“Well, that and a nickel’ll get you a hot cup of JACK SQUAT!”

Spoiler alert: I talk about the three most recent episodes of Lost, divulging “plot” points in the process. Read at your own risk if you haven’t watched one or both of those episodes.

I’m a fan of Lost. While I don’t quite fall into the extreme of fans who are angry and disappointed, I get the frustration. I blindly gave the show a free pass during the first part of season three last fall. I’m simple like that, but I also have faith in J.J. Abrahms. After last night’s episode, I’m thisclose to bailing on the show and catching up on DVD, even if it means I hear spoilers about what happens. There’s nothing I hate more than spoilers.

Like I need to be concerned. Long ago, Lost stopped answering questions. The producers might argue that they are answering questions. Okay, conceded. But the questions they’re answering are either stupid or unimportant. They’re trapped on an island that basically eats people. The producers think that finding out what happened to the stewardess will placate me? I’m supposed to care? I don’t remember the friggin’ stewardess. Either she died, or she miraculously showed up on the island like the 487 other new characters we’ve been introduced to since the beginning of season two who miraculous survived undetected. She is so unimportant to my enjoyment of the show. Either reveal enough to make me understand that she might matter or don’t waste my time.

Last night’s episode exemplified the show’s current failings in being anything interesting. Consider this story on Lost’s troubles with hyping more than it delivers (link via Fark):

The episode’s a good one, the first in a long time devoted to spending time on the beach with the entire cast (save Jack and The Others), with a flashback spotlight on fan-favorite Hurley. But it’s also a lighthearted affair — the main plot has Hurley and Jin trying to fix a VW Microbus — while the ads are selling it as a thrill ride that everyone will be talking about the next morning.

“This was one of my favorite episodes of this run of the season,” says Benson, “and the reason for that is it actually took me back to season one of ‘Lost.’ It had the intensity, it had the emotion, it had everybody together on the beach again, it had some lighter moments. This is what we struggle with: How do we create a sell for an episode that captures all that you get in a show like this in 30 seconds? It’s really, really hard.”

I disagree, so let me tell you what happened last night. The show was reminiscent of season one, because it might well consist of the footage left over from the first time we learned Hurley’s secret misfortune with the island’s numbers. We’ve already been there. The show should move further along instead of reminding everyone what it used to be able to do. If I want to see season one again, I’ll rent the DVDs. Every week the show squanders what little sympathy I have left by offering cold leftovers.

I get the fact that the curse, and therefore the destiny presented by the island, are illusions. The characters have the power to overcome their situation. Wonderful. That’s the basis of good fiction. But I’ve seen it so many times that I don’t need to have it hammered into me. I, who figures out fictional mysteries and makes connections slower than your average newborn chimpanzee, figured out from the superb Desmond episode two weeks ago that fate is a bitch, but the characters have the ability to change that. Duh. Charlie isn’t doomed to die. He might die, but he has the power to change that. Or his fellow castaways have the power to change that. Of course. If not, just blow up the island now and end everyone’s misery.

By extension, the same goes for Hurley. He’s not cursed if he refuses to accept it. Got it. I’d already figured it out. So don’t pummel me slowly with that point. The van ride was good, and a useful device. Forty-two show minutes to get there was thirty too many. I’d dozed off leading up to that because I was bored. That’s what the producers want?

Basically, the producers of Lost should stop writing the show until they’ve watched every episode of Heroes. The comparisons are being made because they both have huge mysteries lurking in the story. The difference is that Heroes is exploring some of the mysteries it exposes. The characters investigate and learn, so we learn through them. Lost just asks us to admire all the pretty colors it’s thrown against the wall in hopes that some useful information will stick long enough to develop a goal. They should at least watch Monday’s episode of Heroes to uncover how to answer questions that matter.

I’m not going to talk about the insulting crap the producers tried to pass off as a dramatical shocker at the end of last night’s episode. I’ll just get angry.

P.S. Title reference courtesy of Matt Foley.

One thought on ““Well, that and a nickel’ll get you a hot cup of JACK SQUAT!””

  1. I love spoilers and I would like to know ALL of them so I can stop watching this show and gain back one hour of my life each week!
    The only thing that MIGHT get me excited about Lost is a special appearance by AJ Tabaldo.

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