Tuned In

Lost Rewatch Week: The New Man in Charge

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Note: I’m on vacation this week. While I’m gone, I’ve set up a week of discussion posts revisiting the Lost finale in time for the Lost series DVD set, out Aug. 24. In other words, this is a recording; you cannot press 0 to speak to a real live person.

The Lost complete series DVD comes out today, which means it is finally (kind of) safe to talk about “The New Man in Charge,” the 11-minute-plus epilogue (not the video embedded above) featuring Ben Linus, Hurley and certain other characters after the events of the Lost finale left Hurley as new supreme boss guy of The Island. Which I’m sure we all watched through completely legal means. A few (spoilery, natch) thoughts after the jump:

* What did I think? It was cute. It was nice to see some of the old gang again. It was amusing to see how a few of the “answers” were presented. It was also entirely unnecessary—both dramatically and mythology-wise. I never had any aptitude for figuring out Lost mysteries in advance, but, for instance, wasn’t it already completely obvious that women couldn’t have babies on the Island because of the radiation released in the Incident? That the polar bears were used in connection with the (um, frozen) wheel, hence the remains Charlotte found in Tunisia? That Room 23 was used to somehow scramble its subjects’ brains? I’m not saying that the answers weren’t fun, just that understanding the series didn’t exactly hinge on them. The pallet drops were an automated process? Hurleybird was a genetic experiment? Huh.

* The one Big Mystery addressed here is the question of Why Walt Is Special, and this was a partial answer at best: it has something to do with his ability to commune with the dead, or something. I’d have liked a more definitive answer as long as the Powers That Be were going to the trouble. On the other hand, I had long since made my peace with it: Walt was a loose thread, which you are just going to have in writing a TV series, “planned” or not.

* What I did enjoy was having a chance to see Ben Linus in action again, cleaned up, reformed and trying to do right, when (as I wrote in my earlier rewatch), he had spent much of season 6 as sort of human luggage. Seeing him bond with Walt—another kid brought to the Island to his detriment—was sweet in a way I hadn’t expected.

* I also didn’t expect the reaction I saw online to the epilogue (e.g., in the comments on Jezebel, where it briefly leaked) to be so positive. Some viewers even said that “The New Man in Charge” should have been the end of the finale itself. This would have been an awful idea. But I guess I have to accept that I have simply been watching a different show for six seasons than some of its fans. Maybe for some people the ideal ending to Lost would have been a half-hour Dharma video, followed by an extended scene of Jacob or Christian sitting down with Jack in a cave and explaining the entire Island.

* That said, I do love me some Dharma videos. So yes, this was a case of Cuselof trying to have their (metaphysical, open to interpretation) cake and eating it (with literal, physical mouths) too. I still liked it well enough—where it belongs, as an optional DVD extra.

Your thoughts? Climb in the van and let’s talk about it.