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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Re-watching LOST: season six

The final season. Sob. Lots of people hated this season and plenty were satisfied. We were among the satisfied, and we're not going to say why again. Just read this post. The post you are reading now is to grade each episode and talk about the arc of season six. This show was uneven from the start, but what made it one of our favorite shows ever was that it was always challenging and completely unique. There will never be anything remotely like this show ever again, unless it's a remake.

In the first episode, we got the answer to the big question we were left with in season five: did the plane crash happen or not? The writers answered this question in the best way possible. It was both. Both things happened. They created another universe where these characters never got on the island, but ended up finding each other anyway. We always wondered what would have happened in their lives without the island, but we didn't want to negate what had happened in the entire show up until now. The writers let viewers have their cake and eat it too.

Juliet dies for real, and it's tragic. Then we go into a boring Kate episode. Her episodes are even slow in a parallel universe. The worst part was that we'd already seen this episode, essentially, because it repeated the same ideas shown in previous Kate episodes.

We loved seeing parallel Locke, a better man than Locke was with the island in existence. He had a sense of humor, a relationship with his father and Helen, and an optimistic outlook on life. Sure, he still struggled in a dull career, but Hurley can fix that! Seeing a character we grieved for so much actually living as the man he was meant to be before he got delusions of grandeur? Very satisfying.

Not so satisfying? The temple people on the island in the "real" world. Everything that happened in the temple (with the kick-ass exception of Sayid walking out to the creepy singing as a darker man) was a pointless waste of time that didn't pan out to us. We also didn't like Jack's parallel universe self with his son. That's not the way to wrap up Daddy issues.

We loved the Lighthouse episode's on-island action. It showed how Jacob had been watching his selections for years. It was sweet and gave the Jacob deity a loving, planning side. It also put Jack where he needed to be before this show concluded: at the center of Jacob's plan, more important than Jack had ever dreamed he could be, angry at "God," and confused. It felt human and familiar.

We also loved Ben's parallel universe and on-island redemption. He was one of our favorite characters since season two. Watching him make the right, unselfish decision for Alex in the other universe was so sweet we could literally tear up just thinking about i- dammit, there we go. It was a great choice to have Ben make the right, uplifting choice in both worlds just after Sayid gets sucked back into the dark side in both worlds.

We didn't like the parallel Sun and Jin. Uninteresting. Sawyer is a cop without the island to turn him into a criminal, and he also (surprise) sleeps with Charlotte. This was a fun Miles/Sawyer cop episode, but it was also unwelcome at this point in the series. Fans wanted answers and emotions, not this. We're kind to it in hindsight though.

Then came the episode with Richard's entire backstory, complete with baptism, lots of Catholic guilt, romance, death, symbolism, and more on the Jacob vs. Man-In-Black dynamic. It was a great, well-acted episode that should have served as the 15th episode rather than the Across the Sea. We got answers, and it was a solid hour of television. It was followed by The Package, where Sun stupidly loses her ability to speak English. Doink. Ugh.

Thankfully, we get a Desmond episode right after, and he's the important connection in the sideways world too. He's not as good of a man without the island, but he still finds meaning in loving Penny at the end. Hurley's sideways episode ended with a good twist, but we didn't care much about what happened to him in the parallel universe. It's nice that he has better luck...but this wasn't the finest hour of LOST's final season at all.

Meanwhile on the actual island in the actual real world, the chess pieces are coming together into their teams and are ready to face off against Back Locke/the Monster, who is trying to manipulate his way to a bigger army. Things start to pick up around The Last Recruit. Jin and Sun are reunited briefly only to die together. Leeard cried. Ern didn't care, having never bought into that tumultuous, lying couple. Ern was much sadder to lose Sayid, but at least he went out a hero. He was always a great guy.

Hardly anyone liked the Alison Janney episode at the time it aired, but we think that after you've seen the finale, you'll appreciate that it was necessary to set up the ending. It laid the foundation for the mythology, but Janney was miscast, and they needed better child actors. In the present, Evil Locke wants to destroy the island, and Jacob has been grooming a few losties to step up and protect it. Obviously, the person who steps up is Jack.

We come to the finale. Why did we love it? Because of all the emotional reunions, particularly Juliet/Sawyer and Locke/Ben. Watching those two forgive each other and Ben wait until he was ready to move on was exactly the closure we needed for those two characters. It was the real goodbye we wanted to say to Locke years ago.

Why wasn't it perfect? Not because it didn't give us answers. It did. Ask us a question and we'll show you where in the show an answer was either given or implied. It wasn't perfect because it didn't blow our minds or surprise us. The fake world shouldn't have been an afterlife. It should have been a real world that actually fused with the island world and turned into one, big world. That would have been better. But we will accept the ending we are given, especially after the clarifying epilogue we got.

The finale punched us in the spirit and the heart and we were crying wrecks. We thought about it for weeks afterward. If you thought this show was about solving life's mysteries (or even the island's mysteries), you missed the point. It was about the journey these people took together and how, after everything, they all got the big picture, healed their wounds and divisions, stood up against evil together, and then chose to move onto the next world next to each other.

This show was more about perfect, brilliant, breathtaking moments than a perfect whole.

LA X parts 1 and 2: A, What Kate Does: D+, Substitute: A+, Lighthouse: B, Sundown: A-, Dr. Linus: A, Recon: B-, Ab Aeterno: A-, The Package: D, Happily Ever After: A+, Everybody Loves Hugo: B-, The Last Recruit: B+, The Candidate: B+, Across the Sea: C, What They Died For: A-, The End: A-, Epilogue (dvd extra): B

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