Thursday, April 08, 2010

Random Thoughts on 'Lost' and '24': 4/8/10

Adhering to the arbitrary four week interval, it's time to talk about "Lost" and "24" again. Yay! We're all caught up on the DVR now, and that means ***SPOILER ALERT!!!***

Unlike earlier in the season, I think "24" has had the upper hand over "Lost" as of late. "Lost" is stalling, but "24" has recently returned the kind of "edge of your seat action" that has made the show so great over the years.

Lost

My theory about Desmond being dead in the alternate timeline ended up being completely false, but hey...it was worth a shot.

Where this alternate timeline fits in with the primary timeline is the biggest mystery remaining, and this week's Desmond episode finally provided some kind of link between the two. Prior to that, the alternate timeline storylines were, I thought, completely useless. The Sawyer and Sun/Jin alternate timeline stories, for example, were boring and added absolutely nothing to the episodes, I thought. Early in the series - you know, back in the "flashback" days - the flashbacks were mostly interesting, because they showed where the characters came from, what motivates them, and the events in the flashbacks often correlated directly with whatever was happening on the island at that time. This season's "sideways flashes", however...up until the Desmond episode, I didn't find any of them particularly interesting. (The history of Richard Alpert episode was interesting, but that was a flashback, not an alternate timeline sort of deal.) Part of the problem is that we don't yet know where this alternate timeline fits in with everything, and probably won't know for sure until the very end of the series. If we don't know what the point of these alternate timelines is, and the storylines contained within aren't all that interesting, then what's the point? Yeah, so, Sawyer's a cop, and Sun and Jin aren't married yet. Whoopee. Who cares? Until we see the link between the two storylines, I can only hope that we see Desmond in the other characters' sideways flashes from here on out as he attempts to "show them something". Otherwise, I don't see anything interesting happening in the alternate timeline. (Side comment: The Desmond episodes really are out there, aren't they?)

Meanwhile, back on the island...nothing is happening, really. The Smoke Monster Temple Massacre was five weeks ago; since then, really the only noteworthy thing that's happened is that Charles Widmore's group showed up. The Jack/Hurley/Ilana group has just been hanging out on the beach the whole time. Apparently Richard has a plan now, but what is it? They're still working on it, I guess. The Man In Black hasn't really done anything of note in the last five weeks, either. What's his plan? Seems he's still "gathering intelligence" and/or making threats, and that's it. The Charles Widmore group has only been setting things up; we still have no idea what they're trying to do. I have found the last five weeks of the show to actually be kind of boring. Seems like the writers didn't come prepared with enough interesting storylines to sustain an 18-hour season. We're now 11 hours into the 18-hour final season, and I don't know about you, but I expected to be a bit farther along at this point. They obviously have something big planned for the end, but until then, they're stalling. Well, time's running out, guys - let's get going already!

24

(Disclaimer: As of now, I've only watched the first 30 minutes of this week's two hour episode.)

As reported by many, this is officially the final season of "24". But I said earlier...don't expect a super duper mega awesome conclusion. I'm not even sure whether or not the "final cancellation" decision was made before or after the series finale was written. Either way, they're planning on doing a movie, so you know Jack Bauer will survive. I think that's unfortunate. Not knowing Jack's fate going into the final hour of the series would have added immeasurable intrigue. I'd rather this season be absolutely, positively, it. No movies! No holding back!

I have to think that the writers knew that this was probably it, though, so I'm hoping that this season is as completely over the top as possible. That means, of course, maximum death, destruction, and chaos. But you see, here's the thing with this show. If they were going to, let's say, detonate a deadly bomb in New York on this show, it would happen at the end of an episode, not at the beginning of an episode. Because of that, I knew that bomb wasn't going to go off, while there was a chance that President Hassan wouldn't survive the last episode. It's all about the timing. Speaking of which...the 15-minute counter was started at 5:59 AM at the end of the previous episode. Where did those extra four minutes go? If you're going to keep flashing that clock on the screen, then you better try to keep temporal continuity, especially considering that temporal continuity is the main gimmick of the series! The writers have really gotten lazy in that regard. People move from one section of the city to another in the blink of an eye, we instantly transition from full darkness (5:59 AM) to full daylight (6:01 AM), and we've pretty much lost the sense that this is actually supposed to be happening in real time. Maybe they think that this deep into the series - we're in Season 8 now - nobody is paying attention to temporal realism anymore? Well, you're wrong! We're still paying attention. Without temporal realism holding the show together, you start noticing how ridiculous this show is in general, whether it be Jack's miraculous ability to overcome personal injury, or...well...pretty much everything that happens at CTU.

That said...the last few weeks have been very entertaining. Things are happening, Jack is at the lead of the anti-terrorist operation, Renee Walker isn't crying every half hour, and most importantly, the terrorists are getting their way every now and then. I've always said that this show is most interesting when the terrorists win. The show has maintained a good balance of giving the terrorists a victory every now and then, ever since they killed Jack's wife at the end of Season One, and continuing into this season. That's important, because it maintains a little bit of unpredictability - at least, if you ignore the stipulation that every major terrorist victory always happens in the last 10 minutes of an episode. That said, I have a feeling that Hassan's death is the last major victory the terrorists will get this season. I want to be optimistic, but the last third of each season of "24" is often the least compelling part of the season. Maybe it'll be different this time around because "this is it"? Let's hope so.

Meanwhile, I'm happy to see that Dana Walsh - by far, this season's most annoying character - was revealed as a mole. Back when she was dealing with her old boyfriend and the probation officer, I wasn't sure if Dana was supposed to be a "good guy" or "bad guy". She's working for CTU, so she's supposed to be a "good guy", right? If so, she was the worst "good guy" ever. At least now she's a villain. She's a decnt villain, but she was a terrible protagonist. I can't possibly relate to her "problems" and the terrible decisions she's made. We were supposed to? I have no idea. I just wish her treason was revealed sooner. That would have made her storylines far more interesting at the time. She would have already been established as the villain, instead of just some random annoying CTU employee whose side story I don't couldn't give two craps about. I have to wonder if the decision to make Walsh a villain was made late in the game, after the writers realized what an awful character she was.

I'll probably have one more "Lost/24" post sometime between now and the series finales, which will both be two hours long, and on back to back nights, at that. The "Lost" finale is Sunday, May 23rd, and the "24" finale is the very next day. That will be a fun two nights, don't you think?

1 comment:

James Allen said...

I think Desmond is going to make the two timelines merge, either directly or through what Whitmore is going to do to him. My guess it's a "full reset" of time, rather than the "partial reset" the bomb did.
But I am totally wrong, probably.

As for 24, one word: movie.