of flgt 815 vs. their “reality”; Desmond’s forestalling and accurately forecasting Charlie’s death, etc.). the Walt business was difficult, for me; his image in the frame was sort of haloed, different, ghostly, which made me imagine some of the earlier weirdness about afterlife visitations, etc. did i see that correctly? was it weird?

    Comment by bonnie kyburz — May 24, 2007 @ 10:17 am

  4. LOST is getting on my last nerve. After three years on the air, all it has done is introduced a new major mystery before even resolving the one about the Others and the island. I don’t mind being kept in the dark after two seasons. But after three . . . what the fuck?

    JERICHO, although not as flashy, was better written than LOST. And the sad thing is that CBS cancelled it for losing rating. LOST also lost a lot of viewers, but ABC decided to prolong the agony and keep it on the air for another fucking three years! God! This is just too sickening!

    Comment by Rosie — May 24, 2007 @ 11:27 am

  5. I love the prospects of a season (or three) of flashforwards. The play on words in Jack’s scenes that made us think his dad is alive so well thought out. He dares both the doctor that confronts him and the pharmacist to call his father, but we never see that happen. I have a sense these scenes will reveal more about the characters than any of the flashbacks.

    Speaking of flashforwards…Jack’s dad is still dead. The lines were meant to confuse the viewer as to whether the scenes were from the past or future. Secondly, my bet is that the body in the coffin is Ben. No one came to the viewing, and he’s burnt a few bridges along the way. Jack showed up b/c he defied Ben’s wishes to not contact the rescuers.

    It really was a fantastic episode. I loved it more than the endings to the first two seasons. It’s setting up the next season beautifully. The season started very slowly, but the last couple of episodes have been killer. I can’s wait to see like three or four episodes before Christmas only to have to wait until mid-February to see the rest of the season.

    BTW-Jericho was crap.

    Comment by comoprozac — May 24, 2007 @ 5:09 pm

  6. *is* Jack’s dad still dead? comoprozac’s claim seems perfectly sound — it’s evidence of Jack’s foggy state of alcoholic mind and it was a red herring to throw viewers off from the flashforward effect.

    but, so, what is “still” in Lost’s various timescapes? (i finally, last night, realized the hypersignificance of the title as in lost in time rather than merely lost in place. what an indiot). but so i mean, clearly (?), there are different versions of reality playing out as we watch. we track from one vantage only to discover another operating in an alternate time/space. i’m thinking Naomi’s comment on the fate of 815 . . . which represents an alternate reality, unless the story does something clunky, like Ben staged something or manipulated events for media appearances. that way, the survivors could be his experiment, salvation (Jack’s surgery), whatever . . .

    so, along these lines, i’m wondering if Charlie is “really” dead? kind of a funny intertextual nod to The Ring aside, his sacrificial heroism played well, but I can’t help wondering if Desmond will eventually reveal some other way of configuring events.

    on another tangent: people wonder why i want to change my name (“it’s so weird . . . i mean, you’re a grown up. that’s your name”). for a partial answer, look to the character named “Bonnie.” Bonnies are never good (there is one in a David Sedaris story that is cringeworthy and probably catalyzed my most recent hopes for going w/ Lenore — which we can’t do because Mike’s mom’s name is Leni. and that. is. too. close. i wonder if this is partially to blame for my inclination to go w/ lower case lettering (i had thought it was *merely* aesthetics). moving on . . .

    Comment by bonnie kyburz — May 25, 2007 @ 8:46 am

  7. I’m still drawn to the idea that the island is a time thing…Dharma’s work was to play with time; the natives want to somehow stop that….something is happening in the flash forward that shows Jack they shouldn’t have messed with time…maybe reading The Penultimate Truth recently helps shape my thinking.

    Some Lost Nerds have deciphered the obit Jack has in the finale.

    Comment by jrice — May 25, 2007 @ 9:58 am

  8. nerds… nothing more needs to be said. turn off and never tune in.

    Comment by Jilted in the Motor City — May 26, 2007 @ 10:50 am

  9. i love it that someone took the time to figure out that obit. if it’s right, then who is John Latham?

    Comment by bonnie kyburz — May 28, 2007 @ 10:48 am

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