Lost: Mostly Filler, but with a Dash of Desmond, Things Look Up

SPOILERS ABOUND. I also assume familiarity with the show. This is an editorial/rant!

First, before we get to the dreamy Desmond’s delicious deliverance to the show, let’s take a look at why Season 6 of Lost has been filler up until now.  The major plot points of the first part of Season 6 were: The Flash Sideways Reality, The Lostaways and the Temple, and UnLocke Is Evil.  These plot arcs are the primary reason for the show sucking so badly.  However, hope is on the horizon and its name is Desmond.

1. Flash Sideways

Rather than learning about what HAS happened to the characters or what WILL happen to them, we get a glimpse of what COULD have happened in some other as of yet undefined alternate time line.  This was intriguing at first, during the Season Premiere LA X as we tried to figure out WHAT we were seeing, but the cuteness faded quickly as every ‘sideways’ view showed us “shocking” twists on our favorite characters.  It became rote that if some new person was showing up in the Flash Sideways they’d have been on the show… before!  How shocking.  Our characters were the same people, but their lives took VERY different turns (sometimes).  Now, having a potpourri of past characters randomly doing new, related but different things in this alternate reality has one major problem: No One Cares.  Over the first part of the season we have no reason to care about this bizzaro-characters.  They aren’t really related to OUR characters.  Now, in the Desmond-centric Happily Ever After we learn that the alternate reality is “wrong”, it needs to be fixed, and some of the characters know that it requires fixing.  One problem: all the previous episodes’ Flash-sideways were dull and uninspired when we watch them.  Regardless of the foreshadowed plans to make the Flash-sideways an integral part of the show’s resolution, it doesn’t excuse a set of hokey side-plots that we’re given no reason to care about as they unfolded.

2. The Temple

We spend much of this season marooned with various characters at a temple filled with Jacob’s followers: including an enigmatic Japanese businessman/kung-fu master and Sol Star John Lennon A Guy Named Lennon.  Nothing happens here.  Really, nothing happens here we don’t already know.  Sayid’s resurrection and taint afterward?  That’s not a big deal, we already knew about the bad effects of Resurrection from Richard Alpert and Boy Ben’s resurrection.  What about the new characters?  Surely they have a role?  No, not really, Sayid kills them both after his soulless Resurrection.  Maybe the location is important?  Probably not as Fake Locke destroys the place good when he Smoke Monsters the shit out of it.  And what killed me about the character interactions is that some characters would be arbitrarily stuck at the Temple, and then they’d leave, and when running through the jungle they’d always run into the character they needed to talk too!  How many times did we have people ‘run into’ each other during this period.  It got to the point that when someone left the temple you’d FUCKING KNOW they’d run into some other character they hadn’t had a chance to talk to since IMPORTANT EVENT X.  So basically, this whole setting developed very few new plot lines, advanced virtually no character’s story, hamstrung the writers, and wasted time with things that ended up borderline irrelevant.  That makes for riveting television!

3.  Man-In-Black-Fake-Locke is Evilllllll

It is implied that Jacob’s counterpart is a bad guy.  He uses Locke’s body to trick everyone and ultimately kill Jacob.  He’s not nice.  And even though he’s honest and likable in Locke’s body, the show really uses the plot stick to show us he’s bad.  Really bad, even if he seems OK.  Now, the problem with this is that its a lot of wasted time.  His status as a bad guy is pretty easily inferred from Season 5.  A few kick the dog moments and we could have been shown for certain.  Instead we get an Others camp that existed for the purpose of being Smoke Monstered (plot wise).

Now we get to Happily Ever After.  Desmond is the special package brought to the island by the fanatical, but dedicated Charles Widmore.  And in one fell swoop we’re given a reason to care about the Flash-Sideways.  The Temple has long since been destroyed.  Fake-Locke is evil and they’re not spending too much time beating us over the head with it.  Given the few relevant moments from the previous episodes (maybe two episodes worth of useful moments) we now have the stage set for tension and climax.  It took a while, but Lost you have me back.

Comments

  1. Not all that surprising, I disagree with you on some points and I believe it’s mostly because of some minor details.

    Overall I’ve been pretty interested and involved in the Flash Sideways plot lines. I don’t buy the “we’ve been given no reason to care about it” argument, because these are characters we’ve come to know for 5 seasons and now they’re being put in a completely different situation. Something else that I like about the sideways world and how it was presented in the beginning of the season is that a character’s choices in both worlds were parallel – Sayid chose to be a bad guy no matter what (though this is probably the lamest example), Jack decided to become a responsible “parent/guardian” in both worlds, etc. I believe your problem with the flash sideways comes from the assumption that they weren’t related to the characters we know, but pretty clearly in the first episode Jack and Desmond recognize each other on some deeper level.

    Your issues with the temple also seem to be a bit forced, the water that resurrected Sayid was tainted seemingly because Jacob had been killed, so any results of that should be expected to be completely different from what happened with young-Ben. So either way we assume some kind of change happens in the person, but now that change is different somehow. I do agree with you that Dogen/Lennon seemed to be going somewhere and then were just taken out of the picture, and there was definitely a problem with all of the characters running into each other in the jungle all the time (though this should probably be a trope of the show at this point). I see the problem as the Temple has been incredibly important in all previous seasons, because that’s where the others have been hiding and it’s the “one safe place” on the island, but now we’re only coming in at the end and seeing it being taken away. I’ve always had a problem with the stewardess chick who seems completely cool with the idea of being abducted, living on this island, taking care of other people’s children, and then not helping the survivors at every chance she gets.

    UnLocke (love that name) is another point I agree with you on, though it really hasn’t bothered me that much. I am anxiously expecting that during the episode that focuses on Jacob / Man in Black we will gather some much needed empathy for his character instead of just more “he’s evil” stuff, and I would love it if it became a kind of tragedy that he had to be trapped on this island and Jacob had to be there guarding it.

    Great post though because I love discussing this stuff!