LOST: Dissecting "The End"

Posted by Sean Stangland on Tue, 05/25/2010 - 01:21

I have read countless reactions to Sunday's "Lost" finale -- some positive, some negative, most confused. The show's final sequence inspires debate over what it means, how it fits with the rest of the show, and what exactly happened. "Purgatory" was a trending topic on Twitter last night, but I don't think that word applies to what we saw -- not at all. (And I think the L.A. Times' TV critic desperately needs to watch the last 20 minutes again.)

I found the finale to be an immensely moving experience, if not completely satisfying on an intellectual level. The real intellectual worth of "Lost" may ultimately prove to be the conversations it yields, not the show itself. That could be inspired genius or a total cop-out, and I'm still trying to figure out which. Either way, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have likely succeeded in creating a show that will live on for years as we debate its meaning and its quality, and pass it along to subsequent generations.

Where does one begin a recap of "The End?" At the end.

LOST Finale: My initial reaction

Posted by Sean Stangland on Sun, 05/23/2010 - 23:28

LOST: Dissecting "What They Died For" (6x16)

Posted by Sean Stangland on Wed, 05/19/2010 - 13:20

I don't know about you, but this week's "Lost" made me feel a whole hell of a lot better about last week's episode.

Finally, with one episode to go, the motives of both sides are clear: Jacob wants Jack and the Candidates to kill his brother, and Jacob's brother wants to destroy the island. The only variables left on the island are Ben, who is helping Smokey but may have ulterior motives, and Claire, who was markedly absent this week aside from the Shephard family breakfast in the alternate timeline. In that timeline, Desmond is bringing all the pieces together at a benefit concert we already know will be attended by Jack, David, David's mother (it's gotta be Juliet, right?), Miles, Dr. Chang and Charlotte.

The stage is clearly set for Sunday's finale, and the episode that got us there was one of the season's finest.

Extreme Makeover: [H]OUSE Edition

Posted by Sean Stangland on Tue, 05/18/2010 - 16:34

I must admit I've never really understood the whole "Huddy" thing.

But that puts me in the vast minority of "House, M.D." fans, who got exactly what they wanted in the closing moments of last night's season finale. Twice during the episode, which focused on House and Cuddy helping a victim trapped by a crane collapse in Trenton, the writers seemed to flip a narrative switch, completely changing the minds of the two protagonists.

Iron Meh

Posted by Sean Stangland on Mon, 05/17/2010 - 22:49

The more I think about "Iron Man 2," which I saw last week during my vacation time, the more I don't like it.

Mostly, I'm bothered by how disinterested the movie seems to be in itself. A substantial amount of screentime is devoted to advertising future Marvel films -- that is the primary function of the entire S.H.I.E.L.D. plot, is it not? Sure, Natalie (Scarlett Johansson) gives us some nice eye candy and eventually does something of consequence to the plot, but her character and her boss, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) are completely unnecessary. Does the average moviegoer understand what S.H.I.E.L.D. is, and that eventually Tony Stark will join this organization and team up with other superheroes in "The Avengers" (coming summer 2012, directed by Joss Whedon)? Does the average moviegoer know (or even care) that "Thor" and "Captain America" movies are coming next summer? Furthermore, did he or she even understand that Thor's hammer is what they found in the desert in the post-credits scene?

I'm guessing your answers are mostly "no."

LOST: About last week ...

Posted by Sean Stangland on Mon, 05/17/2010 - 00:35

Vacation, allergies and a malfunctioning computer gave me enough reason to completely avoid writing about last week's polarizing episode of "Lost." To call it frustrating would be an understatement. The first few segments prompted me to send this tweet via text message: "Uhh ohh. Is #LOST about to jump the shark, 3 episodes from the end???"

Judging by the reactions online, the answer to that question was "yes" for many fans.

"Across the Sea" disappointed for many different reasons. Some found it narratively jarring. Some were angry that the deaths of Jin, Sun and Sayid would remain unaddressed for another week. Some thought the costumes looked cheap and cheesy. And some couldn't get past the fact that CJ was on the island, but President Bartlet was nowhere to be found.

LOST: Dissecting "The Candidate" (6x14)

Posted by Sean Stangland on Wed, 05/05/2010 - 18:25

I guess none of us are on Team Smokey anymore.

The "Lost" series finale may be scheduled for May 23, but it feels like the final act has already begun. "The Candidate," Tuesday's heartwrenching episode, boasted revelations, twists and performances worthy of "Through the Looking Glass," the Season 3 episode largely thought to be the show's finest. Many fans must feel like all hope is lost, but I was rather encouraged by what transpired: Jack has finally come around, and Sayid's sacrifice proved that our heroes' friendships can overcome evil. The will of men is stronger than the machinations of the island's gods.

That idea doesn't break any new ground in the pantheon of storytelling, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work -- and I know it works because Hurley wasn't the only one crying by the time "The Candidate" had ended.

LOST: Bests and worsts

Posted by Sean Stangland on Sun, 04/25/2010 - 22:58

"Lost" is on a one-week hiatus, but returns a week from Tuesday with the first of four new episodes -- the last new episodes. I figured this off-week was the perfect time to take a look back at our favorite show with some (hopefully) fun lists and videos. I will of course be writing recaps for the final episodes, and will probably have a whole lot to say after the finale.

But for now, let's have some fun. Don't hesitate to give your own lists in the comments below.

Friday Playlist, #3

Posted by Sean Stangland on Fri, 04/23/2010 - 05:06

This week's lineup includes a video intro from yours truly, in which I briefly give my thoughts on Roger Ebert's controversial comments on video games:

LOST: Dissecting "The Last Recruit" (6x13)

Posted by Sean Stangland on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 16:42

Who could have predicted, way back in Season 1, that the black cloud of smoke would become the most complex, interesting character on "Lost"?

To the uninitiated, that question probably reads like a slam on the show's writers. It most certainly is not. Call him the Smoke Monster, the Man in Black, MiB, the Locke Monster, Flocke, Smocke, Esau or, my personal favorite, Smokey -- whatever his (its?) name, he's fascinating and infuriating all at once, and Terry O'Quinn must feel like the luckiest actor in the world to get the opportunity to play him.

Smokey matter-of-factly answers questions. He doesn't speak in metaphors like Ben and Jacob -- remember the "magic box" and the cork in the wine bottle? -- and he doesn't appear to hold anything back. His scene with Jack near the beginning of "The Last Recruit" was enlightening and heartbreaking. He confirms that Jack's "visions" of Christian on the island have, in fact, been Smokey in disguise, but he also completely discounts John Locke, which will almost certainly prove to be an unwise decision. Like so many fans, John Locke is my favorite "Lost" character, and it hurt to hear this from Smokey: "John Locke was not a believer, Jack. He was a sucker."