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Lost Rewatch Week: The Old Men 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.

After Desmond descends into the pit in the Lost finale, “The End,” we see Smokey (in the form of Locke) and Jack looking down into the hole—a shot that ingeniously recreates Jack and Locke looking down into the hatch. Then Smokey kind of kills the moment, by telling us that it looks just like the scene of Jack and Locke looking down into the hatch. Jack cuts him off: “You’re not John Locke.”

The problem is, Jack is right. Which gets to an issue I had with the whole of season 6: centering the action on Jacob and Locke, two figures we only met at the end of season 5, and who barely even actual people with personalities so much as they are gods or natural forces.*

*[I should make clear here, as when I complain about the red-herring use of the Flash Sideways throughout season 6: I do not have a better idea. My puny brain could never have conceived of something like Lost to begin with; all I can try to do is pinpoint things I loved and hated about it. As for solutions, just call me Kenan Thompson: Fix it!]

I was a broken record about this throughout season 6, so I’ll keep it brief. But in a nutshell, it’s easier to become fully invested in a villain (or a hero), when he or she is a character—someone with psychology, conflicts, an original voice. “Across the Sea” tried to retrofit Jacob and MIB’s characters, but even without the Greek-tragedy weirdness, it would have been too late. Smokey is a compelling monster, but not so much a classic nemesis. It’s the same reason that, in the Star Wars original trilogy, Darth Vader is a more memorable antagonist than The Emperor.

I would like to say that that is the last time that I will ever analogize Lost to Star Wars, but we would both know it was a lie. Anyway: did anyone leave the finale liking Jacob and MIB better?

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