For as long as I can remember (and at 23, my memory isn’t what it used to be), ABC’s Lost has been my favorite show on television. Back in the glory days of Fall 2004, the first season of this show had what every great tv drama should – incredible storytelling, captivating characters, and an intriguing mystery lingering over everything. When rewatching those episodes today, I can’t believe the episodes this season (Lost‘s last) are even related to the early ones.
For a few good years, Lost was probably the closest tv can come to perfection. Given, mistakes were made along the way. Nikki and Paolo should never have been introduced, Mr. Eko was killed before he was due, and the third season shouldn’t have been split up the way it was. But, with high predictability, you could guarantee that the one single hour of Lost would be the most captivating hour on television that week.
That’s not to say that Lost now lacks those things which once made it so incredible – it’s still a great show, with incredible characters and lingering mysteries. However, as time has gone on, the show has transformed and evolved into something very different from what it was. If you only watched season one, you’d think the episodes you’re watching today are from an entirely different tv series. Season one’s greatest mysteries were simple questions. Why did Jin and Sun’s marriage dissolve? Why did Jack have a falling out with his father? Given, as any television series ages, it has to add new concepts and plotlines to progress the story along. However, Lost went overboard with this strategy.
It seems improbable now, with just a handful of original episodes left, that many of the questions the storytellers posed will ever be resolved. True- some are open-ended and don’t necessarily need answers. But others, which should have been wrapped up years ago, will probably never find a resolution.
The fact that questions will be left unanswered is not what has irritated me this season. It’s that this show, which I have loved through good times and bad, through clarity and (more often) confusion, and through marathon hiatuses, is barely struggling to the finish line. The emotional spark, which used to light up every episode, is dimmer than any season I can remember. Answers that were promised to us during the eight-month wait between seasons 5 and 6 have been elusive, and if anything, disappointing. When the show should be giving us some last moments to with characters we’ve experienced so much with, it’s instead giving us new characters that are killed off almost as quickly as they are introduced (Lennon and Dogen). Past shows with fans as devoted as Lost‘s have had some phenomenal final seasons – Buffy, The Sopranos, and Friends come to mind. With such little time left, each episode should be an action-packed race to the last moment. Instead, we’re limping.
I know that when the final episode airs, it will be a very bittersweet moment. Something that I’ve invested so much time in will thankfully be over. Yet at the same time, that fanboy-excitement I get every Tuesday afternoon waiting for 9:00PM will also be gone forever.
While morale in the Lost-universe for a rewarding end to what has so far been a frustrating season is low, I still have that trait that has kept me a loyalist to the show since the beginning: unwavering optimism and hope. While nothing suggests that the episodes still to come will offer any more resolution than those in the past have, I still have faith that everything will right itself in the end.
Ironically, this same sense of blind faith has been a major theme of Lost since the beginning in the epic struggle between Jack and Locke. Following faith blindly on the show has led both characters down very different paths. For Locke, it’s resulted in death and becoming posessed by the what appears to be pure evil. For Jack, it has resulted in frustration, questioning, and a longing for an end to his long struggle. While Jack hasn’t always been an easy character to sympathize with (he’s an alcoholic with some serious daddy issues), I’ve found myself cheering for him now more than ever. While I haven’t lived in a jungle for the past few years, I’ve found that I’ve had the same sense of endless frustration he’s demonstrated in the past few episodes. However, unlike him, I’m lucky to know that on May 23, with or without answers, everything will finally be over. And hopefully, after all these years, both he and I will finally find the happy ending we’ve been waiting for.
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