March 24, 2010
"Lost" and eternity
Last night's "Lost" ("Ab Aeterno") about Richard Alpert was one of my favorite episodes ever. Nestor Carbonell, the actor who plays Alpert, was so awesome in this episode that he inadvertently made some of the show's less talented actors look weak by comparison. I've been getting a little weary of Kate and Jack lately, largely because those two actors just don't have the chops for the heavy moments. But some of Nestor Carbonell's scenes, where he's shackled in the wrecked ship, or holding his dead wife's face in the lamplight, or begging Jacob for his life, were so good I felt like I was watching a movie instead of TV. When he's on the screen, we're in good hands.
[Note: he can do comedy too. He was fantastic as Batmanuel in the live-action version of "The Tick" in 2001.]
As for the show's thousands of questions that are still mostly unresolved, I'm starting to wonder if the show is heading for more of an emotional resolution than a functional resolution. Especially in terms of the old and new adversarial relationships that have emerged. I could see the series leading toward a big showdown between Jacob and the Man in Black, Ben Linus and Charles Widmore, and Jack and Locke, which I'd be OK with. But even though recent episodes have revealed a lot of mythology and symbols, we're not getting much information about the actual facts of the island and the power struggles of the people on it.
I don't read every "Lost" blog there is, and I'm sure there are all kinds of nuances and clues that I miss every week. But we're only a handful of episodes from the end of the series, and I still don't understand a whole lot of stuff. Like what Widmore wants and if he's on the side of Jacob or the Man in Black, what the real purpose of the DHARMA Initiative was, who built the giant four-toed statue, whether the island is in the Atlantic (as suggested in last night's episode) or the Pacific (as suggested in every other episode) or if it moves around more radically than we thought, what happened to Sayid in the temple pool, why Ben was able to stab Jacob and kill him, or where Desmond is. Or what the deal is with Christian. Plus about one thousand other questions.
It seems like the show is heading toward more of a metaphoric explanation for all of this than a literal explanation. A couple of seasons ago, we found out where the polar bears literally came from (pretty much). But these days, we're more likely to get symbolic references and a lot of mirroring, like the Black Rock and the white rock, and the repetition of the order to kill someone before he says a word. And Jacob's lengthy musings about human nature's propensity for good and evil.
I have a mental list of all the questions I still have about this show, and I bet a lot of those questions are never going to get answered directly. But if we keep getting great episodes like this one, I can live with that.
Plus, I just want to go on the record with this idea: if both Jin and Sun have to be on the island because their mutual last name, Kwon, is written in Jacob's lighthouse and on the cave wall, then how do we know that Jack is the correct Shephard? I know Christian is dead and everything, but Jack has gotten so irritating lately that I'm hoping Daddy Shephard is the one that matters.
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