Archive for May 28, 2010

LOST thoughts

May 28, 2010

So I watched the LOST finale and have to say I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. Unlike a lot of people, I actually didn’t mind the Flash Sideways/Afterlife angle. And I didn’t mind that all the mystical properties of the Island weren’t explained, since mystical things by nature usually can’t be fully comprehended and understood by man. I do have some issues with the series overall though, mostly pertaining to dropped or underdeveloped storylines.

It’s fairly easy to just say something sucks, but it’s harder to say what would have made something better. As a writing exercise, I actually enjoy trying to come up with ideas that I would have preferred, so I’m presenting some thoughts I have on LOST. I’m not arrogant enough to say that these ideas are “better” than what was actually done on the show. It’s just what I personally would have liked to have seen, and I think they would have acknowledged some plot threads a little more than what was done. In most cases, I’m sticking with a lot of what was set up in the earlier seasons and not rewriting things from the very beginning, since that would open up too large a can of worms. I think most of my comments pertain to things that could have happened in the last two seasons.

JOHN LOCKE

One of my biggest gripes is that John Locke was pretty much destroyed as a character in the Island story. In the early seasons, the duality between Locke’s “Man of Faith” and Jack’s “Man of Science” was a huge plot point of the show, and Locke was just as important a character as Jack. By killing Locke off, they made his entire journey meaningless, turning the arguably strongest character on the show into a “sucker.” In killing him, they also made his entire progression as a character into just a footnote for Jack’s journey. All of a sudden, Locke himself wasn’t important anymore; he was only important in how his story (and his faith) impacted Jack’s story.  But he never had his own resolution.

I would have liked to have seen Locke come back from the dead after arriving back on the Island after the Ajira flight. It would have been in keeping with the magical properties of the Island, would have kept the essence of the character in the show (instead of just being a shell for the Man in Black), and would have continued the Faith vs Science concept alive with Jack having his philosophical foil. Naturally, his return from the dead would have been a big kick-start to Jack’s final acceptance of there being things in this world beyond the realm of explainable science.

DHARMA, THE OTHERS, AND TIME TRAVEL

I actually found the Faith vs Science aspect of the show hugely engrossing, but I feel like it didn’t pan out the way it could have. It never felt like a larger picture of Faith vs Science. It was reduced to just one man’s (Jack) conflict over the two. I think the show could have really made it a bigger deal by incorporating the Dharma Initiative and the Others into the theme.

For the most part, I think Dharma was pointless. It provided a lot of mystery, a lot of cool moments, and some interesting locations and characters, but ultimately, it didn’t figure into the big story at all. It was a diversion. I would have loved to have seen it really built up as a scientific invasion of the Island, men of science there to try to understand/exploit the Island and all its properties. As Jacob’s followers, The Others would have represented the flip side of the coin, men of faith. So the conflict between The Others and Dharma could have been portrayed as an extension of the Faith vs Science conflict between Locke and Jack. And the resolution between The Others and Dharma could have helped Locke and Jack in understanding their own roles.

I would have liked to have seen the tension between The Others and Dharma grow until it eventually ended in the Purge. That would have been a good reason to have the time travel story as well. As it stands, I think the time travel story (Losties in the 1970’s) didn’t really serve much of a purpose as far as the bigger story goes. It was a bit of a wasted opportunity. The time travel story could have been used to place key characters into the actual thick of things to personally witness the final battle between The Others and Dharma, the devastating result of Science and Faith clashing without either trying to understand the other.

INFERTILITY

The end result of that battle could have been Dharma being wiped out. But in the process, some of their experiments could have been jeopardized, creating a situation that interfered with The Others ability to procreate. I think the whole infertility angle was unceremoniously dropped, which is a shame considering how important a plot point it was for several seasons and several character arcs (Jin and Sun, Juliet, etc). I think they could have explained it that the original Others were people Jacob brought to the Island to help him protect it. Maybe over time, The Others realized it was too difficult constantly bringing in new people (skeptics like the Losties) and convincing them of the importance of the Island and that they should throw away their off-Island lives to stay there to protect it. Maybe at some point, The Others decided it would be more beneficial to have their own offspring, who would be brought up on the Island and grow up with those values already instilled in them.

So procreation would be a big issue for them in continuing to have future generations of Island protectors. The result of the Dharma Purge could have been infertility for The Others. Thus their desperation in kidnapping kids and babies and bringing Juliet (a fertility specialist) to the Island. It also would have reinforced the concept that no good comes of Faith and Science destroying each other through pointless clashing. Both sides lose. Hell, maybe the Smoke Monster itself could have been a product of the clash between Dharma and Others. One of the Dharma experiments could have gone horribly wrong, in part due to The Others’ sabotage, creating the Monster.

Personally witnessing the mutual destruction of the two sides could have been the big “ah-ha” moment for Jack, and it would have been a nice resolution for the two characters to see Jack and Locke at least partially embrace each other’s philosophies to find a middle ground and use that to ultimately defeat the Smoke Monster together. Ideally, they would have used some of the Dharma stations (again giving Dharma’s presence some significance in setting up for the final showdown) but would have combined that science with some sort of leap of faith to ultimately bring down the Smoke Monster.

BEN LINUS AND WIDMORE

As for Ben Linus and Charles Widmore, I don’t feel like their stories were properly explained. It was established that Widmore was a young Other at the time of the Dharma Initiative. In my version, maybe he lost his faith in being an Island protector and was swayed to the side of science and wanted to join the scientists in exploiting the Island. That would have resulted in him being banished and explained his desire to find the Island again. And in the show, he did stock his team up with a bunch of scientists, like Faraday (quantum physicist) and Charlotte (anthropologist), so it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to make Widmore a defecting man of science. Ben would then have been his foil as a man of faith in still believing in the Island.

Obviously, this doesn’t resolve all the other plot points and dropped stories, but for me, it ties together some of the biggest ones: a bigger end-plot reason for Dharma’s existence on the Island, a reason for the entire time travel story, an explanation for The Others’ infertility woes, more development of the Ben Linus/Widmore story, keeping the real Locke alive as the yin to Jack’s yang, and the exploration of the theme of Science Vs Faith, both by institutions (Others and Dharma) and individuals (Jack and Locke), and how the jingoistic clashes between the two can just result in mutual destruction but the cooperation and acceptance of both could lead to enlightenment.

Oh, and Ana Lucia would still die.