Season Finales Suck!!!
Now – I’m speaking of the inevitability (“Dammit, the season’s over!“) and not the actual content. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb or join the chorus (whichever camp and cliche you subscribe to) and say that Live Together, Die Alone was one of the best season finales of any scripted drama in a very long time. There was that episode that closed out Season 6 of The X-Files (with Cancer Man taking a torch to Mulder’s office) but that cliffhanger led directly to the movie which connected to Season 7 which marked the beginning of the end, so essentially, what seemed so pregnant with possibility only grew dazed and confused.
With Lost – and in particular Live Together, Die Alone, I don’t harbor those same fears. I trust in Lindelof and Cuse and their crack team of writers. They have followed up a stellar pilot season with a sophomore run that never wavered nor dipped in quality and did much to answer some questions while deepening a very potent mythology. I’ve seen the finale twice and I’d like to parse through it several more times – to groove to its narrative beats – to continue refining my interpretations – to make my own kind of music.
It’s gonna’ be a long, hot summer. And that is why season finales suck!!!
1. Could this season have flown by any faster? And this coming at the end of a season in which there was no shortage of people bitching to the heavens that Lost has too many reruns, too many breaks for hiatus, too much downtime. While I agree the breaks are painful and have written about it here, that’s a volley of criticism to lob at the networks suits, not the creative talent. Regardless, for a season in which we suffered through every spare moment, it still feels like mere moments ago that we opened the hatch to some scruffy jock starting his day to the strains of Mama Cass warbling “you’ve got to make your own kind of music.” Has it really been 9 months since we first met Desmond David Hume?
2. Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) is easily one of my favorite characters on the show and this episode served to imprint his lot in life as one of pained poignancy. It’s a great pleasure when one gets the chance to discover a brave, new talent and Cusick’s portrayal of Desmond has added to this show’s throbbing heart. Live Together, Die Alone traces Desmond’s journey from a military prison (where he served time for an unspoken crime and ended up losing the love of his life, Penelope Widemore) to the sandy shores of this island of mystery.
3. Desmond joins the troika of characters that I feel are the show’s nucleus – its soul. That’s what makes one of this episodes major cliffhangers so gutt-wrenching, with the trio of Desmond, Locke and Ecko apparently obliterated by a massive diffusion of electromagnetic energy. The last we see of Desmond, he’s turning his Dharma brand key in the fail safe device in a bid to release the energy that threatens to destroy the island. As he tells Locke, “You saved my life brother, so now I’m gonna’ save yours.” His last words, “See you in another life, brother.” – which echo the same sentiment he offered Jack in the season premiere, are truly haunting.
4. Speaking of Desmond, his character is another shout out to the long litany of philosophers and theorists who have been name-dropped on this fantasy island. David Hume was a Scottish philosopher who focused his thoughts on empiricism and causation (cause and effect.) Hume joins the esteemed ranks which include Locke (philosopher John Locke) and Rousseau (our wild and wooly Danielle – a.k.a The French Woman).
5. Charlie is a complete ass. It’s bad enough he was attempting to kidnap Aaron in a bid to drown him (to-may-to…to-mah-to; you say baptism, I say drown). Now he emerges from the horrors of the hatch (where he bore eyewitness to hell fires flaying his best pal and father figure Locke – not to mention his fellow Union member Ecko (Legion of Church Builders Local 815)) – and all he can do is make googly eyes at Claire, who due to apparent recurring temporary amnesia, has forgotten that this hopped up junkie Hobbit tried to abscond with her beloved baby boy just a fortnight or so ago. Over on 24 they snuffed Samwise. Why can’t Merry meet a similar fate? Somewhere Pippin awaits his pal for a long overdue second breakfast.
6. I don’t believe Henry is ‘The Man’ but I do believe he has a nice cushy position in DHARMA senior management. Certainly Weird Beard a.k.a. Zeka aka. Dave seems to answer to him. “Where’s your beard?”
7. So Libby shows up in a thrd flashback (for those keeping count she was in Hurley’s institution and stopped Ecko from throttling the living dead girl in the Sydney International Airport.) I’m making a prediction that Libby is connected to DHARMA or Widemore (one in the same?) and that her oh-so convenient offer of a free sailboat to Desmond is intentional. Just the sort of thing to get this love-struck sucker sailing around the world – on a route dictated by Charles Widemore. Knowing he can’t keep Desmond away from Pen with a few diverted letters, old Chuck figures the smart play is to divert Dezzie to Dimension X.
8. With all the hubbub in the hatch, I almost forgot about the four toed statue that Sayid, Jin and Sun spied from the sailboat. At first I was on board with the masses – no doubt the founding fathers of this island once worshipped the Simpson clan (with the statue baring such a strong resemblance to the mighty guardians of Alexandria, this really gave a whole new interpretation to Homer’s Odyssey). Then I read an interesting theory where people believe this island may be in a dimension one step removed from our own. Essentially, the ‘Multiple Earths’ theory, where there are various dimensions, each one just a hair different than the last. The theory goes that a rip between dimensions – A Wrinkle in Time to borrow from Sawyer’s Book Club – could result in Flight 815 being sucked into a parallel dimension. What could cause such a temporal distortion? How about a major electromagentic anomaly.
9. And we just happen to have an anomaly detected by those Portugese crewmen sequestered in that remote Antarctic research facility. I’m putting the smart money down that when Penny Widemore bankrolls an expedition to ‘the phantom zone’ they find either an uninhabited island or nothing at all.
Or maybe they find a statue… with FIVE toes!!!