I've watched the season finale of Lost a second time, and I have confirmed that my first impression was not mere immediate excitement. It stood up just as well the second time, and I have a lot to talk about, for the finale and for Season 5 as a whole.
IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN IT, PLEASE READ NO FURTHER.
I don't plan on theorizing, I'll leave that to Erika Olsen, Doc Jensen, Vozzek, and the other fantastic Lost recappers who write weekly. These are just my thoughts as I watched the show, loosely organized in a bullet-point fashion.
I'll start off with the recap show, and then proceed somewhat sequentially in the order that things happened on the show itself. I quite enjoyed the recap show, and I usually don't. Having Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse there to add commentary was a nice touch, and watching it prior to watching the finale for the second time, and knowing the reveals about Locke and Jacob, it certainly added a new layer. I had forgotten just how much happened this season until I saw flashbacks of The Lamp Post, Hurley back in the mental institution, and the Oceanic 6 press conference. It all seems so long ago.
For the finale itself, I have to say that the opening sequence was one of my favourite scenes, if not my favourite, of all-time on Lost. What a surprise to see Titus Welliver unexpectedly, as the casting director continues to steal the cast of Deadwood. Kim Dickens (Cassidy), Paula Malcolmson (Colleen), Robin Weigert (Rachel), and William Sanderson (Oldham) have all already appeared, and now Titus Welliver joins the list. (Few people remember him from a fantastic mob drama he did in 2000 called Falcone, but that's where I first noticed him.) I was almost expecting Al Swearingen to stroll out of the jungle at some point!
The opening scene was subtle and intense all at once, and the little bit of dialogue that there was, was well-written and going to end up being very important to the overall Lost mythology. I think next year when we learn more about this, we'll look back and re-watch this scene with an enturely new understanding of what they were talking about. Seeing the Black Rock arriving was a nice touch, and the closing shot panning up to reveal the full statue was breathtaking.
Seeing Rose and Bernard hiding out for three years in the jungle was a pleasant surprise, and the fact that they're caring for Vincent answers a lot of questions that viewers had. I'm not sure if it was just a way to give closure to the characters and their storylines, or a way to set up that Rose and Bernard will end up being the Adam and Eve skeletons from Season 1, but whatever the reason, it was good to see them again.
Watching the episode a second time, it was interesting to watch all of the scenes with Locke knowing that he was actually 'Jacob's Nemesis' (referred to as JN for the rest of this post). For instance, in the scene on the beach, when Ben is asking him why he wants to kill Jacob, and JN/Locke explains what Jacob has done to Ben, and punctuates it with 'Why wouldn't you want to kill him?"...well, it was very telling.
I did enjoy the references to Charlie, and I'm not exactly sure why, because I was never really a big fan of him on the show. I enjoyed the scene when they were back at their old camp, and Sun came across Aaron's crib...and found Charlie's DriveShaft ring in there. I'm not sure if it was meant to signify anything, or just a transition to the wedding scene where she was holding her wedding ring, but we'll see.
One thing I did not like was Jack's reasoning for trying to reset everything with the bomb. The "I had her, and I lost her" argument was kind of lame, and I didn't really expect a puppy dog love story to be the motivating factor. I was disappointed in that. The other thing I didn't like, was Juliet's abrupt about-face, with the only explanation she offered being "I changed my mind." Personally, I'm not a big fan of "I changed my mind" as a logical explanation/excuse for a life-changing decision.
Radzinsky has been a joy to hate these last few episodes. The show definitely a new super-douche, and he's been great.
I loved the Jacob/Hurley scene in the cab. I though it was interesting how Jacob pointed out to Hurley the difference between being cursed and being blessed, and how Hurley hadn't really considered that. The "it's your choice" was obviously very important, as it comes up later with Ben, and I think is the core of what Jacob and JN were discussing in the first scene. Free will has always been a topic of discussion in this show, and now we're starting to see the beginnings of the explanation of why.
Phil's death was kind of lame, and not because he took a metal rod in the chest. (That was actually pretty cool) It was because they were setting it up after he hit Juliet in front of Sawyer that he was going to get his major come-uppance at the hands of 'LaFleur'. I just didn't buy that Sawyer would have Phil in his grasp and hold him hostage like he did. Minor issue, but I expected more from it.
The entire final scene at the Swan site, 'The Incident' itself, reminded me so much of Return of The Jedi with everyone getting sucked into the Sarlacc Pit. (one of the recappers I read on Thursday mentioned this, but I can't remember who, and it made me laugh to think...at our core, we're all really Star Wars Geeks, aren't we?) It also made me fully buy into Doc Jensen's theory that Season 5 is a mirror of Season 2, because the flying chaos of everything was very reminiscent of the Season 2 finale in the Hatch when the button wasn't pressed.
The final scene with Juliet and Sawyer was very emotional, and painful to watch. Great job by both Josh Holloway and Elizabeth Mitchell.
The final scene with Jacob, Ben, and Locke/JN was very intense. I was impressed with Jacob's instant awareness of the situation, and recognition of what was happening. As he did with Hurley in the cab, he explained to Ben that he had a choice, thus reaffirming once again this anticipated core value thesis.
The ending...the pounding with the rock by Juliet...leading to the white flash...and the reversed black-on-white logo. Loved it. Absolutely loved it. Gives me goosebumps every time I see it.
A few more rapid-fire thoughts:
- The music was awesome. I didn't really notice it the first time around, but on the second viewing, Michael Giacchino's score for this episode was truly fantastic.
- They told us in an episode title, Dead is Dead. Why didn't we believe them?
- I do not, however, believe that Jacob is dead.
- Nice to see the redemption and usefulness of Juliet come to light in the finale after her character had become somewhat stagnant recently.
- So much about previous events makes sense now, like the Smoke Monster trying to pull John down into the hole in Season 1. If the Smoke Monster is, or is associated with, JN, then it was the early plan all along to use him as a pawn in this game.
- If this truly has to do with free will, then that's a possible explanation as to why the kids were removed/stolen. This is a concept that Vozzek discusses at length in his recap, which is by far the best recap of the entire season by any recapper (Sorry Erika, but you're still my fave). It is required reading for any Lost fan, and you can read it here.
OVERALL THOUGHTS ON SEASON 5
- I've always loved Kate (and Evangeline Lilly!), but I don't like her character anymore.
- Conversely, I've never liked Sawyer, but I found myself rooting for him this season. The LaFleur episode was the major turning point for me.
- Sun in Season 5 was a year of wasted potential. After setting her up to be a badass, she essentially spent the entire season just asking where Jin was, and doing nothing.
- The most compelling characters of Season 5 were Charles Widmore, Ellie, Richard, and Jacob. Looking forward to more in Season 6, hopefully.
My favourite (non-finale) scenes and/or moments in Season 5:
- Locke meeting Charles Widmore in 1954
- Ben killing Locke
- Sayid shooting Little Ben
- Learning Desmond and Penny named their son Charlie
I don't know what I'm going to do until January 2010, when Season 6 starts. It's most certainly going to be a long wait.