Wednesday, April 18, 2018

LOST S1 E25: Exodus (Part 3)

"I need for you to explain to me what the hell is going on inside your head John."

"I believe that I was being tested. I think that's why you and I don't see eye to eye sometimes Jack, because you're a man of science."
-John Locke-

"Yeah, what does that make you?"

"Me, well, I'm a man of faith. Do you really think all this is an accident? That we a group of strangers survived. Many of us with just superficial injuries. Do you think we crashed on this place by coincidence especially this place. We were brought here for a purpose, for a reason, all of us. Each one of us was brought here for a reason."

"And who brought us here John?"

"The island. The island brought us here. This is no ordinary place. It's destiny."

Did the creators and writers behind LOST have a vision that was locked down for the series from the very beginning? The general sense is no and by some accounts things were left fairly fluid. Where this takes the series in the end is certainly left for some debate. But as a standing single season of television, LOST, Season One is near perfect.

The LOST Season One finale is finally here. And science fiction fans rejoice at the first official sighting of the Smoke Monster. To clarify, it is the extremely powerful, island security system Smoke Monster. Trees are uprooted, horror sound effects are employed with clanging metal chains and a whole host of additional sounds sure to raise the hair on your back if you have hair there.

Locke investigates the melee in the forest in typically fearless fashion. Yet, he is knocked to his feet only to look up with eyes clearly filled with fear. And that is just in the opener for LOST, Season One, Episode 25, Exodus (Part 3).

Highlight: Being the full on sci-fi geek that I am that opening Smoke Monster sequence was like nirvana for this writer. Watching John Locke dragged through the forest by a pillar of black smoke with Jack giving chase was about as perfect as science fiction arousal gets. The smoke pulls Locke toward a hole in the roots of a tree, Jack holds onto Locke. Locke, with faith in hand, implores that Jack let go and that he will be fine but Jack, as you know, can never let go of anything and doesn't. Kate explodes dynamite in the hole below and the Smoke Monster rises above ground and quickly disappears along with that haunting accompanying bellowing howl.

There is also a moment in Exodus (Part 3) whereby Locke looks into the heart of the creature and his face is one of complete utter fear and horror. The eyes of John Locke are far more dramatic than his reaction (one more of peace than terror) upon seeing the creature in Episode 4, Walkabout.

Still, this elusive thing is not officially named said Smoke Monster at all throughout Season One.

Seeing it all a second time, almost as much as the first, my mouth was open and I was literally thinking What the fuck was that?! What the fuck did I just see?! With no explanation and an island oozing with mystery in that moment LOST took the words and the logic away and made me a believer in its thrilling, mysterious journey. I had no comprehension of it all and yet I adored what Lindelof, Cuse and others had achieved in weaving its science fiction elements into a season long human journey on an island lost. This was science fiction wonderment and I was in heaven to behold the inexplicable. Yes, that was a major fucking highlight.

Now the finale had more than one even if the thrilling Smoke Monster sequence was my personal favorite.

The resulting verbal confrontation between Locke and Jack is some of the season's best writing (see quotes above) as events have led us to this moment, even foreshadowing the Season Two opener, Man Of Science, Man Of Faith. Lines were being drawn and now more than ever those lines have been made clearer after a very gradual build across an entire season.

The chemistry between Michael, Jin and Sawyer never fails in their male bonding experience on that raft. These are some of the most tender moments of the season between these men and I was thoroughly engrossed in that quieter component of our final LOST story.

And of course as the sun sets the darkness creeps in and the third part of Exodus becomes actually quite disturbing. The third component of the tale is Sayid and Charlie's effort to reclaim baby Aaron from Rousseau. Rousseau is almost tragic and surprisingly Charlie has no empathy or understanding for what she's been through which makes Mira Furlan's performance even more sympathetic and affecting.

But let us return to the raft on the water in the dark, the flair and the incoming boat of The Others. That is yet another powerful highlight in the finale that will remain with you for life. When Walt is abducted and literally ripped from the arms of his father Michael by men who state plainly they will take the boy, a moment truly couldn't be more agonizingly unsettling. When I saw it I was disturbed and the scene still holds tremendous power today. It is truly affecting, emotionally dramatic stuff.

Whenever the abduction of a child is involved it creates a psychological impact on the viewer and this is the third known attempt by The Others to take a child creating an even more ominous picture.

The final shot of Locke and Jack peering into an endless hole into the opening where the hatch once secured it is another money shot leading us right into Season Two and a whole other world and layer to the island and our journey.

All told, Exodus (Part 3) may secure the spot of best season finale ever. If not, I'd easily rank it among the Top 10 of season finales. It is flawless in execution, information, entertainment and as a LOST gem. It caps off an already brilliant season with a brilliant cherry on top.

One of the things about being so hugely entertained and so hopelessly lost with these survivors is a sense that we as viewers are lost right along with them. Season One if anything, for me personally, accurately captured a personal philosophical subtext regarding life itself.

Yes, who isn't out there LOST in this life just a little? Who isn't out there trying to escape sometimes? Who isn't out there trying to make sense of the mysteries that inform us on a daily basis or make sense of the illogical decisions of humanity? Like these survivors, who isn't looking for answers and feeling a bit lost along the way themselves on this journey? LOST positively reflects a feeling we all have deep down and does so in a wildly entertaining and original and ever so thoughtful fashion as a mystery adventure drama science fiction lite series.

This is superb television that had the world talking and everyone's eyes to Season Two.

Flashbacks: Hurley, Locke.

Writer: Damon Lindelof/ Carlton Cuse.
Director: Jack Bender.

And that folks miraculously concludes Musings Of A Sci-Fi Fanatic's look at LOST Season One.

Monday, April 16, 2018

LOST S1 E24: Exodus (Part 2)

"If anyone hears anything or sees anything..." -Jack-
" a security system that eats people."
"Do you think we're being punished... things we did before... the secrets we kept... the lies we told."

The well paced and slow burn of mystery that has been sprinkled throughout Season One has finally led us to the three part (according to my Blu-Ray collection) season finale, Exodus.

LOST's creators have cleverly paced their mystery yarn over the course of a full season by delving into a number of unique back stories for its ensemble cast in anthology style. The result has been a season of wonderfully fascinating stand alone stories simply about damaged people like any one of us while offering small bits of island mythology. And we are right there with them, all just a little bit lost in this life.

It's all finally coming to a nice little head here at season's close as we look at LOST, Season One, Episode 24, Exodus (Part 2).

The search for dynamite at Black Rock (Portsmouth) continues.

This may be the episode that goes down as LOST's version of the red shirt as Dr. Leslie Arzt with a sweaty beige shirt is all blown to smithereens. He wasn't made annoying to a fault for no reason and compounded with that name Leslie. Why exactly did he tag along with Jack, Kate, Hurley and Locke? Yes, he had to go. He was the Jar Jar Binks of LOST, but clearly George Lucas just couldn't hear the deafening volume of his own annoying character that screamed for a much required death scene. And of course Rousseau exits upon arrival there. Clearly, the Frenchwoman isn't stupid.

Highlights: Locke and Jack tensely removing dynamite to the analogy of the game Operation. The handling of the dynamite is fairly well-rendered and as intense as scenes go as our would be heroes move away from Black Rock and into the Dark Territory as its referred.

The raft scenes and character interaction between Jin, Michael and Sawyer are always good. Just escaping into that big blue ocean alongside these people is an experience alone.

Sayid and Charlie seek to find Claire's baby Aaron now missing and in the hands of Frenchwoman Danielle Rousseau as her potential bargaining chip to regain her own daughter Alex from The Others.

There were many theories that the series hinged on baby Aaron and that The Others were strictly after Aaron. Just as Danielle had lost her baby to them years ago and where most others perished from that expedition. If this would hold true the future would not bode well for the remaining survivors of Oceanic Flight 815.

Overall, penultimate Season One entry Exodus (Part 2) (of three parts) is a bit like the middle child. It's hard to stand out, yet is a required part of this trilogy of episodes moving the story forward to its rousing conclusion.

Flashbacks: Sun, Jin, Sayid, Charlie, Michael, Walt.

Writer: Damon Lindelof/ Carlton Cuse.
Director: Jack Bender.