Monday, May 28, 2007

Lots on LOST

One thing that bothered me a bit from a structural perspective about the LOST finale was the whole fake killing of Sayid, Jin, and Bernard, and Hurley’s subsequent (and completely AWESOME!!) rescue.

Seems to me it would have been far more satisfying if Jack heard the gunshots, and we later discovered the shots were fired at the Hurley-bus, and not the prisoners. Jack’s Tom death-threat walkie-call would have to be cut, of course, but so what? He’s Jack Sheppard, not Jack Bauer.

This would also clear up Tom and the other Others’ motivation. I mean, why did they decide to just “shoot into the sand?”

Upon closer inspection, this seeming folly really sets up two things. Firstly, we have Joss Whedon’s Serenity effect in reverse: rather than killing off a character (or two) in order to make the jeopardy the other characters face feel all the more real (“They just killed that character – no one is safe now!”), we get a cheap (initial) save for our three gunmen, perhaps setting up the notion that the character who dies later in the LOST finale will get a last-minute reprieve as well. (That it isn’t so makes the death all the more surprising and emotional.)

The second thing the muddying of Tom and the other Others’ motivation does is… it muddies their motivation. Are they bad guys? Misdirected but okay guys? At the very least, they appear to not be stone-cold killers; moreover, at least some of them express doubt in their orders (enough to shoot into the sand rather than kill defenceless hostages).

Our people – as exemplified by Sawyer – have no such doubts. Ignoring Tom’s uncanny resemblance to Fred Flintstone, Sawyer shoots him dead without a second thought, and it’s about then we begin to feel that something has gone terribly wrong (later echoed by Jack at his secret rendezvous that ends the episode).

The dawning realization that Ben and the Others may have been right all along is one thing – but the glimpse at what our guys (and, by extension, we the viewers – I know I personally was hoping for a little Other blood over the past three years) have become is rather chilling.

The Island is a place that takes an “international cast” and makes them all into people who wage war if they think they might be right. Or if they think the things they were told might be right. It is a place where killing hot girls with satellite phones is cool as long as a mysterious force only you can hear tells you to do it. It is a place where only the information you want in gets in, and virtually no information ever gets out. The Island is… NeoCon Heaven.

More on LOST

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