Again, forgive me for not being able to blog about much except pop culture these days, but that's just the way it is.
WHO'S IN THE COFFIN?
I didn't start watching Lost until a few episodes into the first season when, I believe, Sandra Miesel's kudos convinced me to look into it. The appeal for me has always been the theme of redemption - of these people, with all of their problems, being dropped onto this island with its mysterious powers and being given a chance to begin again, and to find redemption of a sort.
As usual, though, plot tends to get in the way, and the attempts to tease out the mysteries got, I think, excessively complicated and aggravating, as we were left to wonder if these guys (the producers) even knew what they were doing or just making it up on the fly.
Even if it's the latter, though, it's so well done, and the individual stories are (usually) compelling enough to keep us coming back. I just hope that the whole universe of this show is tied together by the end. Well, they have three years...
So...for last night? Pretty exhausting viewing, and not just because of the commercials every five minutes. So, randomly...(after the jump for those who haven't seen it yet and don't want to be spoiled)
*Charlie's death! Beautifully done. Sounds odd, but if you're watching the show, you understand. In Charlie, we have the personification of self-sacrifice. Convinced by Desmond's vision that Claire and the baby will be rescured because of his actions..he follows through. And crossing himself at the end...oh, just go ahead and break my heart! And then Baby Aaron starting to cry at that moment up above..break it again!
*Hugo getting to be a hero. Excellent.
*Ben - played by Michael Emerson - is probably my favorite character, (and I think that whoever cast the actor in the part should get some kind of award) - especially now that Ecko's long gone and Locke is just weird and possessed. Does he hold some truth or is he just a warped, deluded megoloamianac?
*The choices Jack (whom I normally can't stand) faces throughout the ep were very well done, and lay the groundwork for the next big mystery which..what is the choice he made that has now, in the present, driven him to such a state? In a way the show is a dramatic expression of the Law of Unintended Consequences.
I knew about the flash-forward ahead of time, but knowing it didn't ruin it for me, since the overarching mystery of "why?" still remains. Along with every other mystery that still hasn't been answered, which is, if you think about it, most of them. Still.
Never mind. For me, the main point of interest remains the impact that our choices have on our characters. One of the more intriguing characters to watch, I think, will be Sawyer. What has killing Locke's father done to him? It's not as if he hadn't killed before. But this was obviously different.
So, darn you Lost. Every time I wobble, you reel me back in. And make me wait EIGHT MONTHS.
(btw, if you check out any of the show discussion boards, you'll see that within minutes, the busy bees with their TIVO and DVR's had freeze-framed and magnified the crumpled news story that Jack holds in the flash-forwards. They've discerned that the first letter in the name was J, followed by either an a, e or o. So..."John".."James"..."Jacob.." Someone claims the name is Jeremy Bentham, which of course would fit in sort of with the game of naming certain characters - Locke, Rousseau - after philosophers. Waiting for Thomas Aquinas! The same busy bees have discerned that the name of the funeral home in the flash forward is an anagram for "flash forward." A nation obsessed. I went the convenience store on the corner last Thursday and the counter people were talking about...Lost. I went in Monday morning. Different workers. Still talking about...Lost.)
Okay, so he's really dead (per my suspicious comment down below). From a TV Guide interview with the producers:
Why'd you kill off Charlie?
Cuse: We felt like we needed to pay off Desmond's prognostications. We thought about various ways in which that could pay off, but, ultimately, we came to the conclusion that the best version of the story was for Charlie to die.
But Desmond could have had premonitions about anyone. Why Charlie?
Cuse: In order for the story to have real stakes, we had to make it a significant character. And we felt like we had told the biggest and most important parts of Charlie's story. He was an addict; he recovered from his addiction; he found some meaning and purpose in his relationship with Claire. We didn't really want to throw him back into the throes of addiction again. It just felt like this was the best path for this character -- the Everyman Hero making this tremendous sacrifice for the benefit of everyone else on the island -- even if it resulted in the painful consequences of losing Dominic.
As heartbreaking as his death was, it was also kind of beautiful.
Cuse: We gave Charlie a death that was distinctive from any of the other [deaths on Lost]. He willingly chooses to sacrifice himself, and does it in an incredibly noble and heroic way. It felt to us like that was the necessary story culmination for Season 3 to feel complete. Unfortunately, you exist in two realms. You exist in one realm: Damon and I as storytellers. And then we also exist in the realm of producers who happen to be friends with Dominic Monaghan, who's a wonderful guy and a terrific actor. It's really painful to have what's best for the story collide with a personal relationship with an actor. It was very hard to say good-bye to Dominic. But I think he understood. Lost is a story and there's kind of a continuum to it. And some characters are destined to complete the entire journey and others aren't. Charlie's death wasn't insignificant. It creates a major turn in the overall story of Lost.
Charlie's death also shows that no one really IS safe on Lost.
Cuse: Right. If Billy Petersen has a gun put to his head on CSI, nobody really believes he's going to die. But on our show, we really do want the audience to believe that whenever a character is in jeopardy, it really could mean the end of that character. We didn't think of it as callously as, "Oh, well, we have to make people believe in the stakes of out show." But that's definitely a repercussion of Charlie's death. Major characters can die.
What was Dominic's reaction?
Cuse: Dominic was extremely gentlemanly about it and very professional. I think it was hard for him. He really loved being on the show. The moment when it really sunk in the most for us was when Damon and I went into the editing room and watched the sequence in which Charlie dies, fully edited. I don't think either one of us was prepared for the visceral emotional reaction of watching it on screen. First, because Dominic did such an awesome acting job. Second, because Jack Bender did such an incredible job directing it. But mostly, it was the emotional impact of seeing in celluloid the consequences of our story decision. It was really affecting. In those moments, you realize the profoundness of the decisions you have to make as a storyteller.