2009-10 season wrap: Lost

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be summarizing my thoughts on many of the series that ended just as the “official” television season came to a close recently.

Overview: The final season of Lost had otherworldly expectations placed upon it — and that was before the writers decided to introduce a controversial storytelling device in the flash-sideways. There were a lot of questions to answers and characters to service, and fans will probably argue for decades as to whether or not the series accomplished either of those tasks. There were complaints about the episodes that focused solely on characters that were deemed “boring,” while the “answer” episodes were chastised for how the information was given out.

But in the end, most of the major questions were at least answered good enough and nearly every character was serviced in proper ways. Although the final season of the series is certainly not the best, it took a lot of risks, had a lot of balls in the air and stuck the landing. That’s saying something.

Pros: The biggest question I had coming into season six was about the agency of the main characters. With the introduction of Jacob and the Man in Black in “The Incident,” it seemed as if the survivors of 815 were simply pieces on the chessboard with little say in what’s happened to them ever since the beginning of the series. However, season six went out of its way to prove to us that while they were brought to the island for a reason, what they did after they got there was all on them. As Jack said to Desmond in the finale, everything mattered, and despite glowing pools of water or goofy plugs, I can get behind it all because I know that it was all real and everyone had a choice.

Moreover, I feel as if most of the real burning questions I had going into this season were mostly answered. We received a good amount of information about Jacob and MIB. We figured out who “Locke” as. We figured out why the people were brought to the island. We figured out what the whispers were. We were given enough information about what the island’s purpose is that we can make certain connections and guesses about other questions. And really, that’s all I ask for because I don’t want to be spoon-fed; I want to talk about my interpretation or the interpretations of others. That’s what the Lost fandom experience is really all about.

I can’t talk about the sixth season of Lost without mentioning the reclamation of Jack, who had one of the best seasons-long arcs I’ve seen on television. We all knew that Jack would eventually be the hero, but kind of didn’t want to believe it in seasons three and four because he was sort of an insufferable prick. This was a guy who watched an island disappear in front of him and refused to believe it. But in season six, Jack became the man of faith who was able to fess up for his mistakes, realize that he wasn’t always right and eventually embrace leadership and responsibility when he needed to.

No matter what you want to say about the flash-sideways universe, it’s hard to deny how much closure they brought to nearly every important character on the series. And if the FS universe didn’t do it, the island story did. It might have been too heavy-handed to see all those awakenings in “The End” or the little moments between Jack and Hurley, Jack and Sawyer or Hurley and Sawyer on the island, but they made us all smile/cry, and amid its seas of mysteries, Lost is a series that makes us smile and cry.

I can also appreciate the FS for what it ended up being, even if I think it creates some logistical questions. I’m okay with being jerked around completely about their purpose especially in relation to the detonation of the Jughead because that’s just the kind of thing the series does. I love the idea that everyone in the church figured out that they were never better than when they were together and that they put themselves in a situation where they had to pass a few more final tests before moving on to the afterlife. Lost is a series that has always paid respect to the deaths of its characters as if the connection between all the people on the island is something so deep that even when Nikki and Paulo die, they deserve to be buried and celebrated, if even a little.

Cons: I’ve said this on multiple times throughout season six, but I think the writers could have done more with a few more episodes. I understand the desire to not pad certain things or spend time on frivolous things from season two — I’m looking at you, food drops — especially in the final season, but there were things introduced this season that weren’t handled as well as they could have. The idea of being claimed, the Temple,, bringing Widmore back and Desmond’s full purpose were four things that could have been further explained to make the season play more consistent.

Similarly, I think the season was oddly structured and paced. “Across The Sea” should have been placed much earlier in the season, as should have “Happily Ever After.” The information given in those two episodes doesn’t necessarily make the episodes before better or more interesting, but airing them differently would have as we watched. If that makes sense.

Quick hitters

Best storyline: The conclusion of Jack’s journey as the man of faith and island’s savior.

Worst storyline: Widmore’s return — Talk about using a character as a mechanization to bring back another. Geesh.

Best performer: Everyone was fantastic, but I can’t give all the praise to Jack without also bestowing it upon Matthew Fox. I think he knew how to play Jack in those middle years and some people put the changes in Jack’s character on Fox as if it were a bad performance — those people were wrong. He was awesome all season.

Best single moment: The final moment of the series when Jack stumbles out to the bamboo field to die as Vincent joins him for a nap.

Three best episodes: “The End,” “Dr. Linus,” “Happily Ever After”

Worst episode: “What Kate Does”

Where does it fit within the context of the series as a whole: There were some definite missteps, but this was a wonderful conclusion to a glorious series. Again, there was just so much to accomplish here and some things were given priority over others. Luckily, I’m a fan of the character moments and the half-answers with the open interpretations, so I’m high on the season overall, despite some problems.

Final grade: B+

Past days of the wrap

Parks and Recreation

Fringe

30 Rock

V

Community

Smallville

House

Supernatural

How I Met Your Mother

The Office

Chuck

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